Oh, man, I was so excited when Katie asked me to build a table for her dining room. After a few texted sketches and inspiration pics back and forth, I had a pretty good idea what she was looking for. This table can be made for about 75 bucks; you'd be hard-pressed to beat that! At Ikea, a table of comparable size starts at around $150, and it's not custom made! I'm also pretty stoked it can be made from a single sheet of hardwood plywood.
-3/4 hardwood plywood (4' x 8')
-3/8" doweling (if you pocket screw)
-painter's tape (get the kind with edge lock technology; it's worth the extra couple of bucks)
-pocket hole jig (you can get a Jr. system for 40 bucks on Amazon; they're so handy!)
-straight edge/speed square
-clampsStep One: When I start a project, I like to sketch out a plan so I can have something to look at. Since I already made the plans for this table, you should print it out so you have something you refer to, write notes on, and scrutinize. After you have the plans, I would set up the plywood on a horizontal surface so you can easily mark on it. If you have a work bench, you're lucky; if not, you can use the floor, a couple saw horses, even your kitchen table (oh wait, you're making it).
I like to measure and line out everything that I'm going to be cutting. Try to be precise as possible— measure twice, cut once. You know the routine.
Cut out all the pieces. I used a Skil saw for most of the cuts. If you haven't used a Skil before or are feeling a little rusty, practice on some scrap wood, making longer cuts as straight as possible. Any wobbles off mark will be apparent on something like this, with a lot of straight lines. After cutting, sand everything. Start with a more aggresive grit (like an 80 grit), then move on up to a finishing grit (220 or above).
Don't be afraid to use a saw. Seriously, you can do it. It takes 40% skill, 45% patience, 15% hand eye cordination.* Ask Laura; she cuts stuff all the time like a champion! Sarah wants to learn how to use power tools too. (Actually, who wants a post about general/entry-level power saw/drill usage?. Maybe I should put one together soon? I'd be into that. Let me know in the comments if that's something that would interest you.) Okay, back to table making.
*percentages may or may not have just been pulled out of thin air.
Step Two: After you have the leg pieces cut out, assemble them by screwing piece A to piece B, as pictured. I pocket-hole screwed them so I could hide the holes with doweling. I wanted the legs to look as clean as possible. Be sure to use wood glue; you want the legs to be really sturdy.
Step Three: Before staining the legs, I lettered each one. Then I set them up on the underside of the table top, then traced the tops of the legs on each of their corners, then lettered their corresponding corners. After the stain dries, be sure to sand with a fine grit (around 220) sandpaper between coats of poly.
Step Four: After you have all the legs built, sanded, stained, coated with polyurethane, and the notches cut out of the table top, you can start to assemble! Actually, hold on. You'll want to build four leg supports (figure 1). All they are, are two pieces of wood glued and screwed together. Dimensions are on the diagram. You'll want to take into account the angle of the leg, so after you have the pieces cut, hold them on the back of the leg and trace the angle, then cut off. As you can see below, I did not take account for the angle of the legs on the supports and had to sand them all down to match the angle of the legs :/ Real professional of me.
At this stage, be liberal with the wood glue, wiping any excess with a rag. Make sure your table top is upside down on a flat surface.
Go ahead and attach all the supports with glue and screws. You may need to remark the leg letters if they get covered up.
Step Five: Attach legs! Make sure the tops are flush with the top of the table. I put in four screws per leg. Two screws were pocket-screwed in the leg, and two were screwed through the leg supports. After the glue dried, the legs were super sturdy. After the legs are attached, you can flip the table. I love the feeling when you've been building something and there's that one step where the thing you've been planning for and spent so much time on has finally materialized. It doesn't hurt either when it's not all wobbly. It's been Katie's family dining table for a couple months now, and it's holding up!
Now you can paint or stain the table any color your little heart desires. Don't forget to tape off the legs!
Credits // Author: Josh Rhodes. Photos: Sarah Rhodes and Josh Rhodes. Photos edited with Petal of the Fresh Collection.