Table Construction – Step-by-Step Guide

Table Construction

Building a live edge table is a rewarding woodworking project, as you to create a unique piece of furniture with rustic appeal. We can provide you with the wood needed to create a stunning live edge dining table, wood slab coffee table or a waney edge console table. Here is the Elephant Timber guide on how to build a live edge wood table:

Materials

To build your own unique wood slab table, you will need:

  • Live edge slab (we can supply you with the wood of your choice, such as ash, yew, chestnut, oak, walnut, elm or beech)
  • Table legs (metal, wood or other material)
  • Wood glue
  • Wood screws
  • Sandpaper (various grits)
  • Wood finish (such as varnish, oil or wax)

Tools

To construct your live edge wood table, you will need:

  • Circular saw or chainsaw
  • Straight edge or guide
  • Belt sander or handheld orbital sander
  • Clamps
  • Doweling jig or biscuit joiner / biscuits (optional for joining slabs)
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Level

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Select and prepare your wood slab: Choose a live edge slab that suits your preferences in terms of size, shape and wood species. Remove any loose bark or debris from the slab. If necessary, use a chainsaw or circular saw to trim the slab to your desired size and shape.

2. Flatten and smooth your live edge table top: Flatten the slab using a planer or a router sled. If you don’t have access to these tools, you can also use a belt sander or hand planes. Smooth the surface using progressively finer grits of sandpaper until you achieve the desired finish.

3. Join multiple slabs (optional): If you are creating a wider table, you may need to join multiple slabs together using dowels or biscuit joiner / biscuits for alignment and strength. Apply wood glue to the edges before joining and clamp the pieces together until the glue dries.

4. Attach the table legs: Choose or build the legs for your table. Metal hairpin legs, wooden legs, or custom-designed legs are popular choices. Position the legs on the underside of the slab and mark their locations. Drill pilot holes for screws, then attach the legs securely.

5. Stabilise and reinforce: If your live edge slab has cracks or voids, consider stabilising them with epoxy resin, this not only reinforces the wood but also adds a decorative touch. Fill any knots or voids with epoxy resin and sand the area smooth after it cures. A coloured epoxy resin can create a distinctive feature from the wood’s natural features.

6. Finish your table: Apply a wood finish of your choice to protect the wood and enhance its appearance. Common finishes include varnish, oil or wax. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the chosen finish and allow it to dry thoroughly. You may wish to lightly sand your wood between each coat of finish.

7. Level your table: Use a level to ensure that your table is even and stable. If needed, adjust the legs to achieve a level surface.

8. Finishing touches: You may wish to add additional features, such as inlays or metal accents, to personalise your live edge table.

Table Construction Tips

  • Always wear appropriate safety gear, such as safety glasses and hearing protection, when working with power tools.
  • Take your time when finishing the live edge slab to achieve the desired smoothness and appearance.
  • Consider using a protective coating on the bottom of the table legs to prevent damage to floors.

Remember that working with live edge wood requires careful consideration of the natural contours and features of the wood. This guide provides a general overview, but the specific steps may vary depending on the characteristics of your chosen live edge slab and your design preferences.

We Can Help

We have extensive table construction experience and knowledge; we can help with your timber selection and provide advice on how to best prepare your wood before use. Order your live edge wood from us today and start creating your unique live edge wood table.

Get In Touch

If you are looking for the perfect live edge wood for your table, please visit our online store or visit us in person at our workshop on the Sussex coast. Our normal opening hours are Monday-Friday 07:30 – 17:00. Please contact us on 07941 034 822 to make an appointment, as we are not always based in the workshop. Out-of-hours or weekend appointments can be made by arrangement.