DIY Kitchen Table on a Budget

Article Posted By: Alexi Politis

of Seeking Alexi

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You don’t need any special woodworking skills to build this very attractive DIY kitchen table.

Alexi Politis, Seeking Alexi, created this project with budget in mind, too. Not only is this a great project for a beginning to intermediate DIYer, it’s great for anyone who wants to save money, too.

Just follow Alexi’s simple tutorial to build your own DIY kitchen table.

DIY Kitchen Table on a Budget

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Materials

Tools


Step 1: Determine the size of your table

I wanted mine to be 8 ft. long, so I didn’t have to cut any of my wide boards at all (which makes it easy and quick!). The final size of my table is 43 in. x 96 in. which is a little wider than some tables, but I wanted lots of space in the middle for holiday decorations and food, duh!


Step 2: Drill your pocket screws

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I’d never used a pocket screw jig before, but the instructions included in the Kreg K4 pocket screw system is pretty hard to mess up. (And pretty much magical if you ask me!)

You’ll want to set it to ¾ and drill holes every 8-12 inches, with the outside pocket screw holes a couple inches from the edges. Only drill holes in 5 of the 6 boards. Your boards will look a bit like this when you’re done.

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Step 3: Connect your table top

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Add one strip of glue along your board, align the first two boards, and screw them together using the Kreg pocket screws. Connect all your boards together until the top of your table looks like this.

Let it dry sufficiently according to the drying directions on the glue you use, but two days is what I would recommend.

Special tip! As it dries after you’ve connected your whole table top, place it on a flat surface, and add a few heavy things on it so it will dry nice and flat!


Step 4: Hand-plane the edges

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It’s inevitable that your seams will not align. Save yourself some major time by hand-planing the seams, emphasis on the careful!

This is the trickiest step, because the hand planes can be pretty aggressive if you’re not careful. So, move that setting to low, and move slowly!


Step 5: Sand, sand sand

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Oh man, the joys of a wood project. With every wood project I’ve done, including this one, there’s so much sanding! It took me a solid couple hours of sanding to get this table top just perfect.

I plugged in some headphones and had myself my own private dance party as I sanded.

Start with a low grit, like 80 to get rid of all the glue and fix all of those seams. Move to a medium grit like 120 to get that wood nice and even, then end with 220 to finish it off. Roughly 70 percent of your time will be spent on the lowest grit, around 15 percent on the medium grit, and only about 5 percent with the fine grit at the end.


Step 6: Cut your under-frame wood

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Your tabletop will sit on top of a frame to add some stability. I had a 2¾ in. gap between my table edge and the wood frame, which meant I ended up with two 90½ in. 1 in. x in. strips, and four 36 in. strips (two for the ends, and two cross-bars). These need to be cut to size before you stain.


Step 7: Use pre-stain conditioner

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On soft woods like pine, you should be using a pre-stain conditioner. Follow the instructions on your can, but essentially you spread it on using a paint brush, let it sit for about 10 minutes, then wipe off what wasn’t soaked into the wood with a clean rag.


Step 8: Stain your table top and frame wood

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This is the most satisfying part. I love seeing how the wood transforms when you add color to it.

I’m using Espresso 247 stain by Minwax. I’ve used it on all my other house projects, so they all fit nicely together.

I like to paint stain on with a brush, it’s less messy, but still use latex gloves! Follow the grain, stay nice and even, and be generous.


Step 9: Wipe off the stain

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The stain will sit for about 15 minutes then wipe off all the stain that you can! That means I started wiping off the extra about as soon as I finished painting it on, since the project was so big.

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Let your stain soak in for 6 hours without touching it!


Step 10 (Optional): Do a dance party,

because you’re almost done, and your table top is looking so good!


Step 11: Create your frame

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Add two pocket screw holes to both ends of all four cross section boards, the 36 in. ones. The jig allows for you to drill both holes without moving it, so clever!

Note, if you only stained three of the four edges like I did, make sure you are drilling the pocket screw holes into the unfinished side of your boards.

Drill the outside together using those Kreg pocket screws and add the cross boards evenly spaced on the inside of your frame.


Step 12: Attach your frame to your table top

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This step surprised me and really transforms the slab of wood to finally look like a table top! Oddly satisfying. Add pocket screw holes all the way around your frame, every 8 in. or so.

Important tip! Adjust your pocket screw jig! You do not want to have the screws poke through your table top. How awful would that be? Aire on the side of caution here. I adjusted my Kregg jig down twice so it was set to ½in. instead of ¾in. Better safe than sorry with all that hard work!


Step 13: Attach your table legs

This step will be different depending on your legs of choice.

For my hairpin legs, I had to add a 2 in. x 4 in. into the corners to attach my legs to. And you guessed it, I used the Kregg jig to attach it!

Screw that into the frame, not the table top, and then attach the legs to the 2 in. x 4 in. You might need to pre-drill holes for your screws.


Step 14: Enjoy your table!

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This 3-day DIY kitchen table project was such a blast to do, and a great learning experience! Almost everything I did was brand-new to me, so I learned a lot! And boy, that Kregg pocket screw jig is amazing! I was terrified to use it before I started, but it has opened my mind to so many possibilities. I can’t wait to use it on future projects!

Don’t let trying new things hold you back! The only way to learn is to give it a try, that’s how I was with the pocket screw jig and now it’s my favorite tool! So, you got this! Be brave, give new things a try, and learn some new skills!

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