The End Table is Finished!

By Jeff | Dec. 18, 2012

I bet you thought it would never get done, right? As will all projects, it took way longer than expected, but that was partly due to the lengthy drying time. If you recall from last time, I had major issues getting the table square due to not having the right tools available to me. The following Monday, I went back to the TechShop and the very helpful staff showed me the new router they had purchased over the weekend. It was amazing what a difference the right tool made.

Staining the Table

Once the table top was finished, it was time to stain it. I looked at a few different products, and decided on an oil-based stain, Minwax Jacobian. We also got the pre-conditioner since we had heard that poplar as a wood can sometimes be blotchy and we went with a polyurethane sealer.

This was my first time staining anything, so after watching and reading various tutorials online, I decided to skip all of the silly techniques and just go with what was on the can. I first tested it on a piece of scrap wood and sanded it to 220 grit (starting at 80). Then I put on the pre-conditioner with an old sock and let it sit for a few minutes. Once that was done I put on the stain with a foam brush and let it sit for 15 min. We wanted it pretty dark so we decided to go the longest time recommended. Here’s what the wood looked like with the stain still on it.


After the 15 min. We wiped it clean with a different old sock and it gave a very nice brown. After doing all the staining, I’m glad I did the top of the tabletop first because some of the stain leaked underneath. Next time I do a staining job, it would be really nice to be able to put the piece in the air so I can wipe off the bottom much more easily.


Once the stain was all set, I put on three coats of polyurethane sealer. This is the part that took the longest. It was freezing outside so it took a full day to dry between coats. I thought about doing it inside but with all the warnings about toxic fumes I decided to play it safe and stay in the garage. I did a very light sanding at 220 grit between each coat of polyurethane.

After everything was dry, I brought it inside and did one final light sanding with 400 grit just to smooth everything out. I then cleaned it all up and attached the two pieces together using square brackets.


I used my combination square and some math to center the base on the table and screwed everything together. I had to buy separate screws to use with the brackets since the ones that came with them were too long for the wood.

End Table

Here are some pictures of the new table in its home over Nova’s crate. We think it makes it look more like a little den for her to curl up inside at night.

End Table