I plan on building a 9' by 5' table top using solid wood. My material is limited to 4/4 lumber (1 inch thick) and 8/4 lumber (2 inches thick). The widths and lengths are random (I haven't bought the wood yet).

Should I just mount the 4 legs to the table beneath it with a diagonal piece of wood meeting it? Should I glue pieces together to make 2 boards the width of the table and put those at the ends? I expect some of these ideas I come up with to have weak points, especially if the heavy table was bumped from the side.

Is there some way of doing the math to see how much weight this wood can support? I can figure out how heavy my table top is expected to be and how much weight I plan to put on top of it when it's finished.

EDIT: Now that I am thinking about it, is it feasible and realistic to just glue the wood pieces together on the flat sides? Like this: ||| Would this have any structural issues or leave concerns?

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    I'd really recommend some basic instruction in wood joinery... Based on your question, I think there will be other issues that hinder your project more than estimating the load rating. For example, it really doesn't matter what the load capacity is if you're doing butt joints with glue... There are online calculators for wood bending, but many people just go with experience because wood varies greatly. Some understanding of beam theory would also help you.
    – Hari
    Mar 22, 2017 at 20:09
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    You might have better luck at woodworking.stackexchange.com. That said, SE, in general, doesn't handle this type of question well. It's about design and style, not the technical aspects of a project. You need to settle on a design based on your own research and come back (here or there) with a more specific question. Good luck.
    – isherwood
    Mar 22, 2017 at 20:14
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    Gluing pieces together on their faces ( ||| ) is referred to as face-gluing, and is a very popular technique to make your own thick stock relatively cheaply. Making (table) legs is one of the more common uses for the thick wood.
    – mmathis
    Mar 22, 2017 at 20:33
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    There are several "standard" ways of designing / assembling a table, with an apron being probably the most common. Mortise and tenons to connect the legs to the tabletop is another fairly common technique, and you can use through tenons if you like that look. As @isherwood mentioned, you should really settle on a design (or ask specific questions about a particular design) and then ask questions (here or on WW.SE) on how to accomplish that design.
    – mmathis
    Mar 22, 2017 at 20:35
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    At 9' by 5' that would perhaps be more commonly referred to as a small platform. Depending on its location, you might even expect people to get up onto it and dance. Are you restricted to only four legs? Mar 22, 2017 at 20:38

1 Answer 1


I think you really should plan to build your table that is 9 feet long with a full four sided apron that is just under the inside edge of the table top and attached to the top. For a table that size consider an apron that is 6 inches wide and attached to the bottom of the table.

The apron is cut short in the corners so that a square profile leg can be bolted to the apron corner as attached through diagonal brackets in each frame corner. Built properly this can provide an extremely secure fastening for the leg to the table and yet still be removable for moving and/or storing the table.

These pictures can give you an idea of how this looks from a couple of vantage points:

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