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Designed to accommodate up to ten guests, this solid wood table is distinguished by discrete feet assembled on a central beam. Very clean, this assembly also ensures perfect stability.

Making an ash table

Necessary material

  • 2 structural bolts Ø 16 x 250 mm
  • 1 structural bolt Ø 16 x 180 mm
  • 3 washers Ø 16 mm • 6 lag screws 6 x 50 mm and 6 lag screws 6 x 80 mm for sleepers
  • 12 washers Ø 6 mm
  • 4 domino pigeons 10 x 50 mm (or Ø 12 mm trunnions)

Difficulty: 3/4
Cost: 200 €
Time: 4 days
Equipment: level, clamps, panel press, grasshoppers, calipers, square-set, screwdriver, sander, domino milling machine (or trunnions), circular saw, radial saw, ripper, drill press, woodworking machine (or combination)...

This project consists in designing a solid wood table, the base of which never meets the knees of the guests. The large table (200 x 86 cm) must remain perfectly stable despite this constraint.

A carpenter's job

The solution is to assemble feet and sleepers supporting the tray to a beam, a sort of spine of the book. This structure avoids the belt crossbars and spacers of conventional design tables. Stability is ensured by a quadruple assembly: conical, dovetail, pigeon and bolted. The trapezoidal profile of the feet makes it possible to insert them in conical dovetail notches, made on the sides of the beam. The feet are also connected by pigeons to small trapezoidal crosspieces (the keys). The whole is flanged using structural bolts through sleepers screwed under the tray.

The importance of wood essence

The table is made of ash, wood as hard as oak, more resistant because of its flexibility, but twice cheaper to buy. For an equivalent price, one can also opt for douglas pine (quite gnarly) or beech (the price varies greatly according to the regions). More classic, cherry or walnut are also suitable, but the cost increases significantly.

Easy maintenance

The longevity of the tray depends in part on the protection it receives... An oil is less resistant than a varnish, but it has the advantage of allowing a local sanding in case of damageafter which it is sufficient to iron a layer of product.
On the other hand, if a varnishing requires a complete sanding of the piece of furniture (a "blanking") in the event of damage, the exceptional resistance of the current products (polyurethane or acrylic) facilitates the daily maintenance and makes it possible to preserve for many years the appearance of the wood.

Cutting elements

Cutting wooden planks

  • Crossbars, feet and beam are cut in ash trays 65 mm thick and 35 mm for the tray.
  • Use a circular saw or a band saw.

Cutting wood

  • Correlate the different parts.
  • To obtain a beam of ep. 100 mm, laminate two pieces of ep. 50 mm, with the heart of the wood facing outwards.

Drill the sleeper

  • Use a drill press to drill the beam right through the rails.
  • Use a long wood drill bit Ø 16 mm (frame bolt diameter).

Cut the beam

  • Cut the beam and feet with a radial saw.
  • To bevel the feet, make a guide with a panel and a cleat to clamp the piece at the chosen angle (20°).

Machine feet

  • The lower part of the feet follows a machined curve to the router thanks to a machining jig.
  • It guides the workpiece against a roller to be calibrated.

Handyman's tip

Use grasshoppers

To clamp the workpieces, use Crickets, to screw on the jig.
The clamping force is adjusted by screwing or unscrewing the jaw, consisting of a bolt with a rubber cap.

Machine curves

  • Push the pieces against the calibrating roller to machine the curves along the line given by the template flange (G).
  • Remove 2 to 5 mm by setting the fibers *.

Machining of sleepers

Drilling sleepers

  • Drill the sleepers in two stages to drown the heads of the center framing bolt and the lag bolts that will screw against the table top.

Equilibrate the bowl

  • Square the bowl so that it can hold exactly the square head of the frame bolt.
  • Use a 30 mm wood chisel and a mallet.

Realization of a guiding ring template

  • Make a template for a router guide ring in a panel drop.

Dig the bowl under the sleepers

  • It guides the machine to dig a bowl under the sleepers, to prevent them from pivoting on the beam and the ends of the feet they will come to cap.

Machine the bowl

  • Adjust the depth of the cutter and then machine the bowl by moving the router on the template.
  • The guide ring abuts on the contour of the cut.

Info for DIYers

helical calibration roller

A helical calibration roller consists of a toolholder with wafers arranged in a helix for a progressive cut (which mitigates the risk of rejection and accident). The tool is mounted on a ball bearing, against which rests the sole of the machining jig.

Cutting ends of sleepers

  • Use the same guide as before to cut the ends of the sleepers with a radial saw.

