Monday, November 11, 2013

Our DIY Table

When I was 18 I bought by first kitchen table set, complete with four chairs and a leaf. I bought if from my sister Kim long before I even had a place to put said table and chairs. I was 18 and very much into shabby chic and country decor. That was 7 years ago and my style has changed, to say the least. Steve is always commenting how I have done a 180 on him. I used to hate anything modern, and now it is just the complete opposite. What can I say?
Anyway, up until recently we had that table I bought from Kim. This one here:
Solid stuff. Great condition. Absolutely no reason to change it out....except my usual reason: I was bored with it. So I did my thing and sold it for $200 on craigslist to a british gal who is hopefully not regretting paying $50 above my asking price (who does that, I mean seriously?!).
So my hunt for the perfect dining table commenced. The perfect table, perfectly within my $100 price range. It wasn't a successful hunt. Surprising, right? (note heavy sarcasm). 
I knew what I wanted, I knew I couldn't afford to buy it, so my brain got to ticking. And I thought, we can build it! Out of maple plywood! Yay! I was pretty enthusiastic, how hard could it be. Steve was the naysayer, but he was a trooper as always and we he got to buildin'.

So we started with a 8'X4' piece of maple plywood from home depot. Cut it down to about 66"X40", then we used the scrap pieces to build a frame underneath to make it look twice the width, because plywood is pretty darn thin for a table. 

At that point we had a table that appeared to be 1.5" thick but you could clearly see that it was made from plywood because of all the layers. So that was lame. But totally expected. Somehow in my brain though, I thought I could sand away the plywood look. Oh naive me.

To solve this tacky looking problem we bought solid maple trim pieces that were almost the exact width to cover our ugly plywood layers on the sides. 

The we bought two $10 trestle legs from Ikea and installed our own bolts since IKEA brilliantly does not provide anyway to attach these legs to a table. 

Then it was all up to me to put the finishing coat on this baby. I learned one thing: Polycrylic is a bad word. It dries beautifully clear and won't yellow a light wood like maple (polyurethane would yellow over time) but holy cow is it hard to apply. When you brush it on, it is nearly impossible to not see all the brush strokes. 
So I sprayed it on and that was even worse because it dries too fast and all the over spray instantly dries and it just makes the table have a rough texture. So I had to sand it all the way down to the bare wood and just tell myself I could live with a few brush marks. 
That's the thing with DIYing, you will forever know where every imperfection lies and it is sort of maddening. But I surrendered, and I am alive.

It probably took us 3 times longer to build this thing than it would have taken most people, but we really did have a lot of fun working on this together. And the best part: Steve likes it! He actually likes it! (seriously a big deal)

Here is the final product

Total cost breakdown for this project:
Plywood: $42
Legs: $20
Trim: $32
Polycrylic: $20
Total Cost: $114

I love the price tag and I am so happy with how it turned out. Its really fun to get exactly what you are wanting and not go broke in the meantime. 
Now that my back patio is free of a table in progress, I can finally start upholstering that couch we picked up a month ago. I can't wait to get my hands on that thing!


  1. that looks so awesome! i love that steve liked it in the end too. lol. all that work, though, i do not envy that!! good job though :)

  2. I love it! You have a great eye! One tip for polyurethane is buffing. You apply one coat, then buff it with steal wool, then the next coat and buff, then the next coat and buff etc. That gets the brush strokes out. We learned that on our table as well. We applied 6 coats!

    1. 6 coats! Aack! When we need to refinish it, which we inevitably will in about a year, I'm going to have to try that method. Heaven help me.