Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rustic Dining Table I Built from Free Plans: A blog post is better than a Thank You card, right?

UPDATE: I've created a whole post with the explanation of the changes I made to Ana's original plans here.

Long time family friends, Dennis and Clarice Perret sent us a check as a wedding gift. We used the money to make a new dining room table. I remembered Clarice saying how much she preferred giving practical gifts. I hope she thinks this beauty fits the bill.

I know. I built that. With just a little help from my husband (he offered, but I wanted to do most of it myself) and a ton of finishing from my mom (I was over it by that point). She's a trooper.

I started from Ana White's design and adapted it a little. I put the stretcher supports back on the outside and added the extensions like the original.

I also switched out the 2x6 top for 2x8s (#2 Douglas Fir because they're cheaper and have more character than #1) and attached them all from the bottom; I didn't want to deal with concealing screws on the table surface. The switch meant the boards on the sides are attached only on the innermost 3 inches. I drilled up through the 2x4 aprons and used 3 1/2 inch screws every six inches to make sure they were secure.

I sanded it until I was pretty sure the risk of splinters was eliminated, but it was far from perfectly smooth. After pre-stain conditioner, it got a coat of Minwax Red Chestnut (procured for free from my local Household Hazardous Waste facility - if you live in Kansas you should check yours out. It's usually associated with the County Weed Department and just might have exactly the paint or stain you want for free. Just wait until you see my free paint kitchen). The result was a little too red so my mom saved the day with a coat of Provincial and sealed it with wax. It's a tough finish and I'm not taking any special care of it. The goal is for it to look like it's really old, not pristine.

It's a whopping 43 1/2" x 96", 126" with the 15" extensions on either side. Yep, that's over ten feet long. Our dining room is 12'x17' so it fills the space much better than its predecessor.

I think its a significant improvement. It was great to be able to have all the food and nine people around the table at Thanksgiving without feeling cramped. With extensions it seats 12. It's a serious table.

So, thank you Dennis and Clarice. Your gift is both infinitely practical and beautiful. We both really appreciate it and we can't wait for you to be able to come to dinner and see it in person.

-Amber and Austin

Seth - In response to your question. I made two 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" notches in the end boards and attached 2x2s to the extensions that went through those holes as well as a couple of 2x2 supports. I'm not sure if that's clear at all. It looks basically like this from the bottom.

And without the extensions it looks like this.

Hope that helps.


  1. its official...i'm jealous of how handy you are. i couldn't build a table if i wanted to! i can do a mean mopping of the floor out!!! It's beautiful Amber.

  2. Thanks! I'm pretty proud of myself. I want to make furniture all the time now.

  3. Amber -- The table looks fantastic. How did build/design the extensions? Do you have any pictures or advice? I am going to build the same table from Ana's site as soon as it warms up. I really like how your table looks with the 2x8's on top also.

  4. Thanks so much for the response and the diagrams. I might just have to try that myself!!!

  5. This is EXACTLY what I have wanted to build for 3 years now! Amazing. Can you give more details about how you attached the legs? This is the part I am hung up on...Thx!

  6. How long are your 2x8 tabletop boards? Also, how long are your 2x2 extensions and how apart are the notches for the 2x2 extensions? thanks

  7. Amber

    Gorgeous work on the table! One more question for you about the extensions ...they're removable, right? I love the Ana White design EXCEPT the inability to push chairs in on the ends. Again, kudos!


  8. Yes. You can just pull them out whenever. I have two sets so I can convert from a table that seats 8 to one that seats 12.

  9. How many coats of wax did you use? My sister's following your finish directions b/c we love the look of your table. TIA!

  10. Hi. You have made a beautiful table and I love the extension. But you only have one 2x8 extension on each how is the table 126"? If it is 96" without the extensions then isn't the total length 96"+7.5"+7.5" = 111"

  11. I used two coats of wax and the table actually has two sets of extensions. One for when we want to seat 8 and one for when we want to seat 10-12. The second has two 2x8s so it's 15 inches wide and when you have one on each end it adds 30 inches to the 96 inch main table.

  12. Could you tell me the length of the boards you started with?

  13. Love your table! Do you still like it? Is it hard to keep crumbs out of the cracks? Have you noticed more spills because of the cracks catching glasses? Thanks!



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...