Our contractor was giving us that “your crazy!” look when we told him we wanted to salvage the wood in a wall we were tearing out of our house.
Instinctively he asked, “Why?” And honestly, we didn’t have an answer. We just knew that one day we would find a use for 7-foot 2×12 headers, ugly porch posts, and a few 1x6s from 1984. (That’s when the house was built.)
Then one day it hit us. A TABLE!! A ridiculously cheap farm table made from wood that came out of the house we renovated.
Since most of the wood was free, we ended up only spending around $25 for supplies (stain, polyurethane, spray paint, bolts).
The TABLE FRAME
Let’s start with the frame. Tables usually run about 30 inches high, so I cut 4 posts down to 28.5″. This gave me 1.5 inches of room for the table top. There are a few different ways I could have cut the posts, but I decided to cut right above one of the grooves in the middle. Then I measured 28.5″ and made the second cut on the square end of the posts. Having the square portion at the top makes it easier to attach the table frame to the legs.
I sanded the table legs with a light palm sander. I wasn’t concerned about taking off all the white paint, since we would be painting them white again. I just wanted to make sure they were smooth and free of grime and grit.
The 1x6s needed to be ripped down to 3.5″ to fit nicely against the legs. You probably wouldn’t go any wider because you might risk bumping your thighs as you sit at the table. These runners were attached to the legs using pocket holes on the inside.
Cross braces and corner braces were attached to strengthen up the base still using the pocket hole jig. We opted to spray paint the frame so we wouldn’t risk seeing paint strokes or drips on the table legs. It turned out great! We used glossy white.
The TABLE TOP
To be honest, I haven’t mastered the art of making a perfect table top. Partly because I’m a beginner when it comes to wood-woking, and partly because I don’t have all the fancy equipment. But…you can build a tabletop without expensive equipment!
The fun thing about a farm table is it doesn’t have to be perfect. The holes, dings, and imperfections give the table more character!
These three 2x12s were headers in a couple of walls we tore down. Not only were they full of nails, but they each had a small twist. I selected the 3 sides that looked the best, and started sanding. First with a 60 grit sandpaper then with a 150. I did it just enough at this stage, because I knew I’d be sanding again after the table top was attached to the frame.
I did spend quite a bit of time trying to get the glued edges as straight as possible. Just grab a hand planer, set aside a couple of hours with your favorite podcasts, and get to planing. Occasionally I would clamp the two ends of the 2x12s to see where the edges touched, and where they didn’t. I’d make some pencil markings and go back to planing.
There are several great YouTube videos about hand planing that I found very helpful. Here’s one.
Once the edges were 95% straight (remember we aren’t going for perfection) I cut in some biscuit joints. I glued the joined edges, and clamped overnight. (That’s our future vanity it’s sitting on…stay tuned for that one!)
Now it started getting fun! Some friends of ours recommended a stain called Jacobean by Minwax. WE LOVED IT! It really complimented the white table frame.
We finished the top with a Clear Satin Polyurethane to give it a nice protection against water or other table debris. (Kids are crazy eaters at our house!). The table is 81″ long and can easily seat 8 adults.
We look forward to sharing many family meals together at this table…at least once we find some nifty chairs!