My father bought a readily available Apple Slicer which attaches itself to a table via a built-in clamp. Unfortunately his dining table has a glass top and he didn’t want to scratch it or worse yet, crack it. So he asked me if I could help him make a little stand. This looked like the perfect opportunity to try out a few toys I had sitting around while helping my old man so I agreed.
We sat down together and brainstormed the dimensions and design. I wanted to know how he was going to use it, what he expected to be able to do with it and so on. He had a few requests:
- Keep it sturdy so it doesn’t rock or flex while being used
- Needs to allow enough room to turn the clamp’s crank to attach the Apple Slicer to the stand
- Needs to have something to prevent the Apple Slicer from pivoting from the clamped edge when being used
To address the sturdiness concern, I opted for a three piece design, two legs and a table top. Also, I went with 3/4″ thick wood and to fasten the joints I would be using screws and wood glue. For the height, I wanted to keep it low so I measured the distance from the bottom of the clamp edge to the elbow joint of the crank. I added about a 1/2″ more to ensure there was enough clearance for the crank shaft and the surface where it would stand on. In its finished state, the cranking rod would rest on the surface where the stand sat.
As for allowing enough room while clamping the Apple Slicer to the stand I had him hold the Apple Slicer and crank it so I could measure how much room he needed from the center of the crank. It appeared to be about 3.5″ per side, so I made the inside dimension 7″. Lastly, to prevent the whole assembly from pivoting I added two small wood blocks to be on either side of the assembly and opposite to the clamped edge.
Now that I had my general dimensions, I wanted to sketch it up so that I could visualize it better and also to easily create a cut list. I used my new favorite and FREE design application – SketchUp Make. This software allows me to draw directly in 3D and it’s basically like playing Legos after that.
I quickly drew it up and had a nice 3D model to present to my old man to see if he liked it before going forward. When he saw it, he loved it! But because he could see the finished product, he was able to get one more request in before the build. He wanted me to break the top edges of the stand’s table top so that it’d be easier on his hands if he had to hold it. Router some edges? Sure! So I added some 1/4″ rounded edges to the design and was ready to go.
- (1) 1″ (actual 3/4″) x 12″ x 36″ wood [ I wanted to keep it low-cost, so I bought an edge-glued board which was only $11.99]
- (1) 1/2″ Square wood rod (Optional see instructions below)
- (1) Small can of your choice of stain
- (1) Stain-friendly brush
- 600 Grit Wood sand paper
- Micro fiber cloth
- (4) #4 x 1″ button head wood screws
- (4) 1-1/4″ Kreg Coarse Pocket-Hole Screws (SML-C125)
Tools (recommended tools in bold font):
- Safety glasses
- Ear plugs
- Tape measure
- Table saw + Push Stick/ Circular saw
- Kreg Jig for Pocket Holes, I used the K4
- 90° clamps
- Screwdriver / Cordless drill (for assembly)
- Cordless drill / Drill Press (for holes)
- Wood Glue
- 1/8″ Drill Bit
- 5/64″ Drill Bit
- Router (Optional if you want rounded edges)
- 1/4″ Round over router bit (Optional see above)
I made the blueprints for both the part and the cut list. I’d recommend printing both out for reference during your build.
1 – Choosing what parts of the board you’re going to use
Review your wood for any imperfections or in contrast, features you would like to see on the final product. By viewing the Cut List drawing, try and visualize where the legs and top would end up on the board. You could also use your Tape Measure here to see where one component starts and ends on the board. After choosing which side you’re going to use, mark the board so that you know which areas will be cut off.
2 – Cutting the legs
I found it super easy to use my table saw on this one as I could set up the fence to the dimensions I needed and I would get repeatable cuts with ease. Make sure to use your Push Stick whenever possible to be safe. First I set my fence to 3-1/8″ and made two cuts from the short edge. This cut the legs out to the right width, but still had to cut the length to size.
