Introduction: Custom Media Table
This media table is a nice traditional looking piece with straight, square lines but with a few key details that really give it some great visual interest. The legs protrude through the top of the table and the material carries through horizontally to tie everything together. This is a media table for a buddy of mine. He'll be storing his stereo and blu-ray player on the shelf with a speaker down below behind the screen. The wood used on this build was actually from 2 different friends of mine. The quarter sawn white oak came from Jimmy Diresta when I camped out there last year and the reclaimed beech barn wood came from Matt Thayer just before I moved from Rhode Island. It was kind of fun doing some traditional and practical woodworking for a change, but I think I'll be ready to carve another leg pretty soon haha. If your Waterlox can makes fart noises, contact your doctor immediately.
If anybody would like more detailed plans for this build I do have those available on my website here: https://www.jackmanworks.com/shop/media-table-plan/
Step 1: Materials & Tools
- White oak board
- Reclaimed beech barn wood board
- Small pieces of 1/4" plywood for panels
- Brass screen
- Biscuits http://amzn.to/2ElnZDC
- Biscuits http://amzn.to/2nqne41
- Wood glue http://amzn.to/2kID2jI
- Dowels http://amzn.to/2DLbKPL
- Waterlox Original tung oil finish http://bit.ly/waterloxjackman
Tools (not all of these are required, but this is what I used for the build)
- Hearing protection http://amzn.to/2EloyNK
- Thickness planer http://amzn.to/2j4ISuI
- Table saw http://amzn.to/2j4bvVU
- Miter saw http://amzn.to/2j614UM
- Bar clamps http://amzn.to/2DMjReG
- Pipe clamps http://amzn.to/2jkLLbO
- Biscuit joiner http://amzn.to/2ifDaEQ
- Screw clamps http://amzn.to/2k4EvjT
- Glue bottle http://amzn.to/2m7nJyU
- Glue scraper http://amzn.to/2jrxJR0
- Wood ruler http://amzn.to/2gdizmg
- Table saw sled http://www.rockler.com/tablesaw-crosscut-sled
- Set up blocks http://amzn.to/2k4i5io
- Dowel jig http://amzn.to/2BClc5V
- Random orbital sander http://amzn.to/2jrwsJC
- Router table http://amzn.to/2tnG2T2
- Chisels http://amzn.to/2iDRapV
- Glue spreader http://amzn.to/2FuIPjs
- Pocket hole jig http://amzn.to/2j68JT0
- Drill and driver http://amzn.to/2wy5wSZ
Step 2: Rough Sizing Materials
I started off the project straight from rough sawn lumber. This piece of quarter sawn white oak was given to me by my buddy Jimmy Diresta (name drop..... thud). I also used some reclaimed beech barn wood, brass screen wire, Waterlox Original tung oil finish, and lots and lots of wood glue.
The pieces are cut down to rough length on the table saw. I drew plans for this build in SketchUp, so I used the dimensions from that and added a few inches for each group of pieces of similar length.
These pieces can then be sent through the thickness planer to take off the rough surface and bring them down to a consistent thickness. With the beech barnwood, I was able to get abou 5/8" out of it, but the oak was nice and thick so I could thickness it down to 1" for the legs and 3/4" for everything else.
Step 3: Cutting Materials Down to Width
This is the beech wood strait off the planer. I see some serious potential in there!
The beech is cut down to width by cutting out any of the bad material from the edges and then cutting the remainder down to 1-2" wide strips that will be used later for a lamination for the table top.
At this time I also use my sketch to cut down all of the oak pieces to final width along with some random 2-3" wide pieces that will be used for the shelf below the top.
Step 4: Clamping Up the Panels
The shelf is a little bit thicker so I decide to install some biscuits in it to help join everything together and keep the pieces in line with each other. I mark the locations out along the board and then cut the groove with my biscuit joiner.
With biscuits inserted into the grooves and wood glue applied to the edges, the whole sub-top is clamped together and set aside to dry.
A similar process is done for the top, except without the biscuits, so it takes a few more clamps. Screw clamps are used on the end to hold boards even with one another and then a stretcher is clamped across to center of the panel to make sure that the center of the boards are all flush as well.
Step 5: 2nd Panel Glue-up
After a few hours, both of the panels are dry, so I remove them from the clamps and scrap off the glue before sending them through the sander to level out any slight inconsistencies between the boards.
The sub-top is good for now, but the table top gets some special details! Because I hate myself, I make things more difficult but having the legs of the table protrude through the top. This has to be accounted for while gluing it up since I have a couple of oak strips to match the legs. I cut the center beech piece to exact width and draw a square line across the panel to line up the oak strips during lamination and then glue them in place with a beech strip on the outside of both sides.
While this dries, I cut all of the oak pieces for the side panels and legs down final length using a sled on my table saw.
Step 6: Preparing the Sides and Gluing Up
For the joiner, I chose to use mostly dowels, except for the top of the side panels where there is a panel. For the pieces around that panel, I need to cut a groove where the panel will fit so I do this on the table saw. The top piece is straight forward, the the sides need a stopped dado, so it's a bit trickier with clamping a stop block on the table and plunging the piece into the blade, but ultimately it's just the same groove in all pieces.
