The Beautiful Big Table: A perfect dual workstation

My wife and I wanted a large single table for our studio. She works on one side and I do on the other. Tables this large are fewer in selection and cost around $1K+ for one that is decently designed and built, but we didn’t like anything that we found. We built this for $665 and it took one person an hour to put it together.

The Beautiful Big Table: A perfect dual workstation

IKEA items used: (2) Karlby countertop, walnut. L98×25⅝x1½”

We used two IKEA Karlby countertops. They are made primarily from particle board, but IKEA chose to use extra thick 1/8″ walnut veneer laminated on top. Its been finished in a hard wax oil so it’s designed to be refinished and last. The countertops come with a 25 year limited warranty as an indication of how long they’re intended to last when installed as intended in kitchens.

The Beautiful Big Table: A perfect dual workstation

We clamped the countertops together with 4 panel clamps. This makes a strong and stable center seam so the halves both reinforce one another and remain aligned. We then bolted the joined top on two sawhorse legs from McMaster-Carr Supply. Each sawhorse was mounted on the lengthwise center of the top and 24″ from each of its ends. The sawhorses are mounted perpendicular to the center seam with their midpoints aligned to the seam.

The Beautiful Big Table: A perfect dual workstation

We used bolts to fasten the panel clamps and legs to the top. Since the top is constructed from particle board, we installed metal threaded inserts into the countertops with epoxy.

The Beautiful Big Table: A perfect dual workstation

I had wondered if the top would require additional center reinforcement to prevent lengthwise bowing over time, but decided to wait and see. Its been used for two years now with heavy computer monitors sitting dead center and I can only see very minimal bowing when I sight the top from one corner along the lengthwise edge.

I recently got around to finishing the cable routing. I used a nickel plated brass grommet from Mockett and F6 woven wrap from Wirecare to route most of our electrical cords. The textile cover wraps onto itself making it relatively easing to fold cords into and out of it as you need.

The Beautiful Big Table: A perfect dual workstation

I’m was so happy with how the table had turned out that it was worth refinishing it. I thoroughly sanded the top surface and edges to 120 grit and followed by 180 grit to get past the hard wax oil. It wasn’t hard. I wiped off the dust with damp paper towels, let it dry, and then flooded the surface with Danish oil using a cheap china bristle disposable brush. I let it set 15 minutes and then applied more oil over the entire surface. After waiting another 30 minutes, I wiped it with clean cotton rags. The next day, I sanded to 220 grit, wiped off the dust, and repeated the oiling technique. The day after, I sanded to 320 grit, cleaned off the dust, and applied the final coat of oil using the same technique again. It greatly enriched the depth and saturation of color in the walnut in addition to providing a satisfying smooth surface to lay your hands on.

The Beautiful Big Table: A perfect dual workstation

Here’s our full materials and costs list for our big table:

Essential

– 2 x Adjustable height sawhorse from McMaster-Carr (8055T31), $63.08 each = $126.16
– 2 x Karlby countertop, walnut. L98×25⅝x1½” from IKEA (Article Number: 703.352.12), $219 each = $438.00
– 4 x Double Acting Joint Fastener from Amazon, $14.65 each = $58.60
– 1 x 1/4-20-Inch x 1-Inch Full Thread Hex Tap Bolts, 100-Piece, Amazon, $9.84 each = $9.84
– 1 x E-Z Lok Threaded Insert, Zinc, Hex-Flanged, 1/4″-20 Internal Threads, 25mm Length (Pack of 50), Amazon, $7.50 each = $7.50
– 1 x E-Z Lok Threaded Insert, Zinc, Hex-Flanged, 3/8″-16 Internal Threads, 25mm Length (Pack of 25), Amazon, $6.00 = $6.00
– 1 x 3/8-16-Inch x 1-Inch Course Hex Bolts, 100-Piece, Amazon, $18.84 each = $18.84

Total = $664.94

Extras

– Epoxy, bonds metal and wood. Use on threaded inserts
Danish oil, natural
– 120 grit sandpaper
– 180 grit sandpaper
– 220 grit sandpaper
– 320 grit sandpaper
– Cheap brush, China bristle white
– Clean cotton rags
– 1 x F6 Woven Wrap for cord covers, Wirecare (F6W0.50WH), $35.10 each = $35.10
– 1 x F6 Woven Wrap for cord covers, Wirecare (F6W0.75WH), $15.95 each = $15.95
– 1 x Metal Grommet 2-1/2″ solid brass, Mockett (MM6A-17S), $12.85 each = $12.85
– Hole saw to match grommet diameter

~ by Mark Bechtel and Ruchika Modi

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