How To Build A Reclaimed Wood Dining Table

How To Build A Reclaimed Wood Dining Table

Sarah Rae Smith
Jun 28, 2011

For the last several months my husband and I had been lacking a dining room table. For awhile we used two hollow core doors placed over a craft table to make something suitable. Later we progressed to two smaller tables that could be moved independently of each other while we got used to our new space. Finally it was time for something real, something solid, and something in the 8 foot range.

When you're renovating a home, a dining room table is important, but having working showers and toilets is more so. The table was on the back burner until we came across some reclaimed barn wood — and like DIY ninjas we sprung into action before the sun had a chance to set.

Now, there's many ways to build a table. Is ours perfect? Absolutely not! Are there things we could have done differently? Sure! This is just a basic idea to get your creative juices flowing. Embellish away, finish away, or use whatever legs you want. Each table is bound to be different when you're using reclaimed materials and using what you already have in the tool box to save a few bucks.

What You Need

Reclaimed Wood (board feet dependent upon table size required)
Table Legs
Sand Paper
Steel Wool
Wood Screws

Pliers (optional)
Gloves (optional)
Saw Horses
Rip Saw (with wood blade)/Hand Saw


1. Bring Home Salvaged Wood
We happened to have a reclaimed and salvaged wood shop go out of business a few blocks away. So like good soldiers we drove our sweet mini van over and put 3 - 12' boards on top and strapped them down. They were covered in nails, metal, screws, all sorts of things. Bringing gloves is always a bonus if you have tender paws! If you don't have access to a large vehicle for transport, check Craigslist for folks with trucks looking to make $10-$20 with their truck for an afternoon.

2. It's Nail Pullin' Time
Most salvaged and reclaimed wood will be laden with hardware used to hold it together in its previous life. Our 3 pieces had several hundred nails, screws and staples that needed to be pulled. Just commit to being sweaty and get started pulling! Be careful to pull with the grain of the wood so you don't damage it if it's been outside and exposed to weather that will soften it.

3. Cut To Length
For our space we were looking for an 8' table which will seat 8 comfortably with the style of legs we purchased and 10 when we want to squeeze folks in. The discarded pieces were perfect for braces under the table as they were already split. Score!

4. Line 'em Up
We were lucky in the sense that our found wood was already straight. Many pieces might require a bit more effort (like being run through a joiner and then table saw) to get them to square up. Ours were good to go and a little muscle helped keep them perfect during the next step.

5. Ah Screw It!
We used screws we happened to already have in our tool box, so although I'd love to tell you the exact ones we used so you can run out to the hardware store, I'm just not that much of a carpentry genius. Instead we walked out, held them against the edge and said, "Yup, that'll do." We used 9 (3 for each support) screws, though that number could easily be doubled for better security.

6. She's Got Legs & She Knows How To Use Them
Although we could have made legs ourselves, we didn't want things to look too picnic table-ish, so instead we had already ordered legs from IKEA in anticipation of finding wood for a project like this. They are VIKA LERBERG legs and run $10 each. With shipping to Missouri, it was an additional $10 total for both legs. Although that sucks in theory, finding hip table legs close to home was simply out of the question. $30 for legs, even if those who live close to an IKEA get them for less, is still just fine by me. The table can simply rest on top of these legs or you can use additional hardware to secure them to the top.

7. Sand, Buff, Seal
Now is the time to bust out the sand paper, steel wool or orbital sander (though that will remove most of your rustic patina). We used a low number sand paper followed by steel wool to knock down and smooth all burs that might catch our diners' elbows. From here you can choose to wax, seal or leave it natural depending on the look desired. For now we're going natural, but there's probably a coat of Deft in our future!

8. What's For Dinner?
We now have an 8' table … who wants to come over for dinner? I can't promise air conditioning, but I can give you a seat at our table.

(Images: Sarah Rae Trover, Too-Hectic)

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