Farmhouse Table Joinery

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Forum topic by srich1222 posted 02-14-2017 02:17 PM 2050 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1525 days

02-14-2017 02:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: farmhouse table

First off let me just say that after reading through the LJ forums, this is a great resource to gather information from much MUCH more experienced woodworkers than myself. I am relatively new to this hobby so forgive me if I ask dumb questions…

Last Spring I built a farmhouse table with the ana-white plans (I know I know…) The wife found the design and said “build this” so off I went to building. This was my first real experience building a piece of furniture of this size so I honestly had no other plans to go off of so I followed the instructions down to every detail. After reading the forums, I now realize that Pocket Holes are not the best type of joinery to use. Granted, the table still looks great with no cracks or twisting but now I’m literally sweating bullets hoping it doesn’t fall apart on me. I’ve attached some of our photos of the table below. I live in South Dakota if that matters.

SO…my question is what is the best type of joinery for a farmhouse tabletop where you still want to be able to see the seams between each board? Not that I don’t like the tabletops that you cant tell where the boards meet but I think this brings out character in the table, truly making it a farmhouse table. Other styles of table, not so much.

Thanks for the help!

7 replies so far

View avsmusic1's profile


682 posts in 1741 days

#1 posted 02-14-2017 03:58 PM

Are you looking to be able to see fully through the boards where they meet on the top, or to have a notable seem?

If it’s the second, I think there are a number of options. If you like rustic then just don’t use cauls, biscuits, or dowels to align the boards. It’s going to keep the table top from being truly flat across the boards but it’ll highlight the seems and, imho, is ok on this style. Another option would be to use a v groove bit or something like that on the edges of the boards.

View mike02130's profile


170 posts in 1729 days

#2 posted 02-14-2017 04:40 PM

Put a slight chamfer on the edges. Block plane or sandpaper

-- Google first, search forums second, ask questions later.

View Dustin's profile


707 posts in 1796 days

#3 posted 02-14-2017 04:48 PM

Put a slight chamfer on the edges. Block plane or sandpaper

- mike02130


I’ve always liked the tables where they used random strokes with a block plane to chamfer the edges for the rustic effect. IMHO, preferable to using a chamfering bit, but mainly because I like the seems not being perfectly uniform.

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17273 posts in 3674 days

#4 posted 02-14-2017 04:59 PM

What Mike said, +2.

It’s not the joinery used that allows (creates?) the look you want in a farmhouse table, but the state of the material being joined. I built a couple of these ana white tables for clients; the 2x material was planed flat and true, taking the radius corners off of the boards in the process. Join the boards into a top, no seams. If you want them, gotta restore the radius with either a router bit or a block plane.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View srich1222's profile


2 posts in 1525 days

#5 posted 02-14-2017 05:26 PM

Are you looking to be able to see fully through the boards where they meet on the top, or to have a notable seem?
- avsmusic1

I’m wanting to just have a notable seem. Not necessarily see all the way to the floor if that makes sense.

Put a slight chamfer on the edges. Block plane or sandpaper
- mike02130

Got it, that makes perfect sense actually. Like I said, these LJ forums are awesome.

On a side note, what would be the best way to joint the tabletop with 2×8’s since I want to lean away from Pocket Screws? Would a glue-up be strong enough as a stand alone?

View TheFridge's profile


10863 posts in 2542 days

#6 posted 02-14-2017 05:35 PM

Glue is stronger than the wood when properly done

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View Woodknack's profile


13552 posts in 3436 days

#7 posted 02-14-2017 06:23 PM

You’ve asked this question before. I like Mike’s suggestion the best. Heads up, I used to own a table with seams like that and you need to scrub them out occasionally with a brush.

-- Rick M,

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