FAQ

We often get questions in comments, email, and messages that a lot of you are asking time and time again. I want to help answer those and have put together this frequently asked questions page for you. If there are any others you’d like to see answered, please comment below.

Put a handful of #000 or #0000 steel wool in a jar and then add white vinegar. You’ll want about one-part vinegar to two-parts steel wool. Let the vinegar dissolve the steel wool for at least a couple of days. With the vinegar solution you definitely want to leave the lid off, as it releases a gas that you’ll want to let escape from the jar. The mixture will get darker the longer you let it sit. Oxidation will occur and the mixture reacts with the tannins in the wood to give it variations in color. It changes Fir wood to dark blues, greys, browns, and black. Pine, however will not darken much at all.

You can always dilute your mixture if it is too strong. Simply pour a little of the strong mixture in a new cup and add white vinegar.

Here’s an in-depth video explaining the whole process for you.

Prior to cutting, drill holes in the bands near where each cut will be made, and then drill another one in the middle. Then put 1 inch wood screws into those holes/into the barrel staves. Then, use a sawzall to cut through the bands down the middle of the barrel. Because you fastened the bands you’ll able to keep everything in place. For the end-caps of your half barrel, you can buy thin 1/2 inch metal band and tack it on each end to keep the half circle end-cap from moving.
A few good places to check for whiskey barrels are locally on Craigslist, breweries or distilleries, and then at local farm/ranch supply stores. I know that for the midwest, Mernards often carries full size whiskey barrels that you’ll just have to then cut in half (see question above about cutting a barrel in half). In Montana I was able to come by some used barrels on Craigslist as well as the option to buy new at a farm/ranch (Murdochs) supply store.
The concrete is heavy and doesn’t move around much, but here is what I’d recommend. Something I like to do is put blocks underneath to prevent the concrete from moving around. I attach the blocks to the bottom of the concrete with construction adhesive (liquid nails). Below are a few pictures showing what we mean. You could silicone the top of the base where it will touch the concrete as well if you’d like.
I don’t like to really use bolts in these thinner concrete pieces, although you could always embed a female bolt receptor of some sort into the concrete so the base could be attached that way. You have to be very careful to not over-tighten it.
Concrete, concrete work, concrete countertop, concrete table, concrete tabletop, DIY Concrete, concrete work, concrete countertop, concrete table, concrete tabletop, DIY Concrete, concrete work, concrete countertop, concrete table, concrete tabletop, DIY
I used a stencil to paint on a Nebraska Huskers design. I made the stencil with a vinyl cutting machine that I own. If you do not have access to a vinyl cutting machine though, you can order custom stencils and NCAA licensed decals from companies like decalsextremeonline.com and vinyldisorder.com.
Pressure treated wood does have chemicals in it to help it withstand the outdoor elements, rotting, bugs, etc. It isn’t going to take stains the same, so you’d want to experiment with scraps before staining the whole thing to get the correct color. Pressure treated lumber is injected with the chemicals, so you’ll really want to let the boards dry out for some time before building. If possible, use pressure treated lumber for wood bases and avoid using it for tabletops, etc.
We have a number of resources explaining this process, the best though may be for you to watch this video. Other resources are here, here, and here.
If you’re not able to find screws longer than 3 1/2″ or 4″ at your local Home Depot or hardware store, then look to contractor supply stores. Certain lumberyards that also sell tools and bulk hardware, hardware stores selling bolts, nuts, screws, etc. in bulk bins will have them, and potentially even farm and ranch stores! I have gotten this question from a number of people, especially those living in southern U.S. I’d recommend looking around for other contractor stores, hardware stores, and/or farm and ranch supply stores.
The torque screws that I use are Big Timber Torx made right here in Montana.
I live in Montana where humidity is not an issue at all. My farmhouse dining table never has had any issues in warping, bending, or twisting. If you’re living in Florida, Georgia, or somewhere else with high humidity, know that it is definitely more likely to have movement. There are a few key factors to consider when building to make sure it won’t be an issue for you either!

1) Make sure you purchase dried out wood, either kiln or air dried. Do not construct the table until you are sure the wood is completely dry.
2) Use glue sparingly on your joints to allow the wood to expand and contract. As I make more and more woodworking projects, I’m finding just how amazing the power of a solid wood glue like Gorilla Wood Glue is. For a project like the Farmhouse Table, though, you’ll want to use glue carefully. You want the wood to be able to naturally move with the seasons. Use glue sparingly!
3) Recognize that if you’re living in a very humid area, it could be a possibility that the wood could shift so do everything in your power to avoid it becoming an issue.
4) The Kreg Jig is a great joinery system that is perfect for the average DIYer. Other types of more advanced joinery like mortise and tenons will reduce the chances of movement even more, yet pocket hole joinery with a Kreg Jig works great!

Here is a good reference from Fine Woodworking magazine (click the highlighted text) about other, more advanced options for securing tabletops and breadboard ends.