In the beginning... #1: First Project: Flip-Top Table

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Blog entry by synecdoche posted 08-14-2012 12:03 AM 1754 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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After receiving a table saw for my birthday last week, I dove right into my first (non-birdhouse) project. It’s been a bit of a learning experience.

Skills I think I’ve acquired:
Cutting wood to equal sizes using a stop block
Shaping wood, somewhat, using the table saw
Using my Kreg Jig

Stuff I need to work on:
Choosing lumber
Nailing! (Who woulda thought?)

So basically, I’m building this little flip-top table based on these plans. It’s a simple enough project made simpler with the Kreg Jig. I think most of the assembly went pretty well but so far I’ve run into some problems. First of all, I didn’t take the time to try to square the 2×2s I am using as legs in place of the stair legs. I’m not quite comfortable enough with the table saw to run such small pieces through just yet. Anyway, after I put together the side aprons with the legs it quickly became apparent that the 2×2s weren’t as equal as I thought they were. This is my own fault; I should have been more careful selecting the lumber and probably should have taken the time to mill it as best as I could with my limited resources.

Also, some of the boards I was using in the assembly were a bit warped. Again, I maybe should have used more caution when selecting the boards but they were the best ones I could find. I was using the cheapest lumber I could get for now, in part because I am just learning; for my next project, I might find something small to do so I can spend a bit more money on the wood and hopefully will run into fewer aggravations of this sort.

After those initial hiccups, the assembly yesterday went smoothly enough, I guess. I had the table put together but for the top. The joints were clearly not square in places but I think when it is ticked in the corner and painted up, nobody would notice but me and anybody who actually looked very closely at it. I’m not terribly satisfied, but as a first project, I could have done worse.

Ran into another, stupid, problem when I put the back part of the top on. I thought I was very clever using a piece of scrap wood to measure where the rear apron connected with the the top (which I had glued on). But when I started driving some nails in, a number of them came out the back side! Again, I wasn’t careful enough. These are fine little finishing nails and I can’t seem to get them back up out, so I guess I’m stuck with them for now. Sigh. It’s irritating to say the least, because I probably could have prevented this kind of an accident if I had paid more attention before finishing the nails off.

Oh well. Live and learn.

Here come some pictures. Sorry they’re not properly rotated, but you get the idea.


3 comments so far

View RaggedKerf's profile


425 posts in 2148 days

#1 posted 08-14-2012 11:18 AM

Hey I think your table is pretty freakin’ good for the first non-birdhouse project! Looks better than anything I’ve completed at that scale and I’d be happy with it! This is the first time I’ve been able to offer someone advice (usually I just read and soak up the knowledge that flows around here like water) so take it with a grain of salt if you wish:

About the nails sticking out of the back—-I ran into a similar situation with trying to remove the nails from some shoe molding I was working on at my house last month. I found an easy way to remove a finishing nail that was too close to the edge to just hammer back through was to use a set punch. I put the set punch on the tip of the nail and was able to angle the punch just a fraction of an inch away from (in my case) the tile floor and tap it a few times to get it going. And it was in oak so I to “tap” pretty hard. Also, out in the shop I was removing nails from trim where they were close to the edge and used a pair of pliers (you might want to use needle nose vise grips maybe for being so tight to the backing?) to grip the nanil near the tip. Then I hit the pliers and the nail to get it moving out. That’s what worked for me, though I might agree with you that since it’s in the back, and the back is against a wall…live and let live…

At any rate, good luck and thanks for posting. Nice work! What’s your next project?

-- Steve

View synecdoche's profile


22 posts in 2351 days

#2 posted 08-14-2012 12:12 PM

Thanks for the encouraging words!

Next up is, well, to finish this one—I have a lot of sanding to do and then I want to paint it. After that, I’m not sure. My wife wants a valet or something in the bedroom to put clothes on but I’m not sure what one even looks like. I think I’d also like to try to make a chest or something like that. I’ve got some research to do!

View synecdoche's profile


22 posts in 2351 days

#3 posted 08-14-2012 03:18 PM

Steve, I took your suggestion with the set punch. Worked like a charm. The nails came out very easily from the pine. Thanks again!

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