Need a table: Long, narrow, simple, sturdy. Suggestions?
March 14, 2011 4:29 PM   Subscribe

This is my dream table: Simple, classy, sturdy and inexpensive. My problem: I want it in an unusual size (long and narrow, almost like a console table [5-6 feet long, 18 inches wide]). Any suggestions?

It is very easy to find *folding* tables of this size; regular tables, not so much. I have probably burned out several of Google's servers trying to find one, although I admit it's possible I just may not have stumbled upon the magic combination of terms.

Does anyone know where I can find something like this? Alternately, if I were to ask around and find a local woodworker, what would be a reasonable price to pay? (For reference, the 24x48 table in the link, above, sells for $90-$120.)

Thanks for any suggestions!
posted by Alaska Jack to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Any custom furniture place should be able to make such a table. How much will it cost? I dunno, but I can give you a rough upper bound: Wooden Duck Dining Tables - I'd guess at 6' and 18" it would be about half the cost of the 6x36" table listed there which would be ~$900. Wooden Duck is not so fancy, but it's reclaimed wood and hand-made in Berkeley which is, IMO, about as expensive as it gets. Nice tables though.
posted by GuyZero at 4:33 PM on March 14, 2011

Best answer: If the table linked to is long enough: buy it, cut a length out down the middle to leave 9 inches either side, join the two pieces together. A carpenter could do that fairly easily and neatly.
posted by londongeezer at 4:36 PM on March 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sorry, missed that it's only 48 long.
posted by londongeezer at 4:37 PM on March 14, 2011

Have you tried searching sofa table?
posted by rhapsodie at 5:26 PM on March 14, 2011

It would not be very hard to build this. Any local carpenter should be able to do if you're not expecting it to be real fancy. Cabinetmakers will be more expensive. The wood itself won't cost too much unless you want something pricey.
posted by mareli at 5:28 PM on March 14, 2011

Best answer: Can't you just buy a tabletop at a DIY store, custom-cut to the size you need, and (hardwood, it seems, looking at your pic) parts for the frame and legs, and put it together yourself?
I mean, you need four feet of a square diameter, two short frame members and two long ones, that the DIY store people all could cut for you. Also some elements to join them together, plus appropriate gear. (for example dowels and a power drill with a sharp drill bit of the proper size and large clamps to apply pressure for the glue-up -- or some other way; there are special clamps and screws for making a frame like that re-detachable and perfectly square and sturdy).
And finally some way to attach the tabletop to the frame; sandpaper (okay. I'd use a freshly sharpened plane on all the surfaces, before assembly, but that's me) in decreasing gradations, and some varnish.
posted by Namlit at 5:38 PM on March 14, 2011

If you want it at dining table height, how about a long console/sofa table, and just cut the legs down? A simple, cheap hand saw should do it, or you can take it to a hardware store and have them trim the legs for you. This table from Target is slightly longer, at 52" and 16" wide.
posted by raztaj at 5:45 PM on March 14, 2011

Best answer: ... and available on Amazon for roughly $50 less, at $148 + free shipping
posted by raztaj at 5:52 PM on March 14, 2011

A woodworker would have to spend around $60 just to buy hardwood material for such a table, and that's for roughsawn lumber. At a big box store, the cost of lumber alone would eclipse the price of the table you linked to. Custom-built, you're probably looking at at least $250. Even that would be a bargain.
posted by jon1270 at 5:54 PM on March 14, 2011

Best answer: Can you describe what you like about this table? For example, is it the square legs with no taper? the color? the multiple pieces of wood in the tabletop? the lack of a lower platform? the lack of a drawer? Which characteristics are most important... or least. That would help us narrow your focus. Here's my guess: a console table.
posted by carmicha at 5:56 PM on March 14, 2011

Response by poster: Hi everyone. Thank you all for taking the time to help!

I'll try to respond to people's input in order.

@londongeezer: That's a pretty good idea. I think this weekend I may make the rounds of thrift stores with that in mind.

@rhapsodie: Yes, both sofa table and console table. I've seen a couple of near hits, except that they all seem to be *too* narrow: 15 inches or less.

@Namlit: The problem right now is that I don't have the gear or the expertise. However, I'm generally pretty good at figuring things out, and may have given myself short shrift. For one thing, I didn't know you could just buy table tops from box stores. There's a couple near me -- I think I will swing into one and ask them about this. Couldn't hurt, that's for sure.

@raztaj: That table comes the closest I've seen to what I'm looking for! It's not as long as I'd like, and it's a little too narrow, but it *might* work. I'm bookmarking it! (I think I had actually seen it early on when searching, but for some reason couldn't find it again when I was more seriously looking).

@jon1270: Thanks, good info.

carmicha: Good questions, thanks. I'm going to use it as a desk. The whole thing was spurred by the fact that I got a new laptop, rendering my big old CRT useless. I had the CRT sitting on top of this giant, Eisenhower-era built-like-a-Pershing-tank government-issue desk. I realized that if I got an external LCD screen, I wouldn't need the big, ugly desk to support it, and I could get something simple and classy. Like me! ;^) I broke out the measuring tape, and realized that something 5 or 6 feet long, and 18 inches deep, would be perfect.

So really, anything simple, sturdy and relatively unadorned; and light-colored or unfinished. You are spot on with that console table recommendation, except that I think that bottom shelf would be problematic, what with my legs and all. Also, I really can't justify spending more than, I guess, $200. It's not that I'm cheap, exactly; I just try to maximize my "doing stuff" budget, and minimize my "owning stuff" budget.

Thanks again everyone! Once again reminding me why I love this site!

- aj
posted by Alaska Jack at 6:24 PM on March 14, 2011

The reason you're not finding a 6' long table that's only 18" wide with 4 corner legs is because it will sag in the middle or wobble. Console tables generally have braces between the legs to provide strength. I think you need either a shorter table or one with a different leg set up.
posted by fshgrl at 10:08 PM on March 14, 2011

Will it be placed against a wall? If so, a shelf might suit the purpose as well as a table. Just buy brackets instead of legs, and space them two to three feet apart to prevent sag. Like this. Search for "floating desk" or "wall-mounted desk" for more variants.
posted by libraryhead at 7:54 AM on March 15, 2011

Response by poster: Ok, for me, at least, this question has been resolved. It turns out that a friend's husband is an experienced woodworker, and he is making one for me! Thank you to everyone who contributed.

- aj
posted by Alaska Jack at 12:16 PM on March 24, 2011

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