5.06.2013

Outdoor Farm Table: Finishing the Table Top


Hubs and I had four, fun-filled, jam packed, work days around the house.  We tackled working on the yard and building a farm table for our patio. 
 After the construction of it, I set up to get it finished with paint and stain/sealer.
I decided to use Valspar Duramax in white semigloss on the base from Lowes.  We used this paint on our shed last year and I was super pleased with the quality of it.  I painted one coat, let it dry a day and then followed up with a pretty thick coat on the next day.  Note that the quality of the post legs and stud frame is pretty rustic so there are definitely imperfections, but that is the look I was after.  If you want a super smooth surface, you may want to use something other than the studs for the frame.
For the table top, I decided to use Cabot Australian Timber Oil in brown.  It soaks into the wood just like stain and only requires one coat.  I tested leaving the stain on longer and following with a second coat, but it became way too dark.  Fine by me!  One coat was easier.  I brushed it on the wood in sections and rubbed it off with a rag.  This product can be cleaned up with soap and water and I decided to use it because we had success with it on our cedar fence last year.  Time will tell how it holds up on the table.
There were a total of 6 boards and I stained the back sides first.  I let them dry a couple of hours and then flipped them staining the sides, ends and top of the boards.  I let them dry overnight and then soak in the sun the next morning.
Next step was attaching the boards together to form a table top.  This is where I deviated from the plans and am still figuring some of it out.
These boards are heavy and attaching them all together and then heaving the table top onto the base seemed a little much.
For now, I created the tabletop in two sections for ease of transport.  Once we settle on where the table is staying on the patio, I might secure the table top a little different.
(You can see on the left is the boards with stain left on longer.  
Boards on the right are with one quick coat)
Once the top was flipped over and put on the base, I couldn't believe how fabulous it looked.
Amazing.  Beautiful.  Exactly the look I was going after.
I still have to build two benches to match and fit on the longer sides.  I decided on chairs for the ends of the table.  I bought a set from BJ's Wholesale and a set from Lowes.  For the look we are going after, the set from BJ's is what we decided to keep.  Both were comparable in price and made of similar quality, but the one's from BJ's had a tighter pattern and the color went nicer with the tabletop.
Note that both fit the table height the same.
Remember, I built this table for less than $100 bucks!  The chairs were $70 each and I'm still searching for cushions and have to build the benches.  My goal is to be under $350 for the set.  What do you think? Doable? And where can you find a set that you love, that you built, that you smile at when you see it for under $350???!!!
Hope you all have a great week.  Back to my day job this week, but I'm giddy to clean up the patio and work some more on the yard next weekend.

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5.03.2013

Building My Own Outdoor Wood Farm Table

Anyone else have sticker shock when they went looking for a decent size patio dining table?
I've been looking since last summer and while there are tons of options out there, nothing was 100% what I wanted.  
I'm a big fan of Ana White. She has the most amazing plans for building just about anything you want and her plans are FREE.
I did a lot of research online and adapted her Farmhouse and Rustic tables to meet our needs. You can find many bloggers who have built tables and it was helpful to check out what they did.
I purchased all of the lumber and supplies at Lowes.  Two nice gents helped me pick out straight, clean boards and they loaded it into our truck.
 I first decided I wanted to build the table a huge 4x8 size.  I quickly built the frame in about an hour as it was nearing dark.  However, when I went back a few days later to start building the rest of the table, I decided it was too wide and I really should have used longer screws.
 I went back and cut everything down to these measurements.
4- 4x4 posts @ 28 inches 
2- 2x4 studs @ 35 inches
2- 2x4 studs @ 36 1/2 inches
2- 2x4 studs @ 84 inches

This is all you need for the base.
I purchased the Kreg Jig system last year from Lowes and used 2 1/2 inch course blue screws from Kreg to build this table.

Once I cut everything using my Dewalt chop/miter saw, I gave everything a real quick sanding with my  Dewalt orbital sander.  Just enough to get any rough bits off.
At this point, use your Kreg to place your pocket holes.  I just followed the video instructions on their website and after the first one, it was easy.  I love this tool!

Now it was time to assemble everything.
I found the easiest was to do the shorter sides first.
Here is a tip I learned along the way.  Use a 2x4 scrap as a spacer to help hold the wood up off the ground.
This also allowed me to have the cross braces evenly spaces between the posts/legs.
I smeared some Gorilla Wood glue then drove the 2 1/2 inch Kreg screws through the pocket holes.
This is what it will look like once attached.
 
 I then flipped the side pieces on their backs and started to assembled the long 7 foot braces.  Same technique using the 2x4 scrap spacer. 

 Once that is done, flip it all upright and check for anything that is loose.  For the most part everything was super solid except one post had a slight crack in it and when I drilled into it, it became a little wobbly.  I just flipped the post around and rescrewed the side piece.  So check for holes and cracks and don't drill into them.
I was surprised how sturdy it all was even before I attached the middle braces.
This is where the 36 1/2 inch studs go.  I spaced them about 21 inches in from the sides.
I used the Kreg and pocket holes to attach them too.  When attaching, make sure they are centered on the 2x4 you are attaching them too.  You don't want them raised or it will cause your table top to be uneven when you attach it.
 The table top is constructed of 6- 2x8x8's.
I trimmed them slightly to get the rough edges off them and make sure they are all flush with each other.
 
 I'll share with you later on the exact spacing and over hang measurements.  I am still tweaking that while I finish the top.  One thing to keep in mind is that you want fairly straight boards with almost no bow to them so that the top is as flush as it can be.  I recommend buying 1 or 2 extra.  I had to swap out one board that had a slight warp, but I was glad I had extra because the next one fit perfect.
 I made sure the end grain was all going in the same direction when I dry fitted the table top.
I'm deciding if I want to leave a slight gap between the boards or not since this table will be used outside.
Check back for more details as I finish this table up.

Here's a run down of what I've spent so far.

I rounded up to keep things simple.
2x8x8 (6) = $48
2x4x8 (4) = $13
4x4x10 (1) = $13
Glue = $4
Kreg Screws = $6

Total =$83 bucks.  How cheap is that for an outdoor table!  I just had to do a double take and recheck my math.

Note that the Kreg system price varies depending on which one you buy.  I think I bought the deluxe version for about $100 last year, but I know I'll be using it for lots of projects.

Happy Building!