Rustic Farmhouse Table Plans

Inspired by the farmhouse table design by Ana White and our friend’s the Young’s who built a similar table, I decided to try this project out. It’s a great project for an ambitious beginner and because it’s a “rustic” design, it’s a pretty forgiving project.

(P.s. If you like this post, check out my Rustic Farmhouse Bed)

Labor Day Dinner on the New Table!

There are tons of similar designs that you can find all over the internet – Pinterest is a great place to start for ideas – and in the trendy shops like Restoration Hardware. I took the primary design from Ana White and modified it slightly to fit in our kitchen.

Farmhouse table model in Google SketchUp

For this project, I first designed it virtually using Google’s SketchUp, because I’ve been wanting an good reason to figure out how to use the program and because I wanted to really get a good understanding of how the table is designed. I stuck with Ana’s design, however there are a couple areas where I would modify it if and when I make another one and I’ll mention those as I go through the project.

If you’re interested in playing around with my 3D model in SketchUp, you can access it here. This was a really helpful exercise for me as this is a great tool to explore and create other designs for other projects! If you download my model, you can also view the hidden geometry. I have a set of chairs from the warehouse positioned so you can see the spacing and seating for the table as well as another version of the table top using 1x lumber instead of 2x lumber (I ended up using 2×6’s and 2×8’s as in the original design, but contemplated using 1x’s for a little while).

[Update... I recently finished the accompanying bench which you can see here!]

Liz enjoying some homemade beignets on the new table!

As I worked through this project, I made plenty of mistakes and had to re-do a few things. I’ll let you know about the goofs so hopefully you can avoid both the mistakes and the accompanying trip back to Lowes/Home Depot and the additional expense!

Wood Supplies

I used pine boards and bought everything at Lowes. When you’re shopping for wood, you probably already know this, but make sure that you look at the wood you’re buying to make sure it’s straight. Also, pay attention to the 2x6s and 2x8s since these will be your tabletop. Unless you plan to paint it or distress it, you’ll want to get boards with a nice grain pattern.

  • 6 2x4s 8”
  • 3 2x6s 10”
  • 1 2×6 8”
  • 1 2×8 8”
  • 6 2×2 8”

On my first trip to Lowe’s for wood, I misread my own plan and substituted on my shopping list a couple 2x4s for what should have been 2x2s skirt supports. I didn’t realize it until I got all my wood cut so I revised the materials list above with 6 2×2’s 8″ each. You can probably eliminate 2 of the 2x4s, but I couldn’t remember exactly, so the wood list above will leave you with some extra 2×4’s, I just can’t remember exactly how much! The great thing about Lowes and Home Depot is that you can take back what you don’t use.

Tools & Hardware

  • 2 1/2″ wood screws (80)
  • 3″ wood screws (40)
  • 3/8″ wood dowels 2″ (3 packs of 20) – These are totally optional and probably a little overkill. I used them to secure the tabletop boards together instead of just screwing them to the skirt supports. This does add a bit of stability to the table (not that it needs much… this table is about as rock solid as they get!), but it also let me keep the table top in one piece and separate from the base of the table until after I stained both. Not to mention, I just wanted to learn how to join boards with dowels and this gave me a good opportunity! Again, it’s optional, but if you plan to stain the table top but paint the base, it’s helpful to keep them separate.
  • Wood Glue
  • Sandpaper – I used 90 grit to sand down some of the really rough spots on several of the pine boards and then 120 grit to get a smoother surface all over the table, but particularly on the top.
  • Electric Hand Sander – It would be tough to sand this table without an electric sander!
  • Circular Saw
  • Miter Saw – This is optional. You’ll definitely need the circular saw since most Miter saws won’t cross cut a 2×8 and may be barely big enough for a 2×6. But it’s very handy for chopping the 2x4s and 2x2s and getting a perfect 90° angle.
  • Tape Measure
  • Carpenter’s Square
  • Drill (with a Countersink Bit!)
  • Dowel Jig – Optional if you want to use the dowels. If you don’t know what you’re doing with this, I’d recommend not using the dowels.
  • Wood Clamps (have a look at my pictures to see how I’m using them so you can get sizes that work for you)
  • Sawhorses
  • Eye Protection

I’m also assuming you have some kind of work bench to use. If not, get a piece of plywood or MDF to lay on top of a couple sawhorses for a makeshift table. It will come in handy!

