How to Build a Table for Craft Projects

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

RON HAZELTON:
Well, I have succeeded in making my garage floor warmer, now I am headed off to a place where garage floors probably don’t get cold in the first place, Yuma, Arizona.  Now Candace Berk is a crafter and she wants to build a work table I think I’ll give her a hand.

Now promoting the beauty in Yuma is what Candace does for a living. She works for the Convention and Visitors Bureau.  She also likes to create beautiful things with her arts and crafts projects.  However Candace has outgrown her workbench.  So today, the two of us are building a bigger and better craft table.
CANDACE:
Hi, how are you.

RON HAZELTON:
Hi.  Very good.  Do you greet all strangers like this?
CANDACE:
No, just you.  Because you're special.

RON HAZELTON:
Oh thank you very much.  That's very nice.  I got to tell you, it just feels like creativity is oozing out of the walls here.  Look at all these great materials.  So this is where you're working now?

CANDACE:
Right. Right. I'm working here and it's not very good for me because I have to get up and go get something because I don't have bins or anything to put my supplies in.  So -
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]

RON HAZELTON:
You want it close.
CANDACE:
I want it close.
RON HAZELTON:
You probably want a little bit more work area maybe.

CANDACE:
I'd like more work area with a nicer top.
 
RON HAZELTON:
Our plan is to purchase four kitchen cabinets at the local home improvement center.  And use them as the base for our work table.  The top we'll build from scratch.  Candace's back yard provides a stunning backdrop for our project. We start by assembling the 4 cabinets following the instructions that come with them.
CANDACE:
Now this is -

RON HAZELTON:
Yeah, isn't this clever.
CANDACE:
Yeah.
RON HAZELTON:
I'm sure you're experienced with -
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]
CANDACE:
Yes.
RON HAZELTON:
You're someone who's at home with the tools. Okay, bring it up, there.

We manage to put each of the cabinets together in less than a half hour. Then get ready to start on the table top. Okay, Candace this is what we're going to make the top of your craft table out of.

CANDACE:
Okay.
RON HAZELTON:
It's called MDF.  Medium density fiberboard. It's a particle board but it's very dense. You know and we could just use this as is. But you use a lot of paints and stuff.  So I'm thinking about, yeah, let's do something that will be a little bit easier to keep clean.
CANDACE:
Okay.
RON HAZELTON:
Alright. So we're going to start with this. Now around the edge of this, I want to put a piece of wooden trim on. So first thing I want to do is add some strips.  I've got them cut right here.  These strips we're glueing along the edge will stiffen the top and help prevent sagging. They'll also create a surface to which we'll glue trim strips later on.

Turn it over, kind of on the edge.  And I want to cut a - swish this back and forth a little bit.  That will distribute the glue.
  CANDACE:
Oh right, oh okay.
RON HAZELTON:
Next, Candace uses a nail gun to secure the strips in place until the glue dries. Enjoying this?
CANDACE:
Yeah.
RON HAZELTON:
Okay so we'll flip this over.

CANDACE:
Okay.
RON HAZELTON:
Put the bottom side down like that.  Let's grab - this is our plastic laminate right here.  Okay.  That's the good side. We'll put that face down.  Right on top here now.  See now we're going to put this on with something called Contact adhesive. So we'll apply it first to the back of this.  And we'll take this off and then we'll apply it to that particle board.
CANDACE:
Okay.
RON HAZELTON:
Okay?

CANDACE:
Okay.
RON HAZELTON:
This is contact cement - a short net paint roller is one of the fastest and easiest ways to apply contact cement to large surfaces like this. 

Cover and smooth, that's it. Now as long as you don't forget to turn around and enjoy the scenery every once in a while. Contact cement bonds to itself so we also apply it to the fiberboard.

You're all the way to the end.
CANDACE:
Okay.
RON HAZELTON:
Since the fiber board is highly absorbent, we roll on a second coat. As it dries, the adhesive goes from white to clear.  Okay, this is dry.  One way I test this is with the back of my hand.  So it will stick to the hairs on the back of your hand.

It's just kind of a little bit rubbery now. That's good.  Candace take these boards.  Kind of get over there and I want to lay these on top. See, these won't stick.  Because -
[BOTH SPEAK AT ONCE]

CANDACE:
Oh okay.
RON HAZELTON:
There you go and put this one over there. That should do it.  Now, we're going to grab our - our pressure laminate.  Now we're going to turn this over now.  And this, that's the side that has the adhesive on it.  We lay it right up on top of the boards. And what the boards do is they keep this from coming in contact with that particle board underneath.

By keeping the two glued surfaces from touching each other, we can easily move the plastic laminate so that it's centered over the particle board.  Now when we lay this down and those 2 surfaces come into contact with each other, this is stuck.

Once the laminate is in position, we slide the boards out one by one.  And use a pressure roller to press the surfaces firmly in contact with each other. Rolling from the center to the edge, forces out any air bubbles.  Now we're ready to trim off the excess laminate.

This is a laminate trimmer.  Its sole purpose in life is to do exactly what we're going to do right now and that is to trim off the excess plastic laminate that's overhanging. If you look right here, there's a cutting bit like you'd see in a router.  And then right here, a bearing.  Now this bearing is going to roll along the edge of the MDF right here.

That's going to keep us from cutting in too deeply.  Give us a completely flush cut.

The laminate trimmer spins at very high speeds and can throw off small chips or particles. So we've put on face shields for protection. The trick to using this tool is to keep the base flat and move at a slow even pace.
You did a really nice job on this.
CANDACE:
Oh thank you.
RON HAZELTON:
Very nice job.  Now we've got to - we want to do something with this edge right here.  We could have put the same laminate on the side here but I thought this would be kind of nice. This is just a piece of oak, which will go right on here.  And we're just going to nail this on.

