Monday, August 13, 2012

DIY Farmhouse Table & Bench

For years now I have been wanting a big 'ol farmhouse table with a bench and plenty of room for chairs.  I've secretly been pining away looking for some crazy sale so that my dream table could become the real deal.  But it hasn't happened and to top it off the table and chairs that I had were perfectly fine.  So justifying a major purchase seemed a little silly, but oh how I tried :) Then I started seeing a bunch of DIY table plans and I was immediately smitten!  Unfortunately I am not a talented wood worker and all the plans I found entailed perfect notches in the legs for support pieces and other very technical over my head steps.  So I did what any sef respecting DIY'er does... I put our old table and chairs on craigslist, sold them in one hour and then out of pure terror, and a desperate desire to stop eating  hunched over our breakfast bar totally winged the project and I LOVE how it turned out!!!
To get started I found this table and four great chairs at a local thrift store for only 30 dollars. Sorry about the picture of the underside but this was after I took off the legs.  I knew that the table wouldn't work but the underside construction gave us a road map for how to make ours just on a larger scale.
The legs were the real score, they were in great condition and were the exact style I was looking for.
The chairs were VERY rough, but they had great character and the rustic country feel I wanted, plus the price was perfect.
The biggest issue with the chairs came along the bottom.  It appears that a puppy chewed on ever spindle, every day maybe for a year.  This is AFTER I sanded and used wood fill to smooth them out.  But thankfully after a quick coat of black spray paint you can't even tell they once looked more like chew toys than chairs.
Forgive the lack of pictures for some of the steps along the way, as I said we were totally winging some of this so taking pictures wasn't at the top of the priority list.  This is the top of the table.  To make this we layed four boards (2" x 10" x 8') on a flat surface, the side we wanted to be the top of the table face down.
Then with the help of my hubby (who thought I had once again lost my mind with this project and only begrudgingly helped because he was tired of being without a table) we pulled the boards together as tightly as possible and then used some scrap pieces of 1"x4" slats that we had from an old IKEA bed and used 2" wood screws to drill through the scrap piece and into the table top.  This connects all four boards together as one solid piece.  For the 8 foot table we used five cross pieces to make it nice and sturdy.
Then we used 2"x4"s cut into two short and two long pieces to create the skirt or side pieces of the table.  We attached them to the top by using a paddle attachment to drill a pocket half way up into the board and then using a screw from that point to attach it to the table top.  This hides the screw and helps with the stability.  We did five of these pockets on the long sides and three on the short sides.  You could just attach legs to your newly formed table top, but I think the sides add a little more finished look and some extra stability.  Copying the design of the old table we used scrap wood pieces to make the four small cross pieces to attach the legs.  My hubby used a table saw to cut these, because I've tried using it and with me behind the blade it is an ambulance ride waiting to happen.  After a little trial an error we got the measurements just right and after drilling holes for the leg bolts to go through we screwed the corner pieces to the side apron pieces and we finally had at least what looked like a table.
We used inexpensive boards from Home Depot that were less than $7 a piece.  When you are picking boards do get them out and try to pick the few that aren't warped or have big cracks.  The flatter they are the less work you will have later.
We (I use that loosely I think the hubby did more of the sanding than me hence the hairy arms in the picture :) sanded the table top, making the boards as level as possible then we filled in gaps between the boards with stainable wood fill, let that dry and then gave it one last sanding.
For the color I used Minwax stain in dark walnut.  I really slathered it on and did three heavy coats.
Once the final stain was completely dry I used sand paper to distress some of the top of the table and bench.  No real science to it, I just sanded until I got the look I wanted and some of the lighter wood peaked through.
Then three coats of poly.  This step takes some time.  I did this in my garage and tried my best to control the dust particles, but even so there were a few specks.  For my "rustic" (aka that big mistake I made I totally meant for it to be there) look it wasn't a big deal but if you are looking for a perfect finish you can drape plastic over it to create a little tent to better protect the poly until it dries or you can lightly sand any spots you have and then apply another coat.
For the bench I used a 2"x12"x8ft board and I followed this great tutorial.
The only thing I would add is that after I finished the bench was still a little wobbly so my hubby helped me go back and add extra screws especially through the side apron piece into the three leg pieces. This made a huge difference.
Here's a better view of the apron or side pieces.
I'm really excited to finally have this project that I dreamed up in my little brain finished.
We use it for every meal and cannot wait to make many more memories sitting around it.  Stay tuned for the burlap table runner I made for it.... sooooo cute!!!

The grand total for the thrifted table and chairs, screws, wood, stain, paint and poly (not including the debt I owe my ever patient husband for his "help" :)... all came to under 100 bucks!

Not too shabby for a drill, saw and one weekend nagging the hubby.  Hope you like it!!!


  1. Just found your blog googling farmhouse tables. You and your hubby did a Fabulous job on this table, you must be thrilled! My hubby and I are in the process of making one too, hope it turns out half as good as yours!

    1. Thank you so much for checking out my blog and for the sweet comment. Our table is by no means perfect, but we love it!!! I have to admit, when we get compliments on it it is pretty fun to say, "We made it!". Best of luck with your table, please let me know how it turns out. I'm sure it will be great!!! Take Care and stop back again soon :)