Three Easy-to-Build Tables | Living the Country Life
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Three Easy-to-Build Tables

With one basic plan, you can build three types of tables yourself. Follow these three simple DIY plans to make your furniture to taste.
  • For All Tables

    Skill Level: Basic woodworking skills

    Estimated Cost: $300

    Tools:

    • Tape measure
    • Combination square
    • Table saw
    • Portable circular saw
    • Clamps
    • Wood chisel
    • Hammer
    • Nail set
    • Drill with 1/16-inch bit, 3/16-inch bit, countersink
    • No. 2 Phillips screwdriver
    • Sanding block with 150-grit sandpaper
    • Paintbrush
    • Router with 1/8-inch radius
    • Roundover bit (optional)

    Materials:

    • No. 6x11/4 deck or drywall screws
    • No. 6x15/8 deck or drywall screws
    • 4d finishing nails
    • 6d finishing nails
    • Wood glue
    • Wood filer
    • 1 gallon latex primer
    • 1 gallon gloss or semigloss latex enamel
    Date Published: January 8, 2018
    Date Updated: March 5, 2018
  • 1. Coffee Table

    This design provides the basic template for all the tables. Other parts with the same names are identical in the cross-section as the corresponding parts in this table; only the lengths change.

    Date Published: January 8, 2018
    Date Updated: March 5, 2018
  • Coffee Table Set Up

    Lumber list

    • One 49x97-inch sheet of 3/4-inch medium density fiberboard (for parts F, I, J)
    • Two 8-foot lengths of 1x2 clear poplar (for parts B, K)
    • Four 8-foot lengths of 1x4 clear poplar (for parts A, D, E, G, H)

    Parts List

    • Eight legs (A), 3/4 x 31/2 x 157/8 inches
    • Four leg cleats (B), 3/4 x 11/2 x 157/8 inches
    • Four leg posts (C) assembled using parts (A) and (B), 21/4 x 31/2 x 153/4 inches
    • Two shelf cleats (D), 3/4 x 21/2 x 20 inches
    • Two mounting cleats (E), 3/4 x 3/4 x 20 inches
    • Two end panels (F), 3/4 x 12 x 20 inches
    • Four fill cleats (G), 3/4 x 2 x 33/4 inches
    • Two stretchers (H), 3/4 x 21/2 x 301/2inches
    • One shelf (I), 3/4 x 22 x 301/2 inches
    • One tabletop (J) 3/4 x 24 x 36 inches
    • Two support cleats (K) 3/4 x 11/2 x 301/2 inches
    Date Published: January 8, 2018
    Date Updated: March 5, 2018
  • Build Your Coffee Table

    Once all parts are cut and labeled with a pencil, start building the coffee table by assembling leg posts (C). Clamp a straight piece of wood or metal at least 2 inches thick to the top of your workbench as a long stop block. Butt the edge of one leg (A) against it; spread glue on the top face. Press another leg (A) directly on top, also butting an edge against the stop block. Drill 1/16-inch pilot holes in the top board; fasten with 4d finishing nails. (Try to keep ends flush, but if the boards shift slightly, don't worry. You'll recut the ends later.)

    Apply glue to one face of a leg cleat (B); press it facedown onto glued legs, again with a long edge aligned against the stop block. The difference in widths should create a 2-inch rabbet ledge (see leg assembly illustration); check that measurement, then fasten the leg cleat with 6d finishing nails driven into the 1/16-inch pilot holes. Repeat procedure to make three more leg posts; set all four aside for the glue to dry. After an hour or two, use a sharp chisel to scrape off any excess glue, then make a light trim cut off both ends of each leg post to create a finished length of 153/4 inches. 

    Set an end panel (F) flat on your workbench. Use glue and 11/4-inch screws to secure a mounting cleat (E) to the inside face, along the top edge of the panel as shown. The cleat should be flush with the panel edges. Repeat with the other end panel. Then drill four countersunk 3/16-inch holes up through each mounting cleat where shown. These will be used to fasten the tabletop later. Use the 3/16-inch bit to drill three countersunk holes along the inside face of each end panel, 1 inch in from each vertical edge. On a leg post, spread glue along the 2-inch-wide rabbet ledge and set it flat on your workbench. Place an end panel (cleat side up) on the post ledge with the upper ends flush; use three No. 6x15/8 screws to fasten them together. Attach the other leg post the same way, then use glue and 4d nails to fasten a fill cleat (G) at the bottom of each leg post. Repeat for the other end assembly. 

