Introduction: How to Build a Farmhouse Table and Benches for $250 | Woodworking DIY

In this Instructable, I'll show you how to build a farmhouse dining table and matching benches using construction lumber. The total cost of materials is less than $250 for the table and two benches! Let's get started.

Don't miss the build video above for a lot more detail!

Step 1: Gather Materials & Tools

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I used quite a few tools on this build and, to get as clean of a result, you'll need at least some of these tools. A planer will be really helpful here, same with a circular saw with some kind of straight edge.

Note: the links in this Instructable are affiliate links. They don't cost you anything extra and help support the costs of creating this content.

Materials Used On Farmhouse Table and Benches (affiliate):

Tools Used On Farmhouse Table and Benches:

Step 2: Break Down Top Boards to Size

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This farmhouse table is 96 inches wide by 38 ¾ inches deep by 29 ½ inches high. I started with 2x10s, even though the final size of the top boards is 7 ¾" wide. This extra starting width allowed me to rip off the rounded corners as well as cut away any damage on the edges of the boards.

For the exact measurements and a more detailed step-by-step guide to this project, check out the plans available on my website. If you want to build this for yourself, the plans will definitely help you quite a bit.

Step 3: Glue Up Center Table Top Panel

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I used a dowel drilling jig to drill dowel holes in the edges of the boards. Using dowels during the glue up really helps keep things aligned. Apply plenty of glue to the edges of the boards and clamp them together tightly, making sure to avoid any gaps.

Step 4: Cut the Center Panel Square and Install Breadboard Ends

Picture of Cut the Center Panel Square and Install Breadboard Ends

I used a track saw to cut the ends of the center panel square, but you could easily use a circular saw and straight edge to do the same thing.

For the breadboard ends, I used my Festool Domino XL, but there are a number of other alternatives available. I go into a lot of detail in the build video on these other methods, so check that out at the top of this Instructable.

Basically, the best budget alternative for installing breadboard ends is a router with an edge guide. You can create a tongue on the center panel and a groove in the breadboard end. This tongue and groove will still allow the center panel to move across its width seasonally without being restricted.

Pocket screws are not a good option for breadboard ends, as they will restrict wood movement and cause bowing and cracking!

Step 5: Cut Table Base Pieces to Size

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I used untreated Douglas Fir 4x4s for the table base and bench bases, and I found these 4x4s at my local home center. They were pretty ratty right from the store, so I ran them through my planer, skimming a bit off of each side, to clean them up.

Next, I cut the piece to size at my miter saw. The legs of the base splay out at a 10 degree angle, so the angles are cut parallel to each other on each end of the legs and then perpendicular to each other on the Side Stretcher that attaches the legs.

Step 6: Cut Joinery for the Table Base & Assemble

Picture of Cut Joinery for the Table Base & Assemble

For the table base joinery, I used my Domino XL again, but there are a ton of options here. Your best options are probably through dowel joinery, which I'll explain a little later, or 6" screws. A few screws in each joint will certainly provide plenty of holding power.

Step 7: Apply Stain and Clear Coat

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Before finishing, I sanded all of the pieces up to 150 grit and then applied stain. I used Waterlox TrueTone stain in Chestnut, and I absolutely love the way it came out. It went on really evenly and was very simple to apply. After the stain dried, I applied three coats of Waterlox Original Sealer/Finish.

Step 8: Attach Table Top to Base

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I used table top fasteners to attach the table base to the table top. These allow the table top to expand and contract seasonally without restricting the movement like normal screws would. The fasteners ride inside a slot, cut by a biscuit joiner in my case, although the slot could be cut on a table saw or with a router. Since the slot is cut slightly below where the table top fastener bottoms out, it will still keep the top snug against the base.

Step 9: Make Your Matching Benches

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The benches are essentially identical to the tables, just smaller. This farmhouse bench is 68 inches wide by 15 ½" inches deep by 17 ½" inches high.

All of the assembly steps are the same as the table, but I wanted to illustrate through dowel joinery here. As you can see, I clamped up the base and then drilled holes through each joint. The hole size should match the size of your dowels, 1" in my case.

As you can see, the final result is a strong, nice looking base. Obviously, the protruding dowels would be trimmed flush with a flush trim saw after the glue up.

Step 10: Enjoy Your Table and Benches!

Picture of Enjoy Your Table and Benches!

This is a fairly simple build but will definitely help you grow as a woodworker with some techniques that might be new to you. I built this table for indoor use, but it could be used outdoors if you applied a quality spar urethane (something like Epifanes, for example) and then also sealed the bottoms of the feet. Light and moisture are the enemy of wood, so you need to reduce exposure as much as possible. Some kind of cover would be a very good idea as well.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section! Thanks again for checking out my Instructable and, if you liked this project, make sure to check out my YouTube channel and website for a lot more where that came from.

Thanks!

- Johnny Brooke

@craftedworkshop

Comments

samayaraj (author)2017-06-18

Excellent workmanship!

DavidE276 (author)samayaraj2017-06-18

With the tools he posses, he better.. This is no DIY project, unless you have some good money to spend on them tools. $250 project with almost $8000 tools (I roughly estimate the tools price yes.)

As I said multiple times in the Instructable and video, this project could be done with MUCH cheaper and fewer tools. I produce weekly how-to projects and need as much efficiency as possible in my shop, hence the nicer tools. A cheap planer, router and table saw could build this project effectively.

Hi there.

All you have said is true. :) I hope you didn't get offended, just having fun out here. Your project is great, and very doable at home with less expensive tools (might require some improvisation and hard work). Thank you for your hard work it is all a sight for sore eyes.

David

MichaelB192 (author)DavidE2762017-06-19

Lets not be too picky, David......

In all fairness, you could probably drop the price about $75 by avoiding the Dominos he used. Since most research shows that they, and biscuits, really don't add any extra integrity to the strength when using wood glue, there is no purpose.

so really it's only a $8,175 table if you need the tools as well.

DavidE276 (author)MichaelB1922017-06-19

LOL, true that. I heard somewhere that wood glue is "stronger" than the wood itself, which supports your claim. All in all no offense, this is a great project for $8.175.

If my attachment went through you'll be able to see my attempt of getting different pieces of wood together. (just glue) $50 worth of wood (some fancy pieces) and a top notch hand planer, circular saw that is also a table saw and a miter saw. (with much of improvisation) That is before the wood sealer cost (wasn't cheap)

Wood glue wouldn't be strong enough on the joints on the base, as glue on end grain just absorbs into the wood rather than creating a lot of strength. The reason your countertop worked was the overlapping long grain contact, that's providing all of the strength in your piece.

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Bio: Weekly how-to project videos about #woodworking, metalworking, and more. #Maker. Created by Johnny Brooke.
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