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Some here may remember about 3 years ago when I built myself a coffee table around a piece of scrap granite from when my parents remodeled their kitchen.

I've finally been able to do woodworking again after having to take the past couple of years off because I apparently have horrible luck when it comes to the nerves in my wrists/elbows. I'm coming up on 3.5 months out from what I hope is my last elbow surgery (number 6), and I decided it's time to jump back in.

Harbor Freight opened up several months ago in Collierville, where I discovered that pneumatic palm nailers are a thing. $21 for that and another $21 for a 18ga brad nailer later, my life has been forever altered. I'm not completely freed from the evil of the traditional claw hammer, but I'm much less dependent on it than ever before.



(They may be cheap as hell, but even if they only make it through this project they'll have paid for themselves, and I won't feel so bad about dropping the cash for the nicer ones.)

Over the past 10 years or so, I have progressively designed the "perfect" (in my mind) desk after using 8-foot and 6-foot folding tables as a "desk" for so long - little things, like making it half an inch to an inch shorter than said tables because it's easier on my wrists when I type, built-in power strips, and bartop epoxy over the wood pattern for (hopefully) better solvent resistance compared to the spray varnish I used on my coffee table. Then there are the things that I learned from building my coffee table, like not to use pine for anything that isn't purely structural if I'm concerned about it denting (the entire top of my coffee table is stained pine and I hate it).

I'm nowhere near done, but it's coming along nicely.

I started off with some 6' long 1"x4" red oak boards I found in the garage while cleaning (likely left over after the coffee table). I nailed them together so that the final product would measure exactly 6'x3', then I nailed a 1/2" thick plank of birch plywood (I chose nice materials because the thought was, if at the completion of any step, I feel like quitting, I can still have a nice looking table).



That was immediately followed by me nailing some shim stock to either the edge of the plywood or the edges of the oak to ensure that everything would go on as square as possible in the next step, where I began bordering the table in a rectangular spiral pattern with red oak 1x1s.


2 rows in


One of the corners 3 rows in


Where I stopped for today

Once I get the pattern glued and nailed on, the plan is to get some oak 1x6 boards and frame it a second time after ripping them down to about 1/16-1/8" higher than the 1x1s to create a "swimming pool" of sorts for the epoxy,then take the edges off the outside of the borders. I have this stuff called Parks Super Glaze which I found at Lowes and had already purchased a kit of back when I was considering what I wanted to use for the coffee table.


This is only number 1 of 3 total tables that will be bolted together through the frames - 2 6'x3' tables and one 8'x3' table in the center - in a "U" shape in the corner of the room. My plan is to build up the tabletops, coat them, and then put the legs on all at once so I can make sure to get everything as close to the same length as possible (also so I can drop a couple of legs on the shorter tables for more leg room). I also have to custom make at least 2 of the legs so that they're hollow to accommodate/hide the cords for the power strips.

I'm excited beyond words to be able to do this kind of thing again.


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 2444 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Looks great, there are very few things more satisfying that building something for yourself and/or your family.


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Posts: 2292 | Location: Arkansas | Registered: July 21, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nice work!

You'll love the nailers. My wrists/elbows/shoulders sparked the purchase of a set many years back. The collection now includes a framing nailer, roofing nailer, finish nailer, stapler and palm nailer.

I couldn't drive a half dozen 16d spikes with a hammer without a bottle of aspirin and a nap these days.
 
Posts: 9104 | Location: Downeast Maine | Registered: March 10, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Don't you just love the palm nailer?
 
Posts: 5674 | Registered: August 25, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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They've more than earned their keep. Were I still using a hammer I wouldn't have bothered attempting the trick with the 1x1s. Hell, it's doubtful that I'd have attempted the table at all.

The best part about the build is that if I play my cards right I should have just enough scrap to rebuild my coffee table out of hardwood.

I've got some 50+ year old oak floor planks I pulled from the scrap pile when they had to rip out a part of the floor in my rental house. I'm not sure if I should use them in the desk, or in the coffee table.


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 2444 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I made some pretty good progress today. I've run 2 stores out of the oak 1x1s, and I'm still not done yet. The plan is currently to get it down to a 12" gap and throw a 1x12 in there to finish it off.



I took a short break when my surge protector went TU and I had to make an unscheduled trip to the hardware store, where I got some oak 1x6s and a new power strip. New power strip blew almost immediately, but I was able to rip the new boards to have an angle on the top lip and nail them to the long sides, in preparation for the epoxy. That lip will get shaped with sandpaper to have a little bit of a curve to it to fit the aesthetic I'm looking for later.



The long boards clamped and nailed on. This is where I finally stopped for the day.


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 2444 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Got a little bit of work done today. Put some more layers on the tabletop, as well as bought the legs and did some work on the border (planed parts of it down to the desired height and started working on the curved edges). Work got stalled for about a week when I accidentally pinned my middle finger between the edge of the table and the metal shelf post behind it, then fell on top of it (didn't break anything, though my finger swelled up real good; it's been splinted rather hilariously since).



I will say that not having a router sucks big time, but necessity being the mother of invention and all, sometimes the most advanced tool in your shop is a piece of wood.





I've made some improvements since, but I'm still waiting on the glue to dry more completely before I start shaping the new handle.

Edit: Fixed the image size


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 2444 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Last night I finally got the last part of lumber in. Rather than finish out the pattern, I decided to slap a poplar 1x12 in there for some contrast, then I moved on to surface planing and filling gaps in preparation for stain.



I'm not 100% sure yet, but I might need to remove and redo the outer frame. I tried some things that didn't exactly work out too well, and now they're biting me in the ass.

That said, it's my hope that I can get the epoxy poured this weekend.


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 2444 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Nice work Vulrath!
You're motivating me for an upcoming workbench I need to build.
Looking forward to seeing your completed table.


To all Veterans: your sacrifices are not forgotten and your efforts are appreciated. Welcome home. For those not home yet, please know that many of us pray for your safe return soon.
 
Posts: 476 | Registered: September 05, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have very nearly finished the table. I know this image will be huge, so I'm going to go back later on a real computer and fix it.

I thought I was done, so I started staining it, but stuff went sideways and I had to redo some of the edges. I expect to finish everything and get the epoxy poured tomorrow.

I absolutely love the way it turned out.



Edit: Finally fixed the image size.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: vulrath,


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 2444 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Okay, so I finally got the first table upstairs, and while the clear coat is nowhere near perfect (see my thread in the WYD section for more info there), I still think it came out pretty amazing looking. It'll look even better once I fix my blunder with the epoxy.

I have to say, easily the most terrifying part of the entire project was taking a hole saw to the top to accommodate cables.

I believe this also marks the first photo I've taken of this thing with the "real" camera.



A quick snap of the chunk I had to cut out for the cable hole. Nikon lens for scale.



Now I'm on to making preparations for the 9' table.


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 2444 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Ammoholic
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I like!

I just refinished my old childhood dining room table into my new desk. Got the top done, need to get the right height filing cabinets to act as legs.

Enjoy! Looks like it was a fun project.



Jesse

A couple SIGs and a few others
 
Posts: 9013 | Location: Loudoun County, Virginia | Registered: December 27, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Very nice work!


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Posts: 643 | Location: Canada | Registered: June 05, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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very cool!
 
Posts: 1141 | Location: Lake Roesiger, WA | Registered: October 04, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks guys! It's been great fun doing the build. I can't wait until the other 2 tables are done.


"In order to understand recursion, you must first learn the principle of recursion."
 
Posts: 2444 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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