Introduction: Basic Table
Hey everyone! My name is Riley and today I am going to be showing you guys how I was able to assemble my own table with very minimal supplies and a minimal set of tools/skills. Like a lot of people using this site, I am a college student who tries to do DIY projects while staying on a budget (especially living in a Fraternity house where I am always trying to make small improvements here and there). The need for this specific project arose when one of my Fraternity brothers and myself both wanted to have a dual television set-up to play video games side-by-side (yes, we are nerds). Therefore, we set out to do just that. Using some very basic power tools and some supplies from Home Depot I was able to make a very sturdy table to hold two TV's (both roughly 32") plus gaming consoles. However, this same design can be applied to multiple different uses! I could see this being perfect for a garage or basement workbench or if you wanted to fancy it up you could make a nice coffee table for your apartment bachelor pad. All you would need to do is modify the measurements to fit your application and follow the same basic idea!
Step 1: Tools/Materials
The first thing to do is gather supplies in preparation for this table. In doing so the first thing you will need to do is take measurements in the space you are trying to fill using a basic tape measure and be sure to write all these down prior to making that trip to the local lumber yard! You will want to make sure you measure a depth, length, and height for the table. By doing this you can confirm the exact length of boards you will need. Here are the supplies:
1. 8ft length 2x4 studs (buy amount needed to suffice for length, width, and height of table).
2. One sheet of Plywood (buy something thick enough for your application plus it must be long enough and wide enough).
3. One box of 2-in long wood screws (torx bit head preferably as they are harder to strip the head).
Although these are the materials that I personally used, many alternatives can be used and this very basic design can be followed! Using some scrap materials or hardware you have laying around the house may also work. As for tools needed, I used these:
1. Milwaukee 18V drill driver (driving the screws).
2. Milwaukee circular saw (ripping the plywood).
3. DeWalt Miter saw (used to cut the 2x4 boards;not necessary but helps).
4. Chalk Line (used to mark a line to follow with the circular saw).
Now, if you look up the specific tools I have, you may be alarmed by the price for this simple project. No worries! Some great alternatives can be had a cheaper from stores such as Home Depot, Lowe's, Menards, and even Harbor Freight. Now lets get to building!
Step 2: Measuring Your Space and Cutting Boards to Length
The first crucial step is to get your table to the right dimensions! Throughout this process be sure to record your measurements and take them with you to the lumber yard so you don't purchase too much material. Using any sort of basic tape measure you will need to take the following measurements: the depth or width you want your table to be, the length you would like, and the height. Your depth and length measurements are what the base (2x4 boards) and the plywood table top will rely on and the height is what the legs (2x4 boards) will rely on. In this case, I would suggest taking measurements based on the size of the table top that you want to make and how high you want the table to be. Based on the rectangular dimensions of your table top, you can just buy boards that will sit about 2-4" inside of the outermost edge of your table top. Therefore the frame is not really necessary to take direct measurements for until you are actually ready to cut them. In short, make sure you have enough lumber for the following:
- Table top (plywood)
- Legs (2x4)
- Table top base (2x4)
Now, lets begin making some cuts. I will start by saying that I highly suggest ensuring you have a safe area to complete this task in with ample lighting, enough space, and of course make sure its an area you don't mind making a little mess in.
When making any cut wear a set of safety glasses and watch your hands at all times. Never take your eye off the saw until the cut has been made and the blade comes to a complete stop!
1. Let's begin first with the table top. First, make a measurement on opposite ends of the plywood to either do the width or length (the one you start with does not matter) and mark bold lines on each end.
2. Standingon one marked side of the table and with each end marked, attach the "hook" of the chalkline to the opposite side of the table and pull the chalkline body over the edge of the table while holding the line tight and making contact with each bold line. Pinch up near the center of the chalk line about lift the line about 6-8" off the table while holding the line tight and "snap" the line so a nice straight line can be seen.
