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Gate Leg Sewing Table

Source: Martha Stewart Living Television


Martha was inspired to make this craft after discovering a beautiful sewing table in her Maine home. Unless you have access to a table saw, it's a good idea to have a local lumberyard do all of the major plywood cuts. The largest table that can be made using one standard 4-by-8-foot sheet of plywood will measure 42 by 60 inches when completely expanded.

Tools and Materials
Birch plywood
Continuous hinges or piano hinges
Combination square
No. 6 countersink bit
Wood screws
Tape measure
Philips-head bit
Utility hinges
3/8-inch wood plugs
Rubber mallet
Sand paper
Bumpers, optional
Pint of primer
Self-adhesive tape measure
T square
White paint pen

Gate Leg Sewing Table How-To
1. Start with your cut pieces: two at 42 by 27 inches and one at 42 by 6 inches for the table top; and two pieces measuring 6 by 30 1/4 inches and one more at 30 1/4 by 39 inches for the base.

2. Make sure you take a close look at the pieces before you begin. The larger pieces are the fold-down flaps and the narrow piece is the center. The pieces are joined with continuous hinges or piano hinges.

3. These hinges came measuring 48 inches long. Martha cut them down to 39 inches long with a hacksaw.

4. Center the hinges on the inside edges of the flaps. Make sure they are straight. This is where the sides will fold down. Screw them in, and set this completed piece aside.

5. Make the base: The base consists of two sides and a centerboard. Take one of the sides and mark the center of its length. You can use a combination square to do this. Mark a point 3 inches from each end. Use the combination square to also find the center of the width. Using a No. 6 countersink bit, drill 3 holes at these marks. Stand the centerboard up on its length. Position the side panel at its center and secure it in place using wood screws. Repeat this for the other side panel.

6. Make the gate legs: The gate legs will be made with clear pine. There are two sets of gate legs. The pieces measure 30 1/4 inches, 18 inches, and two 28-inch-long pieces. The longest piece is the actual leg of the table, the shortest piece attaches to the base, while the 28-inch pieces connect the two together to create the gate leg.

7. Measure and mark a line that is 8 inches from the top and bottom of the narrow side of the leg piece or longest piece. Mark a point at the center of the same piece. Find the center of the base piece or shortest piece. This is where the outer edge of the connecting pieces will be screwed. You will need to put two screws in between these lines, about 3/8 inch from each side. Countersink at these points. Countersink the 18-inch piece the same way. Butt an end of one of the 28-inch pieces against the leg. Using a Philips-head bit, secure it with wood screws. Repeat this step for the second 28-inch piece at the other end of the leg. These are butt joints. Butt the base piece against the other ends of the 28-inch pieces and secure with wood screws.

8. Attach the legs to the base. Lay the base on its side and set the leg assembly in place. Attach 2-inch narrow utility hinges to the short side of the gate leg. Repeat this step for the other side. Make sure the sides are flush with the base.

9. Stand the base up and set the tabletop on it. Mark points for two holes at the opposite top ends of centerpiece. They should each be 1 1/8 inches from the ends and 1 1/4 inches from the sides of the centerpiece. Countersink at these points. Using 2-inch wood screws, secure the tabletop to the base. Using 3/8-inch wood plugs, cover the screw holes.

10. Tap the plugs in with a rubber mallet. Lightly sand plugs.

11. If you choose, you may also want a bumper under the table, so you know where the leg should be set when the table is opened. These bumpers are available at any hardware store. The gate should be set 45 degrees from the base of the table.

12. Prime the table. Open the table completely. We used a clear, water-based wood primer that seals the wood surface and doesn't change its color. You will need about a pint for this project. Apply one coat of primer on your table. Let it dry for 30 minutes. After it is completely dry, sand the table lightly.

13. Attach one complete tape measure to each of the four sides of the table. This gives you rulers running left to right and right to left. Peal the adhesive off the tape measure. Stick to the sides. For the folding sides, the tape will have to be cut.

14. Line up a T square across the table. Set it against the even numbers of the tape measure. Using a white paint pen, carefully draw a line for every other inch from end to end.


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