Surprise! We built another dining room table. That kind of came out of left field, I know…after all, we just built our current pine farmhouse table last year. Allow me to explain…
Adam is a wood snob.
Now Adam isn’t snobby about much. He will gladly drive old crappy cars, sport goodwill t-shirts, go waaay to long between haircuts because I don’t feel like cutting it, and use the same towel for the tenth time without complaining. But show him a piece of cheap furniture and you can watch his nose turn up…while wearing socks and sandals. That’s my man.
So last year we gave our old dining table to family (the paisley table) in order to build something bigger. I found some plans online for a big pine farmhouse table and showed them to Adam. “Pine?” he said “Well I guess it can’t hurt to practice building a table with cheap wood.” I happen to like the look of rustic pine, but I’m certainly not going to stop my husband from building furniture. That would just be silly.
Long story short, our friend Darin (who built the pine table with us) found a source for some pecan and he and Adam decided to build two more tables. What was their source? Well, a tree.
Not that exact tree, but one just like it that had already fallen and had been roughly milled. So even though Adam didn’t hack this tree down with his own brute strength, the thought of my husband dragging home his kill instead of buying it at the store makes him very…. attractive. He’s just so dang masculine. So Adam and Darin brought all the rough lumber back to Darin’s and spent an entire day – literally – milling the wood and making it into something they could use.
The next day they put together the table tops. I wasn’t there, which means y’all get really random iphone pics of the process. I’m giving Adam serious props just for remembering to take pictures. The secret to making tabletops is the Kreg Jig. If you’ve ever wondered how plank tabletops go together and you never see any screws…Kreg Jig. It’s a really easy tool to use and not at all intimidating (also, not expensive). You can kinda see how it works in the picture below.
You basically just secure your plank into the jig and use your drill to make angled holes in the plank. We also used the automaxx clamp and the pocket-hole screw kit, which aren’t necessary but do make the job easier.
Then you glue and add the screws and just like that everything is hidden and secure.
Then Adam brought me home this lovely beast and told me it was my turn.
First I spent forever sanding it with a belt sander and 80 grit sandpaper (that sucker was rough) and then finished it up with the orbital and 150. I managed to do all this, watch my boys, and look fabulous the entire time.
What can I say…it’s a gift.
And then we were dumb and left it out on our front porch overnight. The wood soaked up the humidity, expanded, and pulled apart the seams in the skirt. Also, blurry Adam and blurry Levi had an epic battle over who is old enough to use scissors and who isn’t.
After about two weeks of sitting in our house on top of our other table everything came back together. Whew.
We decided to do the bottom of this table a little differently than our pine one. That one had more traditional farmhouse legs, for this one we decided on big X legs instead, like the Toscana table from Pottery Barn. I’m not going to share all the details and measurements for building X legs, but here is a link to the tutorial we used.
Then it was time to seal the top. We chose to leave the pecan natural and use Waterlox, which is the same thing we did to seal our butcher block countertops. It’s basically tung oil that has hardeners in it and gives a really great finish. The application process isn’t the most fun thing though. Here is the first coat going on…
This stuff smells terrible. (Although I’ve now found something that smells worse). If you have to do it indoors then it’s best to apply it and then leave and run errands or something…it’s likely to make your brain hurt if you stay. We ended up applying four coats total, and each coat had to dry 24 hours before applying the next. (Also, if you sand with 400 grit sandpaper before the last coat it will be smooth as glass.) During that time we enjoyed many family picnics on the kitchen floor. The boys thought it was great.
Then came the very last step…finally. We would have loved to make the entire table out of pecan, but none of the pecan pieces were thick enough to use as legs. So we used…pine. Ha! First I painted them with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in old white, then I went ahead and gave then the dirty cowboy treatment (tutorial here) and sealed them with polycrylic.
Here are some close ups of what the dirty cowboy treatment looks like, it’s just another way (super easy) to make furniture look worn.
And here she is…our non-pine but still half pine masterpiece.
I think the top is gorgeous…maybe my husband is onto something. I think a matte rustic finish may have even been better, but glossy is going to much easier to keep clean with my double dinnertime disasters (aka. my kids)
(Also, it is nearly impossible to take pictures of a glossy table in a room full of windows. I seriously think I took 50 pictures and 95% were horrid.)
Here are a few of the beautiful imperfections..
Now we just have to build benches, because currently we only have four chairs…and one of them is not like the others.
Also, the table is 3.5 feet wide and 8 feet long, the same dimensions as the other table. It comfortably seats 8-10 adults, though we’ve had as many as 16 around it.