So, you want to make a big table and you want to make it:
-out of wood
Then you've come to the right place! This method of table making is fairly simple and requires either access to large power tools and some time, or smaller power tools and lots of time. More on that in a bit. In the end, you will wind up with a table that has a semi-rustic look, but is darn sturdy and best of all is highly customizable to suite your tabletop depth, length, and height needs.
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Step 1: Step 1: Select/Cut Dimensional Lumber
Determine your overall length/width desired for the table. For this table, we went with a 6 foot length and 36 Inch width. I have chosen to use 2x4s for this table, but you may desire 2x2s or something even thicker such as a 2x6. I felt that 2x4s were a good comprimise of cost and sturdiness. Since you'll be laminating your 2x4s face to face, determine how many 2x4s you need for your width. In my case, I needed 24 (36 inches divided by the nominal width of 1.5 inches for each 2x4).
After you've selected your wood stock, cut them all to roughly the same length (about a foot longer than you'll need in the end). The benefit of having slightly longer stock to work with is that when you later glue, the ends tend to not adhere as well, and you have the option to cut it back by 6 inches on each side.
Step 2: Step 2: Glue Your 2x4s Together!
Arrange all of your 2x4s in the order you would like them glued. Make sure that any large defects are facing the same way (unless you want to expose a certain interesting defect; I didn't).
Glue 2 2x4s at a time and build each additional 2x4 to the existing glued row until you have reached 6-7 minutes (or however fast your glue starts to tack. I was able to work with roughly 12 at a time.
Remember, if you're using a large planer (as I will show later), only make each slab as large as your planer opening!
Ensure your glued wood slab is as flat as possible on the face as well as the ends, and clamp them up! I use pipe clamps, as they're pretty cheap and their length is only determined by a change of pipe rather than having to purchase a whole new clamp.
Notice that I tended to clamp on alternating sides of the slab. That was in order to equalize pressure being applied to each side. If I had placed all of my clamps on one side, it may have created a bow in my slab. I'm not entirely sure how important this is, but better safe than sorry!
Take this opportunity to wipe off all excess glue to make planing easier in the next step.
Wait overnight to make sure that the glue has totally set.
Step 3: Step 3: Plane Your Slab
Now that you have a giant slab of wood, you should probably make is flat for use as a table!
There are many options for flattening the surface of this alb. At our local makerspace (Yukonstruct), we have a 20 inch power planer, so I've elected to use it. You can always spend an eternity hang planing, use a handheld power planer or even a router jig setup. Figure out your way, but try to stay away from hand planing....just saying.
Once you've reached your desired thickness and the slab is adequately smooth, it's time to cut it to size!
Step 4: Step 4: Cut Your Slab to Length
Using a guide or square, mark the end of your slab and cut it with a circular saw. The average circular saw blade is not deep enough to cut through more than around 3 inches of material, so you will have to flip the slab to make your second cut.
Step 5: Step 5: Prepare Your Material for a Table Base
There are tons of different ways to make table bases. This way uses the following material:
- Four (4) 4x4's planed and cut to size
- Two (2) 10 foot 2x6, ripped to about 5 inches in width, planed and cut to the desired length
Choose a height that you would like your table, subtract the width of your table top and cut the legs to that length on a miter saw.
To connect these legs to each other, you could simply screw your 2x6s to the legs, however I have elected to notch the legs and recess the 2x6s.
To recess your 2x6s, determine how wide you would like your tabletop overhang (I chose about 6 Inches), place your table legs on the slab as you would like them to sit and measure the distance. Then determine how high you would like your supports (I chose around 10 inches). Make a mark on your 4x4 posts at that level and scribe where you would like your 2x6s to be recessed.
Set a circular saw to the depth of your 2x6s (rest it against your 2x6 and lock it once the blade hits the table your board is resting on).
Clamp your 4x4s to a stable surface and cut out lines at roughly 1/2 inch spacing within your marked recess area.
Once you're done, hit these thin strips with your hammer to break them and chisel the recessed area flat. Congratulations! you have notched a 4x4! now do that to all of your 4x4s
Step 6: Step 6: Assemble the Table Base
At this point, you have made your measurements (to your desired overhangs), cut all material to length, notched your 4x4 posts. Now, predrill and screw all material together to form the base as shown above!
I have elected to screw the 4x4 posts directly into the wood slab, but you may choose to insert a running board underneath the slab instead. I prefer more leg room given the thickness of the slab itself.
I would recommend using a pocket screw jig to drill on an angle for fastening the 4x4 posts into the top slab. Instead, I just used an electric drill and pre-drilled on an angle before fastening with screws.
You might even want to get fancy and router the edges of your table top for a rounded edge. I prefer sharp lines so have elected not to.
Step 7: Step 7: Enjoy Your Table!
Now that you've completed a beautiful table, enjoy it with many friends and family members. You can enjoy it with good friends, acquaintances, nieces, uncles, fathers, sons.... the possible uses for this table are endless! ENJOY!