Sally Schneider

Last year, we were invited to the collective Thanksgiving dinner of several families. One person oversaw the wines, turkey and stuffing; others made desserts and side dishes. Another improvised the huge 16-foot-long table that would seat 18 hungry grown-ups and children. It was not until we were helping deconstruct the table at the end of the evening that we realized it was made of two 4-x-8-foot sheets of plywood placed end to end on our host’s dining table.

Plywood is a fine, inexpensive material for making tabletops in a variety of shapes, from rectangles, to squares to rounds. Since the table will be covered with a cloth, it doesn’t really matter what the plywood looks like – whether veneered or not. Thickness should depend on the supports underneath; it shouldn’t bow.  (If you are a person who likes to have plywood on-hand for projects, then it makes sense to buy what you will re-use).

Last year’s table-maker happened to have a huge Frette linen tablecloth (from a past life) just large enough to cover. At party last summer, he cut open a new duvet cover to make a huge tablecloth that went to the floor. We’re fine with “piecing” tablecloths – that is, overlapping whatever we have one hand to make a patchwork. But many fabrics will do, from sheets to bolts of linen and cotton on line, to muslin doubled up.

And of course, plates, silverware, napkins and glasses will invariably be cobbled together from different sets to make the right number, with great charm and warmth.

In the pictures that follow, you can see the beautiful Thanksgiving table, above, gradually deconstructed. Check out our d-i-y on making a big folding round table.

The table is set with whatever is on hand…

Sally Schneider

…after the feast…

Sally Schneider

…under the huge cloth, two sheets of plywood laid end to end…

makeshift plywood table
Sally Schneider

…on top of the dining room table (though several small tables, or sawhorses would work fine)…

Sally Schneider

…paper towels prevent the plywood from scratching the table…

Sally Schneider

Related posts:

copy this: hinged, folding/expanding table top
sawhorse tables as solution + sculpture
d-i-y expandable table pt.1 (round) for holiday and other celebrations
one big swell table from several smaller ones

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