Introduction: Carvers Lap Table

About: Tinkerer, is that a word?

If your like me you don't have a heated work shop to carve. Well, with this simple lap table you can enjoy carving in the comfort of your home while basking in the warm glow of your TV without wood chips cascading onto the floor.

I've seen different ones online. You can make them as fancy as you want but this is how I built mine. You can buy them but.....ya know.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Basically you need:


1 1/2 inch piece of plywood 24"X24"

About 9 feet of pine 1/2 x 3/4 stripping

Wood screws
Wood glue


A saw
Scroll saw
A square
Drill and bits
Spring clamps
Tape measure

You can change the size depending on how big you want it.

Step 2: The Layout

Pretty simple. The end of the table that goes towards your body has a curve and a lip to keep stuff from rolling away or falling off. The top has an area where you can put your knives and other tools.

Step 3: Cutting the Plywood

I bought a 24 x 24 inch piece from the store. The only thing I had to cut was the curve at the bottom end.

I did this by using a pliable piece of wood and tracing the curve.

Trace the curve leaving two inches on both sides. If you're fancy use math. You can also make a template out of cardboard.

Once you have the curve plotted out cut it with a scroll saw.

Step 4: Cutting the Sides, Front and Middle Piece

This part is EASY!!!!!

From the pine strip cut:

2 pieces 23" long (sides)
1 piece 24" long (front)
1 piece 221/2 " long (middle)

Step 5: Cutting the Curved Lip for the Bottom

This part can be tricky.
Cut a piece 221/2" long.
Take that piece and use your already cut curve in the plywood and trace the curve onto the strip.

I cut mine with a table top jig saw.
If you traced correctly it should match pretty well.

Step 6: Drilling the Holes

Through the back pre drill the holes with a 1/16th bit and then pre sink them. This way the screw heads will be below the surface of the tray making it smooth.

Step 7: Assembly!!!!!!

Start with the front piece. Apply a bead of wood glue. Line it up with the plywood and then use clamps to hold it in place. Go ahead and begin to apply the screws. Repeat for the sides, middle and bottom lip.
If the lip doesn't match up perfectly, you can always trim it or correct the problem when you sand. Take your time!!!

Step 8: More Drilling, More Screwing

Repeat the drilling steps but this time secure the sides to the middle, top and bottom lip pieces.

Step 9: A Pencil Holder

Just drill a couple holes in the middle piece big enough for your pencils!!!

Step 10: Sand It!!!!

You want to sand the whole thing. Make sure it's smooth, especially the back because it will be on your lap and you don't want it to snag clothing. Round all the edges and corners with the sander, this way it won't damage you or your furniture.

Step 11: Apply the Polyurethane

Blow all the dust off and then wipe it down with a damp rag. I used quick drying poly. Apply enough coats until your happy with the surface. Allow it to dry between coats. If you want it super glossy, lightly sand in between coats.

Step 12: Go Carve!!!

Grab your tray, wood and tools, turn on your favorite show (Real Housewives of Orange County) and create a masterpiece!!!

FYI, not my favorite show.....