This blog post is long overdue. Although it has been some time since my last post, design ideas have not been running short in my home. I have been focusing on the dining space for the last few weeks which took me on the hunt for the perfect dining room table. I did say PERFECT which brings me to my first problem. Great tables do not come at a great price.
I set out to look for a hearty table that was rugged yet modern and had beautiful wood to match the floors in my dining space. I scoured some of my favorite stores for inspiration and came across two tables that I loved. The Big Sur from Crate and Barrel and the Modern Farm Dining Table from West Elm.
I loved the design but not the pricing as they were hundreds, more like thousands, out of my price range. I enlisted the help of my husband and we decided we were up to the challenge of building our own table.
We found a great place for reclaimed wood north of Kansas City. Elmwood has gorgeous reclaimed wood (highly recommended if it’s in your budget) but after getting a quote it was way out of our price range. We turned closer to home and came across four maple planks that Scott’s dad had in his garage in MN. I can’t say it was inspiration at first sight. The wood was pretty beat up, different widths and would need to be planed before anything could be done with it. But the lumber was free so we decided to give it a shot. And with that said, I have outlined the steps for creating the PERFECT dining room table (on your first try!)
You will need:
- Wood. We used four Maple planks at about 6.5 ft. long
- Wood glue
- Biscuit cutter
- Clamps. Lots of clamps that are long enough for the full width of your table.
- Sander and sand paper.
- Paint Brushes
- Table legs (purchased mine at Ikea)
- Screw driver and screws
Step 1- Prep your wood and materials
As I mentioned earlier our wood was in rough shape when we got it. We paid to have it planed and cut to length. Planes are tools that are used to flatten or impart a smooth surface to a rough piece of lumber. You can read more about it here.
For about $20 the wood was given new life with a smooth flat surface and even thickness across the four boards.
We bounced around the idea of thick wood legs but again, saw that the price would add up quickly. Instead, we opted for these modern steel legs from ikea which would only set us back $60.
Step 2- Measure and cut biscuits
If you don’t have a biscuit cutter you can pick one up at your local hardware store. You will need to cut biscuit holes along one side of your first piece of wood. Place them about every three inches. Do the same on both sides of your next piece of wood. Make sure they are perfectly lined up to match the cuts on the opposite side. Taking your time on this step will ensure a seamless tabltop.
Layout your clamps and biscuits on the floor. It will help if you have an extra set of hands for this part. Set both pieces of wood in the clamps. Apply a thin layer of wood glue to the inside of booth pieces of wood. Make sure you get a thin layer in the biscuit holes as well. Line up the biscuit holes, insert biscuits on one side and attach the two pieces together. Lay them horizontally and quickly tighten the clamps on the pieces. Use a piece of wood or buffer so that the clamp isn’t directly on the table wood. This will protect it from any chips or dents. Wipe up any excess glue from the cracks. Let the two pieces of dry for at least 24 hours.
After 24 hours repeat this process with the next piece of wood and again let dry for 24 hours. Then repeat with the final piece of wood.
Step 3- Sand, Sand and then sand some more
After you have all pieces secured together you will want to sand out any grooves or imperfections. We attempted this in our kitchen and I will warn you that sawdust will be everywhere (I’m still dusting it up three weeks later). So you may want to take some precautions and layout a large sheet or tarp to catch some of the dust. We used a belt sander to sand down the ridges where the pieces weren’t perfectly level. Belt sanders are powerful and only need to be used where you have an uneven matchup. We then used an electric sander with a large grit to smooth out the top.
Step 4- Attach the legs
Attaching the legs was the easiest step of all! They were ready to assemble so we measured to make to make sure they were equal on both sides and screwed them in. Make sure your screws are short enough that they won’t punch through the top of the table!
Step 5- Polyurethane
By now your table is taking shape! If you want to stain your table now would be the time to do so. We wanted to maintain the natural color of the wood so we opted to skip the stain and protect with a polyurethane top coat. The polyurethane will also bring out darker tones and give it a glossy finish.
We applied the first coat, let dry for 24 hours and then sanded it down. We repeated this two more times to make sure we had a good protective coat and smooth finish. Make sure you sand down in between coats or you will get air bubbles that will make the top bumpy.
Step 6- Accessorize
Now the fun part. I wanted to modernize the table a bit with some great chairs. I saw this design at West Elm which I liked but again, thought I could do better on the price. Target came through with a great replica and I purchased six white chairs for about $200.
On to lighting and I was looking for an Eames-inspired pendant lamp top of the area. I came across this one from a tweet from LampsPlus (never hurts to tweet when you’re stumped). LampsPlus has great designs and quick shipping for those of you who are impatient like me.
In total the table cost less than $100! Throw in the accessories and all came in under $500. Not bad.