There has always been the time where I can’t get comfortable on my bed, or on the floor and needed to use my computer, or hold a hot plate for supper. This is why I decided to show how to make a small lap table. This way, I can sit on the floor, or my bed, and not worry about spilling that glass or overheating my laptop computer.Today I will be demonstrating how to make this lap table, step by step instructions are below. Thanks for building!
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Step 1: Starting Tools
Some starting tools that are needed: a hammer, nails, drill, screws, a saw, a crowbar, hammer, a hatchet to act as a wedge, two optional 2 feet by 20-inch pallets, at least three two-by-four boards, and three one-by-six boards. You may need more or less of the boards. It depends on how large the lap table will be. When making a lap table, depending on how long the table is, taking apart pallets are also an option. The length of the pallet used for this table was 20 inches long.
Step 2: Break Apart Pallet
The first step to making this table is to break apart the entire pallet, so the pallet is in separate pieces. This way, if the length of the pallet is an okay size then there is less sawing of the two-by-four boards. To do this, place the pallet on its side, and wedge the hatchet between the side legs and the top of the pallet boards. Pound in the hatchet with the hammer so you can break apart the top of the pallet from the sides. Repeat for each board on the pallet until it is in separate pieces. Now, there should be broken pieces of the pallet in a pile to the side. The legs, or two-by-fours, will be what needs to stay intact while breaking apart the pallet. It is okay if the one-by-six inch boards are cracked or broken off. That is the only way to get the two-by-fours separated from the one-by-six boards.
Step 3: Pulling Nails
Next, if the pallet’s nails are still in the pallet legs or two-by-fours, use the crowbar and a piece of wood as a fulcrum; this way, the part of the pallet that will be used will not get bent or dented from the crowbar’s pressure. After all of the access nails are removed, set them aside, they will be used later. For the lap table made in this example, there were twenty nails used in the top of the table, but that will be explained later.
Step 4: Table Depth
Now that the pallet is torn apart, and the nails are removed, decide how deep the table will be. The depth used in the example is 16 and 1/4th, this means that the depth of the pallet legs were cut down roughly 4 inches, but this all depends on the deepness of the desired table.
Step 5: Decide the Hight
After the legs are cut to the desired depth, now it is time to decide the height of the table. For the table being described, it has two two-by-fours stacked together with a taller leg connecting them to make the table 10 and 3/4th inches tall, counting the top of the table. Making it this height, there is the option to make it with plenty of room for a blanket under the table while lying in bed.
Step 6: Further Explanation
To further explain the taller leg, if just using the 2 two-by-fours, the table would be very close and wouldn’t leave much leg room at all. Using the extra three inches gives just a little more room for the table to sink into the blankets or bed. The taller legs also act as a brace for the table, this way it won’t wobble when used, or have pressure on top of the table.
Step 7: Making the Legs
Now vertically place the braces on top of the horizontal two-by-four laid on the ground, this should look like a horseshoe, for extra support, add the second horizontal two-by-four and fit it into place. Screw in three screws per two-by-four on each brace. When you are finished with both sides of the braces on the ends of the horizontal two-by-fours, there should be twelve screws on one end of the table.
Step 8: Decide Table Length
Once these steps of the legs are finished, repeat them for the other end of the table legs. When you are finished with that, it is time to decide how long the table will be. The length of the table should be at least hip width with a little room to spare. This table was made 32 inches long; with this length, the table can comfortably fit a person, with a cozy blanket and still have a little extra room.
Step 9: Table Top
Then, line up three, one-by-six boards so they would fit flush side-by-side. When the three boards are flush, measure out 32 inches on one end of all three boards, and mark it off with a pencil. If possible, stack the three boards and saw them at the same time to be sure that they are all the same length of 32 inches long.
Step 10: Nail Them Down
After the top of the table is placed flush with the legs on either side, nail the top boards into the legs with the horizontal boards of the legs facing inward under the table top. To get the top square, hammer a nail through one board on each end to attach the legs to the tabletop. This way, the legs won’t shift as the next nails are being placed for that board.
Step 11: Nail the Middle Board
Place the middle board flush against the board that is nailed into the legs. Having this board flush can eliminate some sanding that will happen, and would make the designing part easier if that is planned. Hammer two nails into each end of the middle board. It doesn’t matter if they are hammered one at a time on each end, the leg is already stable at the desired length and shouldn’t move.
Step 12: Nailing the Final Board
Finally, place the third board flush with the legs to complete the table. Hammer in a nail on each end of the board to be sure that the corners are both flush. Then hammer in the second nail to make it like the other side of the table. There may be a small space between the final board and the middle board, but this will not affect the use of the table.
Step 13: Adding Stability
Lastly, to add a bit more stability, on the outside boards, hammer in two more nails into the horizontal two-by-fours so they line up with the nails in the middle board. This will make the top of the table seem more stable after so many times of moving or carrying the table.
Step 14: Sand It Down
The next step is to sand down the edges with some sandpaper, so it won’t be so rough when carrying it. By sanding it down, you also eliminate paper cuts and snagging your blanket or clothes.
Step 15: Design
After all of this is done, another optional design would be to burn the wood. It makes the table look so much better, and gives it a bit of character to each individual table. Then add some personal design touches such as a wood burning kit, so there can be a specific design on it.
Step 16: Clear Coat
After a few months, the burnt effect might come off onto hands, clothes, and blankets. To prevent this, use some type of clear coat, I used clear Lacquer. This is a spray can and makes it a lot easier for users. The instructions come on the outside of the can and it will be simple to use and read.
Step 17: Final Product
Once the spray or another type of clear coat is used and it has dried for the right length of time, then the project is done and ready to be used!