My goal: Create a 72” square dining table using the fewest pieces of hardwood plywood (control costs & minimize waste) and use the Expedit Shelving Units for a sturdy base.
- 4 – Expedit 2×2 Shelving Units
- 2 – 3/4”x4’x8’ Hardwood plywood sheets – Home Depot or Lowe’s
- 1 – 3/4”x48”x48” Plywood (CDX quality is fine) – Home Depot or Lowe’s
- 30’ish – 1 1/4” wood screws.
- 2 – 3/4” x 1/8” x 96” Aluminum bar – Home Depot or Lowe’s
- 1 roll self-adhesive copper foil tape (at least 20 feet) – eBay or musician’s shop
Basic Instructions for the EXPEDIT square dining table
- Cut both pieces of Hardwood plywood (Panels A & B) as showing in diagram A.
- Cut a 32” square from the piece of 48” plywood (Panel C).
- See Table Assembly Instructions for details of how the top and bottom layers of the table top are arranged.
- Remove the ‘top’ from each Expedit Shelving Unit carton. You need all four tops.
- Arrange the base layer of the table on a flat surface as shown in diagram B.
- Arrange the top of each shelving unit on the base layer as shown in diagram C.
- Using the holes in the Expedit tops as a template, drill holes through the base layer.
- (The only space large enough to do this was the garage floor and I couldn’t drill all the way through. So I drilled a short way into the base layer then finished the holes on my workbench.)
- Assemble the base of each Expedit Shelving Unit – but DO NOT INSTALL the tops (they are not used in this project).
- Decide whether you want to use the shelves. We chose to leave the top divider out so we had two small cubbies on bottom and a large shelf on top. You could leave the shelves out entirely.
- You’ll end up with a U-shaped shelf without a top.
- Arrange the U-shaped Expedit Shelves into the layout for the table base (see Table Base Arrangement diagram).
- With a helper, and working one piece at a time, arrange the base layer onto the top of the Expedit shelves. Using the lag screws provided by IKEA, attach the base layer to the Expedit shelves. You’ll tighten these pretty soundly to fully seat them.
- The base layer pieces may sag and droop a bit at this point. Don’t worry. When you add the top pieces everything will tighten up.
- Drill pilot holes at random spots on the base layer. Be sure to include a few near where the top layer will meet at a seam and near the edges (but not to close to the edges) and anywhere a bit of base layer is dangling.
- Arrange the Table Top onto the base layer.
- If including ‘copper’ bars skip to Adding ‘Copper’ Bars below.
- Be sure everything is pushed tightly together then screw the base layer to the table top using the pilot holes you drilled earlier and the 1 1/4” screws. You may find you need a few more screws to get everything tight.
- Sand and finish the table top.
Adding ‘Copper’ Bars:
This is a bit of trial and error and takes time and patience.
- Once the table top pieces are arranged on the base layer, arrange the aluminum bars in the seams. You’ll need to cut one of the bars in half to do this.
- The aluminum bars will all hang over the edge a bit. Don’t worry. You’ll sort that out later.
- Push the table top pieces tight against the aluminum bars.
- Your top layer will hang over your bottom layer a bit. Ignore that for now, too.
- Attach the base layer to the table top using the pilot holes you drilled earlier and the 1 1/4” screws.
- Loosen the screws slightly so you can remove the aluminum bars.
- Tighten the screws again so everything is secure.
- Clamp a guide to the table and, using a circular saw, carefully trim the top to the same size as the base layer.
- Shape and finish the table edges as you prefer. Ignore that you don’t have bars in place yet. But don’t stain or finish the table, yet.
- Re-install the aluminum bar and, using the finished table edge as a guide, roughly shape the aluminum bars with a file. Then, using increasingly finer grades of sandpaper, finish the aluminum bar to match your table profile. Be sure the aluminum bar is smooth.
- Remove the aluminum bar and stain and finish your table top. You can wait on the final coat until you re-install the ‘copper’ bars.
Create copper bars
- Cut a piece of copper tape about 1-2” longer than your aluminum bar.
- On a flat, clean surface carefully peel the backing from the copper tape.
- With your helper, carefully center the aluminum bar’s narrow edge onto the tape and press it down.
- Holding one side of the copper tape, roll the aluminum bar to the ‘other’ side and press it down.
- Lift the loose end of the tape off the table and carefully press it onto the bar.
- Repeat the process of rolling the bar to the other side and affixing the rest of the tape.
- Press the tape all over to ensure a tight seal and smooth out any imperfections, particularly on the top.
Finish the Table
- Loosen the table top, arrange the copper bars in place and retighten your top.
- Apply a final finish to the entire top.
N.B. – when moving this huge table into the dining room I used a strap around the base to keep the Expedit shelving units from sagging and stressing the connection points. Probably would have been fine but it was too much work to risk at the last moment.
~ by Craig
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