Midcentury-Inspired Kitchen Table

6U8A0938Oh, man, I was so excited when Katie asked me to build a table for her dining room.  After a few texted sketches and inspiration pics back and forth, I had a pretty good idea what she was looking for. This table can be made for about 75 bucks; you'd be hard-pressed to beat that! At Ikea, a table of comparable size starts at around $150, and it's not custom made! I'm also pretty stoked it can be made from a single sheet of hardwood plywood. 

Supplies:
-3/4 hardwood plywood (4' x 8')
-stain
-screws
-wood glue
-3/8" doweling (if you pocket screw)
-paint/stain/poly
-painter's tape (get the kind with edge lock technology; it's worth the extra couple of bucks)

Tools:
-table saw
-jigsaw
-Skil saw
-hand saw
-pocket hole jig (you can get a Jr. system for 40 bucks on Amazon; they're so handy!)
-measuring table
-straight edge/speed square
-pencil
-clampsAbeautifulmess_mid-century-inspired-table-(click-through-for-more)Step One: When I start a project, I like to sketch out a plan so I can have something to look at. Since I already made the plans for this table, you should print it out so you have something you refer to, write notes on, and scrutinize. After you have the plans, I would set up the plywood on a horizontal surface so you can easily mark on it. If you have a work bench, you're lucky; if not, you can use the floor, a couple saw horses, even your kitchen table (oh wait, you're making it).

I like to measure and line out everything that I'm going to be cutting. Try to be precise as possibleโ€” measure twice, cut once. You know the routine.

Cut out all the pieces. I used a Skil saw for most of the cuts. If you haven't used a Skil before or are feeling a little rusty, practice on some scrap wood, making longer cuts as straight as possible. Any wobbles off mark will be apparent on something like this, with a lot of straight lines. After cutting, sand everything. Start with a more aggresive grit (like an 80 grit), then move on up to a finishing grit (220 or above).

Don't be afraid to use a saw. Seriously, you can do it. It takes 40% skill, 45% patience, 15% hand eye cordination.* Ask Laura; she cuts stuff all the time like a champion!  Sarah wants to learn how to use power tools too. (Actually, who wants a post about general/entry-level power saw/drill usage?. Maybe I should put one together soon? I'd be into that. Let me know in the comments if that's something that would interest you.) Okay, back to table making.

*percentages may or may not have just been pulled out of thin air.

Abeautifulmess_mid century inspired table doweling (click through for more)Abeautifulmess_mid century inspired table doweling (click through for more)Abeautifulmess_mid century inspired table doweling (click through for more)Abeautifulmess_mid century inspired table doweling (click through for more)Step Two: After you have the leg pieces cut out, assemble them by screwing piece A to piece B, as pictured. I pocket-hole screwed them so I could hide the holes with doweling. I wanted the legs to look as clean as possible. Be sure to use wood glue; you want the legs to be really sturdy.

0I0B63860I0B6386Sometimes a B can become glasses.

0I0B6386Step Three: Before staining the legs, I lettered each one. Then I set them up on the underside of the table top, then traced the tops of the legs on each of their corners, then lettered their corresponding corners. After the stain dries, be sure to sand with a fine grit (around 220) sandpaper between coats of poly.

0I0B6383While the legs are drying, cut the corner notches out with a jigsaw. Again, you want those lines super straight and square, so practice on scrap beforehand if you're not feeling confident. 

0I0B63880I0B6388Step Four: After you have all the legs built, sanded, stained, coated with polyurethane, and the notches cut out of the table top, you can start to assemble! Actually, hold on. You'll want to build four leg supports (figure 1). All they are, are two pieces of wood glued and screwed together. Dimensions are on the diagram. You'll want to take into account the angle of the leg, so after you have the pieces cut, hold them on the back of the leg and trace the angle, then cut off. As you can see below, I did not take account for the angle of the legs on the supports and had to sand them all down to match the angle of the legs :/ Real professional of me. 

At this stage, be liberal with the wood glue, wiping any excess with a rag. Make sure your table top is upside down on a flat surface.

Go ahead and attach all the supports with glue and screws. You may need to remark the leg letters if they get covered up.

