How to make a dining table top

Written by b.t. alo
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How to make a dining table top
Make your own table top from several planks of lumber. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Large single slabs of lumber are hard to come by and can be quite expensive, so most table tops are made from several pieces of lumber joined together. Making a dining table top from several pieces of lumber can give different looks to a table. Use reclaimed lumber for a rustic farmhouse-style table, or nice planks of maple or cherry polished to a fine degree for a fancier table top.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 2 planks 1-by-4 lumber, 80 1/2 inches
  • 2 planks 1-by-4 lumber, 36 inches
  • Wood glue
  • Carpenter's square
  • Corner clamps
  • 2-inch wood screws
  • Drill
  • 7 planks 2-by-2 lumber, 34 1/2 inches
  • 4 planks 1-by-10 lumber, 86 inches
  • Large F clamps
  • 2 1/4-inch wood screws
  • Sander/sand paper
  • Wood finish and paintbrush

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  1. 1

    Form two planks of 80 1/2 inch 1-by-4-inch lumber (side aprons of the table top) and two planks of 36 inch 1-by-4-inch lumber (end aprons) into a rectangle with the ends of the side aprons abutting the inside of the end aprons to make corners.

  2. 2

    Glue the corner joints, check for square using a carpenter's square then set in corner clamps to dry; approximately an hour depending on the glue brand. Pre-drill two countersunk pilot holes through the sides of the end aprons into the ends of the side aprons and secure together with 2-inch wood screws.

  3. 3

    Insert a plank of 34 1/2 inch 2-by-2-inch lumber every 10 inches between the side aprons; seven in total. Push these support planks down so they are flush with the bottom of the side and end aprons, then secure them in place with two wood screws driven through the outside of the side aprons into each end of the support planks.

  4. 4

    Lay two planks of 86 inch 1-by-10-inch lumber side by side on a work table. Bead a line of glue along one long edge and then use two large F clamps to press the two pieces of lumber together by fastening the F clamp over the outer sides of the two planks. Repeat with another two planks of 86 inch 1-by-10-inch lumber.

  5. 5

    Lay the two glued planks of lumber side-by-side on a work surface and place the apron frame over the top. Adjust the position of the frame so that there is an inch overhang on the side of the frame and 2 inches on the ends, which will make the table top centred.

  6. 6

    Clamp the table top to the frame, then pre-drill countersunk pilot holes; three per support plank into each of the table top planks. Secure with 2 1/4-inch wood screws. Turn the table top over, so the frame is on the bottom, then drive three countersunk 2-inch wood screws through each table top plank into the end aprons.

  7. 7

    Sand the table top and aprons with a sander or by hand. Finish the tabletop with your desired wood finish, paint, varnish, stain, wax or oil.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are planning on painting the table top, you can use a sheet of MDF or plywood instead of lumber planks.

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