I cut a tenon in each end of the top piece that will also fit into the groove where the panel is going, but the rest of the rail pieces will simply be connected with dowels.
The panels are clamped together in a dry assembly to mark for locations for the dowels, much like I located the biscuits for the lamination of the top.
These marks give me a place to drill holes where the dowels where live to both reinforce the joints and also line up the pieces perfectly while I clamp them together.
You can get a better look at all of the joints here. The left side is the bottom which is doweled together, the middle piece is part dowel and part groove into the panel for alignment, and then the top piece is traditional tongue and groove into the side. This whole assembly is glued, clamped, and set aside to dry.
Step 7: Attaching the Legs to the Sides
With the side and front panels dry, I remove them from the clamps and then use my router table to cut a groove in the inside of the open windows of the panel. This groove will be used to hold screen later, but I need to cut it out now while I have access to those edges before assembly.
I do the same dry clamp up with the panels and the legs in place to mark for dowels. Then I drill out the holes for the dowels where they will connect, this time with a bit more pizzazz.
The legs are attached to create 2 assemblies for the left and right side. I apply glue to each edge and install the dowels in place before clamping the whole assembly together. I leave a 1/2" reveal on the bottom of the legs to hold the table up off of the ground and a 3/4" reveal at the top for the leg to protrude through the top of the table.
With each of these panels dry, I make sure to square off the corners of the groove around the big windows where the screen will be installed. It's a lot easier to do now before the whole thing is assembled. As you all know though, I do hate myself so I did contemplate doing this after assembly, but ultimately decided today wasn't a day for self harm.
Step 8: Final Assembly
I, yet again, apply glue and dowels, this time to the front panel. This assembly is also clamped in place.
The oak panel sub-top is cut down to final size using my table saw sled and I drill a few pocket holes in the underside to help secure the panel in place into the side assemblies. Hindsight being what it is, I should have just screwed straight through the side panels into this piece because I put a trim piece on there later that would have covered the screws up anyways.
I glue and clamp the sub-top in place along the front panel and then measure the back to make sure that it is at the same height as the back and clamp it down and then screw it in place to help hold it since the clamps are going to need to be moved around a bit.
Now the penultimate piece to the worst wood puzzle ever can now be put into place! It's cut down to final size and then I put glue down on the top of the side panels and slam it down into place.
Step 9: Adding Trim Pieces
On the outside corners I glue and install filler pieces of oak to match the rest of the oak strip.
Somehow I manage to find a way to clamps all of the pieces into place.
And then (everyone together now!) "because I hate myself", I decide to install a trim piece on both of the sides aligned with the sub-top to continue that line on the outside of the panel. This is the piece I was talking about that would have covered up the fasteners holding the top in place. Oh well, glue and clamp this in place too with the rest of the mess.
Step 10: Cutting Overhang Flush and Final Sanding
After the glue is dry I manage to untangle the table from all of the clamps. The legs are sticking up slightly from the table top and the extra filler pieces I installed a little long so I cut both of of these flush using my pull hand saw.
Now I can do a finish sanding by sanding down the top and legs smooth, but also hand sanding all of the corners with some fine 220 grit sandpaper to knock down all of the sharp corners.
Step 11: Finishing
Time for the best part, finish time!! I take my zen like pose to disperse the tung oil into my distribution vessel (the cut off bottom of a water bottle).
I apply the Waterlox with a rag to all surfaces. I’ll do a total of 3 coats on the table, leaving it to dry overnight and sanding with a fine ~400 grit sandpaper between coats.
The before/after on this table is just as incredible as I was hoping. The quarter sawn oak looks great per usual, but the reclaimed beech has a really cool look to it.
Step 12: Installing the Screen
With the finishing complete, the final step is to add the screen into the three windows on the side/front of the table. I got some brass screen for this to class things up. To cut it, I use a piece of plywood as a straight edge and cut it with a utility knife.
I ended up using 2 layers of the screen material because it gave a better visual. Then I cut some thin 3/8" square pieces of oak and pre-drill them and cut them to fit around the perimeter of each of the window panel things.
The screen is held into place with screws around the perimeter. The brass screen is pretty rigid already, so it doesn't really take much to hold it in place... and we're done!
Step 13: Glamour Shots
Thanks for checking out the build process! Don't forget to watch the build video for the full experience.
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Please be positive and constructive.
For someone who is carpentry illiterate, how would I scale this up to be a litter box enclosure? This would be perfect for this purpose if the dimensions were about 16" deep, 30" long and 30" high (pr 36" high, either one). I would just need to add an entrance hole somewhere. No biggie there.
All you would really need to do is stretch out the length of the legs, and the stiles/rails (the pieces that make up the panels that hold the screen. That's a great idea to use as a litter box enclosure though! You could just leave off the screen on one side for the kitties to get in :)