Monday, April 8, 2013

Dining Table DIY

I am in love with my dining room table!

Why did it take me 9 months to build this super easy table?

Well.....I did not have the right tools, it was too cold to work in the garage, researching what type of wood to use took a while, ordering/receiving the table top wood took longer than I thought,choosing a  stain color and protective/sealing coat was also a difficult and long task.....I can keep writing more reasons why it took me so long to build this table but 9 months of waiting and thinking is enough! Let's talk about how I built it instead.

Dining Table DIY

I needed my table to fit 8 people tightly if needed and wide enough to hold food in the middle. I did a lot of research on table sizes and realized that a standard table for 8 was way too long for my small dining room and a table for 6 was too small for our family needs.
Our former table measured 33 W by 58 L and as good as this table was to us in our old house's breakfast nook it was just not good enough for our new dining room. Our new table needed to be longer and wider. Going from 33 inches to 42 inches in width made a huge difference. Platters and bowls and such barely fit before. Now, I have more than enough room for dishes without loosing much of the space around the table. I am very pleased!
I want my table to be 70 inches long. Why? Most woods come in 72 inches long at the most so I thought I would give myself a small margin to cut in case I could not join the planks together well and the extra 2 inches were just too much for my small 11x13 dining room anyways. I am happy as long as I can fit 3 chairs to accommodate more people. Our old table could not fit 3 chairs without opening the leaf and once the leaf was up, we could not move around the room so...70 inches is really working out for our small space.

After all the measurement research, I decided to wait for Christmas to buy a Kreg Jig Kit for my "hubby". Guys are supposed to like tools, my husband likes tools but I am the one who is not so busy any more so his tools became mine. I wrapped the kit nicely, hand it to him and said Merry Christmas darling! His answer......."that's not for me! That's for you. I don't even know what this is....blablabla..." He is so right! My bad! Well, I will exchange it for something else, or NOT! I am so glad I kept it because that kit is the best thing ever for joining jobs like building tables! I love it love it love it. So easy to use and not dangerous at all. If you want to start building some easy furniture, consider purchasing a Kreg Jig. I am glad I did.


Kreg Jig Kit (I got the $99 kit on sale for $70)
Orbital Sander
Circular Saw
Kreg Jig 1 1/4 fine screws (lots of them)
4 turned table legs. Mine were $15 a piece (Lowe's)
2 4x1x6 pine wood board (Lowe's)
2 4x1x4 pine wood board (Lowe's)
1 2x1x4 pine wood board (Lowe's)
7 6x1x72 Poplar wood boards. I chose poplar because it is a hard wood at a very low price. It cost me less than $7 a piece (Anchor Hardwoods in Wilmington, NC). I checked the price at Lowe's and it is incomparable. Each board cost over $16 there!!!!


I wanted the lip of the table top to be 1.5 inches

For the L: I calculated the size of my table apron according to the size of the lip.
The legs are 2.75 inches wide (x 2)  + 61.5 inches long board = 67 inches long.

For the W: Same here. The lip is 1.5 inches on each side and the table top is 42 inches wide.
2.75 (x2) + 33.5 = 39 inches wide

I determined that my apron will be 39 x 67 so I cut 2 of my 4x1x6 boards to be 67 inches and I cut 2 of my 4x1x4 to be 39 inches.

Step 1. I drilled 2 pocket holes with the kreg jig on each ends of the boards to connect them to the legs

I should have drilled pocket holes on the sides of the boards at this point to join them with the table top but forgot.

Step 2. I assembled the apron together like so.

Step 3. To reinforce the corners I cut my 2x1x4 into 4 equal pieces and screwed them to the apron.

Now I remembered to drill the holes on the boards!!!! Silly me!!! It was much more difficult to drill the holes once the apron was assembled. This step should be N. 2

Step 4. Choose the best sides and lay all 7 wood boards on the floor. A couple of my boards were slightly warped but not too bad.

Step 5. Number each board from right to left so you know were they belong since you are going to pick each piece up and drill pocket holes with your kreg Jig. I used a light blue piece of chalk and you can barely see the numbers on them.

Step 6. Drill drill drill. You should drill pocket holes every 6 to 8 inches or so. I think I drilled every 7 inches.

Step 7. Use all your might and clamps if you have some ( I did not) and insert the screws to attach each board to each other.

Step 8. If you are going to paint the apron and legs a different color than the top, now is the time to do it and let it dry. I forgot to take any pictures.

Step 9. Sweep your floor well or else your table top will have dents and scratches. Lay your table top on the floor and flip your apron on top of it. Make sure it is centered and mark the corners with a pencil. Start Screwing the apron to the table top.

Step 10. Flip your table over. Admire it for a second, wipe it clean and measure the lip at each end so you can cut the excess wood. I do not have a long clamp so I use a long level that I clamp on each side of the table. I used my circular saw to cut a nice edge and voila! No photos of me cutting! I work alone and cannot find my tripod.

Step 11. Sand your table top with an orbital sander equipped with 100 grit sand paper and wipe it clean with a damp cloth. I do not have any photos showing this process. Sorry.

Step 12. Stain your table top your favorite color or paint it. I chose to use Minwax Wood finish in Provincial shade and I used a sponge brush. Let it soak the stain for 15 minutes than wiped the excess with a lint free cloth.
Let your stain dry for at least 24 hours and admire your work.

Step 13. The Finishing!
Now that your stain is dry, it is time to protect the wood and seal it. I chose to use Minwax water based Polycrylic. I read very good reviews and I am not a professional furniture maker so I do not have access to the best sealers etc.... I used a synthetic brush and brushed on the first coat. let it dry for 2 hours, sanded the surface lightly with a 220 grit piece of sand paper, re applied another coat, sanded etc... I did this 5 times! It is a lot of work but well worth it. Let it cure in a dark place for 24 hours (I heard that the sun can make it bubble up) and the next day, I used Minwax Finishing Wax and rubbed it all over in circular motion. I let it penetrate the finish for about 15 minutes and buffed the whole surface vigorously with a lint free cloth. I was finally FINISHED!....or almost.

I went ahead and brought it in but I still need to add a couple of pieces of wood to attach to the bottom of the tabletop to make it more secure and sturdy. I will update this page as soon as I do it.

Let me know what you think.
Do you have any questions?
Do you need help building your table?
Would you like me to build one for you? (Locals only, I would not know how much shipping would cost to get it to you)

Now I can finally work on the rest of my projects and start decorating my dining room.