How to Build a Wooden Table

How to build a natural, simple, wooden table, including diagram and instructions.

| July/August 1976

Click on the article's Image Gallery for a diagram with measurements.

Tired of that plastic-and-veneer imitation table in your kitchen, den, dining room, or shop? Then replace it with the real thing: a 100% natural, build-it-yourself "plain pine table"!

It's sad, but true: a good "universal table" hasn't been manufactured commercially for years. Today's furniture market is glutted with drop-leaf, extension, Colonial, Mediterranean, gateleg, and other credenzas, stands, counters, desks, sideboards, etc. (which often feature mortised joints and parts that've been machined from expensive hardwoods) . . . when what the country really needs is a low-cost, dependable Plain Pine Table.

There's little reason you can't make such tables yourself and pocket a few bucks doing it. No matter where you live in this country, you should be able to [1] build a PPT from locally available discarded lumber, [2] sell the finished product, and [3] realize at least a $25 profit per unit . . . perhaps even $50 or more, if you exercise care both in your selection of materials and in each table's final assembly.

I started building PPT's because I had a surplus of three- and four-foot lengths of lumber on hand (left over from carpentry work and from salvaged packing crates). The design I've come to use is simply something I picked up through observation. (The exact design is unimportant—any fairly adept third-grader can sketch out plans for the kind of table we're talking about—-but you should strive to give your PPT's a look of functional elegance by harmoniously proportioning all the parts that go into each piece. Craftsmanship and quality of materials are actually of secondary significance, for if they're too high they tend to conflict with the finished product's "plain jane" appeal.)

It's a good idea—if you want your tables to be structurally sound—to use only seasoned wood in their fabrication. This means that you should allow green or found boards to dry indoors for six months. And don't be afraid to feed any cupped or twisted planks to the shop stove. (Out of all the pallet boards and packing-crate planks I pick up, I expect to be able to use only about one-tenth in my furniture projects.)

6/29/2016 2:14:53 AM

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