Once we moved to Oklahoma (almost a year ago–wow!)……I quickly started to realize that not everything fit into this house the same way as our last house. The rooms are different, the layout is different, and even my style is a bit different. Once we started putting the kitchen stuff away, I realized that the kitchen nook wasn’t going to hold our old rectangle kitchen table the same way as our last house. Which, I was completely okay with, because the table was in pretty rough shape and had pretty large gauges and scratches from moving with it twice. It was a very inexpensive table anyway….and it was time for a change.
So, we started looking for tables that were more of a circle shape or possibly an octagon shape, to fit the square dining area in this new house. The trouble was, we didn’t want a small round table that would only fit 6, we wanted to seat 8, so that our family of 6 would fit comfortably….with the option of having extra space for company. But holy smokes, have you tried looking for decent round-ish tables that seat 8?!?! Yeah, not only was there not much to choose from as far as style goes…..but thousands of dollars!!!! (Which is thousands over budget, HA!)
Anyway, that’s when Steve and I started thinking about possibly making our own table. We had a few other projects on the list and weren’t really “feeling” inspired to make a table. And I think part of that was because we were super nervous about putting together a piece of junk that would fall apart. Because, I don’t know, tables get used every single day, several times a day…..and we were a little intimidated by making something that would be worth our time. So, we re-considered saving up to buy a table……but gave up again because, really, we couldn’t find anything reasonably priced that would fit the space AND sat 8 people instead of 6.
And that’s when we decided that we would build our own Octagon Dining Room Table….with a farmhouse-style base! And oh my goodness, you guys, we LOVE IT!!!
***We actually finished this last fall, just in time for Thanksgiving guests….but I’m just getting around to sharing it now. So sorry for the delay and hinting about it over on Instagram, but the tutorial is lengthy and I just kept putting it off during all the holiday excitement! But it’s done now, yay!!
Choosing an octagon shape is not only easier than trying to make a circular table…..it also gives more of a current look to it, which we have fallen in love with! Plus, it gives all 8 people at the table their own space and elbow room. Bonus!
And because the table sits on a pedestal, it allows for more chairs to fit underneath, without crashing into standard legs. But I also kinda love the farmhouse look of those chunky pedestal legs, so it’s another win!
And in case you thought that top was one chunk of solid wood…..it’s not. There is a wide lip all the way around the edge of the table top that just gives the illusion that it’s solid. But this way, it’s cheaper to make and it doesn’t make that top too heavy for the base to hold.
You can use any ol’ type of wood you like, but we decided to go with poplar that had a lot of different wood colors running throughout it. Once it was stained, those wood grains took on very different colors…..making the table top pretty unique. Poplar is more durable than your standard pine and a little more expensive, but much cheaper than a harder wood like walnut. So we went with Poplar, and so far (it’s been about 4 months and we have 4 kids)….it has been awesome!
The farmhouse style pedestal base is painted but kinda roughed up a bit so that it wouldn’t matter if they were kicked, if backpacks were dropped on them, or if dishes came crashing down on them. I didn’t want to have to worry about touching them up, so we made the whole base “rustic”. Ha!
I’d have to go through and itemize every single item from when we put this together last fall, but I think we finally figured out that we spent about $400 on this table. We could have spent less if we used pine for the whole table or we could have spent a little more and used premium wood, but for what we ended up with (and compared to the prices of buying a similar table online), we were so excited to have saved so much money by making this all on our own!
And good news — it is a solid and heavy and FAR from a piece of junk like we originally worried about getting ourselves caught up in making. Whew! ;)
Would you like to see how we made it??
Okay, let’s get started. But first…..we based our table construction off of these Ana White table plans. However, those table plans were too small for what we wanted because even though her table is also an octagon, the sides are too small to fit 8 chairs around it. So we adjusted many things throughout the entire set of plans…..but the main idea is still the same. And her computer drawings are way nicer than anything I could have scratched out in any of my computer programs. SO….familiarize yourself with that and then if you’d like to make your table top bigger (to fit 8 comfortably), longer legs, a sturdier base, a thicker table top edge (to make the table top appear thicker), beefier diagonal supports, and a few other things……I’ll show you what we did here! :)
Okay, so this is what you’ll need to make a table like ours, which is about 66 inches across and about 30 inches tall.
