Yet Another Bench

I know, I know, ANOTHER BENCH?! REALLY? Here’s the deal. We replaced the top of our pipe leg dining table, and our old bench was looking sad in comparison. It’s unfair to give one kid a present, and then stiff the other one. So Mr. Bench got an upgrade.

If you remember correctly, this is what the old bench (& table) looked like:

The Table & Bench
The Table & Bench

We salvaged the pipe stretcher from the old bench, and got to work making new legs & a top. We wanted something a bit more industrial looking. The old bench was fine, but a bit traditional. So we searched for inspiration and found this on Pinterest:

I loved the chunky legs and thought it had the perfect shape. So we set to building our own version with a pipe stretcher.


Buy List:

1 – 2×12 x 6′ piece of kiln dried pine (same as our table)
2 – pine 2×2’s @ 8′ for aprons
2 – pine 2×4’s @ 8′ for the legs (make sure these are square edged 2×4’s, not rounded ones like you use for framing)
3/4″ dowel
Wood Glue
4′ pre-cut piece of 3/4″ gas line pipe (threaded on both ends)
2 – 3/4″ pipe floor flanges
2 1/2″ pocket screws

Cut List:

1 – 2×12 at 68″ (bench top)
2 – 2×2 at 48 5/8″ (aprons)
10 – 2×4 at 16 1/2″ (legs) if you can, set yourself a jig on your saw to make sure all the pieces are cut exactly the same size

First up, glue 5 2×4’s together with wood glue and clamps making one great big 4×10, repeat with the other 5 2×4’s (if you don’t have enough clamps, do one leg, then let it dry for a day, unclamp and do the other leg.)

Five 2x4's
Five 2×4’s glued together

To make sure those legs aren’t gonna move, we also strengthened them with dowels (and a few screws). We liked the way the exposed dowels looked on Daniel & Adelle’s table, so we opted for that route. After the legs have dried, mark 3″ up from the bottom of the leg on one end and mark the center of the board. Then drill a 3/4″ hole with a spade bit about half way through your leg. Ideally it would go all the way through, but to do that nicely (without any tear out) and straight you really need a drill press (which we dont have!). So we opted to do a dowel from each end.

Dowel Hole Drilled
Dowel Hole Drilled

After your hole is drilled, cut a piece of dowel a bit longer than your hole, glue & tap in place. Repeat for all the other sides of both legs and let dry.

Dowel Insterted
Dowel Inserted

To strengthen the top of the legs we used a 3″ counter sunk screw from either end. We pre-drilled the holes with a 3/8″ drill bit, inserted the screws, then filled the hole with a wood plug & some glue. If you must use screws on a project, using wood plugs will make them a lot less glaringly obvious.

Wood Plug
Wood Plug

Once all the glue has dried (another day) you can cut the dowels close to flush using a coping saw, chisel, hand saw, Dremel, or oscillating multi-tool.

Now it is time to make a few pocket holes for attaching the legs to the top. We put three holes in each leg (kreg pocket hole jig set to 1 1/2″ thick material).

Time to sand. I always find that it is MUCH easier to sand pieces like legs before installing them. As we needed to sand down the exposed dowels, we started sanding with 80 grit until the dowels were flush, then switched to 100, then 150 and finally 220 grit.

The apron pieces got 2 pocket holes drilled in each end (to attach to the legs) and a good sand as well.

Next up, attach the flanges to either end of the pipe and attach the pipe stretcher to the legs with screws. We used a scrap 2×4 to set the flanges up from the bottom of the legs.

Attaching Pipe
Attaching Pipe Stretcher

Next up, attaching the legs to the table and the aprons. Flip the bench top upside down and use it as a work table to attach the aprons. The aprons will give the bench even more strength, and stop it from wanting to shift sideways.  Once the aprons are attached to the legs, center the legs on the bench top, and attach the legs with the pocket holes you drilled earlier.

Attaching the aprons to the legs, and the legs to the bench top

Put in a few 2 1/2″ screws through the aprons into the top, and fill the Kreg holes with pocket hole wood plugs and glue.

Time to head back outside, give the top a sand, and an overall finish sand to the rest of the bench.

Bench ready for stain (there's painters tape over the pipe)
Bench ready for stain (there’s blue painters tape over the pipe)
Bench legs
Bench legs sanded and ready for stain

A coat of wood conditioner, two coats of Varathane Chocolate stain, and three coats of polyurethane later and this is what we’ve got. (check out my post on finishing wood here.)

