Months ago, Pete and I set out to build our own wedding tables. We solidified the plan to make our own rustic barnwood-esque tables after a local vendor knocked my woolen socks off by proposing that he rent his tables to us for $150/day each, and they weren’t even that big so I knew I’d have to spend $450-600+ for our wedding that didn’t even include a sit-down dinner. The more appealing alternative was figuring out how to build our own, and by saving some money, I’m more inclined to put what we saved towards a killer new planer that I’ve had my eye on. Or a honeymoon. Or a year’s worth of Starbucks mochas.
Cost savings aside, we also thought that building our own would be something fun, substantial, and purposeful to make for our wedding day, and in hindsight, very few things that you could bring to your own wedding space are literally this substantial (and heavy, I mean, very heavy), but the pair of tables we built turned out amazingly.
There are approximately umpteen–million–bajillion pictures and tutorials online if you search “How To Make A Farmhouse Table,” and we both spent hours scouring semi-informative posts in drafting up our own plan. I know in writing this here post that it’s hard to prepare a step-by-step tutorial for something that’s ultimately so customized to your own needs, so please take this post as inspiration if you’re planning to build your own, and feel free to email me if you have any very specific questions. I think you’ll find that the end-result is totally worth your effort, and you’ll love your table as much as you love your dog/house/first-born:
What you see above is one of our finished tables – we made two – each table is 114″x37″, or approximately 9.5′ long by 3′ wide. Designed to be the same height as our dining room table, it measures 30″ from floor to tabletop. It’s enormous. The first table took us many hours over many weekends to construct, clamp, and reinforce, but with that initial go-around behind us, we rocked out a second table in a short 5 hours on a warm Sunday (beginning to end!), so it just goes to show that these farmhouse tables aren’t that complex. For each of the tables, these are the materials used. My total material cost for each table was only about $75.
For many reasons, we started this effort with a goal of making only one table. Would it end up looking bad in the end? Would it be too time-consuming to construct multiple tables? Would they comfortably seat people? And most of all, how much lumber could our Jeep hold at one time? The answers to those questions are no, no, yes 10 to 12 people, and this much. Bazinga.
New lumber has those inevitable fresh-from-the-mill rounded edges, but I had spied a similar table at Restoration Hardware (priced at $2,995!) that had tabletop boards that were individually beveled to add character. I wasn’t able to find a router bit locally to create this same effect, so I was relegated to taking a hand sander to the edges of the 2×10 boards to make them more angled, less rounded. I added this subtle 45-degree bevel to each of the upward-facing tabletop boards so that when they were pushed together, the seam was a little more defined.
As I finished sanding down the beveled, Pete aligned the 2×10 boards that would comprise the tabletop and prepared them to be joined with biscuits. Before the boards were attached together, we also took the time to add holes for pocket screws with our Kreg Jig. The combo of pocket screws and biscuits made these countertops intensely sturdy.
If you’re unfamiliar with biscuit joinery, know that the biscuits themselves fit into the little divots you’ve sawn out with your cutter. Wood glue itself is very strong and in this case, helps to secures the biscuit in place in its divot. It dries quickly, so while you won’t need a lot of glue, you will have to work fast.
With all four panels joined together with biscuits, I connected the boards of the still upside down tabletop with the 2-1/2 self-tapping screws. The biscuit joiners themselves would have likely held the tabletop together just fine (biscuits are a magical bond), but it was obvious as I attached the screws that it was helping cinch the boards together really well.
I chose to insert about 5 pocket screws down the length of each 8-foot board, but not precisely, just by eyeballing the spacing so that the screws would be spread out enough to be supporting different parts of the tabletop. The underside of the table looks like this:
The first four 2x10x8′ boards came together really easily and looked really great from the top (those black stamps on the hardwood would be sanded off at a later point):
To add a finished edge to each end of the tabletop, we sawed the edges to be perfectly straight (only taking off 1/4″ at the most from the overall length) and then cut two extra pieces of 2×10 board to fit against each end. These end pieces were also attached using biscuits and screws, specifically, one into each of the intersecting boards for strength.
With the tabletop complete, Pete moved onto the table legs. This is where most tutorials differed, and it took a lot of thinking for us to get to the place we did, so please feel free to ask questions if the photos don’t help.
Instead of using 4×4 boards for the table legs, we decided to join together matching 2×4 boards. More so than for any other reason, the way we constructed each leg allows the leg itself to contribute to supporting the heavy tabletop (the tabletop framework locks onto the legs, rather than the tabletop to be putting strain on screws attached to the legs).
The leg construct also allowed us to build the table in a very interlocking design with a minimal number of exposed screws, and a more streamlined framework.
Along the lines of keeping screw-usage to a minimum, we used a few biscuits on each table leg to join the coordinating 2×4 boards together.
When all legs were assembled, this is how they would be configured to support the tabletop. Use your imagination, envision placing the tabletop right on top of this, work that brain.
The legs needed something to securely attach to, even though we envisioned them being removable for transportation purposes. For that, we created a framework that attached directly to the underside of the table.
Cross-bracing was added as part of this framework, attached mostly at the ends into the rectangular frame, but also sporadically into the tabletop to create a strong connection and eliminate the chance of this tabletop bowing over time.
For each table, we dry fit all of the working pieces throughout the process. Shown here (with our old kitchen sink in the background, so classy), we determined what the distance between the legs was, and then used that measurement to construct the cross brace joining the two legs to one another. Keeping the same measurements helped us to ensure that the legs would be totally square to the tabletop itself.
Like, this. Cody was a patient helper but mostly uninterested with this project.
We used three pocket screws to attach each leg itself to the frame of the table, assembling the entire table upside down before flipping it upright.
Ahh, such a pretty, upright table. We had planned originally to have a cross brace also running the total length of the table (using a 2x6x10′ board) but it is so sturdy as-is that we decided to leave it out and allow for more open leg room beneath.
For the sake of proving that we did build two identical tables for our wedding for a potential end-to-end length of 19-feet, here you have it:
And, a cute photo bomb of Cody, who’s clearly more interested in something at the front of the house than our pine tables.
Our total material cost for both tables was only about $150, which basically means that we were able to build two tables for the price of renting one for one day, and that’s enough of win for us. We’ve already had to field a lot of questions from people asking us what we’re going to do with these monsters after the wedding, and our plan is either to 1) save them for a future home/bigger space, 2) rent them out ourselves (for much less than $150/day!!), or 3) sell them and hope to make back our initial materials investment.
While were working with new pine boards, we have good intentions of distressing it with stain. I’ll be back in the next few weeks to share the finished tables!