Miter joined table
This old ping pong table that came with the house is a great clutter catcher in my workshop. But it's not sturdy enough to put heavy stuff on, so I wanted to make a sturdier table to replace the ping pong table.
I wanted to join the legs with 45° miter joints, so I had to set the saw to exactly 45°. I checked the setting by cutting the ends off two scraps at 45°, then put those cuts against each other to make sure that they added to 90 degrees (see at left).
Cutting miters on the ends of the apron rails. I firmly hold the wood down, because the tilted blade has a tendency to push the stock to the side a bit, making for an inaccurate cut. I also have to make sure the wood is flat on the table saw sled, or the cut won't be square.
After making the cut, I check it with a square to make sure I haven't screwed up.
I set up a template with holes in it that I could trace around with the follower, thus drilling holes larger than the bit I was using. This way, I could spiral into toe hole counterclockwise. That way, if the bit is deflected by the cutting forces, its deflected towards the center of the hole. Once the hole is cut, the bit deflection forces go away and I can do a pass to cut it to final size.
This eliminates problems of the drill bit wanting to drift to the side a bit, which it has a tendency to do when drilling through wood grain at an angle.
The legs went on a bit hard. I think the problem was that I cut some of the holes very fast, and didn't sweep around them enough after finishing the cut to make sure the final size was good, so they ended up slightly undersized.
I figured it was because some of the lumber had a slight twist to it, but in retrospect, as I was cutting the joints, I realized one of the holes on my template was offset by a tiny bit vertically, and that is probably what resulted in the twist.
These are just screwed into the apron rails using some screws at an angle. I should add that I hate stuff made with pocket hole joinery, but if I just put a screw in at an angle (drilling the pilot holes, at right), without a pocket hole, then it's not a pocket hole :)
I had the idea of counteracting the twist of the table by applying twist to the cross-member as I screwed it in. You can see the clamp (circled in red) pulling down on the end of a bar clamp which is clamped to the cross member. That holds it twisted as I screw it on. After released the clamp twisting it, the un-twisting of the cross-member helped counteract the twist of the table frame.
I made some gussets to put into the corners of the table. Here drilling pilot holes to screw these on. The pilot holes are best drilled from the back because they are nearly perpendicular to the back.
I used one of my "wheely desks" as a shop cart to move the top of the ping pong table to the table saw, then flipped it up onto the saw.
Then cutting 2 cm off each edge to make sure I have a nice clean edge to later glue trim onto. I had the wheely desk under the particle board, with something on it to get it to the right height, and rolled it with the sheet as I cut it. This might have worked better if I bothered to adjust the wheely desk to the height of the table saw, clamped the particle board to it, and had casters that swiveled better on the wheely desk.
Here I'm using a push stick to hammer a wedge between a bar clamp and the trim to act as an edge clamp. This trick works quite well, I wrote about it before
I needed some very hard and thin dowels, so cut some square stock of ironwood and planed to roughly octagonal, then used this trick to sand them into round dowels.
With a dowel every 25 cm, I had quite a lot of them and it was easiest to just flush cut them with a router. more on that here.
I disassembled half the ping pong table frame to make room for the new table, here I'm tipping the base into position. But I bumped the other half of the ping pong table, which was a bit unstable without the other half weighing the middle part down, and it came down with a huge crash!
I used my "wheely desk" to roll the top in place, here sliding it onto the table. The top isn't fastened down in any way. The trim, which is thicker than the table top, keeps the top from sliding off the base.
Collapsed half-ping pong table in background.
I have three rolling storage boxes that I made to go under a shelf two and a half years ago. These fit much better under this table than the old ping pong table because the legs are in the corners and there isn't any extra stuff connecting them.
How long to build a table, time analysis (video only)
Painting in the shop and a shop tour (video only)
Large knock-down table (easy to take apart for moving)
To my Woodworking website.