If you’re on the hunt for a farmhouse console table but don’t like the high prices or perhaps need a custom size, why not build your own? It’s a fun DIY that’s cheaper than buying, and your options are almost endless! In this post, we’ll show you how we made a farmhouse console table for our dining room.
Handan has been yammering like a Gray Tree Frog in mating season for me to make a farmhouse console table with turned legs. Every night this winter, she’d browse Etsy for lathe-turned offerings by woodworkers from Portland to Pensacola. She’d drool over the curvy legs and utter “oooh” and “ahhhh.” From time to time, she’d turn her laptop towards me and ask, “How do you like these legs, my babes?”
“Yeah, those are nice, my babes.” I’d say and then resume watching TV. I mean, they were nice legs and all, but for the prices these wood-whittling woodsters wanted for their wares, I could have almost bought my own lathe! And it’s not like these wood-whispering wannabes were offering their legs in exotic hardwoods. No, they were mostly made of parawood, aka Malaysian Oak, aka plantation wood. Call it what you want. I call it crap. $200 for a pair of crappy farm wood? No thank you. NEXT!
And then one night in the darkest and coldest depths of February, Handan stumbled upon a Florida man who was gamely selling his turned gams for…well, the same price, really…but they were made of yellow pine. A revelation! Yellow pine is much harder than its wimpy white cousin. Why, it’s practically a hardwood! And it’s leagues better than Malaysian oak, aka “the wood of cheap furniture trying to be cool” aka the wood they had to give a cool-sounding name like “Malaysian oak” because in reality the wood is total crap. Trust me, folks, there ain’t no oak in Malaysian oak.
By this time, we’d already started planning the Dining Room Makeover, and Handan wanted me to use the beautifully-turned yellow pine legs that Florida man (henceforth known as “Jeff”) was producing and selling on Etsy under the name Antique Reproductions. I told her that I was a console-building machine. I told her I ate turned legs for breakfast and pooped consoles at night. I told her I’d build three consoles – one for each bicep to pump while I built the third with my toes. Blindfolded.
She looked far less thrilled and smitten than I had anticipated. It seemed my braggadocio was not what it used to be.
Defeated, I said, “Okay my babes. I’ll build one for you.”
“Thank you, my babes. I’m sure it will be great!”
My eyes lit up.
“Damn, right it will be, woman! ‘Cuz I’m Captain Console! I’m the Console General of The You-Nited States! I’m…”
“That’s nice, my babes. Just don’t screw it up, okay? These legs are expensive.” She said.
“Yes, dear.” I said and went to the kitchen to pour a glass of milk to have with my toast.
A few weeks later, Jeff’s legs arrived in the mail.
Wait a minute. That doesn’t sound right.
A few weeks later, Jeff’s legs arrived by FedEx.
There. That’s better.
I tore open the package and pulled out one of Jeff’s legs. It was heavy! They build ’em big down there in Florida! I placed the legs in the dining room…
…and resumed working on the antique cabinet with the wooden-boobed woman.
Wait a minute. That doesn’t sound right either.
Handan and I resumed working on the antique cabinet with the wooden-boobed woman.
There. That’s better.
Once we finished the cabinet, I started planning the console. I had the legs, but I wasn’t sure about the rest. Handan showed me a picture of what she wanted – we included it on the Dining Room Makeover mood board.
I figured an easy way to get the same look for the base would be to use shiplap. But I wasn’t sure what I wanted for the top or for the base’s frame. A quick trip to Parkerville Wood Products would help me to decide.
I started out by looking at yellow pine – the same wood as the turned legs. But the thing about yellow pine that I’m not so crazy about is the huge contrast in the grain pattern. We had that contrast on the legs, and that was fine. But how would it look if the whole table was all grainy and contrasty like that? I was thinking it wouldn’t look very good. I pulled a few knotty pine boards from the lumber rack. That’s the cheap stuff that looks rustic. But it’s really soft, and I think it was just a bit too rustic. Then I looked at clear pine, which is just good-quality white pine without knots. The clear pine boards were so bland and boring that I actually fell asleep while looking at them. I had a short and sweet dream about some curvy exotic wood, and then I awoke with a scream when the boring pine board fell onto my big toe. Freshly awake, I decided to move away from the pine section.
