Drill pocket holes from the outer boards to the inner board. Drilling the holes before adding screws prevents the boards from cracking. To create the holes, measure along the sides of the center board. Mark it about every 7 in (18 cm). You will need to use a very long drill bit, about 3 in (7.6 cm) wide, called a pocket hole drill bit. Drill at an angle down through the side boards and into the side of the center board every 7 in (18 cm).[4]

Set biscuit joiner depth to #20. Lay the four best planks out on a flat surface and arrange them in final position. With a pencil and working across two boards at a time, make a mark at every 8-inch point along the seam of two boards. After marks are made, use the joiner to cut the biscuit slots at each location. Align the reference mark on the tool (similar to circular saw) and hold the top plate firmly flat against the board. In one smooth motion, plunge the tool until it hits the stop. Note: Do not cut joints on outside edges of first and last board.
Well I certainly can say most times when anyone comes into my shop they always ask….what’s this do?...lol Although not my own design I do get many questions on the German Springpole Lathe from Roys last book. It’s always a fascinating conversation piece…and usually gets people that have never worked wood really interested and wanting to learn more. When I show them spindels and how it works I always get an impressed or entertained reaction.

Most chisels are beveled on the 2 sides and on the cutting edge, but specialty chisels may only be beveled at the cutting edge. This bevel will be at 20 to 25 degrees down the length of the blade on one side, and flat on the backside. The blade will be between 4” and 7” long. Make sure you get chisels with a grip that fits your hand. If the grip is too small, you won’t be able to hold the chisel steady as you work. Be sure to use a mallet or wood hammer when you work, so that you don’t destroy the head on your chisel. Keep track of the edge caps, keep them sharp, and oil the metal now and then after you’ve used them, and they should be good for years. If you don’t have the edge caps, get a roll to keep them in. This will prevent them from bouncing around in your tool box drawers and getting damaged.
If you don’t intend to finish the wood, you can probably safely skip this step. But for me, it was crucial to sand each board, not only to ensure a level tabletop, but also to give the stain a surface to which it could easily adhere. Of course, no matter how much sanding you do, some woods (2x4s included) are not milled for finish work and may never get totally smooth. But that was fine with me, as I figured that any imperfections that remained in the end would work to underline the rustic quality of the piece. It was in that same spirit that, in the process of sanding the boards (with fine-grit paper, always in the same direction), I opted not to sand down a few of the chatter marks left by the sawmill. I knew the stain would take to the wood a bit differently in those spots than elsewhere, lending the tabletop a further layer of charm—or so I hoped. Once I was done sanding, after thoroughly cleaning each board with a moist tack cloth, I let enough time pass for the wood to dry out completely.

When sourcing materials from a renovation or job site be sure to have clear permission and wear the appropriate safety gear. Be aware that lead paint and asbestos may be mixed in with clean wood. Watch out for and pull nails out of material before loading in a car or truck so reclaimed wood will stack better. Be careful when working with items painted prior to 1979 as they may contain lead-based paint. Be sure to consult the EPA's Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools pamphlet before disturbing any paint that could contain lead. Building materials produced before 1983 should also generally be tested for asbestos. Contact your local building official for exact requirements.


Although it’s tempting to use a random orbit sander to smooth your table top at the final stages, I never do. Finish quality is the reason why. Random orbit sanders often leave behind swirl marks that don’t show up until finishing time. A better option is to complete the sanding process by hand, using 180-, then 220-grit paper only in the direction of wood grain. The finish of a tabletop is more closely examined than wood finishes anywhere else, so you need to eliminate all flaws.
Limited floor space is a problem in most shops. However, that’s no longer an excuse for kicking up a bunch of dust without a dust collection system as Grizzly now makes a wall-mounted dust collector. It’s equipped with a powerful 1-HP motor prewired for 120V. It features a canister filter with six times the surface area of a standard bag-filter, yet it takes up less space. The filter is easy to keep clean with the hand crank filter-cleaning brush.
One of the best stud finders you’ll ever use is the Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710. It’s unique in that there’s a whole bar of red lights that light up whenever it detects a stud. Unlike other sensors, which have a single light that stays on as it passes over the wood, the lights on the 710 tell you exactly where the wood stops and starts. No guesswork. Push a button, drag it over the wall and those hidden mysteries reveal themselves. You won’t even need to read the directions!
It’s important to have an understanding of wood when building DIY furniture projects. Not just how to cut, and assemble with wood but also to understand how it works. In Mistakes with Wood Can Cause Your DIY Furniture to Crack we talked about how wood is hygroscopic. Simply put, hygroscopic means it absorbs moisture from the air. Seasonal changes cause wood to absorb and release moisture.
This is another wood table but this time with a more elaborate design. Instead of using a large log, this time you’ll need several small ones. The idea is to cut them to the same height and to try to create a mosaic with them. You can glue them together and you can also wrap a piece of rope or something similar around them. You should be able to create an original coffee table.
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