Patchwork Plank Dining Table Tutorial

What’s black and blue, made with metal piping, has a “farmhouse” feel with a touch of “industrial” and oh yeah, needs to be at least 72″ long?  I wasn’t sure either.  Ha!  Have you ever seen those CarMax commercials where the people are standing in the parking lot, realize their car is toast and then a blue “start” line magically appears that they unquestioningly follow?  First off, if a magical blue line randomly appears on the ground beckoning you to follow it, don’t.  Seriously.  You’re hallucinating.  It’s not going to safely deliver you through traffic to your local CarMax where a friendly blue shirted salesmen (salesperson?) is going to show you the used car of your dreams with “no haggle” pricing.  Your mysterious “follow me!” line is going to walk you into a moving bus and then this site will be down one reader.  Make good choices people.

No idea what I’m talking about?  That’s okay!  (you need to stop fast forwarding through commercials clearly) The metaphor still works.  Sometimes you know you want (or need) something, but you’re not exactly sure what it is.  That’s why your spirit animal or your local DIY Guy is here to lead you to what it is you’re looking for (but only if it’s something he can build, inner peace comes from a different website).  In this case, it was a new dining table for some friends of mine who were getting ready to move into a new house.  Our blue CarMax start line definitely took us on a few detours before we got on track, but ultimately (I hope) we ended up with an awesome dining table that will last for years.

On to the build!

Tools Used

  • Miter Saw
  • Impact Driver, Drill Driver
  • Random Orbital Sander
  • Thickness Planer (optional)
  • Compact Router (optional)
  • Bar Clamps
  • Pocket Hole Jig
  • Kreg Jig 1-1/4″ Pocket Screws
  • Kreg Jig 2-1/2 Pocket Screws
  • TightBond II Wood Glue

Materials Used

  • (4) 28″ 3 Rod Hairpin 1/2″ Legs (or you could accidentally order only 3 like I did)
  • (2) 6 foot 1×8’s
  • (4) 6 foot 1×6’s
  • (5) 8 foot 2×4’s
  • (1) 8 foot 2x6
  • Every color of Stain you could possibly want!  I used MinWax Jacobean, Early American, Red Mahogany,  Special Walnut, Espresso, Ebony and Dark Walnut Stains.

Step 1 

Figure out which sides of your 1×6’s and 1×8’s are the best looking.  You don’t have to feel all superficial, your lumber doesn’t have self esteem issues.  Your table will never ask you if this table runner makes it look fat.  Once you’ve decided which child you love more, figure out what order you want your 1’s to make them feel “random” but planned.  From left to right (depending on what side of the table you’re standing on) I went 1×6, 1×6, 1×8, 1×6, 1×6, 1×8.

Now start measuring and cutting your planks!

  • Row 1 (1×6) – 24″, 24″, 24″
  • Row 2 (1×6) – 36″, 36″
  • Row 3 (1×8) – 24″, 24″, 24″
  • Row 4 (1×6) – 36″, 36″
  • Row 5 (1×6) – 24″, 24″, 24″
  • Row 6 (1×8) – 36″, 36″

*Important Tip Keep your stacks of rows separated.  There might be subtle differences in widths from board to board so to avoid future gaps, keep your rows together.  But mix up the order within the row so your wood grain does not match.

Step 2

Start staining!  This is where layout and planning really becomes important.  Set your rows out ahead of time and figure out which stain colors you want to apply throughout the table top.  You have 15 different planks to organize.  You don’t want colors that are too similar next to each other, so try to mix it up as much as possible.  I also didn’t decide which planks were going to get the aged paint effect added until after the stains had dried.

The colors I was less impressed with got the paint wash.  If you got a lot of less impressive stain colors… perhaps you made poor choices.  Ha.  I also mixed a few stain colors if things were trending in the wrong direction.  The Red Mahogany was really red, so I wiped on a darker color to mute it down.  It’s not that I hate gingers.  My sister, her husband and both of their kids are redheads, but if I can snuff out one more soul sucking ginger, the world is a better place.  Ha.