    Drill and countersink three 3/16-inch holes through each shelf cleat (D) for screws. Use glue and 6d finishing nails to fasten the stretchers (H) to the ends of the shelf cleats (D) to form a frame as shown. Sand off any sharp corners and edges of the shelf (I) (or rout with the 1/8-inch-radius bit, if desired), then glue the shelf to this stretcher frame, with ends flush and a 1/4-inch overhang along each stretcher. Secure with 4d finishing nails. 

    Set a leg/end assembly flat on your workbench, inside face up, and stand the shelf/ledger frame on its end, alighning the shelf rail (D) flush with the lower edge of the end panel (F). Use glue and 11/4-inch screws to secure. Repeat procedure to attach the other leg/end frame. 

    Sand the sharp edges off the tabletop (J), then place it upside down on your work surface. Set the assembled base upside down on the tabletop, with a consistent overhang at each leg post, then drive No. 6x11/4 screws through the mounting cleats (E) and into the tabletop. Glue and nail the support cleats (K) to the underside of the top, flush with the outside edges of the leg posts. 

    Countersink all the finishing nails with a nail set and fill the holes with wood filler. Sand the table smooth. Apply a coat of primer (two coats on any exposed MDF edges) and leg dry; sand and apply two coats of latex enamel. 

    Date Published: January 8, 2018
    Date Updated: March 5, 2018
  • 2. End Tables

    The procedure for building a pair of end tables is identical to that used for the coffee table, with one exception. Where the coffee table has two end panels, an end table has only one. It is intended for the side of the table that will face a sofa or wall. 

    Date Published: January 8, 2018
    Date Updated: March 5, 2018
  • End Table Set Up

    The other side is open and features lower and upper rails (R) and (S). For the leg posts on the open side, the gap along the rabbet ledge is filled with a long fill cleat (U). See the illustration for details. 

    Date Published: January 8, 2018
    Date Updated: March 5, 2018
  • Build Your End Tables

    Lumber list

    • One partial sheet of 3/4-inch medium-density fiberboard (for parts Q, W, X)
    • Four 8-foot lengths of 1x2 clear poplar (for parts M, S, Y)
    • Seven 8-foot lengths of 1x4 clear poplar (for parts L, O, P, R, T, U, V)

    Parts list

    • 16 legs (L), 3/4 x 31/2 x 20 inches
    • Eight leg cleats (M), 3/4 x 11/2 x 20 inches
    • Eight leg posts (N) assembled using parts (L) and (M), 21/4 x 31/2 x 193/4 inches
    • Four shelf cleats (O), 3/4 x 21/2 x 20 inches
    • Four mounting cleats (P), 3/4 x 3/4 x 20 inches
    • Two side panels (Q), 3/4 x 15 x 20 inches
    • Two lower rails (R), 3/4 x 31/2 x 20 inches
    • Two upper rails (S), 3/4 x 11/2 x 20 inches
    • Eight short fill cleats (T), 3/4 x 2 x 43/4 inches
    • Four long fill cleats (U), 3/4 x 2 x 10 inches
    • Four stretchers (V) 3/4 x 21/2 141/2 inches
    • Two shelves (W), 3/4 x 141/2 x 22 inches
    • Two tabletops (X), 3/4 x 30 x 24 inches
    • Four support cleats (Y), 3/4 x 11/2 141/2 inches 
    Date Published: January 8, 2018
    Date Updated: March 5, 2018
  • 3. Console Table

    The 32-inch-high console table features two open frame ends similar to the ones on the end table, shown in the next illustration. Part names correstpond to the parts used for the end tables, but the dimensions vary.

    Date Published: January 8, 2018
    Date Updated: March 5, 2018
  • Console Table Set Up

    Lumber list

    • One partial sheet of 3/4-inch medium-density fiberboard (for shelf and tabletop)
    • Three 8-foot lengths of 1x2 clear poplar
    • Six 8-foot lengths of 1x4 clear poplar

    Parts list

    • Four leg posts 311/4 inches long (assembled from legs and leg cleats as with other tables)
    • Two shelf cleats, 3/4 x 21/2 x 12 inches
    • Two mounting cleats, 3/4 x 3/4 x 12 inches
    • Two lower rails 3/4 x 31/2 x 12 inches
    • Two upper rails, 3/4 x 11/2 12 inches
    • Four short fill cleats, 3/4 x 2 x 43/4 inches
    • Four long fill cleats, 3/4 x 2 211/2 inches
    • Two stretchers, 3/4 x 21/2 421/2 inches
    • One shelf, 3/4 x 121/2 x 421/2 inches
    • One tabletop, 3/4 x 16 x 48 inches
    • Two support cleats 3/4 x 11/2 421/2 inches (for under tabletop, smae position as in coffee table)

    Build your console table using the instructions of the end table. 

    Date Published: January 8, 2018
    Date Updated: March 5, 2018

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