“Y’all come eat!”
Those three little words sum up the vibe I wanted our causal dining space to have from the moment we bought our 1960s ranch. While it was still one big empty room at the time, I could envision rounds of cards with friends, family dinners with a brood of kiddos gathered round, after-school homework sessions, birthday celebrations, and at-home date nights full of deep conversation. I could see all the things that make a house a home taking place right there in that room, and at the center of it all I envisioned this large farmhouse table as the anchor.
Phase I – DESIGN SELECTION
Like Goldilocks, I set out to find a table design that was juuuuuust right. Enter my favorite woodchick, Ana White. I found this Pin on Pinterest and thought “say no more!” While her cost estimate is off a bit (more like $100 for lumber + $20 for stain), it was still a small fraction of the cost of anything I could purchase that was already built! We did make a few (not so major) tweaks to Ana’s plan, though:
- We kept the overall length of the table the same as hers (96”), but shaved down the long boards so that we could add breadboard ends (the boards running in the opposite direction on each end of the table).
- We widened the table from Ana’s 37” to 42”
- We added a 1×4 between the two “K” legs when sandwiching them together (the boss thought those added some character and dimension)
A few tips on buying your lumber –
- try to get pine boards that don’t have a lot of deep, ugly knots – you may have to dig (or pay more for a higher quality)
- the 4×4 posts I had to get at a local lumber yard (everything else I bought at Big Orange) because the ones at the hardware store were all treated lumber
- check the boards for warps, if you’re not sure how to do this ask someone for help. Basically you want to make sure the boards are straight and not twisted or wavy
Here’s the materials list we used for the build:
- 6 – 2x8x8 (tabletop boards)
- 1 – 2x12x8 (breadboard ends)
- 7 – 2x4x8 (legs)
- 2 – 4x4x8 (legs)
- 1 – 1x4x12 (legs)
- 3″ screws
- 2.5″ pockethole screws
- wood glue
Phase II – BUILD THAT BABY!
I wasn’t blogging when we started this build, so I don’t have great step-by-step photos of the build process, but Ana’s plan does! We started by cutting the “bevel” (rounded) edge off of each board. I wanted clean, crisp lines and leaving those curved edges would have meant an eternity of vacuuming crumbs out of the seams in the table top! We set the table saw to 1/8” and started ripping. Everything that had a rounded edge got cut to square (the 4×4 posts already had square edges, so it really would have looked weird to have them join in with rounded boards).
Leg Tips + Tricks
We cut the 2x4s for the kick-out part of the “K” and attached them to the vertical 2×4. I tossed around the idea of buying an extra 4×4 post and attaching the kick-outs to it when I was planning out the build initially, but ultimately decided against it because we were attaching each kick-out with 3” screws from the inside of the vertical part of each K, and figuring out how to attach them (and make it all symmetrical) through a 4×4 post would have just made things infinitely more difficult. I like the character that the 2×4 + 1×4 gives, but if you don’t want seams where the boards meet up, you could totally make the swap to 4×4 posts!
Pro tip here: make a pattern! These Ks could be the cause of a LOT of frustration if you don’t have a pattern to ensure symmetry. We used a scrap piece of thin birch I had left over from another build and laid the pieces out to trace. We then nailed the birch into each (unassembled) piece of the K and attached the kick-outs from behind the vertical part with 3” screws. This kept your pieces from moving around on us and ensured that each leg lined up when the whole leg was put together. It’s meant to give you a sort of “X” look for each of the legs, so if the kick-outs of your Ks aren’t symmetrical, you’ll lose that look.
After the Ks were assembled we added the base and top of each leg with 3” screws and wood glue (following Ana’s plan). Then the boss, his dad, and his brother-in-law assembled the top. They used pocket holes to attach each table top board to the next.
Breadboard Ends for the Win
For the breadboard ends, we took the 2x12x8 and ripped it in half, creating two 2x5s for each end. The reason we didn’t use 2x8s is because of sturdiness. If you think about it, people will be constantly leaning on those ends when they push their chairs out and stand up, meaning the seam between the breadboard end and the long tabletop boards is going to take a lot of stress over the years. Joining them with pocket hole screws alone is not ideal, because the screws would bear that stress and they could eventually snap. There is a tool that creates mortise and tenons (allows you to drive dowels into the long boards that then slide into the bread boards) but they’re super expensive and we don’t have one, so sacrifices had to be made. I was not willing to give up the breadboard ends, so I compromised on their width instead. If you did want wider breadboard ends you could reinforce the seam underneath the table top by attaching some of your scrap boards from the long tabletop boards to the breadboard (across the seam). That way the stress would be dispersed over those supports and not on the screws alone. We didn’t do this since we went with thinner ends, but I snapped this picture holding one up for you visual friends that want your breadboards the same width as your tabletop boards.
