Here is step by step guide to how I designed and built a beautiful looking dinning table/desk with chairs. It cost under $350 (AU) and I only used what most household tool kits include...
I'll show you the items and materials you need. The chairs (because I don't have the gear to make them) came from Ikea and were plain wood and flat packed. They offered the perfect starting point...
The beauty of this Instructable is that you can easily tailor the table to your needs or that of your space/room while maintaining the steps as they are. Thats not to say they are vague, they just don't change regardless of the choices you make. Such as Height, Length, width and thickness of timber chosen to form the patterned top. You can also change the colour pallet to suit your room. Anyone can make this table - It's pretty simple but does the trick, no fancy skills or special equipment is required. Perfect for your first furniture DIY build...
In step one, we will look at the choices you will need to make so that the table fits your specific requirements.
Step 1: What Fits My Space?...
When I fist looked at making a table/desk. I needed it to hit the follow key attributes...
1. Six person (with space for condiments etc in the middle).
2. Match the existing coffee table and TV stand (reclaimed boat wood - manufactured into a table, sanded & sealed etc...)
3. Easy to make using only the minimum of had tools and no special skills (I am not a woodworker or even a tradesman, I work in sales)
4. Easy to disassemble. (At least to the point where I can move it easily to a new home)
5. Be as cheap as possible without compromising on quality.
6. I needed it to be the standard height (720mm from floor to table surface), a length of around 1.7m (double the length of my current, borrowed 4 seater table) and the width of that table (900mm).
Your requirements may differ, but I suggest you keep the hight to the table surface the same. The other measurements can be whatever suits you and your needs. I ended up with a table design the was 720mm high, 920mm wide and 1.84m long. The length and width were ultimately dictated by the panel sizes available at the hardware store. This needs to be taken in to consideration when deciding the dimensions. I bought a sheet of MDF that was 1800mm x 900mm. This happens to be the perfect size for my needs and is about the correct dimensions for a table top that sits six people. Yay!...
If you want a 4 person table - Go with, 900mm square surface. That is each side measures 900mm in length. Or there abouts. This is just enough to get four seats around. Go bigger if you want four seats and plenty of room in the middle. Work out whats best for you. The following steps remain the same regardless of your chosen dimensions. The only thing that will change is the size of the MDF sheet you buy. For my table (1.84m x 0.920m) I bought a sheet that was just under that as it was pre cut ready to go.
When you have your dimension or your going with mine, move on to the next step - What Do I Need? - The Shopping List)...
Step 2: What Do I Need? - the Shopping List (Tools)
Well, kind of a shopping list. It really depends on what you already have?... Don't worry if your not sure what or why a particular item is needed. I'll explain each as they are required in that respective step. A good idea here may be to run through the steps to see what is used where.
1. Standard every day wood saw
2. 3m (10ft) Tape Measure ( I also had a 1m steel ruler but this is not essential.)
3. Every day wood glue (nothing fancy)
4. Mitre box ( for cutting 45 degree angles on finishing trim)
5. Pencils and a sharpener
6. Woodworking Sand paper (80 grit & 120 grit) More on why these in step
7. Finishing sandpaper (240 grit) - to prep table top for final clear coat
8. A basic drill with cross head bits and 8mm diameter wood drill bit. I bought a $60 dollar cordless for this. You don't need anything fancy to build this table.
9. Clamps - You may need clamps to hold the timber while you cut. I did but you may not. Personal preference really.
What timber do we need? Continue to the next step...
Step 3: What Do I Need? the Shopping List (Timber & Hardware)
What Timber do we Need?
I used finished stock lengths of timber from my local diy store for the frame. A sheet of MDF from the same store that forms the rectangle shape of the table top (More on this later) and 2 pallets scrounged from a local warehouse for the patterned top. (Adds to the rustic effect of the crossed pattern but if your looking for a more uniform look, buy 100mm wide x 25mm deep finished timber @ whatever stock lengths your local store offers.) Again, the steps remain the same...