- Two 4×4 Pine Posts, 8 feet long
- Six 2×6 Pine Boards, 6 feet long
- One 2×8 Pine Board, 6 feet long
- Five 1×6 Pine Board, 6 feet long
- One 1×8 Pine Board, 6 feet long
- Kreg Self Tapping Screws, 1 inch and 2 1/2 inch (these are used with a Kreg Jig and make the whole process easier)
- Deck Screws, 2 inch and 3 inch
- Nine 1×8 Poplar Board, 6 feet long
- Three 1×4 Poplar Board, 8 feet long
- Three 2×2 Pine Board, 8 feet long
- One 1×2 Hardwood Board, 8 feet long
- Kreg Self Tapping Screws, 1 inch (these are used with a Kreg Jig and make the whole process easier)
- Deck Screws, 1 5/8 inch (to attach 2×2’s under tabletop along inner border)
Finish & Misc:
- Semi Gloss Paint for base (we used swiss coffee, by Benjamin Moore)
- Stain for table top (we used Minwax “Weathered Oak” and “Provincial“…both oil based)
- Polyurethane (we tried Minwax first, more details below but it was terrible, sanded it off and then used used THIS General Finishes, High Performance, Water Based, Satin finish……..SO MUCH BETTER!)
- Kreg Jig (HERE’S the EXACT one we have….and LOVE!)
- Kreg Face Clamp (HERE’S the EXACT one we have…..that you NEED while using the Kreg Jig)
- Counter Sink Drill bits (so you can bury those deck screws)
- Table Saw
- Wood Glue (HERE’S the exact wood glue we used)
- Brad Nailer (to build the base)
- Wood filler
- Router, Fixed Base (this is OPTIONAL….but makes the edges so pretty.)
- Clamps (having extra clamps is really helpful for building the base)
- Random Orbital Sander and Mouse Sander (You could get away with using just a mouse sander…but it will take a bit longer. HERE’S the exact Random Orbital Sander that we have….and it’s only $30.)
- sand paper for hand sanding polyurethane (120 – 300 grit)
- Brown paper bag (for smoothing out the final coat of polyurethane…more on that below)
***Okay, I know that seems like a lot of stuff…..but if you don’t have all of these supplies/tools, I bet a friend or neighbor does. So consider borrowing a few items for this project and maybe just purchasing a few things to your growing tool supply….because if you’re going to make this, you’ll probably use them again on future projects!
First of all, the original plans from Ana White shows how to create a hollow core for the vertical portion of the base. We decided that since we were going to be making the table top bigger and it was going to be our main table (meaning, lots of use by kids, projects, etc), we wanted to be SURE it was sturdy. So, we created a main post that would fit inside of the vertical frame of the base.
So, to fill the inside of the hollow post, we pieces together some 4×4’s to create a core that was 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches thick and 23 3/4 inches tall. We used wood glue and 3 inch deck screws to piece it all together….and several clamps to hold it in place while assembling.
Then, we starting creating the legs, just like the plans I linked to above, HOWEVER, our measurements for each of the wood pieces on this longer connected leg piece are 10 inches longer. (So the top 1×6 piece is 49 1/8 inches, the middle 2×6 is 53 1/8 inches, and the bottom 1×6 is 54 inches.) The two little feet pieces at each end are the same as hers, 5 1/4 inches.
Then we made the 2 shorter legs, just like the plans linked above, except we added 5 inches to the length of those pieces (so that overall, they would be 10 inches longer across, just like the long connected leg from the last step).
Now, before moving on, we decided we really wanted to rout the edges of our table to make it look more finished….and help with wear and tear. So we used our 45 degree Chamfer Bit……which looks like this:
We used it on each of the legs, and routed in about 17 inches from the end and across the ends (which you can see 2 pictures previous).
Okay, time to put some pieces together. Go ahead and put the 1×8’s together to create the center of the base and add on the two shorter legs, just like the plans linked above. (And holy smokes….please ignore the mess in the background. Wowza!! ;) )
Then add the larger leg, just like the original instructions, measuring to be sure it’s placed right in the center.
Here’s a peek at the underside, to see the Kreg Screws that we used to attach the legs and to construct the center vertical base piece like the instructions linked above.
Now, here is where we slid in the core piece that we made at the very beginning.
And then we added the 1×6’s to both sides to completely encapsulate the core. We used the nail gun to secure those pieces in place.
Now, it’s time to add the diagonal leg supports. Our legs were a little longer than the original plans, plus quite a bit wider….since we really wanted to beef them up. So we used 1x6s but wanted them to be slightly more narrow than the legs, so used the table saw to make them more narrow by an inch. (So instead of being 5 1/2 inches wide, we cut them down to 4 1/2 inches wide.) Then, we cut 4 supports down to 18 inches long and then cut the angle that connected with the center beam 55 degrees, which makes the angle that touches the legs, 35 degrees. Repeat with all 4 supports.
Use a counter sink bit to drill a hole and screw each support in place.
Then, because we wanted each support to be even thicker, we added another layer right beneath is, making each support appear to be even thicker. (If you prefer the skinnier look, skip this. We just liked the beefiness of it, a whole lot more!)
