Reader DIY Project – Dining Room Table

I really wish I could take credit for building this amazing table, but I can’t.  However, my buddy Patrick ‘Chubbs’ Lawson can.  He made this out of pallet wood.  Pallet wood people!  Isn’t it amazing?  I love the rustic look and feel of it.  Check out how he did it….

(I also found this comprehensive article on How to Build a Farmhouse Dining Table that uses regular wood, not pallets, so check that out too.)

“I wanted to make a quality dining table for my family that wouldn’t break my piggy bank.  I searched several ideas on the internet and decided to pick one of the coolest but not so simple designs.  I decided to do a herringbone design with pallet wood for the top.  I also think if I can build this, anyone can do it.  NOTE: I am not an expert so this project was by trial and error.

I could tell you how I broke up the pallets but there are so many ways you can find to do it on the internet.  It all depends on if you have certain cutting tools or not.  I did it the old way with a pry tool and a hammer.

I picked about 50 pieces that I thought would look good as the table top and then ripped them down to 2” strips and squared the ends.  I then sanded and rounded the edges of each board with a palm sander.  All in all I used 82 pieces for the table top.

I organized them by thickness and color.  You can use all one thickness or use a variety of thicknesses for a more rustic look, which is what I did.

Pallet wood seperated

To make your table lighter you could use particle board for the base of your table top, but I wanted good wood that lasts, so I used 1/4″ pine plywood which was lighter over all but sturdy enough for the pallet planks. The first placement of your planks are crucial. ( DO NOT START GLUING OR NAILING DURING THIS POINT.) Make your pattern and plan your table design on your platform. This will allow you to move pieces around to get that perfect and unique look. Once your are satisfied with each placement, number each board left to right so that you can remember which board goes where. At this time you will need to cut your planks to size.  Clamp the first two and then in the middle to keep the pattern tight.

To cut the pieces to the right length is very simple. Just underscore the planks with a pencil, while they are in the design you want, to get your length. All cuts are a 45 degree angle and is easy to do on a miter saw. Once everything fits the way you want, wood glue is all you need to put the planks in place. If you have a nail gun you can use this in addition to the glue but not necessary. (Make sure you still clamp and mark the first two if you’re not going to use the nail gun).


Now to start on the legs. I wanted to build these legs but you can go simpler with a “Farm Style” table leg design, but why go easy now.

Table leg design

You will need:

6- 2×4

1-2X6 Center bracing

3-1×3 for the skirt of the table top.

Back to the top of the table, and this will take a long time, and that’s the long and tedious amount of sanding. I started at 120 grit up to 400 grit to get the table smooth. After the days of sanding I cleaned the table from all the dust with a blower and dust brush, I began staining the top. I used natural tongue oil for this and as you can see it really brought out the color and wood grains.

As you can see I put the skirt on the table prior to using the stain on the table top. However I didn’t take pictures of it (I forgot). But to make it simple, I flipped the table top on its top on a flat surface. I used my garage floor. Then I cut and secured 2×4 (5) of them to the bottom of the table, making sure the cuts are exactly the width of the table. I secured the five 2×4 evenly spaced starting from the center and ends. I used 2″ deck screws to do this. I then cut to size the 1×3 for the sides first and secured them to the 2×4 and making sure the edges are flat on the ground. They were secured with wood glue and several 2″ finishing nails. I then did the same concept to the ends skirts. Believe it or not, this is easiest way ever to do the skirt as long as your surface is flat and leveled.

I used clear semi gloss polyurethane for the table top. I put 6 coats on the table. The key to this and I am sorry to say is sanding. After each coat use your 400 grit or higher to sand the entire table. It takes about a good day for this to dry so this took me about 6 days to complete. When you sand before applying each coat will

1. Sand down the uneven parts of the polyurethane.

2. It makes the table feel like glass. So don’t skip this part. You will be proud and the talk of the town when you’re done.

I had to assemble the table inside the house and stained the 2×6 once I put the legs on the table. If you stain the 2×6 prior to sliding it through the legs you will have to redo it again anyways so you might as well wait.

The one thing I did not do is talk about the measurements of the table. I was a bit ambitious and the table you see is eight feet long and 42″ wide. It sits 10 comfortably. Since it’s just me and the wife we are looking forward to our first dinner party. Make your table to fit the area you need and for your family. I am only using chairs for the end and is now in the making of two benches to match the table. The legs are the same design but smaller in scale and the top of the benches are made of 3/4″ smooth pine plywood for better comfort. I will take pictures when they are done.”

How about some love for Patrick and this amazing table!!!!



  • Reply Dan Beach June 7, 2016 at 6:08 pm

    Beautiful. Makes me want to do it myself. Thanks for putting up the whole process.

    • Reply Jodi House June 8, 2016 at 7:38 am

      Thanks to Patrick for documenting the whole thing. It makes me want to pull apart all the pallets that are stacked up on the side of the house and make something pretty. Maybe someday!

  • Reply Julie July 1, 2020 at 9:22 am

    The pictures don’t seem to be available to view any longer. Not sure if it’s a big fix, but wanted to see if it was possible to get them back?

    • Reply Jodi House July 1, 2020 at 10:33 am

      oh!!! Oops. I will fix those. Thanks for letting me know.

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