Essay

How to: A Maker's Guide - Build a Table

I’m back in the workshop and have access to machines! A friend hurt his back over lockdown and wanted a standing desk to avoid sitting while working.  He had been using a chilli bin as a table, but his partner was not digging it.  She secretly asked me to make a small table to place on the kitchen table to make a standing desk.

You could use:

I made my table from reclaimed oak floorboards and an old dresser. You could use reclaimed material or some reasonably-priced timber.


Method: 

1. Machine legs and rails on table saw.  Cut angle of legs and rails on drop saw.

2. Joint and laminate two boards together for the top.

3. Use Festool domino to make floating mortise and tenons for legs and rails.  The domino is the secret weapon for furniture making these days! Just make sure you check your depths! I went right through one leg and into the underside of the table top! D’oh!

4. Do a dry run to make sure it all fits! Glue it and clamp it together, clean up any excess glue. I Thought I was being clever and used a Scotch-Brite pad to clean up…. Bad idea! It reacted with the tannins in the oak and it looked like it had caught a skin disease. Made for LOTS of extra sanding :(

5. Mitre and glue clashing onto the outside edge of the top.

6. Final sand and clean over with methylated spirits which removes all loose dust to allow the oil to penetrate better.

7. Oil and polish it, and it’s done!

 

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Tim Boyd is the founder of The Warren, a community workshop in Tāmaki Makaurau. The Warren grew out of Tim’s desire to offer Aucklanders a welcoming community space in the city to learn new making skills.

Tim is a registered plumber, and had become increasingly frustrated with the wasted potential he saw in discarded building materials in overflowing skip bins. This passion for transforming and finding new value in used materials, along with an enthusiasm for pairing keen learners with people who have skills to share, is the foundation of The Warren.  Looking forward, Tim wants to grow The Warren into a collective space and incubator for makers and businesses to be educated in and operate under circular economy principles, reducing waste to landfill and environmental emissions. 

The Warren offers classes enabling people to learn how to build things themselves, along with drop-in sessions where people can use the workshop independently. In front of our workshop is The Warren Store, which stocks a revolving roster of handmade products, often made from recycled materials, by local craftspeople and designers.

Back in the workshop and rearing to go!

This time I have access to all the tools and machines

Tim Boyd, table legs

The Festool Domino in action

All the pieces ready to go

The finished table