Make your own table: 12 steps (with pictures)

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Make your own table: 12 steps (with pictures)
Make your own table: 12 steps (with pictures)

Making a wooden table is an excellent job for someone who is just starting to learn how to work with wood and can also be a complicated project for someone more experienced in woodworking. In this wikiHow article, we'll show you step-by-step how to make a simple yet sturdy little table.


Step 1. Using paper, a pencil and a ruler, make a rough draft of your table

  • Brainstorm first and make sketches. Don't worry about the dimensions just yet.
  • When you have made a rough design, determine the dimensions and write them in with a pencil. The dimensions of the table depend on the type of table you want to make. For example, a dining table has different dimensions than a bedside table.
  • When determining the dimensions, take into account the place where you want to sit the table. Do not make the table larger or smaller than necessary.

Step 2. Determine how much wood you need based on the rough measurements

Always add a few centimeters extra in case you make a mistake.

Step 3. Buy the wood

A soft wood like pine is good for beginners to start with. Try poplar wood for a slightly better finish. Consider cypress or treated wood if you're putting your table outside.

Step 4. Make the table top

You can do this in two ways:

  • Using multiple planks. The advantage of this is that it is cheaper than using a single piece of wood. It is best to use tongue-and-groove boards, but if you can use a slat router to create a butt joint, it may be a good idea to assemble the table top that way.
  • Use one piece of wood. If you choose this option, you can save some money by using hardwood plywood.

Step 5. Cut the wood for the table top to size, glue the parts together and clamp them with wood clamps

Let the tabletop dry overnight.

Step 6. Create the bottom edge

This is a simple wooden square that attaches to the table top and supports the table legs so that they cannot move back and forth. You make the bottom border in the following way:

  • Measure inward from the edge of the table top a few centimeters. The exact width depends on the dimensions of your table. Mark this distance in all four vertices.
  • Turn the table top over and draw a square on the underside of your table. You do this using the four corner points you just marked.
  • Saw off two pieces of wood for the short sides and two pieces for the long sides.
  • Glue these pieces to the drawn lines on the underside of the table and clamp them. You can choose to permanently or temporarily screw the pieces of wood to the table top until the glue sets. This is a good idea if your clamps are not long enough to hold the wood pieces for the bottom edge.

Step 7. Make the table legs

  • Saw off a leg to the desired length.

  • Saw off the other three legs to approximately the same length.

  • Clamp all four legs together.

  • Cut all four legs to the same length while clamping them. Use the first leg as a guideline.

  • Sand the table legs with a sander so they are smooth and ready to be treated with fine sandpaper. Be careful not to sand the top and bottom of the legs, as this can cause the legs to become crooked.

Make a Table Step 8

Step 8. Fasten the legs to the table

  • Turn the table upside down if you haven't already done so.

  • Angle the first leg against the bottom edge with the top flat against the bottom of the table and the sides flat against the bottom edge.

  • Apply glue to the top of the leg and the inner part of the bottom edge that abuts the leg.

  • Fasten the leg with screws. Insert the screws through the bottom edge and then into the leg. Do not use nails for this.

  • See if the legs are at a 90 degree angle to the table top. Adjust the screws if necessary.

  • Repeat with the other three table legs.

  • When you're done, glue and clamp the legs in place.

  • You can also insert a screw into the top of the legs through the top of the table top. However, this often looks unsightly and you run the risk of splitting the legs at the top by inserting nails or screws.

Step 9. Wait for all glue to dry completely

Step 10. Turn the table over and see if it is stable by placing it on a flat floor and rocking it as hard as possible

Step 11. Sand your table to your liking

Step 12. Treat the wood with stain, varnish or Chinese wood oil (optional)


  • You can buy and download construction drawings for tables on the internet. Usually you will receive all the necessary drawings and dimensions.
  • Always drill pilot holes when using screws to assemble furniture, especially if the wood is thinner than about 3 inches. This will prevent the wood from splitting.
  • When you cut the wood for the bottom edge and legs, you cut one piece first, clamp that piece to another piece and cut them both to the same length. By only measuring the wood you can easily get two pieces of wood that are just not the same length. Consider using the same technique when sanding the wood with a sander.
  • Consider using recycled wood or scrap wood. You can usually find this on the street or on construction sites. It takes a little more effort to get the right dimensions, but it saves trees and allows you to finish the wood in a way that is not possible with freshly sawn wood.
  • Never use nails to assemble furniture as they will split the wood. Using a hammer is also more difficult than most people think. Screws are also stronger and can be easily removed from the wood if you have made a mistake.
  • Ask the hardware store or lumber yard where you buy the wood for advice. The employees there should have the right knowledge.


  • Be careful with your tools. A sensible person will be able to work safely. Never forget that you are human and therefore will make mistakes.
  • Watch out for fumes when treating the wood with stain.
  • Take standard safety precautions when using tools. Wear eye and ear protection when working with tools, especially power tools. Wear a dust mask and long-sleeved shirt. Wood dust is an allergen and can cause cancer. Never put your hands in front of a saw of any kind.

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