Phase III – BRING THAT THING TO LIFE
Next it was time to stain, and I was back on another Goldilocks quest. Our floors are really dark, and I like monochromatic design with pops of color for the different seasons/holidays. This left me envisioning something weathered. Not grey, not warm, not dark, not blonde, not painted…just aged with neutral undertones. Not too difficult, right?! Ha! I was totally intimidated and paralyzed by this step. I was so afraid I’d put something on and hate it, so I tested 8,000 different Pinterest stain combos on scrap wood and none of them “did it for me.” Do you know what that’s like? To have that vision in your head and everything is just not quiiiiite right (hence the Goldilocks analogy!)…well that was me hunting stains. I knew it was going to have to be a combo, and I’m a Minwax girl through-and-through, but nothing was working. So imagine my surprise when good ol’ Pinterest suggested this beauty for me one day! I was in LOVE with Jackie’s stain immediately, and was so certain it was the one I’d been searching for, that I didn’t even test it! Gasp! I know! Thank goodness it worked out, right?!
This is a multi-step process, but it can easily be done in 3 days.
Here are the materials you’ll need:
- 150-200 grit sandpaper
- Minwax Weathered Oak stain
- Minwax White Wash Pickling stain
- Minwax Dark Walnut stain
- Minwax Clear Polycrylic (matte finish)
- foam brush (I used 3 of these)
- 3″ Disposable Paint Brush
- painter’s rags (I just use some of the boss’ old t-shirts)
- disposable gloves
Step #1 – SANDING
I followed Jackie’s tutorial to a T. Our table was already sanded from when we assembled it, but you’ll want to be sure to sand it smooth before starting the stain process. Vacuum it well and clean it off with a damp rag or tack cloth to remove any lingering sanding dust.
Step #2 – STAIN
I started by generously applying the Weathered Oak stain with a cloth on a Sunday night. I followed the directions on the can, letting it dry for at least 12 hours.
Step #3 – PAINT
Monday morning I brushed on the White Wash Pickling stain in small sections, wiping it off immediately with a clean cloth. It was dry almost as soon as I applied it, but I had several appointments that day, so I let it dry for about 6 hours.
Step #4 – STAIN…again
That night I applied the Dark Walnut stain by rubbing it in with a cloth. I literally got chill bumps when this coat went on! I was IN LOVE! It was exactly what I’d envisioned and I couldn’t get over it!
Step #5 – SEAL
Tuesday morning I applied the first coat of Polycrylic using 3” foam brush. The can said to do at least 3 coats, to let it dry for 2 hours between coats + 3 hours after the final coat, and wait 24 hours for use. It also suggests sanding with very fine sandpaper between coats. I didn’t do the in-between sanding this time, though. When I’ve sealed pieces in the past some of the sanding dust will come up out of the grain and make the surface feel rough during the poly stage. That didn’t happen this time. I’m not sure if it’s because the table had been sanded so long ago that there was no dust left, or why, but it was completely smooth between coats, and I really didn’t want to create dust that wasn’t there. I was able to get all 3 coats of Polycrylic in on Tuesday and had 3 hours to spare between the final coat and bedtime.
Phase IV – ADMIRATION
J and I put the table together that night before bed and I let it cure out well (several days to a week depending on your climate) before regular use. With each coat of Polycrylic the table became more and more beautiful! This sounds crazy, I know, but if you’ve ever stained and sealed furniture in the past you know what I’m talking about. The sealant adds this life and depth that wasn’t there before (you can see the difference above between the final stain picture compared to the one after it’s all sealed). After I finished I just sat in the room and stared at it for a good 30 minutes!
What do you think? I told J as soon as we finished assembling the table in the room that I was already dreaming up other things I could put this stain combo on! It is just so dreamy! I think I’m going to call this table the “knockoff” ha! Ana’s plan is for a knockoff Anthropologie table and Jackie’s stain is a knockoff of Restoration Hardware’s classic look. All in we completed this project for about $150. A table like this from those fancy decor stores easily would have cost us close to $2,000, and it definitely wouldn’t have been the conversation piece this one is! Would love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comments below, friends! Also be sure to tag me in photos of your work when you use the info here for your own project!
Gotta run… Supper’s almost done. Y’all come eat!