Picture of The Two-Weekend Table

My husband and I invited friends over for dinner and decided to build a table for the occasion. The invitation was set for two weeks from the day we bought the wood.

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Step 1: Designing the Table

Picture of Designing the Table
Leg 3d-01.jpg

We used Rhino to design the table and determine the quantity of wood needed. All the pieces were then laid out and dimensioned in 2d, to be used for reference in the shop. We also created full-scale templates of all the table leg pieces from the 3d model.

Step 2: Choosing the wood

Picture of Choosing the wood

We decided to use walnut for the table because of its beautiful color and grain pattern. For the table top, we bought a single 8/4 thick x 15" wide x 12' long piece of walnut. The legs were made out of a single plank measuring 8/4 thick x 6" wide x 10' long.

Step 3: Jointing and Planing the Wood

Picture of Jointing and Planing the Wood

We jointed the wood on all but one edge, and then planed it all to 1-1/2" thickness.

Step 4: Building the Table Top

Picture of Building the Table Top

The two pieces for the table top were laid out so that the sap wood (the light wood on the outer rings of the tree, near the bark) would be on the edge.

We did a dry-run with all the clamps in place before we glued it together. Though walnut is a pretty hard wood, we put scrap pieces between the clamps and the wood as often as possible so as not to damage the surface.

The glue job was fairly simple - a generous helping of Titebond 3 Wood Glue on both edges of the joint and then a whole lot of clamps. We tried to wipe as much of the squeeze-out as possible while it was still wet.

Once the glue dried, we used the table saw to cut off the last edge, careful to take off as little as possible so that the sap wood would remain prominent.

Very nice project, it's amazing love!!

tarek0041 month ago
amazing work, perfect for outdoors and garden.. how much will it cost to make? I'm really willing to make one!
shurly (author)  tarek0041 month ago

Thanks! I think if you're going to make it for the outdoors it might be a good idea to make it out of teak or some kind of cedar, not the cheapest of woods but they'll avoid rotting over time. If you have all the tools then cost is really going to depend on the wood, but I would guess you'll spend upwards of $500. Good luck!

michaelgc6 months ago

Great looking project, That would look great in my dinning room. I like the kinda mid-century design.

cpine5229 months ago

Very nice project! Gorgeous conclusion!


16511015019 months ago

真的很漂亮 我很喜欢

I've used water base poly in the past and will give it a good sanding after the 1st or 2nd coat. Once it has a coat or two on it it doesn't seem to raise the gran any more. I do 2 more coats after sanding. I'm guessing your finish didn't need sanding between coats.

You could also do more coats on the top than on the legs.

Very nice work and write up

drobertson1239 months ago

Wow, I am impressed. I love the design and the execution was outstanding. I really like your new table

One suggestion on the finish. Tung oil is an amazing finish that is very waterproof. It really makes the grain pop and doesn't change the color in any significant way. The oil soaks into the wood and then polymerizes as it is exposed to oxygen. With several applications this gives the wood a beautiful finish. Regrettably tung oil takes a while to dry and you probably wouldn't have hit your two week target.

Watch out, Tung Oil Finish is NOT Tung Oil. The big home stores sell the Tung Oil finish. I personally prefer the natural tung oil you can find at specialty woodworking stores. It give you better depths and a softer feel. From your setup I am guessing you know where to go to find it.

Thanks for the instructable.

shurly (author)  drobertson1239 months ago

Great tip, thank you! Does the tung oil darken the wood? And how frequently do you recommend re-applying it?

Tung oil acts like any clear oil. It doesn't really change the color in a significant way beyond the typical "Wet" look of any oil. It is also a fully polymerizing finish and unlike mineral oil or even beeswax it doesn't evaporate over time. It becomes a solid finish just like poly or varnish. There is no re-application after you are done.
One benefit with Tung oil is repairs. Since the oil soaks the wood there is no issue with matching the surface when you repair a chip. Just do whatever you need to to the damage and re apply the Tung oil to the area.
An extra benefit is that natural Tung Oil is perfectly food safe.
My preferred method for applying it is to do the first coat as a soaker coat. I cut the Tung oil 50/50 with either turpentine or possibly a lemon oil solvent (lemon oil smells better). I then coat everything liberally with the mix. You can leave this sloppy and wet for a while. Really let it soak in for up to 24 hours. Then take a rag and wipe off the extra. At this point you need to let this coat dry for a few days at least. This will both harden the wood and give it great depth, but make sure it has lots of time to dry. A week is even better.
After the first coat I just use a lint free rag to apply coats of full strength Tung oil. I get into a pattern of really rubbing in a good coat of Tung oil, wait a day or two then rub in another. Every once in a while (especially near then end) I will take a piece of 1200 grit wet dry sandpaper and use that to buff in the wet Tung oil. This smooths the surface for a better finish.
How many times you do this depends on your patience and how you want the table to look. I have seen great results after 3-4 applications and I have heard of people going up to 20-30 applications. That sounds crazy to me, but it would give you an amazing finish.
The natural Tung Oil finish has a satin finish that can be buffed pretty glossy at times. It really brings out the depth of the grain if you do it right. This is personally my favorite finish by far.
If you do use Tung Oil please send some shots of your results. I would love to see it. Good luck
shurly (author)  drobertson1239 months ago

