59 comments on “How to Make a Table: Episode 1

  1. Hello Paul and Team,
    thank you for this episode.
    I would like to know, in terms of upscaling, how to approach the material selection (top and leg thickness, apron width, tenon depth- & width). Could I simple use the same layout measurements for a 5 by 3 ft dining table as in your project? Would there be any addition to make in favour of stability (some kind of brace etc)? Are there any rules of thumb to this?

    Thank you very much,
    Stefan

  2. No disrespect meant at all with this comment. I love WMC and I would follow along as Paul built a door stop. But this first video in this table series feels like I’ve gone back in time to the first video I ever watched. It doesn’t feel like a Master Classes progression. Paul is even showing how he uses his square on the proper side, an almost Day 1 technique. Was there a recent influx of new members and perhaps they’re being shown how current the content is ? I would sort of understand if that were the case.

    • Charles,
      I agree that at times there are many redundancies with technique descriptions. I rather consider them as reinforcements for me and there will always be a new person viewing these videos for the first time. Not everyone will start at the beginning as we have. Some may only see this one episode at some point. It is always good to reinforce basic technique.

      Dan

    • If I’m not mistaken,this was a paid project from when Paul was in Wales.
      It’s been made free,so we can’t complain really,also back then Paul and crew were at a different stage to where they are now,regarding the teaching progression

  3. Hi Paul, the alunnos who have spent years learning new things and I think we need to move the abilities of this project have already been shown in other. projects must be different to make and grow about it, thanks.

  4. I empathize with Charles and Aitor, and do understand Paul’s dilemma of producing videos that address different levels of skills. That said, though I’ve seen these techniques before and utilized them myself, just watching Paul perfectly demonstrate his craft is appealing. And even then, I inevitably learn something new; lately I’ve been fascinated watching his hands as they move effortlessly throughout the process. For me, it’s always a pleasure watching a genius perform, regardless of the level of sophistication.

  5. Paul,

    I agree with the other people commenting on the table forum. However, while these techniques are covered in previous videos, it is very helpful to watch another series on them. I appreciate how you show each step of the process (and sometimes even with each of the four parts – for example scribing each of the four legs with the gauge), because it offers a longer window into your thoughts as you work.

    What would make this project worth the paid subscription (even with the occasional table series) is either/both
    1) incorporation of a drawer (if even talking through it and providing a PDF adaptation)
    2) talking through (and providing a PDF adaptation of) the sizing and dimensioning for the various sized tables you referenced in your intro video (0:35-0:45).

    Please Consider,
    Joshua

  6. Truly enjoyed this first episode on Table Making. Unlike most of the other comments I am seeing, I greatly appreciated not having to sit through the stock preparation. You have done two wonderful videos on how to prepare the stock and the jig you made for processing the legs to equal proportion. Wonderful start! Looking forward to the next release.

    Dan

  7. I’m a little surprised at the criticism of this project. Although I’ve been a student of WMC for almost two years now, including participation of the prior two WMC table projects already mentioned, I look forward to this project as an opportunity to allow me to capture and evaluate the overall process for making a table, simply put, when to do what, and why. This process of making a table will become my ‘build plan’. It’s so very important to work to a well designed build plan to have consistent repeatable quality in your work. Understanding this process, this plan appears to be the purpose of this project.

    I just finished this first episode and took ample notes forming the rough draft of my build plan for a simple table. The final draft of this build plan will be the process I use to build every table I ever build no matter the design, features or material. I expect as we work through this project in WMC, Paul will continue to provide guidance on the ‘process’ of the craft of building a table, the accepted ‘best practices’ of craftsmanship for table builds. This is of great value to me. Thanks Paul.
    JJ

  8. I just joined recently, so of course I’m not the least bit dissatisfied with this project. But perhaps I could make a request for a future table project:

    1. Let’s see: two or more of Paul’s {apprentices/ students/ minions} remove one of the big crosscut saws that hang behind his bench, and use it to cut a slab from a large tree trunk.

    2. Dry it properly (I would use vacuum rather than a fan).

    3. Flatten it for use as a table top.

    4. Apply legs and whatever else is required.

    5. Finish with a suitable varnish or lacquer that shows off the unique figure of the wood.

    I mean, those big saws aren’t just for decoration, are they?

  9. Videos are generally very interesting, this one is definitely useless. It is not fair to propose such a basic video (and project) to customer who have already paid several monthly subscriptions.
    Sorry for the direct speaking
    Regards

    • Being a raw beginner, I’m thankful for this video series. So all the repetitiveness of instruction that I can take in will be most welcome. I don’t mind paying the money to download these seven videos, and rather look forward to viewing and absorbing – more than once.

      Somehow, I doubt that the videos will end up as useless, but rather they will be well viewed many times.

      Thank you Paul!

