30 Jul 2012

DIY Farmhouse Table

I have to admit that growing up, I never envisioned that an awesome weekend for my 30 year old self would be to build a new kitchen table - from scratch.  Huh? From scratch? Yup! From scratch! But don't you buy tables from the furniture store for over $500? Well, yes...you can...or you can make your own in your way too crowded garage while your kid naps.  

I've shown you our glass table before.  I used to love it, but since Fin has started to eat solid foods, I slowly started to loathe it.  Our kid is skilled.  She mastered the art of smooshing food into the crack between the glass and the frame, which would mean that every night it would take two of us to lift the glass and clean out all of the gunk.  Never mind the fact that the table wiggled and our coffee would routinely splash out of the mugs.  I am sure splashing hot coffee and a 1 year old at the end of the table would not win us parents of the year.  It was time for something new.  

Go big or go home, right?  Right.  Well we went from a 30 lb jiggly table to a 500 lb beast that wouldn't move in a tornado. (Ok, I have no idea if it's 500 lbs, I just know it's freaking heavy...too heavy for me to lift, or for our child with super human strength to push).

We used plans off of Ana White's site (they are free - yippie!).  Her plans are super detailed, so I am not going to go into the actual building process, as that would be slightly redundant.  We printed off the plans and Mr. Swell headed to the lumber store early one Saturday morning to pick everything up.  The plans include a material list, so basically all he had to do was hand the list to the lumber desk and they piled it all up for us. 

We chose to go with lumber grade spruce for our table.  It had a nice grain to it and was knotty, but not too knotty.  Plus, it was cheap!

Here's what it looked like in our garage when Mr. Swell returned.

I am not going to take any credit for the actual building of this table.  That would be fraudulent, since I actually didn't do any building.  Mr. Swell did it all.  He built and I was in charge of the prissy stuff (i.e. colour options).  What I will try and do though, is attempt to highlight some of the 'special' features of our table.  

The original plans called for an 8 foot table.  If we had an 8 foot table in our dining area we would have to crawl underneath of it to get to the other side because there would be only a few inches on either side between the table and the walls.  So, we modified the plans slightly so that we'd have a 6 foot table.

Mr. Swell got to work building the table base first.

Anyone up for a little game of mini football?

Then he added on the support for the top.  This is when I came out to the garage and demanded a wiggle test.  We needed this sucker to be stable, and this was the time to add supports if we needed.  Wiggle test below....

Very little movement. Good.

*side note: I realize our garage is a total gong show. Would you believe that I actually used to park in it? Not these days....but hopefully before winter comes there will be a sliver of space for my car again. Blogging and garage cleanliness do not go hand in hand - at least not for me.

The next test was the sit test.  When I looked at the half assembled table in the garage it looked really low.  I ran back in the house and measured our old table and then back out the garage to measure the new table.  They were the same, but I still didn't believe it.  So, I hauled our kitchen chairs out to the garage and did a sit test.  Please don't judge me in the picture below....I am sure I was Finley wrangling  just before I ran out to the garage, and I am sitting by a giant pile of old rotting sod, so yes, I look slightly deranged.

It passed the sit test.  My eyes must have been fooling me.

The next step was to add the cross supports.

Then Mr. Swell  flipped the whole table over (by himself...crazy guy. I married the Hulk) and placed it up on a couple of saw horses so that he could do some of the detail work.  He sanded the heck out of it.  It took a LOT  of sanding.  I am actually amazed that he isn't deaf from the constant sound of the palm sander.  He took the extra time to round the corners off.

Each table leg is made up of two 2x4s.  Although it wasn't horrible looking, we decided to fill in the gap with wood filler so that each leg looked like it was one 4x4.  Once the filler dried (we also filled all of the other holes), he sanded and sanded again to get it nice and smooth.

I need to digress here slightly to highlight the tool of the month in our house.  The Kreg Jig.  Mr. Swell ordered himself a Kreg Jig from Lee Valley Tools about 6 months ago and has been dying to find a project that he can use it on.  Luckily, the table called for multiple Kreg Jig holes.  If you are new to the Kreg Jig, basically it's a fancy little gadget that allows you drill holes like this:

Once the holes are drilled you can then screw into the board on an angle, essentially attaching the two pieces of wood without the screw showing.  He loves it. 

