So I made this table top so I could use it as a woodworking bench. I built it the exact same size as my welding table. I do a fair amount of woodworking and metalworking in my garage and I am a little strapped for room. This top is easy enough to take off and put on as long as you have a strong back or another person to help you move it. The table top is nice and solid and most importantly FLAT.
***Check out the video for an in-depth tutorial****
Materials I used:
- 2 x 4's
- Wood Glue
- 3/8" Dowels
Tools I used:
- Miter Saw
- Thickness Planer
- Dowel Jig
- Circular Saw
- Reciprocating Saw
- Orbital Sander
- Belt Sander
- Stain Brush
Step 1: Step 1: Build the Slab
For this table I purchased 24, 2 x 4's. It took a little while to sort through them trying to find the best ones. Using my miter saw I set my backstop to 72" and cut off the worst looking end.
From there I took each piece to my thickness planer and planed approx 1/32 off each end. This makes for a nicer glue-up
After that it was time for gluing. I glued 8, 2 x 4's together so that the slab would fit through my planer. I used quite a bit of glue for this. I found a glue spreader at my local hardware store that seemed to work pretty well. I would simply drizzle the glue out of the gallon bottle and then spread it out with the spreader. After all 8 pieces were stacked on top of one another I clamped the slab with 4 clamps. Once the clamps were tight a ton of glue seeped out and I used a damp cloth to clean up the spillage on both top and bottom. Then I let it dry for 24 hours.
I made this table in 3 sections so this part was repeated 2 more times.
Step 2: Step 2: Conjoin the 3 Slabs
After the glue has set, it's time to take off the clamps and run all 3 slabs through the thickness planer. Since I was maxing out my planer, and the slabs were so heavy, I had to take off 1/64th of an inch at a time. I made sure that I ran each slab through at the same height and I also did top and bottom of the slab. After everything was said and done I took off 3/16 of an inch in total so this was actually quite a lengthy process.
Now that all 3 slabs are flat and of the same thickness it's time to add the dowels. I picked up a cheap dowel jig from my local hardware store and chose to use 3/8 dowels. I marked 2 inches in on the ends, one in the middle and one in-between the middle and end. So I used 10 dowels in total. 5 on each side.
The holes were drilled, I marked the receiving end, and the dowel was glued, then the whole entire slab was glued. Then with the glue still wet I clamped the entire slab together using some pipe clamps. I then let this dry for 36 hours.
Step 3: Step 3: Square Up the Top
To do this I used a drywall T-square. I just marked each end and went in as far as the furthest board stuck in. Maybe 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch. I drew a line and then used my circular saw to cut the ends. This did not cut all the way through so I used my sawzall to cut through the rest.
The sawzall ended up leaving a nasty edge on the ends of the slab so to get rid of this i used a belt sander with 120 grit sandpaper. This made for a quick fix.
Step 4: Step 4: Sanding the Top
Since the belt sander was out, I decided to hit the top of the slab quick. I did not spend much time on this part and mostly focused on where the slabs were glued together. Then I used my orbital sander with 220 grit sandpaper and smoothed up the top and the edges / ends. After this I did a quick vacuum clean up on the top with the shop-vac.
Step 5: Step 5: Finalization
I have to denote that in the video I used butcher block oil before the polyurethane. This was completely unnecessary. All you actually need is some poly. I was going for the darkened look but poly would have been enough to do this.
I spread the poly on slightly thick using a one coat poly made by Minwax. I really like this stuff by the way. I applied it to the top, ends and sides of the top. Let it dry for about 4 hours and then it was ready for use.
All in all I think I spent around 40 bucks for this top. And it's worth every penny. It took about 6 hours in total work to complete but it's nice and solid and most importantly FLAT! I would recommend doing this if you're new to woodworking and want a nice solid top for cheap.
I hope everyone enjoyed this instructable. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment. Otherwise check out my YouTube channel to view more videos like this one!