I’ve disliked our kitchen table for a while now. Greg bought it on Craigslist before we got married. It doesn’t fit either of our style, and the top is made out of laminate instead of real wood. It also looks really busy in our kitchen because we have a patterned backsplash, a high-contrast grout/tile combination on the floor, and I’m a maximalist when it comes to decor. You can see what I mean about the business in the photo below. There are so many different widths in the details on the legs of the table and chairs that it was starting to get a little crazytown. I knew I wanted to make something new, so I designed and built a new farmhouse table. Here is a tutorial on how I did it in case you want to make something similar yourself! You can adjust the measurements to fit your space if you need something bigger or smaller.
If you’re building this farmhouse table yourself, here are the materials you’ll need, aside from the lumber:
- Pocket hole jig (you can get by without this if you don’t mind visible screws)
- Clamps (both regular and angle clamps would be best)
- 2 1/2 inch screws
- 2 inch screws
- Wood stain (I used AFM SafeCoat’s eco-friendly stain in Cognac)
- Polyurethane topcoat (I used some I had left over from another project. The next time I need to buy polyurethane I want to try this kind from the company that makes the stain I used.)
Now let’s talk wood. There are a lot of numbers in this section, but don’t worry! I always measure everything at the beginning and then keep measuring throughout the building process to make sure if I’m off I can adjust quickly. One of the great things about building your own furniture is you can really customize it for your space. I’m going to start by giving the measurements for our table and try to talk through how to adjust. Our table is a 42 3/4 inch square. I was going for 43 inches square, but somewhere along the line we got a little bit off and had to make some adjustments down the line. The top of the table is all made out of 1″ x 6″ boards. There is a frame underneath the top which is purely cosmetic; that is made out of 2x4s. The legs are made out of two 2x4s attached to each other. There are two 2″ x 2″ supports on the underside of the table. I’ll show you what I mean by that in a bit. Here are the wood cuts needed to make a table with the same dimensions as ours:
- Four 1″ x 6″ boards cut at 45 degree angles on each end. The long side should be 43 3/4 inches
- four 1″ x 6″ boards cut to 31 3/4 inches
- two 1″ x 6″ boards cut to 31 3/4 inches long and 5 inches wide (cutting it down to five inches happened to correct for a measuring error we made at some point; you don’t need to do this if you’re creating custom dimensions and are careful with your measuring)
- Two 2″ x 2″ boards cut to 31 3/4 inches
- Two 2″ x 4″ boards cut to 31 3/4 inches
- Two 2″ x 4″ boards cut to 28 3/4 inches
- Eight 2″ x 4″ boards cut to 28 1/4 inches
The frame of the farmhouse table top is made of 1″ x 6″ boards which are cut at 45 degree angles on each end so they’re all the same size. This gives you a trapezoid piece for each edge. No matter what length you end up using for the sides of your own table, the difference between the short side and the long side should be 11 inches if your cuts are straight. Since our table is 42 3/4 inches, the short side of our frame pieces is 31 3/4 inches. If you don’t have a table saw or a miter saw that can cut at an angle, you can use straight cuts and just join your pieces at a 90 degree angle rather than 45. If you don’t have a saw at all, you can ask your hardware store to make the cuts for you when you buy your wood.
Attach 3 of the four framing piece to each other using pocket holes and 2 1/2 inch screws. It would be a great idea to use a corner clamp here. I did not have a corner clamp, so I had to work at keeping the pieces straight and my table wasn’t quite as straight as it could have been. Drill one pocket hole from each board so they’re pushing against each other, like this:
Once you have three sides of the frame assembled, add the center pieces of the farmhouse table top. Drill two pocket holes on each side (short sides) of the center pieces. Attach them to the frame on one end using 2 1/2 inch screws, then add the fourth frame pieces and attach it like you did the first three. Screw the center pieces into the frame piece you just added with 2 1/2 inch screws. In the end, your tabletop should look like this:
Next, build the frame that goes under the table top. This doesn’t do much for the table structurally. It’s mostly just there to help give it that farmhouse look. Make a square frame with the 31 3/4 inch 2x4s and the 28 3/14″ 2x4s. I used pocket holes to attach these pieces on the inside corners, but if you don’t have a pocket hole jig you can just attach the screws from the outside. Use 2 1/2 inch screws here. This is also another area where a corner clamp would be a good idea. Since I did not have a corner clamp there is one side of my frame which isn’t quite straight. I strategically positioned that so it’s in the least visible part of the table. Screw this onto the underside of your table top (the same side with all the pocket holes. Since it will be on the bottom, I didn’t mess around with pocket holes to attach this frame and just screwed straight down. Here’s how the underside of the table top should look once the frame is attached:
Add some extra support to the table top using 2″ x 2″ boards cut to match the widths of each side. I put one 2×2 down and screwed it into all the center boards with 2 inch screws, and attached it to the frame pieces with a pocket hole on each end. The I lay another 2×2 across that and screwed it into the frame pieces with pocket holes. I needed to use a rubber mallet to get the 2x2s in place because I wanted the fit to be really tight. In the end, it looked like this:
Next add your legs. For each leg you’ll need to attach one 2×4 to the table top with a pocket hole (two if you’re good enough with your pocket hole jig that you can fit them), the two screws into the frame piece. Use 2″ screws to attach to the frame so you don’t screw all the way through. Clamps are really helpful here:
Then attach the second 2×4 using a pocket hole into the table top, and screws into the other leg piece. I used four 2 1/2 inch screws along the length of the leg. Again, clamps help here to hold everything in place. If you’re using pocket holes everywhere else, this will be the only place you have visible screws once the table is turned right-side up. If you really don’t like the look of them you can fill them in with wood putty before you stain, but I wasn’t worried about it. Now that the table is done you don’t notice them. Repeat these steps so all four legs are done.
Now your table is done and ready to sand and stain!
To prep the table for stain, you’ll need to sand it. Start with a low grit sandpaper, and then work your way up. I like to start with a 40 or 60, then go to a 120, then up to a 220 or 240. It partially depends on what combinations of grits I have on hand because I usually buy sandpaper for my mouse sander in multipacks. Once the wood is sanded, follow the instructions on your bottle of stain to stain it. For the water-based stain I used that meant brushing the stain on and letting it sit. Once it was fully dry, I gave it a quick rub with 220 grit sandpaper and coated it with water-based polyurethane.
And that’s it! All in all, I think the materials to build this farmhouse table were around $150. I did most of the work in one afternoon. I think it was probably about eight hours labor total. Not nothing, but totally worth it for a custom piece of furniture I absolutely love. We finished it off with a set of dark blue windsor chairs from Target. I think the finished table and chairs goes a long way to help cut down on some of the visual clutter in our kitchen. Our plan is to replace the floors at some point next year, so when we do that we’ll go with a darker floor and less contrast with the grout.
What do you think? Have I convinced you that building your own furniture might be worth a try? If you make a table of your own, we would absolutely love to see it! Let us know what you think in the comments below, or on social media. You can find more DIY projects here (I have a simpler side table in the works as well!). You can also sign up for our email newsletter to get updates about new posts!