Now, it’s time to attach a cross piece that fits right on top of the base. You will need a 2×8 that is 61 inches long and two 2×6 pieces that are both 26 1/2 inches long. Use your Kreg Zig to create some holes and screw these pieces together into a cross piece. Rest it on top of the base and grab your level and be sure that these pieces are level. (Also, be sure to test this out on flat ground, possibly taking it inside where the table will actually sit. You may have to sand down the top of the center post until it’s nice and level…..which we had to several times, before our finished table top sat level. In fact, we would recommend waiting on screwing this center cross support in place and adding the upper support beams until the table top is finished and you are sure everything is sitting level.)
Once you’re sure everything is level, screw the cross section down to the center of the base with 3 inch deck screws.
Then add 4 upper diagonal supports, identical in size and angle as the lower supports. (We kept these a single layer, because you don’t actually ever see them when the table top is in place.) Lastly, use WOOD FILLER along the base and legs, to fill in any cracks or gaps. Let dry and then sand down until smooth and even.
Okay, now onto the fun part….the table top! We decided to use poplar instead of pine because it’s a little more durable and you can purchase boards that are a little nicer. We could have even used something super hard like maple but that’s going to cost a lot more. So, poplar isn’t too much more than pine but holds up a lot better.
We cut nine 1×8 poplar pieces down to 65 inches long. (And one piece you have to rip down to 3 1/4 inches on a table saw. Yours may need to be ripped down, more or less….it just depends on the accuracy of your boards. But you want to create an exact square piece….so adjust as needed.) Then we decided the order of the boards and how we wanted it to look with all of the different grain in piece. Keep in mind the different colors in poplar stains really differently…..but Steve really wanted plenty of the dark purple grain in our table top, along with some of the green. It doesn’t stay those colors….but it soaks in stain differently, giving the tabletop different shades of your stain color.
Place your first two 65 inch long boards down onto some saw horses (or similar suspended supports) and use your Kreg Jig to create some screw holes along one of the inner edges of one board. (We made about 4-5 holes , evenly spaced along one edge.) Add a line of Wood Glue between the boards, place them together tightly, add your Kreg clamp right next to one of the screw holes at one end, and then screw the two boards together, using 1 inch Kreg Screws. Repeat at the other end. Screw the boards together along the middle of the board as well, using your hand to keep the two boards as even together (since your clamp won’t reach in that far).
Now remember, the more precise you are at keeping these layers super even, the less sanding you’ll have to do later on. So take your time and always place the Kreg clamp right next to the screw hole, clamping the edges of both pieces of wood.
See, that screw is hidden and perfectly placed!
Now, move onto one of the outer edges and make more holes all along the side of this board with your Kreg Jig. (4-5 holes is sufficient.)
Add a layer of glue to your next piece of wood, smooth it out with your finger, slide the boards together….then use your Kreg Clamp and secure your two pieces together, and then screw in place.
Repeat with the rest of your boards, adding the more narrow board (that’s 3 1/4 inches wide) last. Now you should have a big square piece, all screwed together. Be sure that all of you sides are even…..which will make the next few steps more accurate.
Now it’s time to turn your square into an octagon. We used this OCTAGON CALCULATOR and plugged in the numbers of our square, which was 65×65 inches…..and then the calculator told us with a square that size, each of our sides would need to be 26 15/16 inches long. So, we found the very center of each of our four side, then measured out from there to create the appropriate lengths, made marks, connected the marks and drew the diagonal lines. Then we decided to use our CIRCULAR SAW to cut these diagonal edges nice and straight. So we measured the distance from the blade to the edge of saw guide and then placed our really long straight edge at that distance from the pencil line. Then we clamped the straight edge in place. We checked the distance from the pencil line to the straight edge several times……to be sure if was the same distance as the blade from the edge of the saw.
Then we pressed the edge of the saw along the straight edge and kept that contact nice and tight as we cut along the pencil line, all the way across. We did the same thing with the other 3 cuts. Worked like a charm!!!
Now, grab your sander of choice and start sanding all of the edges. You want each of the edges of the octagon nice and flat because you want these final edge pieces to have full contact all the way across.
Begin cutting your 1×4 poplar pieces down to the correct length of one of your sides, cutting the angle at 22.5 degrees. Attach them to the edges of your table, by first adding a line of glue and then nailing them in place with a nail gun. Be sure that the edge is complete flush with the top of the table….because the more precise you are now, the less you’ll have to sand later. (The original table plans that we linked to above attaches these edge pieces along the bottom side of the table. But we really wanted to give the illusion that our table top was really thick so we didn’t want any seams along the sides of the tabletop….so we opted to do it this way, and love the look of it!!!)
Here’s a view from a top, looking down at the piece of wood cut a 22.5 degrees.
Cut your next piece the same way and then add glue, nail in place, and then match up the angled ends the best you can.
Repeat until the rest of the edges are in place. Do your best to glue and nail each of the ends that meet together as well.
