Introduction: MFT My Fabulous Table
Preface: I have been a long time lurker and this is my first instructable. My appreciation for the work that goes into these has increased immensely and all I can do is say thank you to all those who have posted before. WOW. That being said the primary goal of this table was to cut large sheets of plywood while supporting the cut off.
Uses one sheet of plywood.
Breaks down and packs away, albeit heavy (55lbs).
3/4" holes for bench dogs or other accessories.
Adjustable arms with cutoff support.
Lower shelf can be flipped to act as try if using small parts.
Assembles with no tools. Finger tight with wing nuts.
Step 1: Dimensions and Parts Identification
Many of the parts have only one dimension. This is because the second is either unimportant, stated someplace else, or based off the thickness of plywood. I learned this the had way: 18mm, 23/32, an 3/4 may be close but small errors add up.
You will need:
4x8 sheet of plywood. I used BC and it was labeled 18mm.
4 tubes approx 32" long. This is a flexible item. I used 1.25 inch aluminum tube from onlinemetals.com. They are pricey with shipping but were necessary as I drilled holes that were too large for my 1" electrical pipe. Plan to experiment here with what you have available and what drill bits you have access to. A snug fit will yield best results.
8pcs 3/8 x 2" bolt
8pcs 3/8 wing nut
16pcs 3/8 washer
glue & double stick carpet tape
biscuits and or drywall screws
3/4 oak dowel 36" long
-The blue pieces and the one short yellow piece are the pipe supports. They are shown here but are installed under the table to keep pipes parallel to top.
-Not all pictures are 100% accurate. The first table was a fail and some adjustments were made to final drawings.
-The bolts are overkill but the larger size is easier to use.
Step 2: Cut Sequence
The idea here is to cut similar parts without moving the saw. A table saw can be used but this was made with a circular saw and the rip fence that came with it.
First Cut: Rip 24" off the short end of 4x8 plywood. This is for the table top and will be the basis for many other dimensions. Use of some sort of cutting guide is important. Track saw, straight edge etc.
Second Cut: Cut off the other end. Use your 24" from piece from the first cut and subtract 4 thicknesses of plywood. This should be about 21". The reason this is important is because the legs fit on the inside of the table top and the outside of the shelf.
Cutting the first two off either side gives better accuracy. You have one factory corner and two edges.
Set these two aside and continue cutting.
The pieces are color coded and if they share a color or colored dot they share a dimension. Remember to cut on the correct side of your line.
Legs note: Legs should be 3"x3" when finished. This cut sheet has the short side measured long for a rabbit. If you want to glue and screw or glue and biscuit the short side would be 2-1/4, or 3" minus the thickness of plywood!
Once all the strips are cut go back to the First Cut 24" wide piece and cut that 37" long. Cut carefully with a guide or straight edge of some sort. Save the cut off for later as the short skirt ends will come from it.
Next cut the shelf top to length. This was made with the Second Cut. Use the top you just made as a template and subtract four thicknesses of plywood. Should be about 34". Save the cut off as the short skirt ends will be made from that.
Step 3: Drilling Holes, Long Boards
1. Take two of the long 3-3/4. To get the length lay them on what will be the top and subtract two thicknesses of plywood. Scribe a line. Clamp them together and cut at the same time if you can with a circular saw or mitre saw. Set aside.
2. Cut the two shorter 4-1/2 and remaining 3-3/4. This dimension should be 32-3/8" +/- so that they will fit in the shelf when all packed up. Clamp and cut all three at once.
3. Next drill wholes to desired diameter depending on what pipe you selected. Note the location is referenced off the bottom. MARK all the "bottoms" for later assembly. Drill wholes as straight as possible. To do this I used double stick tape and a drill press. All the pieces were stacked on a flat surface with the marked reference side DOWN. The shorter were centered and all squeezed together.
If you don't have a drill press, drill the three 3-3/4 wide as one group, remember to center shorter and make your marks on a longer. They should be ordered long, short, long. Then use the shorter as a template to drill the two 4-1/2 wide. I would suggest still using double stick tape.
Also note. If your plywood has a good side/bad side and that matters to you, flip boards appropriately. If your holes are not perfect the pipes may not allow you to do this later.
Design Change Note: I had holes offset in the top such that the pipes would not interfere with each other when running the same direction. The odds that this happens with 32" pipes is very slim so you might consider two holes per side as opposed to four. Or keep four just in case. Pipes cannot be run 90 degrees to each other.
Step 4: Drilling Holes, Short Boards
1. Board supports. Cut the remaining 4-1/2 boards to about 24". I did this by cutting the 4-1/2 x 48 in half. Then add the remaining 4-1/2 and cut all three at once on the mitre saw to the longest length possible.
2. Pipe supports. Cut the long 3-3/4 in two pieces 22-3/8 +/-. These fit under the table so their actual dimension is 24" minus thickness of plywood*2.
Similar to the long boards these need to be stacked and stuck together. Ideally 4-1/2, 4-1/2, 3-3/4, 3-3/4, 4-1/2 with the 3-3/4 centered. Remember mark bottoms. If you need to break that up I would do a 3-3/4 and 4-1/2 and mark them as A. Do the rest and mark them as B. You don't want to be bending your pipes to get things to fit.
