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How to make a table top from plank wood

Updated February 21, 2017

Building your own furniture is a fun way to ensure a custom look and own furniture that is sure to be talked about. One project that can really have an impact is a plank table top. Whether you build your own legs or install the top on prefab legs, a plank wood table top will add just the right rustic touch to any kitchen or dining space. Choosing the straightest timber, free from splits and open knots, makes construction simpler and will give the best results.

Lay out enough 1-by-6 lumber pieces to create the width of table top you want, 90 cm (36 inches) is fairly typical for dining tables. Cut the pieces to length on a mitre saw so that they are all equal. Make the table as long as the number of guests you intend to seat. Allow 60 cm (24 inches) for each person on each side of the table with one at each end.

Cut skirt pieces from 1-by-4 lumber in a matching grain. Cut the side pieces 15 cm (6 inches) shorter than the length of the table top and the end pieces 18.7 cm (7 1/2-inches) shorter than the width of the table. Mark every 25 cm (10 inches) along one long edge of each piece.

Align a pocket-screw jig on each mark and drill a pocket-screw hole. Clamp the jig in place and use the pocket screw bit that came with the jig. Follow the instructions that came with your specific jig model for best results. In general, align the jig centre on the mark with the open end of the jig away from the edge of the board and the box end flush with the edge.

Glue and nail the two short pieces between the long pieces to form a rectangle frame. Stand the pieces on the narrow edge with the pocket screw holes to the inside.

Clamp the boards together with their ends flush with each other. Mark along the joint between each pair of boards every 30 cm (12 inches). Make short marks, crossing the seam between them, indicating where the boards will be aligned.

Set your biscuit joiner to cut at a centre height of 1 cm (3/8 inches) and cut each board, centred on every mark for wooden biscuits. Spread glue between the edges of the planks and glue a biscuit into each biscuit slot. Align the boards, with the bottom face up and clamp the boards together. Allow the glue to set over night.

Center the rectangle skirt frame you made on top of the planks. Drive a pocket screw into each pocket screw hole. Turn the top over and sand the entire piece.

Things You'll Need

  • 2.5 by 15 cm (1 by 6 inch) "1-by-6" timber
  • Mitre saw
  • Bar clamps
  • 2.5 by 10 cm (1 by 4 inch) "1-by-4" timber
  • Tape measure
  • Biscuit joiner
  • Biscuits
  • Wood glue
  • Pocket screw jig
  • C-clamp
  • Drill
  • Pocket screws
  • Sander
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About the Author

Mark Morris started writing professionally in 1995. He has published a novel and stage plays with SEEDS studio. Morris specializes in many topics and has 15 years of professional carpentry experience. He is a voice, acting and film teacher. He also teaches stage craft and lectures on playwriting for Oklahoma Christian University.