Making A Display Table


Making A Display Table


Date: February 2008

Making a display can be as easy or complex as you would like. We recently completed a small display for a storage area we utilize that was very simple and used very basic building techniques. Additionally, it was not very costly.   The steps here assume that the builder has appropriate wood cutting, clamping and measuring tools.

As always – Please exercise safety when working with power tools and cutting instruments.

STEP 1 – Planning your display is critical to the process. You need to spatially layout the area you are building the display for. While we don’t have the exact plan we used available for this process – it blew away in one of the final steps – we did spend quite a bit of time determining the exact dimensions of the “table” and the ultimate height that would offer easy use and appropriate storage beneath. We even went so far as to use masking tape to outline our final sizing on the floor and wall to understand exactly how the piece would sit.   We chose an “L” shaped layout to reside in the corner of the chosen room. Sketched out the sizing and utilized that as our plan for build.


STEP 2 –   Our construction consisted of very simple wood work that could be done in the garage. By adding the complete dimensions of the project we determined the total amount of wood we would including all framing, legs and surface area. Since we used standard 2 by 4 framing, we chose rough pine framing which was significantly cheaper than the finished lumber. These pieces were also shorter than full length stock as they are generally used for framing interior and exterior home walls.   The amount of waste was then reduced.


STEP 3 – The framing was cut to length, taking into account the thickness of the board on the end cuts. The piece were put in place and secured with large clamps so that the “square” could be determined and the pilot holes for corner screws could be drilled. Once completed, finishing screws were used to secure all four corners. The “square” of the piece was once again checked, as were the overall dimensions.


STEP 4 – A cross beam was placed in the center to add additional support, maintain integrity of the framing and to provide additional area to secure the top.


STEP 5 – A second frame, slightly larger but just like the first, was completed using the same steps. Once completed, it was attached to the first unit so that overall sizing could be reviewed as well as rough measurements for edging/fascia, which will come later, and locations of the connecting bolts that will hold the two piece together once installed. Due to its large size, we had to build the unit in two separate pieces for installation.


STEP 6 – Once the framing was completed, we were ready for the top. While we considered 1/4″ plywood, its weight and cost pushed us to a Lueon Fiber board of the same thickness. The fiber board is actually made from compressed wood and offered us a budget friendly alternative. Once cut, the board was placed on top of the framing and aligned. Tack nails and wood glue were used to secure the top to the framing.


STEP 7 – The two pieces were once again clamped together and lifted up onto cutting horses. The front and ends of the exposed table – understanding the back edges would be against the wall – were finished with 1 by 6 boards to offer a “framing” of the table and an edge to prevent die cast from rolling off onto the floor. It also offered a finished front to the piece. The finished edges were then secured with screws and nail tacked into place.


STEP 8 – Simple legs were cut, all the identical length by clamping them together and cutting them all at once. Pilot holes were drilled at the locations for screws but the legs were left off for transport. The legs were located based on the final assemble of the unit. Because of the “L” shape, only seven legs were used for support.


STEP 9 – The entire unit was left unassembled and sanded using multiple grit papers. Once completed and wiped down with a tack cloth, they were stained with a oak colored stain. Once dried, the entire unit was once again sanded with finishing sand paper and coated with clear sealant.   The top surface of the tables were intentionally left slightly rough, understanding there would be some sort of base under the layout and this would offer additional grip.



STEP 10 – The finished pieces were then assembled in their final location. Legs added and the two pieces bolted together for final use. Now to get started on the layout…………

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