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Conference table construction questions9/10
I have a commission for a 4'x14' conference table. It will have 3 pedestals for support and the table is divided in thirds. I will be using 3/4" MFD for the top with 2 ply veneer top and bottom. Is 1 layer of MDF sufficient, 3/4" or 1 1/8"? Solid wood for edging, what would be the best fastening technique? In using such small panels, would any additional support system be required? The pedestals are 24" dia. Any input would be humbly and gratefully appreciated.
You've got a couple issues. Besides being too thin structurally, the table will look horrible being only 3/4" or 1 1/8" thick. That thickness of MDF will likely sag on it's own weight.
I'm afraid its to late. Its a confirmed commission at this point. Probably all signed off and ready for production.
The mention of the MDF being unable to support itself is accurate in my experience.
There are two ways to overcome this: One is to build the top as a torsion box, with thinner layers and a lighter, stiffer panel.
Secondly, build a support frame underneath that will be unobtrusive and yet strong enough to counter the sagging MDF. Like 3/4 x 3" on edge, joined for width and length, tucked up under the table rim.
The other observation about planning ahead is also accurate. This has to be done when quoting. Typically, if not well planned, then either the project does not live up to customer expectations, or you end up spending more time and materials that you planned. Or both.
First time with a large table?
We use 2 layers of MDF laminated and never have had any issues with larger tables. We do have a 2-3 inch solid frame around. Think about this, you have three small tables and each has a substantial center support. If you use two pieces of MDF glued together you will have no issues IMO. We have been doing this for 35 years and never had a warped table top.