My wife and I just bought a new house and for the first time ever we have a formal dining room. So we went and starting looking for the perfect dining room table. We looked at furniture stores in the Dallas area. All we found was cheap tables with a thin hardwood veneer. After a few months of looking on Craigslist and all over the internet, I did find a style of table I like. I love the look of a farm table, the only problem is they are several thousand dollars or made from cheap yellow pine. So I finally decided to take a plunge and build one myself.
Step 1: The Wood
I didn’t know what type of wood I wanted to use to build my table. I knew I wanted some character and I wanted the table to have a story behind it. I was looking on craigslistone day and came across a listing for some reclaimed longleaf pine. I called the number and asked about the wood. Turns out it was the floor boards from a train depot in Bowie Texas that was torn down. The building was built in the early 1870's. Long leaf pine is the hardest of all the pine species. This wood has a character you can’t find in lumber from a store. It was tight grained and was colored by over 100 years of use. I knew this wood needed to be used again and its story told. Even with its age and abuse it was still good and very usable.
Step 2: Preping the Wood
I gathered the wood and laid it out. I tried to see what would boards would look best next each other. I am blessed to have a to have a good friend who is master woodworker, named Kevork. He has a shop full of large commercial wood working equipment. This is what we used because it was an available option. It could all have been done by hand with small power tools, it would have just taken longer.
1. We started by running all the boards threw a jointer.
2.Then we trimmed the width of the boards on the table saw. The width varied based on the condition of the boards.
3.We then ran each board threw a thickness planer.
4.Next we trimmed each board to its final length.
Step 3: Gluing
After all the boards were where arranged it was time for glue. Kevork has a hydraulic banding machine we used to clamp the table. You could do this with pipe clamps just fine but again it would take longer. After the glue dried its time to start sanding.
Step 4: Sanding
Next came the part I hate… sanding. I used a palm sender with 150 grit and rounded every sharp edge. I wanted the table to have a worn feeling on all the edges. I hand sanded all the sides to make sure it was it felt like this table has been used for 100 years. There were several imperfections in the wood deep cuts and shallow cracks. I filled these holes with a 2 part epoxy I colored with black paint. I left the old nail holes in the wood and planned on putting the old nails back in. After I got it where I wanted it I ran some 220 grit over the entire table.
Step 5: Stain
I tried several stains to see what looked the best. Longleaf pine is notoriously hard to stain. I finally decided on Danish oil in a dark walnut color. If you have never used Danish oil, buy some and try it, you will love it. I then coated the entire surface in six coats of wipe on poly from Minwax. Another great easy to use product.
Step 6: Legs and Appron
The legs I ordered off EBay from a guy who turned them from antique pine beams. The legs are 30 inches tall and 6x6 on the top. They are over the top large legs. The only problem is the legs had large weather cracks in them. So I filled in the legs with the same 2-part epoxy I used on the top.
With the apron I used the same wood as the top and cut mortise tenon joints using my drill press on my Shopsmith. I also cut a grove in the apron about 1/2 inch from the bottom. Then some glue and clamps, and we are almost done.
Step 7: Finished
I assembled the table, it is exactly what I wanted. The final size ended up being 39x81 inches. It seets 8 well and is just our style. I put the old square head nail in the table and found 8 nonmatching chairs to complete the set. The table complete is heavy about 250 lbs, no particle board here.
This is what I have in it.
Wood for table $120
Glue, stain, and sand paper $50
Total for the table $350
The chairs i bought came to a total of $417
So for my whole dining table I paid $767.00
Special thanks to my beautiful wife Rachel for allowing me to do this project, even though I have never built a table before.
Special thanks to Kevork, your knowledge of wood working is very much appreciated.