Beginner Farm Table (2 Tools + $50 Lumber)

I have been a long time user and fan of Rustoleum products.  This post is sponsored by Rustoleum by all opinions expressed are my own.

UPDATE: Bench plans have been posted here.

UPDATE 2: We added a tinted poly coat to the table and it now looks like this!


I’ve been wanting to get the beginner crowd a VERY simple, inexpensive farm table plan for years now.  Just because you aren’t an expert woodworker with a zillion tools doesn’t mean you can’t still start somewhere, right?

Well, I finally got my chance!

We are moving into the new house, but with so many, many functional projects to tackle (like closets and pantry cabinets), a beautiful dining table is way down on the priority list.  But still, I insisited we need a dining table to move in.  Once you give in to the kids eating on the couch, you’re done … or at the very least have to be the bad guy and retrain the family.  

So I gave myself three criteria for a new somewhat temporary dining table

  • Must cost less than $50 in lumber
  • Must be done in an afternoon
  • Can only use 2 tools – a drill and a saw (since most beginners don’t have a Kreg Jig yet – and I do stress yet) 

This is what I came up with –

And here’s how it went down –

I purchased 6 – 2x4s and 6 – 2x6s in stud length.

The 2x6s are for the tabletop boards, and since they are all precut exactly the same at stud length, I set them aside – no cutting required.  My table will be 92-5/8″ (standard stud length) long.

There’s only 12 cuts on the entire table, and it’s all the 2x4s.

I used a compound miter saw.  You can use a circular saw or jigsaw, but do make sure your cuts are very good and straight.

Cutting done, time to build!

For attaching, I’m using 2-3/4″ self tapping screws.  You’ll need about 100.  Bonus – these are exterior screws, so I could use my table outdoors too.

Alrighty … let’s build already!

I used scrap pieces of 1x boards to elevate the horizontal boards on the legs.  Then I just screwed from the outside.

Two leg sets done!

Then I flipped everything over and added the side aprons.  One trick is I will screw at an angle (kinda like a pocket hole screw) in opposite directions, so if the table is wobbled at all, the screws dig in from opposite directions. 

Then I flipped everything back over and checked for square.

Way out – like over an inch.

So I pushed the two shorter diagonal corners together until the two diagonals matched.

Then I added the bottom stretcher.  The ends overhang 3/4″ – be careful that your legs are square when you add the stretcher.

The middle support piece keeps the aprons from spreading, and also give you something to attach the tabletop boards too.

Now for the top – I like to start in the middle and work outward.  So I find the middle on both ends,

And then I attached the 2×6 studs to the top with screws.  I am careful about screw placement so it looks good in the end.

NOTE: Since we aren’t joining tabletop boards together edge to edge, there may be a small gap between boards.  You can fill with silicone after final finish, or use a Kreg Jig to build your tabletop first, then attach.

I was going for a rustic real wood look, but decided to sand to take splinters and rough patches out.  I started with an 80 grit and finished with a 120 grit.

Table is ready for a finish!

I love Watco Danish Oil because it is a beautiful, durable finish that is easy to apply – so much I wrote an entire post about it!  

Danish Oil is a color and finish in one, so all you need is one coat!  You can go back and further seal the table (or just the tabletop) if you so desire.

Gotta say, I do love how this one turned out!

You can also watch the video tutorial here –

If you likey, do let me know, and I’ll get you those bench plans too! UPDATE: Bench plans have been posted here.

The plans follow, if you do build, please share, it’s a great joy seeing your projects too.

Have a good one!



Easy Way to "Grey" Furniture Without Refinishing It

This post is brought to you by Varathane.  All opinions expressed are my own.



Do you have a piece of finished wood furniture that you love, but wish it was just a little “grey?” 

Weathered grey tones are a neutrel way of adding texture and dimension to a room, without cluttering a space with different wood hues.  It’s no wonder the grey trend is so in right now.

Last year, I built the Two Tool $50 Farmhouse Table, and finished it with a natural wood finish.  

We love the table and it’s still very sturdy and useful.  But I felt the color was a little too matchy-matchy to our wood ceiling, and wanted to add a grey tone to it.  But didn’t want to sand down the finish and start all over again.  

Here’s how I turned this –

Into this –

In an afternoon.

In one simple step that also adds a protective top coat.

And cleans up with soap and water.

