How to Build a Table
Building a Farmhouse Table has been on my mind for several years. I was never crazy about our hand-me-down dining set. But, I never had the time to build a table from scratch. Now that the table is done, I don’t know why I put it off for so long. Building a table is relatively easy DIY project. You basically need four table legs, 1″ x 4″ boards for the apron and a table top. Depending on your style, you can use anything for the top. You can cut grooves into an existing table top to create the plank look, like Lauren from Bless’er House did:
Or you could use 2″ x 6″ lumber to create a new table top like Jaime from That’s My Letter did:
Or wrap MDF with galvanized sheet metal for a zinc top, like Traci from Beneath My Heart did:
Feel free to create a table top with something less conventional like a slab of marble, tempered glass or an old door! Use your imagination and creativity.
I chose to work with reclaimed lumber for a true farmhouse table top. I bought reclaimed rafters from The ReUse Warehouse in Durham, NC. When I paid for it, the lumber looked like this:
But, was transformed into this:
Here are the details for creating the reclaimed wood table top.
Today we’re going to learn how to build the table base!
How to Build a Table Materials:
(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)
- 4 Table legs (rope twist legs I used from Osborne Wood Products)
- Table top
- 1″ x 4″ Premium Pine (poplar or other straight knot free wood)
- Kreg Jig
- 2″ Pocket Hole Screws
(you may also need different depth screws if you have a thin table top)
- Tape Measure
- Combination Square
Optional: 2″ x 4″ board for additional center support
How to Build a Table Instructions:
Measure your table top and subtract 8″ from the length measurement (my table is 71″ long, so the measurement I need for the base is 63″.) Measure the table top width and subtract 5″ from that measurement (my table is 42″ wide, so the measurement I need for the base is 37″.)
Next measure the thickness of the top of your table legs. Then double that number. This will give you the width of both legs per side. Subtract this number to get the length of your apron rails. (For example, my table base final measurement is 63″ x 37″. My table legs are 4″ wide x 2 = 8″. Therefore my two side rails need to be 55″ and the end rails should be 29″.)
Cut the 1″ x 4″ boards to the size you figured out above.
Lay your legs and apron rails upside down on a flat surface. Double check your measurements, square and the table top dimensions against the table base.
Pull the apron rails aside. Mark the center of each rail. Measure and mark 6″-8″ out from the center mark and continue making a mark every 6″ – 8″. Transfer the marks onto the parallel apron board. These will be your pocket hole locations.
Drill two pocket holes into the ends of each rail. These will be for attaching the rails to the table legs. Drill pocket holes at all the pre-marked locations. This will be for attaching the table top to the base.
Lay out the legs and rails on the flat surface again. Mark 1/4″ in on the table leg.
Line up the apron rail with this mark and use clamps to hold the rail in place. Drive 2″ pocket screws through the rail and into the legs.
Continue attaching the rails to the table legs. Work upside down on the flat surface to assure that your table base top will fit flush with the table top.
Your table base should be complete and look like this:
For added support, you may wish to attach a 2″ x 4″ board to the center of the table base. Simply drill two pocket holes per end and attach it to the apron rail.
When attaching two different thickness boards together, refer to this Kreg Jig chart. It is an invaluable resource!
Click Here to download a PDF version.
Set your table top on top of the base and center the top onto the base. Make sure the overlap on both sides are equal and the overlap on the two ends are equal.
Secure the top to the base using pocket hole screws. (My table top is 1.5″ thick, I used 1 1/2″ pocket screws, but you may need to use the chart above to figure out what length screw to use.)
Your table is finished!
That was fairly easy, wasn’t it.
Next week I’ll show you details about my rustic farmhouse table top and how to distress and age the table legs.
In the meantime, I can’t wait to invite anyone and everyone over to sit down for good food and great conversation around this beauty.
Have a great weekend!
Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary table legs from Osborne Wood Products. This is not a sponsored post. I was not told what to write. This post contains some affiliate links.
Pin for later!
I have a question for you. So when you use Kreg pocket holes and screws to put the top on the base, is the table top also attached to the legs in anyway? Or just by way of the apron to the table top? Meaning you attached the apron via the pocket holes to the table top and the legs are attached to the apron. Are the legs also attached in anyway to the table top or just to the apron? To me it seems the legs are bulky and heavy and would also need to also be attached to the table top but you do not mention that and since I am in the process of building a table with 5″ turned legs just was wondering about the attachement of the legs to the table top…. if you attached the legs in some way other than just via the apron? I hope that makes sense Thank you!
“But that requires more money and a lot more time.”
Not really. However, some people don’t like the look of breadboard ends. But attaching the table top with z clamps or figure 8s is a pretty cheap and painless way of adding at least some consideration for wood movement.
This is what I call a 5-10 year table. As the wood moves it will crack and split. But it’s also a lot less work and less money than a well built version.
On the other hand using a pinned breadboard and table top fasteners will give you a 100yr table. But that requires more money and a lot more time.
What happens when your table top expands or contracts? Wont it now or crack since you used pocket holes to attach it and it can’t move?
Kevin, we haven’t had any issues. You’d have more problems if the table is outside and the cracking would probably occur on the table top.