Yep, I moved my nice new bench out into the dirty alley to take this photo.
Big legs are sexy. Men take note.
Benchy Bench Bench
Benchy Bench Bench
Bench & Table
Completed Bench & Table


Materials & Cut List:
(see above) – Wood from Downtown Lumber
Stain – Varathane Chocolate
Polyurethane – Minwax Oil Modified in Satin

Tools Used:
Miter saw
Kreg Jig
Orbital sander
Measuring Tape
Finishing Supplies

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

two out of five

Total Cost: $60 (for the new wood, we already owned the pipe, stain & poly)

Pipe & Wood Table V2

We loved our DIY Pipe & Wood table and bench. However, we started to fall out of love with it after living with it for a few months. In order to get the table done on a budget & quick timeline we used framing grade spruce lumber from the big box store. Over time the wet wood warped, and our table was looking a bit topsy-turvy. Oops. The framing grade spruce also had rounded edges, which made for serious crumb catchers between the joints. Thirdly, we used Tung Oil to finish the table, and after a while, the tung oil started to smell, well, like spoiled oil. Nowhere in all my research did I find anyone saying tung oil would smell like butt after a few months. Lesson learned. (Although as a finish the tung oil was doing otherwise great, not a single water spot or mark on the table, if you can get past the butt smell.)

Pipe & Wood Table

If you know me (and my neuroses) at all, you will know that I couldn’t just leave the table. I can live with dust bunnies rolling around the house becoming dust monsters, and I can live with dirty dishes in the sink, but a wonky smelly table? Not a hope.

So here it is kids:

DIY Pipe & Wood Table Version 2 (6’x 34 1/2″)

Lumber Buy List: (purchased from a local Home Hardware Building Center. Check your neighborhood to see if you have a Home Hardware Building Center or another lumber yard . They will carry a larger amount of lumber than the big box stores, at about the same prices.) If you’re in Toronto, try Downtown Lumber (a Home Hardware) or Central Fairbank Lumber.

3 – Kiln dried pine 2×12’s @ 6′  (square cut edges, not rounded ones)
1 – Kiln dried pine 2×2 @ 8′ (support pieces)

Cut List:

3 – 2×12’s @ 6′ (our lumber yard rough cut them to just over 6′, then we did nicer cuts with our sliding miter saw at home. If you do not have a sliding miter saw, or a circular saw that can cut through that thickness of wood, have your lumber yard cut it for you with their good saw, not their rough cut one.)

3 – 2×2’s @ 26″, cut to a 45 degree miter on either end.


Lay out your table top boards and decide which sides you want up. Make sure to flip the grain so that one board’s grain is up, and the next is down. When you have everything laid out (and square!) mark for Kreg pocket holes every 8″ or so on the bottom of 2 of your tabletop boards.  Using the 1 1/2″ thick wood setting, drill your pocket holes. (see how to drill a Kreg pocket hole here.)

Deciding on board layout
Deciding on board layout

Attach your tabletop boards together with wood glue and 2 1/2″ Kreg Pocket Hole screws. Make sure your table is square before attaching the boards together. (You can check it with a square and by measuring corner to corner diagonally. If both sides are the same, your table is square.) Wipe off any excess glue that may have squeezed up between boards with a wet rag before it dries.

Once glued and screwed, attach the support pieces. We put one in the middle, and two right behind where our pipe legs would go. The ends are cut to a 45 so that its looks nicer, and you’ll be less likely to whack your knee off it later. We used some 2 1/2″ screws to attach the supports, making sure we got at least 2 screws into each board. These support pieces will try to keep your table from warping. Remember wood is a living organism, and changes during high & low humidity and heat. So you can never guarantee your wood will stay exactly the same. (That’s why you leave an expansion joint on your hardwood floors, or else they might buckle.)

Attaching the supports
Attaching the supports
Table Supports
Table Supports

We also filled the pocket holes with Kreg wood plugs. You wouldn’t see the holes, but if you ran your hand along the underside of the table you would feel them. They also might catch on pants or stockings. The Kreg plugs are easy to use. A bit of wood glue and careful placement and they were done. After the glue dried we gave them a sand to ensure everything was nice and smooth.

Kreg Pocket Hole Plugs (we used paint grade as they would not be seen)
Kreg Pocket Hole Plugs (we used paint grade as they would not be seen)
Here they are in action
Here they are in action

Now its time to sand. I like to sand outside in the summer, so out the table went. We sanded away, then I stained the table and royally screwed it up. OOPS. Time to fix my mistake, and try again.

Table top sanded (for the second time) and ready for stain.
Table top sanded (for the second time) and ready for stain.

