When we moved into our current house I didn’t really think we had an entryway. Directly off of the front door was the office on one side and the dining room on the other, and nothing but a small blank wall before the hallway to our bedroom. But as we started settling in, that small wall grew to a large white space and started to stick out to me. All of a sudden I realized we did have an entryway after all, and it needed something good placed there. It IS the first impression your guests have when they visit you know.
I am a lover of simple. And a lover of a good woodworking project. So from day one I envisioned a simple, three sided console table. I actually considered trying my hand at creating a concrete mold because I loved the idea of a concrete table there, but ultimately I knew wood, stained wood was the way to go.
Shortly after I made that decision I found the perfect mirror on Facebook Marketplace, a large, mid century modern one that was just the right size to fill the wall. It was brown, so I made the decision then that the console table would be stained a black stain.
One more fun story before we get to the part of this I know you are here for. A couple of years ago I got the crazy idea to start a woodworking business and planned to sell my wares. I don’t know what I was thinking as I was nursing a newborn, had just brought home 10 baby chicks (which I had no idea how to raise), and we were still renovating our house. But nevertheless I built two peg board coat hangers to start, and one of them I painted a black stain. It’s still sitting in my Dad’s shop and one of these days I will finish it, but it was the beauty of that piece that made me feel confident in staining this table black.
How was that for a tangent?
Ok down to business. The construction of this table ended up being a lot more complex than I had originally planned. I still think as long as you don’t plan on putting hundreds of pounds on it, you could do a simple construction and support it with some L-brackets and be good to go. But my Dad was concerned that the littles running around our house would crash into it one good time and cause it to fall apart. So we did some behind the scenes bolstering to make it as strong as possible. Here’s the process.
The table is made with a stacked plywood top (two pieces of plywood attached to each other to create a thicker and more sturdy top), a 1×2 front facing (to cover the raw plywood edge), plywood sides, and 3/4″x1/2″ slats. If you can assemble Ikea furniture then you are more than capable of putting this together!
The amount of each of these things will depend on the size of table you plan to make. My table is 47″ wide, 31.5″ tall, and 14.5″ deep.
- Premium Plywood cut to your top measurements – we typically use 3/4″ Birch Plywood because it has a nice smooth finish
- You will need enough for two top pieces that will attach to each other + your two side pieces/legs
- 3/4″ x 1/2″ slats (you can find these in the Home Depot lumber department with the trim materials called “Pine Moulding”) **For our 14.5″ depth we used 11 slats, 11 1/2″ gaps, and the front 1×2.
- Wood Glue
- 1″ Pin Nails
- 1″ flat head screws
- Countersink drill bit or Drill Press
- Pin Nailer
- Table Saw
Step 1: CREATING THE TOP
The top is going to be two pieces of plywood attached to each other with wood glue and pin nails. The bottom piece will be slightly shorter than the top to accommodate for the side/leg pieces.
- Cut the short sides of the top plywood piece at a 45 degree miter.
- For the bottom piece of the top, deduct 1.5 inches (to accommodate for the 3/4″ side plywood x2) from the top piece width (or place your side plywood pieces next to the edge and measure the exact width), and cut to size.
- Center your bottom piece on the top piece, wood glue between the pieces, then pin nail from the bottom side. You may want to clamp in place to keep the boards straight and help prevent gaps between the two pieces.
Because we are showing the 3/4″ side of the slats, that means our 1/2″ slat thickness combined with the 3/4″ plywood thickness will not perfectly equal the thickness of our top which is two 3/4″ plywood pieces fixed together. So we will need to take a small bit off the sides of the top so it will meet flush with our slats.
4. Place your side plywood piece and a slat (with the 3/4″ side facing out) in the notch we’ve created in the top, mark where the slat hits on the top piece of your top, then cut the sides of the top to sit flush with the slats.
***Picture shows this detail after we had the sides attached. I did a poor job of documenting the process for a blog post so I am having to use stories to show it. We did this in a different sequence than how I am sharing – but I’m sharing it in the sequence that I think makes it easier to understand.
Step 2: ATTACHING THE SIDES
Next we will work on creating our hidden butt joint, drilling the holes to countersink our screws, and attaching our side pieces (legs).
We showed the 3/4″ side of the slats on the sides, and used a 1/2″ gap between them. You will need to figure out spacing based on the depth of your sides, keeping in mind the 1×2 the faces the front will be the first 3/4″ piece if you are looking from the front of the table to the back. So you will need to place your first slat after the first gap.
- To mark your spacing for your slats, lay your two side pieces next two each other with the top sides meeting. Use a pencil to mark out your gaps and slats. I used an “X” to denote where our slats would go.
- We countersunk screws and then hid them behind the slats to help create a stronger construction. To do this either use a drill press or a countersink drill bit to create a hole deep enough to allow the screw to sit flush or just below the surface of the plywood. Drill the holes within a 3/4″ from the top of the side plywood pieces (so the screws will hit 3/4″ plywood bottom piece of the table top). We placed screws where every other slat would be.
- Stand your side piece up in the notch created in the table top, make sure everything is flush with the top, then attach the sides with flat head screws.
- Attach L-brackets to the back top corners for added support.
Step 3: ATTACHING THE SLATS
We used super small pin nails to attach the slats, and used the 1/2″ side of a scrap slat piece as a spacer.
- Nail your slats to the side plywood pieces using a pin nailer. Place them according to your pencil marking, and use a scrap piece of slat to keep your spacing consistent. The slats will cover the countersunk screws.
Step 4: ADD THE FRONT FACING
To cover our raw plywood edges on the front and to cover our butt joint, we attached 1×2 pieces cut with mitered corners to create a clean finish.
- Measure the top width of your table for the long edge measurement of your top 1×2.
- Measure the height of your table for the long edge measurement of your side 1×2 pieces.
- Cut your pieces at a 45 degree miter
- Wood glue the back of your 1x2s then pin nail into place.
*** We used temporary braces on the back because I was transporting my table home and wanted to give it extra support while the glue was setting.
Step 5: SAND + STAIN!
I didn’t include the materials for this in the list since this part is up to you! I used my Ryobi Orbital Sander and 150 and 220 grit pads to sand the table down to a nice smooth finish. Then I applied two coats of Varathane Classic Black Stain using both a cloth and a brush (necessary for getting in between the slats!), then topped it with Polycrylic to help seal and protect it. The Polycrylic is optional, but if your table is ever going to be exposed to water its a good idea.
If you give this table a go tag me when you share it! I would love to see your creation and spins on it!!