Step 3: Cut and drill the table tops

Picture of Cut and drill the table tops
This accent table has a 2 "shelves" which are 9 1/2" and 8" radius circles cut from 3/4" plywood.  The holes for the bamboo legs are drilled along smaller circles of 8" and 6 1/2" respectively (pic 1).  The easiest way to cut circles this large is with router circle jig.  Alternatively, you could also cut these circles with a bandsaw circle jig which some find easier.  Certainly less dusty.  Set the circle jig of your choice to the larger radius of each circle and cut away.

You'll need to cut 3 circles in each top at 30° angles for the legs to pass through.  Picture 2 shows how to draw an isosceles triangle inside a circle.  After drawing the circle, keep your compass at the same setting and place the point anywhere on the circle you've just drawn.  Swing your compass left and make a mark where it intersects the circle.  Next swing the compass right and make another mark on the circle.  Now move your compass point to one of the marks you just made and make a right and left mark again.  Continue around the circle moving mark to mark and you should end up with six circle segments of equal length.  Draw a straight line between every other mark and you have an isosceles triangle (pic 2).  Remember you will be making your triangles inside the 8" and 6 1/2" radius circles.  

Next you'll need to find someway to drill holes large enough for your bamboo at a 30° angle.  My bamboo measured roughly 1 1/2" so I used an 1 5/8" hole saw.  Since bamboo tapers a bit, isn't truly round, and has nodes, it's very difficult to attain the precision of an exact fit.  The loose fit will be solved later in the process.  To saw the holes it will first be necessary to make a small angled jig to position the table tops under a drill press.  You will need some blocks cut at 15° which is convenient since we have 15° scrap pieces from cutting the triangle frames.  Glue these little blocks together to form 2 blocks of equal width (pic 3).  Once they are dry, attach a small board with glue and nails to the blocks to complete the jig.  

With the angle jig attached to the drill press table, I find it easier to simply drill a 1/4" pilot hole for the hole saw (pic 5).  This avoids having to clamp the table tops to the drill press table.  Drill your holes as perpendicular as possible to the straight line on the opposite side of the circle.  Since these holes don't have to be exact, there's a little fudge factor, but it's still best to be as precise as possible.  Once your pilot holes are drilled at the points of the isosceles triangle, use the appropriate hole saw and your handheld drill to finish the holes (pics 6&7).
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