Crafting an antique table from scratch can be an exciting project for expert carpenters and beginner woodwork enthusiasts. It’s hard work, though, because a lot of effort and time goes into making an antique. While all tables have the same premise – legs, aprons, and a tabletop – they must be well made with strong wood to withstand the test of time. With a little know-how, making a wonderful table at home can be simple. So, how to create an antique table at home?
The Required Tools to Build a Wooden Antique-Inspired Table
Wood veneer panels are affordable but may not be the best choice for constructing a wooden antique-style table. If a table isn’t built well, it can fall apart within years and that’s why it’s vital to use solid wood. However, what you mightn’t be aware of is that specific tools are required as they create grooves and joints for the table. Here are a few of the top tools you’ll need when building a wood table.
- Table Saws And Other Cutting Accessories
This is a vital tool for your project. Table saws – as you might have guessed – do all the cutting work. They will cut wood tabletops to size and ensure a smooth and straight line too. However, dado blades can also be a necessity to help cut tenons and mortise as these will help join the various parts together. Table saws and other cutting accessories and tools, such as the miter gauge attachment, are vital components and can do a lot of delicate cutting and trimming.
Router tables are a necessity as they shape wood and you may want to look at the Bosch benchtop router table for your next project. It’s table-mounted and comes with a woodworking router which makes it an ideal choice for table construction. A table router is actually very useful for woodworking projects as it’s more flexible. It makes it simpler to route and create difficult cuts in wood.
- A Miter Saw And Dowling Jigs
While a miter gauge attachment (for a table saw) can be useful, some may prefer to use an actual miter saw. This tool enables you to cut angles onto the trim of the tabletop. They’re adjustable, easy-to-use, and offer a clean cut. Miter saws can also handle smaller and trickier cuts.
Dowling jigs, on the other hand, are used to bond a table together. The jigs are drilled into various parts of the table, such as the legs, to offer support. These are useful and simple tools to use.
- Coping Saw and Chisels
Coping saws and chisels help with tenons. When the wood needs to be shaved or trimmed, the chisel or saw can used to create a snugger fit. While they are hand tools, they’re indispensible.
How to Design a Table?
First of all, you need a clear picture in your mind of what you’re building. If you don’t know you’ll either restart the project several times or end up with a disaster that barely resembles a useable table. Instead, you want to design a table and there are lots of ways to do so. Why not try the following few steps?
- Look At Several Tables To Decide On A Table Shape
Round, square, or rectangle – what do you like? Deciding on a shape for your table isn’t as difficult as you think and there are lots of places to take inspiration from. You could go online or look at some furniture catalogs to decide on a shape. However, you have to think about what’s practical for the home, what the table will be used for, and which room it’ll be used in. For instance, a long rectangular coffee table for the front room could be used as a storage place for little odds and ends. So, a small drawer or shelf underneath would be useful to have.
- Create A Rough Sketch
Have an idea of what your table should look like? Draw it. You can create a rough sketch – or several – so that all your ideas can be put down on paper. You can look through and come up with a design you really like. However, when you’re working out the dimensions or size of the table, add an extra half an inch to your measurements as lumber can be half an inch shorter than listed.
- Know How Much Wood Is Required
This can be a tricky part as it’s easy to get confused over how much wood is actually needed. It might be easier if you broke the table down in sections and purchased enough wood for each. For instance, concentrate on the size of the tabletop boards required, then move onto the aprons needed, and finally onto the legs. You may want to buy additional wood just in case you make errors or want to add extra table features such as a drawer or shelf.
- Choose A Reliable But Somewhat Affordable Wood
There are a variety of wood-types to choose from, including pine, cherry, and maple wood. Pine is probably the most popular choice and it’s fairly affordable and beginner-friendly too. However, most hardwoods can be just as good as pine, as long as they’re sturdy and strong. If you’re building a table for outdoor areas, you may need to opt for treated wood so they’re long-lasting.
- Buy And Cut The Wood
Some home improvement stores will offer to cut the wood down to a rough or estimated size if you ask them. Of course, it will depend on the store you purchase the wood from. If you’re cutting the wood at home, you’ll need a workbench, safety clamps, and other safety equipment also.
These initial steps mightn’t seem as important as the other steps but are just as important. You need to ensure you have a design in mind, along with the right tools, to start and finish successfully.
How to Construct the Aprons and Tabletop?
Creating the apron and tabletop can be fairly simple, but you need to take your time so that it goes smoothly. Here are a few steps to construct the tabletop and aprons:
- Lay Out Your Boards
To prevent the wood (and your floors) from being scratched, use a tarp and lay the wood boards on the tarp. Depending on the size of the table, you may be using several or just one board. These boards will be attached to the table later and can be joined with a dowel and butt joint or a tongue and groove plank. You’ll need to determine which technique to use so think about which method is easier or best for you personally.
