Monday, May 23, 2011

How To Build A Rustic Kitchen Table Island

To start building your rustic center table for your kitchen like the one I built for my kitchen makeover, you will need some aged wood. This could be anything, I used old barn wood, but old pallet wood would work, or any kind of old wood. Give it a good scrubbing with soap, water and a scrubbing brush, then let dry.
Whenever I build a table like this, I always start with the top first and then determine the rest of my measurements based on that. So, after I determined how big I wanted the top to be, I chose the best pieces of wood. Again, since you are using beautifully aged wood, look for your most visually pleasing pieces. The table top measurements were 23 inches x 37 inches. Three pieces of wood placed side by side was 23 inches across so that is how I determined that measurement. I cut three of those planks to be 37 inches in length and layed them TOP SIDE DOWN, side by side on the ground. You don't want any gaps between the boards.
I then took another two boards and cut them to be 18 inches in length. These are the pieces that will connect all three planks together. I placed them across the three planks and attached using wood screws. It's important to note that when using screws, it's best to pre-drill your holes first with a drill bit so your boards won't split and doing so makes it much easier to sink your screws. As you can see, you want the cross pieces to be shorter than the length of the planks to allow for the sides (aprons) of the table. This is the under side of your table top.
Next, onto the legs. My hubby grabbed some 2 x 4's off the old barn so that is what I used for the legs. Determine your measurements. I wanted my table to be countertop height, so, I cut four 2 x 4's to be 3 feet in length. Place them on each corner of your table top. You want them about an inch from each edge. Make sure they are in the correct position because this is how we will determine the measurements for the apron (side) of the table. Starting with the short end of the table, measure from the outside of one leg to the outside of the other leg close to the tabletop. Cut a piece of wood that length. In my case, it was 20 1/2 inches. This is the side of your table for one end. You can go ahead and measure the other end and do the same thing. If everything is lined up, attach the side to the legs by using wood screws. I used two 2 1/2 inch screws and just inserted them from the outside, this is a rustic table, doesn't need to be perfect. Make sure that the ends of each side are flush with the outside of the table legs. Do the same thing for the long side but this time measure from end to end starting at the side you just attached. My two end pieces were 20 1/2 inches and my two long pieces were 3 feet in length.
After all your sides are attached, we're half way finished! Next you want to attach the top to the legs and aprons. Grab some wood scraps and cut both ends at a 45 degree angle, as shown in the photo below, using a miter saw. These will fit into the corners underneath the tabletop. First, drill two screws into the top of that piece into the tabletop. Make sure your screws are short enough that the will go through the wood into the table but not come out the top of the table. Yep, it happened to me. :) Then insert a screw into the end of the angle cut wood into the side of the table, again, make sure it doesn't come out the other side. You will be drilling the screw in at an angle.
Do this with all four corners. Flip it over and there is your table. Now, I wanted a bottom shelf on my table to hold my larger dutch oven pots and I didn't get any photos of the process so I will tell you how I did it, it's easy.
While my table was still upside down on the ground, I measured 7 inches from the top of the leg (which would actually be the bottom of the leg if it was right side up) and marked it. I did this for each leg. Now, cut two more pieces of wood to match your two end cuts for the apron, again, mine were 20 1/2 inches. Attach this piece, flat side against leg, with wood screws. Repeat for other side. This will give you a "ledge" for adding planks for a bottom shelf. Measure the distance from ledge to ledge and cut three more planks accordingly. Mine were 30 inches in length. Since this is the bottom shelf of your table, it is okay if there are gaps between your planks and you don't have to use three if you don't want to. I used two planks that were the same width as my top table and one smaller one. Remember, it's rustic. :) It's not supposed to be perfect. Here is a closeup of mine.
And the building part is finished! Next step is the sanding. Grab yourself some sandpaper or a palm sander and sand that wood down until it's smooth. To start, I used 100 grit sandpaper because the grain of this barn wood was very rough. Then I switched to 220 grit to give the top a very smooth surface. After all your sanding is complete, give it a good dusting with some tack cloth. Next, to give it a good shine and a lot of depth, I applied three coats of polyurethane, letting dry a good bit between coats. Then a final light sanding after the top was completely dry made for a very smooth surface. And that's it! I absolutely love how the wood has so much more depth after sanding and sealing.
Since we didn't spend any money at all on this table, that meant we could spend a little on accessories for the table, so my hubby bought this gorgeous double towel rack for me at Lowe's. This is actually what inspired me to build the table. And what would a gorgeous towel rack be without a fun kitchen towel to hang from it. How adorable is this kitchen towel?
Anthropologie
I bought one and I just love it! It hangs from the towel rack along with several of my vintage kitchen towels. I love the cute little aprons and towels hanging from the clothesline. It's definitely one of those small things that can make you happy just by looking at it. You can pick one up for yourself here.
It was fun making this and I really think it adds warmth to our kitchen. And the bonus is, it provides more storage for pots and pans. I hope my instructions were easy enough to understand if anyone else would like to give it a go. Questions are always welcome!
The Lettered Cottage

47 comments:

  1. Love! Thanks for sharing. Might try my hand at this soon.

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  2. darling! and yet I WANT that kitchen towel!

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  3. So beautiful. And you did great instructions. I could actually follow them which is pretty good-I'm not very handy at that type of stuff. But this inspires me to try. I want a buffet table so maybe I will help my husband build it:)

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  4. Love that! Thanks for the How To.

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  5. I only wish I could be 1/2 as talented as you! Great job but you're way out of my league with your building skills.

    Have a safe and happy weekend!
    Judy

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  6. I love this! Beautiful and just what I really need in my kitchen!
    Susan

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  7. Filing this one away for whenever we build our own house. Would love to have something like this in our kitchen.
    You and the hubs did a great job.

