Saturday, February 25, 2012

Adjustments to Ana White's free Farmhouse Table plans

I've gotten a couple of requests for the plans I used to build my dining room table on my Brag Post over on Ana White's website. For the record, These plans are based are Ana White's original plans which you can find here. She deserves the all the credit for the original plans and for giving me the confidence to build this table. I am only posting on the changes I made to her original plans here to help clarify what I did that isn't in the original plans.


I made my table larger than hers (slightly wider even than the 96" Farmhouse Salvaged Wood Rectangular Extension Table it was based on).  The overall dimensions are 96"L x 43 1/2"W x 31"H. With the 15" extensions installed it's a whopping 126" (that's 10 feet 6 inches) long. It seats 8 comfortably, 12 with the extensions.

Materials & Tools

Shopping List:

Follow Ana's list for everything but the lumber. For lumber you will need:

8 – 8' 2x4s
7 – 8' 2x2s (get 8 if you're building both sizes of extensions)
8 - 8' 2×8s

You need a 1/2" drill bit in addition to the tools listed in the original plan.

Cut List

The changes I made resulted in some changes to the cut list. This is the complete list of my cuts.

A) 4 - 2×4 @ 29 1/2″ (Outside Legs)
B) 4 – 2×4 @ 29 1/2″ (Inside Legs)
C) 2 -2×4 @ 36″ (Bottom End Supports for the Stretcher)
D) 1 – 2×4 @ 78″ (Stretcher)
E) 2 – 2×4 @ 73 1/2″ (Side Aprons)
F) 2 – 2×4 @ 29 1/2″ (End Aprons)
G) I didn't cut these pieces since I eliminated the overhang supports on the ends.
H) 2 – 2×2 @ 70 1/2″ (Overhang Supports, Sides)
I) 7 – 2×2 @ 29 1/2″ (Under Tabletop Supports)
J) 2×8 @ 43 1/2″ (Extension Boards) - I would recommend building the table and checking the width before cutting these. You'll need 2 to make 7 1/2" extensions and 4 to make a set of 15" extensions. 6 if you want both.
K) 6 – 2×8 @ 96″ (Tabletop Pieces)
L) 4 - 2×2 @ 20 1/2" (Extension Spacers)
M)  4 - 2×2 @ 28 1/2" for 7 1/2" extensions, @ 36" for 15" extensions. One end cut at 45 degrees (Extension Supports)

Steps 1-5

Follow the steps as shown in the original plan. The only differences are that the legs are an inch longer, I only cut the notches for the notches at the bottom 1 1/4" deep, and I put the notches on opposite sides of the legs so that the stretcher support would be on the outside. That makes the stretcher support stick out by 1/4". Both changes make it more similar to the RH version.

Your outside legs will look like this

and the inside legs will look like this.

Which means the legs will go in different positions than they would in her plan, but you put them together in the same way in Step 4.

I cut the notch in board C 1 1/4" deep in Step 5.

Step 6-7

I followed the NOTE in the original plan and switched the legs in Step 6 then followed the directions exactly as in the original plan just with boards cut to my dimensions.

Steps 8-9

Before I built the apron, I cut 1 1/2" wide notches in the end apron pieces 3" in from each side. Cut the notches a little wide so that a 2 x 2 can easily fit in the notch.

Step 10

Place the supports on the ends 10 1/2" from the sides. The rest I spaced at roughly 5 1/2" following Ana's directions.

Step 11

I only used side overhang supports (the long ones).

Steps 12-13

Skip them since this table has extensions instead of a permanent breadboard end.

Step 14

This is where I went freestyle. I didn't want to be able to see the screws in the top of the table so I screwed everything in from the bottom.  You can skip this step too.

Step 15

The table only has 6 boards on the top so the two center boards are lined up with the center of the table. Center them lengthwise as well and screw them up through the table supports ignore the fact that I failed to include the side supports in the diagram. They should be there.

Step 16

Fill in the table top with the other tabletop boards. The four center boards are attached to the table supports.

Step 17

The last two boards are only attached to the side apron and 2x2 side supports. Sounds dicey, huh? Not really, It's three whole inches out of the 7 1/4" width of the boards.

To attached them, drill 1/2" holes 1 1/2" up through the side aprons. This would be a lot easier if you flip the table over on its top. You'll need help though since its 8 feet long and probably weighs 150 pounds. TIP: If you put a piece of tape 1 1/2" from the tip of your drill bit you'll be able to see when you have the hole deep enough.

I did one about every 6". (They are basically really deep countersink holes that will allow you to get a drill bit in to attach the boards with 2 3/4" screws.) Also drill on about an inch in from either side of each of the board in the end apron (make sure you don't try to put one of them up through the notches). This is a lot of holes and I'm pretty sure its the step where I burnt out my cordless drill. I invested in a corded one.

Also predrill countersink holes in the overhang supports every 6" offset with the holes in the side apron.

Step 18

Attach the boards with 2 3/4" screws in all the holes you just predrilled. It's 48 screws in case you're curious. Those boards aren't going anywhere.

When you're done you'll have a table that looks like this and probably feel like taking a break from building for a day or two. You don't have to make them at all, but I like how they look and they increase the overhang on the ends so you can push a chair under the table which is nice.

Step 19

Predrill and attach the extension spacers to the underside of the end overhangs. Make sure they line up with the inside edges of the notches.

Step 20 

Predrill and attach an extension spacer to the center of each of the extension end boards along the edge of the board.

Step 21

Predrill and attach the extension supports to the extension boards. TIP: Make sure they are square with the board and line up with the holes you cut in the apron ends of the table. I actually put the support pieces through the notches and attached the extension board in place to make sure it would fit.