After the sanding came two coats of Varathane Chocolate Stain (check out my finishing post to see all my steps in sanding, wood conditioning & staining.)

Here it is after one coat. The second coat of stain (plus subsequent polyurethane) really bring out the depth of the wood.
Here it is after one coat of stain. The second coat of stain (plus subsequent polyurethane) really bring out the depth of the wood, which you will see in the finished product.

I can tend to get a wee bit anal retentive, so when it came to polyurethaning the table, I had to stop myself at 6 coats. Any more would be a bit cray cray. Realistically as long as you have at least three coats, you should be good.

Now to re-attach the legs from the old table. A bit of measuring to make sure its centered, and a few screws and we’ve got legs people.

Legs Legs Legs
Legs Legs Legs

Want to see what it looks like all finished?! (ignore my terrible lighting, the dining room is impossible to shoot in.)

Dum da da daaaaaa

Pipe & Wood Table
Pipe & Wood Table V2
Pipe & Wood Table
Yay! Smelly & Wobbly Table No More!

***UPDATE*** We also made a new bench to go along with the table. Check it out here.

Benchy Bench Bench
Benchy Bench Bench



Materials & Cut List:
(see above)

Tools Used:
Miter saw
Kreg Jig
Orbital sander
Measuring Tape

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

two out of five

Total Cost: $100 (for the new wood, we already owned the pipe, stain & poly)

Quick no Plan Project: Beer Can Carrier

Last weekend while Kristen was sanding a new project and I had little to do. Sure I could have helped. But why not whip together a quick project while she did all the boring work?

I have seen many beer/can carriers on the internet and decided to give it a try myself.

I started by measuring a can and adding some inches to the height to give some room for a handle (9 inches tall) and measured two cans beside each other for the width (giving a little breathing room for easy removal of frosty brews it came to 5 1/2 inches). Then I used a combination square to add 45 degree corners to the template (the flat top section is 1 3/8 inches).

Scribble on pieces you know will be scrap as a reminder.

After cutting out the first side of the carrier with the miter saw I decided I was happy with the size and traced the outline to the 2nd side.

Using the first side as a template for the second side
Both sides cut and ready to go

I measured and drilled a 3/4 inch hole in each side for the handle to pass though.

Tiny markings to show me where to drill.

DIY Tip: place a scrap board beneath your piece to stop tearout when drilling holes that will be seen or are large


I then lined up three cans and and measured their width and found that with a little breathing room 9 1/2 inches suited three cans quite well.

I found some poplar that was laying around the garage and cut 4 strips to 9 1/2 inches long and ripped two of them down to 2 5/8 inches to make the bottom of the carrier with a little gap on either side for the escape of any condensation that may build up and drip down the sides of my nectar vessels during transport.

Side pieces (left) and bottom pieces (right)

After all the pieces were cut they were sanded down to 220 grit and I attached them all together using some black finishing nails that were left over from ages ago when we made the Liquor Cabinet. Leaving a gap between the sides and the bottom (more condensation relief).

I then cut the handle (some 3/4 inch dowel left over from a project you’ll see in the future) to size leaving a little room for it to poke out just for looks and inserted it in to one side of the carrier. I then coated the inside end and the outside end of the handle with glue and slid the entire thing in to place so that no glue got where it shouldn’t be. (Wiping up any excess that squidged out.)

Can Carrier Assembled

I picked a random jar of stain (Minwax Weathered Oak) and set to staining. Then I hated the stain.


So I restained it darker using Minwax Jacobean.


Happy with the stain I set to four coats of Varathane Oil Modified Polyurethane in Satin finish. Using the process outlined in the finishing post.

Ta Da!

In all I think this probably took about an hour and a half including stain and finishing. The entire build only took about 45 minutes and was a great way to get me out of sanding other projects. AND now we have a great way to carry our Friday Libations out to the patio (or the park shhhhh).



Scrap Pine (1×6 x 2′)
Scrap Poplar (1/4″)
Scrap Dowel (3/4″)
Scrap Finishing Nails

Cut List:
2 – 9″x5 3/4″  – 1″ thick Pine
2 – 4″x 9 1/2″ – 1/4″ thick poplar (sides)
2 – 2 5/8″ x 9 1/2″ – 1/4″ thick poplar (bottom)
1 – 9 1/2″ dowel (handle)

Tools Used:
Miter saw
Combination Square
3/4″ Spade Drill Bit
Orbital sander
Measuring Tape

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

one out of five

Total Cost: $0!!!

Wood Finishing

***Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian Readers!***

When woodworking, the cutting, gluing and screwing is only half the job. The finishing is just as important (if  not more so). It’s also where you can make or break the project.

