Using pocket holes to attach the stool base to the stool top prevents the top from moving during seasonal changes. It’s also not a good idea to drive screws through the edge of the apron into the table top. Over time the top could crack or the top could have enough force to push or pull the joints of the base apart. Skate over to Mistakes with Wood Can Cause Your DIY Furniture to Crack to see more about how I incorrectly attached the top on the stool.
Clamp curved caul edges inwards so they align tabletop boards in the middle, then torque up the main clamps to draw the boards together. If the width of boards you’re using allow it, pre-glue boards for your tabletop in sections that are just narrow enough to fit within your thickness planer. Run these through the planer to clean and level the glue joints, then move back to clamps for final glue up. Working in stages like this reduces the number of glue joints you need to sand smooth and level later.
I started by doing some searches around the ol’ internet to find other folks who’ve built their own tables. Using the images and information I found, I started drawing up plans. My table is approximately 6’x44″x31″ (LxWxH). You may find different dimensions work better for you (31″ is pretty tall)–so make your plans however you like. I also built leaves that make the table 8.5’ long.
Online plans can be easy, helpful, and can save you time and money if you put in the effort to usethem. But if you buy plans one by one, you might speed a lot of time organizing and searching for things to build as well as having to decipher different plan formats. You might learn a technique or two or improve your skills slightly, but you’ll forget everything by the time you go to find another plan. With organized lessons, however, you can always find the plans or instructions again easily, and come up with even more ideas of projects to build. Downloadable woodworking courses can save you money as well.
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!
The engineering involved in building this garden bench is pretty simple, and we have provided some links to get a full cut list and plans with photos to help you along the way. Additionally, to the stock lumber, you will need wood screws, barrel locks, and hinges to complete the table. A miter saw or hand saw is also extremely helpful for cutting down your stock to the correct angle and length.
Breaking down heavy sheet-goods on a jobsite table saw is difficult, and dang near impossible when working alone. That’s where a track saw comes in handy. A good quality track saw can produce cabinet saw results out on any job. Now, this portable tool is even more portable. The FESTOOL TSC 55 is a cordless saw that has the same features and performs just as well as FESTOOL’s corded saw, including the cut capacity and blade speed. It also has a collection bag that actually works, collecting up to 90% of the dust. The batteries are compatible with other FESTOOL products and the saw runs on their standard tracks.
Probably the next most useful shop accessory is a large work table. I like to use a portable table that can be moved around the shop as needed. This particular table, which you can build by clicking on the link above, is lightweight yet sturdy and has retractable casters. When you want to move the table, simply lift each end and the casters lock into place to allow the table to roll. Once you get it into position, pull the cord on each end and the casters retract, so the table won't move.
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