Dining Room Table

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My boyfriend and I moved into our first apartment a couple months ago and needed a big grown-up table for all the fancy dinner parties we were planning on hosting! After looking at different stores and cruising the internet we didn’t find anything that fit what we wanted and fit our budget. So, with pretty much zero experience we decided to try and make our own. Eek!

The most important part of making your own table is using high quality wood. If you want a quality dining room table that will last then you need to buy high quality wood. We spent about $600 total on all of the wood, again this seems expensive for a DIY table but given the quality of the table and that it fits perfectly in our apartment overall it is a lot less expensive then purchasing a table.

We bought our wood from a local wood shop. I recommend this method of buying wood if possible because the sales person helped us pick out the cheapest wood that would still be attractive, able to hold a large quantity of weight and work as a table. We ended up going with red oak, it is very sturdy and has a very pretty look to it.

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To build the table we simply laid out the design that we wanted the table to look like: we went with one 2 x 12 in the middle, encased by four 2 x 8 (2 on each side), and the end side pieces were 2 x 6 (you need 2 of these as well). When we laid it out some of the pieces were uneven and didn’t fit together perfectly so we had to do a combination of sawing and sanding to get the pieces to fit together. This was probably the most labor intensive and frustrating part but just breath through it the end product will be totally worth it I swear!

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Once all the pieces fit together we moved onto the next part, attaching the individual pieces to a base of plywood that was slightly smaller than the overall table. When sizing the plywood the important thing to remember is that the plywood must not only cover the majority of the underside to hold the pieces together but is HAS to stretch out enough on the end pieces so that a person could lean on it without the whole table collapsing. We used nails that were long enough to go through the plywood and reach into a large enough portion of the wood to hold it together, but obviously don’t get nails long enough that they risk poking out through the top of the table. You will have to do some measuring to get the accurate length for your table. We then nailed through the plywood into the pine on the bottom, we nailed about every 2 inches or so just to be sure it was secure. We used about 100 nails total.

After the assembly was done we decided to stain the wood to get a darker color and topped it off with a polyurethane coat. I highly recommend this step, not only because the stain often makes the wood look more interesting but the polyurethane coat makes the top waterproof! This means, you don’t have to stress about water stains, spilled food or any number of things that can happen during a dinner party messing up your awesome table! The top coat has been a lifesaver this year!

Here is our final table:

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*We used temporary legs from IKEA because we were having a dinner party 2 days later and didn’t have time to create legs. The temporary legs have worked extremely well so far, the only thing that we had to do was correctly positioning them to bear the weight of the table (our table top ended up being about 200 pounds!!). We are planning on creating permanent legs in the future, but I will save that for another blog post!

Here is the table full of friends, food and wine, the whole reason we created this large table in the first place!!