Sand and Water Table plans

Before you begin, be sure you understand how to operate your power tools. Read the manual(s) that were included with them. You should ONLY work with proper eye and ear protection and a dust mask.

Tools Supplies Needed:

  • Drill – either an electric drill or hand drill will work nicely
  • Screwdriver – phillips for deck screws
  • Band saw, scroll saw or jig saw
  • Carpenters Square or Adjustable Square
  • Hand sanding block
  • Goggles, ear protection, dust mask.

Optional tools:

  • Pilot hole bit for drill
  • Phillips screwdriver bit for drill
  • Belt sander (bench type)
  • Circular saw

Download and Print these Drawings

  • Sand and Water Table parts PDF * This drawing details the dimensions of the parts, including cutting the legs and the location of holes that need to be drilled.


  • (1) ten foot 1 inch x 10 inch board
  • (1) 10 foot 1 inch by 4 inch board
  • (1) 8 foot 2 inch by 4 inch board

Selecting Wood
Your wood should be chosen carefully. While knots may add character to a project, warps and gouges do not. Inspect all sides of your wood. Make sure that the wood does not bend, twist or cup. The time honored method of sighting down a length of wood is still the best to gauge it�s straightness. No wood is perfect. You may have to select an imperfect board with a good section. If you have it cut at the store, you may even be able to purchase just the section you want. Wood is a living thing. Even after it is cut, your wood will change. I�ve had wood develop warps on the trip home from the store. Wood may bend, twist or cup after it is cut. You should use your wood as soon as you can. If you have to leave it after it is cut, do not store it at an angle. Lay it flat on the floor, or make sure it is vertical.

Other materials

  • Plastic Utility Tub24 inch by 36 inch utility tub. I purchased one from Lowe’s. It should be about 8 inches from the bottom to the underside of the rim on top. I found it in the building supplies section, near the concrete. Here is a link to the Lowe’s website.
  • Sandpaper – 60, 100 and 150 grit.
  • Wood glue – water resistant preferred.
  • (12) 2 inch deck screws (for the legs)
  • (20) 1 5/8 inch deck screws
  • Oil Finish or Polyurethane *see section on Finishes


All dimensions in the text of this project have a 1/8th inch sanding allowance. You will sand off about this much (1/16 from each side). The drawings show finished sizes!

Most saws cut a 1/16 to 1/8 inch gap in the wood. You will need to make sure you cut on the waste side (side you are not going to keep) side you of the line you have drawn. Otherwise you will be cutting your sanding allowance away. Measure one piece, cut it and then measure the next.

Main cuts

The best tool for this job is a circular saw or radial arm saw. You can use a band saw and with practice, you can make straight cuts. If you don�t own one of these, have the wood cut where you purchase it.

  • (2) 36 1/8 inch pieces from 1 x 10 board (front & back)
  • (2) 22 5/8 inch pieces from 1 x 10 board (sides)
  • (2) 22 5/8 inch pieces from 1 x 4 board (bottom slats)
  • (2) 34 7/8 inch pieces from 1 x 4 board (bottom boards)
  • (4) 23 inch pieces of a 2 x 4 board (legs)


sandandwater-legs.jpgCut out part of the 2x4s and round the top as indicated in the image.

Don’t round the edges until after it’s assembled otherwise you might round an edge that shouldn’t be.

Things that are important when sanding:

  1. Use the appropriate grit
  2. Change your sand paper often
  3. Sand with the grain.

Start with the 60 grit. Use this to shape the wood, remove imperfections and mistakes from cutting (that�s why even the experts add an 1/8 inch sanding allowance).

Once the wood looks the way you want it, switch to 100 grit sand paper and smooth it out. If you find that the sandpaper �glides� over the wood very smoothly, you need a new sheet of sand paper. You can switch to 150 grit when you have removed the cuts and gouges left by the 60 grit.

Pine is a soft wood, which makes it difficult to get it as smooth as a hard wood like maple. Your pieces may have �fuzzies�, which look like sanding dust, but are stuck to the wood. Don�t worry, if you are applying an oil finish, they will disappear. With Polyurethane, you can sand between coats to remove them.

sandandwatertable-drill.jpgUse the pilot hole bit or a drill bit that will almost allow the screws to be pushed through the wood. All of the holes are on the front and back boards. See drawing to right or download the PDF for locations of holes.
Smooth the holes you just drilled. Also, remove any extra pencil marks left.


  1. sandandwatertable-placement.jpgBuild the box. Attach the front to the sides, then attach the back. Use the carpenters square to make sure that the box is square.
  2. Install the bottom boards. Make sure that bottom edge of the bottom boards is level with or below the bottom of sides. We will want the legs to contact the bottom board.
  3. Attach the legs. Make sure that the legs are all the way up. We want them to contact the bottom boards, to help support the weight in the tub.
  4. Put in the slats. Not screwed into place. Slid them until they fit between the ridges in the bottom of the plastic tub.

Excess glue can be removed with a damp cloth. Try not to soak the wood or smear the glue. It is better to sand off a dry bead of glue than sand off a dry glue smear. Dry beads of glue can also be removed (carefully!) with a sharp chisel or knife.


See Finishes for tips on oil and polyurethane finishes.

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A computer geek with a taste for sustainable living, organic food, green products, buying local, woodworking, bicycling, running, yoga, recycling and doing-it-yourself.