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  8. Such a pretty island cart, I love the patina on that wood. Great job!

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  9. Really beautiful! If only there was room in my kitchen for an island.

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  10. wow, this is amazing! I'm so glad ive found you so now I can join your followers and keep updated.

    such a beautiful blog

    xo em

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  11. Love it, love it, love it... I'm just getting started on my "farmhouse journey" and wood I torn out of the old barn will work great! Thanks for the instructions :)

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  12. Hey just jumped over from tipjunkie! GREAT idea and ironically I was just thinking this past weekend, I need an island b/c I was using my ironning board as one to work on! I don't have a lot of room for a stationary one but I bet wheels would work ! Thanks for the idea. Just joined your friend connect!

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  13. You did a great job :) Excellent. I have a question for you: what if the tabletop boards had not fit together snuggly, do you know how to make them snug? Place them next to each other on a sawhorse, or whatever, and run a skillsaw where they join. Just like if you cut a board in half, the cut seam matches perfectly. Works with two sheets of plywood, too. Thank you for this great post. My name is Loo.

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  14. Thanks for sharing this post! I so LOVE how it turned out. Great job!!!!

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  15. I absolutely love this table. When you finished it, did you use the polyurethane on all of it? What I mean is, did you use it one the under side of the table?

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  16. Anonymous, thank you, and no, I didn't use it on the under side of the table. :)

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  17. I made one of these today.... took me about 6 hours. I used pine steps as my top, they had rounded edges. I used scrap deck piece for the bottom shelf and sides and I bought deck spindles for the legs. I stained it and I have one clear coat on so far! I love mine! Thanks for the great idea!

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  18. That's great, Shannon! Would love to see a pic!

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  19. I have pictures up on my facebook account. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150310440111710&set=a.10150231894581710.322589.542201709&type=3&theater
    Not sure if you will see it. My blog is currently down.

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  20. oh my gosh I love this table/island!! I was wondering what is the distance between your cupboards and the table. I would love to do something similar in my kitchen but I am not sure if I have enough space.

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  21. This is such an awesome piece. As a lover of antiques this project fits in with my furniture. Can you tell me what color of stain you used and if you used a stain polyurethane mix or stain then poly?

    Thank you so much for your time,

    Daniel

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  22. Hi Daniel, I didn't use any stain on the island. I only put two coats of semi gloss polyurethane on the piece. Thank you! :)

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  23. Wow... Nice Post...

    Visit my Article about Create Rustic Looking Kitchen

    thanks Alot...

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  24. I absolutely adore this, you've done a fantastic job. I do have a question though. Considering this is barn wood or as you say, pallet wood could be used, do you ever use it for food preparation in any way if it's not on a plate or board? I would love to have a go at this but using pallets, and I'm wondering how safe it would be.

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  25. I finished mine today! Pictures will be going up tomorrow. I took photos along the way of each step that I done so if you don't mind I will be putting those up on my blog but linking back to you with the original credit. Thanks for sharing!

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  26. I have been looking for one of these for my kitchen but none of them were the right dimensions...now I can just make my own...thank you so much for the tutorial! I just found your blog today and love your home! I'll post pictures once I finish it!

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  27. Hi I have the same question as Jackie... what is the distance between your cupboards and the table?? I would love to do something similar in my kitchen but I am not sure if I have enough space.

    Thanks a bunch!

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  28. Great looking table. I'm thinking of building one now. Thanks for the inspiration!!

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  29. Love it! Thanks for showing us how to make it.

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  30. Did you just sand the top only, or did you also sand the apron sides and legs? Thanks!

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  31. I adore this table! By the way - is the barn still standing? You've stolen an awful lot of boards from it.....

    : )

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  32. How lovely! I think even I could manage to create something similar, and I have few skills in that department!

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  33. I love doing things like that. This table is a great inspiration for me to work much harder. Thank you!!!!

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  34. Your island is perfect - it's gorgeous1 I have this linked to my kitchen islands post as well today, nice job!

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  35. I'm looking at the two different pieces you've finished. The Kitchen Island in this post and the kitchen table. You finished one with minwax finishing wax in natural and this one in polyurithane(sp). What would you recommend finishing a kitchen table with busy children in?

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  36. Love it! I was looking for a project table to make with old boards from a tree house. This will work great. Thanks!

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  37. i am planning that my house would be vintage, so before i am starting it. i am browsing in the internet to collect some ideas on what is the best furniture's that i would best choose. glad that i saw your blog

    kitchen mixer

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  38. Lovely! I am totally amazed & inspired by your creations! Any tips on how to begin building? (building anything that is,using tools & working with wood) Did you take any classes, or did you just go for it by following instructions from somewhere. I am a total beginner & am a bit fearful of biting off more than i can chew without a bit of direction..

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  39. Love your Island, I am inspired to have my son make one for me. Thank you for the instructions.

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  40. Nicely done, thanks for sharing! your writing style is easy to follow, considerate and informative. My wife and I are inspired!

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  41. I have a few rustic tables around the house that I have made myself, as I like to pick up old pieces of wood when out and about and am quite handy with a saw and hammer. We use one for a dining room table, one in the hallway for storage and one outside on the patio. I’ll get my camera and make some pictures to send you, they are VERY rustic but we always get comments on them.

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  42. Thank you so much for giving me some impiration. I have moved to Sweden, and afriend had a lot of old wood laying out in the snow behind the barn. After maybe a month of drying, I have now nearly completed my first ever piece of furniture. I'm very pleased.Thank you again. Thomas
    https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-prn2/t1/1794797_10152218139920600_1947363236_n.jpg

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  43. Thanks. what lovely projects you did.. Quite inspiring..

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment today! I read every one and they always put a smile on my face! Thanks for stopping by!