Now, this is a 2 person job (if not more), but it’s easier if you can now flip the table top over to add these supports to the under side. It’s still going to be a little wobbly, so try to not to let all the strips of wood flex and warp any of the screws.
Now, cut your 2×2 pine boards down to the right length (and same angle) and attach them right along the inner edge of the table you just attached, using 1 5/8 inch deck screws. Counter sink the holes first….and then bury each of those screws.
Now, you can flip the table over again and test it over on your base. But one last thing we decided to do to safeguard against warping boards and to add extra stability to each of those slats of wood in our table top……we added strips of hardwood on the under side of the table, making sure to keep them out of the way of the cross support on the table base. We placed them perpendicular to the direction of all the boards and we attached the pieces of hardwood on their side, minimizing any sort of flexing of the hardwood strips. We used the counter sink drill bit and then used 1 5/8 inch deck screws to secure them in place.
Then we placed the table top back on our saw horses (we used 4 to hold the complete table top…but you could also use 4 chairs)….and then started sanding the table top using 120 grit paper. I’m using the mouse sander here and it is possible but will take a lot longer. The orbital sander works a lot faster and will help make things a lot smoother. Then USE WOOD FILLER and fill any holes or cracks. Let dry and then sand again, making sure everything is perfectly even and smooth!
Then, we routed the upper edges of the table, just like the legs from earlier on……
…..using the same 45 degree Chamfer Bit.
Now, it’s time for painting and staining. (Get ready…..there’s a lot to explain, but should be helpful!)
The final look and color of the table is completely up to you. You can stain the whole thing, paint the whole thing…..or do a combo like I did.
Okay, the tabletop first… Like I mentioned up in the supply list, we used Minwax “Weathered Oak” and “Provincial“ oil based stains on the table top. I didn’t know how the stain was going to take on Poplar, so I tested several times on some scrap wood. However, even after I thought I knew what I wanted, it still turned out differently than what I thought. So, what I ended up doing was using the Weathered Oak color first and letting it soak in all the way. Then I used a light coat of the Provincial and let it soak in. Then, I sanded some of that off and added a little more of the Weather Oak and then added in Provincial back in some spots. I repeated this process of adding and sanding several times before it turned out how I liked it! Oh, and the grain absorbed the stain so differently, so I had to play around with that too. (And to be honest, Steve loves the variation but if I were to be honest……I would choose pieces of wood that were more uniform for next time. But that’s only because if we only used a little of the stain on the purple wood, it showed through way too purple so I had to add thicker layers of stain to the purple wood areas to make it more brown….so it just turned into a pain. But still, it’s completely up to personal preference.)
Once we got the color to what we liked, we grabbed a can of Minwax brand polyurethane and started adding layers and sanding in between. However, the finished result wasn’t very smooth. And to be honest, it wasn’t a good finish AT ALL. You could see water spots after wiping it with a washcloth…..and it drove me nuts. So, we went to our local woodworking store and bought THIS EXACT General Finishes, High Performance, Water Based, Satin finish……..and it worked SO MUCH BETTER! It went on so much smoother, it was so much easier to sand in between each layer, and now that it’s been on, it wipes away clean and no water spots!!! (Well worth the little extra in price over the Minwax!)
Oh, and just to explain, YES, you DO have to sand between each layer of polyurethane. You don’t want to go to all of this trouble to make a pretty table and then not have a nice finish on it…..so take the time to do it right. We ended up applying 5-6 layers (and waited the suggested 2 hours or whatever it was, between layers…just read the can) and used 400 grit sand paper and VERY LIGHTLY sanded between coats. The purpose of sanding is to get any sort of bumps from lint or dust (which is totally normal…don’t worry) and also any sort of thickness inconsistencies in the layer of polyurethane. We also found it helpful to use a really nice nylon bristle paint brush to apply the polyurethane to help keep each layer smooth.
After you apply the very last layer of polyurethane……DON’T USE SAND PAPER!!! You’ll notice that with each layer of polyurethane you add, there will be less and less bumps. The guy at the woodworking store gave us a really good tip and that was to use an old brown paper bag and make sure that it’s nice and smooth (not crumpled or any seams) and use that to kinda buff out the very top layer of polyurethane. It worked SO WELL! (Because you’ll see a difference if you sand it…..the sheen changes a bit, so you don’t really want to do that on the last layer.) But that last bit of buffing leaves the top layer perfectly smooth and soft.
Oh yeah……this is what I did for the base. First, I applied one layer of the Provincial Stain to the wood. Once it was dry, I painted the entire base in some semi-gloss Swiss Coffee that we had in the garage from another project. I applied two layers and then once it was dry, I sanded the edges and corners up a bit, letting little bits of the stain from underneath show through. The reason for this is that I know the base will get kicked and bumped and probably scratched. So, I wanted those things to add to the country style of the finish….excusing me from having to ever touch up paint.
That’s it! The table is complete!!!