Round Top Timothy Table Tutorial

What?  Another patchwork plank top table?  You’re a one trick pony Lazy Guy.  You hack!  I’m going to head over to Ana White to get my plans from now on!

(Like you weren’t cheating on me with Ana and the Shanty Sisters anyway.  Ha!)

Just because something has a common theme doesn’t mean they are the same.  Take Christmas movies for example.  It’s a Wonderful Life is a beloved Christmas movie that people watch every year.  “Yippie Ki Yah” mother freaking Die Hard is also a beloved Christmas movie I watch any time of the year.  While they both tell stories of Christmas miracles they probably shouldn’t be passed off as “similar”.  So give this new table a chance!

Sorry… movie tangent.

This table is a slightly more difficult build than the original Patchwork Plank Dining Table, mainly because you will need to cut the circular top out plus it has a thicker top.  I used a router and the Rockler Tools Circle Cutting Jig.  I recently posted on this when I had to add custom mounts since my router didn’t match the factory mounts.  Just because I say it’s slightly more difficult doesn’t mean you should skip it though.  Once I got everything set up, the circle jig was a breeze to use.  Everything I build from here on out will be in the shape of a circle.  Possibly.  I’m going through my artist circle phase okay?

You can just as easily skip the patchwork portion of this table in your build and just make it out of planks, but I like the mixed medium for something truly unique.  So check out the tutorial below on the “Timothy” Farmhouse Kitchen Table.

Tools Used

  • Miter Saw
  • Drill/Driver
  • Random Orbit Sander
  • Plunge Base Router
  • Rockler Trim Router Circle Jig
  • Kreg Jig Pocket Hole System
  • Bar Clamps
  • Wood Glue (TiteBond II)
  • (optional) Thickness Planer
  • (optional) Jointer/Planer

Material/Supplies Needed

  • (2) 2x6x8′ Boards
  • (2) 2x10x8′ Boards
  • (1) 1x4x6′ Board
  • (4) 28″ 3-Rod Hairpin Legs From DIY Hairpin Legs
  • 2-1/2 Pocket Screws
  • Various Paints and Stains (I used MinWax: Early American, Jacobean, Espresso, Special Walnut).
  • MinWax Semi Gloss Poly

Hate reading and would rather watch the entire build?  You’re in luck!  Watch the complete build video below (and subscribe to my YouTube feed!)

Step 1A (Optional) It’s Hip To Be Square

You still haven’t bought a thickness planer yet?  What are you waiting for?  BEST…POWER TOOL…EVER.  Why run your boards through a planer?  This is why!

Factory 2x material is rounded over, freshly planed boards are square!  Which means it’s easier to get smooth joints when everything has a square edge and is the same thickness.  The thickness planer trims off the face of the boards while the jointer handles the edges.  You can achieve similar results by sanding or ripping the sides with a table saw.  Or you can skip this altogether.  Personal preference.  If you are using a planer or jointer, cut your boards to 48″ and run them through, then cut off the snipe (planer indentation) from the excess.

Step 1B – Prepare The Table Top

Whether you planed them or not, it’s time to cut your boards and lay them out.  This table was going to be a standard 40″ across but I planned on 42″ in case disaster struck.  Using the arrangement of 2×6, 2×10, 2×10, 2×6, 2×10, 2×6, I ended up with a width of 44.25″ (because 2×6’s are 5.5″ and 2×10 are 9.25″).  I cut these boards down to 45″.

Why not 44.25″?  Because who wants to deal with fractions?  Plus, we’re going to cut some of these boards later for the patchwork top and you’re going to lose an 1/8″ from the thickness of the saw blade or so depending on how planky you’re feeling.

Step 2 – A Perfect Circle-ish

There are plenty of ways to make a circle, I prefer to go simple and as easy as possible.  Because… I’m lazy.  Line all of your boards up in the order you want them for your plank top, but make sure the ugly side is facing up (we’re marking the bottom).  Try to make sure the ends are flush.  Mark the exact middle of this panel and tack a nail in.  Then tie a string around the nail and using your tape measure, mark the radius of your table top on the string.

Yes, I just used a math term.  I’m as surprised as you are.  For those folk who forgot “how to math” as well, a radius is half the width (or diameter) across the circle.  So if I want a table 42″ wide, my radius is 21″.  Hold a pencil or marker on that string mark and draw a circle using the string.

Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, this is for the benefit of placing your pocket holes so you don’t hit them with a router later.

Step 3 – Getting Planky With It

Now that you have the outline of the round table top on your work surface, you can figure out how you want to divide your patchwork planks.  I would advise against splitting the two outside pieces of 2×6 for stability reasons, but everything else is fair game.  I tried to make my patchwork planks random but not overkill (3 at most at the widest point).  Remember, the patchwork pieces need to be big enough to attach with 2-1/2 pocket holes in a later step so make sure you give yourself enough room for a pocket screw hole.  I then marked my cuts and used the miter saw to break down the pieces.

Now is as good of time as any to add your pocket holes to the planks.  Using your Kreg Jig, pre-drill 1.50″ pocket holes into the sides of your planks.  You can see in the image above where I placed my pocket holes.  It’s trickier than you’d think.  Be mindful of placement so you’re not putting pocket holes on top of pocket holes and more importantly, not placing screws in the path of your router when you cut the top out.  I mark mine with a Sharpie before I start a pocket hole assembly line.

