I am pretty impatient when it comes to projects. So this summers table project is like a miracle of perseverance… It all started 4 years ago as serendipity would have it, when out of the corner of my eyes I saw something moving out the window and watched as one of our very tall and large cherry trees fell over in our backyard. I couldn’t believe it was happening, there was no storm, no wind, it just fell. Thankfully no one was out there. It fell right beside our chicken coop, happily not on it.
Well there were three more cherry trees in the same mound, large and tall. We knew we just had to take them down. A tree service came and took them down for us and then we had them milled into boards and sold some of the boards to make up for the cost of having the trees taken down. The rest of the cherry boards have sat and rested for 4 years.
My husband Kevin thought it would be great someday to make a farm table from some of those boards. I thought it sounded like a nice idea, but also like a lot of work and a lot of time. Time is not something we have a lot of at the moment.
As many of you know we have 7 sons ages 15 to 2. Over this past year it has grown increasingly obvious that we have outgrown our kitchen table. It seems as if every night either Kevin or I (depending who is last to the table) is without a seat. We used benches as a way to eek out a few more spots at the table, and if we had visitors I would often just add another smaller table we had to the end. Knowing the kids were only going to get bigger, not smaller, I diligently searched Craigslist for a fairly inexpensive but bigger and thinner table to replace it. Each time I thought I had found the right table, it ended up already being taken or located ridiculously far away.
The turning point came in early June when after feeling exasperated by my Craigslist search, I google searched table base ideas. Really if we were even going to consider making a table the base of it was key for me. With so many little boys and now bigger boys pushing on that table I knew the base needed to be strong and well put together for it to be sturdy. I found the brilliant idea (on Pinterest of course) of using plumbing pipe for a table base. You just screw the pieces together and then use screws to attatch it to your table top. I thought to myself for the first time: “OK, I think we can do this…”.
So at the beginning of the summer we started this project and just a couple of days ago we finally finished it. Kevin did most of the structural work and I did all of the finishing work.
It was an exercise in patience. Lots of starts and stops, backtracking, waiting for time, playing with kids and living life instead. By the time we were ready to put the base on the table top this past week, I had had it and was ready to quit! We really don’t have a lot of time for a project like this, with so many kids and their needs (like being fed at least 3x a day) and so forth. So we would work for 15 minutes here, a half hour there, etc. For someone who likes to do projects and do them quickly it was a challenge to put it mildly.
Here are some photos I took along the way…
Really the top of the table is what took the majority of the time. After all the sanding and filling, I used General Finishes Water Based Top Coat for the finish. I had been really unhappy with the minwax I have use in the past, so I researched water based finishes and this one had great reviews. I would definitely follow the directions they use on their website for application, and not just use a foam brush. The finish came out great and wasn’t hard to apply at all once I got the hang of it.
The plumbing pipe part took measuring, buying the black iron pipe at Lowes (we decided to make our base with the standard sizes they had, though we could have had them cut and thread the pipe to suit our sizes. Kevin thought it was just easier to go with the standard sizes.) After buying the pipe Kevin cleaned off the oily residue they have on them with Naptha, then we put it together and I used 2 coats of black rustoleum spray paint to give it a more cast iron look to match our wood stove. If you want more info about what plumbing parts to use, etc., we loosely based our design on this tutorial.
And here it is finally finished!
We now have three extra spaces at our table instead of one too few and can fit 8 chairs and two benches at it. We still have one son away at Cross Country Camp, so the whole family hasn’t quite eaten together at our new nice and long cherry board plumbing pipe table. I am so so so happy with how it turned out and I am even more happy that the whole process is OVER and we can now just enjoy it.
With love from Vermont,