How to Build an Art Table

Create your own workstation complete with storage drawers for a place to express your artistic side.


Materials and Tools:

2 front/back pieces, 1-inch-thick birch (4 feet 6 inches by 6 feet 5¼ inches)
2 side pieces, 1-inch-thick birch (2 inches by 5¼ inches)
table bottom, ¾-inch-thick birch plywood (4 feet 4½ inches by 2 feet 10½ inches)
table lid, ¾-inch-thick birch plywood (4½ feet by 2 feet)
drawer-cover top, ¾-inch-thick birch ply (1 foot 2 inches by 1 foot 10½ inches)
2 drawer-cover cleats, ¾-inch-thick birch (1 foot 10½ inches by 2¼ inches)
drawer bottom, ¼-inch-thick maple (1 foot by 17¾ inches)
drawer sides, ½-inch-thick maple (17 inches by 2 inches)
drawer-front back, ½-inch thick maple (12¾ inches by 2 inches)
drawer facing, ¾-inch-thick birch (13 5/8 inches by 2 1/8 inches)
full-extension ½-inch glide system
three 5/8-inch-overlay concealed hinges with screws
four ¾-inch floor flanges
four 18-inch-long, ¾-inch-thick galvanized-steel pipe
four ¾-inch couplings
four 3-inch caster wheels with specialized fitting to snap on ¾-inch coupling (available by special order)
drawer knob
chop saw or miter saw
¼-inch kerf blade
table saw
nail gun
2-inch brads
1-inch brads
carpenter's glue
measuring tape
5/8-inch Forstner bit
eye protection


1. To build the inset table, miter the ends of the front, back, and sides to 45 degrees, setting the bevel angle of a chop or miter saw at 45 degrees and cutting down the sides of the beams.

2. Glue the edges of the bottom piece. Place the back piece and the two sides over the bottom edge, securing them with 2-inch brads. By joining each 45-degree-angle side, your corners should form a complete right angle. Don't add the front face of the table yet.

3. Add the support beam 15½ inches from the left side. Glue the bottom of the beam and set it in place. Secure by nailing from under the bottom of the table with 2-inch brads.

4. To trim the drawer hole on the front table face, use the table saw to make a 14-inch cut starting ¾-inch from the left side and 2¾ inches from the bottom. Make a second cut 2¼ inches below the first. Connect the cuts at both ends with a jigsaw, creating an open hole that measures 2¼ inches by 14 inches.

5. To build your drawer cover for the table, attach the 1 foot 10½ inch-by-2¼ inch pieces over the top piece with glue and 2-inch brads. Then attach the ½-inch drawer guides to the inside. Use a level to make sure they sit evenly from each other.

6. Turn the your drawer cover and place it inside the table inset, between the left side and the support beam. Glue the bottom of the surround and attach with 2-inch brads, nailing from under the bottom of the table.

7. To build the drawer, cut ½-inch maple for the four sides and ¼-inch maple for the bottom. Using a table saw with a ¼-inch kerf blade, make a ¼-inch-deep cut ½-inch from the bottom. Glue the dado cuts and slide the side pieces onto the bottom, attaching with 1-inch brads.

8. Attach the sliders to the guide and fully extend them. Hold the drawer in place between the slides and try pushing the drawer into the table. Adjust the position of the drawer until the drawer can easily be pushed in. With a pencil, mark where the drawer slides should attach. Remove the sliders from the guides and screw into the side of the drawer. Put the drawer in place by again attaching the rollers to the guide.

9. Attach the table face by gluing and nailing with 2-inch brads.

10. Cut out the drawer facing and attach by nailing 1-inch brads into the inside of the drawer front, making sure the facing is positioned correctly before attaching.

11. Add a knob of your choice to the drawer.

12. To add the legs to the table, flip the table over. In each corner, place a ¾-inch floor flange, attaching with ¾-inch screws. Attach the 18-inch-long galvanized steel pipes to the floor flanges. Add ¾-inch couplings and then galvanized-steel nipples. Add the caster wheels.

13. Flip the table back over. Make sure it's level. If need be, adjust the legs by screwing or unscrewing a bit until you get the right level.

14. Cut out the tabletop. With a Forstner bit, drill out a 5/8-inch hole an inch from each end and then one directly in the center.

15. Attach the lid to the table with 5/8-inch-overlay concealed hinges, screwing them into the desk with the accompanying screws.

16. To make an open handle for the desk, measure out from the center 1 inch to the left, and then place a 5/8-inch hole using the Forstner bit. Repeat the step for the right. Use the jigsaw to trim out the wood that remains between the two holes. Sand down to smooth.

17. Paint or stain as desired.

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