Now on the end of this piece of wood and on the end of this piece, we’ve cut a miter, which is a 45-degree angle cut.  What that's going to do is give us a nice clean look when these two go together like that.  And there's no end grain showing.

This is just face grain now wrapped all the way around. That's the advantage and beauty of a miter cut.  With the edging on, it's tine to begin assembling our table base.  The base will have two ends, each made up of a pair of cabinets placed back to back.

We'll attach the backs together with screws. Next we connect the two ends together with 1x4s called stringers.   These will also give the top some added support.  Good, okay. Well all three stringers are in place.  I say we go get the top.

CANDACE:
All right.
RON HAZELTON:
All right?
CANDACE:
Good.
RON HAZELTON:
And here we go.  It should….sit right in place down there.  Oh that looks nice, huh?
CANDACE:
Oh yeah.
RON HAZELTON:
That going to be a good height for you?  Come around here.  Good working height?

CANDACE:
Yes. Because I have my stool and it will be just perfect.
RON HAZELTON:
Candace slides the drawers into the cabinets and the project is complete. There you go. Well you have got tons of storage space here including this nice area under here where you can stack boxes.
CANDACE:
I like that.

RON HAZELTON:
I figure you can probably do 12 or 15 of those big plastic boxes here. Great work spot.  How do you like it?

CANDACE:
I love it.
RON HAZELTON:
Yeah?
CANDACE:
I just - yeah it's better than what I thought of.
RON HAZELTON:
Come on.
CANDACE:
It is.  I love it.  I like all the storage and I like the big counter top.
RON HAZELTON:
Customized tables like this can make any craft or hobby just that much more enjoyable by offering plenty of storage and ample workspace, whether your pastime is model airplanes, sewing or creating Arizona mistletoe for a real hot kiss.  It’s a pepper.
CANDACE:
Right.

RON HAZELTON:

Hey, I'd like to make one of these.

CANDACE:
Okay.
RON HAZELTON:
Now building this craft table was fun.  But putting it to use is going to be even better.

Learn how to build a craft table; the table consists of kitchen base cabinets connected with a top covered in durable plastic laminate.

For this next HouseCall, Ron found himself at the crossroads of California, Arizona and Mexico in the desert city of Yuma, Arizona and the home of Candace Kirk. Promoting the beauty of Yuma is what Candace does for a living working for the convention and visitor's bureau. In her spare time she likes to create beautiful things with her arts and crafts projects. Unfortunately, Candace had outgrown her workbench so she called upon Ron to help her build a bigger and better craft table.

Purchase and Assemble Base Cabinet Kits for Craft Table Supports
Step 1

Purchase and Assemble Base Cabinet Kits for Craft Table Supports

Purchase and assemble four base cabinet kits, following manufacturer's instructions. The melamine kits used here have shelves and drawers and are durable and easy to clean--important characteristics in a table for craft projects. Assembly requires less than thirty minutes.

Reinforce the Perimeter of the Table for Craft Projects
Step 2

Reinforce the Perimeter of the Table for Craft Projects

Glue wooden supports on the edges of a large piece of Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) for the craft table. The strips will prevent sagging and provide a surface for attaching trim strips later. Secure glued strips with a nail gun.

Apply Contact Cement to Craft Table Top Components
Step 3

Apply Contact Cement to Craft Table Top Components

Roll contact cement onto the back of a large sheet of plastic laminate. Contact cement bonds to itself, so apply two coats on the porous craft table fiberboard as well. When dry, it goes from white to clear.

Position the Glued Laminate over Boards on the Craft Table
Step 4

Position the Glued Laminate over Boards on the Craft Table

Lay half a dozen temporary boards across the glued surface of the fiberboard table for craft projects. Center the glued back of the laminate across the boards to temporarily prevent the two glued surfaces from making contact until later.

Remove Boards One-by-one and Press together the Glued Craft Table
Step 5

Remove Boards One-by-one and Press together the Glued Craft Table

Slide the boards out one-by-one beginning at one end of the craft table while pressing the exposed laminate and fiberboards surfaces together with a pressure roller. Roll from the center to the edge to force out any air-bubbles.

Trim off the Excess Laminate Edges from the Craft Table
Step 6

Trim off the Excess Laminate Edges from the Craft Table

Roll the bearing of a laminate cutter along the edge of the fiberboard while the cutter slices through the excess laminate on the table for craft projects. Keep the base flat and move in a slow and even pace.

Secure Hardwood Trim on the Edges of the Craft Table
Step 7

Secure Hardwood Trim on the Edges of the Craft Table

Miter corner joints on hardwood trim and nail it on the edges of the workbench. The mitered corners make a clean edge, exposing only the face grain rather than coarse end grain that butted corners reveal on the craft table.

Attach Cabinet Backs together to Support the Craft Table
Step 8

Attach Cabinet Backs together to Support the Craft Table

Position pairs of assembled cabinets back-to-back to form two separate craft table bases or supports. Join each pair securely with long wood screws driven from the inside back of one cabinet through the one behind it.

Connect Both Cabinet Bases for the Workbench
Step 9

Connect Both Cabinet Bases for the Workbench

Position the two pairs of back-to-back cabinets far enough apart to make a stable base for the craft tabletop. Join them with three lengths of one-by-four stringers and secure them with screws. They will also add support to the top.

Set the Craft Table on the Cabinet Base
Step 10

Set the Craft Table on the Cabinet Base

Position the finished workbench top on the cabinet base on top of the stringers. Add the drawers that came with the cabinet kits and a variety of bins to hold supplies inside the cabinets.