Monday, April 15, 2013

DIY Farmhouse Table & Benches Part 1

Quick catch up: It's been a while since I've blogged. We've been doing a lot of un-blog-worthy-stuff. We moved from one coast to the other and have been settling down ever since. One big change that's happened is that we've found out that we are expecting another addition to our family. The little one's arrival is less than a month away and I have to say, it's impending arrival has been the most traumatic of them all. Yes, I used the word traumatic! Before any of you mom's go off the deep end and decide to have three or more kids, you need to face the harsh reality that number 3 is going throw you off the deep end. Example #1: We had to get a new car... not just any car... a car with 3rd row seating... a freakin' mini van. I've dreaded the mini van for many, many years, and now we have one. Example #2: Going out to eat will never be the same. "Table for 4", that's pretty easy, "Table for 5" means you have to upgrade to a table of 6, making your restaurant wait double. Catchin' my drift? Now this brings me to our latest project...

I'm sitting at the dinner table enjoying the beautiful faces of the kids and Mr. Wonderful all around the same table. I'm thinking about how perfect our little family fits here, there's a spot for everyone... Wait! Don't forget baby #3!! Damn it! ... Damn it! Ugh! ... No. No. No!! We're so freakin' screwed. *Fast forward* We're at World Market: "Honey! Look at this table! Oh my god! It's amazing! ... We HAVE to have it... Where's the price tag? ... Oh dear god! NO!" Needless to say, $1,000+ was a little out of our dining room table budget. Luckily, I had even more expensive taste when we were looking at the Anthropologie website... No big deal, just $2,000. We have that in pocket change <insert eye roll here>. Word from the wise: When you find yourself stuck, it may sound counter productive, but quit thinking about it for a while and a solution will hit you. And that's just what happened... I found THE MOST AMAZNG BLOG IN THE WHOLE WORLD on Pinterest! Ana White... I like to daydream about how awesome she must be... could you imagine walking around with that much awesomeness radiating off you? Yea, me either. Ana (I feel so close to her after all of this that we could be on a first name basis) works with some other bloggers, Shanty 2 Chic to name one, to make knock off furniture. Of course, Ana had plans to the World Market table AND the Anthropologie table... See? AWESOME!!

Alright, alright, enough chitter chatter, here's what I'm bloggin' about: The Fancy X Farmhouse Table and Benches. You can follow the link for the plans at Ana's site. I'm not going to be doing the full out how to, but I'm going to fill in some of the gaps and give some tips for how we did ours. Got it? Good!

Tools and essentials: These were all of our favorite tools. (Left to right: Dewalt 1/4 sheet Palm Sander, Hammer, Screw Driver, Basic Carpenter's Square, Hitchi Miter Saw, Kreg Jig, Gorilla Wood Glue, Snap On Drills.) We already had some and had to buy some, but this project would have been near impossible nor as much fun without these guys!

Shopping: I went to every major hardware store within a 40 mile radius to price this project out. Lowe's was hands down the winner in the price department and a no contest in the selection. We spent a total of $250 for all of the lumber (basic pine for both the table and benches), nails, screws, paint, paint brushes... everything! The only thing that we didn't have to buy was sandpaper. The estimates that Shanty 2 Chic provides are pretty spot on accurate for lumber cost, nothing more. Tips: 1. If I could go back, I would have bought self tapping screws for the whole project. We got regular old wood screws and ended up tossing them and using the heck out of the Kreg screws. Those things are awesome! 2. If you're a first timer, buy a couple extra 2x4s.

Cutting: This was the fun part! Please note: The miter saw is a must! I really wish that we could have afforded one with a laser, but this baby still got the job done and we love it! So easy. Tips: 1. Cut all of the large cuts first. We tried to cut the smaller ones first and ended up having to go back to the hardware store. 2. Double check yourself. Look at the pictures. Have someone double check your work. And if you're unsure, stop and take a break.

Sanding: After we cut all of the pieces, we thought it would be best to sand them all before assembly. I'm glad we did too. It was a tedious job watching Wonderful do it, but someone had to. (I love how Dexter tries to make an appearance in almost every picture I took. I think he's trying to take credit or something.) We sanded 60, 150, and then 220 grit. Tips: 1. Find a good looking man to do all of your sanding for you. It's really boring and takes a really long time. It helps to find him a companion too. He might get lonely  2. Keep yourself busy by making a town, house, or garage out of the scrap pieces while said man is sanding. This will help you kill time and the kids are so creative!

Steps 1-5: This is the bulk of the project, building these Fancy X's. I thought we would never get it right! We cut those cross things at the wrong 45 degree angle and had to go back and do them again. When it came to attaching everything, I threw out the idea of measuring everything perfectly and tried to fit everything together by eye. This really works for me but may not be for everyone. We used countersink holes and screws to attach the cross things, self tapping screws will get a tighter fit. For attaching the two pieces, we used finishing nails, Gorilla Wood Glue, and clamped the two pieces together until dry.

They ended up looking great even though we struggled through and kinda messed up in some areas. These plans are idiot proof!!

Step 7: This step was so simple and easy! It was the first time that we got to use the Kreg Jig and I'm so impressed.

Step 8: Things got a little tricky here. In Ana's plans, she just says to attach the cross braces. Thank goodness step 7 made us Kreg Jig pros because we had no trouble thinking up a way to discreetly attach them. We made pocket holes on the spacer 2x4's at the top and bottom of where the cross braces attach. Just 1 in each side should do. Check out the pic below for reference.

How fancy!!

Rest: This next step is very important. If you've over worked your husband, it may be time to let him take a little nap. Just lay the pre sanded boards on top and have him lay down. It also makes for a great size reference for the table. I would say this table is 1 and a quarter Wonderful ;)

Step 9: We broke the rules here and added 2 2x4s to the underside of the top panels. I wanted to be able to remove the top so that we can get it in the house and back out again when we move. Secondly, I didn't want to put any holes in the top of the table. The 2x4s were attached from the bottom with countersink holes and screws, placed to fit snugly on the outside of the two legs and drilled in from the inside.  Tips: 1. Use a belt sander for these bad boys, it'll save tons of time. 2. We did not make this to be an outdoor table, so I wanted the pieces to be close together and uniform. Before attaching the support pieces, I used a ratchet strap to keep the boards close together.

Beyond step 10... Wonderful used the belt sander to sand down the top of the table. After it was completely assembled and dusted, Twinkle Toes inspected it for quality.

Finishing: I followed Ana's finishing instructions for a grey stain finish. We let the stain soak for approximately 15 min and had the most stellar results!

After staining. It turned out absolutely amazing. We took it in and did 3 coats of the polycrylic on just the top. Wonderful suggested that we let the bottom age naturally and get some cracks and dings in it for character. He's so smart!!

Stay tuned! We'll have the benches finished soon and there will be a part deux!


  1. Awesome!! Can't wait to inspect it myself!

  2. This is awesome!! I knew Mr Wonderful had talent but when teamed up with yours, you guys have no limits!!! Your commentary is fantastic!!! It's pretty cool how you involve to whole family!!!

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  4. Doesn't look like you're blogging here anymore, so hopefully you'll see this... I'm looking at building a table with a similar plan, how has our table held up over time? Anything you would do differently if you did it again? Thanks!