IMPORTANT: I have updated these building plans! To see the new and improved version of this post, click here.
Jason and I…er, I wanted a rustic looking dining table for our apartment now that we actually live somewhere with a dining room. We originally narrowed it down to the Garner Extension Dining Table, $599 at World Market.
We planned to wait for the annual furniture sale for 25% off the price, but $450 is still a big chunk of money to drop on a table (even if it is real wood). Obviously, this lead me to scour the internet for some DIY goodness. I found quite a few options, but ultimately came up with my own design. Jason thankfully helped me to execute the table; it was our first project together, and I think it came out pretty darn good!
(The chairs are super awesome, too…I won’t talk much about them here, I’ll leave that for a future post!)
Here’s what you’ll need if you want to build a table identical to ours (finished measurements: approximately 38″ wide x 72″ long x 30″ high).
2 – 2x10x12 boards (make sure these babies are STRAIGHT! no warping allowed)
1 – 1x4x8 board
4 hairpin legs, standard height (28″)
2″ wood screws
circular saw (if you plan on doing your own cutting…but most hardware stores will do the cutting for you!)
sawhorse legs (or a long workbench if you have one!)
medium and fine grit sandpaper
several old rags/t-shirts
stain and/or Danish oil
sealant (we used wax paste, but you can also use polyurethane)
First, cut the 2x10x12 boards exactly in half; this will give you four boards that are each 72″ (6 ft) long. Take some time laying the boards out to figure out which boards should go next to each other, and also decide which side of the board will face up for the top of the table.
Some of the wood may have small stamp marks, but don’t worry too much about trying to hide these…those marks will come off with the great deal of sanding you’ll be doing later!
Next, flip all of the boards over LENGTHWISE to ensure that the boards will remain in the correct order. At this point, you will want to transfer the boards to the sawhorse foundation, or to a workbench if you have a large enough space. Run a strip of wood glue down each edge of the boards (where they will be touching in the finished project). Secure the boards together with clamps.
While the glue is drying, cut the 1x4x8 board into three pieces, each 30″ long. Apply wood glue to one side of each board, and position the boards across the existing boards: one at the center, and one at each end, about 12″ from the edge of the table. Predrill holes for the screws across the board, spacing the holes about 3-4″ apart. MAKE SURE TO PREDRILL THE HOLES! If you don’t, your wood may split later on, and all your work will be for naught! Secure these supports to the table top using 2″ wood screws (we did ours in a zigzag pattern across each support, about 12 screws per support). At this point, your table should look like this:
Allow the wood glue to dry completely. After the glue has dried, flip the table top over. Using your fingers and some wood filler, fill the gaps between the boards (this process is pretty similar to caulking a tub). We also filled in the gaps along the short ends of the table to keep everything looking uniform and polished. Make sure to also fill in any splitting knots; they might look cool, but they can split further and ruin your handiwork.
After the wood filler is set and dry (which shouldn’t take too long), it’s time for the “fun” part…the sanding! This is honestly the part of the construction that takes the most time, and rightly so. You want the finished project to be smooth and splinter free! We did two rounds of sanding: one with medium grit sandpaper, and one with fine grit sand paper. We also used two different types of sanders. A belt sander is great for smoothing out the length of the boards, while an orbital sander works like a boss to finish off the edges. If you are looking for a more rustic finish, make sure to pay extra attention to the edges and corners of the table; really round those babies off to give the appearance of age.
When you’ve finished the exhausting amount of sanding required to get a nice, smooth surface, wipe off all that dust with some old rags.
Now it’s time to add the finish of your choice! To get our desired color (a dark brown with gray undertones), we used two different types of finish. We did two coats of Minwax Wood Finish in “Classic Gray” followed by two coats of Watco Danish Oil in “Dark Walnut”. Make sure to follow the directions on the container and allow each coat to dry for the suggested amount of time before wiping off the excess and applying the next coat. We used rags to apply/wipe off both products; I think rags lend themselves to a better application and more coverage than a paintbrush.
Here is what the table looked like after both stains had been applied and allowed to set overnight:
At this point, we were unsure what we wanted to use for the topcoat: wax or polyurethane. We decided to think on it a bit, and attached the legs in the meantime. I ordered our legs from hairpinlegs.com. They are 28″ standard height 3-rod hairpin legs in raw steel (they are listed in the “Sale Items” section for $20 a piece). Aren’t they pretty?
We attached the legs according to the directions on the website, adding a 6″x6″ piece of scrap wood between the leg and the table (to prevent splitting…notice a pattern here?). The legs are inset a few inches from each side (i.e. we didn’t attach them at the very edge of each corner).
Finally, it came time to add the protective topcoat. I really loathe “shiny” wood, so we opted for a wax finish. It will have to be reapplied every year, but it has a more natural finish and still protects the table from water stains.
I’m so in love with this table! Even my husband likes the way it turned out, and I can’t begin to tell you how many compliments we’ve received.
I was incredibly apprehensive about starting this project, mostly due to the fact that neither my husband or I had ever built anything! This project ended up being a lot easier than I thought, especially since Home Depot did all the cutting for us. If we can build it, you can, too! The best part: this table only cost us about $150 to build (including the cost of all materials).
If you do decide to build a table using our plans, please share them! I’d love to see how it turns out. 🙂
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