I own a portable table saw, but often work alone. I needed a table at the same height as the table saw to allow me rip longer boards or to use as the base for my miter saw.

Initial version

I designed a table in Google Sketchup.

First design – vertical slats

I iterated it a few times.

Final design with horizontal beam surface

Final design with horizontal beam surface

I bought a pile of reclaimed lumber which fit the general size I had designed for the table. Up to this point I hadn’t done anything more complex than butt joints. Because I wanted more strength for a work table, and because I thought it would be a better aesthetic choice I made lap joints.

I used a circular saw to make a number of cuts for the joint and chiseled out the waste wood. It was my first one and it took a long time to slowly clean out the wood. After the first one my technique got a lot better and I was able to crank out the table in an afternoon.

Rough surface of the first version.

Rough surface of the first version.

First version of the table

First version of the table

I made a heavy and strong table that’s been invaluable for working solo. It allows me to support ends of beams that I’m cutting or rip much larger sheets than I could manage alone.

Refined version

The table served as a great workbench for a couple of years. My experience increased, my skills grew. After a few years I saw a lot more potential in the wood than I initially did. I took the entire table apart. I reworked the joints, planed all the wood. As a final step I sanded and surfaced it with marine varnish.

Refined version with varnish

Refined version with varnish

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The refined version is nice enough that it could be used as an inside table. I still use it as a work table, but it looks a lot better than it did.