Finishing Supplies

  • Wood filler (I used this for filling in the slight gaps where the 2x6s and 2x8s came together on the tabletop. Make sure you check to see that you can stain the wood filler)
  • Wood conditioner (to help get an even stain on pine)
  • Stain
  • Polyurethane
  • 400 grit sandpaper (or fine steel wool)
  • Tack Cloth
  • Pain Brush
  • Cotton Rags

Main Table Dimensions

Showing the tabletop and the base separately so you can get an idea of the construction.

At this point, I’ll piece together the project the way I did it. While I walk through the cutting and assembling for the purpose of this plan post, in reality I cut everything up front and sanded all the pieces before assembling the table.

Sanding all the wood (yes, all of it) is not only intellectually stimulating, it’s also unbelievably fun.

Also note that I use both wood screws and wood glue to assemble the table pieces.

Cut and Assemble the Table Legs

The key here is to cut and notch out each of your pieces together so they will fit precisely.

Also, remember that the legs on each side of the table need to mirror each other, so don’t assemble all 4 pairs exactly the same way. The top notch on the post in the picture to the left should always be on the inside of the leg post. That’s where the apron will sit.

When attaching the 2x4s together, use both wood screws and glue. I also used a countersink drill bit to get the screw below the surface and then fill in with wood filler.

To notch the 2x4s, secure them to a work surface and make cuts 1 1/2″ deep then use a chisel to remove the notch.

 

Secure legs to a work surface and make 1 1/2″ cuts to notch.

Clean out the notch using a chisel. The wood pieces will come right out. Make sure that chisel is sharp!

The four legs. Note the way they mirror one another.

An example of countersinking the screws. This one is a little deep, but you get the idea…

Cut and Assemble the Table Base

Assemble the Table Apron

Assemble the table apron with 2x4s and 2×2 supports.

The most important thing about assembling the table apron is getting it square. To make sure it is, measure it from corner to corner (creating an X with your measuring). If each corner to corner measurement is exactly the same, your good to glue and screw. Otherwise re-check all your board lengths.

It’s always good to have a helper when you’re building things!

The Table Top

For the table top, I used 7 2x6s running lengthwise and then 2×8’s running crosswise at each end for a nice breadboard effect. I changed the Ana White plan slightly here in 2 ways. First, I wanted to add some additional stability to the tabletop so that I didn’t get any buckling of the boards and could also build the table top as a separate piece from the base of the table. Second, I didn’t want to have any holes on the tabletop so I secured the table from the underside using 2 1/2″ wood screws through the apron supports.

Table top boards and dimensions

To secure the tabletop planks and the end boards I used dowels. This is an optional step and if you choose to go this route, then you need to get proficient with a dowel jig (another option is a biscuit joiner if you have one of these).

Preparing the table top

Using dowels to join the 2x6s

Using the dowel jig

After attaching the tabletop boards using the dowels and wood glue on all surfaces being joined, I used wood filler to fill in the gaps between the boards. One helpful tip with the wood filler is to make sure the product you use will accept stain. I used Elmer’s wood filler. The Liquid Nail product isn’t stain able. Putting the wood filler in is a messy process no matter how you try to put it in. Once the wood filler dries, sand it down so that it’s smooth and level.

It may be a temptation to not use wood filler because it’s tedious, messy & kind of a pain, however if you have some gaps (left by slightly beveled edges of the 2x6s) between the boards, that’s a magnet for attracting bits of food and grime and will be a pain to clean, especially if you have kids! There’s also the chance that spilled milk might seep through the micro space between the boards, no matter how tight your joints.

I didn’t have clamps big enough to secure the tabletop after putting it together so I improvised!

Once I completed the tabletop & secured it to the base by turning the entire table upside down so as to accurately center the table base and screw it to the underside of the tabletop, it was time for the finishing work.

Attaching the table top

My finishing consisted of an initial coat of wood finisher, then stain, then 3 coats of polyurethane. A tack cloth is really helpful here as you’re preparing the surface for either staining or between coats of polyurethane. You’ll also want to make sure that you do your finishing in a dust free environment (or as close to it as you can get).

I started with sanding the entire table top again. Yes, I know I sanded each board individually, but wanted to make sure I smoothed out any differences between the boards once the tabletop was completed. Then added the wood filler and sanded again after it was dry. Clean up all the dust with a tack cloth.

Plan your finishing so that you can apply the stain immediately after applying wood conditioner. These 2 steps need to be done together. The wood conditioners that I’ve worked with need to have stain applied before the conditioners dry completely or else they won’t accept the stain.

