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Picture of Build a Farmhouse Table
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A farmhouse table has a wonderful aura of warmth and history.  After completing my window seat, I decided to build one.  A table is a relatively simple project and here's how I built mine.  

If you are interested in building a window seat, you can read about it here >> http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Window-Seat-with-Storage/
 
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Step 1: Making the table legs

Picture of Making the table legs
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In my design, I considered 3 different types of legs made from 30" long cedar 4x4s.  (You could use other types of wood including gluing three 2x4s together to make solid legs.)  The simplest design was to cut the legs to length and use the 4x4s square.  Second was to taper the two inside surfaces and third was to taper all four surfaces.  I ended up tapering all 4 sides on my bandsaw.  The cut line begins 4" from the top and removes 1/2" at the bottom.  Pic 2 shows how little I removed.  I wanted the legs to have "shape" while remaining stout in appearance and this slight taper seemed about right.  Pic 2 also shows the levelers in the bottom of these legs which were salvaged from a previous project.  I decided to leave the levelers and shortened the legs a bit.

My table saw cannot cut a leg this thick without making 2 passes so I tapered them on my bandsaw.  The bandsaw leaves a rougher finish and that looked even better on this rustic table.  I made a quick and dirty jig to cut the legs which you can see in pic 3.  The jig has a runner which slides in the miter track of the bandsaw table.  Two hold downs were sufficient to secure the leg to the jig.  I anchored an L-shaped block & a long block for positioning the leg on the jig.  Once you've cut away 2 sides, the long block is no longer accurate and it becomes necessary to line up your mark on the bottom of the leg with the edge of the jig before clamping.   

Because these legs were salvaged they had old screw holes in them which were filled prior to painting.  In retrospect, it probably would have looked cool to just leave them.  I lightly sanded the legs with 100 & 150 grit sandpaper which smoothed them without removing all the saw marks.  One coat of chalk paint and 2 coats of clear Briwax was used to finish the legs.  Briwax yellows the finish a bit which aged the paint nicely.  Between coats of Briwax I sanded through the paint on some of the edges with 100 grit paper to show wear.  

can you please tell me what type of wood you used? For the base and top? We bought a beautiful farm table from a table builder in no and had to finally ask that they take the entire table back bc the table was literally falling apart after two months! We now plan to build our own! The table we purchased was mad from Douglas fir! The entire top warped within a month and got a new top but then the entire top came loose from the base! They agreed to pick it up and refund our money. Should we use kiln dried boards for the top? We are so confused! In all plans we found online did they say what type of wood was used. Please help! Thanks so much!

Dale

Dalelcavaliere@gmail.com

Douglas fir from home improvement centers will almost always warp when you try to make a flat top. It is never dried to the same extent as hardwood and ships out for the purpose of being used as framing lumber, not furniture lumber. That said, you can do it, but buy it and let it sit in your garage for a few months or longer to let it further dry and acclimate to your environment. Even better if you plane it down after that waiting period, then allowing it to acclimate for another week or so to make it works out all of its twists prior to being turned into a top. Do you have any hardwood dealers in your area? Try visiting one and make an investment in your table...buy some good maple (soft maple is worlds harder than new douglas fir - you don't need hard maple, ie:or sugar/rock maple).

The reason old reclaimed douglas fir is so much better and more stable is two fold. 1) they used "old growth" douglas fir back in the day, which is much more stable than anything harvested these days, and 2) the wood has been expanding and contracting for decades (sometimes, a century), which makes it very stable.

Good luck!

kentdvm (author)  dale.cavaliere.72 months ago

To be honest I'm not entirely sure of all the wood species because it was repurposed wood. The legs were from cedar 4x4 cutoffs and the aprons were from barn wood which I think was poplar. The top is from wood I helped salvage about 40 years ago as a kid and I'm not sure what type it is. It could be fir. I think the most important thing is to use wood that is dry and straight. Kiln dried is good. If I was going to Home Depot I'd buy pine for the legs and aprons and poplar for the top if planning to paint it. Poplar is much harder and therefore more durable than pine, however, a pine top would work too. Pine is cheaper than poplar. Douglas fir is also softer than poplar if you anticipate a lot of wear and tear. Pine and poplar are more difficult to stain evenly, but you could leave it natural and use a polyurethane to protect it.

I agree great table, the bloodwood is beautiful, not seen it before. I've also got some very old salvaged wide planks and I was considering a farmhouse table.

I'd be interested to know how it's fared since made - how have the pocketholes held up? Has their been any splaying of the legs at the bottom?

MonkeyMcBean4 months ago
How are the pocket screws holding up on your legs? Are you concerned that that method might weaken over time?
kentdvm (author)  MonkeyMcBean4 months ago

Doing fine. I don't expect the pocket screws to fail or loosen over a typical period of time. They make a very solid joint especially if you also glue the joint. Compared to mortise and tenon a pocket screw will fail sooner under severe stress, however they are easier to repair than M&T which blow out. So I expect long use from this table unless a bunch of heavy people start dancing on it and the old wood will probably break first.

Can you tell me what you used specifically to get the wood to be that color?..
kentdvm (author)  Slice Of Life1 year ago
Bullseye amber shellac.
tyreedaddy2 years ago
Great job, I love the butterfly.
mnmama2 years ago
Very beautiful. Maybe soon you could show us how you did the butterfly? I've seen the results before, but not how to do it. Thanks for the good idea.
kentdvm (author)  mnmama2 years ago
Thanks. I'll do that soon. Couldn't find an instructable on inlay technique so it's needed.
this is seriously beautiful and awesome. well done!
Mackramer2 years ago
Very cool table and something I'd like to try. Note of caution to investigate proper protection when handling suspected lead paint. Thanks for sharing.
Absolutely gorgeous!
kentdvm (author)  jessyratfink2 years ago
Thank you!
CementTruck2 years ago
I love butterfly inlays. I've been putting off a dining room table build for the last few years. I think you may have just pushed me into action with this 'ible. Now I just need to find seating for 10-12 people because it will be in the "formal" dining room. I have 10 Ikea chairs but they have gotten rickety over time. Maybe rustic bench seating?

Great job!
kentdvm (author)  CementTruck2 years ago
Benches are all the rage. In essence we are using our window seat as a bench on one side and it works great. The great thing about a rustic table is if you screw up it looks better! Have fun!