Well, the decorating of the new deck is going a lot slower than the actual building of the deck, that is for sure. I’ve not gotten to do much out there yet, but I figured I’d better go ahead and share the ‘how-to’ for our farmhouse table. You guys asked, I deliver…..I give you: THE PLANS!
Just kidding. Let’s see if I can translate….not everyone reads Texan fluently. But a word of warning anyway: I’m not sure our ‘building methods’ are going to make sense to anyone other than us. Game on.
To make this exact table (10 feet long, by 45 inches wide, by 30 inches tall), you will need:
— (6) 10 ft long 2 x 8’s (we used douglas fir, straight off the shelf)
— (4) 28-1/2″ long 4 x 4’s (table legs)
— (2) 111-1/2″ long 2 x 4’s, (table side pieces)
— (2) 36-1/4″ long 2 x 4’s, (table end pieces)
— (2) 38-1/4″ long 2 x 4’s, (table cross braces)
— (4) 12″ long 2 x 4’s, (table corner braces)
— (12) 6″ heavy-duty hex-head wood screws (we used these)
— (24) metal brackets (we used these)
— (96) 1-1/4″ wood screws
— (16) 3″ self-tapping, self-countersinking wood screws (we used these)
— probably about a quart of white or off-white paint (we used Behr Swiss Coffee, semi-gloss, but actually flat would be better)
— about a quart of some sort of dark-toned wood stain (we used Minwax ‘Espresso’)
— stainable wood filler (we used the Minwax variety that comes in the squeezy tube)
— power drill
— impact driver (but if you don’t have one, a power drill will suffice, if you pre-drill some of your screw holes)
— small power sander (though handheld sandpaper would work, too, you’re just going to sweat more. Suck it up.)
— some sort of a miter saw to cut your wood
— paint brush
— stain brush or sponge, plus rags to wipe down the stain
Start by cutting all your wood to size. I then like to go hit the cut edges with a sander because I hate splinter fringe. Also, I always tend to prefer painting/staining/finishing things like this before we assemble. You don’t have to do it this way, you can save it till the end, but sometimes it allows you to better seal everything, and I kind of dig that.
So to achieve this finish, I put a sloppy layer of white paint on everything and let it dry. I then gave it a good sanding with the power sander to remove the edges, give the paint some ‘tooth’, and give the whole thing an overall worn look (incidentally, this look could be replicated by using matte white paint, and painting it on sparingly so that raw wood is showing through in a lot of places). Then I took my dark stain and applied and ragged it down over the whole thing, paint and all. Et voilà! Weathered, farmhouse-y finish. I should note that I was lazy and did not paint or stain any surfaces that wouldn’t be showing (ie, the underside of the table top, etc.). If you really want this table to last as long as possible, you should seal allllllll the surfaces. This is one of those do as I say, not as I do moments. Let’s roll with it.
When all is dry, it’s time to assemble. You’re gonna put together the table top first, upside down. Finding a flat work surface for this is pretty important (and easier said than done at our wonky house). Lay out your two 111-1/2″ 2 x 4’s, your four 36-1/4″ 2 x 4’s, and your table legs, which are the four 28-1/2″ 4 x 4’s. All the 2 x 4’s need to rest on their narrow edge, not their fat edge (despite what it may or may not look like in this sketch).
When you’ve laid it all out, measure everything one more time….just to be sure. It can’t hurt.
We started with one leg and one of the long sides of the table frame. Attach the first side to the leg with a 6″ heavy duty hex-head screw using the impact driver (or pre-drill and use a power drill). Center the long frame piece in the middle of the leg since the leg is 4″ wide and the frame is only 2″ wide. Next attach the short side of the frame to the same leg, in the same manner, only you want to stagger the two screws so they don’t hit each other.
Now, you’ve got one corner assembled. Do that three more times. I’ll wait here.
With the table frame still upside down, place your two 38-1/4″ 2 x 4’s as cross beams (they should roughly split the span of the table into thirds), screwing through the table edge with two 3″ self-countersinking screws into each end of each cross beam. This will leave screw indentations on the visible edge of the table that you will have to fill and touch-up afterwards if you are picky about stuff like that. I’m picky about stuff like that. And yet, I leave the underside of the table unfinished. I digress.
Now flip the table frame upright. You’ve got to put corner braces in each of the corners now; you’ll use your four 12″ 2 x 4’s for these. But first, you want to cut the ends of the 12″ 2 x 4’s at a 45 degree angle with your miter saw so that they fit nicely into the corner–see unhelpful sketch below:
You’ll screw through the table frame and into the ends of the cross braces with your 3″ counter-sinking screws, two in each end. Again, this will leave holes in the table frame that will need some attention later. Now you want to send one of those big 6″ hex-head heavy duty screws through the center of the cross brace and into the table leg–just tight enough that it’s snug, not so tight that it cracks the cross brace. That would be bad. Don’t do that.
Now, finally, we are ready to place the table top. Take your six boards and place them as you want them across the frame. I didn’t want this too perfect, so I allowed them to be a smidge uneven on the ends, and while we aimed for about a 1/8″ gap between the boards (so that water will drain off), we didn’t obsessively stick to this. Just more or less is close enough. Now that the boards are placed, climb under the table and attach your metal brackets with your 1-1/4″ screws all along the frame of the table (don’t attach them to the underside of the table top just yet). You basically want one bracket for each tabletop board, at each end and along each cross beam of the table. (So each table top board will have 4 brackets holding it on).
Oy, these doodles:
Once you’ve attached the brackets to the frame all around, you need to have your sidekick (in this case, me) press down on the table top as you screw each bracket to the underside of each table top board. BTW, I chose to attach the table top in this manner because I didn’t want screw heads or countersink holes showing across the top of the table. If those don’t bother you, then skip the brackets and screw straight through the table top boards into the frame (using maybe, say a 3″ countersinking screw). This is definitely easier than using the brackets, and if you are pretty good at patching and touching up (which this weathered finish is very forgiving for), you’ll never know the difference.
To patch any visible screw holes, I just filled with the Minwax wood-filler (wiping the excess away with my finger), let it dry, and then hit it lightly with a sander. I then dabbed on some white paint, and when that was dry, a bit of stain, wipe it down—done and done.
So if any of these shenanigans made sense to you, you probably have a new table about now! Cheers to that! And to everyone else….I’m sorry for the incoherent babbling.
Here’s some photos: