$5 Harvest Table Build

Sep 30, 2019 | Handmade

Farmhouse and harvest style tables can be very pricy to buy, especially if you want it custom for your space. But with some time, effort and salvaging skills you can build a beautiful kitchen table for very little.

I built this harvest table for my sister who has recently purchased and renovated her first house. I wanted to build a table that matched her vintage farmhouse style and would last for generations to come.

I was able to build this table for only 5 dollars! Crazy right, but completely possible if you have access to a few tools, have time to put into the building process, and can be creative and thrifty with your wood source.

Here are the materials and tools I used, along with the steps I took to build this farmhouse harvest style table.

Materials

 

For this table I started with various sizes of live edge wood, therefore the measurements of my boards are a bit odd. However, these are the measurement of boards that you can aim for. Also, these measurements are for each individual piece, but if you are buying your wood from a store you should buy them in one longer length and cut them into shorter pieces from the long board.

 

For the top:

  • 3 middle boards: 1-foot wide by 1-inch thick by 4-feet 10-inches long
  • 2 end boards: 6-inch wide by 1-inch thick by 2-feet 7-inches long

(These measurements are a bit larger than the resulting table so that you have room to square up the boards and make the top fit nice and tight.)

 

For the Base:

  • 4 legs: 2-feet 5-inches long by 3 5/8-inches wide by 2 ¼-inches thick
  • 2 short skirt boards: 1-foot 7.5-inches long by 2.5-inches wide by 3/4-inch thick
  • 2 long skirt boards: 4-feet 9-inches long by 2.5-inches wide by 3/4-inch thick
  • 3 cross braces: 1-foot 11-inches long by 2-inches wide 1.5-inches thick
  • 4 corner braces: 6-inches long by 2-inches wide by 1.5-inches thick
  • 4 metal “L” brackets

Other:

  • Wood varnish (small can should do)
  • Coarse and fine grit sandpaper (On the sandpaper small numbers mean it is coarse grit and large numbers mean it is fine grit)
  • Wood glue
  • Screws
  • Nails
  • Wood filler: putty or plugs

 

Tools

  • Screw gun: You will definitely need a screw gun to put all the pieces of this table together. I would not do this with a handheld screwdriver because it would take forever and likely not be as secure.
  • Saw: You could do this project with just a circular saw, however you will get better results with a table saw and miter saw. If you do not have any access to these saws, you can ask and see if your hardware store will cut them instore for you. You could also search online to see if your town has a community building centre or tool library where you could use these saws.
  • Nail gun and/or hammer: Having a nail gun will make the nailing faster and not as visible, however you could still make this table with just a regular hammer and nails.
  • Sander: I used a belt sander for this table build because my boards were super rough, and I had access to one. You could also use a palm sander or if you don’t have either of these and your boards are not too rough you could just buy sandpaper and do it by hand, just keep in mind that it will take some time.
  • Clamps: These are necessary to hold the tabletop together while the glue is drying. I used long pipe clams, C-clamps, and ratchet straps to hold the tabletop together. You can use whatever you have access to as long as it holds the top really tight together.
  • Extras: For my table top I also used a joiner and a planer. However, these are not necessary if your boards are relatively straight and flat. They just made it faster for me to get my boards in good shape

Step 1 – Preparing boards

To begin find the wood that you will use to make the table. I used white ash wood that I found in my in-law’s barn. You can use any wood you want for this project. To keep costs down try and find old forgotten wood in barns, from friends or family, online, or from a restore.

If you cannot salvage any wood you could buy pine from the hardware store which is quite affordable compared to other species of wood.  Once you have your wood you can prepare the boards. If your wood is in good condition and is pretty square you just need to trim the edges.

To make the boards nice and square saw off the edges so that the table will fit together nicely.For this, use a table saw if you have one but if not clamp a straight edge to the board and run a circular saw along it.

Step 2 – Tabletop

Now that your boards are all squared start building the tabletop.

Layout the boards the way you want them to go together. I put 3 boards in the middle and caped them with two narrower boards to give the table the harvest, farmhouse style look. When you lay the boards out if they do not fit tightly together clean up the edges with the saw to make them fit.

Next glue the tabletop boards together. For this put a thick bead of wood glue on the edge of the board, spread it out with your finger, then squeeze the boards together.

Once you have all the boards glued up clamp the tabletop together. For this I used pipe clamps to hold the top together width wise. I also used C-clamps to hold the table down flat (since my boards were bowed). I also used ratchet straps to hold the top together length wise since I did not have long enough clamps. 

Use whatever clamps you have available. As long as the table is held width wise and length wise it should hold. I recommend putting a scrap piece of wood between the clamp and the tabletop so that the clamps do not make a dent in the tabletop when you twist them down tightly.

Leave the table top clamped together for a few days so that the glue can dry. Then I turned the tabletop upside down on my work bench so I could build the base onto the top. 

Step 3 – The Base

To build the base start by cutting your skirt and leg pieces to length (see materials) and lay them out where they should go on the bottom side of the tabletop.  I made sure my legs were positioned where the end boards met the middle ones, so that the legs supported both parts of the table top. 

Once I had measured and positioned each piece where I wanted them I screwed the legs to the skirt boards.  For this I drilled pilot holes, which is done using a drill bit the size or your screw head. Having pilot holes helps to keep the wood from splitting.

Then I put in screws in the pilot holes through the leg, and into the skirt board.  Since there are two skirt boards attached to each leg you must be careful with measuring out the placement of the screws so that you do not run into each other. 

Once the legs and skit boards were all attached I added the centre braces. For this I just used left over strips of wood I found in the shop, but 2by2s would work well.

I first lined up where I wanted the braces, drilled pilot holes, and then screwed the brace to the tabletop. It is super IMPORTANT that your screws are the right length for your wood. Since my braces were 1 ½ inches thick and I drilled about ½ inch pilot holes I needed my screws to be 1 inch long to go thought the brace, plus another ½ inch to go halfway thought my 1 inch table top. Therefore I used 1 ½ inch screws. If your screws are too long you will go right through the top of your table and ruin it.

After the braces were on I used a nail gun to attach the skirt pieces to the braces. I used a nail gun because it only leaves a small hole and therefore was not as noticeable as a screw or regular nail would be.

Once the skirt boards were nailed to the braces the table held in one piece. However I wanted to make sure the table was nice and sturdy so I added metal “L” brackets and corner wood braces.

  

The metal “L” brackets were the only thing I purchased for this whole table build, and they cost less than $5 at my local hardware store. I put one of these brackets in each corner of the table, between the leg and the skirt.  I simply held them in place and screwed them in. They will come with short little screws, but I find using my own longer screws works better.

To add extra support I made wooden corner braces.  To make these I put a piece of 2by2 across the corner of the table and drew a line on the 2by2 board where it lined up with the skirt board. This gave me the angle to cut so that the brace would fit in the corner.  I did this for each corner since my table was not perfect and therefore each corner had a slightly different angle.

Once the corner braces were cut I put them in place, screwed them to the table top, nail gunned them to the skirt boards, and screwed them to the corner of the leg. By attaching the one corner brace to all three parts of the table it helped keep things square and sturdy.

  

Step 4 – Finishing

After it was all constructed I moved on to filling the holes and varnishing.

To fill the holes that the screws left on the legs I made wooden plugs from the same wood as my legs so that they matched.  My grandfather has a drill bit that makes wood plugs but if you do not have this tool you can buy them at the hardware store.  Another option would be to fill the holes with wood putty which you can also buy at the hardware store.

To fill the nail holes I used a crayon nail filler.  With this all you do is color over the hole and it fills up, however, it will leave marks on the wood around the hole. My husband taught me a great way to get this off.  All you need to do is put a bit of WD40 on a cloth and wipe over the colored area and it comes right off.

Once all the screw and nail holes were filled I started varnishing the table.  I just used some clear wood varnish I found in the shop, but you could use any color varnish you like.

I just used a paint brush and did 3 coats of varnish all over the entire tabletop and base. In between coats I let the varnish completely dry and then lightly sanded the top. I used a sanding sponge for this so I could be really gentle. This light sanding takes out the gains of wood that raise up when varnished. 

DONE!

And then it was done!  I moved it into my sister’s house and love how it looks in her dining area. This table is my favorite thing I have built so far and I am so happy with how it turned out.  

I looked up other hardwood farmhouse tables online and to buy this it would have cost hundreds and I was able to build it for only 5 dollars!  And you could too, if you are resourceful and find forgotten wood that is just waiting for you to make it into something special.

I hope this table build description helps you if you try to make your own. Happy building!

 

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4 Comments

  1. Mona Brown

    Well done Maggie.
    My only confusion is in the step one third paragraph there is reference to APPLE SAUCE. I just thought you would like to know this so you could delete it from your direction. I think it must be a typo.
    This table looks beautiful,you must feel so proud.
    I sent your blog address to my friend in Australia she requested it. So proud of you. Happy creating.
    Mona.

    Reply
    • Maggie

      Thanks for letting me know Mona, I used my apple sauce post as a template for writing this one and I forgot to take that line out. Thanks so much for letting me know so I could fix it, and thank you for telling your friend about the blog 🙂

      Reply
  2. Patty Sypher-Earle

    Beautiful table. Your sister must love it! You are so talented.

    Reply
    • Maggie

      Thanks so much Patty!

      Reply

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Hey, I’m Maggie. I hope you will join me and my family in getting back to the land.  Here you will learn about making things yourself, cooking homegrown food, and beginning a homesteading journey.

 

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