Saturday, November 29, 2014

Handmade Table

This project was actually done about a year ago, but I finally found the pictures so I thought I would share.

We originally started by buying the table legs from Lowes for an existing table I got at a garage sale. The original table had metal legs that were rusted on the bottom and I didn't want them scratching the wood floors, plus I just thought the table would look better with wood legs. So after disassembling and sanding that table we realize it is so warped that it wouldn't have worked even with the original legs, back to the drawing board we went.

 I had been envisioning all these beautiful farmhouse tables I had seen plastered in magazines and all over Pinterest and thought hey why couldn't we make that. So back to Lowes we went. I knew I wanted a medium sized table and I had just watched a You Tube video on a fun new tool called a Kreg Jig (watch more than one video on how to use it before thinking you are a pro after just one video like I did, I was wrong). If you plan on making more furniture or cornered projects I HIGHLY recommend getting a Kreg Jig, it is an awesome tool! At the bottom of the post I've included a link to amazon with some of the awesome tools we use and some extras that we plan on purchasing in the future.

On to the nitty gritty details. Here is the project list of things you will need to create your own table:

2" x 6" x 10' for the top of the table. We used 6 and got them at 10' then had the store cut them in half. Our table ended up being 5 ft. long by a little under 3 ft. wide (2 ft. 10 in. to be exact). Make sure you check each one to make sure it's level, slight imperfections can be sanded but if it's really warped it won't work. Also make sure you like any knots or "blemishes", if you stain it these will show through.

2" x 4" for the apron and added stability under the table. The length will depend on the size of the table, we went in 2 inches all the way around the table. As you will see later we measured everything, cut, then laid it out to make sure we outlined where everything was to go.

4 Table Legs. You can get them for as little as $5 a leg you just have to search a bit. We got ours on sale for $5 each. I ended up looking up traditional leg height to figure out what size to get (It's 30 inches total height). So we ended up going with 28" legs taking into account the height of the table top itself.

Kreg Jig

Medium and Fine grit sandpaper.

Sander (you could sand by hand if you don't have one but it takes forever).

Miter Saw or Circular Saw (Miter saw is easier)

Kreg Jig Screws. If you are using 2" boards for everything, you will want 2 1/2" Fine Thread screws.

Table leg top plate (optional). We did not use these, but they probably would have been a good idea rather than kreg jigging the legs (you have to re-tighten every 6 months to a year depending on amount of use the table gets).


Drill, the kreg jig has it's own bits to use with your drill.

Tack cloth or damp paper towels. I tried both and preferred the paper cloth method, the tack cloth works but leaves a sticky residue. With paper towels you do have to go over all the sanded areas a couple of times and then wipe it all down again with dry towels. Let it sit for a couple of minutes after just to make sure it is truly dry before you start to stain.

Stain or paint. For this table I went with the same stain for the whole table, you could change it up and do the legs and apron different than the top or whatever style you like. Surprisingly you really only need a half pint of stain, we ended up buying two since we used a decent amount on the table we originally planned to revamp (that's why you will see the legs already stained in most of the pictures). Granted this also depends on the size of table.

Paint brushes.

Polyurethane, again really only need a half pint depending on the size of the table.

Supplies are all gathered, lets get started!

So as I said before we had the store cut the boards for the top in half for us, we then just needed to sand the edges.

We laid all the boards for the top down in the order we wanted them based on markings and knots, flipped them over, and labeled them. 

Next we measured the 2" x 4" for the apron. We marked where the legs would go first, than measured and cut.

After all of that was laid out we measured and cut the last of the 2" x 4" for the support under the table (this is added last). I don't have a picture, but the basic idea is to lay the boards flat underneath the table top.

Then the fun part, Kreg Jigging! I got out so much frustration and really worked my arms (honestly if you are even moderately out of shape, totally out of shape like me, or in shape like people I don't know your arms will HURT). You will also get wood shavings all over yourself and the general area. 

For the table top I kreg jigged both sides of the inside boards and one side for the two outside boards. For the inside I did three holes evenly spaced on one side and two evenly spaced on the other. For the two outside boards I did three evenly spaced holes.

While I Jigged S started screwing the table top together. We learned the hard way that you NEED clamps for this part, one at each end. Your table top will really look wonky if you don't use them. Our second table (later post) we actually used much longer clamps to go across the whole width of the table and then the smaller ones on the ends. 

Once the top is completely together, I started Jigging the apron. Now really for this whole project I went a little Kreg Jig crazy, I just wasn't sure how far apart to go, and how many would have the best hold. I ended up going about every 3 inches all the way around (too much!). Realistically you could do two on the short parts and three on the long parts and it would hold great.

We ended up going the Kreg Jig route for the legs (again you will have to tighten the screws every so often based on how much you use the table, or in our case how many people push off the top of the table to stand up). You can also use table leg top pates and just screw in the legs. I have not used this method on any of the tables we have made so I don't know how well they work or how stable they are. 

I did two holes on the inside of the legs, then screwed them into the apron. I also did one hole on one side of the leg going down into the table top. 

Once you have everything put together, re-measure the 2" x 4" you cut earlier for the underside of the table. Our shifted ever so slightly, so we had to cut two and sand down the third. If you couldn't tell we were really worried about the table being stable. You don't need three boards under there, personally I would just do one smack dab in the middle. 

I did two holes on each end of the boards and jigged into the apron.

Once she was all put together we flipped her up and sanded the heck out of it. I'm talking baby smooth sanded. We used the medium grit. Like I said in the supplies list you can used tack cloth or the paper towel method, whichever you like best.

So Pretty.

As you can see it was pretty dark out so we called it quits for the night. Also ignore the messy garage, we were doing quite a few projects at the time. The rug happened to be an old remnant from when the house was last carpeted and really helped when we were laying everything out and when we had to flip it (it will be pretty heavy). 

The next day I couldn't wait to start staining, I was so ready to see the finished product. We brushed the stain on the whole top, waited about 5 minutes from when we first started and then wiped the stain off starting in the same spot we started staining. When wiping the stain off we used cotton cloths you can buy in bulk at any hardware store and the second time paper towels. I highly recommend the cloths since you don't get as much stain on your hands and they don't really leave behind any fluffies. 

Wait the suggested amount of time based on the stain directions and see if you like the color or want to do another coat. I ended up doing two coats since I felt the first was too sheer. It's really up to you how you want the table to look, so go crazy or traditional. 

Once the stain was fully dry it was time to make the table shiny, oh and seal it too. I polyurethane the entire table legs and all for the first coat (this you really do have to do more than one coat). Again wait the suggested amount of time based on the directions. Once it's dry use the fine grit sand paper to get out the imperfections, bubbles and dust. DO NOT use the sander for this part, you just need a light sand for this. Once sanded it should feel smooth and look fairly glossy. You only need to sand the first coat, you can still spot sand if you get a lot of dust or it doesn't look right, but I would do another coat over that. I ended up doing two coats, the first on the whole table and the second on just the top. I paid A LOT of attention to the space in between each board with both coats, we still get crumbs in there but the attachment tool on the vacuum works perfectly to clean it up. 

Let it dry at the very least overnight and you are good to go. The table will be heavy and you should always lift from each end with two people when moving it. This will also help with the legs.

We made this table quite a while before I was pregnant so it fit great in the kitchen, until we added in the highchair. We soon realized it was becoming quite tight in there and we would need a shorter table. So we built another that I will share along with a lovely bookcase revamp in a future post, so stay tuned!

Have you built a table or something similar? Share your story, pictures, tips, or anything you find helpful!

Update: Just added to Creating my way to Success and Skip to my Lou.
Skip To My Lou