Modification of the machining jig

  • Modify the machining template of the router by removing the compensation wedge (C) to obtain a curved shape.

Calibration of the ends

  • Calibrate one end at a time; the part must be turned over on the template to machine the other end.

Sanding feet and sleepers

  • Sand sleepers and feet to eliminate surface imperfections (machining waves).
  • Use a strong grain sandpaper (80).

Assembly of the base

Assemble the feet

  • The feet are assembled two by two by means of keys: small parts of trapezoidal form.
  • The assembly is done by pigeons (but it could very well be done by tavaillons if one does not have the milling machine dominoes).

Digging the mortises

  • Start by digging the mortises on the feet using a domino milling machine.

Milling the sides of the feet

  • Milling the inclined faces of the feet on the router with a roller to be calibrated, tilting the shaft by 18°.
  • Do not remove more than 5 mm thick of wood at a time.

follow the contour of the bevel

  • Present the feet at their intended location on the beam.
  • In pencil, follow the contour of the upper bevel in contact with the side of the beam.

Verification of symmetry

  • Check the symmetry of the pattern at the false-square, then trace the depth and inclination of the notch to be made with a dovetail cutter: 10 mm deep at an angle of 15°.

Machining template

  • Make a machining jig for the router with its dovetail cutter.
  • The lateral rules guide the sole along the trapezoidal cut.


  • The run of the router is limited by two stops.
  • The panels on which these stops and the lateral rules are screwed also serve as splinter guards.

Slide the top of the feet into the notch

  • Slide the top of the feet into the cut.
  • This conical dovetail assembly securely holds the base without gluing; it is therefore removable.

Assembly of beams and feet

  • Directly trace the keys after assembling beam and feet.
  • Mark also centering marks for pigeons (dominoes of 10 x 50 mm or dowels of Ø 10 mm).

Realization of mortises

  • Cut the pieces with a radial saw along the path.
  • Make the mortises with the dominos milling machine (or the holes for the trunnions).

Drill the wood

  • Drill a bowl centered on the base of the keys with a Ø 30 mm flat-bottom bit.
  • It is intended to receive the washer and the nut of the frame bolt.

Assembling feet and keys

  • Assemble the feet and the keys (one pair of feet per key).
  • Check the accuracy of the assembly by threading the feet on the beam, without glue first.

Foot assembly

  • Then stick together feet and keys.
  • Use a vinyl glue (white glue) taking care to coat dominoes (or trunnions) well.

Tighten both legs

  • The two legs are tight together, facing up and down because of their V shape.
  • Do not change the angle formed by the feet by balancing the tensions.

Beam drilling

  • Assemble beam and feet.
  • Drill through the beam until it opens into the bowls dug on the underside of the keys (or under the beam for the central beam).

Assemble the sleepers and the base

  • Assemble the sleepers and the base by threading the frame bolts.
  • Their square heads are flush with the upper face of the sleepers (they must not exceed).

Realization of the plateau

Assemble the parts

  • To obtain a solid table top, it is necessary to assemble several corrected pieces.
  • Use a multi-fillet (photo) or tongue and groove cutter.

Glue the songs

  • Glue the edges before assembling them in the order indicated, indicated by an appropriate marking (a number, a sign...).

Clamp the table

  • If clamping is possible, it will also be necessary to tighten the table in the perpendicular direction to prevent the parts from lifting under pressure.
  • Better to use a panel press or dormant clamps.


Draw the cuts

  • To draw the cuts in the corners of the table, use a glass or any circular object to the desired diameter.
  • Hold it so that you can draw a curve tangent to the edges of the board.

Cut the edges with the jigsaw

  • Cut the table top to size with the circular saw on guide rail, then the rounded edges with the jigsaw.
  • Sand the faces and the edges finely.

Milling a chamfer

  • Milling a chamfer on the edge of the table with a router with a 45° pilot cutter.
  • Advance regularly without stopping to avoid burning the wood.

Finishing and mounting the table

Sand the table

  • Sand the pieces with a fine grain sandpaper (150 to 280).
  • Pass a layer of polyurethane varnish.
  • Spread (400 grit) and apply a second coat of varnish.

Assembly of the table

  • After having drilled Ø 5 mm pilot holes under the plate and screwed the sleepers (equipped with bolts) using lag bolts, put the beam on the bolts, then the base.

Table installation

  • Place a washer and a Ø16 mm nut and tighten the frame bolts.
  • The table can rest on its feet (beam and base are removable).

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