A Quick Harvest Table

My wife, Anita, wanted me to make another farmhouse table for her. She sold the last one I made several months ago and missed how it looked in her booth. So, I went to Home Depot and bought three 2×12’s and two 4×4’s.

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Two of the 2 x 12’s I bought, I planed down to 1″ with my surface planer. It did a fine job, but I had three garbage cans full of shavings that I had to burn in my fire pit in order to get rid of.

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I ripped the last 2×12 in half on my band saw, then ran kerfs down each side on my table saw 7/8″ wide so I could use them for the frame of the table. Ripping them down to 7/8″ would allow me to plane one of the pieces to 3/4″. Then I took the 1/2″ off cuts and glued them together to create a 1″ thick stock to mill down to 3/4″ back at the surface planer.

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In the past, I ripped kerfs down the sides of the board and then take it over to the band saw to finish up the ripping. However, this board gave me some real trouble as it kept binding up the band saw blade. Frustrated, I tried everything, even giving it a go with my rip saw, with no luck.

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I was so disgusted I threw up a picture of my struggles on Instagram and then a follower of mine gave me the idea of finishing the ripping with a sawzall. Curious, I gave it a shot and sure enough, it worked perfectly only taking me ten minutes. Social media is awesome!

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With the ripping done, I was ready to get back to business milling and gluing up the off cuts so I could still use them to build the frame of the harvest table.

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With the wood gluing, I turned my attention to the legs. Taking the 4×4’s I cut them to 30″ and turned a leg that my wife was pleased with.

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I then repeated the steps of the first leg to the next three. I ended up with four legs that were identical enough to one another.

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I wanted to use mortise and tenon joinery to attach the frame to the legs. so I set my mortising gauge to 3/8″ wide, the same width of my mortise chisel.

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I ran my mortising gauge down the side of the leg where I wanted a mortise and used the chisel to chop out a shallow area.

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Next I used a 3/8″ forstner bit and drilled down the depth of the mortise. Doing the mortise this way allowed me to not have my drill bit sway outside the mortised area.

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I then finished up the mortise back with my chisel making the ends of the mortise nice and square. This is an unconventional way to make a mortise,  but it allowed me to remove a lot of the waste much quicker than with the chisel alone.

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Test fitting the joint, I was pleased with the results. It took me less than an hour to cut all eight mortises.

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Using one of my beading planes, I planed a 3/8″ bead down the bottom of the frame boards. Cutting a bead on a seven-foot long board takes a bit of patience.

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Using pocket holes, I glued and screwed the frame to the legs and top. My wife wanted this table to be quick and easy which it was.

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I flipped the table over and was happy with my work. The top is just two boards lying next to each other, not even being glued together.

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My wife stained the wood with steel wool and vinegar solution and then applied a couple of coats of milk paint to give the table an old world look.

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Here’s the table in her booth with some of her antiques on top. Quick and easy.

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Making a Harvest Display Table

A few months ago, I built a Harvest Table for my wife to use in her booth to sell some of her antiques. You can read the blog post here. She still has that table, but she asked me to build another one for another booth she has. I went to a local antique store that sells reclaimed wood and bought a 4″ square posts and three pieces of barn wood siding. I have a picture of the wood on instagram. Unfortunately, I deleted the original photo from my phone before I uploaded it to photobucket to share here.

I started this harvest table in much the same way as the first one, turning the legs on the lathe. The major difference is that this table was turned with reclaimed birch instead of douglas fir 4×4’s that I bought at Lowe’s. Turning reclaimed lumber is probably not the smartest thing to do since you never know what the integrity of the wood is as it may snap off while on the lathe injuring you, but I thought I’d take my chances.

A couple of the pieces I wanted to turn had some nails stick stuck in the wood. I grabbed a chisel and hammer and I dug into the wood to extract all nails I could find. There were a couple of nails that were too deep to grab, so I carefully turned the leg, stopping every few strokes making sure I wasn’t near the top of the nail.