0I0B63900I0B6390Step Five: Attach legs! Make sure the tops are flush with the top of the table. I put in four screws per leg. Two screws were pocket-screwed in the leg, and two were screwed through the leg supports. After the glue dried, the legs were super sturdy. After the legs are attached, you can flip the table. I love the feeling when you've been building something and there's that one step where the thing you've been planning for and spent so much time on has finally materialized. It doesn't hurt either when it's not all wobbly.  It's been Katie's family dining table for a couple months now, and it's holding up! 

Now you can paint or stain the table any color your little heart desires. Don't forget to tape off the legs!

6U8A09426U8A09426U8A0942I really hope somebody tries this little project out; it was really fun. A table is someting that gets a lot of use, so I feel like it's extra rewarding when you build your own. Happy building! -Josh

Credits // Author: Josh Rhodes. Photos: Sarah Rhodes and Josh Rhodes. Photos edited with Petal of the Fresh Collection.

  • Wow, it’s amazing you were able to make that table yourself! I seriously thought it was store bought from an expensive place…thanks for taking the time and effort to teach us how to do it, too. It must have required so much patience! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Every Day In Grace

  • Amazing- made a table like this for uni as a group of 5 18 months ago during post grad architecture project – same leg style but a very different joint where legs meet the table top – Ours was 900mm approx high and 594mm (a1 width of paper) wide designed it to span 4000mm in length with just the 4 legs at each corner – it was certainly a journey to get from concept to final design in 7 days! Love your version!!!

  • One sheet of plywood?! Heck yes we will be building this, meaning my husband, though we don’t need it in our tiny place now but as soon as we get a place with the room

  • I wish I had the carpentry skills to put this together! I recently bought a large dining room for my small apartment, and I love do do all my craft/writing/food/blogging projects there. It’s essential!

    Cat
    http://oddlylovely.com

  • Would definitely like a post on power tool use for beginners. Beautiful table!

  • This is awesome!! Looks so great in their dining room.. I need a dining room.. Anyway, general/entry-level power saw/drill usage post – SO MUCH YES! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Cool table concept, and yes please to power tool tutorials! I have started making some (ridiculously) simple pieces of furniture with hand tools and the crooked saw lines do make me realize that I need to invest in power tools to achieve my real DIY goals. Any advice on a) the right kinds of tools to have (and reasonable costs), and b) how to use them for entry-level carpentry would be much appreciated! Sometimes it’s hard to know how to generalize about necessary skills from the particulars of a project. Ultimately, I want to be able to start working on my own designs confidently.

  • Hi, Josh!

    Amazing project (as always)! I just wanted to take a moment to say that I think you are a fantastic addition to the ABM team. Your skill and projects take this already awesome website to the next level and bring new material to an even broader audience. I’m always so inspired when I read your posts and can’t wait to try some out when my husband and I finally move out of our tiny apartment (working on buying a house now!).

    Thanks again and keep doing what you’re doing. Elsie has assembled such a ridiculously talented team! High fives all around!

    – Julia

  • Ashley, good question! If you cover any latex or oil paint with two or three coats of poly it should hold to wear for years to come.

    -Josh

  • Oh, ditto on the power tools for beginners post(s)! I have no idea where to start!

  • Very cool table! You make it look much easier than I would have expected. I would definitely love to see a tutorial on power tool basics! I’m good with basic power drill use, but that is my limit.

  • I love this table! I think I’ll leave this DIY to my boyfriend though, I hate getting saw dust up my nose

  • That is such a super cool table! I love the legs. They’re totally unique!

    Gwen
    The Bold Abode

  • Please please beginner power tool/saw post! I have always wanted to build my own furniture etc, but have always been too intimidated to try…!

  • Josh,

    Yes, please do a very basic power tools post! I recently bought power tools, but am very hesitant to use them because I don’t know anything!

  • Josh,
    YES, please- a post about entry level power tools!
    I bought my first drill over the weekend to complete a dining room table (okay, might be a small version of Elsie’s) and I’m HOOKED!
    Teach us(me) more!

    Thank you (in advance)!

  • Beautiful table – but without more support underneath, wouldn’t the plywood start to bow over time?

  • I know this post is about the table, which looks great, but I can’t take my eyes off of the rug! It’s stunning! The whole room is actually stunning. Everything looks comfortable and like it was made for the space.

  • *JAW DROPPED* I can’t believe you made a table that gorgeous!
    You ladies never cease to amaze and inspire me ๐Ÿ™‚

    Memoirs of a Pilgrim
    pilgrimmemoirs.com

  • This is so fabulous! Seriously, you guys have the BEST projects! Thanks for sharing. Also, I am loving those furry chair covers.

