Well, I received word that I was not the successful candidate for the writing position. If you are behind, I applied to be a writer for a DIY site where I made it to the final stage of the interview process. Basically, it came down to the photography component of the post I submitted for a sample piece. I’m not sure what their problem was though. I guess they weren’t interested in seeing  my slippers in pictures or when I upgraded to my deck shoes! I thought the fact that my father-in-law’s white, old man, New Balance sneakers are in several pictures would have made me a shoe in (see what I did there?). It could have been the shot with half my dog in a picture or it might have been because I did the build in my in my basement with couches and other things clearly visible in background that lead to me not being successful. I guess it could have been the gas cans too.

Regardless, I knew photography was a major component of the job and I dropped the ball. Or did I drop the ball? I’m really just learning a pile of things all at once. Last week I did go out and buy myself a pretty nice camera and I’m really going to work on and learn more about photography. Like when to not have my feet in a picture, and when to move the cat dish out of the way. I will be the best photographer of wood in no time!!! The great Albert Einstein said it best:

“Once you stop learning, you start dying”

HOWEVER, they are still interested and there is a possibility of me writing some one-offs or even a series for them. So, they are saying there is STILL A CHANCE!!!

Below is my article I submitted for the position.  I had already written about it but this is a How-To build or just look at the pictures for a laugh.

How to Build a Modern Barn Board Kitchen Table

So, my in-laws packed up their things and moved 600 km (372 miles) to be closer to their two daughters, grandchildren and of course, me 😉  When they sold their house, their kitchen table didn’t make the move. In need of a new one for their newly renovated home, they asked their average looking son-in-law to build them one! I was rather skeptical of this build because they can be picky (there goes my Christmas present). That’s not a bad thing! They know what they want and know what they like, but when you are a novice woodworker you second guess your skills.  Plus, it would also be a little awkward to put hours of hard work and beer money into a build that just didn’t suite their style. It could end up on Kijiji, yet (Kijiji is similar to Craigslist). Keep an eye out- you’ll get a killer deal !

But really, I wanted to build them something that was incredible! I may not be the best woodworker (yet) but it is pretty special to build a piece of furniture for the people you love. A kitchen table is a place where people gather to eat, drink and banter. I wanted to knock this one out of the park and craft the best table I could. Even if there are a few mistakes in it, they are my mistakes and I am proud of them!

Let’s get into the build process.

 

Materials and Tools

Tools

  • Table saw
  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • Orbiter sander
  • Kreg pocket hole jig

 

Materials

  • (11) 6 foot long 1 x 6 barn boards (table top)
  • (2) 8 foot long 2 x 4 (skirt)
  • (3) 6 foot long 1 x 6 boards (brace)
  • 1 1/4” long  pocket hole screws
  • Wood glue or construction adhesive
  • Minwax Polycrylic
  • Paint brush
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • 4 hairpin legs

Step 1-

You can find old barn board just about anywhere. My local Home Depot actually sells some, but I picked up some old barn boards from Reclaimed PEI (I’m from  Prince Edward Island which is on the east coast of Canada. Support local!). Once I got all the lumber,  I ran both sides through the table saw, taking 1/8th’’ of the edge off. I did this so that when I put them together they would fit together perfectly. They didn’t.

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Ripping the edges off.

 

Step 2-

I laid the boards out and decided which colours would look and fit together the best. I then flipped them over and got out my trusty Kreg jig. This thing is super easy to use and is a dream. I marked my lines out every seven inches and drilled my pocket holes. I used 9, 1 ¼” pocket hole screws per board. Here is a link from the legend, Steve Ramsey, on how to use a Kreg jig.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvO6zaIUO18

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Step 3 –

Once I had my 9 million pocket holes screwed into my table top, it was time to build the base. The table top was still quite flimsy so this part reinforced everything. I ripped some 4” pine boards down to 2”.  The base of the legs are 2” wide so they were a perfect fit. Since my table is a square ( 5′ X 5′ ) I built my base 6” smaller on all sides to factor in the width of the skirt. I also drilled pocket holes into the base so the skirt could attach directly to it. It made it a lot easier thinking a few steps ahead.  I also squared off the ends of the table at this stage. I used a straight piece of lumber as a guide and ripped it to the final dimensions using my circular saw.

 

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A couple of pocket holes

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Making sure the legs fit my base before I squared off the ends of the table.
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I attached more braces to insure this thing would be a beast.

 

Step 3-

Attaching the base to the table top. I knew I needed my base to be 6 inches away from all sides so I just measured and put pencil marks on the bottom of the table top where it would be attached.  Next, I flipped over the base and used construction adhesive. Normal glue would work fine too, but this is a little stronger. I actually messed up this part and glued the wrong side. Thankfully, I caught my mistake before I ended up gluing it together. So, I glued and screwed the base to the table top. I used a lot of screws because I wanted to make sure everything was really secure. The screws really helped suction the adhesive to the base, too.

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That’s me gluing the wrong side.
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Still gluing the wrong side
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flipped it over, lined up the corners and put another 9 million screws in.

 

Step 4-

The next step was attaching the legs and skirt. I ripped the skirt from rough/weathered 2 x 4’s. They were full of nails which wasn’t ideal for my saw blades, but I needed new ones anyway. I had already put pocket holes in the base for the skirt so I used my construction adhesive and screwed them in. They aren’t going anywhere!  The legs are supper easy to install. Six screws and ‘Bob’s your Uncle’ or my case, father (my dad’s name is Bob).  I got the legs from http://www.tablelegs.com. They have all kinds of different makes and sizes.

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ripping through nails and the skirt @ 2 inches
FullSizeRender
The skirt hides the table brace and the leg plates.

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The only time it's okay to look under a skirt
The only time it’s okay to look under a skirt!

 

Step 5-

The home stretch! I flipped the table over and it was time to do the fun part — sanding! I actually didn’t want to sand it right out of the gate because it would take the weathered look away from it. Instead, I put three coats of a clear polycrylic on first before the sandpaper ever touched it. The poly raised the fibers in the wood, so once I finished my third coat I sanded it down with 220 grit, using my orbiter sander. This knocked down most of the fibers, giving it a pretty smooth surface. I put four more coats on, hand sanding it with 220 grit between coats.

 

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Smooth like Jameson Irish whiskey

 

 

Step 6- 

The final product! I am supper happy with how this table turned out.  It’s a mix of rustic and modern. It’s not perfect but like my father says “We aren’t building a piano”! There is something to be said about building something for family. A piece of me is in this build (it’s actually blood, I cut myself on a nail). I hope everyone enjoyed this tutorial as much as I enjoyed building it!

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