Dining Room Table

One of the things I've loved so much about blogging this past year is how much I'm learning about home design, building my own furniture, and various wood treatments.  And I look forward to learning so much more.  Now that I work with wood for a living, I've also learned so much about different ways to age new wood, though, I'm certainly no expert.

Several years ago when I decided to build a new dining room table with the table legs that my dad made, I really didn't know that much about any of those things, but we really needed a larger dining table for our larger than usual dining room and I really wanted to give those special table legs a purpose.  The tabletop I put together then was okay, but, I wasn't happy with the dark stain and polyurethane combo I used.  It didn't absorb into the wood, instead, it sat on top of the wood and dried to somewhat of a strange shine.  Neither of which I wanted.  I also longed for a thicker table top.  Preferably barn wood, but, our supply was gone and the barn wood we could find was just the thin 1 inch variety.  Also perfectly fine, but not what I wanted for a top.

My go to wood source for projects around the house is the cheap craft wood aisle at Lowe's, the lower grade, with slight warps and knot holes, works fine for my projects.  It's cheap, even though sometimes you have to sort through the stack to find the best pieces, but again, cheap, and that's just how we have to roll around here.  As many times as I have made trips to Lowe's for wood over the years, I've never ventured into the "man lumber" section.  Well, wouldn't ya know, on a trip with hubby there the other today for deck lumber, I discovered 2 x 8's that were not treated, thick and in my price range!  Duh.  I thought that section only contained green, treated lumber. Well, that has opened up all kinds of possibilities.  And these were going to be perfect for a new tabletop.  I bought 5 of them (each 8 feet long) to make a 6 foot long x 3 foot deep table top.  They were 4.75 each......total cost was 31.00 bucks. 

I really wanted to age the wood to make it look like barn beams, especially since my sweet husband gave me the salvaged barn wood shelf I built for him.  I wanted to make them match.  So I decided to age each piece separately before I even made the top. 

First thing I did was cut each one down to a 6 foot length.  Then I took my sander and rounded all the corners and sides quite a bit so they looked worn down.  I did this with a palm sander and 150 grit sandpaper.  Then I took 220 grit sandpaper and sanded the tops down very smooth, then wiped down completely. 

Next step, BRUSH on Minwax Special Walnut stain.  I brushed it on because you can get so much more into your wood using a brush than using a cloth.  I let it soak in for about 15 minutes and then took a clean, dry rag and wiped off any stain that didn't soak in.  Then I let dry completely for several hours. 

Next step, again using my sander and 150 grit paper, I sanded again, paying close attention to the corners and edges.  The trick is to get those areas to really look worn down.  (Do not sand off all the stain, you just want to distress it a little by removing some of it.)  And then again with 220 grit to get everything nice and smooth.  Wipe down with another clean dry rag to remove every last bit of sanding dust.  Then I took another clean, dry rag and used Minwax Paste Finishing Wax in Natural to wax each board.  Then wipe to a nice smooth finish.  It will be so smooth and lovely.

Then I just laid each board side by side, attached beams to the back with large screws to hold together, attached the table base with angled wood corner braces that attach to the table top and each apron underneath, turn it over and that's it.  Here is a before pic of the dark table that I wasn't happy with.
And here is the new tabletop.
I am so thrilled with this top!  It's thick and sturdy and matches the salvaged barn wood shelf behind it perfectly!  And it lightens the room, 
which always seems dark because of the dark floors.
I don't think I could be more pleased.
 I don't know about you, but when you get something new for a room, does it inspire you to completely change the room?  It sure does me, so, that's what I did.  And I'm very lucky to have a hubby who doesn't mind if I do these things, as long as I keep costs very low.  

I also took down the monster shelf I built for my platter collection that was in the place the shelf is in now.  Again, another one of those things I learned.  It was too big for the room (if that's possible) and I wanted the table to be the focal point.

BEFORE
Um...icky photo.  Also before the new camera (and learning not to take photos at night.)  I laugh when I see posts and photos from when we first started this blog a year ago.  Clearly, I knew nothing about taking photos.  But that's what it's about, right?  
Learning as you go along.  
Here it is after removing the shelf monstrosity.
So much better.  I kept the white console table my dad built for me and moved it across the room.   The huge rolling pin is vintage and was a gift from my hubby.  :)   The mint growing in the chocolate terra cotta container is orange mint and smells so good!
 We got rid of a few other pieces of furniture.  When hubby comes home with vintage furniture pieces, I tend to cram them all in the dining room because it's so big and I want to keep everything he finds.  But I'm learning that less really is more.  You know?  I also made a lot of changes on the walls, just by moving some things from other rooms into the dining room.  It's an inexpensive way to change a look.  

A few months ago I saw this amazing huge chalkboard made from salvaged molding on Maria's blog.  I know, I know......another chalkboard.  But this was the king of all chalkboards, so I gave away all my other ones and decided to build one like Maria's using new molding instead of salvaged.  I have to say that I adore Maria's style and blog.  I recently splurged and purchased one of her vintage french linen kitchen towels.  It is so lovely that washing and drying my hands in the kitchen has become a simple pleasure.  ;)  Anyway, I'm currently working on several tutorials, one of which is how to build this giant chalkboard.
Another change was the curtains.  We've always had the wood blinds, which I love.  I've received so many emails asking where we purchased those blinds.  We bought them at Lowe's when we first moved into our home.  I'm not sure if they are still available because it's been so long.  I don't know the name either but I do know they are bamboo.  I bought these sheers at Wal-Mart for $16.00.  I changed out the curtain rod with a skinnier one to accommodate the curtain holes. 
Our dining room and kitchen are my two most favorite rooms in our home, probably because it's where we are the most.
 Done!  If you are still here after that long post, thanks for visiting today!  Stay tuned for tutorials, back porch decor and a fun vintage school map project for one of my kid's rooms!  Have a great weekend!

Diana
P.S.  The paint used on the walls is Manchester Tan by Benjamin Moore.  :)

P.P.S  Please check out this post for the tutorial and photos on how I built this table. :)

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