© 2010 mcullen

Building a Table

I’ve been looking for a new desk, or a side table to use with my existing desk for a few weeks. There’s not a lot out there that’s practical, good looking and affordable. I am also a fan of metro shelving and modern furniture, and decided to put together a simple table using some metro shelves. It’s not fancy, but it’s practical, affordable, reasonably good looking, and even with my limited tools and skill set, only took an hour or so to throw together.

Here’s what I started with:
- 2 small metro shelves from home depot
- 2 sheets of 72×28 laminated pine
- 1 small drill bit
- 1″ drill bit
- Tape measure
- Pencil

And here are the steps.
1. Decide where you want to position the shelves in relation to the end of the table, and mark the center of the hole in each corner of the shelves.
2. Drill pilot holes with the small drill bit. Perhaps not necessary, but it certainly isn’t going to hurt.
3. Drill the full size holes with the 1″ drill bit.
4. Assemble the shelves with just the bottom shelf in place.
5. Slide the first piece of pine over the shelf uprights and into place at the bottom.
6. Put the middle and top metro shelves into place.
7. Measure the distance between the top shelves.
8. Remove the top shelves and using the measurement from step 7, mark the second panel for drilling. This must be properly measured in order for the second piece of pine to fit into place properly. If the holes are drilled incorrectly, it will not fit.
9. Drill your pilot and full-sized holes.
10. Put the top metro shelves in place.
11. Slide the second piece of pine onto the top of the shelves.

One important note: Make sure that both sets of shelves are the same size. Home Depot had three different sizes all in the same stack when I bought mine. Missing parts from one of the sets meant buying a slightly different size after drilling my first set of holes, which made for a very tight fit and cracked wood around one of the holes. The shelves also need to be the same so that it is possible to set all of the shelves to the same height so that the horizontal surfaces are always level.

A few other ideas that I’ve had along the way.
- Ikea sells some nice looking butcher block counter-tops that could be used instead of the pine for a nicer looking table. It’s also slightly thicker so it might be possible to cut holes that only go part of the way through the wood in order to have a seamless top surface.
- If wood was used only across the top and not the bottom, one could make a desk. Leaving out the middle metro shelf on one end would also create a nice place to stick a computer tower. This might necessitate the use of some sort of cross brace on the back of the desk to keep everything solid, but would be easy to do.
- The laminated pine isn’t terribly stiff, so if this were to be used for heavy objects, it might be a good idea to look for a thicker piece of wood like the butcher block mentioned above, or find a way to stiffen it up a bit.

And a couple more pictures of the table.
Metro Shelving Table
Metro Shelving Table