A Guide to Designing Your Table

To choose a table that will fit your home and lifestyle perfectly, there are a few things to consider.  Here’s what’s helpful to know when deciding what table is right for you.

Still have questions? Contact us to work with our talented designers on your custom table.

Size

How big is your space, and how many people do you want to seat?

It’s important to know how many people you’re regularly expecting around your table. We recommend 24” per person, which is a generous place setting. You’ll also want to consider the chairs that you’ll be using, to ensure enough seats will fit comfortably. Depending on style, our tables have different apron depths, overhangs, and space between the legs. Some people like the flexibility of trestle-style tables, which are better suited to squeezing more people around because the legs are centered underneath the table, instead of on the edges. Others prefer the leg room they find with a classic four legged design.

Also, keep in mind what size table fits well in your space. We recommend keeping at least 36” between the edge of the table and the wall so you and your guests can get in and out of your seats comfortably. For tables near entryways or doors, consider leaving even more distance (around 48”) to make sure everyone can easily enter and exit the room.

Extensions

If you entertain frequently it’s likely worth it to go with a bigger table for everyday, but if you only have a larger crowd for the holidays, consider extensions. Extensions can be built to insert into the center of the table or on the ends, but we recommend end extensions to avoid a split in the center of your table. Our end extensions store separately and attach securely to give you a little extra space when you need it most. A good size for extensions is between 18-24”, which is a standard place-setting.

Wood

When considering wood options, you may decide based on color preferences or on character. At Vermont Farm Table, we build with the best quality New American Hardwoods and Reclaimed Woods.  We offer samples of most of the woods we produce in.

Our New American Hardwoods, like Cherry, Maple and Walnut, are sourced as locally and sustainably as possible. We can source a wide variety of other options if you’re interested in a specific species you don’t see on the website.

We also specialize in Reclaimed Woods, including Pine and Chestnut, which can be sourced from places like old barns, silos, train stations. The appeal of reclaimed wood is its depth of character and the beauty inherent in reusing materials with a past life. Reclaimed wood will often include features such as worm holes, nail holes, and deeper color variation. If you like a lot of character in your wood, reclaimed may be a great choice for you.

Each piece of furniture we produce is individual and unique. No two pieces will be identical, and each board will vary in terms of color, knots, grain, and character features. The beauty in our furniture is not in its perfection but rather in its overall quality, long-term durability, and celebration of the natural material.

Samples

Curious about a specific species? Bring home one (or a few) of our solid wood samples so you can find the perfect color and grain for your home. Check out our sample page, and choose a postcard set to see them all, a few single species to narrow it down, or one of our collection sets for a particular theme. Then get to work envisioning your new table!

Style

We have a talented team of woodworkers and designers who created our table collections from classic, timeless furniture designs mixed with modern influences. See all our styles here

If you have a design in mind that you don’t see in our gallery, just send us a picture or sketch of what you would like to build and we’ll work with you to make it happen.

Finish

We believe in taking the natural route whenever possible.  We use a natural water-based urethane on our tables that is not only low VOC and free of carcinogens, but is also water and stain resistant.  This approach lets the natural beauty of the wood shine through, while creating a finish that is easy to care for over time. Should a scratch or spot happen on the table (as it will!), we’re happy to recommend tips and tricks to spot refinish or minimize the damage.

Construction

Our tables are built by hand in our state of the art woodshop by a team of dedicated and talented craftspeople.   The combination of our team, the quality of our materials and process, and the way in which we build makes a Vermont Farm Table a better table.  

Your table starts with selecting the best wood for the job, and laying it out with an expert’s eye for balanced wood grain patterns and overall aesthetic.  Our tops are built with solid boards, typically 5-8 inches wide, which are precision edge-glued. We use a combination of the highest quality machinery and hand construction, including mortise-and-tenon joinery and hand finishing.

Our finishing process includes multiple hand brushed coats of our water based finish, creating a surface that will patina beautifully over time and help protect the wood from daily wear and tear.

