How to Build an Octagon Dining Table

Carter Oosterhouse builds an elegant two-tone cherry dining table.


Materials and Tools:

one 1-1/4" piece of cherry-veneered, medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
five 1-1/2" pieces of cherry wood 4-1/2" wide
two 8' pieces of 3/4" cherry wood
three pipe clamps
four banister legs (4010 –BT Hemlock Newel 467419)
tabletop fasteners
3/8" router bit
compound miter saw
biscuit joiner
#20 biscuits
table saw
3/8" kerf saw blade
wood glue
wood screws
nail gun
1-3/4" brad nails
pipe clamps


Cutting the pieces for the top:

1. Cut your piece of 1-1/4" cherry veneered MDF into an octagonal shape. The length should be 59 inches, the corner diagonals 6 inches (diagonals should be cut at 45 degrees) and the width 25 inches long.

2. Using a router to bevel the corner edges of the cherry-veneered MDF.

3. Cut the cherry wood trim pieces into trapezoid shapes, each at an angle of 22-1/2 degrees. For the table's length, the trim should be 59 inches on the short side of the trapezoid and 62-1/2 inches on the long side. The width trim should be 25 inches on the short side and 28-1/2 inches on the long side. Finally, the corner trapezoid pieces should measure six inches on the short side and 9-1/2 inches on the long side.

Building the top:

1. Using a biscuit joiner, make five biscuit grooves along the side edge of the cherry veneered MDF and the cherry wood matching trim piece on the table's length. Make sure the grooves are equal to each other. Then make three biscuit grooves along the table's width and one on each of the corner pieces for both the MDF and trim.



2. Fill in each biscuit groove on the MDF and matching trim piece with glue. Insert #20 biscuits and attach the top edge piece so they fit securely together. (Note: the beveled edges should match up.)



3. Repeat step 2, connecting the following pieces in this order:
The bottom of the octagon – the top of your bottom trim piece.
The sides of the octagon – the top of your side trim pieces.
The diagonals of the octagon – the top of your diagonal trim pieces.

4. Attach pipe clamps and allow the pieces to dry.

5. Once dry, use a router to bevel the corner edges of your table.

Building the skirt:

1. Cut 3/4" cherry wood into eight pieces. The measurements for these pieces will be the same length as each side of the cherry veneered MDF octagon (two at 59 inches, two at 25 inches and four at 6 inches).

2. Miter the sides of each skirt piece at a 22-1/2 degree angle so they fit snuggly in an octagon shape.

3. To make the design in the skirt: On the outside of each piece measure 3/4" from the top. Using a router cut a 3/8" dado. Go down another 1/2" and cut another 3/8" dado.



4. Measure a 1/2" from the inside top of the skirt pieces and cut a 3/8" kerf.

5. Connect the skirt pieces to the MDF with glue.

6. To secure the skirt, attach 16 tabletop fasteners around the table (five for the length and three for the width) with one end attached to the kerf and the other screwed into the cherry veneered MDF.

7. Stain the MDF piece with a clear stain. Then stain the skirt and edging brown.

Connecting the legs:

1. We used wood banister pieces as the legs for our table. Measure how high you want the table to sit and cut the banister legs accordingly.

2. Paint the legs as desired and allow them to dry.



3. Cut four pieces of 3/4" cherry wood so that one length is 4-1/2" x 11" and the other is 4-1/2" x 12-1/2". To get the variation in length, use a chop saw to miter each side to a 22-1/2-degree angle.

4. Place each leg inside the skirt, flush with the four corner pieces.

5. Place the four pieces of cherry wood against each leg so that the mitered edges fit snuggly to the insides of the skirt.

6. Using a drill, insert two screws into each piece of cherry and to the leg. Add more screws to the sides of the cherry pieces for added security.

7. Make sure all the glue is dry. Flip the table over and you're finished!

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