Hey Cara – We bought MinWax wooden stain in Cherry (the teeny, tiny can) and one other color, but it has been misplaced in the garage somewhere. We picked up sample sized containers of paint in Satin finish (we bought them at Lowe’s so it was Olympic brand). I just found pretty blue and dark red paint chips and the paint counter guy did the rest! Hope that helps – happy to answer questions if you need any more info
The most commonly purchased claw hammer is the 20 oz. size. It’s heavy enough to easily drive nails but easily manipulated when pulling nails. While wooden handles are picturesque, they may not stand up to the strain if you have to pull a lot of nails. Hammers with a steel handle, or even fiberglass, will be stronger. However, these won’t absorb the vibrations from driving nails the way a hickory handle will. You’ll also need to make sure the fiberglass and metal handles have a rubberized grip for control and comfort. If you’re going to be driving a lot of nails, the wooden handled hammer will be better for reducing stress on your hand, and wrist, too.
A layout square, or combination square, comes in 6” and 12” sizes. Most woodworkers use the 6” model, simply because it’s easiest to carry around. Also, most of the stock you’ll use will be no bigger than 6” wide, so 12” is overkill. The layout square is a triangle that you can use to mark square cuts on stock. Once you measure the length of the cut, you line up the layout square with the edge of the board. The short side will give you a straight, square cut across the end grain. You can also measure off angles with the layout square. This helps when you’re trying to measure for a bevel on a table saw, or marking a cut for a miter saw. You can even use your layout square to determine an existing angle. Just be sure to buy one made of metal. The plastic ones are not only fragile, but they also can warp, making them pretty useless.
Because we were putting our new table cover over our existing table, we needed a rim that would hold it in place that was made of 1x2's. The 1x2's are an inch and half wide so adding two of those adds three inches overall to the length and width. I also added an extra 1/8" overall to both the length and the width so that there was a gap underneath so that the table could easily come on and off.
With all boards sitting in your main pipe clamps ready to come together under pressure, apply smaller clamps across each joint at all board ends. This aligns the boards perfectly, at least at the ends, anyway. Depending on how your boards behave along the rest of their length, you may or may not need cauls. These curved pieces of wood get clamped across the glue-up, top and bottom, aligning the boards vertically and minimizing steps between them. I use 1” x 4” lengths of hardwood for cauls, with one edge planed to a curve so the ends measure about 2 1/2” wide.
Hey Cara – We bought MinWax wooden stain in Cherry (the teeny, tiny can) and one other color, but it has been misplaced in the garage somewhere. We picked up sample sized containers of paint in Satin finish (we bought them at Lowe’s so it was Olympic brand). I just found pretty blue and dark red paint chips and the paint counter guy did the rest! Hope that helps – happy to answer questions if you need any more info
Be sure wood is dry. Material from a job site or floor joists that existed in a crawlspace may have high moisture content; material from a conditioned space should be dry. Wood can be dried in a kiln (ask your local lumber mill) or stored inside through the winter. If time does not permit, stack wood in a hot dry place with 1" spacers between layers. Allow to dry for a minimum of two weeks.
An assortment of chisels should be part of every workbench. Chisels are not just for wood carvers. Any woodworker will need chisels to clean out joints and saw cuts. Look for chisels made of high-alloy carbon steel or chromium-vanadium alloyed steel. Hardwood grips are best, especially if they have metal caps on them. This will keep the end of the handle from becoming malformed when you hammer on it.
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.
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