When you spend time in a routine for a long period, it can feel really good just to break the routine and do something completely different. That’s how I was feeling 2 summers ago when I “went for it” and built my own Farmhouse Table. I had been in the teaching routine for the past 9.5 months and was ready for a little change. On our last day of school for the summer, I cleaned up my classroom, went home and started planning.
I searched Pinterest for some building projects and couldn’t stop thinking about the farmhouse tables I was seeing. I had seen a few in stores and they were always way over my price limit. After sorting through lots of plans on Pinterest, I came to one that seemed simple enough and fairly straightforward. You can find it here. The plans are written by Ana White, I’ve since bought her book that has tons of other projects like headboards, side tables, bookshelves and tons of other furniture.
My friend Kim and I also made this headboard from Ana White’s book. It turned out so good!
Going for it
I looked at the tools and materials list, and I already had most of them, so I figured I’d give it a try. And honestly, once you have these tools, you can build most of the things in her book. The first time I made a farmhouse table I actually used the smaller version of the Kreg jig, found here, and yes it works, but It sure takes a lot more time and I messed up a LOT more with it than when I used the bigger version.
In Ana White’s Farmhouse Table, she uses Osborne Wood, Husky Dining Table Legs. Now, these are beautiful, but they also cost over $50 a piece if you go with pine. Yikes! So I just went to Lowes and picked up 4 of these table legs at $19 a piece. They worked perfectly and although they aren’t quite as chunky or beautiful, they are very close.
These are the materials I bought for my project:
4 – Maple coffee Table Legs – 29″ (not sure why they are called coffee table legs when they are high enough for a table)
2 – 2×4 8 feet long
2 – 1×2 8 feet long ( I didn’t add this part, it isn’t necessary, but if you wanted to add a little more decoration to your table you could definitely keep it!)
6 – 2×6 8 feet long (I think the shortest you can buy is 8 ft long, but I only needed to use less than 6 ft)
2 1/2″ pocket hole screws
Wood glue (If you want to use it – I didn’t)
I’m not going to tell you how to build the Farmhouse Table because Ana White does that beautifully. What I AM going to tell you are some tips and some things that helped me in the process.
Getting your boards
When you buy your boards you are going to want them to be SUPER straight. I am especially talking about those 2x6s. When you go to the hardware store, pull out some of your favorite looking boards, and then put your eye at one end and look all the way down the board to make sure it is straight. You probably aren’t going to get perfectly straight boards. But the straighter, the better. Just take my advice… it will make your whole project a WHOLE lot easier.
When you start deciding the width of your table, you don’t have a whole lot of choice. You are using 2×6 pieces of wood across your table, so your width is going to have to be something that works with those measurements. But be careful! Each 6-inch board is actually only 5.5 inches wide (actually a little less) so instead of a table that is around 39 inches wide like Ana White’s, I wanted mine to be 33 inches wide. But because each board is even a little smaller than 5.5 inches across, my table ended up being closer to 32.25 inches wide. This doesn’t seem like a huge deal, but to make your table look right, you want to have a nice overhang, and I lost some of my overhang because of my mistake.
Draw out your table and measurements BEFORE you start
Measure twice cut once is what they always say. I always have this running through my head while I’m doing a project, yet I STILL fail to follow the rule sometimes. Take my warning and do what the saying says. Ana White’s measurements are great, but if you aren’t using the Husky Osborne legs that she uses, you are going to have to compensate for the lost inches. Do the measurements yourself on the table legs that you bought and add the extra length to the aprons so that your tabletop fits nicely on your table base. Draw out all of your measurements and make sure it makes sense before you start cutting.
If this is your first time using a Kreg Jig and Pocket Holes…
Watch some youtube videos on how to use a Kreg Jig. This Kreg Jig tool is amazing. But at first, I didn’t get it. I was doing it all wrong and my joints weren’t tight at all. If you watch the video and use some scrap wood to do some experimenting, you’ll be all set to go.
After you make your pocket hoes, you will put in your screw and use your driver to screw it into place. You might panic for a second (like I always do) when you see the two pieces of wood that you are trying to join start to pull apart, but keep driving it in! Right after the wood pulls apart, it will pull together so that it is perfectly in place and the joint is tight. When I first started, I would get freaked out when the wood pulled apart and stop instead of continuing to finish the job.
Build something with the left overs!
When I finished building the table, I had a lot of left overs. I used those to make a coffee table for our livingroom and a pottery table for my mother in law! If you use 4x4s as your farmhouse table legs, the left overs work perfectly for a coffee table. Here’s the picture of the pottery table (without the stain).
I really hope, if you’ve been thinking about building a table, you give it a try. It is definitely worth it. Yes, the tools cost a lot if you don’t have them. But, for the cost of all of the tools (assuming you don’t own any of them) and the wood for the table, you can make your Farmhouse Table AND have all the tools for future furniture builds for the cost of ONE farmhouse table!