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post #1 of 8 Old 10-09-2014, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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help this newbie!

I LOVE harvest dining tables and I have an existing ugly dining table. I own no power tools. I'm wondering, would it be possible to nail slats of wood to the existing table top, then maybe paint the ugly legs? Am I in way over my head or should this be an easy task? I figure HD or Lowes could cut the wood to size?
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post #2 of 8 Old 10-09-2014, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by notacarpenter
I LOVE harvest dining tables and I have an existing ugly dining table. I own no power tools. I'm wondering, would it be possible to nail slats of wood to the existing table top, then maybe paint the ugly legs? Am I in way over my head or should this be an easy task? I figure HD or Lowes could cut the wood to size?
You will definitely need "some" tools. Just nailing some slats to the existing top would not work, because for one, the wood will move, opening up seams as the temperature changes. Secondly, Home Depot would not make precise cuts for you. Then there is the part of sanding, staining or painting the wood.

To have a proper table top, you would have to glue up some stock, whatever type you want, oak, maple, pine, etc.. Sand or plane it to make the top smooth, stain, paint and apply a protective finish. These are just some very basic things that I am telling you, your mileage may vary depending on what you really want. But I would not just nail some slats for a kitchen or dining room table.

As one old timer once told me, you can do whatever you want and like what you want....but if you want something to look nice, and last for a long time...do it right the first time...you will not regret it.
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post #3 of 8 Old 10-09-2014, 06:26 PM
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Another solution

Well, this would not be the way I would build a table but since you asked you could always get the wood cut at the big box stores and screw them to the top from below.

You would need to cut slots in the existing table top to accommodate wood movement. You could then buy a hand sanding block and start with 60 grit sand paper and work through the grades to 180 grit. The top boards will have spaces between them that will have to be continuously cleaned but the quick and easy table conversion is possible if your willing to live with the limitations.

There are other methods like gluing boards together but you need to buy some pipe clamps and since you don't have a way to get straight and square edges you might have to epoxy the spaces between the board joints. You could then do the above sanding and attach the same way from below with screws through slots for expansion.

You could also go to a local Woodcraft store and buy a book on table construction and see if you want to invest in a limited amount of tools.

Jack
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post #4 of 8 Old 10-10-2014, 01:16 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you both for replying. Maybe I am in over my head. I've sanded/stained/painted plenty in my life but never constructed. I just don't have $600 to spend on a very basic looking table. :(
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-10-2014, 07:20 AM
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[QUOTE="notacarpenter"]Thank you both for replying. Maybe I am in over my head. I've sanded/stained/painted plenty in my life but never constructed. I just don't have $600 to spend on a very basic looking table. :([/

If you have a tool rental store near you, you may be able to get what you need. Another method could be using furniture grade plywood and trim out the edges. At least that way you would have a flat surface, just a fine sanding, then the finish.
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post #6 of 8 Old 10-10-2014, 03:18 PM
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First, Welcome here to this very friendly woodworking forum! Since you do not have any power tools, consider that many colonials built harvest tables without "power", and some very rough tools too! That being said - if there is a will, there is a way. IMO, you should have some basic knowledge of working with wood BEFORE you start any project, and a plan to build that project! At least, please read a book/magazine on furniture building to get an idea of what is required to re-do your table, so you will know if it is something you & your budget can handle. Be safe.
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post #7 of 8 Old 10-13-2014, 10:45 AM
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Main thing is don't just give up. Plan what you want to do and do some research and go to garage sales of auctions and by the best tools you can afford. As far as research you are setting at the biggest research facility in the world, the internet. Use it to find what you want and what you need to do the job.

I am self taught and have been building furniture for 40 years. I have faith that if you want a table you can build a table.

Hang in there and learn as you go. You will have mistakes, learn from them, in time you will look back at this and wonder why you had so many questions.

Last edited by dhorttor; 10-13-2014 at 11:27 AM.
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post #8 of 8 Old 10-13-2014, 04:57 PM
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A long time ago in a land far away as a youngster I had a very old oak dining table that I wanted to convert into a coffee table.

Having an idea of what I wanted to do, but no tools and not much money. Which was cut some wood and join the two pieces of the top together I went to a couple of wood shops. A couple basically told me to piss off and the third one run my top over a joiner and joined together and cut to length for very reasonable money. Took him all of 20 minutes, and I suspect I only paid for his lunch.

Does not hurt to ask. HTH JIm
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