Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Our 12' Table


A few years back now, Kevin and I hosted Thanksgiving for my dad and Kevin's sister (and her new boyfriend who became her husband and our brother). I really enjoyed planning for this, preparing the food, and having our family in our home. It brought me such joy that I decided in the future, we would be the host home for Thanksgiving. With that, a new dream to build a huge table to fit as many people as possible began. We saw a friend's long table not too long after which encouraged me. I wasn't certain our building experience would translate to furniture-making but we both decided to give it a go anyway.

I did a ton of online research about building outdoor tables. Reviewed all kinds of designs (learning that FAR too many people on Pinterest do not know the difference between herringbone and chevron). Then, carefully planned out a method of building with an AutoCAD plan, which I reviewed with a contractor co-worker (perks of being an interior designer). Soon it was time to go to Lowe's for the first time. We lost count on the number of times we went to Lowe's or Home Depot.

Online table diys I referenced:

This is not really a DIY post. I don't feel like an expert in table building and we made some mistakes that we didn't correct. I also didn't document really well. I did enjoy those of you who followed along with us on Instagram though! We also are not by-the-book project builders. We cut some corners and made some things up along the way. Mostly, we're here to show you the table, give you our learning lessons, and encourage you to go after a big project you want to do yourself!

Our Learning Lessons:
1. Wood glue and extra fasteners and time are worth it. We built the frame first and went with a fastener method we thought would be cheaper and faster than using a kreg-jig but when we went to turn it all over, it completely fell apart. We almost cried and we almost gave up but we stuck to it, went back to our original method, added more wood glue and gave it time.
2. 1x4s will work. So many of the articles I found online suggested 2x4s and it just seemed like a whole lot of weight, which I really worried about with our big table. So we swapped to 1x4s and they worked real well.
3. Deck stain and sealer. Most of the articles I read online suggested a stain and sealer method. When we went to the store, all of them were for indoor only, and required a good deal of dry time and a lot of extra elbow grease. Which, to be honest, we just were not up for after the many weekends it took to build the table. So we shopped the decking stains and read up on them. I wasn't entirely sure I would love the finish but it turned out beautiful. And, I'm confident this method will last longer outdoors.
4. Be patient with the timeline. I think ultimately this took about 4-5 weekends. We didn't do it all consecutively and we took each workday carefully. We chose, purposely, to not work morning to night when we worked on the table. We wanted to give ourselves grace and rest. I'm glad we did. It took longer but ultimately, was worth it.
5. Just go for it and don't worry about perfection. A super big lesson for my kinda-OCD self and designer problems. We also learned to be more patient with each other too. My designer thoughts and his math concepts don't always mix well in a frustrating moment but we worked through it. It's not a perfect table and we changed our method of build several times throughout the process but ultimately we're so glad we went for it.

I foresee so many shared meals here. I listened to a podcast with the author of The Turquoise Table a year or so ago and I'm encouraged to use this table for strangers as well as people in our tribe. I dream of Thanksgivings, birthdays, parties, showers, simple family meals, grilled meals, board games, pancake breakfasts, and so so much more at this table. I can't wait to see how God uses this table for His kingdom.

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