I added my paint color after the stain had dried.  I used a dry brush technique and then realized I had no idea what the heck a dry brush technique was.  So I just coated an entire side and then pulled some of that paint towards the other end leaving lots of patches and bare spots.  Once that dried, I took my Random Orbital sander and started taking paint off of some of the thicker areas and edges.  The point is to take the paint off, not the stain underneath.  If you get a little too ambitious you can always run a stain over top when you’re finished and quickly wipe it off.  It will darken your paint color and highlight the areas of natural wood you sanded down through.  I don’t mind the look.  While you’re at it, you should also stain your 2×4’s (pre-cut) whatever color you want to use for the border frames.  Don’t stain all your 2 by 4’s only the ones you’re framing with.  I went with Jacobean, which my wife and I debate if it’s pronounced “Jaque -O-Bean” like a fun coffee flavor or “Jock-Co-bien” styled after a Prince Jacob or someone.

Step 3

Pocket holes, pocket holes, pocket holes!  Don’t worry, the Kreg Jig fairy won’t appear when you say that phrase 3 times.  This is, however, one of those important times you need to pay attention to planning.  After this you can be as lackadaisical (big word Lazy Guy) as you want but it’s important to have a plan here.  Lay your rows out in order and plan on the placement of where you’re adding your pocket holes.  You want stability throughout the planks, but you also don’t want your pocket holes running into each other.  Here’s the configuration I used:

The entire perimeter has sets of pocket holes in addition to at least 2 touch points on each plank.  You don’t want this thing sagging in the middle when you get rowdy and start dancing on the table top.  What you do on your dining table in your free time is your own business.  Set your Kreg jig bit and jig to 0.75″.  Also, make sure you’re drilling these into the bottom of your planks.  Seems obvious… but you never know. All in all I think it ended up being 108 individual pocket holes drilled.  It’s a pain in the ass for sure, but totally worth it in the end.

You could suplex someone off the top ropes on to the table and it would break them before it would break in half.  Remember, we’re making this thing sturdy enough for table top dancing.  That’s how quality assurance works here at Lazy Guy DIY.  We have standards we need to meet…. You might want to let your drill recharge after all of that because you have quite a bit of assembly to go in the next steps…

Step 4

Release the Kraken!  Sorry that’s for another project.  No Krakens were released in this build.  In the words of one of my fellow builders… “It’s time to glue it & screw it!”  This is where all of that planning and placement of pocket holes really pays off.  Start with the first board of row 1 and connect it to the first board of row 2 (don’t forget to glue the jointed edges) and attach with your 1-1/4″ pocket screws.  Makes sure the outer edge is flush and that you’re connecting the pieces on a flat surface.  You don’t want to flip the table over (OUT OF RAGE!  or curiosity) and have your table top having varying levels.  It’s going to happen to an extent, but do your best to keep your pieces flat at assembly.  Work your way down the first boards in each row and then start at the top again with the second set of boards in each row.  At this point, pull out your bar clamps and start clamping each new section.  You’ll get a little resistance (which I hear is futile) causing slight gaps in your new row.  Clamp them down before your screw them together and you should have a seamless top when you’re finished.

Chances are if you’re like me, the far end of your table top will have slightly uneven edges (this is if you listened to me and started with a flush edge on the other side).

It happens to everyone.  Don’t feel ashamed by it.  You can either cut them flush with a circular saw, sand them down, or if you have a router with a flush cut bit, you attach a straight edge for a guide and route off the excess.  Don’t remember how this works?  I have a post ready for you with video called “What to Do with Overhang?

Step 5

With your planky table top all assembled it’s time to start finishing this project up by trimming out the sides.  Here’s yet another optional step.  Most 2×4’s you buy at the store have rounded edges from milling.  The problem with this is that you can’t butt another piece of lumber up to them and get a flush edge.  So I ran all of my 2×4’s that were going to be used for the aprons through my Thickness Planer prior to staining them.  Don’t have one of those lying around?  No worries, with a little hard work you can use your palm sander to get the same effect, but for real… it’s gonna take a bit of time.  If you decide to not take this step, just keep in mind your table will have a nice crease that will collect every crumb on the table when you wipe it off… around the entire thing.  So…

Cut your end aprons to what should be 36.50″ or whatever width (short end) your table top ended up.  Slightly offset, you want to put pocket holes on the ends of both of those pieces at 1.50″ on your Kreg Jig for 2-1/2 pocket screws.

Glue and screw both end aprons to the table top using the pre-drilled .75″ pocket holes you put on the ends of each plank.  Use 1-1/4″ pocket screws.  Make sure your table top and aprons are flat when attaching.  You want want a flush edge when you flip it over for your grand reveal.

