Farmhouse Table with reclaimed wood

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Forum topic by strongisland23 posted 06-02-2018 11:19 PM 1515 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1325 days

06-02-2018 11:19 PM

Hi I’m new to woodworking and looking to make a farmhouse table like this one from Louden furniture.

I purchased 3 reclaimed pine thresher floor boards 1.5-2” thick, around 10’ long, 10-17” wide. I would like to make the table 8’ x 40”.

And got these legs.

I need help getting started. I started scraping off the paint and the boards have more splits than I would like, is that ok, or should I do something to fix it. (first picture is top of one of the boards, second picture is bottom).

A couple of the knots are loose and can be pushed right out leaving holes, should I do that or glue them in?

There is also one nail that is tough to get out, any tricks to get out easier?

The bottom of one of the boards has some rot, I dug it out mostly with a screwdriver, is that good or is there something else I should do?

The top side I’m going to use is relatively flat, but the other side isn’t and they are different thicknesses. Should I get a hand electric planer and get them close in thickness? And what about jointing, I don’t have a jointer. The tools I have are a basic table saw and a orbital sander, but I can buy more basic tools if needed.

And how about joining the top together is just glue ok or should I get another tool for better joining?
Also, I don’t have any wood to make the table skirt as in the Louden table, what wood could/should I use for that?

Thank you for any help.

10 replies so far

View Loren's profile


11367 posts in 4979 days

#1 posted 06-02-2018 11:51 PM

A jointer is a useful machine to have if you
plan to make much furniture. A used 6”
model with cobbled up support tables for
the heavy boards should suffice.
shows a method of jointing long boards with
a router. I’ve never tried it. Hand planes
work as well but there’s something of a
learning curve to sharpening the irons and
learning to get good joints with them.

With accurately jointed edges glue is sufficient,
though cauls or biscuits can be used to prevent
the work swimming around as the clamps are
tightened, reducing the extent of surface planing
needed to get a flat final surface. A hand plane
does come in handy for that task. A sander
can do as well but it’s a tedious way to do it.
If you don’t want to buy pipe or bar clamps
workarounds using rope and wedges or plywood
jigs with wedges can be used.

Electric hand held planers do work for surfacing
but the produced surface is not what I would
call ready for sanding unless done with considerable
skill. I sometimes use one but I follow with
hand planes.

View Aj2's profile


4218 posts in 3129 days

#2 posted 06-03-2018 01:34 AM

I suggest you just buy the table your trying to copy. I sense your confidence to make a farmhouse table is low.
Based on the questions your asking.

-- Aj

View ChefHDAN's profile


1837 posts in 4181 days

#3 posted 06-03-2018 03:22 PM

The table in your photo is most likely produced from dead square & flat lumber, then antiqued and distressed to get to “farmhouse” patina. Really good fine furniture is expensive because of the time and effort involved. MANY times my wife wants a piece of furniture for something and I’ll look at it and say its crap made with rubber wood or some other cheap lumber and I’ll build you something real. She usually responds with, “yes, but I’d like it before Christmas.

Some answers to your questions with how I would do it;
1) Board defects – buy 2 part epoxy and trans tint dye, mix and use to fill defects, knots etc. Fill proud of surface so you can flatten to the final surface.

2) Difficult nails that cannot get pulled with vise grips & leverage need to be chiseled around until you can get enough exposed to remove and then patch with a dutchman or if the nail is straight there are these removal tools that you can patch with a dowel.

3) Flat & square boards – You have the finished project in your head, does it have a flat top or is it “Rustic” with a roller coaster surface? Most likely you want a flat even surface with the character of the boards showing through, and that is going to require jointing and planing the boards. Your pictured table is likely more than $1500, this jointer and this planer will run you about $1k and will make the project a much better finished product. If it’s your intent to go down this rabbit hole with the rest of us addicted tot the hobby, you will need to have a planer and a jointer. Yes there are other ways to do it, but you have to have square straight lumber and milling stock is a tedious job that having the right tools for the job make it go much quicker. These two examples are not Cadillac options but are solid workers for the hobby wood shop, if you’ve got the cash I would recommend the Dewalt 735 (Get the in & out feed tables) and it would serve you very well.

4) Joining the top – Again it’s your design is it a flat seamless panel or will there be gaps between the boards? You can get a true farmhouse style by using battens under the top and screwing them to the boards (use larger hole in batten for movement). If you want a seamless flat top follow stock milling sequence getting good board to board joints with your new jointer and do a panel glue up (disregard the part in the video about the growth rings lay it out for appearance)

5) Apron / Skirt – Now that you’ve got a jointer and a planer, go back to where you got your wood and find some stock to use for the apron and cross pieces under the top. It’s going to be a big heavy table, your base needs strength, and the best choice will be mortise and tenon joints that you can cut pretty simply with hand tools. When you mill your apron stock do some extra to give you some practice pieces. You could use brackets but the only upside with these would be the ability to knock down the table which can be a nice thing with large tables, still do the joinery, but you just don’t glue up the joints

All of that said, researched, linked, and typed, also consider Aj’s comment and decide which way to go.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Woodknack's profile


13585 posts in 3711 days

#4 posted 06-03-2018 06:15 PM

View strongisland23's profile


3 posts in 1325 days

#5 posted 06-03-2018 11:03 PM

Thank you for all the comments, I appreciate the help. Wow, ChefDHAN an extra thank you to you putting the time into that detailed comment. AJ2, unfortunately I cannot afford to buy the table, it’s very expensive; I already got the wood so I’m all in and going forward with it. It definitely won’t be as nice as my model table but I’ll be happy knowing I made it. I can’t afford a new jointer or planer but I see some good used ones on craigslist. like this jointer:
what do you think?
For the planer the boards are very wide, one of them around 17”; most of the planers I see including the dewalt you recommend ChefHDAN only go up to 12.5 inches. What do I do in this scenario?
Is there any biscuit cutter you recommend. I’m ok with the top being rustic and not perfectly flat if that makes a difference. but I imagine I will still need to plane the bottom for uniform thickness?

