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Portable Buffet Table

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Reuse a salvaged door to build a buffet or temporary table that's easy to set up on sawhorses when you need it - and store flat after the party is over.

Buffet table set up on sawhorses for serving food and drinks.

Project Overview

Skill Level

Intermediate

Estimated Time

1 Weekend

Estimated Cost

$$$$$$

Tools and Materials

Tools

  • Table saw
  • Biscuit jointer and #20 biscuits or pocket-hole jig
  • Drill and bits
  • Sander and 120-grit sandpaper
  • Tape measure
  • Clamps
  • Screwdriver or screwdriving bits

Materials

  • 3/4" x 49" x 97" MDF (#37461)
  • 1/4" scrap MDF, plywood or panel for shims*
  • Titebond Original wood glue, 8 ounces (#86091)
  • Valspar interior primer, 1 gallon (#165217)
  • Valspar white paint, 1 quart

*Select the material and thickness will vary with the thickness of the door used.

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Project Resources

Instructions

The table here uses an upcycled pantry door that measures 66-1/2" long, 25-3/4" wide, and is made from 1/2" planks. If you have a salvaged door in mind for this project, shorten or lengthen the medium-density fiberboard (MDF) table parts to suit your door size. (Just make it wide enough to accommodate the sawhorses.) No door? No problem. You can create a similar effect by cutting a sheet of beaded-board plywood paneling to the door size shown and adding thicker shims as needed.

A full sheet of 3/4"-thick MDF can weigh more than 70 pounds. To make sheets easier to transport and handle in your shop, have a Lowe’s associate cut the sheet in half along its length (97"). If you use a table saw, have a helper support the parts as you cut them to width.

Step 1

Cut strips of MDF for pairs of top frame stiles (A), top frame rails (B), apron front/back (C), and apron sides (D). This goes quickly on a table saw, but can also be done using a circular saw and a straightedge. Then cut the parts to length.

Good to Know

When working with MDF, it's easier to sand ends and edges than the faces. Cut parts to leave the apron front and back just a hair longer than necessary and the apron sides (D) slightly shorter than necessary so you can sand the ends and edges flush with the MDF faces.

Step 2

Measure and mark locations for biscuit joints on the top frame stiles and rails. Center biscuit slots on the thickness of the MDF. Then glue and clamp the top frame. Check for equal diagonal measurements between the corners to make sure the assembly is square.

Step 3

Glue, clamp, and screw the apron front and back (C) to the sides (D) and let dry.

Step 4

Cut the long supports (E) to fit between the apron front and back (C). Then cut the two end supports (F). Drill pilot holes and screw the long supports and end supports in place.

Step 5

From 3/4"-thick pine scrap, cut eight reinforcing cleats (G) to width and length. Glue and screw the cleats to the top frame and apron. Sand the frame and apply two coats of primer, sanding between coats. Then apply two coats of paint.

Step 6

Closeup view of table

From plywood, MDF, hardboard, or pine of the correct thickness, cut the small (H) and long (I) door shims to size. Screw them to the door (or other insert) where it overlaps the long supports and end supports so the top face of the door is flush with the frame. Then screw the door and shims to the long supports and end supports. To set up the table, position two sawhorses where their tops will support the frame.