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

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