Introduction: Child's Table

A group of men from Lifegate are going to Hogar de Vida (Homes of Life) in Atena, Costa Rica to build tables for the orphanage. These tables will be 22" high by 24" wide and 24" long. Others may vary in length.

The images above are only examples of what it will end up looking like.

Step 1: Rip to Width

Our 6/4 and 5/4 wood planks will be in various widths and lengths. In order to plane the wood we need to rip them down to 12.5 in widths. Using a home-made rip-saw guide as shown in the second picture, we can rip one clean edge with the circular saw. The second edge can be done on the table saw. The final result should be 12.5" so that it fits thru the planer.

Step 2: Plane Wood

To make the legs, we need to take 6/4" in stock and plane down to 5/4"

Take all of the ripped planks and measure the thickness. Take into account the largest thickness and set your planer's thickness to that measurement.

Planks that are longer than 4'often require 2 people. One on the intake and another on the out-take feed.

Before you run the planks thru, observe any warping or cupping. Start your planks with cup side down. After sufficient material is removed on the top side such that it is flat, then flip the board over to remove material on the cupped side.

Never cut more than 1/16" at a time. Depending on the hardness of the wood, it is probably better to take 1/32" at a time.

Step 3: Rough Cut to Length

Continuing with the table legs, rough cut the boards to 22". Remember that final length will be 21"; but we won't do that fine cut until later.

Step 4: Rip Two Widths

Our table legs will form a right angle with both edges 3.25" wide.

One board will be 3.25" wide and the second board will be 2" wide, which when attached to the first leg that is 1.25" wide result in the same width for both edges of the leg.

So, each leg consists of a 3.25" and 2" board.

Step 5: Mark Biscuit Cuts

Take a 2" board and 3.25" board and find good alignment of wood grains.Lay 2" board on top of 3.25" board and align edges. Mark the end of each board with same number (1 for first pair, 2 for second pair, etc.) From this point on, these two boards are mated for life.

Make 3 strong pencil marks across the glue line at even intervals dividing the board length into 4 sections.

Step 6: Cut Biscuits

Take each pair of boards and align biscuit joiner on the pencil marks. Cut one biscuit per pencil mark per board; resulting in 6 biscuit cuts.

Insert 3 biscuits and pair up the boards again.

Step 7: Countersink Screw Holes

Using a #8 countersink drill bit, drill 3 holes into the 3.25" board. One hole is centered and the other two are between 6" and 7" from both the ends and 3/4" from edge of board.

Step 8: Glue and Screw

Use a glue brush to apply glue liberally to all 6 biscuits on both boards. Insert biscuit and now apply glue to entire length of 2" board.

Align boards to pencil marks and clamp together with 2 C-clamps between the 3 screw holes. Using impact drill, and #25 torx bit, drive in 3 screws into countersunk holes.

Step 9: Sand New Joint

Due to warped wood, and human error, it is expected that the new joint will not be flush.

Using a belt sander with 60 grit paper, sand the new join flush.

Step 10: Fine Cut Length

Now that we have joined legs, we can put a finished edge on both ends. You should have about 1" of material to work with as we need a finished length of 21".

First, choose the best end, needing the least cut off. Set that leg square on the miter saw with the tall side facing you, and make a slow smooth cut.

Setup a stop-block on your miter saw at 21". Practice with scrap material to ensure it is exactly 21".

Put your leg, tall side facing out, up to the stop block and make a slow smooth cut.

Step 11: Make Rails

The table rails connect the 4 table legs near the top and also provide support for the table top.

The rails need to be 19.5" long by 3.25" wide and a minimum of 3/4" thickness. (maybe 1" is better")

Step 12: Attach One Rail

Choose which end of leg is up and apply glue to inside of leg where rail will be attached.

Using 2" screws, attach one rail to inside of one leg. Do this for all 4 legs.

Step 13: Assemble Rails and Legs

Turn each leg/rail pair upside down. Apply glue to inside of leg where next rail will attach.

Use 2" screws and attach rail to leg, ensuring that legs and rails are flush with bench top.

Step 14: Ensure Square and Flat

Turn assembled legs and rails over. Ensure that all four legs are resting level on the bench top.

Step 15: Table Top

Depending on the width of your lumber, you may need 3 or 4 boards to get 24". In the picture we have 4 boards at just over 7.5" each in order to get the 24". Length is also 24"

Cut each board to 25" lengths.

Cut 2 biscuits on each side of a glue joint.

Glue with biscuits and assemble flat. Put 2 scrap boards across the middle and tie together; this will keep boards aligned as we tighten them.

Use 2 ratchet straps to tighten the boards together. Before its too tight, use a rubber mallet to adjust boards for seamless joints.

Step 16: Plane Top

Using a hand plane smooth out joints. Or if you don't have a hand plane then a belt sander will work also.

Step 17: Table Top Edges

Set table saw fence at 24" and run top thru to ensure its square.

Then set blade at 45 degrees and then set fence to take of 1/2 inch corner on all 4 edges of bottom table top.

Reset fence again to take off 1/4" of all 4 edges of top of table.

Step 18: Mount Top

Set the table top upside down on workbench. Place the leg assembly upside down in table top and center.

Orient rail kerf to be perpendicular to wood grain direction. Using table fasteners mount one near each of four corners.

Step 19: Finish Prep

Use palm sander to round corners of table top. Use a finer grain sand paper for finish sanding.

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