Yesterday we were working on a project in the garage and a visiting neighbor asked about our finishing techniques. If he was interested, I thought some of you may be as well.

So here it is, Kristen’s (not so expert) wood finishing techniques.

STEP 1. Sand, sand and then SAND SOME MORE!

Sanding Tools
Tools for sanding: Orbital or palm sander, and a variety of sanding pads

Sanding is a tedious but incredibly important step. If your wood is quite rough or has a finish that needs to be removed, I like to start with an 80 grit sandpaper, any wood that’s in good shape, I start with a 100 grit. We have both palm sanders and an orbital sander. I find the orbital does a quicker job (and its easier to change the sanding pads),and it is my preferred sander. Set up a work table in a well ventilated area and/or wear a breathing mask. Inhaling saw dust isn’t fun. It will leave your nose stuffy and your eyes scratchy. Some woods are poisonous too so make sure you know what you’re working with and it’s toxicity.

Start sanding your surface evenly with the grain, ensuring you do not press down on your sander (or it will cut scratches and grooves into your wood, which will show when you stain.) Sand with your first grit of sandpaper until your whole surface is evenly sanded, and you have removed any major imperfections. Then step up to your next grit (80, 100, 150, 220) until you reach 220 grit. If your sandpaper gets clogged, or looses some of its roughness, switch it up for a new piece. I like to sand everything up to 220 grit. It is worth the effort to have a perfectly smooth surface. Once you’ve sanded your whole project with 220 take a good look and make sure there aren’t any scratches or little swirly marks from your sander. If there are, make sure do go back and sand them before moving on. Do you have any end grain visible on your project? If so, I recommend sanding that to 320 grit. End grain sucks in stain like crazy, so sanding it to a higher grit will make it soak in less stain.

When you’re done sanding, rid your project of saw dust with a clean dry rag.

STEP 2. Staining

Staining Tools: Stir sticks, foam brushes, wood conditioner, stain & shop towel.
Staining Tools: Stir sticks, foam brushes, wood conditioner, stain & shop towel.

Now that you’ve spent a bucket of time sanding, you really want your stain to look nice, right? That’s why I always use wood conditioner on softwoods (pine, fir, cedar, spruce etc.) What is wood conditioner? It is like primer for wood, it penetrates the wood and preps it for stain. Essentially it makes it a bit harder for the stain to soak in to the wood. If you don’t wood condition the soft wood can absorb a lot of stain, quick, and become blotchy. Wood conditioner ensures it goes on nice and evenly.

So after your wood is sanded, apply an even coat of wood conditioner with a brush. I like to use foam brushes from the dollar store. They work great, are inexpensive, and you don’t have to worry about washing them. Wood conditioner is very runny, and you don’t need a lot, just get your wood wet. You will notice your wood darken a bit, that’s fine, just make sure you get even coverage. You also don’t need to pour it on, just one even coat. After you’re done let it soak in for a half an hour and all your wood conditioner should be soaked in. If it isn’t, wipe any excess off with a clean rag.

Now its time to stain. Give your stain a good stir with a stir stick (again I get a bag at the dollar store). There is usually a bunch of stain sludge at the bottom of the jar, make sure to give it a good stir. Apply your stain evenly with a foam brush. You don’t need a lot, just make sure you get even coverage, with a little pooling on the surface. Cover your whole project evenly. Let it sit 5-10 minutes, and then remove with a clean rag. I like to use Shop Rag (the blue (expensive) heavy duty paper towel at the hardware store). I also like to wear latex gloves when working with dark stain.  You want to wipe the wood with the grain, removing any excess stain. You will need to swap out your dirty rags with clean ones and keep going over your work until all the excess stain is removed and everything is even and pretty.

Leave your stain to dry for a day, then come back and give it a second coat. Really, don’t argue with me. One coat always looks okay, but two coats always looks BETTER. It doesn’t drastically change the stain color, but it does richen it. Makes the darks darker, and brings out more contrast. Just believe me, and do that second coat! You’ll thank me later.

STEP 3. Protect it!

Protecting Tools
Protecting Tools: Oil Modified Polyurethane, stir sticks, foam brush & 320 grit sandpaper

There are lots of different finishes for woodworking, and I could write a ginormous post on all the options. However for the sake of your sanity, I will cover one technique here; Polyurethane. My favorite poly at the moment is Minwax Oil Modified polyurethane. It acts like an oil based, but cleans up like a water based and has a re-coat time of 2 hours.  Woot woot. Now that you’re project is all stained pretty like, make sure its free from dust, dirt and debris, and that you have a good place to poly it that is nice and clean, and not too hot or too cold. I actually like to poly in my diningroom as strange as it may sound, but its free of dust and is climate controlled.

