A Crafting table is required to craft tools and various other items.
To craft a crafting table, first open the inventory and click on a stack of wood logs.
Then place some of the wood in the 2x2 crafting square above your inventory. This will produce planks.
The planks can be a different color depending on what sort of wood you have. Different types of wood don't stack together, but all work the same. With a couple of exceptions, you can mix and match different planks when crafting.
Left clicking on the plank icon will craft four planks for every one piece of wood you have, but if you hold down shift and click the left mouse button it instantly crafts the maximum amount that you can with the materials you put on the table, and places them in your inventory.
Click on the remaining wood in your 2x2 crafting square and return it to your inventory. Click on the planks you just crafted and instead of left clicking, right click once in each of your four crafting squares. This drops one item instead of all items with each click.
Click on the result and place it in an empty square of your hotbar.
Press escape to return to the world view and walk to a spot you think appropriate, select your newly crafted crafting table with either the mouse wheel or number key, point at a flat square of ground (not directly where you are standing) and press the right click button.
This will place your crafting table on the ground ready for use. If you wish to pick it up again to move it, left click and hold to mine it and then walk near the produced icon to pick it up.