The deep grain lines in woods like oak or walnut will telegraph through the clear finish, no matter how many coats you apply. And that’s fine; it’s part of the character of coarse-grain woods. But if a perfectly smooth surface is the look you want, use a grain filler. You’ll find several products online or at woodworking stores. With most, you wipe on the filler, squeegee off the excess with a plastic putty knife and then sand after it’s dry for a smooth-as-glass surface.

Everybody has a home remedy for sealing partially used tubes of caulk. But what if you had a single product that could seal caulk cartridges, squeeze tubes, glue bottles, felt-tip pens and anything else that has a nozzle? Well, these Little Red Nozzle Caps are just the ticket. Roll the cap down the nozzle to seal out dirt and preserve the remainder of the bottle, tube or cartridge.


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.


Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
Consider building your tabletop out of boards about 6" wide (1x6 or 2x6), or close in size (I use x4 and x8 boards on occasion). If you go smaller, you'll be adding more joints, which means more pocket holes and more sanding. If you go with a wider board, the board itself may cup over time, creating high and low points on your tabletop. I personally find x6 boards to be that happy medium.
Probably the handiest shop accessory in this list would be the woodworker's bench, complete with a vise. The bench is a stable-based table with a thick, hardwood top. In the top are a series of holes that are designed to accommodate bench dogs, which are little more than pegs that can be moved from hole to hole as necessary. The end of the bench has the aforementioned vise that works in concert with the bench dogs to hold pieces steady for the woodworker.
Just redid my dining room table with this technique and I an observation/suggestion others might find helpful. The boards did not line up well putting it together upside down, even on a flat concrete floor with me standing on the boards while they were screwed. I would have combined biscuits with the pocket holes to ensure a better alignment of the boards. Lots of sanding was required after assembly, and this might not be a huge deal with pine, but I used hard maple so it was quite a chore even with a belt sander. Also, be aware that the 1x2s around the edge may not line up perfectly -- I had to trim about an eighth inch from each side after assembly to get nice smooth, even edges. Not a big deal, but the top turned out a little smaller than the specifications I was give by SheWhoMustBeObeyed. Otherwise our table now looks great, and thank you for the post!
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We call them strongbacks and we use them on every tabletop we build. It's just a scrap strip of 3/4" plywood, with 3/4" pocket holes drilled about ever few inches. The strongback is attached to the bottom of the tabletop as the glue dries. The square edge of the plywood prevents the tabletop from warping or cupping as it dries. Then we remove the strongbacks (and save them for the next tabletop) when we attach the tabletop to the base.

Hi Mitchell – Thank you for the heads up… I thought I mentioned that in that in the post, but you’re right, I didn’t. Yes, wood expands across its width, so in order to allow for expansion/contraction there should be a small gap where the edges of the boards meet the apron. You don’t need a gap where the ends of the board meet the apron because wood doesn’t really expand/contract in this direction.

Whether you are just getting started or you simply want to hone your wood work skills, you can locate many online sources that can be extremely helpful. Online plan collections are gaining popularity and enthusiastic builders are keen to improve their skills in a convenient way, given the busy lifestyles we often find ourselves leading with a lack of time and ideas. Thanks to the people who have organized plans with technology and the internet, it is now possible to find a huge variety of woodworking projects online from the comfort of your shop or livingroom. Some of the finest guides on the net can help you become an expert woodworker surprisingly quickly, you just have to work at it.
If you can beg or borrow a pocket hole jig you dont have to predrill holes. I haven’t done a table top other than a workbench(Plywood!) but I have done cabinets and beds. The Kreg jig makes joining easy. A lighter stain colour would cut down on the grain marks, or a heavier application like an espresso stain. I will throw you a pic when I finish my table and show you what I mean.
To save money, we keep the temp in our shop down low when we’re not in it and crank up the heat when we return. But even when the air temperature hits 70 degrees F, the concrete floor is still Minnesota-cold. We tried a space heater under the bench, but it broiled the shins and still left us with cold feet. So we recently bought a foot-warming mat, and now our feet stay toasty warm. Plus, it uses a fraction of the electricity and is a lot safer than a space heater. The mat is produced by Cozy Products. The good folks over at Cozy suggest putting a chunk of cardboard underneath it if you use it on flooring that could fade from the heat, like carpet or wood. 

A super simple iPad Dock/stand made out of a single block of wood features an angled groove which gets to support the tablet device and a cut in a hole to revise access to the home button of your iPad. It’s possible to drill an access channel in the stand through which you can run a charging cable, although this mini stripped back iPad stand may have very limited functions.
Turning over the sturdy tabletop, I felt a thrill of vindication. Clearly, it wasn’t a mistake in the end to use all three stains for the same project. Before I could consider the job done, though, I would need to apply sealer—Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane—to protect the wood from moisture, UV rays, and the wear and tear of day-to-day life. This was my first time experimenting with a spray-application sealer, and I loved it. Obviously, it’s important to have proper ventilation in your work area, and you’ve got to shake the can vigorously before spraying, but so long as you remember the basics, spraying couldn’t be more straightforward. Holding the Helmsman Spar Urethane can about a foot from the surface, spray in a series of even strokes, always in the same direction, until you’ve completed the first coat. Let the sealer dry for about four hours before applying any additional coats, and for best results, sand the entire surface before each application of a new layer.

After you've used one of these free coffee table plans to build your dream coffee table, check out these other free woodworking plans for bookcases, TV stands, dressers, nightstands, step stools, entertainment centers, farmhouse tables, desks, jewelry boxes, dining room tables, wine racks, picnic tables, kitchen islands, home bars, bunk beds, toy boxes, and even dog houses.

Even a small tabletop presents a challenge if the boards you glued together  have stepped-shaped misalignments where they meet because of warping. Yes, you can sand these off, but the more topographical sanding you need to do, the less flat and regular your finished tabletop will be. The flatter and better aligned your boards are when they’re in the clamps, the happier you’ll be later. This is where end clamps and gluing cauls can help. 

And the fact is that you can make your own patio chair with several old but still good pallets. Here we are providing a tutorial that everybody can follow easily – it is very well-written and also self-explanatory, which is great for those who are a beginner at woodworking and have never completed a DIY project before. As you don’t need to be a professional woodworker or a handyman to complete this project, so it is not a difficult task – all you need is a bit of determination!​ 

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.
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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