3 – Cutting the table top and legs
Then I set my fence to 8-1/2″ and cut out the table top from the main piece of wood. Keeping the fence where it was at, I rotated the table top 90° so I could cut it’s long side and make it square by using the same dimension. The table top was now the right length and width. Now without moving the fence, I took the legs and cut their length down so that they were also 8-1/2″. The beauty of this method is that even if your 8-1/2″ measurement is a bit off, it won’t matter as much because at least all the pieces will be the same length.
4 – Rounding off the table top edges (Optional)
Clamp your work piece to your workbench so as to leave enough room for the router to pass by. Now run your router counter-clockwise on your edges. But make sure that you do the edges that are perpendicular to the grain of your wood. When those two are done, then do the edges that are parallel to the wood grain. This is to avoid chipped wood. I’d recommend a rounding router bit with an attached bearing to help you router the edges more consistently. If you’ve never used a router or need a refresher, consider this nice article by The Family Handyman website.
5 – Cutting the anti-pivot wood blocks (Optional)
Set your fence on your table saw to 1-1/2″ then take your 1/2″ Square wood rod and run it through twice to get two 1-1/2″ long blocks.
6 – Drilling of the anti-pivot wood blocks
Using your print as reference, measure the locations of the holes to be. Then using your center punch, mark the center of the location of the holes you’re going to drill. Take your cordless drill or better yet a drill press if you have it and drill the holes using the 5/64″ drill bit. Now you can make these blind holes, meaning they don’t go all the way through (easier if you have a drill press). Or you can make them through holes (easier if you only have a cordless drill). These holes will be just slightly smaller than the thickness of your threads on your screws. This allows you to thread the screws into the wood blocks without splitting the wood.
7 – Drilling of the legs
First, pick which side of the legs you would like to see on the outside. Meaning, if there are any imperfections you’d rather be hidden on the inside of your table. Then, using your Kreg Jig for pocket holes, drill two holes on each leg about 2 inches from the edges.
8 – Drilling of the table
Using the print, the 1/8″ drill bit, and your cordless or drill press drill the four holes on the table. Remember that these are to be through holes for your screws. Meaning that when you assemble the final product, you should be able to slide the screws through these holes in the table with ease.
9 – Assembly
Hold one of the legs against the bottom of the table then when you have the outside of the leg flush with the edge of the table, clamp them together with your 90° clamps. Now screw the leg onto the table by using the 1-1/4″ Kreg screws. Repeat for the other leg. Now take the anti-pivot wood blocks and place them over the holes on the table. While holding the blocks on top of the table thread the screws from under and through the table onto the blocks by hand. Then finish fastening the wood blocks. Careful not to over tighten these blocks as they are using a very small thread and could strip the thread easily.
10 – Staining
Here’s the fun part. Seeing your final product come to life! Take your sandpaper and sand down any rough edges or surfaces. Remember that this step is just to clean up any minor imperfections only. Once done, use your micro fiber cloth to remove any left over wood dust. Take your stain and use your stain-friendly brush and apply a light coat onto your work piece. How many coats are up to you. The more coats you put on it, the less grain you’ll see but you’ll get a more vibrant color. You can see the progression from one to three coats in the photos below.
You can make this project even easier if you can do without the anti-pivot wood blocks. Are they really necessary? Not sure at this point. By analyzing the table’s purpose it seemed like it at the time so I went with it. Now I had the tools available to make it easier. Without this feature the project is just three pieces of wood joined by a few screws – simple. Also, regarding the rounding of the table edges by the router. If you decide not to do this part, but you still want to do the anti-pivot wood blocks, you’ll have to move the wood blocks further from their closest edge by 1/4″. This is because the Apple Slicer that was used here has a 1/4″ rounded inside corner for the clamping mechanism. With the router edge, it allows the Apple Slicer to slide flush with the table top and side. The print I have provided, includes the right dimensions if you chose to do the rounded edges.
This is a great starter project for anyone wanting to get into woodworking. This was my first true project. I had done door and window installations, door trim, other things around the house but never a stand-alone project with a purpose. I love this little table and so does my father which is the most rewarding part of it all.