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How do I make this rustic Pine table top??

41622 Views 27 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  dakremer
Hi fellow lumberjocks.
My girlfriend's mom wants me to build her a pine table top that sort of looks like the picture I have posted below. She already has the base of the table wish has some turned legs, all black. All she wants me to build is the actual top to attach to the frame. Whats the best way of doing this? Can I just go buy some 2X10s or 2X12s from a big box store and plane them, beat them up, stain, etc, etc. Or do I need something special? I really have no idea how to do this.
If you have any experience on how to do something like this, I'd appreciate the help! Thanks a lot
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Go to a local used lumber place or check out a used furniture buisiness. You might either find the table period or at least a lot of the bits to cabbage one together. I mean cabbage in a good way.

Consider large wardrobe closets that are buggered up and cheap. There might be leaves about from long lost tables. Maybe a bad table has good legs. A lot of times this type of recycling saves money and just looks darn better.

Here I have the Habitat Re-Store Store to look through and a number of old furniture dealers.

Of course you can go to one of the big boxes or even woodcrafters for you lumber. Just not as fun as the hunt.
I'm no expert, but I'll give you some advice anyway. I recently built a small side table out of some simple 2×4s from HD. I looked for really straight grain and minimal knots, but that table looks like it's got a bunch of knots so you wouldn't have to be too choosy. To join my table top pieces together and to attach the top to the base, I simply used pocket holes. It's extremely solid with no glue. If you want the piece to look distressed, I wouldn't do much planing. To give it the aged look you can either buy a set of "aging" tools like these from woodcraft:

You can buy them here:

Or, you can just beat it up in the shop with a wire brush, chain, wood with nails in it, etc.

Good luck!
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Your options are many. If your looking for that real knotty look you could use #2 pine 1x's and fix them to a sheet of plywood with a pine edging to hide the plywood for a top if desired. Just a suggestion here.
I would get some construction grade pine at the local store and distress it. The construction grade lumber will have more knots and dings in it. I distress the wood by hitting it with a small chain. I also sometimes take a woodburning tool and make a few small dark tracks an inch or so long to look like worm tracks. Then stain it.
If you have an 'old home supply' or a salvage lumber yard somewhere near you, you might find some wide plank flooring that you could piece together to get that look.
It looks like a fun project. Keep us posted.
I've done a bit of this type work. 2X10's from the bigCrap stores will be fir, which will work…kinda. That looks to be a 8 or 6 quarter pine top that has groves cut out with a chisel and a very light distressing. Then a glazed finish is applied.
Think pallets.

Find some used pallets (usually made from oak, maple or other hardwoods) and you'll have a nice source of pre-distressed wood. Carefully remove nails and staples, but leave the holes and dings. Sand to the desired finish then use dyes or stains to color the wood. Sometimes I'll use used coffee grounds and used tea bags for a funky rustic stained look. Rubbing with wet walnut husks (wear gloves) will also impart some nice colors.

A brushed on polyurethane varnish or even a spar varnish makes a good finish.

Then, there is always old barn wood…
Get 2×8 or 2×10 pine glue them together with biscuits every 6 to 8 inches helps with alignment. Then plane top flat. Then throw a bunch of tools across the top or a chain is good too. Stain darker color in the tool marks the stain top the color u want. Then finish. Ive done several this way and the come out looking pretty good. U fan also stain table wait for it to dry then go over tool marks with darker color.
There is also the Festool planes with "rustic" cutting wheels. A little on the expensive side….but you can get the same idea to use on a hand or other brand plane (basically it is a blade that is convex or concave to give the look of hand scraping). Given the rest of the ideas above…you have a lot of options. I have made several of these "rustic" old style tables…etc…by request and it just depends on how rustic they want. For pine stuff…I typically like to laminate end grain together as the flat grain is so weak….you can distress the end grain also….with end grain the top is much more sturdy….and you won't need to back it up with plywood or mdf for stiffening.
I'd bet you would score some major points if you made her a nicer top. Score some lower quality oak, or maybe even black walnut, slabs from a local sawyer and mount them on runners you will connect to the legs, and paint on the varnish. If you're not worried of it's being perfect, which is how it sounds, then make it better than "good enough" and be the hero anyway.
I have seen this type of table top made from old barn wood. I can't speak to the availability of old barn wood in Iowa, but around here it is pretty easy to locate. Good luck. pkennedy
Find an old barn and go with the "Midnight Building Supply with the 5 Finger Discount" method. lol
Check with antique dealers. They might know of a source for old lumber.
If you are looking for "real" old looking stuff for the table top, and can find an old house being torn down, go for the floor boards, those are already worn and will have tongue and groove for aligning them. If you have to go the new route, try putting the boards down on a gravel driveway and carefully running over them to put in random marks and getting the dirt into the wood look, you can even drag them around behind the car for more marks, then assemble the table.

The problem with trying to make new wood look old is the randomness. I like using a hand scraper and a belt sander, with a bag of rocks thrown in to just mix things up.

Norm "The New Yankee Workshop" had a show about distressing a chair, showed the many steps in finishing to get that really worn look using paints, stains and waxes.
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Nomad~ I don't think you understand the subjective word "Perfect." Many of my clients would find that table pictured as Beautifully Perfect. It is sometimes harder to make a perfectly fine old piece then a perfectly fine new piece.

The line." She has the remains of a beautiful women about her." Is a perfect statement of a nice old antique or well used piece of furniture.

Seems to me dakremer is about to find out how much harder such a piece is to build. But also how much more fun.
what kind of stain do I use to get that color with Pine?
or Do I use stain? maybe just an oil of some sort
I have to take a bit of a contrary view to those suggesting construction grade lumber. The problem is that the stuff is NOT kiln dried, and is actually quite wet, and prone to warping / twisting. IF you do go that route, get more than you need, stack & sticker the stuff in your shop until it is DRY, then work it. Remember that cutting the stuff releases tension on the fibers, and exposes moister wood sections to the air to dry, and in turn possibly twist…

Your best best would be salvaged wood…

Waterbed frames are a good source, but he planks are pretty wide. Strip it, rip it, beat the snot out of it with chains etc… to get the texture you want, stain it and then join it using pocket holes and the like. If you feel adventurous you COULD do a tongue & groove sort of setup too…
From it's age and look I'd say start with a well sifted compost then clean the top let it dry and then start with a sealer and a good wax. Save some of the wood you use and practice. While compost may sound silly when aging a piece it's whatever works. i've used things like coffee grounds, soy sauce and worcteshire for example.
Just an alternative point of view, Jagwah; I'm not saying I'm right or wrong, nor am I saying my suggestion is the best. I didn't see anything about a "perfect", but did see something like a "something like". If I was off base, I hope it is understood to be unintended.
Working from the presumption your MIL wants a table top that looks just like what's pictured, I'd be inclined to find and use reclaimed old pine such as would have come from flooring, a barn, or beams.
I'd pull the old nails, check for hidden metal, plane lightly, glue the edges, then add the missing rustic dings and dents. I'd lightly sand, then apply the first coat of finish with clear or lemon dewaxed Shellac made from flakes and cut to about 1-1/2#. After several more coats of shellac, I'd use wipe-on Waterlox.
When that dries, I'd do a second waterlox, then maybe a third spitcoat.

The beauty of using reclaimed pine is the return of an aged patina finish won't be long.
And, it'll knock her socks off being drop-dead gorgeous while retaining the long-time had look.

That's my $.02,
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