As a Christmas gift, we wanted to build my soon-to-be in-laws a farmhouse kitchen table out of reclaimed barn board.
For the table top, I wanted to use something with a lot of character and history. The more knots, scrapes, rusted nails, the better. For the top materials, I made a trip to Historic Lumber, just north of Milton. They reclaim materials from old barns and farmhouses around Southern Ontario. Really cool stuff.
This is always a fun part of the project for me.
I had a pretty specific idea of the size and style of legs I wanted to use, but since I do not have the room (or $5,000) to blow on a lathe, the next best option was to buy the legs at Canadian Wood Turners. Great service, fast delivery.
For the rails, I used some standard knotty pine. I used thicker material because the legs are removable. I just purchased the pine at Home Depot which generally has a pretty good selection. If you know a better place to by pine in the GTA, let me know
Measure twice, cut once. Especially when do you not have a lot of material to burn. I always like having drawings while I work to keep me on track. Thinking through a project is crucial because you can rethink something, but you can’t re-cut something.
CAD drawings are nice, but pencil drawings are more fun.
Next step is to cut the rails down to length.
To make the legs removable, I used a specific bracket (also from Canadian Wood Turners). To secure the brackets, a cut is necessary in the rails. To keep the brackets tight, I used a smaller saw – battery powered skill saw, then sanded them a little wider. This was enough to keep the brackets snug.
The brackets attach to the rails with screws, then bolt to the legs. This makes the legs easy to remove.
To add some detail with a shadow line, I wanted to add some interest on the bottom edge. I routered with a simple ogee bit.
For the leg and bracket combination that I aam using, it would be cleaner to cut a flat portion of the legs. If you were cutting a large number of legs it might be easier to set up the table saw, but here I used a table vice that is older than me, and has seen a lot of projects.
To hide all fasteners, I used a pocket hole Kreg Jig. Awesome jig. This makes it nice and clean for fastening the top pieces of the table, as well as fastening the rails to the top.
Often I spray furniture, but in this case I opted for a brush, for a few reasons – CIL furniture paint is really good with a brush, it was too cold to paint outside with a sprayer, and I wanted the option of refinishing some existing chairs later.
The key to any good paint job, is all in the sanding.
Next, find a minion to help you paint. I prefer pretty ones.
A coat of primer before painting and a light sanding in between really makes a difference.
If available, make sure there is a mascot to cheer you on.
Now that the legs and rails were done, it was time for the tabletop. First step is to cut the boards down to an approximate length. I kept them long for now, to cut to exact size once the three boards were glued and screwed together.
To get a clean edge for glueing, I ripped down the edges, then ripped a piece in half to cap the edges. Notice the three middle pieces are still long.
I used the Kreg Jig to cut pocket holes for screws. Screws help line everything up, but the glue actually has most of the strength. My clamps are not long enough for this table top, so I used ratcheting straps to hold everything together while the glue sets. Once clamped, but before the glue dried, I screwed the boards together.
Here is where it starts to make sense why I left the edges long. It would be nearly impossible to get a clean edge otherwise, so after the glue dried I used a straight edge and skill saw to cut it down to the exact length.
Next I glued and screwed the end caps.
Since the old barn board was pretty rough, I wanted to sand it down enough to be a clean table surface, but not too much that it would take away any of the character.
Once the sanding was done the next step was applying 3 layers of clear coat. I experimented with stain, but the nicest finish was a simple clear to highlight the surface.
Once the top was dry, I dry fit the legs and rails.
Square everything up before gluing and screwing the rails to the table top.
My only complaint about the brackets is that they needed some squaring before fastening in. They were a little bit racked which hurt my brain figuring out why the rails were cut to the proper size, the table top was square, but everything was a little skewed. With a little bit of persuasion, everything was solid.
After everything was fastened and dried, take a moment to look at the progress.
Thee legs receive a bolt that connects to the bracket. This makes the legs removable to make the table easier to move – crucial since this particular table was going to move a few hundred km. The bolts are quite thick, so pre-drilling a hole is critical to avoid cracking the leg down the centre.
Everything was moving great until now – the bracket kit was missing a bolt
Nothing a trip to the hardware store couldn’t fix. These bolts have a wood screw on one end that screws into the leg, and a machine screw on the other end that gets tightened to the bracket with a nut and washer.
I used an extra nut on the machine screw side to turn the bolt easier into the pre-drilled hole in the leg.
Once the bolt is secured, tighten it to the bracket.
And that’s it. All done!