The Project Table

I have been asking for about a week now for Sean to write this post. He really wanted to write this one and I was more than happy to allow him the chance to write about this. Finally everyone gets to see a very fun piece in our house that I have actually used quite a bit in the last couple of weeks. So here it is from the Man of the House……


As Emily and I continue to decorate and furnish our new home, one of the first pieces of furniture she insisted on having was a nice desk that she could use for a variety of other tasks when needed.  Being an avid crafter, it was important the the piece contain lots of storage and be large enough to lay out fabric when needed.  Obviously, the Wal-Mart special wasn’t going to cut it, not to mention we’ve outgrown the crappy college furniture.

Being the resourceful person I am, I set out on a relentless search for the perfect desk…..aka I Googled it.  Unfortunately I eventually landed on the website of one of our favorite places to look for furniture.  Pottery Barn.  I won’t lie, for being mass produced, trendy furniture, the stuff looks good and is built pretty well.  You get what you pay for overall.  PB had a unique craft table in its collection, shown here.  The desk features plenty of storage on the sides, and sits a little higher than normal, making it perfect to work at whether sitting or standing.  The $1000+ price tag was not a feature I particularly cared for however and neither did our budget.

Some further investigating and careful looking at Target by Emily yielded a favorable solution that allowed us to save a lot of money, and spend quality time together building her dream desk.  We set out to Target to pick up a pair of these.  Closetmaid 3×3 storage cubes.  I know I just mentioned how we outgrew crappy particle board furniture, but with a little clean up, these could be made presentable.  We assembled the two shelves according to the directions, then went a step further and painted the backs white to hide the ugly cardboard/unfinished particle board backs.  The paint is artists acrylic found at most arts and crafts stores.  Check with an expert to make sure you find a paint that will not craze or saturate the cardboard  (IE: Something not to watery/runny)    The shelves where on sale for $42.00 each (normally $54)






Now for the crown touch of this table.  While the Pottery Barn unit features a white tabletop, we went a little beyond once again.  If you wanted, a standard door or molding could be used for the top and it would look great.  Having worked in industry I was familiar with maple top benches.  These benches are solid maple strips joined together to make a very strong and attractive table top.   We located our tabletop in the correct size from   Grizzly is an industrial machine and tool distributer.  Most of their equipment is on par with Harbor Freight (you get what you pay for) but I was impressed to see they offered these American made table tops and a reasonable price.

Seeing as the shelves were ~36” wide, and Emily wanted a large table, but something that could also be moved when the time came, we opted for the 60” x 36” x 1.75” table top.  The part can be had with a varnished finish or a rubbed oil finish.  The oil finish is nice because should the tabletop get nicked or dented from use, the whole thing can be sanded smooth and re-oiled.  We opted for that on our table.  Including freight delivery (it’s HEAVY!) the top came to $280.00



As far as assembly is concerned, theres not a lot involved and I won’t go into much detail here.  We wanted this unit to be easy to disassemble should we move it, so I refrained from screwing the top to the shelves.  Instead I opted for a set of metal plungers and a pair of thumbscrews (with nut inserts for the wood).  This allowed us to set the table on top of the cabinets, it would slide into position and locate itself using the plunger pins, and I could secure it with the thumbscrew.   This table is heavy enough that it probably isn’t going to slide anywhere very easily, but better safe than sorry.  My method worked out pretty well, and there are a number of options you could do to suit your situation.  I purchased my hardware from one of my favorite industrial supply outfits, McMaster-Carr Inc.  They have over 400,000 products in stock, so most likely you will find what you are looking for if it is of a mechanical/electrical nature.




We completed our project in a little over a weekend’s time, and it’s looking great as well as doing a great job holding all of Emily’s projects.  We picked out a shorter stool at Target to match the unit.  At just over $400 in cost, it was a much better value and more enjoyable project than just watching the Pottery Barn crew deliver a piece.


6 Responses to “The Project Table”
  1. Aunt Rita says:

    When can I borrow him. I like how you shop around. And the table looks great with lots of storage.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks Aunt Rita!!!!! He is great at helping me build things in our price range!

  3. Anonymous says:

    This young man looks like a true professional. I can tell he must have spent countless hours slaving over measurements and accuracy. You’ve got a true craftsman as a fiancee indeed!

  4. Grumpy says:

    Looks GREAT. I could not done a better job. Grumpy

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