Part 2 – Glue Up – Bread Board Ends
Part 3 – Butterfly Joinery – Prepping the Legs
Part 4 – Mortise and Tenon Joints – Understructure
Part 5 – Final Assembly
It’s taken three months of weekends, holidays, and spring break, but I’ve finally finished building our reclaimed heart pine farmhouse table. As you can see in the photo above, I have coated the table top (both sides – top and bottom) with five coats of polyurethane to protect the surfaces from water marks and scratches. The scratches are less of a concern because of all the nail holes. It is important to use the same type of finish and same number of coats on the top and bottom of your slab because you want the two sides to have the same relationship with the environment. That is, if the top has five coats and the bottom has one coat, the bottom will allow more moisture in and your table could warp into a bow. Sucks to be that guy.
I have decided to leave the understructure unfinished for a couple of reasons. First, the beams are not planed flat and I didn’t remove or fill in the blemishes like I did with the top. Making those weathered boards shiny might look out of place. Second, the understructure of the table has the exact look and character as the 7-foot shelf I built before I began the table, which is also unfinished. If we decide at a later time that we’d like to finish the shelf and understructure, we can.
Leg and joint details above and below.
After sanding with 32, 60, 120, and 220 grit sand paper, the 100-year-old beams have an incredible patina and are smooth to the touch – no splinters.
The photograph below shows the table top after it’s treatment with five coats of polyurethane. You can see the contrast in color between the sealed wood of the top and the unsealed wood of the understructure. I really like the contrast. What are your thoughts?
We set the table with our new Fiesta dinner plates in yellow, blue cloth napkins, and wine glasses for supper club Saturday night.
Above, you can see the butterfly inlay I used to keep the deep crack in the table top from spreading. The crack is also filled with epoxy, giving it the dark color.
The center, wavy board in the table top is so full of pine resin that I’m sure it would catch fire with a single match, even after 100 years. The resin is what gives heart pine its wonderful smell, dark purple tones, and the southern name “fatlighter”.
Charlie seems to enjoy the table. However, I think she’s dissappointed that she can no longer lay out through the center of the table between our legs. We’ll post more as we continue to transform our dining room into the space we’ve always wanted. Look for heart pine picture rails coming soon. Thanks for reading -Robby
gorgeous! and super impressed!
Thanks Paralee. We’re really happy with it.
Looks good Robbie, and something that your kids can pass down thru generations because unlike the stuff that you buy at the furniture stores these days…that table will be there! I’ve got a shop table that I built for my Dad when I was in the 7th grade that I want to redo one of these days and also a set of bookshelves I built in college that I did some neat woodworking fits to make it come together that I need to reclaim from a shed that I have it stored in. Keep working at it and I’ll let you redo one of my mansions on wheels! lol
That would be an honor.
It looks beautiful! Great work!!! 🙂
Thanks Katherine. We need to have you and Brad down for dinner soon, now that we aren’t eating on a plastic card table any longer.
dang! that is amazing.
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man that table is amazing, i am just starting the exact model with same wood but little tighter grain, i was wondering what method you used for attaching the tob to the under structure, thanks for the detail and photos man, really helps
Thanks and I’m glad you like it. The top is actually so heavy that I never attached it. It just sits on the base and hasn’t moved an inch in five months. I bought some figure 8 clips from the old ACE hardware (you can’t get them at Lowe’s), but just haven’t taken the time, or had the need, to attach them yet. Good luck on your table. I’d love to see photos when you finish.
georgeous!!! I was wondering what you did on the top to deal with gouges and holes left from nails you removed.
Thanks for the comment David. I used a two part epoxy mixture (available at any hardware store) to fill in the nail holes on the top. I mixed small amounts at a time and used a clean nail to apply the epoxy into the holes. I used the nail just because it was around. You could use a toothpick or anything small. Just dip the nail or toothpick into your mixed epoxy and glop it into the hole you’re filling.
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Was your two part epoxy stained? Colored? I would like to used that same epoxy for my table I am building. Wood looks very similar to yours, and the way I am building it as well. Great job!
I did not stain or color the epoxy, but that is always an option. Looking back, there are places where I really wish I had stained the epoxy, as the clear epoxy just kind of bothers me. I had considered using ash to stain the epoxy on the recommendation of my woodworking neighbor if that helps.
Do you remember what brand and type of polyurethane you used? I am currently working on a reclaimed wood desk and I love the finish on your table.
Debating between oil based and water based at the moment. It seems the oil based makes it really brown.
I used a clear gloss finish, wipe-on poly by Minwax.
Water or oil based? How has it held up to use? If oil – has it darkened? Love what you’ve done!!!
The finish I used is oil based: MinWax wipe on poly. It’s held up really well for the last few years, with no noticeable darkening.
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Amazing. 🙂 what type of saw did u use to cut the beams?
I used a jointer to flatten one side, then a table saw on the other three sides. Thanks for reading.
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Hey Robby – great article and nice table! I am just starting to work with reclaimed heart pine..and having a real problem with the sap resin building up on my blades. Any ideas? Thanks!!
The resin was a problem for us during sanding. I went through a bunch of sandpaper after it got all gummed up. However, the resin never gave any of my blades any trouble.
Hi Robert, I’m really inspired by this table you’ve built. I’ve seen several similar tables that were DIY, but like yourself I want the professional look and the idea of using pocket holes doesn’t interest me. I have acquired similar size wood (oak barn beams 2.5x 7.5x 65ish). I was curious however how you attached the 2 frame pieces to the table legs. the stretcher also seems to use the same technique but I don’t know enough about wood working to envision what type of joint actually holds them together. Thanks in advance, Mario.
Hey Mario. Thanks for reading. Have you read the first four parts of this post? I explain the joinery in much greater detail in those posts. Let me know if that doesn’t help.
Thanks for the quick reply, yes I read all 5 parts and I noticed you used the butterfly/bowtie to fix cracks, used the dowels to join the bread board, and mortise and tenon for the long parts of frame to the legs joint. The only thing I can guess is that you used the same biscuit joints on the two lower short frame sections the way you joined the flat table top pieces…But it’s a guess, I kept reading over it but still didn’t see any mention or pictures of how you joined the two short lower frame sections to the table legs, or how you joined the stretcher to those same lower frame members. Thanks
AH! I guess I didn’t understand which part you were asking about. Those are attached using a simple open faced mortise. I cut out a section of each leg using a chisel, then glued the frame boards into the mortise using wood glue. The mortise is shown at the bottom of part 4, but there isn’t much description. I should go back and edit that section. I hope this helps!
How much overhang past the apron did you leave on the sides and on the ends of the table. I love the table and am about to start one using your posts as a guide.
thanks for your detailed instructions and pictures. i like that you can fit chairs in comfortably on either end, but i worry about the ends and breadboard being well supported by the base. How long does your table overhang the base? aesthetically i’d like a larger breadboard that what you used (yours looks like 4″, i’d like 6″ or 8″) and i worry about it bending downward over time from folks leaning on it at the heads of the table. Has yours bent at all? Also, have you still not had the need to attach the tabletop to the bottom? If someone wanted to attach it, what would you suggest? Brackets? pocket holes? thanks!!!
Our breadboard is 4 inches. The total overhang on the ends is about 10 inches. We haven’t had any sagging over the last three years and I haven’t had a need to attach it. I bought some figure 8 brackets to attach the top, which require cutting a mortise into the apron and screwing into the underside of the table top.
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