My eye landed on a piece of cypress. I pulled it out to have a better look.
And what’s that? A nice black knothole?
It was the perfect balance of rustic and class, of wild and fancy.
Just like me! [LOL, I think you were still in that sweet dream when you wrote this – Handan]
It would make the perfect top for my farmhouse console table.
I had the 12 foot board cut into car-sized pieces, and I took it home.
For the base, I settled on cheap 1x3s from Home Depot.
Now that I had all of my elements, I could begin the build.
The top would be five feet long. I was shooting for a table width of about 12 or 13 inches, and it would be about 34 inches tall. These measurements were specific to its eventual placement in the dining room with consideration of the design elements surrounding it.
Once downstairs, I began work on the top. I had three boards, all 4 feet long. My plan was to join the two next to each other in the picture below and then make breadboard ends from the spare piece.
Here’s a closeup of that beautiful black knothole.
I first planed the boards to get rid of the mill marks and get them all to an even thickness. Mill marks can add a rustic farmhouse touch, or they can just look like mill marks. These just looked like mill marks, so I planed them off.
Once planed, I ripped the two main boards to the correct width. Handan just loves to take pictures of me while I’m setting up the work.
Before gluing the boards together, I wanted to give them a faux gap like I did with our dining table. I used my router with a chamfer bit for that. Handan also has a way of capturing my most glamorous angles. I really love the grapish shape of my head. Makes me want to squeeze it!
The faux gap look. Everybody’s doing it this year.
After the glue dried, I ran it through the planer again to even it out, and then I trimmed the edges.
Next, I cut the breadboard pieces and routed the edge that would be glued to the rest of the top.
The pieces as they were in the picture above would have made the table longer than 5 feet, but I didn’t trim them just then. The reason why will soon become clear.
As I did with the farmhouse dining table I built, I attached the breadboard pieces with a spline. This not only adds strength (which really isn’t needed here), but it gives a cool look to the profile. Here’s one end with spline before glue-up.
You can always tell when Handan works with me because I have a gazillion pictures of every aspect of the build. It’s a nice change from my usual “and then I did these forty seven things, but I forgot to take pics,” don’t you think? So please enjoy these 7 pictures of me gluing a spline, and understand that you’d see none of this if I were working alone, as I often do.
Since the piece was so long, I wouldn’t be able to clamp it. But who needs a clamp when you’ve got ratchet car straps?
Take a look at the zoomed pic below to see why I didn’t trim the breadboard pieces before gluing.
Okay, it’s not so easy to see, but the straps cut right into the soft cypress. Of course I forgot to take a picture when the straps came off, but trust me, the cuts were deep. But it was nothing a quick run through the table saw couldn’t cure.
Once I had the table cut to size, I routed the outside edges, top and bottom, with the chamfer bit, giving less of a chamfer on the bottom.
Next, I sanded the top, both with my random orbital sander and by hand. Here’s a friendly word of advice when hand-sanding splintered wood: BE CAREFUL!
That splinter was more like a wooden knife. It tore off my skin before lodging in my finger. Man, that one hurt for days afterward!
…followed by Varathane Kona. I didn’t wait between coats. Of course, I didn’t take a picture after that coat, so you’ll just have to wait until the beauty shots at the end.
I set the top aside to dry, and then I turned my attention to the base. I cut and mitered four pieces from my 1x3s and sketched out how I would cut the long sides to give my table some “feet.”
I hate working with cheap pine. Cutting out those pieces caused the boards to warp, and I couldn’t get my mitered corners lined up. Like not even close. I soldiered ahead anyway and forced things a bit. I secured the mess with glue and brad nails. The results were pathetic, and the next day I tore it apart and tried to repair the warp.
Tried and failed.
I studied the situation carefully and hit upon a perfect solution.
After gently pulling apart the glued and nailed boards, I carried them upstairs, walked outside and hurled them into the big red dumpster that is sitting in our driveway.
As soon as the crapola pine was out of my sight, I felt a whole lot better about the project. I went over to my wall-o-wood to see what I could find.
Yes, there! That’s it! A good stout piece of maple. Good god, man! You could kill an elephant with it!
