After being married for five years we decided it was time to invest in some type of table (besides the super classy card table currently sitting in our dining area). We finally came across this gem on Ana White. It’s a Benchright farm house table designed to look like THIS Pottery Barn table. The PB table retails for $999.99 plus shipping (we’re way too cheap for that). The table we made cost us approximately $162.27, not bad.
To start our table making adventure we decided to make the benchright bench (it’s basically a mini version of the table). We also snagged the bench plans off Ana White. We chose to make the bench before the table because this was our first big project and we were a little worried it would turn out absolutely terrible. Messing up the bench seemed less expensive than messing up the table.
|You can read about how we made it HERE|
Fortunately, the bench turned out great. So we were semi-confident with moving ahead with the table.
To begin we trekked to our local home improvement store and picked up necessary supplies.
Required Tool List:
- Orbital Sander
- Miter Saw
- Hammer and Nail Punch (or nail gun)
- Measuring tape
- Rubber gloves
- Puddy knife
LevelOptional tools: Belt Sander (only if you mess up), Band clamps (makes things easier), Kreg Jig (makes things easier/hides your screw holes), Kreg Jig Right Angle Clamp
- Wood Glue
- Wood Filler
- 100 Grit Paper (for orbital sander)
- 120 Grit Paper (for orbital sander)
- 220 Grit Paper (for orbital sander)
- 220 Grit Paper sheet
- Wood Conditioner
- Wood Stain
- Spray Paint
- Right Threaded Rod (36″x1/2-13)
- Hex Nut- Right-Hand thread 1/2″-13 Thread 3/4″ Width 7/16 Height
- Left Threaded Rod (36″x1/2-13)
- Hex Nut- Left-Hand 1/2″ 13 Thread 3/4″Width 7/16″ Height
- Washers 1/4″
- Steel Flat Plate (36″x 2″x1/8)
- Turnbuckle Eye 1/2″ x6″
- 1-1/4″ Finish Nails
- 2″ Finish Nails
- 2-1/2″ #8 Kreg Coarse Washer-head Pocket Hole Screws
- 6 – 1×6 @ 6 feet long
- 2 – 1×4 @ 8 feet long
- 2 – 2×4 @ 8 feet or stud length
- 2 – 1×2 @ 8 feet long
- 3 – 2×6 @ 8 feet long
- 3 – 2×2 @ 8 feet long
- (4) – 1×4 @ 29 3/8″ (Bevel both ends at 10 degrees off square, short point to long point)
- (4) – 1×2 @ 21 5/8″ (ONE end cut at angle 10 degrees off square, short point to long point) *On Ana’s site it says to cut both, we believe this to be incorrect*
- (4) – 2×4 @ 29 3/8″ (Bevel both ends at 10 degrees off square, short point to long point)
- (2) – 2×6 @ 28 1/2″ (End Aprons)
- (2) – 2×4 @ 31″ (Stretcher)
- (8) – 1×2 @ 4 1/4″ (One end cut at 10 degree angle, longest point measurement)
- (4) – 1×2 @ 16 1/8 (cut to fit – spacer)
- (2) – 2×6 @ 45 1/4″ (Side Aprons – short point to short point measurement, both ends cut at 10 degrees off square)
- (3) – 2×2 @ 20-1/2″ (Supports)
- (2) – 2×2 @ 67″ (Sides)
- (2) – 2×2 @ 30-1/2″ (Ends) *On Ana’s cut list it says 30″*
- (2) – 2×4 @ 33″
- (2) – 1×4 @ 33″
- (6) – 1×6 @ 67 1/8″ (cut to fit)
(*) Means we changed somethin
Make sure to pay attention to Bevel vs Miter cuts and which point you need to measure to (we learned the hard way).
After buying all the wood we went ahead with our cuts. After cutting, we sanded everything down with our orbital sander using 100 grit sand paper. You don’t have to do this, but we liked the idea of getting a good first sand on everything before putting things together.
Angle vs. Bevel:
We made a mistake with our cuts. We didn’t know the difference between a bevel and an angle/miter cut. Apparently not all cuts are created equal.
Miter Cut: This is a cut (at an angle other than 90 degrees) along the length of width of the material, like the kind you would make at the corners of a picture frame. On Ana’s site we noticed she refers to a miter cut as an angled cut.
Bevel Cut: This is a cut (at an angle other than 90 degrees) along the thickness of the material, such as along the edge of a table to prevent sharp corners.
When using a table saw, miters are cut by pushing the flat on the table at an angle to the blade. Bevels are cut by changing the angle of the blade with respect to the surface of the table.
Clear as mud? We still had a hard time with the concept after reading.
