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We wanted a big, sleek, rustic yet industrial dining table for our new apartment, but everything we liked online was over $600. So, we decided to make our own! We made a dining table for Ali’s apartment in college, but made it out of plywood so we would need less tools. Back then, as we checked out of Home Depot, we told another lady in line that we were making a dining table and she told us we would need a pretty table cloth to cover it up! So this time we were determined to make a beautiful dining table that would not need covering up. Shoutout to Ali’s dad who helped a ton with this project!
- 3 1 in x 12 in x 6 ft boards of select pine from Home Depot – $90
- 18 ft of 1 in x 2 in pine boards, cut to 2 boards of 73.75 in and 2 boards of 35 in – $13
- 2 1 in x 6 in oak boards cut to 33 in each – $13
- 3 1 in x 3 in pine boards cut to 33 in each – $4
- 100 pack of 1 1/4″ wood screws – $4
- plastic, stainable wood filler – $5
- finishing nails – $1
- miter box – $10
- Hairpin legs – $45-$60
- Things we already had: Special Walnut stain, polyurethane, wood glue, brushes, clamps, sawhorses, a small saw, hammer, and drop-cloths
Total cost = $185
Step 1: Home Depot trip!
The first thing we did was go to Home Depot to get all our materials! We had a saw but still had Home Depot cut all our pieces for us to make sure everything was exact, since they usually do all cuts for free. We decided to use select pine to avoid big knots and dents in the wood, but you can use common pine too to save about $50. This is what Ali used to make her desk and it is still just as functional, it just has a more weathered look. When picking your wood, lay all the pieces down on the ground together to make sure they aren’t warped. You don’t need a miter box if you have a miter saw at home; the miter box is a cheap tool to help you line up your 45 degree cuts.
Step 2: Glue 1x12x6 boards together and add supports
Lay your 1x12x6 boards face down on your work table or sawhorses. Make sure you pick which side you want on top first! Then use your wood glue to glue each side together and add 2-3 clamps along the sides of the table to ensure a tight connection. As you glue, make sure to wipe underneath to ensure that no glue has dripped through. This is important since wood glue doesn’t stain!
Next, take your 1×6 oak boards and place them on the ends of the table where you want your hairpin legs to go. If you want to save money, these planks can also be common pine, but we picked oak since it’s much stronger and will add stability where the legs are attached. Glue these planks down and add 5 or 6 wood screws along the board. Then, take your 1×3 pine boards and place one in the middle and space the other two out on either side of the middle one. These are just for extra support and prevent the boards from warping later on. Glue and screw these down. Let the glue dry over night before continuing to the next step.
Step 3: Attach apron around edge
Next, we took our 1×2 boards and cut a 45 degree angle on each end using the miter box so that they would fit together around the table to make a frame. We did this because we wanted to make the table appear thicker while maintaining the light weight of 1 in thick pine boards. Additionally, the ends of the boards stain a different shade, so we wanted to avoid having different colors on the ends. Next, we attached each piece to the side of the table with wood glue and hammered in 3 or 4 finishing nails along each side. Don’t worry about the holes you are leaving, we will fix those soon!Unfortunately, when we did this step it was super hard to make perfect angles without a miter saw. Here is how our worst end turned out:
Luckily, we had already gotten some wood filler! We filled in the corners and scraped away the excess filler to create perfect edges. We also used the filler to fill in the holes left by the finishing nails and to fill in some of the bigger cracks on top. Make sure the filler you are using is stainable, otherwise it will leave some weird lines. Here is how it turned out after it dried:
We were pretty happy with how this turned out, considering how bad it was before! This took about 4 hours to dry- the filler went on purple then dried to match the color of the wood.
Step 4: Sand, Stain, Polyurethane
We sanded so much- using 3 different types of paper. We started with heavy duty sand paper to make sure that each board was level with one another then moved to extra fine to smooth out the table. Then stain your table with the color of your choice- we picked Special Walnut because it goes on pretty light and we didn’t want something too dark for our kitchen. We also really like the honey accents that Special Walnut brings out of pine.
Then we added 5 (!!) coats of satin finish polyurethane. We didn’t mean to add so many coats, but each time we added a new coat we weren’t quite happy with it! This worked out well though because now our table is so smooth and super protected from rings forming and such. I would highly suggest investing in 2 nice brushes for this step so that you don’t have hairs coming out into your poly layer. Make sure you don’t shake your can- just stir it- and go in long strokes in one direction to avoid bubbles.
Now it’s time to add your legs! This is super easy and why I love hairpin legs. Just screw them on, flip your table, and you’re done! We got ours from amazon because they were way cheaper than ones we saw on other sites but still great quality- here is the link to the ones we bought. We love how this table turned out and it fits our space perfectly! We also got some super inexpensive and cute dining chairs (also from amazon) that work great with our table- you can buy them here!
We hope this post helps anyone with limited tools trying to make a table!
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