Introduction: $20 Full Build Herringbone Dinner Table
Hi there! I'd like to show you how I made this herringbone table that can seat up to eight (yeah, 8!) people. It was such a fun project to work on and the result was exactly what I was hoping.
The best part about it was that I spent under $20 in wood! Yeah, you read that correctly! My boy, Andy Jackson, hooked it up! [̲̅$̲̅(̲̅20)̲̅$̲̅]
In this Instructable I'll show step-by-step how each portion of the table was made and assembled from scratch.
Below are the parts of the table and their steps:
Materials: Step 1
Table Top: Step 2
Legs: Step 9
Aprons: Step 11
Finishing: Step 13
Thanks and see you in the next step. --->
Step 1: Materials and Tools
Please note that not all materials and tools are needed or have to be exact. For example, I used the planer because the 1x6's I bought were not smooth, but I did only pay $1.52/piece (marked down). You can skip using the planer if you were to buy 1x6's that are already surfaced, but it might be tough to get them cheap.
Eight (8) 8-ft 1" x 6" Band sawn boards from the HD. Marked down to $1.52/piece!
One (1) 4' x 8' OSB board - Free
One (1) 8-ft 2"x4" (already had one from a previous project)
Three (3) 10-ft 2" x 4"s also marked down to $1!
One (1) 8-ft 1" x 6" Band sawn board
Tapering Jig (optional)
scrap 1x3; at least 2 1/2 longer than the length of the legs
hinge (I used a door hinge, but smaller hinge would work as well...and probably better)
Materials (<--clickable list)
Watco Dark Walnut Danish Oil
Kreg pocket hole screws
Sandpaper (palm sander and belt sander) [optional]
Tools (<--clickable list)
Brad nailer & air compressor
Kreg pocket hole jig
Thickness planer [optional]
Step 2: Prepping 1x6 Boards for the Table Top
I started off by using 8 band sawn boards that I got from the big box store for $1.52 per piece. These were 8-ft 1x6’s. One side was very rough and the other smoother. I wanted them all to be the same thickness, so I passed them through the planer with the smoother side up, that way it took less passes to clean it up. The rough side is going to be glued on top of a OSB board, so it didn't have to be smooth. Note: if you buy smooth boards AKA S4S boards, you can skip this part.)
"But Mario, what is S4S?"
S4S lumber is simply ready-to-use lumber from the big home improvement stores. They are boards that have "been surfaced on both faces (S2S) and received a rip on both edges, resulting in a board with two flat and parallel faces and two flat and parallel edges. (TWW)"
I also realized that not all the boards were the same width, so I passed them through the table saw to make them all the same width.
Step 3: Determining the Center of the Table
Due to pattern I was going for, I took one board, measured the end length, and then I found the midpoint of that side. Repeated the same with the adjacent side using the same dimensions, then connected those two midpoints. This line is actually the midpoint of the table (width-wise) and it’s what’s going to help me keep the pieces straight by using it as a reference line. It will also help with determining the max length of each piece that I can get from each 8-ft board based on the table width I'm going for.
I then found midpoint of the OSB, aligned the line on the piece over the line on the board, and then clamped it down.
The center line on the OSB will be used as a reference point where I’ll measure 16 inches away to get a rough estimate of how long each piece should be. At this point I had decided that the final width of the table was going to be 32 inches, so I measured 16 inches from the center line to get an idea of how long the individual boards should be. The inside pieces will measure roughly 30 inches from side to side after I trim off the edges, then I’ll later add the edge trim, which will add about one inch on each side.
Step 4: Cutting 1x6 Boards
I proceeded to cut the first few pieces, using the first piece as a template. Thankfully I was able to get four pieces per board with very little waste (which is why I mentioned the previous step). One thing I will emphasize is to make sure your saw is really at zero when making the straight cuts, otherwise the pattern may be off once you get to the other end of the table.
I also show what can happen if you are not using S4S boards and transfer the template without rotating the 1x6 board half the time. I explain it in more detail in the video, but if you’re using regular boards with all sides surfaced, then this shouldn’t be an issue for you.
