Introduction: Build My Evolution Table Out of Scrap!
Step 1: Plywood Preparation
Cut the ply scrap into a manageable size with a circular saw
Now rip four lengths to fill the tubing (size will depend on tubing being used, see later), and three lengths to make the plywood stretcher (100mm (4") wide)
Step 2: Fill Tubing
The two top stretchers are made from tubing (copper and aluminum). Filling these tubes makes a sturdier construction
Set the table saw blade to 30º and cut two bevels on each of the four plywood strips, making a trapezium profile that is half of a hexagon
Adjust as necessary, until the two halves fit snugly into each tube
Step 3: Make Space for Rod
Threaded rod (I used M10, but 3/8" or 1/2" is fine) is used to assemble the table, with the rods passing through the filled tubes and lower stretchers
To accommodate the threaded rod, set the table saw blade to a tad over half the rod's diameter, and cut a dado (trench) in the center of the plywood pieces
Once complete, install the filling pieces in the tubes
Step 4: Plywood Stretcher Detail
The plywood stretcher has a textured, flared detail at one end
To make this, set the table saw blade to the thickness of the plywood and run the end of the ply into the blade multiple times. Reset the fence each time, and make each cut to a slightly different extent, until the whole width has been completed. Both ends of one of the 100mm wide strips are treated like this, and then the strip is cross cut to produce the two pieces required
Step 5: Assemble Plywood Stretcher
Glue the two remaining 100mm wide pieces of plywood together, making sure not to get glue squeeze out into the central channel
Once the glue has grabbed, add the two textured and flared detail pieces
Then when the stretcher has cured, plane or sand all the surfaces flush, and finish with lacquer, varnish, etc.
Step 6: Perspex Leg
One leg is made from smoked perspex (this piece was part of a printer enclosure)
I first cut a straight edge, and then ripped the piece to the height of the legs
The cut edges are filed to give a polished appearance
Step 7: Travertine Leg
The other end leg is cut from a large travertine tile (approximately 24" x 15")
To cut the stone, you need to install a diamond blade in the table saw. (Alternatively, you could just size your table to the tile)
I ripped the travertine tile to the same leg height as the perspex
Step 8: Cutting the Metal Stretchers
With the tubes filled with their plywood cores, it's time to cut them to length. Likewise, the aluminum extrusion stretcher is also sized. (If you didn't make the plywood stretcher the correct length earlier, then do that now too)
The chop saw is ideal, as it can give you the square ends that are needed, but you could use a hacksaw and file away any errors afterwards
If either of the tubes require a clean up, now is a good time to mount them in a lathe and sand them
Step 9: Cutting the Central I-Beam Leg
Cut the I-beam square on one end, and then cut it accurately to the leg height
Once again I'm using the table saw; raising the blade through the central webbing, and cutting from both sides
Smooth off the ends with a sander and/or file
Step 10: Boring the I-Beam Holes
The threaded rods pass right through the I-Beam, so I punched for and bored two 10mm holes for the M10 rods
To prevent any of the stretchers rotating on the rods, I also bored two alignment holes next to the rod holes. Positioning of the lower alignment hole is set by where a void occurs in the extrusion, since it isn't practical to fill the spaces first, and then try to bore a hole back into it.
Step 11: Boring the End Legs
Two holes for the threaded rods also need to be bored in the end legs
Make these carefully, taking the measurements from the I-Beam so that all three holes, top and bottom, line up
As with boring metal, I find a slow speed, and working up through drill diameters, is by far the best approach with both stone and perspex. Remember to use masonry bits for the travertine.
Step 12: Cutting Alignment Pins
To cut the alignment pins, from either round nails or steel rod, I made a simple jig
A snug hole is bored through a piece of hardwood (that's the jig built!)
A strip of wood is used to space the jig away from the fence, but allow the rod to pass over and touch the fence. Now the jig, with rod installed, can be slowly fed into the blade until the rod has been cut. (The spacer ensures that the pin can be easily grasped and removed after cutting)
Two alignment pins, long enough to pass through the I-Beam and well into each opposing stretcher should be prepared
Step 13: Boring Alignment Holes
Use the I-Beam itself, with threaded rods in place, as a template through which to bore the alignment holes into the stretchers
Tube rotation isn't important, but the plywood stretcher must be held so that it's face is co-planar with where the table top will be. The alignment hole was designed to align with a void in the extrusion, so no hole needs boring
Step 14: Assemble and Add a Table Top
Install the alignment pins and threaded rods, stretchers and legs, and cap off with washers and dome nuts
My design matched the 1000mm threaded rod length exactly, but you can easily cut the rods to length if necessary.
I also made rectangular washers from steel flat bar for the lower fixings, which suited the table better than the regular fender washers I used for the top fixings (they of course went well with the tubes)
For a table top, I used a 10mm thick toughened glass top from an old desk
A free SketchUp model is available at my website
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