A few years ago, I had a crazy idea that involved searching out an old barn that was being torn down, getting some old boards, and building a table out of them.
Thankfully, my husband is always up for these challenges and typically doesn’t blink an eye when I ask him for something outrageous. He might sigh inwardly at all the work involved but he’s a champ and makes it happen.
So that same summer we happened to stumble across an old barn that was being demolished, and we promptly knocked on the front door of the farmhouse to ask if we could take any wood. The woman who answered the door was very skeptical at first, and thought we were maybe “crafters” who would sell tables for many thousands of dollars, in which case she wanted a percentage of what we would sell them for. When we insisted we were simply building ourselves a personal table, she said take what you want, for a dollar per foot of lumber.
So we went back with the truck, and some extra hands, and picked out some wood. It was old. And weathered. And full of nails. Perfect.
Maybe not quite perfect. I loved how weathered it was, but my poor dear husband had to battle those rusty nails to get them out of the wood so that he could plane it down. The boards pictured above are massive 10 inch fir wood planks. We trimmed them down down to 7 inches, with a total of 6 boards side by side to make the table top. Justin fit them together with a tongue and groove joint, and two additional boards were placed as caps on the ends.
Below is Justin getting a guiding hand from our friend Alan, one of Justin’s former co-workers at Trinity Western. The woodshop belongs to one Adrian Goyer; and full credit must be given to him for allowing Justin to use his woodshop and all his tools as a trade for a couple of Justin’s man hours to insulate the shop. I can’t say it was by any means a fair trade with the amount of time Justin spent there, so he was very generous.
Alan was the mutual friend between the two who made it all happen for us. Without these tools, none of this could have happened.
I apologize for any grainy pictures. Most of these were just taken with our cellphones.
We (and by that I mean Justin), got the table to this point, and let it sit for many months waiting for time to finish it. During those months, one of the boards developed a significant crack in it. Bummer. We figure the boards were slightly twisted, and the torque of forcing them together in the tongue and groove joins caused the board to split at an already weak point. After evaluating our options, we decided first to set the crack into place using a butterfly key method (credit goes to a local woodcarver, who Justin knew through his work, for that idea. He keeps a great blog found here). Part two involved filling the crack with black epoxy. It was messy business with the epoxy but it turned out beautifully in the end.
I used two different stains to achieve a more weathered look, and it actually made the wood grain really pop out, which was great. The base coat, shown above, is a liquid pecan stain. For the top coat, I opted for a gel stain, this time in dark walnut. A gentle application of the walnut with a cotton sock gave me the control I wanted over the color and texture.
Justin also built the legs for the table, based on a look that I wanted. We actually went to a furniture store with some measuring tape and found the same legs I was imagining. We took some notes and then Justin went to work with a band saw. I don’t have any pictures of the legs in progress so you’ll just have to wait for the reveal pictures at the end of this post.
The final steps included painting the legs and skirting white (I used CeCe Caldwell’s chalk paint that I picked up at the wonderful Spruce Collective in Abbotsford), and sealing it up with a semi-gloss verathane.
After all that, I decided I also wanted some benches to go along with the table. I had been admiring these Pottery Barn benches for a while, and we decided to make a similar design from the pictures.
I sketched out what I wanted, and Justin made it happen.
Put it all together and we have a winner of a table. I think we’ll be keeping this set for a long time to come, and I can’t thank my husband enough for going along with all my crazy schemes! He definitely put in many hours of labour into these beauties.