Inset: Pattern and dimensions for table’s 4 component
pieces. Tabletop, brace, and 2 legs are all cut from a
single 4'× 4' sheet of plywood, with no waste.
hardware store. If your sheet does have a knot
or two, plan your production so that they wind
up on the underside, rather than facing out. After
sanding and painting, the piece will look great.
SAFETY FIRST! Whenever working with or
handling wood it’s a good idea to use gloves to
protect your hands from getting splinters. Wear
safety goggles and hearing protection while
using any tools, and always secure the material
you’re working with to a stationary object using
clamps or a vice. It’s best to work with a partner,
and it also makes projects more fun.
2. Measure the wood.
Referring to the pattern above, measure and
mark your plywood along lines 1, 2, and 3. These
divide the sheet into 4 pieces: a tabletop, a brace,
and 2 legs.
To ensure accuracy in measuring, the trick is
to measure from 2 or 3 different directions and
make sure that they all yield the same result.
I often measure cuts I’m about to make from
opposite ends of the plywood, and then use a
square to ensure their proper angle against the
edge of the material.
130 Make: Volume 09
The cuts from 4× 4
( 24) ( 19)
Slots in table leg
Slots in brace
TIP: To make clean, straight cuts with a handheld
jigsaw or circular saw, clamp down a fence at
either end of the material and run it along the
edge you want to cut. A fence is simply a straight,
solid object that provides an edge for your tool
to rest against.
3. Cut the wood into pieces.
These first cuts break the unwieldy 4'× 4' sheet of
plywood into more manageable pieces. I used a
Cut 1 Halve the plywood sheet to produce two
4'× 2' pieces. One piece will be the tabletop and
the second one will become the legs and the
brace that holds the other 3 parts together.
Cut 2 Make a cut parallel to the first that’s 5"- 10"
in from the edge. This creates a narrow 48" piece
that will serve as the table’s brace. The wider you
make this piece, the lower and more stable your
table will be. I made a taller table by cutting a 5"
Cut 3 Clamp the larger piece left over from Cut
2, and cut it evenly in half, perpendicular to the
first 2 cuts. With my table’s measurements, this
turned a 19"× 48" piece into two 19"× 24" legs.