Distressed Farm Table Project

I closed on my new home in Bozeman, Montana a couple months ago and have slowly been working to furnish each room. While browsing the web last week I came across some amazing plans by Ana-White. I decided to use her idea and create my own table. The actual building process was pretty easy and it only involved one new tool investment. I didn’t have a Kreg Jig, which is what I used to easily fasten all of the top boards together. It quickly became my new favorite tool in the shop because of how easy it makes it to join boards. The actual assembly cutting and assembly process took about 5 hours. The staining process added a few more days to the process.

Here is the finished Farm table. I was very happy with how it turned out.

How to make a distressed farm table

Distressed Farm Table

Here is another style of farm table that I made a complete instructional video for.

 Plans from Ana-White.com

How to make a farm table – Check out Ana-White’s page for her plans. I included some of the finishing products in the supplies list below in case you are interested. Ana’s site is all about wood projects so definitely check it out, before long your house will be furnished completely:)

Tools

Kreg Jig – This is the one tool I had to buy.

Tape Measure
Square
Pencil
Circular Saw (It’s also nice to have a Mitre Saw, but not necessary)
Safety Glasses
Ear Protection
Drill
Sander with 120 Grit Paper
Level

Supplies: (Check out Ana’s Plans)

Supplies for my Finishing Technique
A couple of cheap brushes
White Vinegar, 000 Steel Wool (Optional for more distressed finish)
Black tea (optional for a darker finish)
Stain (optional depending on the finish you decide on)
Polyurethane – (Oil based for indoor use)

I have a video showing the whole distressing process on a coffee table I built. (Toward end of post)

Ana-White (the designer) has amazing instructions on how to assemble the table. I simply wanted to show how the table I built turned out. No two tables will look exactly the same, and I enjoyed the whole building process.

farm table

Assembled Farm Table Prior to Distressing it

After assembling the table came the fun part… Distressing it! I grabbed a hammer, saw blade, some nails, a scraper, chains, and a pipe wrench. I simply tossed the tools on, scratched the table up, and created marks randomly. Once that was done with I sanded the entire table with 120 grit paper. Just make sure not to sand to much that you take the marks out.

distressed farm style table

farm table before staining

Side view of farm table

After distressing the table, it was time to clean off the sawdust and apply the finish. To help distress the table to look like barnwood, I mixed about a quart of white vinegar with a handful of 000 steel wool. I then applied it with a paint brush. In addition to the vinegar mixture I also brushed on a cup of black tea. You’ll want to make the vinegar mixture about 24 hours prior to finishing because it takes time for the vinegar to react with the steel wool. Mix in a plastic container.

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Here is a photo of the vinegar/steel wool and black tea finish after 15 minutes. I let the stains mix in for about 12 hours before applying a polyurethane.

Distressed farm table vinegar and steel wool

15 minutes into the reaction

Here is what the table looked like after 45 minutes.

distressed table vinegar and steel wool

45 minutes of the reaction taking place

Finally the table started to darken after about two hours.

farm table with vinegar and steel wool

This is what the table looked like after about 2 hours

The farm table continued to darken over night. Once it was completely dry, I applied a light coat of golden oak Minwax stain. I had a couple areas that didn’t take the vinegar solution as well as I’d liked, so the stain helped to even out the finish. After letting the stain dry I applied 3 coats of polyurethane to give the table a nice protective and durable finish. (2 coats to the legs/apron) and 3 on the top surface).

 

stained farm table

Farm table with 3 coats of polyurethane

Here is a video I made showing how I typically finish the tables. It explains the distressing, staining, and finishing techniques I used on a coffee table, which is the same as how I did the farm style dining table.


Once the polyurethane was completely dry, I grabbed a friend and we carried in the table. You can take off the bottom middle stretcher if it helps to get it through the door.

farm table to build

Farm House Table Complete!

completed farm table dark finish

I ended up taking the stretcher off to get the table in my home. You can see the 3 screws I removed on each side to easily take it off.

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The finished product is below. Friends and family all love this table and have asked if I could build one for them. I’d love to if I had the time, but I tell them they can easily build one themselves if they’d like. They are a pretty simple project to tackle!

farm table plans easy to build

Time to eat!

Please comment below. If you’d like to share your version shoot an email to pete@petesveen.com and we’ll post it for you!

  • Pingback: 15+ Way to Get a Country Home Look Using Farm Style Dining Room Sets | Subuha()

  • Where did you get the wood??? I got a quote from a lumber yard for $1000. How did you get it for $90??

