A Square Dining Table

Monday, September 26, 2016

Today I have another project to share inspired by  I just can't help myself, I love the plans on her website!

Since we moved we have been making do with this incredibly ugly table that I swore I wouldn't ever bring into the house.  I bought it a few years back because after searching high and low for a set of dining chairs to refinish, the only ones I could find for a reasonable price came with this table.  I tried to talk the guy into letting me take only the chairs even if I paid him full price, but he said "no".  He didn't want the ugly monster, either.  So, the plan was to sell this thing on craigslist, but it obviously never happened.  Then, during the move, we had agreed to buy a new dining room table for our actual dining room and we put our multi-purporse game table/dining table in the basement to be used exclusively for gaming.  However, moving costs added up like they do and the dining table idea got the ax for a little while.  So here we are using it for the past year...

Cute munchkins, ugly table.... Anyway, I hadn't really decided what kind of table I wanted and nothing seemed to fit the space in a way that I liked.  We wanted an 8-12 person table, but something that long was going to be awkward in our squarish dining room space, no matter which way we turned it (trust me, we measured and experimented and got as creative as we possibly could).  I had pretty much resigned myself to choosing a shorter table that would be expandable for company so that the permanent placement of the table would fit our existing set-up.

As luck would have it, I was pinteresting some DIY dining tables for ideas and came across this one modified from one of Ana's plans.

Naturally it did not have any details about their process and modifications, but it did state that it was 6' square, which incidentally was the same length as our existing ugly dining table, so I was able to get at least a vague idea of how it would fit by turning our table a few times.  A square table had never occurred to me but I pointed it out to Andrew and the more we thought about it, the more we fell in love with the idea.

I liked the style of the modern farmhouse table better, though, so since I had to come up with measurements anyway, this is the one I modified and the set of instructions I followed.

The table's finished dimensions are 6'x6' square.  We mostly followed Ana's tutorial except for a few modifications noted below.

Cut List

A) 4 - 4x4 cut at 28 1/2" (Legs - because we attached the legs differently, we have to add the table top height of 1 1/2".  So your finished table top will still be 30" off the ground.)
B) 2 - 2x2 cut at 58 1/2" (Inside End Supports)
C) 2 - 2x4 @ 66" (Side Apron)
D) 2 - 2x4 @ 68 1/2" (End Apron)
E) 7 - 2x2 cut at 65 1/2" (Under tabletop supports)
F) 12 - 2x6 cut at 66" (Tabletop pieces)

1) We laid the cut pieces (minus the legs) out carefully to check the general fit and to mark the drill holes.  You will be building the table top upside down, as you can see in the pictures below.

2)  Screw your tabletop boards (F) together, making sure they are a nice tight fit, with even ends and all that jazz.  At this point, the top might flex and bow.  Don't worry just yet.  That's what the supports are for!

3)  Measure the finished size of the table top and adjust your apron lengths if needed.  Screw the apron pieces together so that the shorter pieces (C) are capped by the longer pieces (D).  This should make approximately a 68 1/2" square frame.

4) Slide your frame on around the tabletop.  It should be a snug fit so it might require a little bit of "tapping" to get it to lay flat.  Attach the tabletop to the frame.  Then attach your supports (E), making sure they are the opposite direction as the tabltop boards.  It isn't super important that the supports are spaced exactly evenly.  Save your inside end supports (B) for last.  The inside end supports are smaller to allow for the legs.  I sat the leg posts in the corners and attached the inside end supports accordingly.

Side note) We truly fell in love with the Kreg Jig during this project.  It's a tool I have seen on so many furniture instruction pages, but Andrew and I always found ways to work around the instructions without using the tool.  We would not have been able to build this table without it, and now that we own it I have no idea why we waited so long to buy it in the first place.  Not only is it incredibly easy to use, but it is also so much nicer than having screw heads and nails showing from all directions!  If you don't have one, I highly recommend you acquire it before you attempt to build any furniture!

5) Acquire some help to flip your table top over, right-side up, and carefully position it on some sturdy sawhorses.

Sanding and finishing the table was definitely the most challenging part.  It's really wide!  Also this was my first experience with a belt sander and, well, I wasn't able to sand it quite as smooth as I had hoped.  But since it was built of two-by construction grade lumber anyway, Andrew and I decided that a bit of a worn, rustic look would fit it well and I gave up trying to get it smooth and just went with it.  Let's just call it character.

The staining went well and then I hit the brakes with the polyurethane.  First of all, I hate poly.  I love the finish it creates, but I really hate working with it.  I am no good at it at all.  One of these days, I'm going to experiment with some other top coat options, but I never think about it until I have a project in front of me and that's how I keep going back to what I know.


Anyway, I put on a coat of poly and when it dried there was a grainy texture to it.  Having little to no experience with these things, I assumed it would just smooth out with more poly, so I put a second coat on, only to realize that when that dried, the grainy texture was way worse and completely unacceptable.  It felt like rough sandpaper when I ran my hand over it.

At that point I got frustrated and the weather changed into late fall, so the whole thing got shelved until spring.

This spring, Andrew stepped in to save the day and took over.  He sanded the whole surface smooth again to remove the gritty texture (which was probably due to a combination of factors although I could have mitigated by doing a light sanding between the coats of poly), and then touched up the stain and started over with the poly.  He was able to get it much smoother and it came out so beautiful.

When it was time to move it inside it was HEAVY!  We had to have the kids help us carry it because I could barely hold up one side.

6) Because of the size of this table, you will need to move the tabletop into its final location before attaching the legs.  Sit the table top onto the legs so that the legs sit right inside each corner and inside the end supports.  We screwed the legs in from both exposed sides, using our handy dandy Kreg Jig, attaching it to the frame on one side of the leg and the surface boards on the other.  Just for good measure, a third spot got attached from the end of the last support 2x2 going into the leg.  And for the record, the table is very sturdy and has no sway or wiggle at all.

It is really, really beautiful and it is a perfect fit for our room.  It's such a statement piece!  It's big and bulky, and rustic, but it's also stylish and so very unique.  We can fit 8 chairs around it easily and there is enough space to add in one more on each side as we need it for guests, so that we can go up to 12.  I am very excited to see how it works for our family meals this holiday season!


  1. Hi. I like the look and thanks for posting about the table build. Where did you get your chairs, btw?

  2. LOVE this table!! Thanks for the great pics and tutorial. I am curious though, when you use the poly does it seal the cracks between each board? I ask b/c my son is so messy and crumbs get everywhere, don't want them in the cracks. Thanks again and so looking forward to making this table. :)

  3. Hi Scott - Thanks! Hope it was helpful! The chairs are the Ingolf chairs from Ikea

    Trina - Thank you! Unfortunately the poly did not seal the cracks as I had hoped and I can attest that a messy toddler will most definitely get crumbs in the cracks and it is such a pain! Since we built this I have come across a product that I believe will help, but I haven't had the opportunity to try it myself yet. Hoping to update soon with that info.

  4. Beautiful! Where did you find the square rug?!

  5. You are supposed to lightly sand in between poly coats with a fine grit sand paper. Trust me, it will be smooth as silk when you are done! I think it even says on the can if poly to do that.


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