- Drill and Attach the Boards
You need pocket holes so that the outer and inner boards can be attached. You need to measure your center board and, with a pocket hole drill bit, drill. Depending on the length of the board, you may need to drill every seven inches. No screws should be added until drilling has taken place. Once the boards have been drilled, a pocket hole screw should be inserted. These screws should be around two and a half inches in length. They’ll secure the board in place.
- Mark Out The Apron Positions
You need to trace the aprons on the underside of the table so they can be attached properly. Measure one-inch from the edge of the tabletop and, using a pencil, mark a line for the aprons to be connected. By using the one-inch mark, it should prevent the aprons from being visible on the outside of the table.
- Attaching The Aprons
There are two ways in which the aprons can be secured to the table; the first is by gluing them. If you want to try this method, you should apply a thick, even coat of wood glue to the aprons and underside of the tabletop. They should be clamped down overnight so they remain in place. The second method is to screw them into the table. This is a permanent method but to do this, you’ll need a pocket hole jig and pocket screws.
How to Attach the Legs?
This is a tricky part, but with a little care and attention, can be completed fairly quickly. Here are a few steps you may need to know when attaching table legs.
- Cutting Table Legs To Size
Each table leg needs to be securely attached to the table so that it’s sturdy. If one leg isn’t trimmed to the correct size or isn’t properly attached, it can cause a wobbly table. So, it’s essential to measure and re-measure before attaching. You need to ensure each leg is cut and trimmed to the exact same length. You can cut with a hacksaw or circular saw or have them trimmed at the home improvement store. However, minor adjustments may still be required.
- Glue Apron Joints To The Table Legs
Aprons must connect with one another so each table leg must be positioned carefully. Use wood glue on the inside of the apron and the underside of the table. Each table leg should be positioned in a corner and attached via wood glue. Clamps may be required to help secure the leg. This is a tricky part so take your time and be patient.
- Drill for Pilot Holes and Attach Fastening Screws
Pilot holes will allow screws to be attached to the legs and aprons, which will secure the structure of the table. You need to use a quarter inch drill bit to carefully drill into each table leg and apron. Once that has been done, a quarter inch lag screw should be attached. It will go through the apron and into the leg of the table. You could use a ratchet to securely fasten the screws.
- Test for the Stability Once the Glue Has Dried
Once the legs and aprons have been attached, the glue needs time to set or dry. This could take several hours but it may be easier to leave overnight. Once everything is dry, turn the table over and test to see how stable it is. If the table wobbles, then the legs aren’t quite right and need to be trimmed.
How To Sand And Stain An Antique Table?
Sanding and staining the table can ensure a nice smooth finish. Unfortunately, it does require patience and care to create an even finish to the table. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps to try.
- Use 80-Grit Sandpaper
This is an optional step. If you don’t want to sand or stain the table, that’s your choice. It isn’t actually a necessity, especially if the table has a lovely wood grain finish. However, it can be a good idea to sand and stain the table. 80-grit sandpaper is coarse but will do the job nicely and iron out any imperfections or bumps the wood has.
- Smooth The Table With 220-Grit Sandpaper
220-grit sandpaper is fine and can help smooth the entire table out. If you want to stain the table, the 220-grit can ensure the grain is fine and any rough spots are gone. Gently ease this across the entire table so that you can a smooth and even finish across the grain.
- Wash The Table And Apply The Stain
Once you’ve sanded the table, wash it with warm water and a microfiber cloth so all of the dust and debris is removed. Leave the table to fully dry and then apply the stain with a rag cloth or a foam brush. Ensure you wear gloves during this part and apply the stain evenly to the entire table. Remove any excess stain with an old rag and leave it to dry.
- Apply A Second Coat
A second coat of wood stain can be applied to the table; however, you need to give ample time for the first coat to dry. Ideally, you want to leave the table overnight to dry before applying the second coat. Do as you did the first time around. There are also several wood stains to choose from, including gel, oil, and water-based stains.
Why Building An Antique Table With A Router Table Is Best?
A router table is a necessary tool for building any table, whether large or small. Routers do a lot of the hard work and make cutting and shaping a piece of cake. Expert DIYERS, amateur carpenters, and home project enthusiasts can find building a table a little simpler with a router. It’s an effective and quality woodworking tool that does most of the hard work for you and can handle a lot of simple and complicated tasking, including:
- Complicated Wood Pattern Etching
- Delicate And Simple Edge Trimming
- Perfect Stop Cuts
- High Quality Finishing To Tabletops and Leg Curves
- Simple Carving Woodworking
- Wood Trimming
- Cutting Moldings
- Shaping Moldings
- Box and Dovetail Joinery
- Joining Wood With Specialized Grooves
You could read a Bosch benchtop router table review and see what others have to say about it. Routers are really effective and anyone who is interested in woodworking projects will find it to be useful. It can create more complex designs that are cleaner and more appealing than if created by hand. There is also a little more flexibility available with a router table and that makes the entire process easier.