    • DIYPETE

      Hi Audrey! Did you get a quote for construction grade pine, fir, or spruce? And what part of the country do you live in? Our local lumber yard is comparable in prices to home depot/lowes. If you have a Home Depot I’d get the wood there.

  • Phil

    Hey Pete,

    I read a lot of criticism on Ana’s and Shanty2Chic’s websites regarding the use of kreg screws joining the table top & breadboards. The concern is that since the breadboards are ‘locked’ with the kreg screws and don’t have room to move via seasonal humidity changes, they will eventually warp, shrink, crack & possibly fail. The fix is to use tongue and groove or biscuit joinery.

    I made one of the 4×4 truss tables 2 years ago (turned out great btw!) but did notice a bit of shrinkage between the main boards and the breadboards – about 1/8″ to 1/4″. It appears to have stabilized and haven’t noticed any changes since then. I anticipated this for the next 4×4 table build I had so let it acclimatize over last winter in the basement before finishing it and the top warped quite a bit which required a lot of help from the belt sander.

    Like most others, I’m here for quality builds on a budget but just looking for your opinion on longevity of these builds – especially the table tops/ breadboards joined with kreg screws. Do you expect them to have a certain ‘lifespan’ (5, 10, 15 years)? Or should a table joined like this last indefinitely?

    Thanks! Phil

    • diypete

      Hey Phil, this certainly depends on a number of factors. While they certainly can last indefinitely — conditions can cause woods to expand and contract more or less. Doing your best to prep the woods — and to properly assemble is key. To be honest, I did the Kreg screws a few years ago for simplicity to show the process for a beginner with just basic tools. However, if you have a dado blade to do tongue and groove — or a biscuit jointer or domino — you are going to have better and more long lasting results. Cheers!

  • Cody Smith

    Hey Pete,

    First time discovering your site and I love this table! I’m wondering what type of wood you used? I want to build myself but don’t know whether to go to Lowes and buy some pine or go to a lumber yard for some good hardwood. Thanks for any suggestions!

    Cody.

    • Thanks for checking out the site Cody! I used basic construction grade fir, but pine would work as well. Cheers

  • Eric Stoner

    Do you happen to have plans for those chairs? I have been looking for plans but those chairs are awesome looking and would be perfect!! Thanks again!

    • DIYPETE

      Sorry, Eric we don’t have plans for the chairs.

      • Eric Stoner

        OK, NO PROBLEM!

  • John

    Hi Pete, Many thanks for posting this instructional! Just spent two weeks out in BZN this past summer. Brother and cousins went to school out there. Anyway, can you kindly advise any recommendations if I were to make this a pub table height (42″)? Would you make the lateral supports at a different height? Just thinking about aesthetics and also being structurally sound. Thanks again.

    • DIYPETE

      John, that’s great – gotta love it out here. Did you have a good time? This would be nice at pub table height, thats a great idea! Be sure to share photos when you finish it. I would recommend bringing the supports up, yes, don’t want them quite as close to the ground since you’ll be going up another 12″. It’ll still be plenty strong though if you don’t end up adjusting anything. To be safe, just meet it in the middle and bring that support up another 6″ off the ground or so. Cheers John!

  • Jim

    Hey Pete,

    I recently built this table, and I tried the tea/vinegar/wool combo. I was overly confident since the vinegar didn’t turn colors (sat 1 day), and I didnt do a test on the color. Oops. The table came out waayyy darker than I intended (nearly black rather than the weathered grey I was shooting for) . Any thoughts on a fix? Only thing i can think of is sanding it down and starting over….

    • Hey Jim,
      Sorry to hear the color turned out much darker than expected. It’s crazy how different woods react. I hate to say it, but I think you’ll want to invest some time in sanding unless you want to paint it / do a distressed paint type finish. If sanding, you’ll want to get a somewhat aggressive pad (maybe 60 grit) — to remove it as quick as possible — and then work up to the higher grits. For round two I’d dilute the solution quite a bit — and make sure to use some experiment scrap boards prior to doing the table. If it still reacts too much, you might consider using a normal stain. Cheers – Pete

      • Jim

        Thanks Pete.

        I assumed I was in that boat, but figured I’d see if there was an option I was missing. I may try to sand it down with 220, leaving the dark color in the distressed areas as well as veins throughout the table, and then go over that with a lighter stain, almost similar to what you did with yours, but sanded down further prior to the stain over the top. Anyway, lesson learned – will always do a test from now on. Thanks again.

