Summer Project: DIY Dining Room Table

Now that we’ve completed the kitchen it’s all too easy to look around the house and find other things worthy of an overhaul. Since Evan and I took a three week trip, I didn’t want to plan an ambitious summer of projects. So I kept it simple: a dining room table.


“Before” IKEA Bjursta table and Laver chairs

A homemade table has inherent character, and our house needs a dose of that. Through pinterest, I found this Smile and Wave table tutorial, which served as our inspiration:


Looks easy, right? Well it turns out you can’t just go to the store and buy aspen. It needs to be special ordered.  (Trust. I went to more than one lumber yard.) Also, “special order” is a code word for, “expensive”.  The guys at the lumber yard weren’t particularly helpful to boot.  Anyone who tries to convince me that a sign for poplar wood that reads “Popular” is without error cannot be trusted.

At the end of the day, the dining room table is not a place where I want to worry about spills and watermarks. If it develops a patina, that’s OK with me. So we decided to go for a more rustic look and get some 2″ thick pine.

Here’s the thing about pine. If your pine-related project will stay indoors, avoid pressure treated pine. If you plan on staining your pine, avoid pressure treated pine. We were big idiots who bought pressure treated pine. It has streaks of blue/green throughout, a result of the pressure treatment process. We decided to embrace it. Making a flawed table – now that’s a goal even I can achieve.



Here you can see the hairpin legs :)

We got the hairpin legs from “”.  No joke.


From the living room

A nice, uneven stain

Here's a close up. Flawed to the max!

Here’s a close up. Flawed to the max!

We were very careful about making the table straight, level, flat, etc. It’s functionality as a table reigns supreme. But the tabletop definitely has a distressed look. If you’re thinking of making a table, I highly recommend the tutorial we followed. We only did a few things differently:

  1. Have no idea what you’re doing, and buy pressure treated wood. It has more knots, and a greenish tinge.
  2. Sand off most of the wood glue, but not all of it. Stain will not soak through the glue. You can see the streaks in the close-up.
  3. Use only one coat of stain, and no wood conditioner. Pressure treated wood does not stain evenly unless a wood conditioner is used first. If you want the uneven look, don’t use wood conditioner.
  4. Finish off with 1,000,000* coats of finish because there are chemicals in that wood and you’re eating off that table.

*mild exaggeration

. You read about people faking a distressed wood look by whacking at it randomly with a hammer, and drilling unnecessary  holes in it, burning, etc. We didn’t do any of that stuff, and I think it turned out fine. We thought about doing a bar-top epoxy finish, but ended up going with a tung oil  wipe on finish instead. The decision about the finish took weeks. That is not a joke. w-e-e-k-s.


Miniwak “Golden Oak 210B” stain and ZAR Wipe-On Tung Oil Finish in “Clear Satin”

On a final note, keen observers might notice that we also got new chairs. We actually got those in the spring. They’re “Hagen” chairs on close-out from Restoration Hardware, and we got a crazy good deal – only $30/ea. AND free shipping! You can still get them here!


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