1. 70mm x 70mm finished timber lengths. (Will be around 2-3m lengths store bought. You will be cutting them down to form four legs. So get two lengths of at least 1.4m. Just make sure you can cut 4 legs at 700mm long.)
2. 45mm x 70mm finished timber lengths (Enough to make 2 x 1.6m lengths and 2 x 740mm lengths) Heres the only change if you don't go with the same size table I made. To make the frame on your table (see step 4 ), if it differs from mine, simply buy enough timber lengths to make a rectangle frame that is around 80mm narrower than the overall width and 100-150mm shorter than the length. For a square (4 person) table, go with enough timber to make a square 80mm smaller on all sides than the table top.
3a. Enough pallets to form the table top (ensuring uniform thickness or as close as possible.)
3b. Enough finished timber lengths as noted above. 100mm Wide x 25mm thick x length available at your local store.
4. At least 5.6m of 40mm wide finishing trim. Similar to skirting boards or boarders but you can choose what suits your taste best.
1. A pack of 40mm wood screws (any kind) - For securing the outer border of the table top
2. 8 x 120mm Galvanised or zinc plated Bolts (Inc 1 nut and washer for each)
3. 12 x 70mm wood screws
4. 8 of 75mm x 75mm L brackets + fixing screws
5. 4 of 40mm x 40mm L brackets + fixing screws
5. A pack of 25mm wood panel pins or nails.
Other Items Required;
1. Wood Filler
2. Wood stain - Light Oak or similar ( Change to a colour that suits your requirements if needed)
3. Epoxy based clear coat wood sealer - 0.5 Litres will work.
4. Paint tester pots;
Black, Mint Green & dark ash red (Or change to suit your needs/taste)
5. 4 paint brushes - 2 for the epoxy coats and 2 for the colour. (I cleaned one to paint the third colour)
6. Chairs! - I bought 6 chairs, each one different to keep with the rustic thrown, used mish mash look I wanted. If you are unsure what to go for - Take a look at step ________
7. Beer - Required to salute yourself upon build completion. (Note this step is mandatory) Unless you - (a). Don't drink Or (b) are under age. in these cases you are permitted to purchase a suitable alternative. ; -)
I spent (excluding the cordless drill) but including the Ikea chairs - $350 AU dollars on all this gear. Your spending may differ but use this as a guide.
Lets get building!...
Step 4: The Frame
1. To build the frame take the 40mm x 70mm finished timber lengths and cut them as follows;
2 x 1600mm
2 x 740mm
2. Place them on a flat plane ie the ground in a rectangle shape. Having the 740mm lengths on the inside of the 1600mm lengths. (See images for reference)
3. Take the 12 x 70mm wood screws and drive 3 through the ends of each of the 1600mm timbers into the 750mm timbers as shown.
4. Cut your 70mm x 70mm timbers into 4 legs @ 700mm long.
5. Place each leg at the corners and mark with a pencil where the leg sits. Remove the legs again and drill 2 8mm holes @ 35mm centre to centre through the rectangle frame.
6. Now place the legs back in the corner, holding firmly, push your drill through the holes you just drilled out and gently turn the drill so that it marks the leg through the hole. Remove the leg and drill through at the 2 spots where the drill touched and left a mark. Don't panic about getting this perfectly square. You will be surprised how forgiving these legs and bolts will be with a gentle persuasion of the hammer kind.
7. repeat this for each leg.
Now you have a frame. If you chase to do a different size table you should be able to adjust without issues the above steps. Only the size of the rectangle needs changing, all other steps remain the same.
Next Step - Setting up the frame to hold the MDF board...
Step 5: The MDF Sheet
Attaching the MDF sheet
This Sheet will form the support for the individual pieces of the crossed, angled pattern we will produce in the next step.
