Build a Table Introduction

With a good set of do-it-yourself-table instructions, it is not difficult to build a table, but before you get into the “how to’s” it is important that you know and understand safety procedures in order to avoid injuries. The following lists of safety tips and common mistakes will make building a table a breeze.

Safety Tips

1. Safety glasses or goggles should be worn whenever power tools are in use and when chiseling, sanding, scraping or hammering overhead. This is very important for anyone wearing contact lenses.
2. Wear ear protectors when using noisy power tools. Some tools operate at noise levels that damage hearing.
3. Be careful of loose hair and clothing so that it does not get caught in tools; roll your sleeves up and remove jewelry.
4. The proper respirator or face mask should be worn when sanding, sawing or using substances with toxic fumes.
5. Keep blades sharp. A dull blade requires excessive force and can slip which causes accidents.
6. Always use the right tool for the job.
7. Repair or discard tools with cracks in the wooden handles or chips in the metal parts.
8. Don't drill, shape or saw anything that isn't firmly secured.
9. Oily rags are spontaneously combustible, so take care when you store and discard them.
10. Don't abuse your tools.
11. Keep a First Aid Kit on hand.
12. Do not work with tools when you are tired. That's when most accidents occur.
13. Read the owner's manual for all tools and under- stand their proper usage.
14. Keep tools out of the reach of small children.
15. Unplug all power tools when changing settings or parts.
16. Review the safety section.

Take special care regarding the use of the table saw fence settings and the suggestions on how to make cuts using safety guards, push sticks, push blocks, fence straddlers, and feather boards. Many helpful tips on measuring, using a rip fence, miter gauge etc., are shown in the videotape featured on the right side of this page.


Most Common Mistakes

The single most common mistake in any do it yourself project is the failure to read and follow the manufacturer's instructions for any tool or material being used. Other common mistakes include taking safety measures for granted and poor project planning. Here is a list of hints to successfully complete a do it yourself table project safely.

1. Follow the "Golden Rule" of measuring: "Measure twice, cut once."
2. Provide yourself plenty of time for each step.
3. Understand your plan. If you have any questions on how to build a table visit the Forums
4. When finishing the wood, keep dust and dirt away from the table.
5. Follow the application instructions for your choice of finish.
6. Cut a kerf slot in the rails for the mirror holders BEFORE assembling.
7. Be sure the router is at top speed before cutting into the wood.
8. Make sure the dowel holes are aligned by using a dowel jig or a horizontal boring tool (if available).
9. To increase the durability of the table, use a finish that is resistant to water stains.
10. Fill the nail holes with wood filler after the stain is applied.