How to Make a Japanese Tea Table

By Mary Jane
A tea table is used at a variety of occasions in Japan

Japanese tea ceremonies can mean several things. It can be a simple social event or have a religious meaning. In any case, it emphasizes aesthetics and culture. Making a Japanese tea table and using it for Japanese tea ceremonies is a great method of exploring the Japanese culture or to host a different type of social gathering. Japanese tea tables are easy to design and construct at home, if the right tools are at hand.

Measure the plywood so it is 35-inches by 35-inches. The height of the wood should be at least 1/2-inch thick. However, if a thicker tabletop is desired, go ahead and purchase a thicker plywood piece. Use a pencil to make the markings and a ruler to draw straight lines. Cut out the plywood with a saw and sandpaper the edges smooth.

Measure the four table legs on the lumber. Each leg should measure 14 inches in height, 2 inches in width and 2 inches in depth. Mark the measurements and cut out using the saw. Sandpaper the edges smooth.

Measure the supportive pieces on the lumber. Each piece should measure 29 inches in width, 2 inches in height and 2 inches in depth. Mark the measurements and cut out the pieces with the saw. Sandpaper the edges smooth.

Paint or stain all of the pieces, including the legs, supportive pieces and the tabletop. Apply several coats for a darker look. Let the pieces dry completely before continuing to assemble the tea table. Paint the tips of each screw.

Place each table leg flat on a table. On each leg, measure 1/2 inch from the top. Make a mark. Turn the legs once to the left. From the top, measure 1 inch down and make a mark. Turn the legs again to the left and measure 1/2 inch from the top and make a mark. Turn the legs again and make a mark 1 inch down from the top.

Drill two holes in each leg by following the marks made in the previous step. The first hole should go through the leg 1/2 inch down from the top and the other hole should be perpendicular to the first 1 inch down from the top.

Take one leg and place it next to one supportive piece, so they are perpendicular to one another. The supportive piece should connect at the top of the leg piece. Use one 3-inch screw to connect the two pieces through one of the holes drilled.

Connect another supportive piece to the same leg using the same method, but on the second drill hole. Once connected, the assembly should look like a V with the table leg top at the joint. Repeat this step with another table leg and the two remaining supportive pieces.

Connect the ends of the V-shaped lumber constructions to each other with the two remaining table legs. Use the same method by screwing 3iinch screws in the perpendicular holes. When finishing, the tea table should be able to stand on its legs with supportive pieces to make them stable.

Place the plywood flat on the floor, so the top of the table faces down towards the floor. Flip the table leg structure upside down and place it on top of the table top. Arrange the structure so it is exactly 1 inch in from each side.

Trace the outline of the table leg structure on the tabletop back, including the outside and the inside of the structure. Remove it from the tabletop and apply glue in the newly traced 2-inch square line on the tabletop.

Place the tableleg structure on top again, lining it up with lines drawn in the previous step. Secure the tableleg structure on the tabletop by drilling screws through the supportive pieces into the tabletop. The screws should be just long enough to secure the structure, but not come through the tabletop. When done, flip the tea table right side up and set the table for tea.

About the Author

Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.