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We used the following supplies on this table:
2" thick walnut lumber
Classic Drake Trestle Table Legs
TotalBoat High Performance Epoxy Kit
Black Diamond Pigments (Hazelnut)
Bosch 2.5-Amp Orbital Sander
Gator 50-Pack 80-Grit 5-in W x 5-in L 8-Hole Hook and Loop Sanding Disc Sandpaper
Watco Danish Oil - Medium Walnut
General Finishes - Satin Arm-R-Seal Varnish Solvent Based Gallon
Pro Grade Precision 9 in. x 11 in. 320 Grit X-Fine Advanced Sanding Sheets
Imperial Wetordry 3-2/3 in. x 9 in. 800 Grit Sandpaper Sheets (10 Sheets-Pack)
Step 1: Walnut Lumber Selection
The cool thing about building your own table is the ability to select the specific type of boards that will be used in creating a tabletop that could end up being a family heirloom. We chose pieces that we thought would provide some character and compliment our dining space.
Step 2: Boards Glued Together To Form Tabletop
We had a gentleman from High Point, NC, help us source the lumber for the tabletop and get the boards glued together and shaped for us. At the time, we did not have the tools to do this ourselves, so it was nice to find someone who could do this for us at a reasonable price. Once he finished the glue up, we brought it home to complete the rest of the steps on our own.
Step 3: Epoxy Application
This was our first time working with epoxy, and we really enjoyed it. We used the TotalBoat High Performance Epoxy Kit and from our perspective it was easy to use and provided a quality result. We used Black Diamond Pigments (Hazelnut) as the epoxy pigment that we felt most closely matched the walnut tones (that seems to stand true because you can hardly tell that that we used epoxy on the table). You can follow the box instructions for how to mix the epoxy and how to add the pigment.
The tabletop presented some challenges for us, with a few imperfections on its edges. The tabletop had primarily straight edges, so any blemishes on the sides stood out like a sore thumb. Meaning, this was not intended to be a live edge table, so we needed to make sure the edges were as straight as possible. The brilliant Sydney Dawson came up with a contraption that featured taping paint sticks together and using the tape to create enough tension to create a makeshift form so that we could reform those sections with epoxy. The forms worked brilliantly, and we were able to remove most of those imperfections.
Some of our table's knots had holes that went through the bottom of the table, so we had to apply plenty of tape so that the epoxy would not fall through to the floor.
Step 4: Sanding
Sanding epoxy can be really tough. In the future, we may try to plane down boards that we have applied epoxy to, but we didn't have that available to us at the time, and the tabletop was already glued together by the time it arrived, making it impossible to do anything but sand it down. No problem, it just took a little more elbow grease. We also found that we needed to add additional epoxy to certain areas of the tabletop where the epoxy was literally draining through the other side (we fixed that by adding more epoxy and painter's tape). We applied epoxy to both sides of the table to make sure he what sealed properly.
We used a Bosch 2.5-Amp Orbital Sander and Gator sanding disks.
For future projects that we cannot use a planer for because of the width, we would likely use a belt sander or drum sander to help speed up the process; however, our orbital sander still did the trick with a little extra work.
Step 5: Danish Oil Application
After we finished sanding down the tabletop, we applied Watco Danish Oil - Medium Walnut to it. Danish oil has the ability to stain and seal the finish by hardening in the wood and not on the wood. We decided that this was a good first step to the finishing process before applying poly to the finish as it brought out the color of the walnut while providing a layer of protection that we thought was important for a dining room tabletop. Danish oil can be applied with a rag (so easy to apply), and depending on the piece you are working on, it can be used as the final finish for the project.
Note: We applied Watco Danish Oil - Medium Walnut to both sides of the tabletop to make sure we sealed it as much as possible.
Step 6: Polyurethane
After we applied the Danish Oil, we started to apply the General Finishes - Satin Arm-R-Seal Varnish. This was our first time using this product, so we took a few application approaches with our different coats to find the one that we liked best. To be honest, all of the approaches, from using paintbrushes to foam brushes, had things we liked and disliked about them. In the end, you have to find the approach that you are the most comfortable with, especially with such a large surface area. We ended up doing four coats on each side of the table and sanded with 320 grit sandpaper in between each coat. After sanding, you will need to wipe off the dust before applying the next coat.
On our final coat, we created a smooth finish by wet sanding. This is when you apply an oil, such as Howard Feed-N-Wax Wood Polish and Conditioner and then you use an 800-grit sandpaper to sand with the grain across the finish. Wipe off any excess oil with a cloth.
STEP 7: ASSEMBLING THE BASE
We purchased this amazing base from the Drake Casting Co. It was totally worth the money as it completed the look we were going for in our dining area. Assembling it wasn't too difficult, except for each piece being really heavy. The tricky part was attaching the tabletop to the base and getting everything lined up. We were delighted with how everything turned out!
Want to Learn More?
All of the pieces in our dining room have been DIY projects that have helped us to learn, grow, and increase our family time. We love it when you learn along with us! You can create your own DIY dining room by following our other blog posts:
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Josh and Sydney are life adventurers that love to learn and create. We are exact opposites and enjoy gaining new perspective. Our home is where our varying personalities shine, and we use it to gather our friends and family together.