Step 4 – Add Your Base Coats

Time to get creative.  Before I attached my planks I gave them a base coat of my random paint and alternating stain colors.  Once again, you want this to look random.  Figure out which pieces will be painted or stained and then put a coat on each and set to dry.

What’s nice about the antiquing method I used on this project is that a base coat of stain goes on after everything is assembled, so you get a similar color through all of your patchwork pieces while each still get to have their own personality (the painted pieces darken).  And by personality I mean paint and stain color.  Tables don’t have personalities.  Don’y be silly.  Although this table is named Timothy.  I’m sure he has lovely conversations about place settings, flatware and pesky water rings while he’s waiting for the next meal to be served on him.

Step 5 – Pocket Hole Party!

Using 2-1/2″ pocket screws, wood glue and lots of clamps assemble the table top.  You can see in the video that I attached one plank row at a time and then went back and assembled all of those rows at once.

Pay close attention to your table surface when assembling.  I used parallel clamps this go round because it allows the entire surface to sit flat on the clamps before I tightened them.  It makes for smoother surfaces.  The more you tighten, the better chance you have a buckling, so check the underside (Timothy isn’t shy) before you make things permanent.

Keep in mind, patchwork plank surfaces are not completely smooth, thus the patchwork.   Timothy isn’t perfect, but he’s unique!  Be sure to wipe off any excess glue that might have seeped through the cracks, Timothy might not be perfect, but he’s not a slob either.

Step 6 – A Perfect Circle

If there was any point of this build that made me nervous, it was 100% the circle cutting portion.  I debated and debated which route I was going to go.  If you don’t have a router and a circle jig, you can rough cut your circle with a jig saw and then sand the surface the best you can.  It’s a lot more manual and far from perfect.  I personally HATE Jig saws with a vengeance.  My blade always bends and my cuts are so wonky that I pretty much have to scrap the project.  It’s 100% user error though, so if you’re more comfortable with the Jig Saw, go for it!  I wouldn’t….  Get a circle cutting router jig.  It’s amazing!

If you haven’t watched the video yet, this is where I excuse you and INSIST you watch it to see how the circle jig works and how beautiful the results are.  I used my trim router with a plunge base and continued to increase the depth with each pass.  You keep playing duck, duck, goose until the pieces come dropping off.  It’s sooooooo satisfying.   You will notice I altered my jig.  Be sure to order a jig that cuts circles big enough for the table size you have planned.  A quick fix with a scrap and some machine bolts to hold it in place and I was ready to roll after I had a temper tantrum of rage.  Okay, it wasn’t that bad, but imagine you just psyched yourself up to ride your first roller coaster and then it turns out your still 2 inches short?  Womp womp.

The results speak for themselves though.  It barely needed sanding and it’s absolutely a perfect circle.   So like I said, you can go the Jig Saw route… but why would you if you already have a router?  Sand all of your edges so the table is smooth to the touch.  The cut was pretty clean, so I only used my power sander and 220 grit sandpaper.

Step 7 – Make Something New Look Old

Antiquing is not uncommon on this site for finishes.  If you’ve seen it before, I give you permission to move on to the next step (but why would you?).  If you’re new… “LISTEN UP ROOKIE!”  Using your power sander, slightly round over the edges of the entire table so you expose some of the bare wood through the paint and stain.  Then sand the edges, knots and raised grain on your patchwork pieces, especially the painted one.  You want the bare wood showing through like the picture above.  Clean off your surface and then apply your “base stain” to the entire piece.  This includes the stained pieces as well.  This method not only ages the planks but it also helps give the piece a more uniform feel.

I ended up using MinWax Early American for my base stain, but I sort of wished I went with something darker like Espresso.  Builder’s regret!  Timothy will never know though.  Once the stain is dry, start adding your poly coats.  I went with 4 coats of MinWax Semi-Gloss Poly.  Remember to sand in between coats 3 and 4 by hand with 300+ grit sandpaper for a smoother finish.

You might be asking about now, what about the sides?  I did not paint and stain those individual colors, I went with the MinWax Early American there as well. It almost looks like a banding.  I like it!  Timothy does too!

Step 8 -Be Supportive

I wasn’t going to mention this before, but Timothy (the table) is potential fragile.  In what should be solid planks all the way across, we cut him up into little patchwork pieces and then put him back together like a Franken-Table.  Just to be safe, I advise adding a little help from his friends.  Mainly, add at least two supports that run across the joints and are screwed in from the bottom with wood screws.  Not only will this help prevent warping, but it adds more heft to the table and makes it sturdier.  Find the placement of your table legs before you cut your supports to fit and outline the leg bases so you aren’t adding supports that accidentally take up prime table leg real estate.

As always when adding supports, pre-drill your holes to prevent splitting.  Whether it’s the support or the table top, you don’t want to go all guns blazing with an impact driver and torque a screw right through the table face and ruin that nice finish.  Plus Timothy doesn’t want screws going through his face…

I know I know… that’s a lot of pocket holes.

Step 9 – Get a Leg Up, or Four

Final step in this build!  Attach your legs!  Nothing too exciting here, just make sure they are evenly spaced and obviously don’t drill into a pocket hole or buried screw.

One tip I recommend is marking numbers (1-4, not randomly assigned) on the table and your table legs so if you have to take the table apart for transport or storage everything will line up and you won’t have to have trial and error for which leg went where if the holes aren’t the same.

Flip it over.  Enjoy.

Like all builds here, absolutely reach out if you have any questions along the way and of course, if you build one yourself I want to see it!

~Lazy Guy

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