3-in1 Table




About: Easy and affordable DIY projects and ideas.

3-in-1 table that is a TV tray, a laptop stand, or a coffee table

Made from 16mm marine plywood this 3-in-1 table is quick and easy to make if you have all your boards cut to size and assemble using a biscuit joiner.

You have the option to set the stand upright for tea indoors or outdoors, or on it’s side to serve as a coffee table. Use it as a laptop stand or desk that allows you to work comfortably indoors or out. Get comfy in front of the TV and use as a TV tray. The shelf can be used to store condiments, cutlery, papers or media accessories.


1 of 400 x 716mm 16mm marine plywood – upright stand

1 of 400 x 400mm 16mm marine plywood – top tray

2 of 384 x 400mm 16mm marine plywood – shelf / base

1 of 100 x 400mm 16mm marine plywood – top support

1 of 100 x 100mm 16mm marine plywood – cut for corner supports

Choice of stain, sealer or varnish and equipment


Biscuit joiner and #20 biscuits

Ponal wood glue

Rubber mallet

Orbital sander plus 240-grit sanding pads

Tape measure and pencil

Step 1: Make the Top Assembly

1. Use a biscuit joiner to cut out the slots in the top and shelf, as well as the top support. The top section slots onto the upright stand at one end and also onto the front support at the other end.

2. Also cut slots in the end of the shelf to allow for mounting onto the upright stand, as well as on the top of the other end for mounting onto the front support to create the shelf assembly.


Use a ruuny wood glue when joining with biscuits. The runny consistency is easily absorbed by the biscuits, allowing these to swell and form a strong joint.

3. Leave the glue to dry for a couple of hours and then use the completed shelf assembly to mark on the upright stand where to cut slots for mounting the shelf onto the stand.

Step 2: Mount the Top Assembly

4. Place the biscuit joiner vertically to cut the slots in the upright stand.

5. Squeeze plenty of glue into the slots and insert biscuits in one side. Position the shelf assembly over the upright stand and slide in place. Tap with a rubber mallet if necessary to ensure the pieces fit tightly together.

Step 3: Cut and Finish Stand and Base

6. Use the biscuit joiner to cut slots in the base and bottom of the upright stand, as well as in the corner supports. When cutting slots in 16mm you will see that the slots are not in the middle of the board, since biscuit joiners are also used on wood that is 20mm thick. Make sure that you hold at the right position for the cut slots to line up.

7. Use glue in the slots, insert the biscuits and position the corner supports on the upright stand and then join the base onto this. Let the glue dry overnight.

8. Sand the entire project before finishing. You have the option to use interior or exterior sealer or varnish.

To make the table more mobile you can add caster wheels to the base. However, subtract the additional height of the wheels from the length of the upright stand so that the table is not too high.

Step 4: Make the Top and Shelf Assembly

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    28 Discussions


    4 years ago

    I'm in the states so could you please translate what a biscuit joiner is? :-)

    12 replies

    Reply 3 years ago

    A biscuit joiner, is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biscuit_joiner


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I disagree, you see the holes left by the pockethole jig. I have one but decided the biscuit (plate) joiner would be far better. Cleaner finish and stronger joint.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    There are dowel plugs specifically made to hide pocket hole joinery... You can also use simple things like joint compound or 'Ready Patch' if you're going to paint your project.. Pocket hole joints, along with glue are just about the strongest form of joinery you can get. It all depends on what kind of finish you plan to end up with I guess.


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    My father was a carpenter for 25 yrs, and all they had at that time were simple screws. No pocket hole jig, no biscuit joiner, nothing fancy like you all have access to now a days. When he needed to hide a hole from a screw, he would mix the saw dust from that wood he was using with Elmer's Glue, & fill in the hole. when he was finished with the piece he made, he would defy anyone to tell him where the screws were placed. Nobody could tell the difference between the solid wood & the saw dust mixture.


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    Now this is just my opinion so please take it as such.

    The pocket hole jig is a very useful tool that can, if one so chooses, be used in place of the biscuit joiner. for a project such as this, the strength differences would be minimal at best...personally I think the differences in strength would be almost trivial...BUT, different people have different desires & preferences, so whichever one you choose to use, is entirely upto the individual.

    I am not, NOT saying you are wrong & I am right, I am only stating that the differences in strength for this project would not matter.


    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    A biscuit joiner is a power tool that cuts a slot into the wood, but not through the wood. the purpose of this is to disguise the joint so it appears as though there are no fasteners(nails, screws, etc).

    Into this slot made by the biscuit joiner, goes a small piece of wood called a biscuit along with some glue. This biscuit & the glue is what holds the joint together. It may not sound too strong, but the joint, once it sets(usually about 24 hours) is actually quite strong.


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Same name here in the US, you can find them at most hardware stores.



    3 years ago on Introduction

    I think this is a great 'ible" and also a beautiful project...the only problem I see me having with it is converting all the metric measurements to SAE.

    Trivial I know, but that is as bad a comment as I could ever give...I love this! TY for sharing.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great 'ible. I need to make a few of these.

    One question though - can you tell me what ruuny woo glue is? Do you mean runny wood glue, perchance?


    4 years ago on Step 4

    A great idea! I have a couple of store bought computer/ TV tables that are similar and thought about adding a solid back but the top and foot are different sizes.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    can I use this as a Laptop desk/eating table/homework desk can you make a matching chair to go with it please?


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice idea, but you might want to double up on the bottom piece to add a little weight, it looks maybe a bit top-heavy. But great 'ible nonetheless. :)