You might think that you have to be a master carpenter before you can tackle a project like building your own beautiful accent table, but this isn’t necessarily the case. While many store-bought accent tables do have intricate designs and cuttings, it is possible to build yourself a simple accent table with little more than basic construction tools.
Step 1 – Plan And Design
Figure out exactly what you want out of your accent table. Is it for practical use also, such as for a new lamp. Or is it purely aesthetic? What might be sitting on the table? You also need to decide how big it needs to be, what shape you prefer, etc.
For the rest of this project, we’ll be building a table with rounded legs and supports, with your choice of either a circular, triangular, or rectangular top. You can decide how tall and wide you want the table to be, just make exact measurements and put them on paper before you start.
Step 2 – The Legs
Your legs should be about 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter, cut to within a half inch or so of the height you want. For those that want a circular top, you can make things interesting by going with 3 instead of 4 legs. You can buy the legs pre-cut and beveled if you like, or even cannibalize an old table for its legs. If taking legs that have been used, be sure to sand them down first, especially to get out any nicks in the wood. You may have to use a stripper to remove any lacquer, or you could be sanding for a while.
If you want to get fancy, use an electric wood lathe to cut nice series of curves down your legs. Just be careful not to go too deep, or your wood won’t be strong enough to support anything. If using the lathe, leave at least 2 wider portions for support bars.
Step 3 – Support Bars
Supports only need to be an inch in diameter. Be sure they are long enough to reach between the legs with at least an inch to spare. You will be boring a hole into the legs to place the support bars into.
For a simple but novel look, leave your support bars longer than the width between your legs, so that the ends of the supports stick out of your legs. This lends more of a handmade look to your table. If doing this, bevel the ends down, too.
Step 4 – Attaching Supports
Measure out identical locations on all 4 legs, somewhere in their lower half, and use the drill with the hole saw adapter to bore a hole the size of your support bars. Don’t bore all the way through unless you want the ends of your supports to be hanging out. Line the insides of your hole with carpenters glue and fit your support in there. Use the rubber mallet to gently pound it in, if necessary. Put more glue inside the hole of another leg, and attach that leg to the same support. Allow it to dry, and repeat with the other legs and another support.
Once the glue has dried, drill 4 more identical holes either an inch above or an inch below where the first ones are, 90 degrees around the leg. Repeat with the glue and supports to fit all 4 legs together.
Step 5 – The Top
The shape is up to you. However, if you want a circular top you will either need to buy one pre-cut or use a power saw to cut it evenly. Regardless of the shape, make sure you cut it at least 2 inches thick, big enough to have overhang on all sides when placed on the legs, and sand down the corners on the sides for a nice, rounded look.
Set your legs upside down on your table top, trace where they meet the top, and use that as a reference as you drill partials holes. Apply glue inside, fit your legs into the holes, and let it dry.
That’s all you need to do for the simplest of accent tables. For a fancier look, stain or lacquer your table as you desire.