Varathane recently came out with a new product, Varathane Stain + Poly in Weathered Grey.  Simply put, it is a grey-tinted polyurethane.  It can be applied just like a normal polyurethane, on bare wood or over a fully cured finish.  Yes, you read that right – you can apply right over top of a finished piece, just like adding another coat of poly.  But it also adds a tint of color (like sunglasses) on top of the wood finish, and protects in one easy coat. This enables you to tint your project, even after it is finished.

Tinted poly is a pro secret – tradditional wood stain can be unpredictable on wood, especially soft woods.  But with tinted poly, you are just adding a layer of tint on top of the wood – it doesn’t soak into the wood, removing potential for blotchiness or uneven color. 

I first learned about tinting instead of staining when visiting high end furniture factories in North Carolina.  At the factories, the raw wood was sealed first with clear poly, followed by coats of tinted poly.  This created a consistent finish from piece to piece, and much more control over the final finish.

Now that Varathane makes a water-based Stain + Poly, it’s really a no brainer.  Water-based polyurethane goes on smoothly and easily, has low odor, and cleans up with soap and water – making it very DIY friendly.  A game changer really!

And it’s not just me – people are loving Varathane Stain + Poly in all the colors for all the projects –

But there are some things to consider –

  • If you are going for a very matte finish, pay attention to the sheen.  I used a semi-gloss and it definitly has a little bit of a “wet” look to the final finish.  You can add a final clear coat (use a water based poly) in a satin or matte sheen to dull the finish.  
  • If you are working with bare wood that doesn’t necessarily need a final top coat (think low use pieces like headboards and dressers), tradditional wood stain may be a better option because it comes in more colors that are mixable and results in a flatter sheen.

For my dining table that is already finished, but needs a new top coat, preferably with a grey tint – Varathane Stain + Poly is the cat’s meow.  Here’s how I transformed (and protected) our dining table

We gave the table a good cleaning.  We had to sand off a few marker spots from the kids doing art projects, but the entire table did not need to be sanded.

Then we just started brushing it on.  I use a synthetic brush for water-based projects, with fine bristles and brush on in the direction of the wood grain.  I start with one light coat.  You can always add more, but trying to remove is difficult.

One thing I’ve learned is a subtle change can result in a pretty big change overall on the project when it’s done.  Here’ what one coat of the Varathane Stain + Poly looks like.

I decided to add a second coat.  This really deepend the color, but you can still see all the character in the wood.  

We love the final finish. 

It’s also smooth and even, buttery soft to touch.  

Varathane Stain + Poly comes in 14 colors, including Sunbleached, Ebony and Weathered Grey, and is available at Home Depot for about $12 a quart.  I cannot wait to test out other colors and share the results with you.

And do share your projects too – I love seeing what you come up with as well!

Happy Building! Ana

Simple Modern Bedside Table

Are you looking for the perfect nightstand or bedside table to compliment your Farmhouse Bed?

Our Modern Farmhouse bed (free plans available here) is the focal point of our bedroom, and I wanted nightstands to compliment it – not compete with it, or match so perfectly they look like part of the bed.

So I designed this bedside table.  It is a perfect sidekick to our modern farmhouse bed – both in style and use. 

I love the big roomy drawer, spacious top, and open bottom shelf.  

This modern style nightstand is also just the right size to use as an end table or side table in your living room.

I had alot of scrap plywood pieces that I burned up on this project – so spent about $25 building it.  But if you buy all new materials – plan on about $50 a nightstand – what a bargain for such a beautiful simple piece.  And if you are building two – double the savings!

The free plans are below – do share if you build, we love seeing your projects!

XO Ana


PS – This nightstand build was featured in this video –

And the “kids” nightstand plans are available here –

And the Modern Farm Bed Plans are here.

PSSS – If you aren’t ready to build just yet, be sure to pin for later!


Welcome Everly Rose

We are so excited to introduce to our friends and blog family our newest addition.

Everly Rose White was born on May 10 at 11:11 AM – coincentally her look-a-like sister was also born at 11:11, eleven years earlier.

One day shy of two weeks late, we are thankful we were able to bring her into the world naturally and in good health with the assitance of the Alaska Family Health & Birth Center, where our two older children were born as well.

It’s been a whirlwind three weeks of adjusting, but everyone is doing well and happy – though very busy. We will be taking a little more time off before getting back to work time.

Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers and kind words and paitience.

Much love, The White Family