New & Very Much Improved Table

It all started with our desire for a new table and a picture of one we really liked that we saw online.  We used AutoCAD (a design software) to create a design for our table (as we put our table together we ended up modifying our plan a little bit to work better for our space).  After the design was completed we went to Home Depot to buy our wood (we live REALLY close to a Home Depot so that is where we buy pretty much everything we need for projects).  We decided to use red Douglass Fir wood for our table because there were really wide planks available for us to use in that type of wood.  I wasn’t sure about it because it is a really red wood, but we were able to find a way to stain it that hid the redness.


Table Plan

For the project we bought (4) 4x4x8 planks, (4) 2x12x8 planks, and (1) 2x10x8 piece.  We cut all of the pieces according to the diagram.  For the base posts we used a table saw and a miter saw to cut the wood, and for the table top we used two planers (one joiner/planer and one thickness  planer) to ensure the edges and top were smooth.


Some of cut pieces of wood. Notice how red it is?

Then we started assembling the base of the table.
We used a table saw and a miter saw to cut the pieces (as stated above).  We counter synced all of our screw holes in the wood so that the screws would be hidden inside the table (we used really large screws for the base).  To cover these large screw heads we cut out circular pieces of wood (from a scrap piece) using a hole-saw bit for our drill. We used a Kreg pocket-hole jig to create pocket-holes to further secure our base pieces into place.

We then moved onto the top of the table.  
We placed the planks side by side on top of the table base to make sure the pieces did not have any gaps between them.  If there were gaps we used a hand planer to fit the pieces against each other.  We then used a biscuit joiner to join all of the planks together (in between each piece).  The biscuit joiner was to ensure that the plank tops were flush with each other.  We then used the Kreg pocket-hole jig and glue to join all of the planks together.


Pocket-holes (this is the bottom of the table top)

We then drilled our holes to secure the table top to the base.  We used an orbital sander to sand the table top so that the entire surface and edges were nice and flat and smooth.  Not only are sharp corners dangerous, but they are also easier to damage.  Where ever there were gaps in the joints we filled them using a combination of wood dust and glue.  We put glue over the joint and poured wood dust (from the sander) on top.  We used the orbital sander to mix them together.  We used 120 grit sandpaper for the orbital sander (if you use anything finer than 120 grit it will be hard to have the stain absorb into the wood).  We sanded the glue/wood dust mixture right away (we didn’t wait until it was dry), and doing this also ensured that the sander removes any excess glue from the surface.  We used 120 grit sandpaper to hand sand the edges of the table as well.


Our table before any stain!

We detached the table top from the base and carried them upstairs to our dining room (my husband’s brother helped to carry the table upstairs because it is HEAVY).  We moved the table top upstairs to stain so that we could see the colors in natural light.

The LONG Staining Process:  
We stained our table top and the base of the table separately.  We started with the top and we stained the bottom first, so that we could flip it over once it was dry.  We stained the bottom with a dark brown.


The stained bottom of the table top

Once the bottom was dry we flipped it over and stained the top.  To achieve the color we wanted we used 3 different stains: 2 coats of pre-stain, 2 coats of Weathered Grey (with poly), and 2 coats of Kona (with poly).  The pre-stain is really important to ensure the colors were absorbed smoothly.  We waited at least a day before starting another color of stain.  Before we used the stain on the table we tested all of the color combinations on a scrap piece of wood to see which color we liked the best (and that hid the redness of the wood).  We definitely recommend using a water based stain because it’s so much easier to work with.  Originally we had bought an oil based stain and it was so sticky that we ended up having to re-sand our table top and start over (we also disposed of the oil based stain).


The stains we used

We then stained the base of the table.  This took a lot longer to stain than the top because of all the nooks and crannies.  We did the same process of 2 coats of each color.

Once the stain was dry we screwed the table top and base together (using the pre-drilled holes) and IT WAS DONE!! We moved the table into place and just sat around and admired it for a while.  We let the table sit for 72 hours before putting anything on the top to make sure the stain and poly were cured.



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