3. Now, with your chalk line visible, begin making the cut with the circular saw with the sheet of plywood propped up on each end(use saw horses or additional boards) so the bottom part of the extruding saw doesn't make contact with anything. Be sure to go slow and wear your eye protection!
4. Now repeat steps 1-3 for the side of the sheet you chose not to cut, just like before take your time and be extra cautious when using power tools.You should now have a completed table top!
5. Now let's make the base. Begin by taking a measurement that sits within 2-4" from the outer edge of your table on either the length or width side of the table. Use this measurement to cut two boards of the same measure that will sit parallel from each other on opposite ends of the table. For this you can use the circular saw or the miter saw.
6. Repeat Step 4 for the same results on the opposite sides of the table you chose not to cut first.
7. Finally, lets cut the legs for the table. Using your height measurement, cut 4 boards to equal length at the desired measurement. Again, you can use the circular saw or a miter saw.
And that's it! Now, with our boards cut and sheet of plywood cut, we can begin assembly of the table.
Step 3: Assembling the Table
With the boards cut to length, we can begin assembly of our table.
1. First, place the table top flat on the floor and "mock up" the boards cut for the frame on the table top with the skinnier end down as if they were attached to the bottom side of the table top.
2. With the shorter board overlapping the end of the longer board, take one of your screws and begin securing the frame pieces together. Make sure to start slowly to get each screw started and then once you feel the screw start to thread go full speed on the drill to full sink in the head of the screw for a tight fight (see picture). If needed, you may want to pre-drill with a drill bit if you feel some resistance or start splitting the wood. A quick Google search can walk you through this process.
3. Repeat step 2 until you have used 2 screws minimum into each of the ends of the frame pieces.
4. Now that the frame is built, lay it on the ground and then lay the plywood table top on top (opposite of how it should be currently). Try your best here to center the frame so that an equal amount of table top is hanging off each end of the frame.
5. Similar to the frame assembly, begin slowly starting a screw through the top of the plywood table top and into the frame. Be careful here that you do your best to center each screw into the base so you have the most secure assembly as possible. The best practice I found for doing this is to place a screw every 6"-8" starting at the corner and working your way around each side of the table from start to finish. The photo above will show you the finished product of the table top and base assembly.
6. Just to verify, by this point you should have everything assembled minus the 4 legs that were cut. With this part being the easiest, set a leg into the corner and push it in as tight as possible to the inside corner of the frame. Use a minimum of 3 screws to secure each of the legs to the inner corner of the frame for all 4 legs. Use the photos above to see exactly how this can be accomplished.
Good work! You should now have a fully assembled table!
Step 4: Finish (Optional)
Now this part is considered optional because it is not 100% necessary and I would even advise against wasting your time if your only purpose for this table is as a work bench and not necessarily a show piece. I personally did a quick finish job on mine just to get rid of the rough feel and look of the raw material.To do this, I disassembled the legs from the table to make sure the stain was applied evenly but that is not totally needed. To stain, here is the simple procedure:
1. Using a belt sander or palm sander with a 220-grit sandpaper, begin sanding any surface of the wood you plan on painting or sanding. Go slow and only apply moderate pressure. Make sure you do not hover in one spot too long and keep the tool moving. This is needed because it will not only be a much smoother finish but it will also help the wood accept the stain much better.
2. After sanding, be sure all of the wood dust is clear by using compressed air or simply by wiping the wood down.
3. Using a sponge brush, apply stain or paint to the wood until the surface is evenly coated. Apply a 2nd or even 3rd coat if necessary.
At this point, you can even add any sort of flash or flair that suits your fancy! The possibilities are almost endless from here and you can spice up the look of your table in any way you may want to.
Step 5: All Done!
Good work! You should now have a fully completed table. Pictured above is my table doing exactly what it was intended for as discussed in the intro. Like I said before this is a very simple design that can be applied to any sort of space you may feel a table may be needed. It can range from being a very basic work shop table, to being a respectable looking end table or TV table that could be used for ample decoration in any room. Either way, I hope you guys enjoyed this Instructable and are able to replicate this simple design with ease!