1. Flip the rectangle frame the correct way up
2. You have a choice here - In order for the table top to be removable to make it easier to move, I added 4 x 200mm lengths of timber to the inside of the frame and screwed to the MDF board from underneath. I changed my mind later on and added 4 number 40mm x 40mm L brackets to do the same job. You can do either.
2a. To use timber fixings - Cut 4 pieces of 50mm by 25mm timber into 200mm lengths. Place 2 x 70mm screws through the 50mm plain into the timber frame as shown in the images.
2b. Place 4 x L brackets (40mm x 40mm) on the frame - one for each side.
Either way will work to secure the MDF down.
3. Take your MDF sheet and place on the frame. Using a ruler or tape measure, centre the MDF sheet over the frame so you have a clearance of 40mm on the long edge and 110mm on the short edge. This ensure the table top is central over the frame. If you chase a square table - Centre the frame the same way using the clearance rule of roughly 40mm on each side at least. The sheet of MDF will need to be cut down to the ultimate size you require. The images show the table upside down for ease of reference...
4. Now your centred, place 2 screws in each timber or L bracket through into the MDF sheet from underneath NOT on top.
Ready for the hard part? (Well it looks hard, It's actually no harder than any other step - The crossed top pattern)...
Step 6: Crossed Hatch Pattern Pt1
This looks complicated at first but its really not. Don't worry about the accuracy of the cuts. Gaps add to the character later when we use the filler and the colour staining...
1. Take either your disassembled pallets (disassembled before this step : -)) Or your stock finished timber lengths of 100mm width and place them around the outer edge of the MDF board. As shown in the images.
2. Cut each piece so as to arrange them to follow the outer shape.
3. Take your 40mm screws and secure the pieces down to the MDF sheet. I didn't but you can use some wood glue to assist in this fixing of theses. It's good practice and give a better, more stable fix as the screw can work loose over time.
4. Place a piece in the centre as shown in the images, cutting it to length and fixing it down.
Ready for angles?... Don't panic, it's simple really...
Step 7: Crossed Hatch Pattern Pt2
Now you have the boarder, we need to add the angle cut pieces.
1. Study the images. It will help you to get your head around the pattern.
2. Place a piece of timber so that it forms a straight line between both corners of the empty square. Mark the timber either side at both the top and the bottom. Now flip the piece over and draw a line between the marks you just made. Now you know where to cut the piece and at what angle. The angle you just marked off should be pretty close to what you need in order for the freshly cut piece to fit. Simple and no fancy skills or tools required.
3. Add plenty of wood glue to the back of the timber and place it firmly down on the MDF. Use the screws to mechanically fix it down. This way the surface will be sturdy. 2 screws per timber should be fine.
4. Continue to fill the remaining space in the same fashion. You can alter the orientation of the pattern to whatever you like.
Now we are ready to add the finishing trim...
Step 8: Adding the Finishing Trim
Now we have all the timber fixed to the MDF we can add the finishing trim.
1. Take your chosen profile trim and cut to length. Heres where your mitre box comes in handy. The cleanest way to cut these trims is to use a mitre box to cut the ends at a 45 degree angle. That way they fit together round the table at the corners with a clean angled butt joint.
2. After you have cut the pieces, grab your hammer and the panel pins. Add glue to the back of the trim and hold against the table. (I used small clamps as a third hand - See image. This helped keep the trim up at the correct angle while you hammer in the first panel pin or nail.)
3. Holding the trim flush at the table top, hammer in the panel pin or nail.
4. Now the first one is in, follow along the length of the table repeating the process until all 4 sides are finished. I would go with a nail or panel pin every 200mm or 8Inches.
Now we are all done cutting and hammering. Lets finish the table...
Step 9: Finishing the Table - Pt1 Sand and Prep...
The finishing process is easy. Each step is short but you need to leave the table overnight in between each step to cure before moving along to the next step.
1. Take the 80 grit paper and sand down any areas that are proud. This step will be required more so on the pallet timber rather than the new purchased timber.
