When I was in Las Vegas last month, I had the pleasure of stepping foot into the actual Z Gallerie store. If you follow on Instagram, you would have caught my devastation as I realized that I could not take anything home with me. One of the things I fell in love with was this table that you can barely see in the photo below. It’s in the lower right hand corner but here is the photo from their website. A few weeks ago, one of my DIY heroines posted an Ana White knock off of the very same table on her blog The House of Wood. That was it, I had to have this table. I stalked her instagram to see what it looked like once finished and I sent her emails trying to get as much info as I could. In the end, I took Ana Whites plans and I attempted to make it happen.
I started with a trip to the lumber yard. I gave them my cut list and asked how much it would cost in Southern Yellow Pine. I was told that they don’t carry SYP for stud lumber but that they had White Pine which was supposedly the same thing. I didn’t argue when the cost came to only $71. I paid for my lumber and then headed over to the shed with my cut list. The guys pulled my wood for me and started cutting. I’d have to say that their cuts were spot on. I can’t say the same for their lumber selection. One of the guys gave me grief when I “rejected” a few of the boards that were basically split in half. He tells me that “this is stud lumber, it’s not supposed to be pretty.” I politely told him that no contractor alive would accept those pieces that had the structural integrity of a chopstick. He told me that he would give me better pieces this time but not in the future. I told him that was fine because I would just go to the big box store for my stud lumber from now on. At least they let you pick your own boards.
When I got all the boards out of the truck, I laid them out on my deck to remeasure them all. Every single board had to be cut because I purposely increased the length of every board by one inch. Just in case the lumberjack (that’s what I’ll call them) was off by a 1/4 inch. Ana’s plans suggest that you run the 2×4’s & 2×6’s through the table saw and remove about 1/8 of an inch from both sides to get rid of the rounded edges.
Below is an example of what it looked like before and after. The board on the right is before and the one on the left if after. I pre-cut all of my boards according to the plans and almost lost it when I could not figure out what 30° off center not parallel meant. I mulled it over and mulled it over. Then I googled it and got my answer.
It meant that the cuts on the opposite ends should be a 30°angle but that the angles should not run in the same direction (not parallel). Honestly I had to go back to 9th grade geometry to wrap my brain around this concept but once I got it I was ok. I wrote the length of each and every board on the ends and for the boards that I had to cut those funny angles, I wrote the length on the top of the board. That part would eventually get sanded off. The plans said to build the table top first but since my second pair of hands wasn’t home from work yet, I jumped ahead and built the legs first. I used a spacer to keep the boards the exact same width apart. Then I drilled about a 100 pocket holes into the boards to make my table top. I’m not kidding when I say 100. The tabletop alone took 111 screws. if you are going to build a table like this or any other furniture using stud lumber, I highly suggest you buy the big box of 2 1/2″ Blue Kote Kreg screws.
I laid my boards out in the driveway to do a test fitting.Then when the husband came home, he helped me assemble the top.
We glued the sides of every board then joined them using the pocket holes. Having 42″ pipe or bar clamps would have been very helpful at this point. Since we didn’t have that, we resorted to using our bodies to hold things together. This went rather quickly and we had the tabletop assembled within an hour.
In the photo above. the top two curved boards on the legs are not attached yet.
I had to hand scrape all the glue that oozed out the cracks before it dried then I let the table top dry for 24 hours before I trimmed the edges. Even though I’m now a proud owner of a table saw, I still had to break out the circular saw to trim the edges even so that it would accept the breadboard ends. Once that was done, I was ready to attach the ends. I glued, clamped and then screwed like my life depended on it. When the glue dried I began sanding the back of the table. First with a 60 grit sandpaper then with a 100 grit paper then with a 220 grit paper. I rounded the edges for safety. I flipped the table over and filled any cracks with wood filler then repeated the process. I also did the same process on the table legs. Once everything was nice and smooth, I attached the three table support boards to the back of the tabletop.
I knew from the very beginning that this table would need to be a knockdown. Meaning that I would have to be able to take it apart and put it back together again for storage due to the cold Michigan winter months.
