Tools and Materials:
- Strips of ash wood
- Wood glue
- Wood screws and washers
- Wood stain
- Table saw
- Electric plane
- Drill bits
- Pipe clamps
- Hand plane
- Palm sander
- Spirit level
- Miter saw
- Circular saw
- Edge sander
My wife and I decided we needed a new dining table and we wanted something a little different. So I set to work making a DIY wood dining room table with a bent lamination feature. The table looks great in our home and would look great in yours too. Remember, the fondest memories are made when gathered around the table!
The first thing I do is to gather my materials. In this case, it's all the strips and blocks of wood that I need to make the main feature, which is the laminated base that the tabletop sits on. It pays to have everything you need before you get started. As they say: proper preparation prevents poor performance! Okay, now I am ready, I adjust the cutting bench ready to cut the first strips of wood.
Next, I cut the wood in half lengthways to create thinner strips suitable for bending. Once they have been cut they are then put through an electric plane to ensure they are completely smooth on both sides. That's important both so you have some smooth bits of wood to work with but also for the overall aesthetic of the final piece.
This bit isn't something that will go on show, but what will help you get that curved shape you want for your final table. To build the mold for the lamination feature, I screw pieces of wood together to create blocks the same width as the wood strips. I use three pieces for each block and make 11 blocks in total, one to place in the center and five to place either side.
Once the blocks are complete, I start gluing the strips together ready to fit the mold. I apply the glue generously in a zig-zag pattern down the full length of the wood. The wood can then be attached to the blocks using the clamps. Once everything is in place and the clamps are tight, I leave the whole thing to stick for two days - don’t be tempted to remove the clamps sooner. Remember, patience is a virtue!
After the two days are up, I remove the clamps and then start sanding the edges to make sure they are smooth. I begin with a hand plane to remove the roughest edges and then move onto a palm sander.
Once I am happy that everything is smooth, it is time to cut the ends. To do this, I clamp the construction to my workbench at the center point and then mark the points I want to cut on the vertical sections. This is the moment when you can adjust the height of the table to suit you. I then unclamp the wood and cut with a miter saw.
Next, I attach a temporary board to join the two ends at the top of the table base. The whole piece is then placed on a table saw so I can level the bottom. This is vital so the curve can sit firmly and stably on the table base.
I now start on the base by gluing several thick pieces of wood together and then clamping them in place. At this stage, it does not matter if the ends are level as I will cut them later.
Make sure you place clamps on the joints on either side before you pull the pieces together across the width with the pipe clamps to prevent the base from being uneven.
Now I can treat the base as one block of wood and cut it to the size I want. Remember, it needs to be big enough to support the tabletop - a top-heavy table that topples over is not use to anyone!
Now it is cut to size I can cut the edges again, giving them a bevel that makes them more aesthetically pleasing. I do this by adjusting the table saw to the required angle. I then sand the cut edges by hand until smooth.
The finished base is now ready to be attached to the legs. I do this with glue and then leave to stick overnight. I then sink four screws and washers into the base and join to the legs, before gluing wedges between the base and legs for further support.
Now, I begin to make the base for the tabletop. To do this, I place the main cross piece of wood on the two table ends and then mark where I need to cut to create two notches for the legs to slot into.
To create the frame for the tabletop, I make two smaller cross pieces with angled ends to match the base and then cut more notches using a table saw and a wood chisel for the main cross pieces to slot into. I then use a drill to sink screw points, ready for attaching the frame to the tabletop. The pieces of the frame are then glued and clamped together and then screwed to the base, again using sunken screws.
Now it’s time to make the tabletop. For this, I start with the same method I used to make the base - joining the pieces together with glue and then clamping together. But this time we are making a bigger piece, one the right size for our needs. A good tip is to run a pencil across the wood before you clamp it to make sure the pieces are even.
Once the glue has dried, I remove the excess with a small hand plane set to a fine level. At this stage, you should take time to ensure the top is completely smooth. Remember, you're intending to use this as a dining room tabletop, so you want to get that right.
Now, the tabletop is ready to be cut to size. I place it on the base and measure and mark the cutting line carefully using a set square to create a perfect right angle. I then cut with a handheld circular saw.
Now I can attach the tabletop to the base using the holes I made earlier. Remember to use the right screw and drill bit size so you don’t screw right through the tabletop!
Now the hard work is complete, it is time for me to add the finishing touches. The first thing I do is to sand the tabletop and any other areas that still feel a little rough. I also use an edge sander to create smooth edges on the tabletop before finishing off by hand. It is important to take time to get this right before you think about staining the wood. After all the effort you have put in, you don’t want anything less than a perfect finish.
The beer you can see in the video is optional at this stage!
Once I am happy with the finish, I remove any excess dust and transfer the table to a dust-free environment, in this case, my living room. Before staining the wood, I lay decorating paper down on the floor to catch any drips. If you don’t have any handy, an old sheet should do the trick, providing it is not too thin. I choose to use a dark stain but you can choose whatever shade you want. Just remember to wear gloves and apply evenly with a cloth or as recommended on the manufacturer’s container.
And that’s it, the table is now finished!
The main thing to remember is that there is no need to rush your DIY wood dining room table. It took me two months to build this one. The vital thing is to follow the instructions and check everything is correct at every step along the way. By taking this step-by-step approach, you will end up with a table that you, your family and your friends can enjoy for years to come.
If you like my DIY dining room table idea - please suggest this tutorial to a friend.
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