A round top for a table gives a woodworking project a little additional cachet when set against the sea of square or rectangular tables that come out of wood shops across the land. Though it looks challenging, building a round table top is a straightforward project that can be completed by a competent wood worker with a couple of tools and some patience. Accurate layout and careful cutting are the secrets to creating a table top you will be proud of.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Compass or dividers
- Sabre saw or router
Prepare the wood that you have selected for the top. If it is going be made of sheet lumber and then banded, the size of the top will be limited by the width of the sheet. If the top is a part of a fine-furniture project, glue up the solid boards that will make up the top, ensuring that you leave a couple of inches of waste for support during the cut.
Lay out the circle on the wood. If you have a large enough compass or a set of dividers that can span the radius of the circle, use this with a pencil to lay out the circle. Drawing a circle larger than your tools allow is possible by using string and a nail to draw the circle. Gently tap the nail into the centre of the desired circle and tie a length of heavy string to it. At the desired radius width, tie your pen or pencil. Pull the string taut and, maintaining a consistent pull on the string, draw the circle by keeping the pen at the full length of the string.
Cut the circle from the lumber with the sabre saw or router. Cut carefully and slowly to the outside of the line you drew.
Tips and warnings
- A common jig is used by wood workers who frequently cut circular components. It is made of a strip of 3/8-inch MDF or plywood. One end has a hole drilled to receive a thin wood screw and the other is cut out to receive the base of a sabre saw or router. The wood screw end is temporarily screwed into the centre of the desired circle and the blade or bit of the cutting tool is set in a starter hole bored at the radius distance. The circle is cut by moving the cutting tool in a circle constrained by the jig. A perfect circle is the result.
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