If you’ve ever walked through a furniture store and thought to yourself, “I could probably make that,” keep reading. When you know exactly what you want, and you want something simple, the best thing to do is build it yourself.
We have the financial recipe to help you prepare all the materials you need to make your first hardwood dining room table. Pickup truck optional.
Basic shop skills class
If you’re new to woodworking, take the time to become acquainted with all the tools you’ll be using. Take a couple weeks to learn basic carpentry skills before you start tinkering on something you’d eventually like to make a mainstay feature in your home. Not only is it better for your safety, but it will also save you money when you build it right the first time.
The price for lumber will ultimately depend on the size of the project and type of wood used, but for a simple table constructed out of 2x4s, you won’t need to save more than one or two hundred dollars. We suggest budgeting for some extra pieces to lay off the pressure a little bit.
Good woods for sturdy dining room or desk tables include maple and oak. These are strong woods that hold strong under the wear of everyday life.
You’ll need the table saw to cut your pieces of wood down to size. If this Goal seems a little intimidating cost-wise, don’t worry. If you have your plans nailed down (ha!) and you know the sizes you’ll need, most hardware stores will cut your pieces for no extra cost.
If this, or other tools on this list are out of your budget, you have options. Craigslist is a great place to look for discounted tools. If you’re not ready to make the space investment, try finding a tool library in your area. These community tool sheds allow you to rent tools for a short period of time, and most of them lend the tools for free or for a small membership fee.
Screws and washers
The exact size, type, and quantity of screws and washers will change depending on the type of table that you want to make, but we’re assuming you want a table that stands up straight, and doesn’t wobble or fall over.
And for $20, you’ll end up with enough for your project with plenty left over for your next creation.
Putting holes in the wood for those screws will be a lot easier with a drill. Cordless, handheld drills are most convenient for small projects like this. Just make sure you’re fully charged before starting your project!
For your first project, typical drill bits will work just fine. Look for high speed steel bits with a flatter point, as these are best for working with harder materials like solid pieces of wood.
Pocket hole jig
Pocket screws are a common way to hold tables together. They can be tricky because they go into the wood at a slant, connecting one piece to another. A pocket hole jig helps you add pocket holes that are perfectly well-positioned.
Cutting wood can make it rough and abrasive. A sander helps you buff edges to make your table as beautiful and comfortable as it is sturdy and rugged.
While belt sanders are good at cleaning up rough edges, they can be too good. If you’re not careful, you can quickly leave a divot in your material. Choose a vibrating sander, instead. It’s more versatile, and can be easier to use for a first project.
You may decide you want to decoupage your table, or paint elaborate patterns on it, or spray it with chalkboard paint. You may also decide, in the end, to go with the old standby: some light distressing and a layer of stain.
Before you launch into your great DIY adventure, please know that all the prices we mention in this post are estimates. Only a handful of people, namely retailers and manufacturers, have creative control over what things actually cost.