2. Now that you are happy with the table take the wood filler you purchased and fill any gaps. There may be some if you cut some pieces short or slightly off angle. Heres were the table begins to look used and rustic.
3. After leaving the wood filler to dry. (cure time depends on which one you used). Take your 120 grit sand paper and give the entire table a light rub down.
4. Now grab a coffee. No not to drink. This is a classic way of ageing timber or anything porous for that matter. Take about 300ml of cold water and mix in 12 tea spoons of coffee granules.
5. Take a cloth, sponge or brush and liberally apply the coffee water over the table top surface. This will also allow you to use white wood filler as the coffee will colour it like the timber. Blending it in.
6. Leave the coffee to soak in and evaporate over night.
Step 10: Finishing the Table - Pt 2 Paint
Now that the coffee bath has done it's job we are ready to paint
1. Simply paint random or semi random pieces in different colours that you chose. I used Mint green, dark ash red and gun metal grey.
2. make sure that some pieces are totally covered while others are just lightly painted. Leave some with exposed wood too. The idea is that the wood was reclaimed therefore used so thats the look we are going for.
3. leave the paint to cure overnight.
Step 11: Finishing the Table - Pt3 Epoxy Prep
1. Now that the paint has cured, take your 120 grit sand paper and go crazy. Sand some areas hard, other areas lightly. Try to take the paint of in some areas. What you will find with pallet timber is that the paint will remain after sanding in dents, chips and other damaged areas. This is what gives the table its distinctive look.
2. Now your happy with the heavy sanding, take your 240 grit sand paper and give the entire top the once over. this will remove lighter scratches and imperfections but not the dents and scrapes. This way the table will be smooth but retain the damage that gives it the correct look.
Now we can clear coat...
Step 12: Finishing the Table - Pt4 Epoxy Clear Coat
I used a 500ml clear water based epoxy for this
1. Clean the table before you do anything else.
2. Take a new clean brush and apply a thin layer of clear epoxy. Brands vary but I would leave it 24 hours to cure. Don't wash the brush, it's not worth it.
3. After 24 hours, take your second brush (or a roller if you have one) and apply a very heavy layer of epoxy. If you made your table the same size as me, apply the entire remainder of the 500ml tin and allow a further 24 hours to cure.
4. While that cures, add the larger L brackets to the four legs using the screws that came with them. This will help keep the legs at the correct angle as the timber from DIY stores is not guaranteed to be perfectly straight.
4. Repeat this step 12 more times! Only kidding. Your new table is done and dusted. I added felt pads under the legs as I have solid wood floors and I didn't want it to get scratched.
Where do we sit?...
Step 13: Chairs
I can't make wooden chairs, so I purchased six random, different chairs from Ikea. All wood and different because I want the table to look quirky. Once you have chosen the chairs you want and purchased them from where ever suits you we are ready to prep them.
1. I used the left over paint from the table to paint three of the chairs. Build the chairs if they are flat packed.
2. Give the chair a sand with the 120 grit sand paper
3. Clean off the dust and consider the following;
In order to get the correct look. Take a colour - say mint green. Apply that colour to the chair in certain places. Remember where... Then take a another colour - say black. Coat the entire chair. You don't have to use these colours. Use whatever suits you. Take at look at the images to see what the effect looks like after you sand through the top colour in some areas and all the way through in others.
4. After you have applied both colours (leaving a few hours in between to cure), take your 120 grit sand paper and sand through the top colour in some areas to the bottom colour. Around all the edges, sand completely through to the bare wood. This will give the chairs the look that we are after. That worn, used vintage type look. It works great and looks great. Real easy to do.
5. Spay each chair with the clear coat spray can varnish.
Repeat this for each chair you need...
Step 14: We Are Done...
Now grab your drink, we're done. I hope that you enjoyed following this instructable and that you r table looks great and how you wanted it to.
I use my table in the day as a desk for work and as a dinner table at night. The clear epoxy wont stain and is super easy to keep clean.