Saturday, October 5, 2013

1 Drill, 2 Saws, and a lot of Muscle

I did it! I built a kitchen table! Part of me has no idea how I did it, but I did it! 

    So let me tell you you all the who, what, where, why, and how of it all. 

   First, the Why. We had a perfectly good dining room table. It was in good condition, had enough room for our family, and looked rather nice. But.... It was a dining room table, and I don't have a dining room. I have a mess hall. The house originally had a dining room but the first thing John and I did when we bought the house was knock down the wall between our 10X10 kitchen and dining room to make it one big kitchen, and turned our living room (Where) into an eating area.

   We rearranged the cabinets that were once on the kitchen side of the wall and hung them over on the other side of the old ding room to pull it all together. It was so nice to feel like everyone could come in the kitchen and talk with me while I fixed the food and did dishes.

It also helped the house feel more like my house, instead of my grandparents. The cabinets were in such good shape that all we had to do was replace the counter top, add some handles, and paint.

But back to the table. So we found this great oak dining room table at a resale shop and it included a beautiful hutch, table, table leaf, and 6 chairs for $500. GREAT deal. We broke a chair, bought a bench, I painted the hutch and the table legs blue, had 4 more kids....and it didn't fit us anymore. I mean, it fit US, just no one else, and that's no fun.
Really, my main complaint about the oak table, was the chairs. They had huge claw-foot legs that made them heavy and they bumped into everything (including many toes) and they just were not functional. So I sold the hutch to an interior designer (woo-hoo) and then with John's permission, listed the table on craigslist. It was gone the next day. My brother swears it is because I sold an oak table for so cheap, but I got what I paid for it so I was happy. Poor John came home from work to an empty room and was a little more then surprised (he didn't think it would sell) and very worried because he had clients coming over for dinner in a few days.
    First thing I did was look up how to measure what size table fits what size room. I used EHow. Then i looked up different dining room table that I liked and tried to get an idea of what standard table widths and lengths are. I knew because of the size of our family and because of how much we love to have friends over that I wanted the ends to fit at least 2 people instead of 1. I also knew that if I got skinny chairs I could hopefully fit a 3rd person for holiday gatherings. After I measured all the possibilities out, I taped them out on the floor to see how it would feel. John and I decided that the bigger, the better. Then I recruited some help (Who).
They were thrilled, I swear! Luckily, My awesome sister and law was in town preparing for a move across the country, so naturally she had tons of time to come help me!! I did some research (Pinterest) on how to build a table and found two wonderful tables that I loved. Both were built a little differently but I combined the best parts and created my own design (How). The first table looked the sturdiest but I didn't like how the table apron wrapped around the table legs, so I kept looking around and found this one  that was the color I loved and the right table legs.
Both of these sites have wonderful instructions that I am not even going to try and repeat. 

I do want to show one nifty trick my mom taught me that wasn't in the instruction. Because of the massive size of my table (60X80) I didn't want small table legs. Unfortuantely, I did all my shopping in one day at Lowe's and there wasn't a great selection for big table legs. (What) My solution....I used railing posts. I had to have them cut down, but they were big and chunky and great! To make sure that they didn't go anywhere I screwed down through the table, into the post, and instead of filling them with wood putty, my mom taught me this:
I also had to do a lot of support for the giant 2X8 and all the weight. When i first finshed everything and flipped it over....the table shook. Shook. I mean, wiggled like crazy. I was so upset. So of course i called my mom, who told me "MORE SCREWS"...and so 75 screws later, no movement!!

I stained the table with Java colored water based stain, sanded some of the stain off, and put 6 coats of water based polyurethane. I also painted the legs and table skirt country white. I love it!

Our last exciting idea was to have all different chairs. We still had our old bench and my brother didn't have room for his hand made bench when he moved (awesome). We collected a bunch of free chairs and each one is being painted a different color. Our table is just as unique, crazy, and colorful as we are!

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