Apply stain immediately after putting on the wood conditioner

Test out different stains on some scrap wood (make sure you use some wood conditioner first) so you can see what the final product is going to look like. If you’re married, I highly recommend agreeing with your spouse on the stain before putting it on! That will likely save you a lot of grief… sanding down what you’ve created so you “get it right this time.” Experiment with different colors and also with staining one color on top of another. You can get some pretty cool effects depending on what stain you put on and how long you let it sit before wiping it off.

Once the stain is dry, apply your polyurethane according to the directions. I used 400 grit sandpaper between coats. I should also mention that I used polyurethane on the entire table, not just the tabletop. A friend of mine gave me a great tip: For the last coat of polyurethane, consider wiping it on with a rag. This will get a very minimal coat and will dry quickly, minimizing the chance that a speck of dust may get on the table and mar the finish.

Here’s a picture of the final product:

Finished with the stain and polyurethane!

Enjoying some beignets on the new table!

Dinner on the new table!

Next project is a bench to accompany the table

Also, below are pictures of the finishing products that I used.  Minwax Early American 230 stain, the Cabot wood conditioner and the Minwax Polyurethane:

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26 Responses to Rustic Farmhouse Table Plans

  1. James says:

    Great table, you did a beautiful job! I’m working on a similar table (as a total beginner) and have a question… How important is the wood filler between the boards on the table top? I’m nervous that wood filler won’t take the stain the same way as the wood, and won’t the poly (after a few coats) begin to fill in some of the gaps between the boards?

    Again, beautiful work!

    • Ed says:

      Hi James, thanks for the note. Here are my thoughts on the wood filler. First of all, the filler is a preference. It doesn’t do anything structural; it’s purely cosmetic. If you use hardware store lumber (like I did) from Home Depot or Lowes, it will not be totally square. So there will be gaps of varying degree between the boards. Personally, I think that leaves an unfinished look, but it depends on what you’re going for. Also, if you have kids, you will have spills that drip through and grime that works its way into the cracks of there’s no filler there. So to me the filler accomplished a couple things. It gives the table a nice finished look, it “liquid proofs” the table top and it also makes for a surface that’s easier to keep clean. I used the Elmer’s Interior and Exterior Wood Filler Max and it took the stain I used pretty well. That being said, my stain was a pretty light one so I don’t know how it would do with a darker stain. You could always test it with some scrap wood. My other word of advice is if you do use wood filler, assemble the table and let it acclimate to your interior environment (i.e. humidity). That way the wood has already swelled or shrunk before you apply the filler and it hardens. It’s possible that the poly may fill in some gaps, but they’d have to be really thin gaps and you’re likely to have more gaps than you think you will. I hope your project comes together well. I think this is a great project for a beginner.

      • James says:

        Thank you! That’s great information and exactly what I was looking for. I’ll definitely be using the wood filler, thanks for the help!

  2. Leigh Anne says:

    Love the table! Our concern is leg room sitting at the head of the table – thoughts?

    • Ed says:

      Hi Leigh Ann, thanks for the post. I assume you’re referring to the cross support at either end. It hasn’t been a problem for us. This is our primary family table for most meals. I usually sit at the head – I’m 6′ & my son is about the same – so we both need a little leg room. Rarely I’ll put my legs over the the support if I just feel like stretching out a little, but most of the time I sit there normally with no problem. The breadboads on the ends have enough of an overhang that we can sit there without even thinking about it.

  3. Jeremy says:

    Ed, I am building the bench right now and attaching the bench top from the bottom through the apron skirt and supports. The boards I am using are about as straight as you can hope for from a home depot lumber pile but they are still causing a bit of warping when I screw them on. The base is square before I attach and after I attach the top one of the legs is up about a 1/4 inch (I am attaching each of the top board separately). Do you have any ideas other than planing the top boards?

    Thanks,
    Jeremy

    • Ed says:

      Sounds like the bench seat is your problem. Another option may be to use a small shim to compensate for the 1/4″. Also, when you’re done you can put some felt pads underneath the legs of the bench. They’ll protect hardwood floors and will also help absorb any remaining minor differences due to warping.

  4. ed says:

    Thanks for sharing..bookmarking this page with the goal of building my first farmhouse table…

  5. CP says:

    I am going to extend the length of the side pieces from 57.5 to 72 inches so I can seat three people in a space of 24 inches each vs the 19 as the table plans show.
    I am also going to add a board on the outside of each side that will add addional support to the peice on each end. As it is only resting on about 1.5 inches and maybe has a few short dowels connecting it

    • Ed says:

      Yes, 72″ is the better length, but that wouldn’t fit in my kitchen. Would love to see pix of your final project. Good luck. It’s a great table plan.

