My wife wanted a project table that she could do food prep, sewing and other projects on. She also wanted it to be unfinished - like a work table. So I thought that the best option would to build something so beefy that she could never complain that it wasn't tough enough - not that my wife complains as she is the sweetest creature on earth.
In the event that you should ever want to do something like this, here is how I did it.
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Step 1: Procure the Wood and Other Pieces
It had to be strong so I went to a local lumber yard and got too many 4"x6"x12' rough sawn douglas fir timbers. I had them kiln dried for a week so that they would not warp once I got them into the project. Because the edges are not rounded (which I really prefer) you get a true 4x6. In addition I used:
- 5 - 1/2" x 6' all thread
- 10 - 1 1/2" washers
- 10 - 1/2" lock nuts
- 1 - regular 5/8" spade bit
- 1 - 5/8" spade with 1 1/2" cut off
- 1 - 12" x 5/8" spade bit
- 1 - 1 1/2" Spade bit
- Dremel or something else to cut the all thread off with
Step 2: Lay Out Your Work
The next step was that I needed to make sure that the color and spacing was what he wanted. She did want the edges aligned but she did not care too much about spacing - which is good because I later on learner that I could torque the all thread enough to arch the top of the table.
Then I drew lines for my cuts and my holes as I was going to have to drill 5 holes in every one of these beams.
Step 3: Drill the Holes
Drilling the holes with a drill press was time consuming. I have a small drill press with I put on the lowest speed for greater torque and then I cut down a couple of bits so that I could go deeper in layers. I had to cut through sideways on the beams to create more table space so that meant cutting through 6" of wood. So the process was:
- Use small 5/8" bit to drill starter hole
- go deeper with slightly larger bit
- flip the beam over
- Repeat steps 1 and 2
- Use a 12" 5/8 bit to connect the tunnel
Like I said, if you have a drill press that will go through a 6" beam then you will be a lot better off. I did one beam a night after work each week until I was done.
NOTE: The outside pieces were counter sunk for the washers and nuts so I used the 1 1/2" spade bit to go down about 3/4" first and then I continued with the holes. You don't want to do it the other way around.
Step 4: All Thread All Through
I laid down two extra pieces of beam and then strung the table beams over those so that they would be straight and even when I flipped it back over. Next I took the 1/2" all thread and slid it through each hole. The 5/8"bit did not give me much wiggle room but it was enough to get through. I completed the all thread with lock nuts and washers (1 1/2") to pull all of the pieces together. We then used a torque wrench later on to torque the all thread to its capacity.
This piece was heavy, I believe it was almost 300 pounds and it took four of us to lift it on the base when it was complete.
I did this step multiple times during the process to trim all thread, get my alignment correct, etc.
Step 5: Leg Day
Next I cut 4 legs that were 1 inch longer than they needed to be as I created a template and cut pockets underneath the table where the legs were to go. Since the table was still upside down this was not difficult. It was difficult cutting between the beams though and keeping it even so I built a router template while my father in law cut the legs to size.
Step 6: The Base
After finishing the table top we put the legs in place and built a frame to set them in place with 2x4s (which I forgot to add to the materials list). This gives the table a bit of extra strength and sturdiness. We did not attach the base to the table however until we flipped it over in two parts and toe-nailed the top in place. It was so heavy that we really didn't need much.
Step 7: It Is Finished
Before I could even start to sand it my wife was cutting fabric out on it. I have done one course of sanding and hope to sand it again in the near future once all of the accumulated crap is taken off of it. So let's just call it finished.