Introduction: Southwestern Table

Let me start off by saying I have very little experience working with wood, besides building fires. My wife and I just purchased our first house, yeah! So now it's time to furnish and decorate. As my wife was perusing Pinterest, she was looking at southwestern furniture and whatnot. She found a table... We both grew up in New Mexico so we love southwestern decor but we live in Alaska now and that $600 table online turns into an $1100 table with shipping. So we decided to take a chance and make one. It's not perfect but we are very happy with the result.

Step 1: Planning

We based our design off of an image we found online. Other than that we were just winging it. We figured out the size table we wanted for our dining room space, roughly 5x3 ft. Then we picked up a 4x8 sheet of wood and a bunch of 1x3in pine boards to begin the table top.

Step 2: Figuring Out the Design

This step took a bit of trial and error. We decided that out of the 24 boards that would make up the top, 14 would be incorporated into the design. I started by measuring the centerline of each of the 14 boards. On the outer board I measured 4 inches (I think, I'll have to double check) from either side of the center line and made a mark. For each board inward I added 2 inches. For the middle boards I made them longer, a random length. I then set my chop saw ($10 at a garage sale) to cut 45 degree angles. I started the cut at the marks if that makes sense.

Step 3: Staining

This is where I jumped the gun. I had already cut all the boards to length to fit the base. I should have waited until after I made the 45 degree cuts as some material is removed and later I had to trim the edges. Learning curve I guess. So we went straight to staining. We picked out 4 different wood stains. We randomly stained all the pieces except for the middle. With only 4 colors you can make many different shades I learned! Brush on a light color, then a dark. Or brush on a color and immediately wipe it off to give it a lighter looks. I really enjoyed this. By the way, most of this was done inside as we do not have a garage and it's really cold outside. We laid plastic down, opened windows and wore respirators while staining. Not fun indoors but that's what we had to work with.

Step 4: Glue Time

We cleaned up the pieces and mocked them up on the base. Then we spread wood glue over the entire base and started laying the boards down. This was mistake número dos. We should have glued a few pieces at a time as they we hard to move and reposition as the glue started to dry. Like I said, I don't have much experience with woodworking. This led to a few unwanted gaps between pieces. Oh well, not too bad. Then we added some fancy weights to try to keep the boards even. Some real clamps would have helped too but they are fairly expensive....

Step 5: Adding Trim

After citing and sanding the ends to even them out (oops) it was time for trim. Using the same pine boards as we used for the top, we cut them to length and stained them. Then more wood glue and fancy homemade pressure clamps.

Step 6: Protecting the Table

After some research we decided on this to protect our table. It had great reviews and people said it was easy to work with. We were very happy with it as you just wipe it on and waahhla, nice even clear coat. A little sanding with 400 or 600 grit makes it look real nice.

Step 7: Leg Time

We tossed many different ideas around for what legs to do but settled on the hairpin style. There are many different legs you could do that would go well with the table like 4x4 pieces of wood. We found the hairpin legs online for about $30 a piece.... But hey, I have a grinder and a welder so we decided to make them. $22 worth of steel and we had all the material to make 4. I bought 40 ft of 1/4 steel tube and some steel plate. This should be a different instruct able but I'll give you a quick run through of making the legs. I bought a plumber torch ($20) and a cheap metal bender ($14). I marked the legs at 30in. Heated the metal until it was glowing red and quickly used the tool to bend them. I then cut the base steel into L shaped brackets and drilled 8 holes in each. After trimming the U shaped pieces to all match I welded them to the L pieces. Then I cut a straight piece of tubing and added that to the legs. I did not weld inside, don't worry. I'll try to add more pics later, I think my wife took some pics of this process. Then we screwed the legs in, just eyeballed each corner. I thought the 1/4 in steel would be rigid enough but the table is a tad wobbley when bumped into, kind of like jello. It's solid, just jiggles a bit because of the thin legs. They will do for now but eventually I will re-do them with a bit thicker steel rod.

Step 8: Enjoy Your Hard Work

Like I said, it's not perfect. A few gaps here, a scratch there... But we made it and we're very happy with the end result as it's our first real wood working project. Im sure I left stuff out, if you have any questions I will try to answer them, thanks!

Now what to do for chairs....