Step 1: Making the legs
During this step we realized our bevel vs miter cut mistake. One of the first things the tutorial says is “The most important part of the legs is getting your cuts right”.. der. After fixing our goof we attached the 1×4 @ 29-3/8″ to the 1×2 @ 21-5/8″
We used Elmer’s Wood Glue and four 1-1/4″ finish nails (with a nail punch) to attach everything. We used clamps to keep everything together while nailing.
|Arrows on the right show our nail placement|
We repeated step one for the other legs…
|Step 1×4= Complete!|
Step 2: The legs continued
Next we attached a 2×4 @29 3/8″ to the 1×2 @ 21-5/8″just finished in Step 1.
|Black arrows=Show length Yellow Arrows=Show Cut type|
This was an awkward position to nail, so we used a clamp and a few small pieces of scrap wood to keep the 2×4 @29 3/8″even while nailing. We used wood glue and four 2″ finishing nails evenly spaced. We then repeated step 2 on our remaining three legs.
Something we learned:
- Real dimensions of lumber: did you know a 2×4 isn’t actually 2″ by 4″? I’d always assumed that was the case. I discovered this when I questioning JG as to why we were only using a 2″ nail in something that was 2″ thick (don’t ask me why it took me this long to question it, since we’ve used 2″ nails with 2×4’s in other projects) The actual rough estimates of 2×4’s is around 1.5″ by 3.5″. You can read a little more about it HERE.
Step 3: Legs Continued
Next we placed the apron and stretcher as shown below. The stretcher should overhang by 1/2″ on each side.
To attach the apron and stretcher we used wood glue and 1-1/4″ finishing nails on the 1×4 side of the leg (side shown in above picture). On the 2×4 side(side not shown in above picture) we used wood glue and 2″ finishing nails
Step 4: Finishing the legs!
For this step we “filled in the gaps” using 2 – 1×2 pieces @ 16-1/8″ with one end cut at 10 degree miter cut, longest point measurement, and 4 – 1×2 pieces @ 4 1/4″ (One end cut at 10 degree angle, longest point measurement). On the 2×4 side we used 2″ finishing nails and on the 1×4 side we used 1-1/4″ finishing nails.
If you look at the 1×2 piece @ 4-1/4″ you’ll notice we have a little insert in there. Somewhere along the line we made a goof on our cuts (We assumed it was from our bevel vs. miter snafu So, we made a little insert to make up for being short and covered it with wood filler.
We’re both pretty positive that wood filler is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Our legs ended up gappy, especially around the bottom filler pieces so we used a lot of wood filler to get that “one piece of wood” look. The wood filler looks pretty ugly in the beginning stages, but after sanding, staining, and a poly coat you really can’t tell.
|Wood filler is gross looking.|
Eventually the legs will look like this:
After finishing up the first leg you’ll repeat this process on the other leg.. and you’ll have two semi-finished legs 🙂
Step 5: Attaching the Side Aprons
Next, we attached our side aprons. We used wood glue, drilled a pocket holes and used eight 2-1/2″ course thread self tapping Kreg Jig screws to attach the aprons. To keep everything in line we used our Kreg Jig Right Angle Clamp (which is awesome by the way). The side aprons are easy to place, just make sure they’re flush up against the legs.
You may notice the notches in the legs, we’re planning on making an extension for this table… We’ll post that when we have it done 🙂
|Close up of our pocket hole placement|
Step 6: Attaching Supports
Next we attached our inside supports. On Ana White’s cut list it says you need three 2×2 @ 20″ for the supports. But on the diagram it shows the supports as being three 2×2 @ 20-1/2″. We went with three 2×2 @ 20-1/2 and then just cut it to fit. We’d recommend giving yourself the extra wiggle room and plan on cutting to fit.
As you can see below the spacing from the outside apron and the outside support is about 10-1/4″ and the spacing between the middle supports is about 10-1/2″. We used wood glue, drilled six pocket holes and used six 2-1/2″ course thread self tapping Kreg Jig screws to attach the supports.
Step 7: Attaching the Overhangs
Next we attached the overhangs on the ends with glue and four 2 1/2″ screws. The original plan calls for 3″ screws, we justified using our 2 1/2″ screws by making a countersink with a drill bit. We made countersinks for all of our screw holes and then fill them in with wood filler.
Step 8: Attaching End Supports
Again, the cut list says 30″ but the diagram (from original tutorial) shows 30-1/2″. We went with 30-1/2″ and cut the end pieces to fit. We used two Kreg Jig holes with 2-1/2″ Kreg self tapping screws to connect both pieces.
Step 9: Attaching 2×4
The tutorial calls for attaching the below 2×4 @ 33-1/2″ with 6″ bolts. We decided to keep everything hidden with four pocket holes and 2-1/2″ Kreg self tapping screws to connect both pieces.
Step 10: Nailing Bread Boards
Next, we nailed down our 1×4 @ 33-1/2″ bread boards with 1-1/4″ finishing nails.
