How to Make a Wooden Table Top

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There are a number of ways to make a wooden tabletop, including using three-quarter-inch plywood or hardwood lumber. The plywood wooden tabletop is the quickest and easiest route to take, but if you love the look of hardwood, a few more steps are required. You will need some bar clamps, depending on the size of the tabletop. Placing one every 12 inches will ensure a good finished product.

Things You'll Need

  • Lumber or plywood
  • Decorative mold (for plywood)
  • Table saw
  • Electric miter saw
  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Hammer
  • 4d finish nails
  • Nail set
  • Wood glue
  • Measuring tape
  • Bar clamps

Plywood tabletop

  • Set the table saw fence at the desired size for your tabletop. Cut the piece of plywood.

  • Measure from one corner of the tabletop to the next corner and cut a piece of decorative mold on a 45° angle using the electric miter saw. Repeat this until you have all the pieces of mold you need.

  • Pre-drill holes in the molding to aid the finish nails when securing the mold to the tabletop. Place a bead of glue on one edge of the plywood tabletop and secure the piece of mold in place with the 4d finish nails. Repeat this process until all the mold has been secured.

  • Set all the nail heads with the nail set. Fill the holes with wood putty or spackling compound, depending on whether you are staining or painting. Add what is needed on the corners where the miters come together.

  • Sand the mold and the tabletop with 100-grit sandpaper. You are now ready to apply your first coat of paint or stain.

Solid wood tabletop

  • Cut as many pieces of your chosen lumber as you need. Place them on a table with the edges that will be glued together adjacent to one another.

  • Place a bead of glue on the edges that will be joined together to make the tabletop. Do not worry about excess glue. Clamp the wood together, placing the clamps 12 inches apart. Allow the glue to set.

  • Remove the clamps and scrape as much of the excess glue off as you can with a putty knife. You may need to sand it with a belt sander, but be careful not to sand grooves into the wood.

  • Sand the top side and the edges of your tabletop with 100-grit sandpaper. You are now ready to apply your first coat of paint or stain.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always wear safety glasses.
  • The solid wood tabletop can have a routed edge for decoration.
  • If the solid wood tabletop has voids where the edges were glued together, add some wood putty before applying finish.
  • Do not raise the blade of a table saw any higher than required to make the cut.
  • Do not leave power tools unattended.
  • Do not paint or stain in an unventilated area.

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