How To Make A Plank Table Top – Remember a few months ago I found a dining table in a Facebook buy/sell/trade group for $100?
It really needs a paint job, and I’m dying to sand the top to reveal some of the beautiful wood grain hidden beneath the yellow paint. never mind…
How To Make A Plank Table Top
… This is not good wood. It’s really ugly MDF, it sticks easily and doesn’t clean well. Surprise everyone “womp wom”. But I thought I was already in this mess; Once I figure out plan B I can get it over with and deal with it the best I can.
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So, hello! Welcome to Plan B. (After all, don’t you love it when plan B works out better than plan A expected? Because that’s what happened.)
Robert and I were looking around at the Anna White desk, planning a solution for taking part of the desk apart and repurposing it, when it occurred to me that we just had to fit the existing table. Can make a retrofit table top with a lip. . . There is no need to disassemble the old table or damage it in any way.
(This is coffee tables, end tables, nightstands, dresser tops, any surface you find that needs some beautiful real wood grain.)
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Materials Used: (Of course, you may need to adjust the width and number of planks of wood to work with your existing table size, but this fits our table dimensions.)
(Note: We started out planning to use 1″x2″ boards for the lip, but later changed our plan to 1″x1″ boards, in case you’re wondering why there are only 1″x2″ boards ( The hangers in the first picture. How thick is your original table top? (You can use either depending on availability.)
2. Place your 1″x8″ boards on each end of the 1″x6″ boards and mark the edges with a carpet pencil.
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3. Cut the 1″x6″ boards along the line you marked with your saw to make sure they are exactly the length needed to line up with the 1″x8″ boards.
4. Measure the width of the 1″x6″ boards and cut the 1″x8″ boards to the desired size with a saw.
5. After cutting all the boards to the desired length and width for your table top template, lay the boards back out and start marking with a pencil where you need to drill the pocket holes.
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6. Next, start drilling pocket holes with each 1″x6″ board using a Crag jig to attach the 1″x8″ boards. Drill pocket holes in the 1″x6″ boards so they can be screwed together.
7. Use bar clamps to clamp your 1″x6″ boards and start drilling 1 1/2″ craig jig wood screws into the holes to begin attaching the boards.
8. When you put the 1″x6″ boards together, attach one end to the 1″x8″ board using more Kreg jig screws. Use a hand clamp when you screw.
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9. Once the 1″x6″ board and 1″x8″ top are fully attached and finished, measure and mark your 1″x1″ board along the width and length of your table top. Start at the K lip.
11. Next use a nail gun to attach the 1″x1″ boards around the perimeter of the flat table top with 1 1/4″ finish nails. 1″x6″ boards and 1″x8″ boards as flush as possible.
12. To get it started properly, lift the top of the table so the pocket hole is at the bottom.
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13. If you end up with a small gap, seal it by pushing some Minwax Stainable Wood Filler into the gap using a putty knife. Let it dry.
14. When the wood filler is completely dry, start going over it with a palm sander to get as much wood as possible. Start with an 80-grit sanding pad, then 120-grit, 180-grit, and finally 220-grit to get the wood smooth as butt-ah. Sand the dry wood filler so that it is completely smooth.
15. Wipe off any remaining sanding dust from the wood (or remove with a tack cloth) and apply Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner so that the wood absorbs the stain evenly in the next step.
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16. Let the wood conditioner sit for at least 5 minutes, but no more than 30, before starting to stain. Wipe off any excess conditioner with a dry cloth before applying the stain.
Before building the table top, Robert and I had to decide what type of wood we needed, so we tested 8 Minwax stain colors on 3 types of wood to help us choose. This dining table will be of great use over the years and we didn’t go into the process of making this table without doing it completely.
Of course, we went with the expensive red oak because we absolutely loved the look of the grain. And being hardwood, we know it will stand the test of time for many years.
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But if you need help deciding on a stain color for any of your woodworking projects, here are the results of our little test.
Notice how light the stain is on the pine board? I would definitely use a wood conditioner for anything you plan to stain. I didn’t apply it to this piece since it’s just a pattern, but you can definitely tell.
We’ve almost declared Poplar the winner, because it’s still not too expensive.
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We couldn’t get past that beautiful red oak grain and we were blown away. (When the table costs $100, you can afford it, right?)
We decided that dark walnut was our winner because I love the contrast of the dark wood table top with the white table base.
17. Apply one coat of Minwax wood finish stain following the instructions on the back of the box. We only apply one coat, but if you want a darker color you can do two or three. (For some lighter colors in the past, I’ve used two to three coats.)
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18. We let the stain dry for 24 hours, then applied Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane using a foam brush. I like to use a foam brush because it removes bubbles in the final finish. Add 2-3 coats to protect the table top from scratches, especially from drinking glasses and heating food.
Robert and I put this baby in and put it on top of our current desk. It fits like a glove! Maybe we should put green on top of the main table and turn it into a poker table to hide under our favorite dining table. (Just kidding… or am I? Maybe I should learn to play first. Haha!)
I love how warm and cozy this dining room feels with this beautiful wood grain front and center.
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And the satin finish gives it just enough shine to grab your attention as soon as you step inside.
The desk is done and the picture gallery wall is done and with fresh paint on the walls this room is starting to feel more complete.
We still need to replace the chandelier. The next day two glass balls came out and were beyond repair, so that was just a sign that it bit the dust. This is a leftover from the previous owners of this house.
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Now, I’m wondering if there are any other tables in our house that could use a retrofit top treatment. Maybe we can paint a coffee table top with a checkers/chess board underneath that we can play whenever we want. How legit would that be?! I need to find more furniture. 😉 I’m a big believer in using what you have. Why change it if you can fix it? This idea of ”fixing” our current kitchen table has been bouncing around in my head for at least a year.
When we moved into this house about five years ago, we bought a table from a local big box store. We have a lot of furniture to fill our house, which is twice the size of our previous house, and I’m working on a shoestring budget. In fact, let’s be honest, I always work on a tight budget!
Long story short, the table to its credit, which was used several times a day, was not exactly what we would have liked. I often work at a desk and this poor surface takes abuse. This abuse and the normal wear and tear on the cheap table is creating an eyesore in our kitchen.
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I am so excited to share with you this quilt that my husband and I made for quilting.
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