Here's the Kreg Jig in action.

Pretty thrilling, right?  I do love the light on his drill though!  (It's a Milwaukee 18-Volt Li-ion Compact Drill)

Ok, back to the table....

At this point, we primed and painted the bottom part of the table.  I figured it would be easier to paint the legs and sides before the top was on, then I didn't have to worry about getting any paint drips on the top.  We gave it 2 coats of Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 Primer.

And then another 2 coats of Benjamin Moore Advance in White Dove (to match our cabinets).  After letting the paint cure for a couple of days, we flipped the table over (2 of us this time) and started attaching the top boards.  

Filled all of the holes, and sanded some more.

The final step was staining the top.  I originally thought that I wanted the top to be grey.  Minwax does make a grey stain, but our local Home Depot doesn't carry it for some reason.  So I came up with a concoction.  After testing on many, many boards, my decision was to go with a couple coats of stain in Ebony, and then do a white wash over it with BM Rockport Grey (the same colour as our walls).  

Remember how I said a while back that I wasn't a Go With the Flow-er?  Well, I embraced my inner flow on this one and adjusted my plan in the middle of the project.  After a coat of the pre-stain (don't skip this step....it really helps the stain be nice and even) and only one coat of Minwax Ebony, I was  totally smitten with the colour.  It was a nice dark grey that left  just the right amount of the light wood colour showing through.  So, I called it a day on the stain.  I wish I had pictures of this for you....but I was so excited about my ability to flow that I forgot to take any pictures.

We left the stain overnight and then used a small foam roller to apply 2 coats of Minwax Polycrilic in Satin.  After the last coat was dry, Mr. Swell used his palm sander and his super fine sandpaper to smooth out any air bubbles that we caught in the poly.

Phew....this is one long post!  After all of the above steps, here's how the table was looking.

Already looks great, but looks better all dressed up.

And just because I can, here are some more pictures. It's so pretty I just couldn't stop taking pictures.

Fin's Tripp Trapp chair fits under the table perfectly, and even with endless sippy cup banging it still hasn't dented.

The grand total for this table rang in at under $100.  The lumber was $77 (it was 10% off day at the  lumber store) and then the stain and various other odds and ends brought us into the high $90 range.  Pretty good by my standards.  People are selling used oak tables online for more than $100, so I think this is a steal of a deal (even if it did take 2 weekends of manpower...only during baby naps of course).

What do you think of the yellow half wall now? Looking better now that the table is in, right? I think it's going to look even better after our next building project...that's right, we aren't done with the wood working...

Linking to: Primitive & Proper, Savvy Southern Style


  1. that is some seriously impressive work and it looks amazing!

  2. Congrats to you and Mr. Swell on a job well done. The table is beautiful!

    -Erica F

  3. That stained top looks awesome! Good Job!

  4. that is gorgeous- so rustic and rich looking! now wanna come make me one for my porch?

  5. Awesome job! I just made the same table for my porch, and did the same thing with the stain. LOVE it! And sturdy! We live on the ocean, and the hurricane winds that come by from november to march make this a good choice..anything else and we would be collecting pieces from our neighbours yards..lol. :)

    1. Thanks so much. It is pretty heavy isnt it? I bet it could definitely survive the hurricane winds. It survives my toddler, so it can survive a hurricane :)

  6. I love your table - nice job, its beautiful!

  7. I love the dark stain you chose with the white legs. Beautiful table!

  8. Do you have any issues with food and the gaps between the boards? We are in the middle of a similar build and are concerned the gaps between the boards will be impossible to remove food. Our little one also enjoys using food to paint on the table.

  9. I came across this through your kitchen post and I forget how I got there, but Im glad I stumbled onto this! I love the look of a farmhouse table and would love to tackle a project like this when we get a house. Yours looks fantastic, and I love the look of the dark top with the light base. Great job!

    Steph :)

    1. Thanks so much Steph! So far its holding up amazingly well - for the price you just cant beat it. Thanks for stopping by.


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