TIP: If you like our table but want something that looks a little more polished, just expand the finishing step. Start by sanding carefully and thoroughly, then apply a pre-stain wood conditioner. This will highlight the wood's grain and prevent the stain from absorbing unevenly. Apply your chosen finish in thin coats, carefully sanding out each coat and removing the sanding dust with a tack cloth before applying the next one. Finish the table with a coat of wax. There, now it's shiny.
Not at all! I meant to put the total cost in the post, so thank you for reminding me! The wood totaled around $50 for the table and $34 for both benches. We spent another $25 or so on screws and miscellaneous tools, so for about $110, I’d say that’s not too bad!! It took my husband and I a couple hours to build the table, another couple hours to build the benches, and about 2 days to sand, distress, stain, and seal everything.
In regards to your breadboard ends: You might be able to get away with what you did depending on how dramatic the humidity difference between seasons is in your area, but in the future, you might want to elongate your dowel holes in the tongue of the joint - all but the center hole. Specifically, you want to put a pin in the center of the table end (no hole elongation) and then elongate the holes on either side - maybe 1/16" to each side of center (it's OK to glue the center like you did). This allows the center pin to keep the board centered (duh) and then allows the table top to grow and shrink across it's width without putting undue stress on the breadboard ends. This is important because wood expands/contracts across it's grain significantly more than it does along it's length, so when you have a joint where end grain meets side grain (as in your breadboard ends) NOT taking this into account can mean that your project disassembles itself - or at least becomes "rickety" as the expansion/contraction cycle loosens the joint. The amount of growth you can expect is determined by wood species, initial moisture content of the wood, and humidity change across seasons. There are online references you can check to see how much you would want to elongate those holes.
For this lesson on milling lumber, we headed out to the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, where instructor Bob Van Dyke demonstrated the classic sequence used to prepare rough lumber with power tools. Sometimes referred to by the acronym "FEE" (faces, edges, ends) the sequence involves flattening one face of the board on a jointer and then creating a parallel, flat opposing face with a thickness planer. After the faces are flat and parallel, square one edge with a jointer and then rip the other edge parallel on a tablesaw. Finally, crosscut the board to length with a miter gauge on the tablesaw.
Because these legs were salvaged they had old screw holes in them which were filled prior to painting. In retrospect, it probably would have looked cool to just leave them. I lightly sanded the legs with 100 & 150 grit sandpaper which smoothed them without removing all the saw marks. One coat of chalk paint and 2 coats of clear Briwax was used to finish the legs. Briwax yellows the finish a bit which aged the paint nicely. Between coats of Briwax I sanded through the paint on some of the edges with 100 grit paper to show wear.
This super-strong and simple-to-build workbench is may be the project you've been looking for a long time. You have to select some free workbench plans to create yourself a working table in your shed that after you can use it when you are working on your projects and maybe it can provide you some extra storage, depends upon which plan you are choosing to DIY.
Modifications: The only modifications I made to Ana's plans were to the overall size. I used an additional 2×10 to increase the width of the table. I cut the table top boards a little longer and enlarged the width of the table base. I show the table top modifications in drawings below. Feel free to modify your table from the plans to best suit your needs.
There was one crack which required stabilization to prevent further splitting. On an old piece of wood there is nothing more beautiful than a contrasting butterfly inlay to lock the pieces together. Alternatively you could glue and clamp the split, however it is hard to get enough glue into the crack and an inlay looks much better. I used a piece of bloodwood and an inlay jig on my router for the butterfly. This was the first time I've tried inlay and it was very easy. While the butterfly is beautiful & interesting, it acts functionally as 2 opposing wedges to prevent the crack from widening. The last pic shows the finished product.