Now that your surface is prepped, gently stir your poly. DO NOT SHAKE IT. Bubbles are your enemy, and you need to do everything to keep them away from your project. So stir, not shake. Once your poly is mixed up, use a clean foam brush (the larger the better, but make sure it fits into your can.) Apply the poly in a light even coat with the grain. Work quickly, but gently as to not make bubbles. Once you have laid on your poly, leave it be. Don’t go back over it, it starts to level out and dry almost instantly, and back brushing it even a few minutes later can muck it up. So put it on and leave it alone.  Don’t even look at it. Also be careful with the poly you will see drips, so don’t load up your brush too much. I like to get the first half inch of the brush wet, that’s it. Thin coat, light touch, no drops, no bubbles, and leave it be. Got it?

Once the whole thing is evenly covered. Walk away and leave it for two hours. Don’t watch it dry and freak out that its drying unevenly. Just leave, get a coffee, and come back.

Two hours later and you’re ready for your second coat. You run your hand over the surface and freak out because its all rough again! What about all your work sanding?! DOESN’T IT KNOW HOW MUCH TIME I SPENT SANDING?! Don’t worry, this is normal. Polying raises the grain of the wood. It will only take a few minutes to fix. Grab a piece of extra fine sandpaper. I like 320. GENTLY sand the surface by hand, making sure not to sand all the way through your poly (just barely touch the surface).  It will start to turn a bit white, and make white dust, don’t worry that’s normal. When your whole surface is nice and smooth again, and you’ve sanded off any of the bubbles or drip marks, it’s time for a second coat. Grab a new piece of Shop Towel, and get it damp (not soaked, just damp) and wipe your whole surface, removing any of the sanding dust. You may need to get a second rag to give it another once over. Once its clean again, give it another light coat of poly. Let it dry, and then repeat the sanding (although this time it will be much less to sand) and follow up with a third coat of poly. Three coats is usually enough, but I like to give a couple extra to tabletops and other high traffic surfaces. After your last coat, let it dry for at least 24 hours before using.

You should have a perfectly smooth, professionally finished project that looks and feels amazing. Now pat yourself on the back, and have a drink. You deserve it.

Lazy DIY’er

I feel like I haven’t accomplished a darn thing in the last few weeks. I have been working, albeit slowly. Summer finally kicked in, and we’ve been sweltering the last week.  When it comes to working in a blisteringly hot garage with no windows, or sitting on the deck with a daiquiri….well you can guess which one wins out.

The projects we have been working on are slow and steady, but hard to show progress until they’re done. It’s one of those, put a coat of stain on, let it dry for a day, put another coat on, let it dry for another day, then a coat of poly, dry for a day, sand, another coat, repeat. Before I know it a week has went past and I really don’t have much to show for my work.

Stain FINALLY done...
Stain FINALLY done…

The other project we’re working on has come to a standstill as it requires more wood (aka a 8km walk to the lumber yard, in the sweltering heat for ONE BOARD.) Then it needs to be glued, and drilled, and glued again. Here’s a little sneak peek.

Gluing and Drilling
Gluin’ and Drillin’…

I feel like I want some instant gratification. Like I may have to paint something, just to show some progress!

What about you, got any projects halfway done? Are you a serial half–task-do’er?

Fixing Your Mistakes

Making a mistake sucks. I usually try to research the heck out of a task, and measure twice cut once et al. However sometimes you just screw the pooch, no matter what prep you did. Some mistakes are easier to fix than others. Removing stain off a table top is not one of them. If you remember last week I screwed up staining some costly wood. This is what my disaster looked like. In the words of Sheldon Cooper; Bazinga.

Stain problem
This is what happens when you wipe your wood with a dirty rag before staining…

We subsequently spent the last week trying to correct my mistake. Out came the 80 grit sandpaper and two orbital sanders and El Granto and I got to work. We sanded and sanded, then sanded some more.

Sanding off Stain
About half of the stain sanded off

The stain finally removed, we switched to 100 grit, then 150, then finally 220 until our wood was back in ready to stain condition.

Sanded wood
All the stain sanded off, ready to be stained again

Time to try this again. This time I used our sawdust broom (aka a $2 hand broom from Ikea) to remove any dust. Next came a coat of wood conditioner. (If you’re staining softwood such as pine, this step really helps you get an even finish.) Let the wood conditioner soak in for a half hour. Now it’s staining time. Apply a nice even coat of stain, I usually let it soak in for about 10 mins, then take it off with a CLEAN rag. I like to wear latex gloves for this step, as it makes me look way less like a mechanic when I have to go to work the next day.

