Brought to you from our friend Tommy Sibiga:
This dining room table has been a labor of love…so to speak. It’s been fun to try out new tools and new techniques, and I’ve learned a ton for the next time around. This has really felt like the first time building something this substantial from the ground up. Here’s how it all started.
I recently came across the blog Ana-White.com. It’s an amazing resource for do-it-yourself builders with great detailed building plans. So far, I’ve used a couple plans for inspiration and techniques but have yet to follow one to a “t.” This is the original plan that led to motivating me to build the table. I also went to Restoration Hardware and checked out the table with my own eyes. I noticed a couple of crucial differences between the Ana-White plan and the actual Restoration Hardware table that I wanted to implement. The Restoration Hardware table used big, wide planks for the tabletop (so I used 4-2×12’s for the top), had big beefy table legs and cross beams (so I used 4×4’s), and I also really liked that it had two 15” extensions that could be added on (so I included that in my design).
The big problem with wanting to use 4×4’s for the legs is that nobody really sells 4×4’s unless they are pressure treated. I had to purchase a majority of the wood from a local mill, Siewers Lumber, which meant that it cost more than just using framing 2×4’s.
The first thing that I did was cut the 2×12’s, 2×8’s (for the breadboards), and 4×4’s to length. I then notched the 4×4’s out. Using my table saw, I set the blade to the height that I wanted and then made the first cut and the last cut. I then made subsequent cuts in between, hammered out the little slivers, and then swerved the 4×4’s around on the table saw to smooth it all out. I strategically left about a 1/4” for the 4×4’s to still out just enough to give it some definition. I did the same for the 2×4 that was the stretcher along the bottom. Once I did this, it created a really strong foundation that would hold together by itself.
Once I dry-fit it together, I went back and tweaked it some more to make it more subtle. I also then began the process of distressing it all, which included banging the legs on the concrete at the end of my driveway, hammering chains against the wood, hammering the wood, scratching with screws, etc. I also put a first coat of stain on things. Once the base was done, I focused on the tabletop. I used my Kreg jig for the first time to drill all the pocket holes on the underside of the 2×12’s. I spaced them out about every 12”. My plan was to construct the entire tabletop outside and then after I put together the base in the dining room, that I would move the massively heavy tabletop onto the base. The planks were heavy but one-by-one, I would place them together, clamp them down, clamp them together, and then screw in all the pocket screws.
To complete the base, I needed to cut, distress, stain, and use the Kreg jig to drill holes, for the side aprons and end aprons. I moved all of these pieces into the empty dining room and constructed the base. I also added some 2×4 support beams about every 24”. Once I had all that together, we hoisted the entire tabletop onto it.
I then attached the bread boards using all my clamps. Once that was done, I secured it to the base from the underneath. I countersinked some screws through the 2×4 supports and then also had some pocket holes through the 4×4’s. Once I had it all together, I decided to sand down some of the areas that weren’t quite flush.
After a test strip with Briwax, Special Walnut, and American Classic, I decided to go with the original Dark Walnut stain. But the good news was that it made the distressing a little more subtle. I also learned that I love Briwax wood wax. So after a coat of stain, I used the Briwax (Light Brown) to finish off the table top. The awesome thing about the Briwax is that it makes the table smooth and gives it a nice, consistent shine.
I did the same finish on the 15” extensions. Those were just two 2×8’s screwed together with the Kreg Jig. I then attached some 2×2 strips on the underneath to slip into the table. I notched out the base 1.5”x 1.5” to allow for a nice tight fit. I used my router to get it to the right depth. I also used the router for rounded-off edges on everything. Here’s the table with the extensions (total table length with extensions is 126”!)
Here’s how the extensions work:
Check out the final product!