Build Your Own Tables

If you want a custom built table, learn how to build your own tables. In one weekend you can construct a kitchen, coffee or bedside table of your own design using this simple building method that includes legs, aprons and the table top. Attach the wooden members with simple brackets and screws and finish with paint or polyurethane.

| October/November 2008

  • Learn how to build your own tables. In one weekend you can build a sturdy, useful kitchen table.
    Learn how to build your own tables. In one weekend you can build a sturdy, useful kitchen table.
    Illustration by Len Churchill
  • Here are four examples of joining the table legs to the apron pieces, plus detail on attaching the legs and top. Click here for an enlarged image.
    Here are four examples of joining the table legs to the apron pieces, plus detail on attaching the legs and top. Click here for an enlarged image.
    Illustration by Len Churchill
  • Scribing to level legs.
    Scribing to level legs.
    Illustration by Len Churchill
  • Corner-rounding router: The finish on table top edges and corners always wears out faster than other areas because pressure from wiping and day-to-day use is concentrated there. You’ll enjoy the longest-lasting table finish if you round all sharp edges and corners during construction. Use a router if you like a refined effect.
    Corner-rounding router: The finish on table top edges and corners always wears out faster than other areas because pressure from wiping and day-to-day use is concentrated there. You’ll enjoy the longest-lasting table finish if you round all sharp edges and corners during construction. Use a router if you like a refined effect.
    Illustration by Len Churchill
  • rasp
    Use a rasp to round the edges of the table if you prefer a handmade look.
    LEN CHURCHILL
  • Z-clip detail.
    Z-clip detail.
    Illustration by Len Churchill
  • Coffee, bedside or kitchen tables are easy to build using just legs, aprons and a top. Click the link in the article for an enlarged version of the image.
    Coffee, bedside or kitchen tables are easy to build using just legs, aprons and a top. Click the link in the article for an enlarged version of the image.
    Illustration by Len Churchill

  • Learn how to build your own tables. In one weekend you can build a sturdy, useful kitchen table.
  • Here are four examples of joining the table legs to the apron pieces, plus detail on attaching the legs and top. Click here for an enlarged image.
  • Scribing to level legs.
  • Corner-rounding router: The finish on table top edges and corners always wears out faster than other areas because pressure from wiping and day-to-day use is concentrated there. You’ll enjoy the longest-lasting table finish if you round all sharp edges and corners during construction. Use a router if you like a refined effect.
  • rasp
  • Z-clip detail.
  • Coffee, bedside or kitchen tables are easy to build using just legs, aprons and a top. Click the link in the article for an enlarged version of the image.

Learn how to build your own tables. Design and construct whatever tables you need using this expert advice.

Build Your Own Tables

Want a great table? Build it yourself! Thanks to innovations in construction materials, joinery systems and wood finishes, it’s never been easier to make a durable, beautiful and inexpensive wooden table in just one weekend.

Every table has at least three kinds of parts: legs, aprons and a top. But before you begin preparing any of these, start with some design work. When it comes to the height, width and length of your table, you’ll find it helpful to remember a few standard dimensions as you sketch ideas and refine your design. Most kitchen tables are about 30 to 32 inches high. Width should be at least 34 inches, with 34 to 38 inches of perimeter length for each person’s seating comfort. A coffee table is usually 16 to 18 inches high; a bedside table works well at 26 to 28 inches tall.

Click here for a downloadable illustration of the table dimensions.



The thickness of the tabletop depends on the material you are using and the size of the table being built. Three-quarter-inch-thick plywood makes a pretty good tabletop for most applications, though it does look thin on large designs. If you are using dimension lumber, three-quarter-inch thick is good for small tables — up to about 18 by 24 inches; 1-inch lumber is fine for medium size tables, up to approximately 24 by 36 inches. Anything larger should be 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches thick.

Click here to view the downloadable construction illustration of four examples of joining the table legs to the apron pieces, plus detail on attaching the legs and top.

robhalin
6/29/2016 2:28:06 AM

I am Sharing my personal experience about one of the wood working plan i am using for my project. it contains all woodworking plans include workbench plans, shed plans, chair ... blueprints and detailed instructions for building all kinds of wooden, check out here to download the wood working plans and project ( http://www.healthandrich.com/1Woods ) All the best have a great day


jimd8814
1/14/2009 7:44:47 PM

I find the type on illistrations in the image gallery too small to read.. Please consider using a larger font


rhonda_2
10/8/2008 2:16:56 PM

you make it sound so simple. i would like to make a table with foldable legs, easy to store when not in use. any suggestions? i don't even think i have ever seen the brackets for a foldable table.







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