Introduction: My First Table/ Dining Table
A dining room table made of re-purposed and store bought wood.
In a quest to figure some things out I decided to build a table. When the mind is going crazy it’s best to keep the hands moving, (this is true for me anyway) and so I directed that energy towards this project.
It’s my first piece of furniture ever it’s not perfect but I enjoyed every hard working, splinter in the eye second of it (Always wear your safety equipment people). It’s a dining room table, here’s how I did it. Feel free to adapt my style to fit your style. Happy building!
-First I drew a little outline of what I wanted to do, you should consider doing the same so you don’t lose track.
-The table’s made of re purposed and store bought wood. So first you’re going to need to deconstruct
about 8-10 wooden pallets and remove the nails from all the boards, In retrospect probably not a good idea to wear flip flops while using power tools, I don't recommend that.
-Props to my husband & dad who helped me out with this part.
-On top of a piece of plywood 7ft x 3ft do a little jigsaw puzzle work to get the boards to fit. I used a circular saw to shorten pieces to fit and bought pieces of board to supplement the spaces that I didn’t have wood to fit.
-After all your pieces are positioned use a little wood glue to attach each board to the plywood. You’re going to go back later to reinforce the boards with screws.
-I tried to use a jointer plane to level out big dips and slumps in the wood but had a lot more luck with just a hammer and hand chisel.
-Use interior, stainable wood putty like grout to fill in the gaps in the spaces between the boards. I did a pretty messy job at this thinking the sander would just sort of get rid of it but that wasn’t the case and I had to go back over it later so make sure you take your time when filling in any spaces, nice and neat.
-Once the wood putty is completely dry (about a day) sand the entire surface with a belt sander, I used super course sandpaper (40 grit) and went in sections.
-If you’re new to sanding (as I was) here are a few tips that are in the instructions and shouldn’t be ignored (as I did). Follow the grain of the wood, don’t apply to much pressure, avoid nails and screws and never, never, never, try sanding side to side (in a horizontal motion), otherwise you’ll tear your sand belt prematurely and have to get a new one. 3 belts later I got the message.
-Sand the entire surface 2-3 times with the roughest grade of sandpaper you have and then once with a finer grade until the wood is smooth and has a finish you like. Reinforce your boards with a ½ inch screw at the four corners of the boards that you think need it. I didn’t do it with all of the boards but I did do it with any one that I didn’t have a super tight fit between its surrounding boards.
-Sweep off any loose sawdust with a broom and then wipe it down with a clean dry rag.
-I stained the entire surface with an oil based dark walnut wood stain. The wood stain really helped me see the imperfections in the table and I didn’t love how dark it was. I would end up going back and sanding over that stain and re-staining it again with oil based honey color, which resulted in a great effect similar to ebony wood.
-Next I did what you should do before you’re even considering the stain which is reinforcing the underside of the table. Props to my dad for this suggestion “If it’s longer than 3ft it’s going to need support.”
-The final table measures around 7’x3’ so my re-enforcement boards are based on those measurements. I cut and used 2”x4” boards for the supports.
-Looking at the table top with the long sides positioned at the top and bottom and the shorter sides to the left and right, attach one board down the middle, two boards at the top, two at the bottom and close them in with a board to the left and right. Leaving a 4”x4” square at each corner, that’s where your table legs are going to go.
-If you think of it in shapes only it’s to squares next to one another that share one side (the middle board). Next put a diagonal piece in the middle of each square. I used a circular saw to cut my pieces.
-You’ll have to make three cuts on the diagonal pieces. Two at the top to be flush with the boards they’re set against and one at the bottom that also needs to be flush to the board it’s set against. The cuts have to be pretty exact so make sure you take your time with the measuring, marking & cutting. I did mine with a circular saw.
-After each piece is positioned make 5-6 pilot holes and follow those with a 2” inch screw.
-For the legs I used reclaimed fence post 4”x4”. Sand them down, (I used a belt sander/ 40 grit
paper) Then manually sand the edges of all the legs.
-Put wood glue in the square spaces you left open earlier. Set each leg in one of the four spaces. You might have to hold it for a little while so the glue can set a bit. You’re going to reinforce these later.
-After the legs have set completely (a day) cut 8 triangles out of 2x4 with 90 degree angles. Using wood glue add a triangle support against each leg. You’re going reinforce these later.
-After the wood glue has set (about a day) you should be able to drill into it w/o it moving all over the place. You’re going to drill into each triangle twice. One drill incision going into the leg it’s up against and one drill incision going down into the board beneath it.
-Before you actually drill into the wood you’re going to make a pilot hole, follow each pilot hole with a counter sink hole then drill in your actual screw. It’ll look like this when you’re done and it’s set upright.
-I use a fence post for the middle support beam also with two wooden square blocks on either side. I got help with this part as I was pretty spent this day. You’ll likely need help as well to flip the table as it’s carrying some real weight by this point.
-I mentioned before that the table was really dark with just the walnut stain, but I got a really nice affect when I sanded it down and then re-stained it with the oil based honey stain. If you want a similar affect, sand the entire surface with belt sander very course grit.
-Use a circular saw to clean up any uneven edges around the table and then file it down with a wood file.
-I got some pine door molding from home depot (find a cheaper option! They charge by the foot.) Cut to size and using #6 x1” wood screws frame in the table.
-Wipe down the wood and using a clean cloth wipe on a light coat of the honey colored oil based stain over the entire surface and frame.
-So a standard table is 30” tall, I made my legs to short so I bought some 5” table feet at home depot to attach to the bottom of my legs. If your table legs are cut to the right size from the beginning you can skip this step unless you just like the way it looks. After the stain is completely dry (I waited two days) turn the table on its side and drill a hole into the bottom middle part of each leg.
-Make sure the drill bit you drill the hole with is slightly thinner than the screw coming out of the leg (the thread). So that you’ll have a tight fit, drill a hole the length of the thread.
-Add a little wood glue and screw your leg into the drilled holes.
-Taper off the legs a little, I used a hammer and chisel.
-Once you get the legs how you like them stain the feet and the underside of the table.
-Make sure you don’t apply the stain on the legs or underside thick, so it won’t run when you turn it right side up. ---
-Turn the table right side up and finish staining the legs. When you’re done staining the legs apply a thin layer of polyurethane over the top of the table.
-It’s tempting to follow the polyurethane instructions and only wait 4-6 before you lightly sand the table but I suggest you give it an entire day to get the best results possible.
-Once it’s fully dry manually sand the entire surface with a very fine grit sand paper, don’t use to much force this is just a light buffing so your final coat will really adhere and shine. Use a cloth to remove all the excess sawdust and with a clean dry brush apply a final thin coat of polyurethane.
-The picture of the wood with that sort of dry ashy look is how it’ll appear after you do the light manual sanding before you dust it off.
-(I used a clear satin finish I was going to use a matte finish but my mom used the matte on one of her wood projects and after some time it wore off and didn’t protect as well so I went with the satin.)
-Now let it dry!
-I hope this instructional was helpful and lends to someone else building a table or something even better! Happy creating!