Introduction: Bar Height Pub Table - Cheap!
So, I'm getting married soon and I'm looking to save some money. We decided it would be a good idea to have some of those tall round tables by the dance floor so people and set stuff down and boogie when their song comes on.
What I found is renting them costs $30+ a table! Buying them costs $60+ a table! So I did some thinking and decided I could build them for about $20 a table so even if I throw them away afterward I could save $50-60. There is also a chance I could sell them afterwards. (Also, there are other's weddings coming up later so worst case I save them money. Not such a bad worst case!) There are better ways and materials to build these but I'm going for cheap and functional. The venue provides table cloths for 54" round tables so we planned to cover with those and tie the excess underneath around the leg with ribbon or whatever my fiancée tells me is pretty.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
untreated 4x4x8 (surprisingly difficult to source, not all stores carry untreated ones other than cedar $$)
1x18" edge glued round
1x24" edge glued round
Total so far for me is ~$19.93, but I added a bit more hardware for ease of use:
1.5" 1/4"-20 machine screws
1/4-20 threaded inserts (more on what kind later)
1"+ wood screws (I have hundreds of 2.5" left over from building my deck so I used those)
I added threaded inserts to the tops so they can be removed easily for transport. You could save a few bucks and just screw them together.
Safety glasses if you're smart
Drill with assorted drill bits
Pencil or some form of marking implement
(I would provide links but I can't paste into the form. I'll try again later)
Step 2: Cut Your Legs
The basis of the table is a large round on top, 4x4 leg, and small round on the bottom. I was hopeful I could just get the store to cut them in half and assemble but their cuts were kind of rough and it yielded a 50" table which was a little high for comfort.
So, our magic number was 44" for the leg which gives us a comfortable 46" high table top to set a drink or purse on.
MOST IMPORTANT PART IS TO MAKE SURE YOUR SAW IS AS AT A NICE 90 DEGREE ANGLE AND YOUR 4X4 IS CLAMPED NICE AND TIGHT AGAINST THE FENCE. If not, your ends won't be parallel and you'll have a wonky table.
My process was to cut an 8ft in half, recut the end to make sure it was nice and flat, then flip it and measure to cut the other end.
Step 3: Find the Center of the End
Since I'm adding threaded inserts I need to find the center. I just a square to draw a line from corner to corner, which marks an X on center.
Step 4: Insert the Insert
Depending on which type of insert you choose this step may vary. I tried a couple so I'll so over them here.
The packaging the inserts come in should recommend a drill size. Mine say use a 11/32", which is weird and I don't have it so 5/16" it is! Make sure you drill deep enough for your insert and bolt to screw all the way in and not hit bottom.
The first I tried are the kind with 3 little bent teeth that you hammer in. They suck, at least in the end grain. Try one of the other ones I pictured above in orange packaging.
The first I tried and I'm pretty pleased with screw in to your pilot hole. They say use a 6mm hex key. EASY!
The second I kind tried just hammer into the same size pilot hole. Haven't really tested them yet for strength.
Step 5: Find the Center of Your Table Top
So you have a big wooden circle and you need to find the center. Well, the edges are rounded, so that complicates things. The rounds are made by gluing a bunch of straight pieces together (hence the edge glued name) and the seams are misleading so don't trust 'em!
I used a tape measure and holding the Zero end still on one edge swept the spool end up and down the edge. You should see it hit a high value somewhere. In this photo I got about 23-9/16" for a diameter. Do this in a couple directions and they should all agree on a center. SHOULD, mine didn't always so I went where most seemed to agree. I think the rounds are not perfectly round and the width of the tape threw me off. A string might've worked better. Oh well, close enough! Onward! Drill wherever you think center-ish is.
Step 6: Assembly
Use one of your bolts to attach the top to your leg. I purposely used a drill and over tightened a bit to get it to countersink a little into the wood. I know there are bits for this, but it'll be covered by a table cloth so I'm not too concerned. Make sure your inserts are sub-flush (below the surface) so you get a tight fit.
Since the bottom is smaller I just put a wood screw through the center (found just like we did before) and then a couple on either side to keep it from spinning. I recommend T-25 star screws because you can remove those easily if you need to disassemble later.
Step 7: Finishing Touches
This is still ongoing. If it ever stops raining I think I'll try staining them. If there's a time crunch they might just get some white paint. If I have an over abundance of time I might router a decorative edge into the legs (time during wedding planning? ha!)
When finished I think I'll add some felt feet to help with wobble on uneven floors. the bottom round are pretty flat, but most floors aren't perfect so 3 or 4 feet on the bottom should help even things out.
Let me know if you build some of these or if you have any suggestions.
We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive.
could one use galvanized pipe or metal piping instead of the 4x4 untreated? Should the bottom round weigh more than the top round? Just trying to make sure it's not tip over easy and isn't 45lbs of table either.
We had no stability issues, even with an open bar at the reception. We just put round table cloths tied with a ribbon and they worked great.