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furniture

The Dining Room Chairs

Back in August, I finished building our new dining room table. It fit quite nicely in the new dining room, but seemed to lack a certain something… like chairs. We had four chairs from our old dining room table, but that seemed wholly inadequate for a twelve foot long table. Most of the dining table chairs that we found in stores and on websites were at least $100 each, which isn’t all that bad if you only need a couple, but needing twelve chairs… not gonna happen.

Salvation Army ChairsA few months before, I’d seen a picture on Houzz.com (which I can’t seem to find again) that had a long table with chairs of various styles but the same color scheme. Lori and I both thought that would work, so  that began our search. She first found these six chairs at the Salvation Army store for $5.00. Not $5.00 each. $5.00 for all six. They were ugly, but were in not-too-terrible shape structurally.

The Under-CushionI set about fixing any wobbles and Lori ripped out the rest of the broken cane in the backs and un-upholstered the horribly-stained blue cushions. Underneath the blue fabric, she found… plastic-wrapped, mustard-yellow-striped fabric. Classic. No… what’s the opposite of classic?

We decided to go with a black and purple’ish theme for the chairs. The kitchen has some purple in it along with the coffee-colored cabinets and the base of the table is black, so those colors would tie everything in and should work fine.

We got some additional chairs from a friend who was getting rid of them (free!) and Lori set about getting them all painted black.

Painted Chairs Painted Chairs

She found some tie-on cushions for the spindle-back chairs and decided on two different fabrics for the Salvation Army chairs… one purple and cream for the regular chairs and one darker fabric with a mix of the proper colors for the chairs with arms. Like this…

Upholstered Chairs

So when all the painting, upholstering, and cushion-tying was done, this is what we ended up with… an eclectic style with the capacity to seat twelve people at the table with plenty of elbow room.

Dining Room Table with Chairs

Dining Room Table… Finis!

So after quite a bit of drilling, screwing, sanding, gluing, bashing, sanding, clamping, sanding, painting, staining… and sanding, the dining room table is done!

For you “tl;dr” folks, here’s the completed table in its natural habitat…

The finished dining room table

For the rest of you, here are some of the “along the way” details.

I had posted a picture of the base in my first table update. I ended up using that as my work table to do my table top glue-up. I covered it with plastic and put some boards across the top for my pipe clamps. The table top is made of seven 12-foot 2×6’s from Lowe’s.

Harbor Freight table saw rip fence

Harbor Freight table saw with make-shift rip fence extension

In order to get nice square edges to glue, I had to rip about 1/4″ off each edge using my little table saw from Harbor Freight. I rigged up a jig to make my rip fence longer since I was pushing 12-foot boards through it. That ended up working fairly well and I was impressed (surprised?) at how well the saw kept up.

The edges weren’t quite perfect, but they were close enough (*cough*) and since it was pine, I figured I’d clamp it tight enough to squish everything together (that turned out to be mostly true).

Table top glue-up

So many clamps!

I clamped the first two boards together and kept going, one board at a time. Since it was my first glue-up of this size and I didn’t think I could apply the glue, get multiple boards in place, align them, attach my clamping cauls, and tighten up all my clamps before the glue dried out too much. I waited about an hour and a half (or more) between boards to give the glue enough time to set before I started moving things around to add another board. The final clamping (shown in the picture), I left alone for a little more than 12 hours.

There was a lot of excess glue on top. That took a lot of scraping to remove after it dried… followed by a lot of sanding to get everything level (because all the scraping took off some wood, too). But I got it all removed (Make a mental note of this bold claim. It’ll come up later) and sanded it to a nice finish using 80-grit, 120-grit, and 220-grit sandpaper. I also routed a 1/2″ round-over edge all around the table top.

Table top and base

Table top and base… ready for finishing!

I arrived at this point where everything was ready for finishing! I had planned on finishing it myself, but I only get to work on this sort of thing about an hour or so a day (if that) and on weekends, so Lori offered to do it for me. She’s been doing a lot of painting and refinishing lately, so I figured she was in the zone and I’d go ahead and let her do the finishing work on the table. I’m really considerate that way (wait, what?!).

The base was to be painted white and the top was getting a dark stain to go with our kitchen and living room woodwork. After the first coat of stain, the top looked fantastic. It really brought out the nice grain and was the perfect shade of rich brown. Lori did a second coat of stain and suddenly (remember that mental note you made about my claim of having removed all the glue?) every… little… spot… where glue had touched the wood showed up like a fluorescent beacon, as if the wood and the glue were conspiring to make a mockery of me and my vain attempt at glue removal.

But… thanks to my friend Darren (I can call him that. I paid him) who had loaned me his belt sander, it only took an hour or so for me to sand the table back down to the bare wood (or close enough) for another go at staining… with only a single coat this time. The results were perfect again after one coat, so Lori and I agreed that one coat was what we’d both meant to do in the first place, anyway (She was also nice enough to not call me out for my lack of glue-removal skillz).

So the table top was stained. The base was painted white. We moved it into the dining room and Voila! Of course now Lori couldn’t reach the salt, but what are you gonna do?

Table with white base

After having it in the dining room for a few days, she said (and I agreed) that it was a little too “farmhouse style” for what we wanted. She suggested that painting the base black might dress it up a bit. So we (and by “we” I mean “she”) repainted the base a nice satin black, which created exactly what we were looking for.

Final dining room table

Final dining room table

The table is 11-feet, 11-inches long (that was done on purpose) and weighs roughly ten bazillion pounds (that was not done on purpose). The top was finished with seven or eight coats of Minwax satin polyurethane. We should be able to easily seat twelve people… fourteen if people want to get a little squishy.

We’re missing chairs… but that’s another adventure!


Hat tip to the following sites for design and construction inspiration:

Dining Room Table Base

I’m in the process of building our new dining room table. The dining room is pretty long, so Lori wanted a table that was about 12 feet long. It’s tough to come by those (at a price that is budget-friendly), so I decided to make one.

I looked at a lot of different plans and designs. None were exactly what I was looking for (or what I needed), so what I came up with was a hybrid. The one that was the “foundational” design, more or less, was this table on Ana White’s website. Because my table was going to be quite a bit longer, I put an extra leg in the center. I changed a few other details as well.

The base is assembled with a combination of dowels, glue, wood screws, and pocket screws. I used lumber from Lowe’s and added some decorative edges with my router so it won’t look quite so “Farmhouse” style. The base itself is 9 feet and 7 inches long and about 31 inches wide.

The table top will be 11 feet and 11 inches long (roughly) and 35 inches wide. I’ll be edge gluing 7 12-foot 2×6’s together to get (I hope) a nice, smooth surface, and then staining it a dark brown. The base will be painted white.

The table should be able to seat 14 people without much crowding… 12 people with plenty of elbow room.

Dining Room Table Base

Contoured to Fit

Peanut enjoying the snowstorm from the cat tree.

Contoured To Fit

The Cuddle Recliner!

We just purchased some new furniture this past weekend and my favorite piece is now comfortably situated in front of the big TV just inviting me to come watch movies until… well… until I fall asleep, actually.

Here it is, swamping Megan in its giantness.

The Cuddle Recliner

It’s doubly awesome (no pun intended) because it will easily hold two people (hence the name), so now when Megan and I want to watch My Neighbor Totoro again, we don’t have to fight over who gets the comfy chair.

The only problem is reaching the remote on the side table.