Building a table is one of the most deceptively simple woodworking projects going. What could be easier than gluing up a few boards and applying a finish, right? But reality is often surprising, because building a top for that table can go wrong in ways you might not realize until it’s too late.  Here are my favourite tabletop construction tips, plus advice on how to avoid trouble.
Google is probably the first place where most people would start searching for woodworking plans, but often the top results can be a mix of articles and how-to pieces that just aren’t detailed enough. Sometimes they’ll link to the plans (like we try to here at Lifehacker), but other times, they’re just showing off a cool project. There are better, more precise ways of finding what you’re looking for.
For an artisanal look, you can use woodworking hand tools. These are easy to use, lightweight and require no batteries or power cords to operate. Many hand tools are covered by multi-year or even lifetime warranties for extra protection and value. Set up your pieces with the most expertly crafted woodworking hardware, such as hinges, pulls and knobs to create a final product that you can give as a gift, sell or just display proudly.
Okay, let’s stain this beast. I should explain that we used Rustoleum’s Dark Walnut Ultimate Wood Stain, but we did it wrong. We failed to mix it well before applying it, resulting in a color we really liked–but not the color this stain is designed to create. When we came back to do a second coat, we stirred it well, resulting in a coat that looked like purple paint. I had to sand it off and start over. So, don’t follow my lead here–follow the can’s directions and TEST before staining all of your new masterpiece!
There are YouTube videos that show how to attach tabletops using both of these tried and true methods. If you don't have a router or a biscuit joiner to make the holes for the z-fasteners, you can always use a drill. For the figure-8's, you need to recess them so they're flush with the apron...so for that, you would need to use a router. If that's not somethig you can do, I suggest sticking with the Z-fasteners. Best of luck!
There are YouTube videos that show how to attach tabletops using both of these tried and true methods. If you don't have a router or a biscuit joiner to make the holes for the z-fasteners, you can always use a drill. For the figure-8's, you need to recess them so they're flush with the apron...so for that, you would need to use a router. If that's not somethig you can do, I suggest sticking with the Z-fasteners. Best of luck!
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!
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