Thank you so much for the detailed explanation. I'll test this out next time and share the results.

Carmelite9 months ago

About the rough surface from the water-based polyurethane, did you first raise the grain using plain water and then re-sand? if those troublesome fibers are knocked off beforehand I wouldn't expect the finish to raise again.

shurly (author)  Carmelite9 months ago

That's brilliant! I will try that technique next time!

Beekeeper9 months ago

Excellent job. As a matter of interest, did you use biscuits when you joined the two top pieces? Over time my tables always seem to come apart at the joint without biscuits. I hope it lasts a lifetime and becomes a family heirloom.

shurly (author)  Beekeeper9 months ago

Thank you! I've always used biscuits in the past but we decided this time that the wood was thick enough (1-1/2") for the glue to grab on to without needing to use biscuits. I hope we weren't wrong...

StasinG9 months ago

Perfect work!

jomarnavarro9 months ago

This table is gorgeous. I do wish, however, that some instructables appeal to us with lower budgets and show us how to do more projects with limited tools.

I do acknowledge, though, that sometimes it depends on one's ingenuity to figure it out. I'm taking that challenge, and hope you don't mind copying your design.

Again, congratulations on a simple, yet master piece of a table.

ogremills9 months ago

Beautiful table. Great choice of wood and design. Would quit my job and go and home to build this right now if I had a work shop... someday!

Wingloader9 months ago

Cool. Now all I need is a wood working shop! JK! This is beautiful and your craftsmanship is SUPERB. I would use this in my DINING ROOM! You should "jig it up" build a bunch and SELL EM! I'd buy one.

spylock9 months ago

Top notch build,should last life times,and it is my hope that it will be enjoyed by many.Great job!

bungleford9 months ago
It's a work of Art. definitely the best thing ive seen on instructables in ages.

My thoughts exactly. Stunning result, great craftsmanship, beautiful joinery, yet still with a clean, simple design. My hat's off to you sir.

My father insists that you never make a table top this way. The one time I did this we started with very similar wood. However, we ripped the wood down to 4 inch strips alternated the arches of the grain and glued it back together. His claim is that all would will arch, bow, or curl. Alternating the strips like causes the future malformations to cancel each other out and only result is a subtle wave on the surface rather than a wide dramatic curve. Don't know how true this is, but he says he learned it from the Amish. Also, my table was intended to be used outdoor and hold my Big Green Egg grill. So, that is more likely to experience aging issues.

I'm also going to mention my envy of your fancy tools. I had to make do with what I had.

wonderbrett9 months ago

Thanks for the detailed instruction on the legs. And the detail overall. Looks like a great project.

momsnacher9 months ago
super clean construction and design. the folks at that store are top notch too. well, at least the ones I've deal with. kinda pricey though, but I guess what you pay for. looks like you got some nice stuff there too.
wilgubeast9 months ago

But how was the dinner party?

amalkhan9 months ago

wow. I was really hoping to see the end product as I saw you guys working on it in the shop, and man, you guys nailed it!

amalkhan9 months ago

wow. I was really hoping to see the end product as I saw you guys working on it in the shop, and man, you guys nailed it!

Ian749 months ago
how thick is 8/4??
shurly (author)  Ian749 months ago

8/4 thick lumber is about 1 3/4" thick. The '8/4' refers to the thickness of the wood before it's planed. The 1/4" difference accounts for the kerf of the saw. It's a confusing system.

I found a handy guide:

dimmaz889 months ago

Very nice design! Looks like a nice designer table. Now to make the chairs :)

t0bb39 months ago

b e a utiful

mikeasaurus9 months ago

Wow, that table looks stunning. I want it in my home!

adamwatters9 months ago

really nice design!

That is just beautiful!