A homemade wooden table is a great woodworking project that gives you the opportunity to decorate your home in your unique style. Whether you want to build a dining table or an end table, all table projects rely on the same woodworking principles.
Choose your style
Before you begin construction on a table, you need to determine what kind of style you want. The style of table will determine everything from the types of legs you install to the look of the tabletop.
For a contemporary table, choose a table leg that is straight and square cut. These legs have very basic dimensions and are the easiest to make. For more dimension, you can choose a square leg that tapers from the tabletop to the floor. This requires the wood to be cut at an angle with precise measurements on each leg.
You can also choose a rounded leg, which needs to be fashioned with a bevel. This can be a straight leg or it can be tapered as well. For a more elaborate design, add curled feet to the end of your legs. Or consider incorporating designs in your table leg to make it look like a Greek column. This is done by reeding and fluting, which requires the builder to etch grooves and ornamentation in the legs.
As for the tabletop, rectangular and square tops will suit a contemporary design. Round or oval tables provide more dimension and will give the home a traditional look and feel.
After deciding on the look of your table, decide on its function; specifically, how the table legs connect to the tabletop.
The tabletop and the legs fit together with joinery. You have several different choices in creating joinery; typically, the more elaborate the joinery, the more stable the table will be.
One choice is a mortise and tenon joint. A tenon is a small wooden rectangle that projects from the tabletop. This tenon will slide into a rectangular opening on the table leg called a mortise. The mortise will be filled with wood glue and the tenon is secured into place.
Dowels feature rounded wood pegs. These pegs will slide into a rounded mortise. The difference between the dowels and the tenons is strength. The tenons usually provide more support because of their thickness. Dowels are better suited to smaller tables such as end table.
Once you have decided the look of your table legs, begin work on the tabletop. Determine the length of the tabletop, the thickness and the shape.
Map out the dimensions and cut out the tabletop with a band saw. Make sure that your lengths are accurate on all sides. If you are creating a round table, make sure that you have cut out a perfect circle or oval.
Next you will design the frame of the table. If you want to keep the design simple, take your four table legs and connect them to the tabletop with dowels. You can also add a border around the table. This border will hang off the side of the table.
For a more challenging design, add a mortise to each corner of the border. The mortise is a rectangular groove in the border below the table top. You will create four of these mortises to accommodate the tenons on the top of your table legs. A tenon will connect the table leg to the mortise.