  10. Whilst I understand and to some extent agree with the frustrations brought up by my fellow apprentices, I think that perhaps we should all wait until the project is finished so we have the full context of what Paul is trying to show us. Paul often tells us it’s not what you make but how you make it and perhaps this is part of the lesson he’s trying to demonstrate. If he feels that this is an ideal next project for us then I’m willing to wait and see. In the previous chessboard project Paul mention that it would work well with a table so I’m assuming that this is part two of the project; a nice little table that you can put you chessboard on if you’re so inclined. The alternative theory is that Paul has indeed misjudged things a tad but perfection is for the gods and he’s allowed the odd mistake like anyone else.

  11. I like the project but wish for more info on the whys of some choices. Why the leg sizes. Why the apron depth. Why the tenon width and length. Seems like you could make the tenon shorter and save the mitering work so there must be a reason. Why cut mortises first? Doesn’t seem like it should make a difference since we cut tenons slightly over sized then fit. Why set the mortise in at 3/8″? Before I tried a different sized table, there are lots of questions I would need to find an answer to.

  12. I think it’s good to have a “back to basics” refresher periodically. As Paul wrote once, when he was an apprentice repetition made for skill building. And this course can certainly be combined with other lessons, for example, using the recent chess board project as a top for this table. Paid subscribers to this course are getting a wealth of knowledge for a very small, reasonable price!

  13. If I’m not mistaken, the wood is at least partially recycled, there seem to be some indications of holes in the end-grain of the legs and some edges seem to have remnants of round-overs with darkened wood. I reused ash from aprons and legs of a larger table myself to make a small table recently.

  14. I am rather happy to see a simple table done. You can focus on the important details of the making. If you are not interested in the lessons, and just want “follow the video” plan for making stuff this is probably not the video project for you.

    For all the “long time watchers” that complain, just because it is not good for you does not mean it is not a good starting video for someone else. The WMC team is about passing on skills and real woodworking knowledge not necessarily always fancier projects.

  15. My way of thinking is if I learn 1 thing it is a lesson well done , I’m pretty sure I will learn something here because I’m sure I haven’t seen Mitered haunched M & T done in the other projects , like the ganging trick these are the skills I want to adopt , they are skills of a master builder who got taught by master builders and developed over a lifetime of working with wood

    I would love to see Paul’s full foundation course up where we can use it , I have a sixteen year old Son who is autistic and we made his first spatula and spoon together using the beta site with the spatula course on it , it was a magic time together

    Regards Glenn
    Gravesend ,NSW
    Australia

  16. I’ve been a member for a year. I learn something new in almost every video and I ‘ve watched most of them. To those who feel this is redundant, you’re right. So with that now established, go sell a table like the one Paul is making because it seems like you are master craftsman. Or, make one for the Whithouse if you’re good enough.

  17. Paul,

    How crucial is the 3/8 (10mm) chisel if using 3/4″ stock. I assume you want a stronger tenon with the 3/8 versus a 1/4″ (6mm) one. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. You are a true inspiration!

    Sean

  18. I don’t think I was complaining, merely putting forward that including a drawer would add interest to the project. In hindsight it didn’t make sense anyway as I’m sure these videos are all finished before the first is released, at least on a small project like this one. People seem to be focusing on the value of money spent for content received but the cost has NEVER felt out of line to me. It is just the time spent waiting for the next project that cant be replaced. I might be in the minority that would cheerfully pay more for faster content release each week, I love these videos and the instruction within them.

  19. I have respect to everyone and what they say but what does it mean “What would make this project worth the paid subscription ” When you go to a classical music concert to listen a master are you shouting from your seat when you didn’t like what he or she is playing? I think no. You are just enjoying. Everybody is free to share what they are thinking about topics and it creates productive interaction but who is talking about money can you please stop because it is hurtful.
    Would you sell your 1 minute after 50 years experience on something for 15 USD? He is sharing the biggest online literature with us and he is giving a chance people to improve some skill and even to create their own business. Everything just for 15 USD? People working to prepare all this videos so on. We are not in the market to complain about tomatoes what we are buying. We are in his land and to understand his wisdom and creativity.
    He is 66 years old and still he is working every day min 8 hours to share all these wonderful knowledge with us. I invite you to be more respectful and not to compare his wisdom with money.

    • Well said I couldn’t have said any better, and I totally agree I learn something with every video. Also the pricing is affordable if it were a whole lot more most younger people and some of us older people who are on a fixed income ( me included ) would not be able to afford this program. This is the best thing going in my opinion, I don’t even buy magazines anymore because Paul and crew give me what I am looking for.

      I also realize not every project is going to be for everyone and that is OK because that is your choice. However I seem to learn something new and refresher courses are welcomed in my book.

      Steve

  20. I believe I have been a member from the beginning and even though a table had been built I am still enjoying this table build again. All ways learning good to keep things rolling and I personally have no problems with this series, if nothing else it is a great refresher course since I haven’t built the table yet but I will now.

    I do hope there will be drawings coming, Greg does a great job with them and I have been making a book with all the different projects.

    Thanks Paul and crew for another great job.

    Steve

  21. Woodworking is repetitive and I’ve watched the occasional table series at least 3 times. I get the frustration. I’ve been chopping mortises and splitting, sawing and paring tenons every minute I can. Seeing that someone else is doing it helps me deal with the difficulties of learning.

