10 Basic Steps to Building a Dining Table
Your dining table is the centerpiece of your home. It’s the place where you create precious moments with loved ones and it’s where you spend quality time with your family. A quality dining table can last for generations and building one by hand makes it priceless. These basic steps will be a quick guide to crafting the perfect dining table.
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Select the Wood
You can be as extravagant as you’d like with the quality of wood you choose. If you are planning on painting the tabletop, then the grain won’t matter. Most people enjoy a natural finish on their dining table, so you should pick a beautiful wood that you like.
The color can be changed completely depending on the type of stain you select. A light-colored oak can be darkened to resemble ebony. Don’t worry too much about the color in this first step. Make your decision based on the durability of the wood and your personal style.
Decide On the Stain and Finish
There are countless stains on the market for you to choose from. You’ll see options that make cheaper woods mimic the characteristics of rare woods and you’ll find stains across the entire color spectrum. It’s possible to mix-and-match stains as well.
The most important step is selecting the proper protective coating for your dining table. You have two basic options for sealing your table. You can use a natural sealant oil to give it a matte finish or you can use a hard lacquer to seal it. Both methods will waterproof the surface, but a hard top-coat will protect against dings.
Choose a Base
A custom table base is the foundation of a long-lasting dining table. You should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for spacing the correctly sized base with the dimensions of your tabletop. Large tables may require a base with multiple legs. Be sure to choose a base that matches the style of your table and pick one that is rated to handle the weight of your tabletop.
Prepare the Table Top
You’ll need to route the holes for mounting the base first. Make sure to double-check your measurements before removing any wood. The next step is sanding the surface. You should start with coarse sandpaper. Work your way down to lighter grade sandpapers until you reach the desired texture.
Apply the stain after the surface is sanded. Use a brush or apply the stain with a clean cloth. Most woods will readily absorb a large amount of stain, so you may need to apply more than one coat for an even appearance. Follow the instructions for the stain that you’ve purchased to estimate drying times between coats.
Seal the Table Top
If you didn’t use a stain with added sealant, then you’ll need to seal the stain with a topcoat. You have several styles to choose from. Traditional oil sealants will leave you with a very attractive natural-wood finish. Polyurethane will create an exceptionally durable layer with a shiny appearance.
Lacquer is a classic alternative to polyurethane, but it may require multiple coats to get the same results. A sealing varnish can be used to give an extra layer of depth to the color of your dining table. The main purpose of a sealant is to protect against moisture, but a hard topcoat will also defend your table from wear.
Mount the Base
Mounting your table base should be easy. Carefully lay the finished tabletop on a soft surface to avoid scratching it. It will be easier to have a friend help you align the base with your mounting points. Tighten the bolts in a crisscross pattern. Be careful not to over-tighten the mounting bolts. You can add a small amount of anti-seize lubricant to make disassembly easier.
Pick the Perfect Spot
Don’t push your beautiful dining table up against a wall. You want to show off your masterpiece to everyone who comes to visit. Place your table in the center of the dining area and be sure to leave at least two feet of open space from the walls.
Find Matching Chairs
Dining chairs go through a lot of wear from regular use. We recommend choosing a dining chair set that matches the color of your table, but you should focus on durability most of all. The chairs might need to be replaced within the next few years.
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Don’t Worry About Making It Perfect
Those little imperfections that happen during the sealing process add character to your dining table. Don’t focus on getting every detail right. Your family will appreciate all the hard work you put into it. It may not be perfect, but it will be a precious heirloom to pass down.