View Woodknack's profile


13585 posts in 3711 days

#6 posted 06-04-2018 12:02 AM

The boards don’t need to be the same thickness except maybe around the edges where they seat against the apron and they don’t need to be perfect. The inside bottom can be rough as a cob and vary in thickness. You can build this table with nothing but a #5 jack plane, hand saw, wood glue, and some chisels. A drill would help a lot. But it’ll be work.

-- Rick M,

View jerryminer's profile


962 posts in 2773 days

#7 posted 06-04-2018 02:14 AM

... this jointer:
what do you think?

- strongisland23

Don’t do it! That jointer has a fixed outfeed table, which makes it hard to fine-tune the knife setting. Find a better one or skip the jointer for this project and fit your boards with a jack plane, or track saw, or table saw.

It’s a farmhouse table—doesn’t need to be too fussy. Fix the loose knots and cracks with some epoxy. Fit the boards together and edge glue them, keeping the top surface flat-ish. Connect the legs to aprons with mortise-and-tenon joints (or even table leg brackets that screw on: Leg Brackets)

Connect the top to the base with table top clips: Table top fasteners

You’ll be fine. Let us know how it goes.

-- Jerry, making sawdust professionally since 1976

View Woodknack's profile


13585 posts in 3711 days

#8 posted 06-04-2018 04:09 AM

I meant to say keep the top even and the bottom doesn’t need to be. The leg brackets Jerry mentioned will be easier.

-- Rick M,

View lurkey's profile


14 posts in 2701 days

#9 posted 06-04-2018 06:31 AM

Good first project. Have at it and have fun! You will learn a lot.

If it were me with your tools I would:

Buy an old Stanley #5 for 20$ and sharpen. You can sharpen using sandpaper on a flat surface to begin with. Start with low grit and get wire edge all the way across blade on back, then on front (bevel side). Repeat with higher grits. This should not take long if you get it right with low grit.

Use hand plane to get one edge of boards relatively straight.

Check to see if any boards are significantly twisted. If so buy different boards or flatten out twist with hand plane and square edge to surface & re-straighten with hand plane. Best avoided.

Make sure table saw fence is parallel to blade. Make sure blade is dead on at 90 degrees to table.

Put the edge of boards you planed straight against the table saw fence. use table saw to trim a little off the other edge of board so it’s parallel and straight to the side you planed. You will need to set up some sort of outfeed table to do this to support the board as it comes off the table saw.

Now flip board and put just cut edge against fence and trim the side you planed (because it probably wasn’t straight and square enough before). Repeat if needed or use plane to adjust screw ups.

you should end up with boards that will joint close to seamlessly with just glue. Unless you want to keep the faded grey look of the boards ( in which case do the reverse) glue it together with the bottom relatively level and the top uneven. Use cauls (and shims if necessary on the uneven parts) to glue it together as flat as possible as a whole and save yourself a lot of effort.

Once glue is dry flatten the top with your hand plane. This might take a little effort. Start with strokes across the grain, then diagonal. Then sand the ! out of it. Tada!

Now for the base.

Buy some wood for aprons of base that is as flat and straight as possible since you don’t have jointer or planer. It’s a big table so beefy is good. You can square them with hand plane and table saw but it will be a pita. Just get nice straight grained wood with no bow or twist to begin with and save yourself the hassle.

Get a 20$ dowel jig. Get a 20$ chisel 1/2” .Sharpen chisel like you did plane blade.

Mark out 1/2”mortises. Drill out top and bottom of mortise with doweling jig and 1/2” bit. These holes are your guides to make sure mortise is straight. Now use chisel to remove the wood between holes and square out ends. Don’t chisel the sides of your mortise.

Clamp long sides of apron together and cut to exactly same length on table saw using miter gauge. (Make sure miter gauge is cutting at 90 and screw a board to it for a longer crosscut fence). repeat with short sides of apron.

Now cut the tenons on table saw using miter gauge . Sneak up on the exact table saw blade height carefully using a test piece of wood. With this technique you are just croscutting over and over to remove all the waste ( or crosscut some guide depths and remove the rest with chisel). Clamp the identical length boards together when doing the initial shoulder cuts at least so that their effective length is identical and your base doesn’t turn out out of square.

Use drill press & chisel to make slots in short sides of apron.

Glue together the base. Flip top upside down and put the base upside on it. Use wood bolts and washers to screw top through the slots on apron.

Slap some finish on it and you’re done!

The more you pay attention to getting things to fit right to begin with the less hassle you will deal with down the road. Did I mention you need some clamps.

Good luck!

View strongisland23's profile


3 posts in 1325 days

#10 posted 06-04-2018 01:47 PM

Thank you Woodknack, jerryminer, and lurkey for the comments. Thanks for the heads up about that being a lousy jointer jerryminer, I will skip that and start looking for a used #5 stanley jack plane as all of you guys seem to recommend.

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