Jen mentioned that she secured her table using nuts and bolts but didn’t exactly elaborate as to what kind of nuts and bolts and how she installed them. I had to do some research and figure that out on my own. I went to the Rockler store and showed them the illustration of how I wanted the table to be disassembled and they introduced me to these. It’s called a Hex Drive Threaded Insert and it’s pretty awesome. I found out after the fact that you can also get them at Lowes. They come four in a pack and you can use whatever length bolt you need. I chose 3 1/2″ because I wanted to sink the threaded insert into the first board that was attached to the underside of the table and then I wanted the head of the bolt countersunk just beneath the surface of the top board that was attached to the table legs. Does that make sense?
Here is a little demonstration for you. The bottom two boards are securely screwed and glued to one another as well as to the table top. The top board that my fingers are touching are attached to the legs of the table only. By using a washer and the hex bolt, I will guarantee that this table is nice and tight. I lined the table legs up and marked four spots to pre drill my holes. I had previously marked where the screws were in the lower boards so that I would not run into them with my drill bit when I drilled the holes for the bolt. I used a 1/4″ hole saw bit to drill the hole that would hide the head of the hex bolt and the washer. If this isn’t making sense right now don’t worry. Everything will be illuminated for you in a moment. With the legs set aside, I bored the threaded insert into the predrilled holes.
NOTE: Lowes does not sell a bit that will screw these inserts in. I had to use an allen wrench that came with some Ikea furniture, saw off the “L” shaped end and stick it into my drill.
Now comes the finishing. I’ve used the Rustoleum Ultimate Wood Stains before but this will be my first time using the Spar Varnish. I’ve opted for the Satin finish because I just don’t care for glossy surfaces on my furniture.
My cousin was visiting from Texas so I put her to work. This table top was 32 sq. ft of surface area to cover so we tag teamed the task. We started on the back side of the table and used cut up old t-shirts to wipe off the excess stain. Then we flipped the table over and stained the top. I am so glad she was here because that tabletop weighed at least 100 lbs. When the tabletop dried, it looked kinda hazy and uneven so I lightly sanded the entire surface with a 320 grit sanding block. Then I brushed off the dust and wiped the table down with a tack cloth. I applied the first coat of Spar Varnish to the back of the tabletop and let it dry, then we flipped it over and applied the first coat to the top of the tabletop. I used my beloved long handled Purdy brush to get a nice and smooth finish free of brush strokes. Per the instructions on the can, I allowed 2-3 hours of dry time between all three coats. While the tabletop was drying, I attempted to cut the fancy “X” pieces for the center of the table. I failed miserably as my miter saw only cuts up to 48.5° and my “X “required 50° cuts. To improvise, I borrowed the design from one of Ana Whites other plans and just made a huge “V” under the table. These were cut to fit. I wanted to stain these two “V” pieces separately because they would come off when the table is taken apart. I took the time to label the ends of the “V” pieces and thier corresponding connecting points with a sharpie marker for easy assembly.
I gave the table base a second coat of spar varnish and let everything sit out in the sun for a few hours. Now was the moment of truth. Time to assemble. Will it wobble, will the screws fit, will it be lopsided?
Since this table probably weighs about 225 lbs. we put the table top face down on the dropcloth in the driveway. Then we lifted the base on top of the table. We seated the screws in their respective holes and tightened them up. This photo should make sense of the whole “nut & bolt” explanation. Below my cousin is using the socket wrench to tighten the hex bolt and washer into the threaded insert that is secured into the bottom of the three boards. There are four bolts in each leg and there is no movement. Does it make sense now?
To secure those two “V” pieces, I countersunk two holes into the underside of the stretcher bar.
Then I drove 2 1/2″ weather resistant screws into the boards.
I put two wire brads into the opposite ends of the”V” pieces to hold them in place as these are more decorative than they are structural.
Then my cousin and I flipped the table over and moved it into the backyard.
My friend asked me if it was possible to stain-stainable Wood Filler. The answer is yes. I’d suggest testing it on a scrap piece of wood. Mine is barely noticeable in the image below.
I can see many meals eaten outside on this table.
Alfresco dining, here we come.
Now all I’ve got to do is make up my mind on some chairs.
Thank you Ana White and Jen Woodhouse.
The plans for this table and 1,000 other awesome projects are available here.