Small Utility Table

A friend got a small table-top washing machine. She wanted to put it on a low, sturdy table that would not allow it to “walk” off the table during the spin cycle. The dimensions of this table were chosen for her specific situation. You could easily add a shelf, but she wanted to put her wastebasket underneath, so I left it open.

The dimensions are 22.5″ wide, 15.5″ deep, and 24″ tall. The table top area is 14″ x 21″.

Shopping List

1 @ 2×3 x 8′ pine
3 @ 1×4 x 8′ pine
20 @ 1.75 or 2″ wood screws
10 @ 1.25″ wood screws
30 @ 1.5 to 2″ finish nails
wood glue
finish materials

Cut List

4 @ 2×3 x 22.25″ – Legs
2 @ 1×4 x 22.5″ – front & back edges
3 @ 1×4 x 18″ – horizontal supports
8 @ 1×4 x 14″ – top and ends
2 @ 1×4 x 13″ optionally cut one end at 30 or 45 degree angle
2 @ 1×4 x 9″

Step 1 – Make the Ends

Attach 2 legs together with one of the 13″ pieces. If you cut one end at an angle, align that end with the edge of the 2×3 as shown. The other end should be 1″ from the edge of the 2×3.

Use a square to get right angles, and use the 9″ piece as a spacer to get the width right. Pre-drill the screw holes, and attach with screws and glue. Build 2 of these in a mirror image, so one has the offset on the left and one on the right.

If you have a Kreg jig, you should also install the upper (9″) piece at this time, flush with the other side of the 2x3s. If not, install them at the end of Step 3.

Step 2 – Connect Both Ends

Connect the 2 end sections using the three 18″ pieces. The lower piece can be screwed into the end of the lower rails. For the upper pieces, drill through the 2x3s near the outer edge, and screw into the end grain of the 18″ pieces.

When drilling the holes for the lower rail, make sure they do not line up with the screws in the cross rails.

If you have a Kreg jig, you could use it on the top pieces instead of drilling through the legs. Install with the holes on the inside.

Step 3 – Attach the top rails

Attach the top rails on the ends by drilling through legs, so the screws can be driven from the inside. Note that when screwing through the 2×3 into the 1×4 you will need 2″ of screw depth, so if you are using 1.75″ screws, you should countersink by 1/4″.

Attach the front and back top rails by drilling through the support rails. Use glue and screws. Use the 1.25″ screws when attaching two 1x4s (which are actually 3/4″ thick).

The top of the rails should be 1.75″ above the top of the legs.

If you did not attach the 9″ cross pieces in step 1, attach them now by screwing into the outer rails.

You may also want to add some finish nails to the corners of the outer rails.

Step 4 – Attach the Top

Attach the top pieces with finish nails and glue.

What Do You Need Designed?

Creating a design is my favorite part of any DIY project. As much as I enjoy working with wood, and the satisfaction of building something useful, it is the desire to see my design come to life that keeps me motivated. In fact, I often have to push myself to complete the finishing work on a project, since I loose some of that excitement after I can see whether or not the design will work.

Since I haven’t built anything recently that is interesting enough to share, I want to ask readers of this site what they would like to see designed. Suggest an interesting idea, and I’ll write up a plan, draw it in SketchUp, and post it here on the site, all for free.
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Toddler Train Bed

A neighbor was looking for a Thomas the Tank Engine toddler bed, hoping to find one second hand. The manufactured plastic version, aside from being expensive, didn’t even do a good job of capturing the shape of a tank engine (not that the average 3 year old would notice). I drew one up, but the neighbor moved, so I never built it.
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Produce Storage Bins

Wood bins are popular storage containers for many fruits and vegetables that need air circulation as they ripen. My kitchen needed a place to put some of the produce that wasn’t ready for the refrigerator.
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Produce Bins on Kickstarter

My first Kickstarter project, the DIY Sit-Stand desk, did not reach the funding goal. At some point I will work on a new prototype, but until then I was looking for a new project that might allow me to raise the funds for some new tools.

I built a set of produce bins for my own kitchen to allow my fruits and vegetables to ripen with some air circulation. It turned out well enough that it justified a new attempt at Kickstarter.
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Sit Stand Desk Kickstarter project

Sit-Stand desks, that allow a person to easily raise and lower their workstation to accommodate either sitting or standing while working, are becoming very popular. Since they generally require either electric motors, gas pistons, or some other complicated mechanism, they are all fairly expensive.

I attempted to build my own desk using common parts, like screen door springs to provide some lift. It works, but not very well. It isn’t suitable for posting as a DIY plan in the current form.

I have some ideas on how to improve it, but it is going to require some experimenting, by building a couple more desks.

I’m also fascinated with the concept of crowdsourcing, using something like So I started a project on Kickstarter to fund the purchase of some lumber, supplies, and a few new saw blades, all in the name of refining a DIY plan to a point that just about anyone can build it. Also, I wanted to get a feel for how Kickstarter works.

You can see and contribute to the project at

Once the project is complete, and all rewards have been delivered to all of the sponsors, the final plans will be posted on this site for free. Sponsoring the plan will get you the advance copies of the plan, along with all of my photos and changes as the project progresses. I will also keep open communication to all the sponsors if they want to offer suggestions.

As part of the project, I’m also offering a DIY kit with all of the small hardware. If that proves popular, I’ll make it available on this site. If everything goes smoothly, I should have everything complete and the plans available to everyone by the end of this year.

The CD Plan Scam

Any search for woodworking plans will return multiple links for one particular vendor that claims to offer 16,000 plans on CD for a little over $60. I am not going to give them the benefit of even mentioning their name, since you probably already ran across multiple versions of it before finding this site.

The scam tactics employed by the site should be enough to deter anyone from handing over their credit card. But for those who may have missed the warning signs, I feel compelled to offer a little analysis.
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Daybed with Back Support

Daybeds need a backrest if you really want to use them as a couch. Leaning back against a pile of pillows, or sitting with your legs strait out leaves a lot to be desired.

Daybed with Backrest
This daybed has a backrest that flips forward about 12 inches, creating a normal seating depth for a couch.
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Why do we DIY

Why would you want to do it yourself?

The push to build your own piece of furniture, rather than buy a completed piece, could come from several sources.

  • – Price: you’ve seen a piece you would like, but can’t afford it
  • – Quality: you’ve seen a piece you like, but it was made of particle board
  • – Fit: you can’t find a piece in the correct size or shape for your needs
  • – Uniqueness: you have a combination of needs that is unique enough that no one makes it
  • – Fun: you like building things (we’ll include “get away from some task/person/thing I want to avoid” in this)
  • – Nostalgia: you have some aged lumber that you’re dying to make use of

Many projects will touch on all of those motivations, and most will hit at least a couple of them. But even if “fun” is your top priority, you will want to consider at least a couple of the other factors when choosing projects.
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Strong Platform Bed

A friend who shops in the “big and tall” section wanted to build a platform bed that he was absolutely certain would not be broken. He wanted simple construction with heavy lumber–as he put it, “a barbarian bed”. He also wanted 12″ of clearance under the side rails for storage.

We used 4×4’s and 2×8’s, and put it together with 8 large carriage bolts so it could be disassembled. No special tools are needed, but it does require a few challenging cuts, careful drilling, and countersinking long screws.
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