Step 21

To make the 15" extensions repeat Steps 19 and 20 using the 36" extension supports. Then add the other extension boards inside of the first.

Step 22

Slide the extension into place (they aren't actually attached to the table at all, but they won't move, I promise. Admire your ridiculously awesome and enormous table.

I hope that makes sense. Let me know if you still have questions. :)


  1. I just used a circular saw to make cuts the right depth on either side, then put in a bunch of cuts to slice up the wood between them. Then I used a chisel to chunk out the bits and clean up the hole. There was a video on Ana's website about it, but I can't seem to find it at the moment.

  2. Hi Amber, I really love your take on the table. Can I just ask, before I buy my wood, when you say that you cut 1 1/2 inch holes for the 2x 2 to fit, well, won't this be too small? is 2x2 in cm?

    1. 2x2 is actually the nominal dimension (what they call it), not the actual size of the wood. Crazy, I know. My dad claims they used to actually be the nominal dimensions, but they aren't anymore. Standard boards are generally about 1/2 an inch smaller than the nominal dimension. A standard 2x2 is actually 1 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches, a 2x4 is actually 1 1/2 x 3 1/2, and so on. This page has a chart with the nominal and actual dimensions of many common boards. It takes a while to get in your head, but once you do it's not hard to work with.

  3. Thank you so much for clearing that up for me!

    1. No problem. I was totally confused by it at first too.

  4. Amber, your table is awesome! Your plans are perfect! I have reclaimed wood that was bleachers for our little league. They are 18 feet long. I want a HUGE table for our patio, but I'm concerned that if the table is too long, it will bow without additional legs. What's your opinion on the longest table you could make without needing additionally legs or support?

    1. That depends on the dimensions and kind of wood you're using. Are they 2x8s? 2x6s? Are they a soft wood like pine or a hard wood like oak?

  5. You are amazing! I am going to attempt to build this table with the extensions. I don't understand how the extensions work, though. Do they just slide under the table and pop up, or do they flip under the table? Do you have more pictures of them? I really appreciate it!

  6. I think I get it! The extensions just slide on and off and are not stored within the table. Is that how it works? Smart!

    1. Exactly! We keep the small extensions on and store the large ones in the basement. I should work on some way ti store them in the table though. It would be super handy. I'll let you know if I think of one.

    2. Late to the game here:
      I couldn't think of a way to store the extensions in the table. An idea I came up with would involve building a long bench to go on one side of your table. On the back edge of the bench you could have pockets that the arms/extenders slide into thus creating a back (high back or low back) for your bench.
      You table is wonderful! I look forward to building one for our home.

  7. How about storing the extensions by simply flipping them over and sliding them in?

  8. Replies
    1. The cheapest I could find which was construction grade 2x4s and #2 Douglas Fir for the top. :)

  9. I love the table and love that it was your first project. Being a newbie as well and wanting to make this table, what advice would you give? Also, not having many woodworking tools, what did you have/use to make this?

  10. Great table Amber! Did you use the Kreg jig to screw all of your table-top boards together before screwing them to the frame, or did you simply screw them individually to the frame?

    1. Individually to the frame, but if I was going to do it again I would kreg them together first. Our house is really dry and the boards have shrank just a bit. The small cracks between them make me nuts.

  11. have you seen the same table with 4x4 legs? if so how did they connect? trying to figure out how to get the same notch at the top. thanks! has anyone seen plans?

    1. I had the same thought before I built my version of this same table, and Anna White has updated her plans to include the use of 4x4's, which I did (, then I just combined with the ingenious use of the extensions recommended here.
      The only change I would make if I had to do it over again, would be to make the overhang of the top longer on the ends relative to the skirt supports. To me, it feels like 11" is insufficient for a person's legs. So I end up just leaving the extensions on the table at all times, which is not a big deal, but it sort of defeats the purpose of the extensions, unless you just want to seat 4 and no one sits on the ends (which also seems like kind of a waste too). And, I also ended up doing 2 things to the supports: 1. I had to put shims under the table top, above the 2x2s to completely level the extensions, and 2. I used simply locking clasps underneath to prevent the extensions from accidentally being pulled out, plus it pulls them nice and tight to the ends of the top when they're in place.
      Then, to finish the table, I highly recommend this post (, where I learned about the Polywhey product, which in my opinion gives a superior look to the finish compared to eurethane (for this type of table) and is 10X easier to work with.

      And, one last thing... Make sure your wood is REALLY dry before you assemble your top and cut your end supports. I don't know about others here, but my home depot wood was quite wet when I bought it, and even though it took me several weeks to finish putting the table together (working on and off nights and weekends), I still had a significant amount of shrinkage after assembly. The end result of that was ends supports that are now slightly longer than the table is wide. I know I could just go and cut them down again, and refinish the cut ends, but it seems like such a pain for a 1/8"... Anyway, I would imagine that a good month of drying before you start cutting would probably be about right (if you have the patience)... Also, good luck finding wood that doesn't warp, crack on the ends, or split by the time it dries. That was the hardest part for me. I ended up cutting off about 1' off of each long board end, just to keep the cracks minimal. And some of the warping I just had to live with and call it "character".

      Anyway, I hope this rambling post helps out :)

  12. Hi, I made a table and one month being in the house only one board decided to shrink. Like 1/8-1/4"! So we took it off and redid the table top. Now two months later this same piece has shrunk again! I was wondering if anyone has experienced if they finished the entire board with stain/poly vs just doing the top if it has helped with this

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