Dining Room Table Tutorial

21 Nov Dining Room Table Tutorial

I’ve had several inquiries as to how we made our table, so here’s the tutorial…kind of.  I say this because in the middle of making it I got sick, so my husband took over, and the step-by-step notes I had been diligently taken fell by the wayside. But hopefully this will give you some idea. 

Here is the original table-
To make the new tabletop, we alternated 3 2×10’s and 2 2×6’s running down the table.  These we cut to 66″.  The end cap pieces are 2×6’s.  The width of the table is 41″.  Since we used the existing table base,  we had to work with those measurements.  On the sides of the table, the top overhangs the base 2 3/4″.  On the ends it overhangs 5 1/2″.  My husband assembled the tabletop using screws, wood glue and wooden dowels.  He built the table late one night down at his shop, so I wasn’t there to take notes on everything he did.  Knowing I had a few other projects for him to do, I didn’t dare ask him to take the time to write everything down…got to keep the help happy! 🙂  But Ana White has a great site here that offers lots of detailed plans on building tables. Once assembled,  I filled the holes, sanded, sanded, sanded, and wiped it down.  Then we went “psycho” on it…hitting it with various tools to create dents and scrapes to make it look “reclaimed”.  Jim had an antique square nail that he hammered in across the boards, then pulled out, leaving the holes.
Meanwhile, I was on the experimental quest to find the perfect stain color.  While I am known for taking a paintbrush to anything and everything, this was my first attempt at using stain.  I was a little nervous, so a Saturday afternoon was spent trying different combinations out on scrap boards.
Definitely start out with a pre-stain wood conditioner. It prepares the wood for staining and allows the stain to go on evenly.  Don’t skip this step!  I applied it with a brush.
I started out with Minwax Special Walnut and Weathered Oak.  I also tried Classic Gray, but that was much to gray, as you can see on the left board in the photo below.  The board on the right shows the stain before I wiped off the excess.

After trying different layering options- Special Walnut on Weathered Oak, two coats of Weathered Oak, Special Walnut on Classic Gray, this is what I came up with:  I lightly brushed on Special Walnut and let it sit for 8 minutes, then wiped off the excess with a clean cotton rag.  After allowing it to dry (follow the directions on the can for drying time), I went over it with the Weathered Oak, leaving it on for 8 minutes then wiping off the excess.  I would definitely recommend testing your stain on large boards to give you a good idea of what it will look like.
It was at this point I got sick, and my husband offered to stain the table.  I’m not sure if he applied the stain on thicker or left it on longer, but it came out quite a bit darker than the sample piece. 
So I tried applying a coat of Classic Gray, but that left the table looking chalky and flat.
You can also see that it’s kind of splochy. So I sanded it down, but was still determined to get it lighter.  On a trip to Lowes, I found Rust-Oleum’s wood stain in Driftwood (sorry- no photo).  Thinking that a brush would apply too much of the stain, I rubbed a small amount on the table with a clean rag.  While it didn’t lighten the table, it did tone in down a little and gave it a faded look. It also got rid of the orange undertones.  On a side note, I wonder what the Driftwood stain would look like by itself…if you happen to try it, send me a pic! 
Finish off with this…Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane in Clear Satin.
They recommend 2-3 coats, sanding between each one.
 Throughout the staining/drying process, I took the shiny white table legs, gave them a good sanding, and applied two coats of Sherwin Williams Dover White in eggshell.

I learned from this project how important it is to write everything down, making notes on every step. You think you’ll remember, but you don’t!  And I need to take more photos.  I thought I had plenty of  photos of my sample boards, but between brushing on the stain, keeping an eye on the time and recording what I had put on each board, I forgot to take pictures.  This being our first staining project (and first time making a table!) I think it came out pretty well.  I’m definitely up for pulling a can of stain out in the future for another project.
For those of you who are planning on trying something like this, I hope this helps.  If you have any other questions, leave me a comment below.  And be sure to send me a photo of your finished project! I’d love to see what you’re working on!

Need help creating a home you love? Contact me about our design services.

No Comments
  • Elizabeth @ The Little Black Door
    Posted at 19:19h, 21 November

    I love that you went psycho on your table. 🙂 It turned out wonderfully. It looks great!

  • Linda {Calling it Home}
    Posted at 12:09h, 22 November

    This is really a beautiful table. I love how you keep going until you find what you like.

  • Michelle Woeller
    Posted at 14:23h, 22 November

    Thank you Elizabeth!

  • Michelle Woeller
    Posted at 14:27h, 22 November

    So often in design & decorating, getting it "right" comes with trial & error! Perfect example…when trying to style my awkward, triangular built-in shelves in the dining room, I tried multiple styling arrangements and none of them looked right. Then I saw how you styled your family room shelves- simple, often with just one large item on the shelf. I knew that's what I needed to do and…voila! it all came together! Thank you for your inspiration! Elle