If you’ve ever been stuck in the farmyard for longer than planned, you most probably have wished you had a kitchen or a dining table around. Luckily, the farmyard is a place you’ll most likely find some unused wood planks lying around. In this article, I am going to guide you on how to build a rustic kitchen table in the farmyard, something I’ve had to do by myself at least three times.
It is not until my third attempt that I developed a clearer picture of such a project. I also learned that you could bring in materials for the table but to ensure it maintains the rustic feel, trust me, you do not want to bring in fancy materials. So, how do you decide what wood to use?
How to choose the best wood.
When building a rustic table for your farmhouse kitchen, it is best to use the materials available. You may not have much control over the type of wood. Generally, if you have any of the following types, you’re good to go:
You already have the pic in mind, and yes, it is true- white oak has a classy rustic feel, while still being hard enough for the kitchen environment.
Cypress is an embodiment of beauty in softwoods. If you’re lucky enough, you might find the pecky cypress, a time known for strikingly scattered darker pockets.
Although dents and dings are symbolic of the rusticity, hickory can resist those just well. Hickory is a hardwood native to America, strong enough for an all-weather kitchen.
Want to go eco-friendly? Probably, yeah, and in which case, maple would be a great shot. Maple wood is farmed for maple syrup, making it much more sustainable.
You already have some well-to-do cherry cabinets in your kitchen. If you’d want to complement the look and feel, the reddish-brown wood would be the best to go for.
Pine is the overall most sought after wood for rustic farmhouses. Pine is relatively inexpensive, good with stain, and locally available in most places. Pine is also soft, making it the ideal choice for DIY beginners. This is the wood to go for if this is your first woodwork project too.
Steps to building that rustic kitchen table
You’ll need to make some considerations before embarking on your project. Should you choose wood available around you, you have a whole lot of uncertainties. You’ll need to prepare this wood first.
1. Preparing the wood
Pre-used wood may have some nails and screws on it. Remove all the nails and screws. There are no guarantees that this is going to be a soft job. In fact, if the nails are rusted in, you’ll sweat. If some nails, break off, don’t even consider extracting them. just knock them in with a nail punch.
Planning your wood planks should be the next thing. You can use either a hand-held plane or a Thicknesser to get the job done. A Thicknesser would save you a lot of time.
Once planning is satisfactory, proceed to sand the planks with a belt sander to make a good finish. It also ensures there are no gaps on the tabletop.
Cut out the pieces for the tabletop, breadboard ends, stretchers, and legs. When cutting the legs, ensure the height leaves enough under-clearance for the dining chairs. If the chairs have armrests, ensure the former can easily tuck under the table’s aprons.
2. Joining the wood planks
Place the wood planks on the working bench and experiment with different arrangements to fit them together in the best way.
Use a framing square to mark the points where the floating tenons will go, to secure together each board.
On the marks you made above, use a tenon joiner to create holes on either side of the boards. Since some machines offer you the option of making holes larger than the tenon’s exact size, be sure to cut holes that are the exactly same size as the tenons on the left sides of all the boards. Also, cut slightly larger holes on the right sides of all the boards. This ensures a tight and easy fix.
Apply wood glue on the right-side hole on the boards. Hammer in the floating tenons into the holes before the glue dries. Use a rubber mallet to avoid digging into the wooden planks and destroying the straightness.
Apply the wood glue onto the left-side edges of the planks (the same side that you hammered the tenons). Spread the glue evenly so that it entirely covers the surfaces to be joined.
Connect all the wood planks together using the floating tenons while hammering the planks with a rubber mallet. Remember to apply glue on every flipped side (the right-hand side) of the plank before fixing it onto the left side of the next plank.
To ensure the glue adheres properly to the wood surfaces, clamp the entire tabletop tightly and let it stay that way for at least two hours. After the glue has dried, check the edge with a steel square and even out any discrepancies with a circular saw. You can finish off the tabletop with another round of sanding.
3. Assembling the legs
Assemble the legs and the side stretchers. Determine the positions to fix the legs and hence determine the length of the longer side stretchers. Finish the legs and stretchers assembly.
You can apply a stain on the legs. You could also apply a finish coat, paint, or whatever you prefer. Stain the tabletop similarly. You do not have to purchase a brush for this as a simple rag can do the job just fine.
4. Assembling the table
Fix the tabletop onto the legs (apron/top side). You should do this by drilling four holes on the tabletop, coinciding with the center of each leg. Make the holes slightly deeper than the screws so that once fastened, the screws will be sunken into the tabletop.
Fill up the spaces above the screws on the tabletop with the wood glue, mixed with some sawdust. This trick gives your table a more rustic look, unlike if you used some expensive wood filler. After all, the table is to be made with materials available, for as much as is possible.
Your kitchen table is now ready, probably waiting for dinner time!
5. Other styling
Additionally, you could style your table with different paint on the tabletop, from what you use on the legs. A white base and a stained top is a great combination. The vice versa can also be a good contrast to your kitchen’s dominant colors. You could even stain the whole table (best rustic feel), or you could have it painted in one color, entirely. Remember to pair the table with matching (or appropriately contrasting) chairs.
Making a rustic kitchen table doesn’t require much expertise. In fact, you will spend less than $100 on such a project, but may vary depending on what materials you already have, and if you need to hire someone.
You can also build yourself a modern table in the same manner, with preordered kits.
Jennifer D. Simon has spent the last 26 years studying and practicing nutrition science. She has used a larger part of this time in improving people’s livelihoods. She has done so by coming up with unquestionable ideas on how to tackle food problems in her community. Read More