Introduction: How to Make a Console Display Table
This was a really fun project and it was a great for practicing pocket holes. I love how this table came out, the size, the style, the process, everything. If I were to rate it on one of those difficulty scales, it's around a medium. Overall, it's fairly simple, just a matter of being precise and careful, that's all. So with that, let me show you how I made it.
All these boards can be cut from boards you can buy at home improvement stores. I actually milled my own wood from these random trees that were cut down a couple years ago. I simply did this for fun and practice. You can use any hardwood such as oak, popular, maple, ect.
1) 1x37x10" board -1X
2) 2x2x36" board -4X
3) 1x7.5x34" board 1X
4) 1x3x33" boards -2X
5) 1x3x5.5" boards -2X
Step 1: Creating the Aprons (Side Boards)
The first part I made was the tabletop under-frame. You have to drill the pocket holes first. This is where the Kreg jig really comes in handy. It's totally not required, so if you don't have one, don't let that stop you from doing this. We're going to start with the small boards. Make sure that you've picked your favorite grain to go on the outside and that you're not drilling the holes on the good grain. That's always the worst when that happens. Kreg jigs are simple enough to use. You set it to whatever thickness of wood you're using (in this case, 1 inch). Then you use the drill bit that is set for a 1 inch board, just clamp it in and drill it. You're going to want to drill 2 on the right side and 2 on the left side, along with one on the top side. The top one is for mounting the actual table top to this side board (this is called an "apron"). Go ahead and repeat these steps for the other short apron and the other 2 long aprons.
Step 2: Mounting the Legs to the Aprons
At this point, you're going to want to mount the 2x2 legs to the aprons that they're meant to go with. I found that the best to do this is to mark the center of the legs and then mark the center of the apron as shown in the photo. Then, clamp it down in this position. That'll make sure things stay in place while you mount it. Pocket holes are straightforward, you just have to drill it in as you would with any screw, despite the angle. When you're mounting all the parts together, make sure to use a square so all the angles are square and plum.
A little note about the screw choice: You want finer, closer threads for hard wood, while you want coarse, more spaced out threads for screwing into soft wood. Pine (especially from the lumber sections of home improvement stores) is generally considered a soft wood. However, mass produced pine is much softer than natural, random pine trees that were not grown with the intention of turning into a table. That's why I used fine screws.
Step 3: The Tabletop and Bottom Shelf
Now's a good time to actually make the table top and bottom shelf, since you're going to mount it next. To do this, cut the boards down to size, my tabletop is 37"x10.5" and my bottom shelf is 33"x7.5." Of course, it's optional to router the edges, but if you choose to do so, now's a good time. After that, you're going to need to cut a 1x1" square out of the 4 corners of the bottom shelf. This is so that the legs can stick into the bottom shelf a little, this creates for a strong design. To be able to mount this bottom shelf, you're going to need to drill pocket holes in the bottom of this board.
Step 4: Mounting It All Together
Now, you're going to mount all the pieces together. You simply need to screw the screws into the pocket hole on the aprons and into the tabletop. Then, you're going to screw into the legs through the pocket holes on the bottom shelf. Make sure to put a screw into every hole.
Step 5: Last Physical Touches
This next step is completely optional, but a great idea and something I did on my table. You're going to hide the pocket holes with wood plugs. You can buy these from any hardware store, but to make it more convenient, I used the Kreg plugs because they specifically fit the Kreg Jig screw holes nicely. These are fairly straightforward. You just put a bit of glue on the tip of the plug, then slide it into the pocket hole, with the flat side facing up. The reason for this is just to hide the hole and to make it look a little cleaner. After these are put in all the way and the glue has dried, you're going to want to sand these flat whenever you're sanding the whole table. I used 150 grit sandpaper and that got it really smooth. Make sure to change it out after sanding a few boards because dull sand paper can make the wood look unattractive.
Step 6: Staining and Finishing
The last couple steps are to stain it and apply a varnish. One of my favorite stains is red mahogany and that's what I used for my table. Any and all are just fine. A little note, you should read your stain's specific instructions, but a good rule of thumb is to stir the stain the same as you would with a paint can. Then, apply it in even coats and let it mostly dry. Then, if you want a darker, more solid color, apply another coat of stain. This will also ensure that there's absolutely no tiny, annoying spots that the brush might have missed. Once you're happy with it, let it dry for at least 24 hours, preferably outside on a dry day. Then, wipe off the table to make sure there's no random dust, sand, or anything weird on the surface because it will stay under the varnish literally forever. Afterwards, go ahead and use some polyurethane varnish to seal everything up and give it that finishing touch. Start by doing nice, thin, even layers, letting it dry until tacky, then adding another layer of varnish. Most varnishes become tacky quickly, so it's not an inconvenience. This process ensures there's no ugly drips, globs, or brush marks on the surface. With that, you're done!