Here’s what our project was looking like after my second attempt at staining it.

Staining take 2
Staining Take Two

Now here’s a little before and after.

Stain problem
The proper stain

All told, it took about 6 hours of sanding & refinishing to fix my mistake, and about $10 worth of sandpaper disks. Had I not been working with $100 worth of lumber I probably would have declared it firewood and started again.

It certainly feels good to have the project back on track, even if we did loose a week fixing my mistake. Hopefully I can get some more staining & polyurethaning done during the week, and knock this off before our summer vacation.

Wondering what my project IS? Not telling, you’ll see it soon enough. Muh ha ha.

Staining Fail

Saturday a load of lumber was purchased from the lumber yard, and trip was made to the hardware store for supplies. Sunday was spent cutting, gluing, screwing, sanding and culminated with applying the first coat of stain on our current project. I let the stain soak in, then wiped it off.
This is what I saw:

Stain problem
UGH! Whats that?!

(Insert four letter expletive here)

What happened? No idea. Very clearly something was wiped on the wood that has left this mark. Best guess was that I used a rag to wipe off the wood before staining. I am guessing that there was something on the rag, that left residue on the wood, and mucked up my stain.

Obviously this can’t stay this way. So what’s next? Spend another several hours sanding and hopefully remove the swipe mark. Then re-stain and cross my fingers.

The moral of this story? It’s not always easy, things go wrong, we screw up, make mistakes. We’re human. I just happened to do it on $100 worth of 2″ thick, kiln dried lumber.

Stain screwup
Thats gonna be a whole lot of sanding…

What’s the biggest DIY screw up you’ve made? Wreck any projects lately? Were you able to fix it, or did you need to start over?

Farmhouse Table Reveal + Plans

Aaaaand were done! Daniel and Adelle moved into their new place and took their newly finished modern farmhouse table and benches with them. Mind you as much as we will enjoy our garage space back, we will miss working with Daniel and Adelle on this project! It’s different working with friends than a spouse, it’s laid back and there (usually) isn’t any swearing involved. Throw in a piña colada or two, and it’s a party with work involved.

If you missed the beginning of the project, check out part one, two, three, and four.)

So without further adieu, here is the table!

Farmhouse Table

Farmhouse Table

Farmhouse Bench

It fits perfectly in their narrow condo, and the benches hide away completely when not in use, making this table able to function as stand in kitchen prep surface.

Farmhous Table

The deep stain color works great with their white walls and light floors.

The table also does a mean job of holding a glass of wine or two (we had to test the table out…come on!)


The table is loosely based on the Ana White farmhouse table plans. (We changed size, removed the breadboard ends, and used dowels instead of screws for the table legs. ) For in depth instructions on how to assemble the table check out her plans here.

Farmhouse Table



Lumber Buy List:

5 – 2×4 @ 8′
3 – 2×10 @ 8′ (we used kiln dried pine from Downtown Lumber for the table top, it was worth the extra expense! If you cant find kiln dried pine, purchase spruce 2×12’s from your local hardware store, and rip down to 9 1/2″ wide removing the beveled edges while you’re at it (they will be huge crumb catchers if you leave them)
1 – 4×4 @ 10′ (if you cant find 4×4’s in untreated spruce or pine, use cedar)

Cut list:

4 – 4×4 @ 29″ (legs)
2 – 2×4 @ 78″ (long aprons)
2 – 2×4 @ 17 1/4″ (short aprons)
1 – 2×4 @ 85″ (stretcher)
2 – 2×4 @ 24 1/4″ (stretcher supports)
3 – 2×10 @ 96″ (table top pieces)


Cut all lumber to length.

With Kreg Jig set to 1 1/2″ material, drill one pocket hole every 8″ or so on one side of two of the table top pieces (the outside tabletop boards). Then attach the outside table top pieces to the center table top board with wood glue and 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws. (see our post on building the table top here.)

Drill Kreg Pocket holes on top and sides of all apron pieces. Make 2 holes on the ends, and a hole about every 8″ on the tops.

Notch out legs for the stretcher supports. Make notches 3 1/2″ high by 1 1/2″ deep positioned 6″ up from the bottom of the leg, and 19 1/2″ down from the top of the leg.

Notch out stretcher supports. Make one notch in the center of each stretcher support. Make notch 3 1/2″ wide by 1 1/2″ deep.

