For the last month and a half I’ve been building a table from scratch. Why? I needed a custom size, I needed a table that would be at the right height to use a multicooker on, and I needed one that could hide and allow me to perform maintenance on a robotic vacuum cleaner that holds water.

The table:

Wooden table, oak poplar and pine

How did I create this?

The table is made of oak for the top, poplar for the box, and pine furring for the legs. The stain used was Gunstock, and the finish is polyurethane.

I planned out the construction before starting and buying the materials. I also used letter pulls to pull the top of the table upwards.

What was my process?

My process was to take all of my tasks and split them out into granular tasks. Even with this, it still took much longer than I thought it would.

Ofcourse, there were hidden assumptions, there were tasks that weren’t split out, and finalizing how the back top of the table would be picked up was left for later.

What did I learn?

  • Always granularize the sanding tasks. Woodworking is 90% sanding and 10% everything else. This means plan out for a “Sanding at 80 grit” is a single task.
  • Plan for post sanding tasks and resanding. (I.e. wiping down the piece with water, let it dry and sand the raised fibers).
  • Use fences to ensure cuts are consistent
  • Use the dowel jigs later after the sanding, staining, and finish is done. The numbering before hand got lost and I was left with a puzzle to put the pieces back together.
  • I prepared for this, but it’s a good thing to repeat: Don’t try to get everything perfect, perfect the things you can when they’re easy to do. Some things like table levelling you can come back to
  • The straightness of the wood matters a lot. The material and bends in the legs were the biggest issue I had.
  • Aliexpress has some really cool things (like material stands). I happened to over buy about 40 of these and it turns out I needed every single one. Each of these pieces needed about 4 of those stands.
  • Practice the use of the premade jigs. I didn’t do this with the dowel jig and it made fitting the pieces together much harder.
  • Figure 8 connectors are hard to find on the market, but great to work with for a table.