    I have absolutely no doubt I will learn at least one new thing with each new episode because that has been the case so far.

  22. I appreciate Paul stating out loud his weaknesses and/or limitations. Somewhere in the 17:00 area, where he is marking a knife wall left-handed, he says it is awkward, as he is not ambidextrous.

    Perfect. I’ve felt that many times, but thought I was just a wuss and needed more practice. But Paul still feels it after all these years. Sooo, I’m not such a klutz.

    Thanks, Paul. I feel much better now.

  23. If I wanted to expand this table to accommodate a child’s work table, perhaps 48″ long x 27″ wide x 24″ high, can I simply lengthen the aprons proportionately, or do i need to scale things up differently? Would the table legs look too spindly at 1 1’2 inches square for a table of that size?

    Any thoughts would be welcome.

    Thanks
    Seth

  24. Hey Paul,
    I was wondering if you could help me understand the difference between when you would want to orient the legs using rift sawn and then plain sawn stock. I ask this because for some reason I was thinking that I had to always use rift sawn and then cut them so the grain lines were diagonal from corner to corner. I think I remember seeing that in a video or maybe I read it. Does that not apply in every case. I don’t know, so thats why Im asking. Thanks for another great video. It’s always amazing to me how much more I can pick up even though we have done the same thing many times. Im a Musician so I get the whole repetitive bit but It still amazes me all the same. lol
    Oh, Sorry about my last post my editor needs a reprimand for that one . I went back to see if you had the chance to respond and even I couldnt understand a word it said. Late night post. Must Stop. Cheers

    • Christopher, I have see this said before and in most cases it was about lining up the grain for uniform appearnce across all legs from all angles. I like Paul’s approach better as you will rarely see more than to leg facings at a time, and when you do as long as the adjacent faces match you are unlikely to notice differences on opposite sides of a table.

      • Hello Ehisey,
        This is true, but If your building say a Cabriole leg the grain will follow the shape of the leg by using Rift Sawn verses Plain Sawn. If you use Plain Sawn for this type of leg your curves will go in one direction and the lines of the grain in the opposite direction which is not a pretty site. Somehow I think I got confused years ago and thought that pretty much all furniture legs needed to be this way so I wanted Paul to clarify this for me.Which he did in his video today.
        Thank you for you help.
        Chris

  25. As I just started woodworking and after making Paul’s bench and 4 clocks I still appreciate going over details that some may find repetitive – I find it very helpful. I had never use a hand tool (plane, marking gauge, or square etc.) until 2 months ago. I find Paul’s teaching methods perfect for my learning style.

    I would like to see how to add a drawer if I wanted and how to scale the project (like bracing).

    • I see it positive that there SEEM to be redundances. You notice that Paul always uses same tools, same methods and how it comes together. The watches, the todds, the workbench (my personal masterpiece as it is the center of my relaxing creativity) and so on. I do not have to make a living of it, but I follow the philosophical aspects of Paul*s Blogs too. And woodworking is a fullfilling hobby as for a lot of us.
      Ok, drawer? There are drawers at some trunks. Over and over again you have doors, drawers, posts, dovetails, tenons, mortise, chisel, hammer. The combination is it and how You work with it. I enjoy it (btw the sentence: “but not stealing” – nobody seems to notice.)
      Have a nice day…

  26. Hi folks, I’m into rally driving and some other forms of motor sport as well as wood working.
    i have a 10 min video of the best rally drive ever made. it was made in 1987. I’ve watched it over 100 times.
    I just love watching the best do simple things better than anyone else.
    Thank you Paul.

    • Is that video “Climb Dance” by chance? That pikes peak footage is some of the best driving I have ever seen though not sure when it was released and it might not be 10 min long.

  27. I do concur that the level of instruction is better by far. I’m constantly amazed at what I have learned in the class. I am also amazed at what is put forward by others who pass themselves off as experts in the field. Reminds me of the adage that to spot a counterfeit you must focus on the truth.

  28. I realize that this thread is quite past its freshness date but I did want to comment concerning some of the criticism.
    If there is something that you would want to add or remove from the project why not take the initiative to explore other resources like Ernest Joyce’s, “The Technique of Furniture Making” (https://www.amazon.com/Technique-Furniture-Making-Ernest-Joyce/dp/0713425164) as a supplement. Take some initiative and learn how to add a drawer yourself instead of criticizing Paul’s wonderful efforts to teach his craft to others.
    At some point you have to depend on yourself for design and construction to build what you want to make.

    • Agree 100% with Andrew’s comment. If you know enough to ask, and these are great questions, you know enough to teach yourself, or to find other sources, or go ask another person a customized question, and apply it to your situation and desires. To become a master, you must master the basics. Thank you Mr. Sellers.

  29. I see no problem with Paul repeating teaching techniques any number of times . one of the people commented quite correctly that each episode may be viwed by any number of different beginners .Nobody who is watching these videos is so experienced that they can critique him ,as if you were you would be teaching and not looking at simple projects like these .He ,on the other hand cannot help repeating himself because he is a natural teacher ,and a daen good one at that.

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