How to Build a Butterfly Leaf Dining Table Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, you cut and sanded all the pieces you need to build a butterfly leaf dining table. In Part 2, you will assemble the table, prepare it for the final finish and select a finish. Follow the simple steps below to complete this project.

Step 5 - Plan Assembly of the Table 

Do an inspection of all the pieces required to build the table and lay them all out in order of assembly and in groups of table top, legs and moving pieces. Take measurements for the hinge placements and mark accordingly. Dry fit pieces to see the actual height and width of the table. Check to see that all the parts are there and that they all fit together reasonably well. 

Step 6 - Begin with the Table Top 

Place the plywood sheets that will make up the table top on a large flat surface, with the good side facing down and attach the hinges at appropriate positions between these pieces. Be sure to place protective material under the plywood pieces to protect the table top surface. The shorter sections will be the table leaves, which are joined to the larger middle piece with the hinges. 

Step 7 - Construct 2x4 Table Frame 

Using the 2x4s construct a square frame for the center of the table top. Be sure to apply glue sparingly to prevent bleed out, and follow up by screwing pieces together for a sturdy bond. The ends can be butt-joined or mitered. Place the table top on top of this frame with the top of the table, again facing the floor. Attach the table top to this square formed by the 2x4s. 

Step 8 - Attach the Legs and Leaf Supports 

Attach each of the 4x4-inch boards to an inside corner of the 2x4-inch boards that have made the square frame on which the table top sits. Glue, clamp and screw these posts into place to provide for stability. Next, attach two of the 4-foot x 6-inch blanks to the frame against the legs so that they run alongside the hinges. These removable pieces will hold up the table leaves. 

Step 9 - Sand and Final Finish 

Begin by removing any glue marks or minor scratches and dents left by building the table. Carefully and systematically inspect and clean the entire table with a clean cloth slightly saturated with mineral spirits. This will aid in identifying inconsistencies in the wood, raise the grain and remove minor glue bleeding. All of these will aid in providing an excellent finish. 

Begin sanding with 150 grit sand paper and work up to 220 grit. Use an electrical hand sander, but for hard to reach places, sand by hand. Wipe all dust from the table with a clean cloth and mineral spirits. 

Apply a desired stain and let dry thoroughly. Follow this with a solution of 50 percent varnish and mineral spirits. When this coat is dry follow it up with at least three more coats of 100 percent varnish, rubbing out each with 0000 grade steel wool. Finish with a hard floor wax which has been thoroughly buffed out.