Step 6

Measure the distance from end apron to end apron and hopefully you get 75″.  If not, “you done messed up now A. A Ron!” Not too badly though.  Just take whatever that measurement is and cut your last two pre-stained 2×4’s down to that length.  Okay, time to see how patient you are…  glue the edges and attach the side aprons ONLY TO THE END APRONS using the pre-drilled pockets holes with 2-1/2″ pocket screws.  Do not attach the planks yet.

“But why not attach the planks yet Lazy Guy? “

I told you to be patient didn’t I?  Geez Louis you all are from the age of instant gratification and emojis.  In order to get the best flush edge with the aprons and the table top, you’re going to need to make a handful of adjustments before each set of pocket screws.  I ended up setting the entire table up on it’s side and then applying clamps to each tiny section by pushing or pulling the material to get the truest edge before attaching them.   By the way, pay no attention to the 2×4 and 2×6 braces (or the man behind the curtain) you see in the picture.

If you do attach them like I did at this incorrect time, you’ll quickly realize that you’ve covered up several pocket holes that still need to be attached.  So after your fit of rage and removing boards, you can just place them there for good looks or do as I say, not as I do and wait to install them on a future step. *Important Tip When you’re setting your clamps to even out the table surface, make sure you use a scrap piece of wood as a spacer.  Not only will this help even out the space between the apron and the table top, but it will also keep your table top from getting marred from your clamps.

Step 7

You’re in the home stretch!  For real this time.   Now it’s time to install those supports made out of 2×4’s and 2×6’s you’ve been sitting on.  Hopefully you didn’t stain, sand or plane them, because that would be silly.  They’re going to be hidden.  Do a quick measurement check of the width between your side aprons.  It should still be around 36.50″.  Cut your two 2×6’s and three 2×4’s to length and dry fit them and adjust until you get a snug fit.  Not too snug, you’re going to need to put pocket holes in each end before you attach them.  Use the 1.50″ setting on your jig for 2-1/2″ pocket screws.

Put a little wood glue under each support and attach them to the side aprons.  The 2×6’s need to be on the ends to accommodate the base of the hairpin legs to be attached in the next step.  I also pre-drilled and added wood screws across the length of each support to attach to each individual row of planks.  Make sure you use a wood screw that won’t go through the table top…. because at this point, that would be disastrous.  This seems overkill, but the last thing you want is for one of this planks to shift and pop up off the support due to humid or movement.  Remember, this thing is tough enough to stop a top rope suplex.

Step 8

Attach your legs!  I purchased the legs for this build from the website DIY Hairpin Legs.  We went with the three rod legs for a sturdier feel for the thicker table top.  People have a tendency to use the traditional two rod hairpin legs, but anything over bench height really should go with the three rod legs.  That is unless you’re building a bench to match the table… more on that tutorial next week. Anywho, these guys have AWESOME customer service!  Besides plenty of follow up with email and Facebook, they were also nice enough to check with me when I ordered an odd number of table legs.  We sorted out the details quickly so I didn’t have a tripod table and the order was out the door.

They have just about every length of Hairpin legs you could possibly need with several variations in color in thickness.  The kits they send include the screws and wax to keep the metal from oxidizing.  I don’t have pictures of the installation because you literally screw them in.  Be sure to pre-drill your holes though so you don’t split your supports.  Once they are on… man do they look good!

Step 9  FINISH HIM!  

I look forward to the Mortal Kombat step with each build.

To complete the build I applied MinWax semi-gloss poly to seal the surfaces.  If you’ve read the site before, you know my spiel.  Apply the first coat to all surfaces and let it dry.  Go back with 350+ sand paper and sand the surfaces down by hand.  DO NOT USE A POWER TOOL!  

You’re sanding by hand to remove the texture that the first layer of poly picked up.  After a once over, rub your hand over the surface and work any areas that feel rough.  Do not sand through the stain.  Clean off the dusty surface with a damp cloth and then reapply the poly.  Repeat for a minimum of 3 coats.  Four would be better… don’t be lazy.  That’s my job.   You’re done!  Go celebrate!  Have dinner on it! Play beer pong.  Show your friends, family and enemies.  Looks great doesn’t it?  No?  Ehh… must be user error.  Good enough for who it’s for is what we say.

You might be wondering about seating… check out the matching Patchwork Plank Benches!

~Lazy Guy

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x