        • Hey Jim! I’ve done the same thing before, we’ve all been there 🙂 Oh well, a little more time spent on it, but I know it is going to have a lot of character and look great in the end. Good luck! – Pete

  • bricabracwizard

    I like what you’ve done here…..but just a note on your social media tabs….on an iPad they get in the way of reading so it’s not easy to read your articles, can you put them somewhere else? I’m sure there will be some people who will avoid this if it’s too much hard work to read?

    • Hi! Thanks so much for the suggestions. I just added a new social media plugin and am experimenting — and am very glad to get your feedback. I hadn’t tried it on an ipad and I agree that they are in the way. I’m going to work on finding a better sharing tab solution. THANK YOU! – Pete

  • JoeyR

    Hi Pete! I realize this is old but first time discovering your site and can’t get enough of the great projects! Great finished products and extremely motivational for amateurs like myself!
    I was looking over this project and just had two questions I didn’t see answered: When you put this together using the Kreg, did you have to purchase the K4 model or would the Kreg Jr (http://www.amazon.com/Kreg-R3-Pocket-Hole-System/dp/B000J43A7W/ref=pd_sim_469_6?ie=UTF8&refRID=0MJTE16JZHZY1N94W4V6), suffice? It’s the only one I have and swear by it. But if i must upgrade, I couldn’t think of a better excuse! Also, when you joined the wood, what length Kreg screws did you use?
    Thanks for all these great videos and any insight is greatly appreciated!

    • Hey Joey! The Kreg Jr would work for the project, I do know it will add quite a bit of time to the project though. The k4 was one of the best upgrades I’ve made and is one of my favorite tools in the shop. It beats having to re-clamp the kreg jr all the time and is super easy to work with. So, the jr will work — but if you plan to continue getting into more projects I think the investment in the k4 will be well worth it for you. I used 2 1/2 inch screws for the table top. Thanks so much for the kind words and best of luck with the project!! – Pete

  • Jason Krotts

    Her plans show a standard hight table and it appears yours is a bar hight, how long did you cut the legs? I want to make the matching chairs from your outdoor bar video to go with it. Thank you, i love your work.

  • Danielle Kilburn

    Gorgeous, you did such a great job Pete! This is exactly what I am wanting in my kitchen, only with a bench instead of chairs. It will sit in the corner (my husband is going to build a corner bench for the other side of the table). I can’t wait, thank you so much for the instructions! BTW congrats on moving to Bozeman, it’s a beautiful area! I live in KY but I was there back in March visiting the Crazy Mountain Ranch, I’d love to come back again, Montana is a beautiful state!

    • Thank you Danielle and that is cool you’ve been out to the Crazy Mountain Ranch! You are welcome and congrats on taking on the project:) Cheers from Big Sky Country!

  • Robert E Galan

    You don’t have the video step by step of have to make a farm house table?? It would be really helpful… Thank you!

    • Hi Robert! I know, I’d love to get a video up. I have a number of projects in the work as well as posts /videos in que. I’ll work a table in on a future project for sure. Let me know in the meantime if you have any questions on making your table. Good luck! – Pete

    • Hi Robert, here is a complete video tutorial for a 4×4 Farm Table that I made. I hope it is helpful. Good luck with all your projects! – DIY PETE

      • michelle

        Hi can you repost the link for step by step 4×4 farm table you mentioned above? I see no link….
        Thanks!

        • You bet! Here is the link. It is a bit different then the table in this post, but walks you through the general process for creating the table top which is similar. There is a complete video tutorial as well. http://www.diypete.com/how-to-build-a-farmhouse-table/ — Cheers!

          • michelle

            Thanks Pete I guess I was thinking it was actually 4×4 in measurement (in a square) we have a small space and 4×4 would max it out, but could still fit. a 4×3, a 3×3, or even 3×2 would be ideal, but I don’t know how to change the plans….

  • CPt planet

    Hey, great job!

    I tried making this table a while ago, but could never get the tabletop to stay flat after the glue up. It would always be warped after drying.

    Any tips?

    Much appreciated!

