Woodworking - Red Oak Tabletop

2 minute read

In this post I share how I built a 27” x 84” (7ft) tabletop using Red Oak for a friend of mine.

Background

During the pandemic, working-from-home became the way of life for many, including myself. To avoid sitting for extended hours, I purchased a motorized sit/stand desk. This excluded the tabletop and was cheaper than the all-in-one tables. When looking for a tabletop, I didn’t like the options I saw online as the price vs quality didn’t make sense. Naturally, I Googled “How to build a tabletop” and that’s how my woodworking journey begun! I built my first tabletop using SPF (Spruce/Pine/Fir) i.e. softwood.

I offered to build a similar tabletop for my friend, but this time, I used Red Oak (hardwood).

Materials

  • S4S boards of Red oak
  • Titebond 2
  • Watco Danish Oil - Dark Walnut
  • Minwax Wipe-on Polyurethane
  • Minwax Finishing Wax Paste
  • Scott shop towels

Tools

  • 3/4” pipe clamps
  • Mitre saw (to trim off the ends)
  • Track saw (to clean up the edges for a seamless glue-up)
  • Random orbital sander

Design:

  • Dimensions: 27” x 84” and a final thickness of ~1”
  • Wood: Red Oak - I chose this for its value and strength

Step 1: Purchase the lumber

My friend and I visited our local hardwood supplier and selected our boards. Seeing that I don’t have a planer, jointer or table saw, we asked the supplier to mill the boards down to 6 * 4.5” x 7ft boards (S4S). This meant that all 4 sides will be surfaced and true.

Step 2: Dry fit

Once the boards were ready I did a dry fit and they were all flat and straight.

Dry fit

Step 3: Jointing the edges

In the absence of a jointer/table saw, I used my track saw to joint the edges. I clamped some scrap 2x4s on top and below two boards which helped them stay together. You don’t want to clamp these boards together since this will cause the boards to bind and potentially cause kick-back.

Before and after jointing using the tracksaw
Dry fit after jointing

Step 4: Glue-up

Using 3/4” pipe clamps, I applied a liberal amount of Titebond 2 and clamped them together. Unfortunately, I did the glue-up 4-5 weeks after I got the boards from the supplier and some boards had developed a bow. I tried my best to clamp the boards straight using clamping cauls, however, it wasn’t a perfect glue-up. All I could do was wait for the glue to dry and try and sand the table flat.

Setting up the clamps
Glue-up

Step 5: Sanding

After scraping off the glue, I started standing. I used the following grits:

  • 4 passes of 80 grit (I had to remove a fair amount of material as it wasn’t a perfect glue-up)
  • 4 passes of 120 grit
  • 2 passes of 220 grit
  • Sprayed on water (raised the grain) and did another pass of 220 grit
Lots of glue to remove
After many, many hours of sanding

Step 6: Trimming and routing

I trimmed the edges to final length using my track saw and routed the edges using a 1/4” round-over bit

Rounding over the edges

Step 7: Finishing

  • 3 coats of Danish Oil (Dark Walnut)
  • Wiping off excess between coats
  • After the last coat, I left it to dry for 72 hours
  • 3 coats of wipe-on poly
  • Finally, I used finishing paste wax
Danish Oil
Applying Danish Oil
Final touches

Step 8: Installation

Installed on a dual motor sit-stand desk

Done!