We searched and looked for tables since we moved into our house in September, but simply couldn’t find any that we like. Oh, and they were all over $1,000. We just didn’t want to pay that. If you have some time and a few tools, you can build a Pottery Barn-like table like ours for only $150. Don’t think so? Read on – anyone can do it…
After getting a Kreg Jig for Christmas (I strongly recommend you buy one if you want to do any woodworking), I decided to try to make our own table.
Of course, I wanted to take photos and document the process so I could attempt to provide others with a way to build your own DIY counter height kitchen table.
I based this plan off of one of my favorite sites at Ana-White.com, where you can always find neat things to do. The looks are similar, but I was able to make it a little cheaper and add our own touch to it.
Let’s get going on the table. To start, here are the basics. Despite looking complex, it’s actually a pretty simple project. Keep in mind that although I’m fairly new at creating handmade furniture, I have helped my Dad renovate before, and have “handy-ness” in my blood :).
Here are the basics of the DIY Rustic Counter Height Table Plan:
I’ve stated pretty clearly here on this site that we are attempting most of our projects for the first time. Inevitably, we run into problems each and every time, and expect that. Our goal is to remember them so we can tell others to NOT do what we did – someone might as well learn from our mistakes :). So…
What NOT to do:
Do NOT use pretreated lumber! All these photos have pretreated 4×4’s, but you can NOT use this for anything indoor. I had everything done and completed, then started questioning why I got pretreated lumber (hint: I didn’t do my research until it was too late). Fortunately the wood guy at Lowe’s let me know my mistake could be harmful – especially for our dog, Duke. Unfortunately, I didn’t figure this out until the entire table was put together (but before painting).
Enough about what NOT to do – on to the plan…
- Length: 53″
- Width: 40″
- Height: 42″
Wood, Tools, and Supplies Needed
Wood: I used a Douglas Fir for our table. It’s a cheaper wood that’s a bit lighter (the table is still heavy), and great for a first-time project. NOTE: This is what I bought, knowing that I might need some extra, just in case. If you are confident in your cuts, you can get less wood. Just go down to the proceeding steps to figure out what cuts you have to have and simply do the math.
- 2×6’s: 4 8-footers
- 2×4’s: 2 8-footers
- 4×4’s: 2 8-footers
- 2×3’s: 2 8-footers
- Kreg Jig – this is a MUST for this particular project. If you don’t have one, you need one.
- Kreg Jig screws
- Circular saw
- Hand saw
- Sander (or sandpaper if you are ambitious and sanding by hand)
- Red oak stain
- Black Rustoleum paint (not the spray paint)
- Wood glue
On to the steps…
Step 1: Make your cuts
It’ll be much easier to just focus on making all your cuts, then putting everything together. Note that this is a very important part as well. If you have a chop saw/compound miter saw, or a table saw, you will be much more accurate. Unfortunately, I do not yet have either, so I just used a circular saw (and a hand saw to finish the 4×4 legs).
Here are the cuts you will need for the dimensions specified above:
- 2×6’s: 6 boards, 46 1/4″ each – for the tabletop
- 2 boards, 53 1/4″ each – for the outside of the tabletop, long side
- 2 boards, 33″ each – for the outside of the tabletop, short side
- 4×4’s: 4 boards, 40″ each – for the legs
- 4 boards, 40 3/4″ each – for the supports and bracing
- 4 boards, 27 1/4″ each – for the supports and bracing
Step 2: Drill your connector holes with your Kreg Jig
Obviously you’ll need some Kreg Jig knowledge here, but their site is great for that. I’ll assume you know how to use your Kreg Jig. Try following these steps:
- Drill 2-3 holes in each 2×6 to make your table top. You’ll be attaching one into the other here, parallel to each other.