Step 5: Table Top Ends
When I reached the end, I took a straight board and made a line slightly beyond what is going to be the end of the table; slightly past the end of the OSB board underneath. These pieces don’t have to be exact because once everything is glued together, I’ll trim the end as well.
With the front end, it was the same. I just found pieces that fit well together and that didn’t have any gaps. To keep track of where the pieces will go, I marked between boards to later match them up. Or so I thought....
Step 6: Gluing Top
Before I glued the boards up, I dried fit them to make sure all the pieces fit well and to expedite the gluing process….but…..I guess I either lost a piece from the corner or maybe even used it somewhere else. Thankfully I did have an extra piece that did fit there, but that would also need trimming before adding the edge trim.
OK, after that near miss, my little helper and I started to glue the pieces to the OSB. At first, we used the squirt bottle, but then we realized it was taking a little too long. To speed up the process, I just took the big bottle of glue and spread it in sections of two to three boards at a time. Because I wasn’t using screws and didn’t use clamps because I couldn’t, I ended up using granite blocks from the backyard. I only needed them on each board until the glue set enough that it wouldn’t allow the boards to shift. Note: I did all of this in the garage because the cement floor is flat.
Step 7: Trimming the Top
After the glue had dried, I took the whole thing back outside and used a straight piece of wood as a guide for the circular saw to trim off the ends of what is now the table top.
For the long sides, I measured 15 inches from the center, then used a square to make sure the cuts were going to be perpendicular to the ends. As a guide I used an old OSB board I had in my shed, but because that board wasn’t straight, the waviness transferred over to the table top. Arg. Well, I took the piece I just cut off because that actually was straight on one side and used it as a guide to really get the edges straight.
Here, I realized that my edge trim was shorter than the table length after cutting the 45 degree miter on the trim, but I figured, "no problem. I’ll just trim a few inches off the back end of the table."
Step 8: Adding Edge Trim to the Table Top
I remeasured the table top thickness along with the OSB and compared it to the thickness of a 2x4. The 2x4 was thicker, so I used it for the trim because it would cover both the boards and the OSB.
To make the edge trim, I ripped off one rounded side from the 8-ft 2x4 and then set the table saw to cut 1" edge strips. The 2x4 is wide enough to yield three (3) 1" strips: 2 for the long sides and 1 that can be cut in half to be used on the ends.
To determine the length I needed, I cut one 45 degree miter on one end, then I clamped the edging to the table, went to the other end of the table and marked were the corner of the table top met the edging. I cut a 45 degree miter on the other end and then attached it to the edge of the table using glue and brad nails. I repeated the same steps with the three remaining sides. Measure, cut, glue, and nail.
Note: if helps to clamp the edge trim to the table every few feet to make sure there are no gaps in case the strip is a little warped.
Step 9: Cutting and Gluing the 2x4s for the Legs
After assembling the table top, I moved on to the legs. Believe it or not, these legs cost me around $3!
I found three 10-ft 2x4s with the orange paint on them, which makes them $1 a piece. From each long piece, I cut three shorter pieces that measured around 30-31 inches. I then set the table saw to only cut the round edges of the smaller 2x4s.
Those three long 2x4s yielded nine smaller pieces. Now, the trick was to use as many of them to make the beefiest legs and to also make sure I was still able to get four legs out of them.
First, I stacked them horizontally by two. Then I measured the thickness of two boards to calculate the maximum width if I cut out the legs from this block. It measured roughly 3 inches, and there was enough to get four legs.
The other orientation I tried was to prop all the 2x4s vertically. Now the width of one 2x4 will determine the width of the leg. In this case, the width was about 3 1/4 inches and it also yielded four legs. I went with this orientation over the previous.
I glued the 2x4s together and used a ton of clamps, a la Bob Clagett, to keep them aligned. The glue was starting to dry by the time I finish clamping the 2x4s, so I scraped some of it off and then used a damp rag to wipe off the excess.
