By Chris HillMore in Decorating
Cut the top slats slightly longer (1/2-inch or so) longer than the length shown in the cut list.
Look at the end grain of each of the boards. You'll notice the grain pattern may have a curve, either up (looks like a smile) or down (looks like a frown). Position these so that the end grain patterns alternate between the smile (up curve) and a frown (down curve). Don't position two frowns or two smiles adjacent. This helps limit any buckling or curvature when gluing up the top. So will another step mentioned later.
Apply painter's tape to one face of each of the 2x2 oak squares. You will use these oak squares as cauls when clamping the top slats.
Position three or more bar clamps open on a level work surface and position the top slats on the clamps in the pattern you determined and with an inch or so between the parts. Apply glue to the joining edges, butt the parts together with the ends flush and clamp lightly in place.
Position the cauls, tape side against the top slats and butted against the bar clamps, and clamp lightly in place (image 1).
Continue to tighten the clamps on the top slats and cauls, making any adjustments as needed. Allow the glue to set.
Remove the clamps, scrape and/or sand off the glue from the joints. Cut the final top assembly to length using a table saw or circular saw. Apply a pre-stain conditioner to the top assembly, especially the ends, per the manufacturer's directions.
Apply stain to all faces, ends, and edges of the top (image 2).
Position the top, best side down, on your work surface.
Position the base assembly centered on the top and attach to the top using 1 1/4-inch pocket hole screws (no glue). Drive the screws through the end rails, side rails and middle rail.
Apply a small amount of glue in the pocket holes on the bottom end rails and insert the paintable pocket hole plugs. Wipe off any excess glue, sand the plugs flush, and touch up the paint as needed. Allow to dry.
Apply polyurethane per the manufacturer's directions to the stained parts of the projects.
Apply felt furniture pads or furniture pads to the bottom of the legs.