I was struck by a whim to take on a summer project, so I ventured into the sweltering garage and broke out the power tools. I had picked up some 1/2" prefinished lumber from the closeout rack at Menards in 1-1/2" and 3-1/2" widths. The lumber, which was made by Dakota with their "Homestead" finish, made up most of the project, but I bolstered the tabletop with a 1/2" thick piece of particleboard scrap, and the legs had cores of solid pine.
I started by cutting the particleboard to 34x34" using the old "circular saw over a piece of EPS"-trick. My Worx Exactrack saw made quick work of the task. I would love to tell you how my Hercules circular saw performed...IF I HAD ONE! Next, I brought out my Hercules mitre saw, which actually is available, on its Chicago Electric mitre saw stand. I cut seven pieces of the 3-1/2" lumber and six of the 1-1/2" pieces to a length of 34". I then alternated the pieces and glued, clampe, and cauled them to the particleboard. Once the glue was dry, I set up my Chicago Electric router with a 1/4" flush trim bit and trimmed the particleboard along the outside finished edges of the prefinished wood. I then squared up a clamp and cut guide and used my circular saw to get the other two edges square and flush. To finish the top I returned to the mitre saw and cut four pieces of the 1-1/2" lumber with mitred ends. I assembled the pieces into a frame with the unfinished bottom facing in using some glue and corner clamps. Once dry, I slid the frame around the tabletop and glued it in place.
To start the legs, I cut a couple 2x4s to 15" and ripped them on my Dewalt DWE7491 into 1" square. I then cut a few scraps of the prefinished wood to 15"and ripped them to 1-1/2". I glued the prefinished wood around the pine, holding it in place with rubber bands as I cleaned up the squeeze-out. I put them back on the Hercules mitre saw and, using a stop block on the fence, I made sure they were dead even and flush. For the apron, I cut 29" lengths of the 3-1/2" lumber and drilled some pocket holes in the ends and the top edge. I used my Drill Master pocket hole jig, which I modified slightly with some aluminum tubing that allows me to use the miniature pocket hole bit Kreg makes. Since the only Kreg screws for the mini bit are pretty short (1" was the only length I could find for soft wood and plywoo), I picked up a box of 1-1/2" #6 cabinet screws. I assembled the apron and legs with glue and screws, spacing the apron 1/2" behind the outside faces of the legs using a 60" F-style clamp. I attached the top and bottom by screwing the assembly to the bottom of the tabletop. A few hammer-in plastic feet on the bottoms of the legs, and it was ready to go!
I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. It's my first piece of furniture and first time working with prefinished lumber. The latter offered the challenge of keeping the unfinished sides and ends hidden. This led to me not being totally satisfied with the corners of the tabletop, which are sharp. It's less about the safety considerations and more about accelerated wear. Most of the seams were pretty tight, but one or two of the legs has some unsightly gaps. Once the glue is dead dry, I plan to fill the gaps with some gray caulk.