Assemble legs by attaching short aprons to legs (inset by 3/4″) then set stretcher support into leg notches, and attach with screws or dowels (see how we did the dowels here).

Attach long aprons to legs, with pocket screws.

Flip tabletop upside down, center legs upside down on the table bottom, and attach legs to table top with pocket hole screws.

Attach stretcher to stretcher supports with screws or dowel.

Sand, stain & finish as desired.

Farmhouse Bench

(for TWO benches, halve the amounts if you’re only making one)



Lumber Buy List:

7 – 2×4 @ 8′
2 – 2×12 @ 8′ (7′ if possible)

Cut List:

8 – 2×4 @ 16 3/4″ (legs)
2 – 2×4* @ 61″ (aprons) *= we ripped a 2×4 down to 2″ wide. You can also buy 2×3’s instead of 2×4’s
2 – 2×4* @ 6″ (short aprons) **= we ripped a 2×4 down to 2″ wide. You can also buy 2×3’s instead of 2×4’s
2 – 2×4 @ 61″ (stretchers)
4 – 2×4 @ 6″ (stretcher supports)
2 – 2×12 @ 77″ (bench tops)


Cut all lumber to size.

Drill pocket holes on apron pieces (Kreg set for 1 1/2″ thick material). Two holes on each end, and about every 8″ on the top. Drill two pocket holes on top of small aprons. Drill two pocket holes on each end of stretcher supports. Drill two pocket holes on each end of stretchers.

Attach stretcher supports to legs 3 1/2″ up from the bottom with 2 1/2″ pocket hole screws. Attach long aprons to legs with pocket hole screws.

Flip bench top upside down, and attach legs (also upside down) to bench using the apron pocket holes and pocket screws. Attach side aprons to bench top. Attach stretcher to stretcher supports.

Repeat for second bench.

Sand, stain and finish as desired.


SOURCE LIST: (one table + two benches)


Lumber (see above)
Minwax oil based stain in Jacobean
Minwax wood conditioner
Polyurethane – Minwax Oil Modified in Satin
200 2 1/2″ Kreg pocket hole screws (Lee Valley)
Wood Glue
Foam brushes (Dollarama)
Sandpaper (150, 220 and 320)
Kreg Screws – Lee Valley & Home Depot

Tools Used:
Miter saw
Table saw *not necessary, you can get material ripped to size at the lumber yard
Circular saw
Kreg jig
Palm & orbital sanders
Measuring Tape

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

three out of five

Total Cost: $400 (Lumber $320, Screws $20, Finishing materials $60)
Time frame: Two weekends (one to build, one to finish)


Daniel and Adelle move into their new place this weekend so we’ve been hustling to try to get their farmhouse table finished in time. When we left off, we had fabricated and stained the table top and one bench.

This past weekend we powered up and knocked out a second bench and got to making the farmhouse table legs. We lucked out and our local lumber yard carries untreated spruce 4×4’s. This will undoubtedly be the toughest material to track down if you’re building this project. The big box stores usually only carry 4×4’s in pressure treated and cedar. Neither of those is ideal for an indoor table, but if push comes to shove and you can’t find untreated spruce, go for the cedar.

The Table Plans
The Table Plans

The legs consist of 4 4×4’s, two stretcher supports, a stretcher and four apron pieces (two short, and two long). The leg uprights need to be notched out for the cross pieces, and the cross pieces need to be notched for the stretcher. Good thing we got a new table saw right?! Right! The easiest way to notch is to make a bunch of kerf cuts. A kerf cut is a cut the width of the blade that usually doesn’t go all the way through the wood. (Kerf is actually the term for the width of the material removed by the blade.) For the notches we made a ton of kerf cuts close together and then banged out the little slices of wood. (you can also do this with a circular saw if you don’t have a table saw!)

We set the table saw fence for the first cut and the blade to 1 3/8″ high (we want the cross pieces to stick out 1/8″ from the leg posts to show off the notches, it will make more sense when its assembled.) We made the first cut on each post then the last cut. We then progressively made close cuts all the way in between.

kerf cut
First kerf cut made
First, last and some of the in between kerf cuts made
Kerf cuts finished

When we were done (and this does take a while!) we knocked out all the little slices of wood. We were left with a few nubs and errant wood slices, so we broke out the oscillating multi-tool and or made short work of them.

Cleaning up the kerf cuts with an oscillating multi-tool
Cleaning up the kerf cuts with an oscillating multi-tool

Now, if you EVER see someone cleaning up their kerf cuts like this. DON’T take their advice! That is the most dangerous thing I’ve ever seen! Use an oscilating multi tool, or a chisel, or heck even a jig saw, but do NOT use a table saw like that. My fingers hurt just thinking about it. Eeeep.