    • Thanks CPT Planet! Did you kreg jig the table top together? You’ve probably tried some of my suggestions but here is what I’d recommend. – 1. Take a lot of time when buying lumber to find boards without warping and that are as straight as possible. 2. Lay out all boards on a flat surface and get them all to fit as close together as possible. Sometimes you can rearrange the boards so that they are next to boards that may fit the others slight warp better. 3. Label all the boards with numbers to keep them in order. 4. Drill the pilot holes. 5. This is probably the most important. When kreg jigging the boards together, press down on the boards to ensure they are flat agains the work surface and so one board doesn’t turn out higher than the other. –I use clamps to help out with this and it makes a big difference. 6. After everything is together, sometimes the long boards will not level up perfectly with the breadboards. To fix this, I like to use a hand planer and then sand with an orbital sander to remove the slightly higher ends of the longer boards. Let me know if this all makes sense or if I can better explain it. Thanks and good luck! – Pete

  • Kevin

    Complete amateur gonna take on this project. But I cannot find instructions or guidance on how to make the dado cuts in the legs? Is that what the Kreg Jig was for? Is it possible to make the dado cuts with a circular saw?

    • Hey Kevin! You caught me at a good time, I just finished fixing the sprinklers and mowing the lawn! –The Kreg Jig is used to connect the table top boards and some of the side pieces. But, to do the cut out on the 4×4’s use a circular saw just like what your are thinking. You are going to cut out a 3.5″ spot for the 2×4 to rest. Set your circular saw to a 1.5″ depth and make the two outside cuts. After the first to cuts, take your circular saw and go from one cut to the other and make a bunch of cuts a few mm from each other. Lastly, take a chisel and clean out all the cuts you made. You’ll now have the 3.5″ wide x 1.5″ depth cutout in the 4×4 to put your 2×4. — Does this make sense? I may need a picture to help explain:) But hit me up on my email at pete@diypete.com if you need me to take a photo and send to ya. Cheers! – DIY PETE

  • Kevin

    Complete amateur gonna take on this project. But I cannot find instructions or guidance on how to make the dado cuts in the legs? Is that what the Kreg Jig was for? Is it possible to make the dado cuts with a circular saw?

    • Hey Kevin! You caught me at a good time, I just finished fixing the sprinklers and mowing the lawn! –The Kreg Jig is used to connect the table top boards and some of the side pieces. But, to do the cut out on the 4×4’s use a circular saw just like what your are thinking. You are going to cut out a 3.5″ spot for the 2×4 to rest. Set your circular saw to a 1.5″ depth and make the two outside cuts. After the first to cuts, take your circular saw and go from one cut to the other and make a bunch of cuts a few mm from each other. Lastly, take a chisel and clean out all the cuts you made. You’ll now have the 3.5″ wide x 1.5″ depth cutout in the 4×4 to put your 2×4. — Does this make sense? I may need a picture to help explain:) But hit me up on my email at pete@diypete.com if you need me to take a photo and send to ya. Cheers! – DIY PETE

  • Besserwisser

    Thanks so much, Pete! I searched for a really detailed list of supplies needed and am so grateful for yours! Not that I want to be spoon fed what I need to do, but I’ve never done anything like this before. This way I can start without running back to the hardware store each day. Oh, and your table looks fabulous!

  • Besserwisser

    Thanks so much, Pete! I searched for a really detailed list of supplies needed and am so grateful for yours! Not that I want to be spoon fed what I need to do, but I’ve never done anything like this before. This way I can start without running back to the hardware store each day. Oh, and your table looks fabulous!

    • You bet! Good luck on your table, send me a pic when it’s done, I’d love to see it! Thanks for your kind words as well, I know yours will turn out great. Cheers! – DIY PETE

  • Hey Jessica! Nice work building your own, that’s awesome. So I put 2 black tea bags in 4 cups of hot water and let it sit for about 10 minutes. I then painted a coat on the whole table. I also used the steel wool mixture. It did a great job, the only thing is that I used white pine for the aprons and white pine doesn’t take vinegar or tea real well. So, To blend in everything after the mixtures I did one quick coat of a $10 can of MinWax dark walnut stain. As for the brand of tea, any black tea will do the job:) Let me know if you have any other questions at all as I’d love to help! Cheers and good luck Jess! – DIY PETE

  • Jessica nsa

    Hi Pete!

    I have just made this (almost) same table for my farmhouse dining room! I absolutely love your finish and it seems much less expensive than purchasing stain. I was wondering if you could give a bit more detail about the black tea though, how strong did you make it and what type did you use?

    Thanks!

    Jess