Project One: Farmhouse Table.

As we’ve mentioned a few times, the first project on our list was the kitchen table. The project was a bit daunting to me once we got into the house and all moved in. But a table we needed, so a table I set out to build. After gathering, buying, or borrowing all tools and hardware we would need for the table, I set out to buy our wood. When Sara and I went to the various stores that sold wood, we liked the harder woods better. However, when my brother and I began wood shopping, we found out that the cuts of wood we wanted were not available anywhere in Sioux Falls in the harder woods, and the special order prices were a bit more than I wanted to pay (and wait for).

After some quick discussions, we settled on a softer evergreen wood with plans to make it our own anyway. So using my dad’s truck we were able to haul home our wood for the table, as you can see below. (Editor’s note: All photos were iPhone 4s taken by Jordan. Unfortunately, I didn’t take the time to snap every step, nor use a real camera with better light. Sorry!)

In constructing the table, we followed two tutorials: this one by Ana White and this one by Tommy and Ellie. We ended up marrying the two plans together in order to get the best result, which worked famously!


A table you will become! A bunch of various boards all uncut.


We like a clean work space, so I put baby L to work.


Remember to measure twice and cut once! As you can see, the first lines have been scribbled out.


The table top is coming along nicely. Look: it even holds our beer and L’s shovel!


The table top is completed, and we set it on our legs (although it’s not yet attached).


Hey look! A table! Ready for the next step…

Sara needed to distress the table, so her and Baby L took some whacks at it to get the look we were going for.


Now that the beating was done, painting the table became the next step. We primed, painted, and then Sara sanded some rough edges and used coffee to stain it.


The finished product inside our eat-in area. The brown chairs will be stripped and repainted eventually. The metal chairs are from Target; Sara has been drooling over them for months!


Another angle of the finished project. You’ll be happy to know that the table ended up perfectly level. (Measure twice, cut once, and review your work!)


Trying to capture Sara’s handy work with the beating and the “dirtying,” as I called it. :)


Another close up.


This past weekend, we sat 8 around the table for a birthday celebration, but I’m confident we could squeeze ten. The width of the table is really nice, as the food and serving dishes were able to sit in the middle without disturbing everyone’s personal eating space!

The table project itself probably took somewhere between 12-20 hours. I didn’t use a stop watch, but I estimate that it took roughly 7 hours to cut, screw and glue the table together. I then spent about an hour sanding the table, and Sara spent 15 minutes distressing the table. Altogether, we probably spent another 3-4 hours total to paint, stain, seal with polyurethane, etc. Who knows – time flies when you’re having fun! Special thanks to my dad who helped us out in many ways.

This was my first woodworking project since high school. For those of you counting at home, that’s over ten years. It’s not really because I didn’t want to build anything or couldn’t do so, but I lacked motivation to try to do something of this nature. Now a project like this is best suited for the spot it’s found. Moving this table from apartment to apartment would have been nearly impossible, and due to the lack of space in our prior apartments, doing so would be highly impractical. I really enjoyed getting many tips from my dad who guided me through the entire process. He let me do most of the work, while helping in areas where I needed a hand, or to be re-shown how to use a certain tool. Let’s not get crazy boys and girls – saws are dangerous tools and if you do not know how to use them properly, you shouldn’t be using them at all.

In terms of tools that we utilized, I borrowed the saws I needed for this project, and I made great use of out my dad’s saw-horses. In using various borrowed tools, I quickly learned why my dad has spent good money on good tools; the difference is forever clear. I think in future projects, much like this one, Sara and I will start to accumulate our own collection of tools, perhaps at the rate of one or two for each project. It helps keep the project costs down while providing us a smaller learning curve with each project.

The tool we bought this time was the Kreg-Jig Jr. This nifty tool allowed us to drill pocket holes perfectly and exactly where we wanted and/or needed them. The tool worked extremely well, and I believe that even without glue, this table would have held together strongly. I recommend the Kreg kit to anyone who’s joining two pieces of wood together with a screw – it just works, and at around $40.00, it’s an easy investment to make.

After completing the project, the satisfaction I get from seeing and using the table is overwhelmingly positive. I had confidence as we were planning and building that the table would turn out well, but the finished product is straighter, more level, and stronger than anything I’ve ever built from IKEA, Target or Wal-Mart. I am both excited and apprehensive about the next project. We really needed a kitchen table, and we built it during “move-in-week,” so I’m a bit exhausted from the experience. I know the next few projects won’t have the same rush sense about them. Needless to say, I’m okay with getting a few weekends off to relax and enjoying the home. We need some chairs, perhaps an outside table or benches…the list is everlasting. But after completing this project, I now understand exactly how much time I have to devote to woodworking projects. Although, since we have a heated garage, the boring long nights of winter may be better spent woodworking than the hot and humid days of summer!

About Jord

jord considers himself nerdy, mostly because he's a devoted gamer and freelance web designer. he works in computer technology and information services, but he'd be most proud to tell you that he recently built himself a computer, loves audio books, trying new beer and wine, grilling, and is so excited to have added "homeowner" to his list of titles.

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