Step 10: Cutting Out the Legs and Making a Quick Jig
I set the table saw to the correct dimensions (~3 1/4") and then I started to cut out the leg blanks from the block. I cut each leg in one pass, but I probably should have done it in two passes. I then passed each leg again through the table saw to square them up a little. This time I did each side in two passes.
Before I cut the legs to the final length, I decided to make the tapering jig. I used a 1x3, a door hinge, some screws, and a couple of pieces of plywood. It didn’t have to be pretty; it just had to get the job done relatively well.
After making the jig, I cut the legs down to their final length of 29 inches. To choose the orientation of the leg, I looked all the sides of the legs and the two least nicest looking sides were going to be faced inward and also get the taper. To determine the taper, I measure about ½ inch from what would be the vertical edge and then about 12 inches up the leg on the edge. I connected both points with a straight line so I could use it to make the final adjustments to the tapering jig.
Once I had the jig adjusted to the correct angle, I screwed on a piece of plywood so it that it can prevent the jig from opening or closing. It also served well as a handle! When I was cutting the taper, I did it in two passes. It also helps to keep track of which side of the leg you’re tapering first so that when you rotate the leg, the taper is on the top. If it’s on the bottom, it’s a little trickier to cut because the leg will want to rock when you apply downward force.
After all the legs were tapered on the sides each, I used the belt sander again to get rid of any burn marks and other imperfections. When the legs were sanded, it was time to attach them to the table.
Step 11: Determining Apron Length
But before attaching the legs to the table, we need aprons.
I used the scraps that were cut off the legs and used them as markers for where the legs were going to be. It also helped with determining the overhang of the table and the placement and length of the aprons.
I figured with a table this size, an overhang of three inches would look good, so I traced around the scrap block to keep track of where to put the actual table leg. To determine the location of the apron, I just measured half an inch inwards from the table leg. I did this with all four sides of the apron.
I did a dry fit to see if the position and proportions looked good.
Step 12: Attaching Aprons and Base to Top
After cutting the aprons to their final lengths, I drilled pocket holes into the aprons. I drilled two on each end, and then one every couple of feet or so on the sides.
I first attached the short aprons to the legs. I used a method I saw on one of Dave Picciuto’s table making videos. Thanks, David! Check it! Thankfully I had decided on a half inch offset because what I used for spacers were pieces of half inch plywood. To attach the long aprons, I stood up the legs and clamped the spacer vertically. After that, I measured the distance between the long aprons near the legs to I can cut out a stretcher for the middle part of the table.
Once the table legs and aprons were screwed on to the table top, I made corner braces for the legs. First, I cut a 45 degree miter on one end of the board, and then placed it on the corner where it would go and marked where the other 45 degree cut needed to be. I then used that piece to cut out three more pieces. Adding these braces to the legs give the legs more rigidity and makes them less wobbly.
Step 13: Finishing the Table
I finally had something that looked like a table!
The next step was to sand it with 80 grit paper using the belt sander. This helped with some of the slight misalignment and to get rid of any markings on the boards. After this, I hit it with 220 grit using the palm sander. The goal wasn’t to make it perfectly smooth. It was just to knock of a few of the marks left by the 80 grit paper. This way it would give the top some character. I also went over the corners and edges with the palm sander to remove any potential splinters.
Now the last thing to be done was to remove as much dust as possible before adding the finish. I found the compressor super helpful, but if you don't have have one, a brush and a tack cloth would work.
For the finish, I went with a dark walnut Danish oil because that’s the color we were going for. After about 3-4 coats, the table was finished!
Step 14: Final Product!
We were extremely happy with the way the table turned out, and the best part is that I was able to save quite a bit of money! Other than the Danish oil, I did not add anything else, but I'm thinking about adding either varnish or epoxy when the weather gets warmer.
This table will be our outdoor patio table, so if you have any recommendations on an exterior finish, I'd like to see it in the comments below.
Please take a look at the pictures attached in case something isn't clear. I took lots of them! Hopefully you're inspired to build your own table! :-)
Thanks for sticking around!
Here are some other places where you can find me:
Etsy (took a long break, but going to be adding products soon)
Participated in the