How To Build A Pedestal Table

…or at least the way I did it in 15 steps

Want to build your own pedestal table? Here is a general guide that will help you on that project! Remember, you don’t need excessive woodworking skills to accomplish this; you just need to know a few things and be a little handy.

This is going from live apricot tree to table, so there are a few more steps than you likely will need if you’re using dimensional lumber.

Everything needed (*not needed if using dimensional lumber):

-*Chainsaw, surface planer, router, lathe

-Table saw (or circular hand saw), scroll saw, belt sander/circular sander, hand saw, wood glue, Bic pen, clamps, sanding dust, several beers and a cigarette or two

Step 1: Find A Tree (or just buy wood)

This neighbor’s tree will be whacked down and used for this and many other projects to come.


Step 2: Cut it Down

Easier said than done when there are 5 lines running through the tree!


Step 3: Pick Out a Good Footing Log (or use 2×6 lumber)

Try to match the curve of the piece you pick to the desired angles of the feet you want on your final product. Some imagination goes a long way here.


Step 4: Shave Off Two Parallel Sides

Eyeballing a straight line can be difficult, but that is what a surface planer is for, right? If you have a mill or an Alaskan mill, good for you!


Step 5: Trace Out Your Basic Table Footings

Make sure to leave a bit extra all around for milling it to your final specs. You will be trimming more off as you get closer to your final table height.


Step 6: Cut Out Your Trace

Chainsaws are so sweet, but a hand saw can also suffice here.


Step 7: Stencil The More Exact Footing And Cut

Here is where you want to more finely tune your footings. Don’t worry if you aren’t exact about it yet; you can always add or subtract to your final height by cutting your footings lower or building up the table top with an extra layer of wood.


Step 8: Lathe the Pedestal From a Good Log

If you don’t have a lathe or don’t want a cylindrical pedestal, you can build your own from dimensional lumber by laminating 2×6 lumber and cutting out the design you want with a chainsaw, bandsaw, or even a hand saw (although that takes a lot longer!).IMG_3658

Step 9: Plan Out Your Table Top

These are smaller branches from the apricot tree milled with a table saw. These are the first pieces of the table top. A big thick piece will be used in the center to secure the top to the pedestal later on, so that is why it’s thicker than the other sticks around it. You can put this together however you want to, so be creative and try something new! If you are not inclined to go outside of the box, you can simply glue and clamp 2×4’s together until you have reached the diameter you want. IMG_3663

Here are the first pieces glued together. Keep adding to it until you get the diameter you want. This table will be 36″.IMG_3676

These additional pieces add enough to reach 36″ all the way around.  IMG_3680

Step 10: Make It Circular

Push a thumbtack or small nail into your desired center of the table.  Attach a string to the tack and tie a pencil 18″ from the tack and draw your circle.  Go around it twice or three times to make sure you are drawing a good circle. Also, measure it in several areas to ensure you’re at your desired diameter. Then just cut out your line! A scroll saw was used, but you can hand cut and sand this if you don’t have one.

Sand the circular edge smooth, and you’re ready to move on!


Step 11: Sand Bottom, Add Crossbeams, Route Connection

You’ll want to sand your bottom flat before adding any supporting beams to the bottom so they sit flush against the table top. Then add your desired crossbeams, making sure they are at least 3-5 inches from the edge so they are not obnoxious to the table users. In this case, the pedestal needs to sit inside the big block in the center, so it has been routed out with a plunge router to specific depth.


Step 12: Fill Holes, Gaps, and Cracks

Take some of the finest saw dust from sanding the bottom and mix it with wood glue. Then fill all the holes with your custom wood filler making sure to pack it firmly in any of the deeper holes or wider gaps. When that is all dry (5-8 hours), sand it flat and smooth.


Step 13: Stain, Oil, or Paint Your Table

Boiled linseed oil was chosen for this table because the apricot wood has such a nice color and grain to it already.  As an aside, paint is usually the worst choice for finishing your table. This is because wood has small imperfections that look fabulous as stained or oiled wood, but those imperfections begin to look like cheap or careless work when the uniformity of paint color covers it.


Step 14: Connect the Base to the Top

In this case, four 3″ furniture screws were used to go from the outside of the center block into the pedestal base once it was snugly set inside the routed hole. Make sure to always pre-drill any holes you need for screws so you don’t split your wood!


Step 15: Finish Your Table

Use a good polyurethane or lacquer to finish your table. Remember that any and all dust will settle into the finish, so you really need to be in a very, very dust free area before you start. Don’t just do one coat, but rather at least three.  You will be far happier with it if it has a nice, durable finish on it!


Enjoy Your Work!

This one turned out fabulously, and we will enjoy throwing poker cards and conversing over it for many years to come! If you have any specific questions on any of these steps, please email me or comment and you will be promptly answered.

Good luck on your projects!

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