How to Make a Table: Project Info

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In this project, Paul goes through the steps it takes to make a table. He starts with the material stock and follows through to the completion of a small table. These techniques and methods can be applied to the construction of any number of styles and sizes of table, from an end table to a dining table.

The tools you will need are:

  • Knife
  • Square
  • Combination gauge (or marking gauge and mortise gauge)
  • Tape/Ruler (or both)
  • *Calipers
  • Chisel hammer
  • Chisels (at least 3/8″ and 1″)
  • *Hand router (see how to make a ‘Poor Man’s Router here)
  • Smoothing plane (No 4)
  • Spokeshave
  • Mortice guide
  • Handsaw
  • Tenon saw
  • Dovetail saw
  • *No 80 Cabinet Scraper
  • *Card scraper
  • Hand drill or drill driver
  • Square Awl

* = optional

Joints List:

  • Mortise & Tenon


  1. johnrf on 9 August 2016 at 3:07 pm

    Why another table? Is there something to be learned by this table that wasn’t already covered by the “Occasional Table” project or the “Sofa Table project”?

    • Michael Barnes on 9 August 2016 at 3:16 pm

      I was thinking that myself…looks an awful lot like the occasional table doesn’t it.

      • grahamb on 9 August 2016 at 3:43 pm

        Yes i have to agree with you guys. do we really need another table project?

        • Joe Kaiser on 9 August 2016 at 5:07 pm

          I was under the impression this video was about the *why* and not the *how* – something I feel has been skipped over in other projects. If I am right, then I don’t mind if it is another table build.

        • ehisey on 10 August 2016 at 5:49 am

          This the first basictable walk through. 2 of the others are pretty elaborate first time pieces, and the occassional table was historical recreation, more about the reproduction of a half breadboard top table, than the basic design of a table.

          This is more a starter table video than others, so a good fit for Paul’s goals.

        • John Jones on 27 March 2018 at 1:32 am

          I need another table project as this is the first one I have seen. I’m pretty sure that Paul does not insist that you watch his videos, so why don’t you just skip this series and go and do something else?

          • Roger on 27 March 2018 at 7:49 am

            Absolutely spot on comment. I love the videos and always learn something, especially when I think I know about it already.

            As you say, if you think you know it all find something else to do, or post a video of your teaching work.

            Thanks Paul, keep up the good work.

          • Sverre on 28 April 2018 at 1:53 pm

            As someone who is just starting out, I can say that I am looking forward to this project. I can see that it will be very useful for learning the basics of table building.

    • mike jones on 3 April 2018 at 6:03 pm

      I watch all his videos even if they seem redundant. There is always something new to pick up.

  2. YrHenSaer on 9 August 2016 at 4:38 pm

    We don’t know the exact details of the construction yet, but I’m inclined to be disappointed with what appears to be another conventional occasional table.
    If we need to pursue making tables, Paul, how about exploring a pedestal type with sliding dovetails? Complicated, I know but a lot of us would welcome the challenge.

    Just a thought.

  3. rayziegler on 9 August 2016 at 4:45 pm

    Paul, I enjoy all your projects. I often view previous episodes and find something I missed the first time. Even though this is another table, I’m confident there will be much to learn. To me it’s about the learning process to develop my skills to do real woodworking.


    Ray Ziegler – Birmingham, USA

    • Frank Higgins on 27 March 2018 at 4:08 am

      Very much agree with Ray!

    • Shuaib Alam on 27 March 2018 at 7:16 pm

      I agree 100%. To me, the end product is irrelevant. I watch Paul’s videos because I’m learning his woodworking techniques. Proper technique is SO important. And the best way to learn is by watching someone who has honed their skills over half of a century. As they say, “it’s good to learn from your own mistakes, but it’s even better to learn from others'”, as you save much time and frustration when you learn from others’ mistakes.


  4. STEVE MASSIE on 9 August 2016 at 5:54 pm

    I am looking forward to this project, I actually have a need for a couple small tables so this could be another fun project.


  5. Farred on 9 August 2016 at 7:13 pm

    Based on the comments, looks like we have a tough crowd. That said, I would like to see the addition of a drawer. I’ve read a lot about the drawer aprons inside tables, so am curious about the best style.

    • o_lucas_o on 10 August 2016 at 1:07 am

      I’d also love to see the making of a drawer for this table.

    • dovetails on 10 August 2016 at 10:23 pm

      Please add a drawer to this table.

      I’ve already made a half dozen of these from your book.

  6. David R. on 9 August 2016 at 7:36 pm

    If I am not mistaken, the project after this will be the rocking chair which ought to be quite a bit more challenging.

    Drawers would be nice, yes.

    This project is one of the projects from the foundational course, so while it may not be completely new in terms of technique, it is a good complement of the projects archive here at woodworkingmasterclasses. And as has been said, there’s always something to learn from watching Paul work and from the countless side notes.