  6. PCH says:

    Ed- I’m finishing up a farmhouse table that my wife found on the Ana White site (http://ana-white.com/2012/11/plans/triple-pedestal-farmhouse-table). I plan on attaching the top after staining, as you did, but I’ve become concerned about just screwing the top to the frame because of all I’ve read today about wood movement (expansion/contraction due to moisture). Are you concerned about your top splitting over time? This is my first project so I’m not sure what to expect or if all the fancy table top attachment hardware that allows for movement is necessary. Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

    • Ed says:

      First off, that’s a really cool table! I need a good excuse to build one! As for securing the tabletop, I haven’t had any problems with screwing the tabletop onto the base. That being said, I’ve got pretty consistent interior temperature/humidity; environment certainly makes a difference. But it’s certainly not a bad idea to use a fastener such as this one. It definitely can’t hurt, although I haven’t personally used them. But if I can come up with the right opportunity to build this one, I’ll likely give them a try.

  7. Mike says:

    Stupid question, but how easy is it to take apart to get it through doors? Looking over the construction, it looks like the legs come off by just removing a few screws?

    • Ed says:

      The way I constructed it, you can detatch the the tabletop from the base. That also made it a bit easier to finish the base. There are quite a few screws securing the tabletop from the underside, but I wanted to be able to remove the top if I needed to. That being said, you can actually get it through most standard doors by turning the table on it’s side and carrying it without having to detach it.

  8. Suellen says:

    If I may ask, how much did this project cost all together? Nice work!

    • Ed says:

      The total wood & hardware/supplies bill was around $250 & I got everything at Lowes. That doesn’t count any tools needed though, so you’ll want to go through my list of necessary items and make sure you have everything. I tried to list our everything that I used in the project, even the little stuff. Thanks for stopping by & for the comment!

  9. alex says:

    love the table and hope to start building one in the near future. however, i was wondering how important the middle beam on the bottom (57.5″) of the table truly is. I’m thinking of trying to create a leaf extension table…but to do so I would need to not include the bottom beam.

    • Ed says:

      Great question! The middle beam is designed for stability of the table. You could leave it off, but you would need to add some reinforcement to the legs at the base o the table. The design is pretty sturdy, but I’d recommend some blocking and possibly modifying the design to use 4x4s instead of the 2×4 combo for the legs. I’d love to see your final design if you make it extendable. I’ve been thinking of a similar design myself.

  10. Mike says:

    Hey there,
    Honestly, I’m a bit confused on how you did this. Reading your plans, I’ve noticed that your blueprint reads 1/2 inch short on the width of every single piece–including the notches for bottom support. Did you really go through every board and cut it down 1/2 inch? If not, will you please explain to me how you might have done this? I’m hoping to build a table for my parents within the next few days before christmas.

    Thanks

    • Ed says:

      Hi Mike, thanks for stopping by. You’re probably referring to the 2×6 pieces that make up the majority of the table top. The difference is that standard pieces of 2×6 pine lumber that you buy at Home Depot or Lowes actually measure 1 1/2″ thick by 5 1/2″ wide. So even though they are called “2×6″ their actual measurements need to be taken into account when creating a plan. While the differences vary among cuts (i.e. 2x8s are really 1 1/2 x 7 1/4) you need to account for them when building the table. The SketchUp model that I built is the actual measurements. Does that help?

    • Ed says:

      Hi Mike, I hope you were able to make some progress on your table project. I just updated the post with links to a matching bench. Good luck!

  11. tim says:

    Hey there,

    I am very technical but do not have patience. Was looking around how to make a map for a html dreamweaver website I have. Saw your interactive map – best yet – but I do not have the patience to create one and learn other software. My project map is for aviation and would like to know if you would like to contribute a US map creation. Would send people to your site with who it was created by.

    Thanks

    • Ed says:

      There’s a link to a US map in the tutorial that may work for you. It is in an Illustrator format and is quite good. It can also be easily modified.

  12. GLC says:

    what color stain did you go with for the table? looks great!

    • Ed says:

      Thanks for the note! If you could see it in reality it would look even better. The camera doesn’t do it justice as far as being able to see the stain effect. For the finish, I used Minwax Early American 230. I sampled a lot of different stains and even tried combining a couple, but this gave a really nice finish that wasn’t too light or too dark and had what I thought was a “classic” look.

      I used a Cabot Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner first. Then after applying the stain itself (I ended up applying 2 coats of the stain to get a little richer finish), I used the Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane in a clear satin finish. I added some pictures to the end of the post to see exactly the products I used.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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