Note on holes:
My first holes were for 1" EMT conduit. This stuff was cheap but my hole was way too sloppy. Thus the pricey aluminum. However 1.25 aluminum through a 1-1/4 hole drilled with fostner bit was way too tight. Ended up using a spade bit and some sanding.
Step 5: Optional Mortis
In my table I have mortised a spot for the legs. I don't think this is absolutely necessary but it does add to the stability. It is a fair amount of work. Take it or leave it, worse case add a few more bolts!
If you choose to it needs to be done to the bottom of the table top. Ideally before holes are drilled and defiantly before the skirt is added.
Step 6: Assemble Top
This should go pretty quick. I used biscuit jointer. If you do, remember to mark your boards and reference the correct corners. Glue and clamp or glue and brads/screws work as well.
All your pieces had a mark for the bottom. Make sure that this is visible when you assemble these pieces.
Step 7: Drill the Top
Two ways to do this.
1. Scribe a line 2-1/2 all the way around the top. From this line the centers of the holes are 4-3/4 apart in the short direction and 5-5/16 in the long direction. Drill away. Numbers are off a bit, 1/8 maybe. With some fancy geometry you could bisect the lines if you really want. 3/4" fostner bit for best results
2. I built a jig. 9-3/4 x 37 piece of scrap plywood. Scribe a line 2-1/2 all the way around. Mark your centers 5-5/16. On the drill press set your reference 2-1/2. Drill one line of holes and just the opposite two corners.
Lay the template on your top with the line of holes on the bottom edge, clamp securely. Drill. Then flip it over and line up the two corner holes on the template with the two you have drilled. Stick a 3/4 inch dowel in each of the two corner holes. Clamp again and drill the line. Next pull up stakes, slide the template one row and stake the corners.
This worked pretty well. Holes looked good but not 90 degrees. This would probably need another jig!
Step 8: LEGS
Couple ways to do the legs.
Cut all the legs to 32". This isn't critical. If you have other machines you might want to use in conjunction with this table think of altering that. Cut as many as you can safely at once for better accuracy. Make sure you don't use the longer 3" wide boards. Those are for the shelf.
Us the 3" strips and either 2-1/4" or 2-1/2". The plans call for 2-1/2 because the were rabbit and dado. If you want to use other methods then use the 2-1/4". Or technically 3" minus the plywood thickness. In my case 18mm.
Step 9: Assemble Shelf
We cut this earlier. It should be about 34" (37" minus 4 thicknesses of plywood).
Take the remaining long 3" wide boards. Lay them on the shelf top and put two pieces of plywood at the end to shorten the overall length. Scribe and the overhang. Cut them both at the same time. Should be about 32-1/2".
Assemble the shelf just like you did the top. No need for other holes or mortises.
Tape long boards together and drill two more holes for pipes. I centered mine on the 3" board and about 4" from the end. I did this much however it would have more utility if multiple holes are drilled in the legs to raise and lower the shelf. I have only one shelf height.
Step 10: Leg Hole Cutting Guide and Leg Holes
This guide drills holes in the top and in the shelf accurately. This isn't necessary but if your holes are off then the legs will be location specific. This helps to make the legs interchangeable.
Scrap about 3x10. Cut 3" off for the top. Cut the remaining piece in half the short way with a 45 degree cut.
Line the two up at the 45 degree end and tape them together as shown. Cut the 90 degree end so they are the same. Drill a 3/8" hole 1-7/8 from the 45 degree end and 2-1/4 down from the top (measured before gluing actual jig top on).
Use a square to make sure everything is 90 degrees. Glue and brad or clamp together.
Use jig to drill 2 holes in each of the four corners of the top and shelf.
DRILL LEG HOLES
With the table upside down install legs by using a temporary clamp. If you decided to mortis you may not need the clamps. I numbered my legs and corners to be safe.
From the outside use the holes you drilled in the top to drill through the legs. Run a bolt and washer through to a washer and wing nut in each corner.
Mark the height for the shelf measuring from the top along the leg. Mark each leg. Remember you are working upside down and if you flip the shelf to use as a tray it will effectively raise things. The plywood surface is about 12" from the ground on my finished table. Install the shelf inside of the legs. This should stay with friction but clamp to be sure the corners stay on your lines. Using the holes you drilled before drill from the inside of the shelf through the legs. Add bolts as above. If you wanted adjustable shelf height move and mark the shelf, drill, repeat.
There are extra holes. If you want to bolt them you will need another set of bolts and may want to adjust the hole placement. The wing nuts may clash.
Step 11: Closures
With top upside down place the shelf in with the deck out.
Original design had this centered with a piece of plywood on each edge. This would be made better if it were centered along the long axis but offset along the short. The reason behind this design change is to offer more room for fingers when using the handle. Put two pieces of plywood on one long side, none on the other.
With scrap peg spacers installed to position shelf, drill a 3/4 inch hole through the top, spacer, and shelf. This should be centered horizontally, and vertically. I used a fostner bit for this. Scribe the spacer, remove, and cut to fit.
For the pegs I used a scrap of plywood and drilled a 3/4 hole. Glued in a 3/4 oak dowel. 4" or so and taper end to aid in shoving home.
Step 12: Final Steps
Make a handle hole. Make sure it is on the correct side or you won't be able to get your fingers in.
1-1/4 holes centered and about 4" apart.