- Drill evenly spaced holes into your 2×4’s – they will surround the 2×6 table top and provide some extra support
- Drill your 2×3″ supports if you are able to envision it. If not, wait – it should come to you later
Step 3: Build the table top
Early on in the process, you can see your project come together. Building the table top is an essential part. Lay all the 2×6’s side by side and make sure you have drilled the appropriate Kreg holes. Then attach them with your Kreg screws.
Once you’ve attached all the 2×6’s, use your 2×4’s to surround them. Connect them with your Kreg screws. Flip the table over, and that is your table top!
Step 4: Add in supports and bracing
I found it easiest to add in the supports first, because you will then have a piece of wood to attach to the legs. In this picture, you can see the spacing. I just eyeballed it to give it the best support. I would lay down all the wood to help you envision it. If you haven’t yet, drill holes in the supports and bracing pieces and attach them to the table top (make sure you are attaching them to the underside of the table top – the side WITH the Kreg holes/screws). See photo below for a better understanding.
Step 5: Attach the legs and leg supports
After the table top is built, it’s time to attach the 4×4 legs. It’s actually pretty easy because of the supports and bracing you added in the previous step. Simply place the 4×4 leg onto the table top, nestled into the two supports, and screw your Kreg screws into the leg. As with every Kreg joint, use two screws, then move to the next leg.
Supports: I added in supports to the table, but – I did have to remove them to take them into the house. This table is much to wide to fit through a regular 36-40″ wide door, so unless you have a bigger door, you might take liberty with the supports or add them in differently – I am contemplating an “I” form after seeing a couple other tables.
Step 6: Sand
Pretty simple, and pretty boring. I have an orbital sander. Just sand over the table until it’s as smooth as you want. It’s ok if it’s not smooth – ours wasn’t. I would just make sure to sand down anything that might splinter and call it a day.
Step 7: Stain
Time to get some color going. Grab the Red Oak stain, a rag or sponge, and start staining the entire table. I like to move fast with stain to prevent the time I have to spend around the pungent scent – I would also open up your garage door if you can. Run the stain over the entire table – if you miss a couple spots here and there, it’s ok – we can cover it up with black paint in the next step.
After I stain, I usually take a clean, dry rag and go over it again to remove some excess stain and speed up the drying process. Most of my projects are done in one or two days, so I try to be as efficient as possible. You have probably seen fans in some of my photos – I also use that to help it dry quicker.
Step 8: Paint
Let the stain dry for an hour or so before you start painting. Just touch it and make sure it’s fairly dry, then you should be good to go. I would start with the legs or underside if you can, just to get your brush stroke down. I did not stain the underside of the table just because people rarely see it, and I only painted it. Feel free to use as much paint as you want here and on the inside of the table.
For this part people will see, I recommend using the following technique:
- Do half the table first
- Cover the corners and creases liberally with black paint
- Cover the knots liberally with black paint, dabbing and making sure it is completely black
- Brush and blend the excess paint into the rest of the table top/board
- Wipe with a rag
- Keep doing this until you have the consistency that you want
I let some of the red show through to add more rustic-ness. It’s up to you how dramatic you want to be here. Keep using this brush, blend, and wipe technique throughout.
Step 9: Poly time
This is the final step! And it’s an easy one.. To protect the table, you’ll want to put a coat of polyeurethane over it. This is a clear coating that will make wiping it down with a washcloth as simple as if it were a countertop. Simply pour the poly onto a rag and rub it on, just as you would stain. I only used one coat on this table, but I used quite a bit on it so I wouldn’t have to put on multiple coats.
After I was done, I just let it dry for a full day. Once dry, I simply wiped it down with a wet rag and brought inside for the final product! In this photo, you see the barstools as well – the post for those will be coming soon!
Step 10: Bring it inside!
Hopefully you all can take something from this post – let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to answer.
As I’ve done with the post on Ana’s website – feel free to take your liberties and use your own creativity to come up with whatever best fits your house and your style. We’d love to see your tables – get out there and start building, and be sure to let me know how it’s going!