Step 11: Getting close!!
We applied the final 1×6 boards using wood glue and 1-1/4″ finishing nails (we used a lot, like 96ish nails). Some of our boards weren’t super straight; to remedy some of the bowed boards we used our band clamps to squish the boards together. We used regular cheap pine board, but really, any board of your liking could be used for the top. We saved a lot of money by choosing pine instead of a nicer wood, or S4S wood (which would have eliminated crooked boards).
After nailing in the boards, we decided to fill in the cracks between the boards with wood filler. Since this is going to be our dinning room table we didn’t want to deal with crumbs and food getting into the crevices. Again, it looks ugly, but after sanding, staining, and poly-ing you really don’t notice.
|We love Wood Filler|
After applying the wood filler we used our belt sander with 100 grit to grind down a few uneven boards. After that we used the orbital and went over the surface with 120 grit, and again with 220 grit.
Beware….JG showing poor fashion and safety sense. All skin and clothing survived this ordeal.
Step 12: The Finish!
We basically used the same finishing technique we used on the bench. The only big difference was using a paper towel instead of a brush to apply the wood conditioner, stain, and first three coats of polyurethane. We ended up using a paper towel for two reasons
- We keep ruining brushes because apparently we don’t know how to clean brushes properly
- We felt the brush was sloppy.
We started all of our coats on the bottom side of the table. We didn’t do this with the bench, and we are silly for not, it makes things go faster/much easier.
Like mentioned before, we used the same staining process for this project that we used for the matching bench. We used one coat of Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner and and two coats of Minwax Oil-Based Dark Walnut Wood Stain.
Here is the exact staining process we used (I’ve crossed things we did different this time around):
- Rub everything down with
tack clothdamp paper towel (we didn’t have tack cloth; the damp paper towel worked fine)
or brushpre-stain on with paper towel, let it sit for 15-20 minutes
- Lightly wipe pre-stain off wood with dry paper towel
- Give wood a very light sanding with 220 grit
- Wipe wood down with
tack clothdamp paper towel
- Apply stain, let stain sit for 20-30 minutes
- Wipe stain with dry
- Let stain sit for at least four hours (if you live in a hot sticky place like us, you will need much longer for it to truly dry)
After two coats of stain we moved onto our top coat, we used Minwax Polyurethane. We applied it using a paper towel for first three coats, we would have been finished after the third coat, but we had a problem with bugs deciding to take a bath/die in the wet poly…. So we had to sand everything down and apply a fourth coat. Between each coat we hand sanded with 220 grit paper. We did use a brush on the final fourth coat of polyurethane just to see how it compared. We had zero problems using a paper towel and will have no problem using this method in the future.
Something we would like to experiment with on a future piece is Briwax instead of Poly…We’ll share how that goes whenever we try it out.
|LEFT:Third coat of poly RIGHT: After sanding all the dead bug bodies out|
Step 13: Adding the Turnbuckle
On the tutorial it has you add a pipe underneath the table. We decided to instead go with a turnbuckle. We were inspired from another Ana White brag post, you can find his version HERE.
For this step we used the following materials:
- (1) Steel Flat bar 1/8″ thick 3′ wide 3ft long (cut into 5″ pieces)
- (8) Round Head Screws 1/4″ Diameter, 20 thread count, 2″ long (If we could do-over we would have gone with a hex bolt for aesthetic purposes.)
- (8) 1/4″Washers
- (1) Right handed thread rod- 1/2″ diameter, 13 thread count, 3ft long
- (2) Right handed thread 1/2″ Nuts
- (1) Left-Hand thread rod – 1/2″ diameter, 13 Thread count, 3ft long (bought from Mcmaster.com)
- (2) Left handed thread 1/2″ Nuts (bought from Mcmaster.com)
- (1) Turnbuckle – 1/2″ diameter (bought from Fastenal)
We first cut the steel flat bar into four 5″ pieces with a jig saw (w/ metal cutting blade). Then clamped each 5″ piece down and drilled four holes in each corner to fit the 1/4″ screws, and one bigger hole in the center to fit the 1/2″ rod. For ease of fit, don’t be afraid to drill the holes a little big.
|In order to get each piece identical, we used the first piece as a guide/template to drill the holes in the other three flat bar pieces. After drilling all holes we sanded any rough edges with a metal file.|
After drilling all necessary holes we moved onto measuring out the center of the table leg, clamped the flat bars down as guides, and drilled into the table. We then hooked/screwed everything together.
As you can see we had already spray painted some of the parts (but not all). After everything was hooked up we taped off the wood so we could paint the rest of the parts. Make sure to take the tape off before the paint dries; if you wait until it dries it could peel or chip off.
Remove the blue tape, and there you have it! Our super awesome bench now has a table to hang out by 🙂 We ended up spending about $167.27 – A much better bargain than the PB version.
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