Thursday, January 16, 2014

DIY Dining Room Table Tutorial

Happy Friday Eve!   Today I am going to tell y'all about how I built my table that I showed you in yesterday's post.

This is a what I am calling a semi-tutorial.  The Ana White plans I used are good so you can download and/or print them out here.  This post tells you about some details that aren't in the plans and what I added or did differently.

This tutorial is based on Ana White's Turned Leg Farmhouse Table plan.  Her plan builds a table that is 38"W x 78"L.  I don't have room for a 78"L table and I want it to be slightly wider than 38" so I designed a table based on her plan but with my needed dimensions.

Here is my super sophisticated drawing.  Yes, I am a former math teacher that drew in pen...I couldn't find a pencil.  And yes, that is sausage grease stains on the bottom of the drawing.  Don't judge.

In the drawing you can see I was debating on trying to go oval/rounding the edges or keep it rectangular.  I decided to stay rectangular and if I don't like it once it is in the space, I can round the edges later.

Also, I wanted to be sure the legs were far enough apart to fit two 20" chairs next to each other.

  • Step 1:  I wish I had a solid table top.  I made my table so I can change the top in the future if I want to.  Since I couldn't find a solid table top, I had to follow the directions to build one.  This is all Ana White has for step 1.
It is not as easy as laying them on a flat surface and glueing.  
     You will need huge clamps. 

     You will want extra hands to help line everything up and to make sure your planks are level.

     You have to be careful not to scratch your wood because it will show up when you stain your table top.  

     Obviously, the top gets heavy as you start adding planks.  This was another time I wish I had a helper around.  I am sure the men building the house across the canal were laughing at some of the stuff I was doing to move this top around. 

     I love wood glue and it does work, but over time it gives so I used glue AND added Kreg Jig  screws like in the photo below.

This is the kind of help I get when Blittle is at work.  :)

  • Steps 2-4: I followed these steps as written but with my measurements and I added pocket hole screws to the inside of the apron pieces to screw up into the table top.  

Sabine Lake is the best supervisor.  She is always checking things out.

  • Step 5: In her tutorial she doesn't tell you how to attach the top.  Bloggers and woodworkers debate online about rather or not to screw the top into the base.  Some people argue it doesn't give the wood enough freedom to shrink and expand but some people argue with pieces this small, it doesn't need the freedom.  I decided to risk it and screw the top to the base.  If it starts to warp, I can unscrew it from the base and go to plan b.  That involves using a router to make groves into the apron and using a special bracket that screws into the top and clips into the grooves.  The clips allow the top to have some wiggle room.   I'll keep you posted on if I have any warping in the future.

  • Finishing: Once the top was on, I sanded it to make sure where all the edges meet is smooth.  One of my planks was a little higher than the rest so I sanded until it was at the same level as the others. 

  • Also, I put stainable wood filler where any of the planks didn't meet perfectly.  Remember, when working with wood products, nothing is a perfect cut.  When you purchase a 1"x12"x"96" piece, odds are none of those measurements are going to be exact.  The piece might be warped a little (check when you are at the store and try to buy the straightest pieces you can find) and the cuts might not be perfectly straight.  

  • Once the filler was dry, I sanded everything with 220 grit paper then wipe the entire table down with mineral spirits.   Then, I applied wood conditioner, stain (2 coats), and clear coat.

I am so happy I did this project.  It wasn't even that hard.   I don't know why I was so intimidated before.  Silly.  

The table dried for a few days in the shop and now it is in the house.  We used it for the first time the other night.  I was so excited.  Love it.

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Miss Mustard Seed


  1. I love how this turned out and what a perfect stain!! Just lovely farmhouse goodness :)

  2. Well finishing is the main part for attractive furniture.Nice sharing.

  3. You really did a great job by posting about the nice information on DIY Dining Room Table Tutorial .Thanks

  4. Looks great! :) I love building tables - they are deceptively simple, aren't they, but so impressive! :) Congratulations on not putting it aside anymore.

  5. Preparing the table top seems like the hardest part about building dining tables. Thanks for sharing.

  6. What a fabulous post this has been. Never seen this kind of useful post. thanks for sharing.
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