When you buy the wood, look for pieces that aren’t warped, excessively longer or shorter than the others, and, if you can get lucky, don’t carry the telltale “new wood” planer marks. We purchased the most inexpensive wood that we could find. You’ll likely find them in 2- and 4-ft pieces. If you have a saw at home, you might consider getting the 4 ft pieces to decrease the cost of your project a bit.
After sanding, I wiped down the table to remove any dust. Then I stirred the polyurethane and brushed it on the table top, including all four sides. After the polyurethane coating dried, the table was ready to be used. I used the poly coat because the table is being used on an outdoor porch. It is a covered porch, but sometimes there is a blowing rain. I also wanted a protective coating because the table is being used for food and drinks. I didn’t want to worry about anything being spilled on the table.

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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