Behind the Scene-How Ellie Created Her Rustic Dining Room Table

by Christine DemosSeptember 15, 2011

Our Rustic Dining Room Table

After nine months of pushing two small tables together, stealing chairs from other rooms in our house, and trying to come up with creative ways of “expanding” our seating options in the dining room, Tommy and I realized our old dining room table had to go. It sat six people, we needed it to seat sixteen.

We took a trip to Restoration Hardware and found a rustic Farmhouse table that we loved, but the $3,200 price tag just made us laugh ourselves out of the store. Beautiful table – definitely not in our price range.

Being the brilliant engineer and carpenter that he is, Tommy decided to build our own Farmhouse table, modeling it after the Farmhouse tables we had seen at Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn. Here is how he did it.

The Restoration Hardware table used big wide planks for the tabletop (so I used 4-2×12’s for the top), they also had big beefy table legs and cross beam (so I used 4×4’s), and I also really liked that they had two 15” extensions that could be added on (so I included that in my design).

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.  To notch it out, I used 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. This is what it looked like.

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Once I dried 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 real heavy but one-by-one, I would place them together, clamp them down, clamp them together, and then screw in all the pocket screws. This was my first time clamping things together….and I love it. I don’t think I’ll build anything else again without clamping.

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. Here’s what that looked like.

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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.

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I put another coat of stain on it to finish it off (Dark Walnut). I ended up not liking it and thinking that it was too dark. So I decided to sand the entire tabletop down.

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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 this 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 real smooth and gives it a nice consistent shine.
I did the same finish on the 15” extensions. BTW, 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”x1.5” to allow for a nice tight fitment. 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 lenth with extensions is 126”!)

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To see more of Ellie’s creations, visit her blog: tommy & ellie

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About The Author
Christine Demos
Christine is the Content Marketing Specialist for She's a small town girl at heart, who currently lives in Norfolk, VA with her husband and their fur baby. When she's not working, she enjoys cooking, decorating, traveling, and binge watching Netflix. As a proud Virginia Tech alum, she also loves cheering on the Hokies!