How to Build a Dining Table

Learn how to build a dining table set complete with seating benches for you and your family! Just follow the step-by-step guide and you’re sure to impress at your next dinner party.

One Weekend
Less Than $500

What You Need for This Project

Good to Know

Let your lumber acclimate to your work space for one week prior to machining. The material will stabilize, and the boards will be less likely to twist when you cut the individual parts from the larger pieces.

Build the Table

  1. 1

    Cut the Lumber

    • Using the cut list (located in the How to Build a Table Project Diagram PDF) as a guide, cut all of the lumber needed for the dining table. 
    • Use the table saw to cut the legs (A), long aprons (B), short aprons (C), and stretchers (E). 
    • Use the mitre saw to cut the corner braces (D) at a 45-degree angle on both ends of the braces.  
    • Drill a 1 1/4-inch hole centred on the face of each brace. Then, drill holes for the pocket-hole screws in the long and short aprons and the stretchers.  
    Note: You will need to set your pocket-hole jig to pre-drill material that is 1 in. thick.
    • Sand all parts with 220 grit sandpaper.
  2. Steps:

  1. 2

    Build the Base

    • Attach the long and short aprons to the legs using glue and 2 in. pocket-hole screws.
    Note: Inset the aprons ¼ in. from the outside face of the legs.
    • Glue the corner braces into each corner of the table; reinforce by driving 2 in. pocket-hole screws through the blocks into the aprons as shown — no pocket holes are required.
  2. Steps:

  1. 3

    Attach the Legs

    • Using a 3/16 in. bit, drill a pilot hole into the corner of the leg, centring the bit in the 1/4 in. hole you drilled in the corner block.
    • Reinforce the corner joint by driving a 1/4 in. lag screw through the brace into the leg.
    • Add the stretchers between the long aprons using glue and pocket-hole screws.
  2. Steps:

  1. 4

    Top & Finish

    • Apply a pre-stain conditioner, making sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions, to prevent the stain from turning blotchy in the soft wood. Then apply a stain of your choice to the slats (F) using a foam brush. 
    • When the stain is dry, brush on three coats of a semigloss polyurethane to the table base and slats.  
    • Allow each coat to dry; lightly sand between coats with 320-grit sandpaper to remove rough spots.
  2. Steps:

Build the Bench

  1. 1

    Cut Your Lumber

    • Using the cut list (located in the How to Build a Table Project Diagram PDF) as a guide, cut all the lumber needed for the benches. 
    • Cut the legs (A) and the braces (B) to size.  
    • Cut a 6-degree angle on the tops of the legs using a mitre saw. 
    • Cut the stretchers (C) and slats (D) to length and width. For the stretchers, drill four pocket holes equally spaced along the length.  
    • Sand the parts with 200-grit sandpaper.
  2. Steps:

  1. 2

    Cut the Legs & Braces

    • Position two legs on your workbench with the bottoms flush. Cut a ¼ in.-thick spacer to place between the legs.  
    • Centre the brace on top of the legs with the bottoms flush, and use the angles cut at the top of the legs to mark the angle at the top of the brace. 
    • Cut the angle on the brace using a jigsaw. Drill two pocket-holes for securing the seats along the top edge of the braces. 
    • Sand the legs and braces to 200 grit.
  2. Steps:

  1. 3

    Assemble the Legs & Braces

    • Using wood glue and screws, assemble the legs and braces, by positioning the parts with the bottoms flush.  
    • Separate the legs with the ¼ in. spacer.  
    Tip: Use a drill to make a 1/8 in. countersink pilot hole, so that the screws can drive easily and not strip.
  2. Steps:

Set the Seat

  1. 1

    Attach the Stretchers

    • Drill four pocket holes equally spaced along the length of the stretchers. 
    • To attach the stretchers to the end assemblies, cut a scrap to 11-7/8 in. long, turn the end on its side, and place the stretcher in position, supporting the opposite end with the scrap.  
    • Pre-drill the hole and secure the stretcher to the leg brace with glue and screws.  
    • Add a second end assembly, flip the bench over, and add the second stretcher.
  2. Steps:

  1. 2

    Add Finish & Attach Slats

    • Apply the finish using the same process you used for the table.  
    • Place one of the seat slats on the bench so the edge of the slat is aligned with the ¼ in. gap between the legs and centred end to end on the bench. Secure the slat to the bench by driving pocket hole screws from the underside. 
    • Place the remaining slat in position and secure. 
    • Attach the felt pads to the bottom of the seat legs. 
  2. Steps:

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