  • I love that ABM is featuring more serious woodworking projects, especially as a site that is primarily targeted towards women. That being said, it’s a little disheartening when many of the women at the site refer to having their husbands or fathers building things for them. I know not everyone that works for ABM has the same skill set, so it makes sense that one person (Josh) is taking on most of the furniture projects… still, it would be encouraging to get some women in on the power tool action! I also think a power tool introduction/guide would be fantastic.

  • I for one would KILL for a beginning woodworking type tutorial. I keep making note of all of these beautiful pieces of furniture and shelves, but I have zero background in making things that actually need to be structurally sound, which of course leads to a confidence level of negative twelve.

  • That’s so handsome! It looks effortless too – like it’s just floating there ๐Ÿ™‚
    I would love a beginners’ tute on power tools please. My husband’ ace, he’ll help me build stuff to my designs (and correct them when they’re physically impossible!), but I’d love to be able to do it myself.
    Thanks!

  • I love my mid century dining table that I brought back to life after the previous owner neglected it, but this is the first table I wouldn’t actually mind having instead. That is a huge complement lol.

  • you are so creative!! Wow!! What an incredible job! Love the table, love the cushions and love the carpet!! You have amazing style and vision!!!! Can you come over and help me next!??! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hi, I would also love to see a post on an introduction to using power tools including perhaps what to look out for with your first beginner buy? I have been shopping around for a drill for smaller home projects but not sure exactly what to look for as a beginner. Thanks so much!

    Teresa

  • I would love a post on beginner tips for power tools! That would be wonderful. I got to play with a power grinder a few days ago and I want more tips!

  • Kate, maybe after a hundreds of years give or take. We own a kitchen table thats just hardwood ply from the 60s and its still straight.

    -Josh

  • YES YES YES to the power tools beginner’s guide!!! absolutely stunning table!! would love to be confident enough with tools in order to make one too!

  • Also, because I’m loving this design, how well do you think I could adapt this into a functional desk? I have the storage (I MIGHT put wire baskets underneath for pencil storage), but do you think if I shortened the width of the table, kept the length, would it be sturdy enought to hold a printer, and laptop and some jewlry/framing supplies (nothing too big, just some baskets for easy reach).

  • I would love the power tool introduction! Especially because my husband isn’t into DIY, it would be cool to be confident enough in what I could make that I could make the tool purchases someday.

  • I preffer to use Black and Decker Hand-held drills that come in a kit. I used them when I worked in a frame shop and they were the best things I could use as a drill. They come with a screw driver set, some drill bits, and some polishing kits (depending on what you get) and they’re very easy to use and versatile. They won’t hold up to extremely large projects (like lighting and such) but they will be fairly useful for small DIY projects.

  • This table looks superb! I would love it if you did a post on general and basic skills for power tools and to know which ones are best. Especially which ones are great starter ones/which ones to buy first to get the collection started.

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • Power tools for beginners – big YES. I’m so interested in trying all of these DIY furniture posts….but stop short when I see I need to use anything that could cut off a finger!

  • This table maybe a bit beyond my skill set but it’s beautiful and has such a unique style ๐Ÿ™‚
    emmasbeginning.blogspot.com

  • OK – just to let you know, I’m so stealing your idea for the chair covers. They are perfect ~ A++++++ – GORGEOUS

  • Yes, I would love a post on tools! My husband and I are about to make a funbox (for skating) but so far the only power tools we own are a drill and a hand sander… so even a post on what tools to have around a handy household would be great!

  • Love your posts, Josh! You’re a very entertaining writer, even in the genre of woodworking how-to’s ๐Ÿ™‚ You make all the tutorials seem very doable; thanks!

  • I would LOVE a post on using power tools (and also fixing them as I seem to have gotten a cutting bit stuck in my Dremel…). Yes! Do it! Thanks!

  • Yes please! A powertools/construction basics post would be hugely appreciated! I love reading through all these awesome big projects but I’m not familiar with a lot of the tools and methods you use. Catch me up!

  • I have those same IKEA wooden chairs & we lovingly refer to them as “torture chairs”. LOVE the fluffy seat covers, where did you get them??

  • I absolutely love love this project. Yes we would definitely love an entry on power tools for beginners ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am an absolute fan of your work and am very inspired by what you are doing.