I wanted to design a large table out of a single kind of material, using as little material as possible while making sure it was easy to replicate.
For most large table designs, the tabletop itself, or the frame it rests upon, is a key element when it comes to creating the necessary span. The downside of such designs is that they require the tabletop to withstand major pressure, which means it has to be relatively thick. That’s not how I like to do things; I prefer to keep my tabletops as thin as possible, even for large tables.That means I have to look elsewhere for rigidity. In other words, the tabletop will not be bearing any weight. Instead, it will be supported. I could design something like this, but that would mean using more than one kind of material. I want the tabletop to be thin and lightweight, so I have to create a load-bearing construction from the same material.
That’s where my idea to use box girders came from: they don’t weigh much, and they’re relatively rigid. All I would have to do is use the same, thin material to create both the box girders and the tabletop. From there, it was a small step to creating a box girder frame to support the entire tabletop. Add a few table legs, and I’m halfway there.
In the end, I designed the frame in such a way that allowed it to be CNC milled from a few sheets of birch multipex with an HPL top coating and then put together like a jigsaw puzzle. In other words, a DIY kit. After that, the frame was ready to be glued. Working with a hollow frame also offered new possibilities for putting it together. After all, adding the adhesive after putting it together would mean glueing everything together at once. The upside to that technique was that it made for extra frame ridigity, provided that the frame was lightweight and relatively rigid to begin with. After conducting a few tests with different epoxy masses, epoxy foam, and PU foam, the latter proved to be my best option for sealing a lightweight, rigid frame all at once. Because the frame itself is hollow, it can be reinforced by internal steel wires. These wires support the box girders, which allows for even greater span. The result: a table that measures up to 350 cm with just one table leg at each end--without the need for additional support!
Even better: the table can be manufactured in all available HPL colors.
Strong-willed, and somewhat in-your-face. Maybe even a little scary. Don’t worry though, it won’t bite!
Materials: birch multiplex, Formica HPL (high-pressure laminate) in over 200 colors
Tabletop thickness: 10 mm
Size: (LWH) 240x90x77cm, XL 290x90x77 cm
Weight: 36 kg, XL 44 kg