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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Inexpensive Table Top Tutorial


Six years ago, my husband and I were given a used table as a gift when we moved to Texas. The table was a standard yellow pine veneer tabletop with white legs. It was beautiful when we received it, but six years later it has seen its fair share of nicks and crayon marks. Still, it was usable and as sturdy as ever. When we bought our current home two years ago, I knew we needed a new table, but I couldn't stomach the thought of paying hundreds of dollars for a new one nor a couple hundred dollars for a used table. I couldn't buy just any table either--I had to purchase a larger table to fit our large dining area that had somehow visually shrunk our gifted pine table.


Thus a thought was born a month ago: Instead of buying a new table, what if I made a new tabletop that would accommodate our family of five plus company...

So I set myself on a mission to find the materials I needed to make this table at Home Depot and in my garage. Fortunately for me, the only thing I needed to buy was the plywood to make the top as we already had the other materials for this project stored in our garage. The total cost for us was just $38 at Home Depot and now we can easily fit ten to twelve people at our table. I think it is now time to have company over.

To make this tabletop you will need:

1 4x8 3/4" sheet of plywood your choice of wood (birch is around $38)
1 pint of stain, $5 (you'll actually use much less)
1 quart of gloss/semigloss/satin polyurethane, $10
4 inch brush to apply polyurethane
2 old pairs of socks

Optionally you'll need:

Craft stamp
Acrylic gloss medium (dries clear)

**Please use caution when attempting this project, such as wearing safety glasses and gloves. Do not attempt to cut wood without the help of a seasoned helper if you are a beginner.

Instructions:

Select a piece of plywood free from nicks, scratches, and imperfections. We chose a knotty piece of birch to add a rustic look for character. Place plywood of your choice on top of old table and ensure it is the correct size for your dining room. Cut to desired size. We kept ours at 4x8.


For a decorative touch, measure, mark and cut the corners at a 45 degree angle.


Using a router with desired router bit, bull-nose the edges to create a softened edge.


Sand edges carefully using 100 grain sandpaper. The goal is to sand off the rough edges, splinters, and cutting marks caused by the router.


Be sure to get under the lip of the edge as well.


Finish with 220 grain sandpaper to smooth the edges nicely.

Using another sheet of 220 grain sandpaper, sand over the top of the plywood along the grain to smooth out any additional imperfections. Wipe clean with a cloth. Do not go against the grain or sand perpendicular to the grain!

Using your hand covered in an old cotton sock, dip it into the stain of your choice (we chose walnut gel stain) and rub along the grain using even strokes. Wipe off any excess stain using another old sock. Work in large sections quickly. Stain the edges last and allow to dry to the touch approximately two hours.


Using non-yellowing polyurethane, dip your 4 inch wide brush into stirred can and paint using large, even strokes onto the tabletop. Do not allow any puddles to form, just keep brushing until the tabletop is evenly coated in polyurethane. Take care to pick out any stray hairs or bristles with a pair of tweezers. Brush edges and allow to dry for four to six hours or until no longer tacky.

Sand lightly, along the grain, with 220 grain sandpaper. Wipe clean.

Again, brush top with polyurethane in long, even strokes as in the previous step. Allow to dry completely.


Position plywood evenly over old tabletop and screw from the bottom using 1 1/2 inch screws (depending on the thickness of your two tabletops) fastening the old tabletop to the new tabletop. Be sure not to screw through the top of the new tabletop.


After 24 to 48 hours, your new tabletop will be ready for use!


Optionally, you can add a decorative, slightly raised embossment to the corners of this tabletop if you'd like. Using a stamp, (I chose a flowers in a teapot stamp) paint desired stamp with acrylic gloss medium. I chose to paint only over the flowers so as not to imprint the teapot onto my tabletop.


Using even pressure, apply stamp to corner in desired area. Pull straight up and allow to dry completely (about twenty minutes). Repeat on all corners and anywhere else you'd like to add embossing.


Once dry, the decorative stamping/embossing will be ready to stain.

10 Comments:

f8hasit said...

That turned out beautifully! You shou ld send it in to Handyman's Magazine. They love stuff like that and if they print it, they;ll send you $100! Then you'd net $62 to spend on lobster!

I did something similar to my table for entertaining. My version hooks underneath in two pieces so when I have a larger group, I just clamp on the tabletop!

Thanks for your post! Quite clever!
:-)

Mindee@ourfrontdoor said...

Okay, that was a lot of work but totally worth it! Good job with both creativity and craftsmanship.

scrappin'soccermama said...

Your table is beautiful!

Jana said...

this is great! it looks beautiful and for a steal!!!

the nightingale said...

That's a pretty cool idea not to mention the money you saved...we need a larger one too, and I can really use this idea. Thanks!

Marylin said...

LOVE LOVE! Such a great idea and so handy!! I am attempting to refinish an old wood couch and some of your tips on staining will help!! I will post about it when I am done!! :)

Nancy said...

Wowzers. I am totally impressed! I love love love big tables and I think it is way cool when they look a little unique and have mismatched chairs and what not (not that your chairs don't match, maybe they do, I'm just sayin -- I like it).

Lorilee said...

I love the stamp idea!
Blessings,
Lorilee

Screwed Up Texan said...

Thank you everybody! If any of you attempt this project or something similar, let me know...I'd love to check it out!

edgar cabrera said...

i see some serious sanding there! very nice job!

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