Our team is brilliant with wood, and we are constantly amazed by what they can pull off!  If you have any other questions about our process, please ask! We love to talk "shop"!

Measurements

Wood is a natural material that expands and contracts during the cycle of a calendar year based on changes in humidity and exposure to sun, water, and air. Because of this movement, all the measurements presented on our website are estimations, and will vary depending on the season. While we work to be as precise as possible, furniture measurements (length, width and height) are accurate within +/- 0.50". If you do require a critical dimension in either wood thickness or overall size, please let us know and we’d be happy to work with you!

Thickness

For all of our table designs, we build in a recommended thickness, but also offer the choice of thicker or thinner based on your preference.  When you choose one of our thickness options (Standard, Thicker, Thinner, Thinnest), it corresponds to a range or estimated final thickness after finishing.

Our team of craftspeople begin with raw materials and shape them into your final top based on an expert’s eye and touch for bringing the wood together in the most aesthetically balanced way possible. Wood is a natural material that expands and contracts over time.  For these reasons our tops finish down to an estimated thickness range, and are accurate with a tolerance of +/- 0.25”. Because of their more limited availability, we’ll always finish reclaimed materials to their maximum yield and/or to the thickness of your choice whenever possible.   If your project calls for exact measurements, please call us to discuss details and we are happy to make it happen!

Custom Finishes

While we don’t offer standard stain options, our team of expert finishers can match any custom stain or color needed for your project. Our designers will work with you to identify the best woods and stains to match your needs, and are happy to share recommendations about how to achieve a particular look or finish. Because of the natural variation in grain pattern, color, and texture present on every board we are unfortunately unable to guarantee that every square inch of your furniture will match the approved sample, however we’re always happy to work with you to find the best finish solutions for your project.

Edge

The edge offerings you'll see on our website are Standard, Square and Round, but are able to finish your edge in a number of custom ways, including with a bevel, radius, round-over, knife-edge, and ogee. If you have a specific edge detail in mind we are happy to build it into your design.

Breadboard Ends

Breadboard Ends are a classic table design feature, originally meant to stabilize a top against cupping and warping. Because wood moves across the grain seasonally, a breadboard end will either fall short of the panel edge or extend past it, depending on the season. This changing condition is a sign of good craftsmanship and not a design flaw. Breadboard ends can also be added for aesthetic reasons, lending a traditional touch to any table design.

Everything Else

When it comes to other options for your table, there’s always room to share your ideas with us if there’s something you want but don’t see on our website. We’ve got a team of talented craftspeople who can pull off a lot of amazing things with wood!

Common Questions

How long will it take to build my table?

Our standard production lead time for custom tables is 6 weeks, though we will always do our best to ship as soon as possible. Delivery lead times vary based on location.

How will my table ship?

We are pleased to offer White Glove Shipping on our tables and larger bench orders.  Our partners blanket wrap your fully-assembled furniture straight off our woodshop floor and deliver it right to your home.  Depending on the route of the truck and where you live, shipping can add 1- 6 weeks to your total lead-time.  When your piece leaves Vermont Farm Table, we will let you know it’s on the way, and our partners will be in contact with you directly to schedule a delivery time that works best for you.  The team that delivers will carry your table into your home and help ensure it arrives in perfect condition.

How do I care for my table?

We strongly believe in the table as a place where life happens, and not a showpiece to be protected from signs of use!   We think the table is at its most beautiful when over time it shows signs of a life well-lived around it, and the markings of many meals shared. We do know that most of us want our table to look beautiful though, and we can give you some tips on keeping it looking fantastic along the way!

For everyday care we recommend using a clean, soft cloth and mild soap and water or a natural cleaner. For quick and easy repairs or maintenance, a quick buffing with a generic furniture wax (found at any hardware store) will help bring back the original shine. For more extensive repair please contact us - your table can almost always be returned to its original finish quality.