Now lets build some legs. We need to attach the aprons to the legs with pocket holes, then the stretcher support into our notches.

Legs assembled
Legs assembled

The easiest way to secure the stretcher support the legs would have been with screws. BUT if we used screws they would be visible on the front of the legs where the supports notched in. No way to use pocket holes there. I don’t like screws visible unless there is no other way.

So out went the screws and in came 1/2″ dowels. We purchased a 6′ length of 1/2″ dowel from the hardware store and cut them down to about 3″ lengths. Then we took a 1/2″ spade bit and drilled four holes in a square pattern. We used a piece of tape to mark the bit depth, so that we didn’t drill too deep or too shallow.

dowel holes
Dowel holes drilled

We inserted the dowels with wood glue and let them dry. Once they were dry, we cut them down with a coping saw.

Dowels ready for sanding
Dowels ready for sanding (and yep, one hammer blow did miss its mark! Oops! We won’t say who’s it was!)

Now they were ready to be sanded flush. A few minutes with a power sander and they were looking faaaaantastic.

Dan sanding
Daniel sanding away
legs sanded
Legs sanded and ready for stain (I really need to clean the garage…)

While we were at it, we also sanded the long aprons, and the stretcher for the table. The table will remain in 6 pieces until its assembled in the new place.

Now it’s time for staining and polying all the pieces, and they will be ready to be assembled this weekend!


Daniel & Adelle’s Farmhouse Table project is coming along. The tabletop is built, stained and ready for polyurethane. We still need to make the legs & aprons, but its getting there! We also managed to knock off some progress on the matching benches.

The benches are 77″ long, which means they will just fit underneath the table. The reason they went with this design was so that the benches could completely fit under the table when not in use. This will work well in Daniel & Adelle’s long but narrow dining space. Being able to get rid of the benches also means the dining room can quickly be turned into an impromptu dance floor when a dance party just happens to break out. What, you don’t have surprise dance parties in your dining room? Psssht, you’re not living until you dance like Elaine, or break out a Tom Cruise pantsless dance routine in your dining room. Impromptu dance sessions happen all the time with our friends.

The benches are simple, but needed a bit of cutting, sanding and a load of pocket holes. We got started by sanding the bench top, and cutting the legs, aprons, stretcher and stretcher support.

Sanding the Bench Top
Sanding the Bench Top
Adelle cutting the legs & support pieces
Adelle cutting the legs & support pieces.

All the support pieces are made from spruce and the bench top is from 2×12 pine. For the aprons, straight up 2×4’s would have been a bit bulky and heavy, so we ripped down 2×4’s to 1 1/2″ x 2″ on the table saw for the side & end aprons.

ripping boards
Ripping the apron boards.

The assembly of the bench was a bit tricky due to the limited space for the pocket holes. The pocket holes for the apron supports actually intersected each other. Good thing all of this will be hidden! We also broke out the corner clamps again (they are getting a lot of use!)

Stretcher & legs
Attaching the stretcher support to the legs

We used a ratchet and driver bit to manually drive all the screws for the bench legs. At this point in time I believe I felt it necessary to check on the dog, or tie a shoe, or any task that got me out of screwing in all those difficult screws.

Once the legs were assembled we attached the aprons (insetting them by 1/8″ for a little flair) and the bench was made.

Attaching Aprons
Attaching Aprons


Bench Complete
Bench Complete

Awesome, complete, woot!

Wait…why does the bench top look so long??? Oh CRAP! I got so carried away at the start, I forgot we needed to cut the bench tops down to size! Woopsies! This bench was 7 feet long, when it was only supposed to be 77″. Now what? We do disassemble the whole thing and cut down the top?(Remembering all those screws put in by hand….) That doesn’t sound like fun…

OR we could lift the whole bench upside down and cut the top on the miter saw. Seriously?!

Cutting the bench top

YEP. It happened. The miter saw table rollers & two people held up the bench, while Daniel cut the bench top down to size. Phew, crisis averted. At least I didn’t screw up the whole project. With a few minutes work, we were back on track. I am very thankful I realized before staining!

Speaking of staining, after all that sanding was done we applied wood conditioner and then stained away. Talk about a staining party. The four of us were staining away in our tiny garage on a Tuesday night. (Even El Granto picked up a brush and he doesn’t do that often!)

Aint no party like a staining party
Aint no party like a staining club party

One bench built & stained, one more bench to go!

bench stained
Bench Stained