How to Build a 3 Leg Table

A three-leg table on a white background.
What You'll Need
Wood glue
Your choice of paint or stain
One 1x10 board (soft pine is a common wood type)
Turned table leg, 20 inches at a minimum
16 inch, 2x3 board
Table post around 20 to 22 inches long.

Three-leg tables have been popular for holding small table lamps, your TV remote, and other such necessities. Building your own three-leg table can add a one-of-a-kind look to any room. The process is not as difficult as it may initially seem, since most three-leg tables can be assembled with only glued pegs and hand tools. Those with artistic inclinations often enjoy painting their own unique designs on the tabletop and legs. There are a few factors described here as far as materials and dimensions to keep in your plans for this project.

Before beginning this project, you should become familiar with the two types of table connections you will be using: tendons and mortises. A tendon is the part of the wood that projects outward, and a mortise is the concave part of the wood. These connections need to be fitted together properly in order to have a solid end product.

Step 1 - Draw Your Patterns

Outline your three table legs on the 1x10 board. Be sure to draw a tendon on each so they can later be attached to the table post. Carefully cut each of them out.

Step 2 - Carve Your Mortises

Cut mortises into the post of the table, and be sure all of them are even. Fit the tendons into each mortise by sliding them, and check that each is fitted at a 90-degree angle so that the tabletop will be completely level.

Step 3 - Glue Your Table Legs

Once you are sure each leg is at a 90-degree angle, glue each tendon in place. Take care that the glue does not drip or run onto the visible parts of the table legs.

Step 4 - Make the Table Top Base

Carve a mortise into the center of the 2x3 board so that it will fit the top of the table post. Fit the 2x3 perfectly level on the top of the table post and glue these in place.

Step 5 - Make Your Round Table Top

Cut the tabletop out of the leftover wood from the 1x10 board. Cut two even half circles that will be about 19 to 20 inches in diameter when fitted together. Glue these two halves to the 2x3 board; pay close attention to fit them perfectly horizontally. Drill two holes through both the 2x3 and the tabletop. Fit the pegs through these holes and glue them in place in order to secure the tabletop.

Step 6 - Sand and Paint

Refinish the wood as needed with sandpaper, and then apply your chosen wood stain or paint. The number of coats depends on the look of the table you have in mind. Thinner coats of paint or stain allow the grain of the wood to show through and give a more vintage look.