They don’t call it Rock Maple for nothing.
I cut my rock maple to size – no fancy miter corners this time. Just some good old-fashioned square-face-to-square-face action. Before gluing the frame together, I cut my pattern with the jigsaw, then it was time for glue-up.
The frame was heavy, and it was good.
I had calculated the length of the base to coincide with an equal number of shiplap shingles. I cut the shiplap pieces to the width of the base and started laying them on top.
Instead of gluing the shiplap, I decided just to secure them with brad nails, just in case I needed to swap out a shingle or put in an entirely new base.
You’ll notice the stained legs in that picture. Let’s rewind now and talk about them for a minute.
As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, the legs sat around for a few weeks before I had a chance to start working on them. If yours truly, aka The Brainless Wonder, wasn’t such a chowderhead, he would have understood that he should have taken those legs immediately into the basement and sealed them.
Why, you ask?
It’s simple, madam. So simple that I didn’t think of it until it was too late.
The average relative humidity in Florida in February/March is in the low 70s. The average relative humidity in our house in February/March is in the low 30s. Jeff built those legs in a relative swamp compared to our Kalahari-like house. That wood had a lot of water in it. That water had to go somewhere when the relative humidity dropped 40 percentage points. That water evaporated into our house, and the wood had no choice but to…
I felt like an idiot. I really should have seen that one coming.
Nothing to do but keep calm, turn the leg around, and hope no one goes sniffing around its backside.
With the base and the top completed, it was time to cut the legs down to size so I’d end up with the 34 inch farmhouse console table that Handan wanted. I enlisted Handan’s help with the legs. I couldn’t risk another screw-up – not with the legs. They were too expensive and took too long to make. She helped me line up my cuts and make sure the legs were square to the saw. And she took pictures.
With the legs cut, it was time for final assembly.
Aaaaaaaand neither of us had a plan for that part.
We stood around the pieces like a couple of savanna monkeys looking at a supercomputer.
I scratched my head.
Then I scratched my armpits.
Then I hooted a couple of times.
I grabbed a wrench, jumped up on the workbench and started beating the wrench against the table while screeching into the air.
Then, a plan.
First, we lined up a leg.
Then I traced around it in pencil.
Next, I drilled four pilot holes inside the traced square.
We then put the base up on two sawhorses and I crawled underneath with a drill, an impact driver and some deck screws. Handan lined up the leg up top and held it firmly in place while I screwed the base to the leg from underneath.
Apparently there’s nothing funnier than middle-aged fat guys trying to forklift themselves up from the ground. Handan took about ten pictures of me getting off the floor. Here’s one – the most flattering. Kinda looks like I’m breakdancing – something I was pretty good at back in 1985.
She was cackling like a hyena the whole time. What a woman!
After I had heaved myself back into the world of the upright, we turned our attention to the top.
And we became two monkeys again.
“How are we going to attach the top?”
“Can we glue it?”
“No, not a good idea.”
And so on, until I, The Frequent Ruiner and Occasional Solver, suggested small L-brackets.
“Okay, that’ll work.”
“Yep, let’s do it.”
We flipped the table, I grabbed the brackets, and we got busy securing the top.
It was an easy solution, and it will allow us to swap out the top, if we ever needed to. I like things modular!
Handan hid the brackets with some dark wax so they’re not noticeable.
With the build done, I just needed to seal the wood. I went with my homemade wipe-on polyurethane: about a 60/40 mix of Minwax Satin Polyurethane and mineral spirits. I like wipe-on for furniture like this. It goes on easier and is far more forgiving. I put on three coats over three days, sanding lightly between each coat with 2000 grit sandpaper.
Handan and I carried our finished DIY farmhouse console table upstairs, put it in its new home and decorated it. One more piece of our Dining Room Makeover is now complete!
Dining Room Makeover Checklist
Moodboard and plan. Paint the room. Create a gallery wall and design printables for it. Decide on the rug. Buy Chairs. Build dining table. Build a small console table. Makeover/upcycle antique wardrobe.
- Makeover/paint the buffet table.
- Decorate dining room.
Click here to see more dining room makeover posts as we continue to cross items off our checklist!
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