Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pocket Hole Farmhouse Table

I'm not quite finished with this table (I just put wood conditioner on the top and I'm hoping to stain it before I go to bed) but I thought I'd give you a sneak peak anyway.

Looking for a farmhouse table plan using pocket hole construction was a bit tough. I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for, so I made one up. In my head. While I worked.

That's pretty much how I do things these days. On the fly.

And I was in a hurry, so no in-progress pictures here. But I can share with you my cut list and I'm sure that you can figure out how to put it together. Because if you read this blog you must be pretty bright!

I started with this Ana White farmhouse table plan as inspiration, and used her newly updated Tryde Coffee Table plan to help me figure out how I was going to put it together. (Edited to add: Ana has since created an updated Farmhouse Table plan using pocket hole construction!)

Here's how I did it: the aprons are joined to the posts/legs using pocket hole joints. The planks on top are joined to each other with pocket hole joints. The top is attached to the aprons using pocket hole joints. The only non-pocket hole joints are the modified lap joints on the bottom. (I'm sure there is a technical term for these joints, but I call them "modified" lap joints because only one piece of wood is notched. On a real lap joint, I think both pieces are notched. But don't quote me on that.) There are modified lap joints attaching the support boards for the stretcher to the legs, and to attach the stretcher to the support boards.

I used my table saw to cut the modified lap joints and then joined the boards using glue and countersunk screws. The holes are filled with wood plugs.

I based my cuts on my existing dining room table, because I wanted this table to be about the same size. The overall dimensions are about 37.75W x 85L x 31.5H.

4 - 4x4 posts @ 29" (legs)
2 - 2x4 @ 67" (long aprons)
2 - 2x4 @ 27" (short aprons)
1 - 2x4 @ 74" (stretcher)
2 - 2x4 @ 34" (stretcher supports)
4 - 2x8 @ 70.5" (table top planks)
1 - 2x10@ 70.5" (center table top plank -- I had to use one 2x10 to get the right overall width)
2 - 2x8 ~38" (breadboard ends -- measure your joined tabletop before cutting these)

For the finish, I'm planning to go for a weathered look. I love the look of the legs (reclaimed 4x4 posts) as they are now, so hopefully I can create a similar look for the rest of the table. Completed table photos to come soon!

Psst...check out the finished table here!

Pssssst...Ana posted updated plans using pocket hole construction here!


  1. Silly question but when do you know when to use a wood conditioner or not? Also do you finish all your pieces with wax? Thanks :)

    1. Hey, Angelique!

      I always use wood conditioner if I suspect that the wood will look blotchy. So, always with plywood (in my experience, plywood is the most prone to blotchiness). Usually, I test the stain on a scrap of the wood I'm using and if it seems blotchy or uneven, then I use wood conditioner. I think 2x lumber needs it more than high quality 1x lumber. I also seem to need it less often if I'm using really dark stain or tint in alcohol (which I love, by the way -- I should do a post on it). Water-based stains seem to be more opaque, but will also raise the grain of the wood.

      One thing that wood conditioner does well is raise the grain of the wood so that you can sand it back down before staining. So, you put it on, let it dry, and then the wood will be much less smooth. You sand down the grain that the conditioner raised and then the grain will usually stay down after that, even if you're using water-based stain. You can also use water to raise the grain of the wood, but it won't help with getting rid of blotchiness.

      The bottom line is test your stain on a piece of scrap and see whether you think you need conditioner first. :)

      Onto question #2 -- wax. No, I don't use it on all of my pieces (but I wish I could). Wax has the absolute smoothest, softest finish of anything I've used and it is super easy to apply, but it isn't as durable and requires more upkeep. So, for this table (because I'm planning to put it up for sale this weekend) I'm using PolyWhey as my sealer. It is less prone to water-rings, spotting, etc.

      Wax is awesome if you take care of your furniture. It's not awesome if you have messy, careless kids or a clutzy husband. :) In my house I could use it on just about everything because we treat our furniture well. But if I'm sending furniture off to someone I don't know, I prefer not to take that chance.

      The other option is to seal something with some kind of poly and then put wax over the top. That way you get the durability of the poly with the soft touch and sheen of wax. I don't know whether you'd still get water rings. And, it still requires re-coating with wax a few times a year (or at least twice, which is about a 5 minute process) and not using harsh or vinegar-based cleaners on it.

      I hope that helps!

  2. Thank you so much! And yes please do a post on the alcohol tint!! :)

  3. Love your blog! I made a similar table, but stained it dark. After seeing yours I'm tempted to sand it down. Have a great day. - Tiara


    1. Thanks, Tiara! So good to meet you. :)

  4. hello..i was wondering where you got the wood and what type it is? I went to Home depot and lowes and neither had 4x4 posts. I also went to a lumber yard but all their wood requires planing, etc. which i do not have the equipment to do. Thanks

    1. Hi! My 4x4s were reclaimed fence posts, from a neighbor's fence. I think they're cedar. Used 4x4s are pretty easy to find on Craigslist. My Home Depot and Lowe's both have 4x4s right now, but they're in the section with the redwood and cedar -- the deck/fence section. Good luck!

  5. Hello,
    Gorgeous table! You did a great job.
    I would like to make this table, but am wanting to make it 96" long like Ana's original farmhouse table plans. Do you have any idea how I can make it longer, but still use my Kreg jig to join it. Any help would be greatly appreciated:) Thank you!

    1. Hi, Jenny. Thanks! Yeah, just do it exactly the same as the plans except add onto the length. For the top you'll be using 8' boards that you cut down to like 85" (96 minus 7.5 minus 7.5) because the breadboards (the ends of the table top) will add onto the 85" to make the 96" long top. Cut the stretcher and aprons longer to accommodate the added length. It will take a bit of math but it's not rocket science, I promise. You can do it!


Thanks for reading! I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say.