I've made my share of furniture.. and i've noticed that you can use cheap materials but you will get a cheap look.. i used MDF and plywood.. they work ok but they don't look very nice.. they don't stain and sometimes they are horribly heavy.. then i used 1/2 in hardwood plywood.. which stains very well and looks great... However, is very expensive and it extremely heavy... you can see this in my shoe cabinet instructable..
So after doing a bit of looking around i found this great material called tri-ply underlayment.. it looks like is plywood with a hardwood thin veneer in both sides.. This material is great because is very lightweight.. it stains very well and is extremely cheap!!!
you can buy a 4 by 8 sheet for like 8 bucks.. However, because is so lightweight is not very sturdy so it will definitely need some kind of skeleton reinforcement..
Here is where my second very cheap material comes into the picture.. 1in by 2in by 8ft furring strip.. this strip is plenty sturdy and plenty cheap.. you can buy a strip for 89 cents at lowes.. also at home depot.. but i found the one at lowes is better quality and sanded a lot better.. this is no advertising for lowes.. since i buy the tri-ply wood at homedepot.. and i hate them both equally..
Anyways i usually plan my cuts according to the 4 by 8 ft tri-ply sheet.. i also pray i get a very patient and very accurate cutter at homedepot.. this is a hit and miss so i hope you get lucky..
My idea was to have the lower part of the table be 4ft.. and the top part be 2ft.. then after a lot of thinking and planning i lay my cuts in a piece of paper (please account for about 1/4 inch of waste due to the saw).. take it to home depot and get as many of my cuts done there so i dont have to do much at home.. also it helps me fit the wood in my tiny toyota celica... i buy as many 1 by 2 by 8ft furring strips and about 3- 1 by 4 by 8 ft furring strips for the legs.. i dont cut them.. i cut them at home.. and drive with part of them sticking out of the window :)
Step 1: Plan Your Measurements
Honestly what i'm trying to illustrate is more of a process on how to make cheap furniture, that looks great and is very light weight..
The trick is to keep n mind that the tri-ply wood is about 1/4 of inch.. you wanna have your bigger pieces of wood on the top surfaces.. and you have to remember you can always fill up the small gaps with some wood putty..
Step 2: Make Your Lower Frame, Upper Frame, and Join Them Together
after the top and the lower part is made.. i united them using 4 piece of wood... made the middle part.. and got ready to cover it up
Step 3: Cover Your Frames With Tri-ply Wood and Make Your Drawers
create your drawers and get ready to paint
Step 4: Reinforce Your Table to Account for Vending Wood
However i went with option 3.. add a reinforcement in the middle of the drawer.. which will need you to cut your drawer by half.. this support beam keeps the wood from vending down.. which didnt allow the drawer to close as snug as i wanted...
After much thinking i came up with solution number 4.. you might want to try this.. dont cut your drawer.. keep it whole.. and just add the reinforcement and attach it to the middle of your drawer.. this will keep you wood fro vending..
it wil make it a bit harder to open but is a mush easier option
Step 5: Sand It, Putty It, Paint It, Stain It, Seal It
i used a black stain with a sealer.. and let it dry... i did about 3 cots cause this table is going to get a lot of use!!
i hope you guys like this table.. my wife loved it.. she liked the lack of mess which is the best gift ever