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One's a triangle two are a coffee table four make a low dining table.

One's a triangle Two are a coffee table Four make a low dining table

Triangle upon triangle: that's how these versatile tables are built. Used separately, they make good end tables or work counters for children; two together can form a square or a parallelogram; four make a long rectangle, large enough for informal dining.

To build four tables like these, you'll need a 4- by 8-foot sheet each of 3/4-inch particle board and 1/2-inch plywood, about 40 feet of 1-by-1, about 38 five-foot lengths of 5/16- by 2-inch oak flooring, a dozen 2-inch metal L-brackets with screws, 3/4-inch finishing nails, wood filler, and wood glue. Materials should cost about $115.

You'll also need paint for the bases and polyurethane or other finish for the tops.

Necessary tools include a table saw, miter square, nail set, eight 3-inch C-clamps, and sanding blocks or (preferably) a power sander.

Hardwood flooring stores and some lumberyards sell strip flooring in randomlength bundles: pieces in a 5-foot bundle range in length from 54 to 66 inches. Our directions tell how to make tables with uninterrupted strips on top. If you prefer, arrange the flooring with butted joints randomly staggered across the tops.

Making the tabletops. Cut two 36-inch squares from the particle board, then cut the squares in half diagonally.

Lay a strip of flooring along the long side of one triangle with exactly 5/16 inch overhanging that side. Continue laying strips to fill the triangle, letting all (including the first) extend 1/2 to 1 inch over one 36-inch side. Let the other ends of the flooring extend freely beyond the third side of the triangle, but provide support so they stay level with the particle-board base. When cut off, these overhanging strips will be used to cover another table.

After gluing the strips in place, lay four or five stiff boards at regular intervals across them and clamp them to the base. If the strips are not perfectly straight-edged, you'll need to push them together before clamping by applying sideways pressure on three or four at a time.

Let the glue dry overnight, then trim off the strips on both short sides to 3/8 inch from the base.

Cutting the skirts. The skirts of each tabletop are cut from three strips of flooring. These meet in mitered joints in the right-angle (90|) corner and in butt joints in the two 45| corners.

Set the saw blade to 45|. To make the two equal skirt boards for each table, bevel two strips of flooring near one end. (Angle accuracy is important; practice cutting on scrap wood and check with a miter square.) Measure 36 inches from the inside of each bevel and cut a 45| bevel in the opposite direction. Glue and clamp the two skirt boards to the particle-board edge and the underside of the flooring overhang.

Next make a 45| cut on the end of another flooring strip. Hold this piece beneath the overhang along the long edge of the tabletop, so it lines up flush with the outer edge of one of the shorter skirt boards. Mark where the other bevel for this third skirt board should be cut. Then cut the board and glue and clamp it in place.

Cut the 1-by-1 into lengths a few inches shorter than each side of the tabletop. Position as in the drawing and glue and clamp in place. Let dry. Apply a sandable wood filler, then sand the flooring overhand flush with the skirt boards and finish the tabletop with polyurethane, sanding lightly between coats.

Building the supports. To make each support, use three pieces of 1/2-inch plywood cut to 14 inches wide.

With the saw blade set at 45|, cut the plywood to length with opposing bevels, just as you did with the shorter skirt boards. Make the distance between the inside points of the bevels on the two equal sides 18 inches. Determine the exact length of the third side just as you did for the longer skirt boards.

Nail and glue the support pieces together. Fill nail holes, sand, prime, and paint. Center the support on the underside of the tabletop, then screw it to the top using three L-brackets.

Designer-builder: Steve Cohen, Palo Alto, California.

Photo: A table saw makes cutting 45| angles easy for skirt boards and support sides. Strips of flooring form butt joints at two corners of each tabletop

Photo: Used separately, triangle tables can give children individual, neighboring workplaces

Photo: A sleek parallelogram can add sculptural drama to a room

Photo: Two tables from a square that can serve as a coffee table or corner table

Photo: Four triangular tables, grouped to form a rectangle in front of an L-shaped couch, transfrom this living room into an eating area

Photo: Lay flooring on particle board parallel to long side of triangle, letting most of overhang extend over one of the shorter edges. Trimmed to 3/8 inch from edge, scrap strips will cover another table

Photo: View from below shows corner joints and 1-by-1 blocking reinforcing where skirt boards and particle board meet. Center smaller support triangle before installing L-brackets.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Oct 1, 1984
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