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While a couple of the posts had nails holes in them, the other two had old worm holes. I turned each leg the same and in the end, they were full of character. You can see the final four turned legs here.

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With the legs turned, I focused my attention on the top. I took the three slabs of barn wood siding and brought them together to determine how wide the top of the table could be. The boards were only 3/4″ thick and I wanted the top to be thicker, so I took some scrap OSB boards I had laying around from when I was building my shed and built a substrate for the boards.

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I glued and screwed the OSB to the siding gluing in the middle of the boards and screwing on the ends. The siding is so old that I figure the expansion and contraction of the wood would be very minimal. Even if they did crack, it would just add more character to the top of the table.

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I added some pine edging to cover up the OSB substrate underneath the top boards. Cutting the corners is where my miter trimmer comes in handy. I love that thing!

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Flipping the top back over, I figured out where the legs should go. I kept the design simple by using a scrap pieces of edging that were 1 3/8″ wide and making them gauges to show me where the legs should go. Easy P-easy.

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Next was to make the frame of table. I grabbed a 2×12 and milled it to 3/4″ thick by 5″ wide pieces and cut them to fit between the legs.

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I then channeled my inner Scott Phillips of The American Woodshop and used my Kreg Pocket Hole Jig and screwed the frame to the top. I was trying to build this table as quick and as easy as possible. I wasn’t trying to win a woodworking contest with this table.

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I still needed to attach the legs to the frame so I drilled a pilot hole in the legs and screwed in 3/8″ hanger bolts.

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I then simply drilled a hole in the corner brackets, fed the bolt through the hole, and tightened it in place with a nut. As the nut tightened to the corner bracket, it drove the leg tight to both sides of the frame. Attaching the legs this way makes it possible to take them off and carry it out of my basement shop.

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Flipping it back over, the table was built. Super simple and super fun. I posted this picture on instagram and it has been my most liked picture, ever!

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The final picture is the table with an antique stain applied to it. I’m happy with the way it turned out and so is my wife.

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Harvest Table

A few moths ago my wife, Anita, and I picked up some old barn wood flooring in Dayton to be used for a harvest table she wanted me to build for her booth. While the wood sat in the basement, she kept looking for the right legs to use for the table. In the end, she opted for me to make some out of Douglas Fir 4×4’s I could buy from Lowe’s. She searched Pinterest for a leg she liked and printed off a picture so I could make it.

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I looked at the picture and started to turn something like it on the lathe. I kept the top of the leg similar to the picture, but changed the bottom to be a bit more simpler. After a few tweaks, I was happy with the end result. Now the challenge was to make three more legs that matched this one.

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I used a piece of scrap wood and marked every major location where there was a bead or valley in the board. I then used calipers to measure those increments and carefully tried to copy them to the next turning.

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After several minutes of careful turning, my second leg looked very similar to the first one on top. Even if the legs weren’t exactly the same, it was fine as they would be far enough away from one another that your eye wouldn’t be able to see the difference.

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If you’ve never turned Douglas Fir, I highly recommend it. It sucks..sucks bad. The crap chips like crazy even with sharp turning tools. Fortunately since the harvest table was suppose to look old, the chips wouldn’t be a big deal.

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After a couple of hours, I turned four legs that sort of looked like one another. The final step was to put them back on the lathe and use my parting tool to cut them at all the same length which was 30″ tall.

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The simplest part about building the harvest table was actually building it. I simply screwed the skirt onto the legs using 2″ screws. I didn’t even bother plugging the holes.

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I used cleats and pocket hole screws to keep the sides from bowing. I then attached the top onto the cleats using 1 1/4″ screws. Super simple.

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This was the table before sanding the grime off the boards.

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This is the table after a couple coats of white milk paint.

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As you can see, once sanded, the milk paint gives the table a nice worn look. Even though this table breaks three of the seven deadly sins of woodworking, it works for it’s intended purpose. Just don’t expect to see it in a woodworking magazine anytime soon. All that matters is that Anita is very happy with it and finally has the harvest table she has always wanted.

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