How to Build a DIY Dining Table for 4 Family Members in 2020

How to Build a DIY Dining Table for 4 Family Members in 2020

Dining tables are a place where you get to gather your friends and families to spend quality time together. They are one of the most ancient forms of furniture where precious times have been spent for years. 

Building a custom dining table is not as difficult as you think. They are easy to build and the materials and tools needed are very accessible. You need not have experience with the tools or be familiar with the required expertise, you can simply start with a farmhouse dining table provided you possess an understanding of basic workmanship.

Building a modern DIY dining table is so affordable compared to going to a furniture store to purchase one. A DIY dining table could cost less than $100 whereas the store-bought equivalent could cost as much as $1200. The more reason you should opt for building one rather than buying. DIY dining tables are also very stylish and unique. 

Before we get into the project, let me give you an overview of some terminologies you will run into, with their meanings. That way, you can be carried along easily with the step-by-step instructions.


BREADBOARD: These are narrow pieces that are joined to a larger frame for support. Attaching breadboard ends is a construction strategy used to keep tabletops flat. Check on Amazon.

APRONS: These are wooden panels that join the legs of a table with its surface. They are placed at right angles to the bottom of the tabletop. Check on Amazon.

CARCASS: This is simply an incomplete framework of a piece of furniture. It is the foundation of every piece of furniture to which other parts are attached.

COUNTERSINK: This implies enlarging the topmost part of a hole made in a wood so that the screw fits right in. Check on Amazon.

STRETCHERS: These are frameworks that connect and brace the legs of a piece of furniture. 

WOOD PLUG: This is a piece of wood used to fill a hole or aperture. Check on Amazon.

WOOD FILLER: This is used to fix holes in wood surfaces to give it a smooth appearance. Check on Amazon.

To build your dining table, there are several factors to consider. The first would be the material. The material you choose in terms of the wood has to blend with the theme of your home. You could opt for a traditional or farmhouse wood design.

Another factor to consider is the shape of the dining table itself. Most people tend to go for a round table. However, a square table looks more refined. The shape of the table is a huge factor as it determines whether or not the table would fit in with the design of your home.

The colour of the dining table is another essential factor to be considered in your choice of the wood material to be used in building your dining table. Just like the shape of the table, the colour needs to maximize the looks of the room wherein the dining table will be situated.

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Tools & Materials Needed


For your custom tabletop, choosing the right wood is dependent on three main factors and they include durability (this is a function of the hardness of the wood), grain (the arrangement of the wood fibers which says a lot on its texture) and cost. If you want you can purchase it from here.

Having said that, I’ll give you three types of wood you could choose from depending on your taste.

You can go for maple wood which is one of the hardest woods and is therefore considered very durable. It has a straight, closed-grain and it is more affordable than other hardwoods.

You can go for oak which is also a very durable wood, being a hardwood and able to withstand constant use. It has an open-grain and is also quite affordable. It is very dense and it accepts a variety of finishes applied to it.

Lastly, you could go for pine wood. This wood is not as durable as those listed above but it absorbs paint and stain well. It has a flush, close-grain and is cheaper than the previous woods. This is a good choice for those who are not willing to invest in other expensive wood types. It is commonly used for rustic and farmhouse wood designs.

Now for your custom table legs, the factors to consider when choosing the right wood for them would be the strength of the wood. However, ensure it’s not too strong so that you can get to cut and shape it without too much stress. This is referred to as the work ability of the wood. Also, check the wood chosen for defects because a defect such as a knot would make the legs break easily and also make it look unappealing. Then a wood with close grains would suit tapered legs and it accepts stains evenly.

So basically, you can make use of pine woods for both the tabletop and table legs. With that being said, let’s dive right into the dimensions needed for the wood.

  • Two 4×4, each measuring 6 feet.
  • Five 2×4, each measuring 8 feet.
  • Six 2×8, each measuring 8 feet.
How to Build a Dining Table for 4 Family Members DIY in 2020


  • For the table legs, make use of the 4×4 wood and cut out four pieces measuring 29-inches.
  • For the side stretchers, make use of the 2×4 wood and cut out two pieces measuring 47-inches.
  • For the aprons, make use of the 2×4 wood and cut out four pieces measuring 40-inches.
  • For the middle stretcher, make use of the 2×4 wood and cut out just one piece measuring 43-inches.
  • For the tabletop supports, make use of the 2×4 wood and cut out three pieces measuring 42-inches.
  • For the tabletop, make use of the 2×8 wood and cut out eight pieces measuring 43½-inches.
  • For the breadboards, make use of the 2×8 wood and cut out two pieces measuring 58-inches. 
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Make a notch on the 4×4 legs using a circular saw and chisel. To make the notch, set your circular saw to a depth of 1½-inches and cut the stretcher joints. Then use the chisel to remove the remaining wood material and clean out the notch. Ensure the chisel is very sharp. You can make a practice of this on a scrap piece of wood before taking on the real challenge.

The next thing is to make a notch on the side stretchers and then attach them to the legs using the 3-inches wood screws and wood glue. Then countersink the screw heads and use wood plugs to mask them. This should be done to both ends of the side stretchers.

Now drill 1½-inches pocket holes into two aprons and attach the aprons to the legs using the 2½-inches pocket hole screws and wood glue.

Now you build the carcass by drilling 1½-inches pocket holes into the other two aprons and then attach them to the legs using the 2½-inches pocket hole screws and wood glue.

The next step is to attach the middle stretcher using the 3-inches wood screw and you could countersink the screw heads and use wood plugs to conceal them afterwards.

Attach the tabletop supports by drilling 1½-inches pocket holes onto the three 2×4 blocks of wood and attach them to the carcass using the 2½-inches pocket hole screws and wood glue.

Next is the tabletop. Assemble the tabletop by drilling 1½-inches pocket holes along one edge of the wood. These pocket holes should be about 6-8-inches apart. Now as you attach the joints, clamp them with the 2½-inches pocket hole screws. Finally, measure and cut the breadboards to fit and then attach them with the 2½-inches pocket hole screws.

Now attach the tabletop by drilling 2½-inches pocket hole screws from the aprons, through to the supports and then to the tabletop. A 5½-inches overhang will be created on all sides. Ensure that the breadboard ends are even with the ends of the stretcher bars.


With all the table parts being assembled and fitted together, apply your wood filler to fill the gaps created between the boards. Ensure the product chosen for the wood filler is one that accepts stain evenly. I would advise you to make use of Elmer’s wood filler as it is stainable. Applying the wood filler is quite a messy process as you would see. However, once the wood filler dries, make use of your sander to level and smoothen it.

It’s necessary to apply your wood filler however stressful or tedious it might look because the gaps between the boards tend to attract bits of food, making it hard to remove and clean. Similarly, spilt liquids can seep through those spaces and that is very likely to occur, particularly if you have kids.

Now for your finishing, you should carry that out in a dust-free environment. The materials to be used for the finishing are wood conditioner, stain and polyurethane. You’ll also need a tack cloth. Now let’s get right into the finishing process.

Begin the process by using your electric sander to sand the entire tabletop again. This will help to smoothen out any differences between the table boards. When you’re done sanding, wipe off all the dust with the tack cloth.

The next step is to apply the wood finishing materials. I would recommend that you test out different stains on some scrap wood (after applying the wood conditioner) to see what the outcome looks like. Try out different colours and also stain one colour on another and observe the cool effects they produce. The effects produced however depends on the stain you applied and the duration of the application before eventually wiping it off.

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So the first step is to apply your wood conditioner and then apply the stain before the wood conditioner dries up completely or else the wood conditioner won’t accept the stain. As soon as the stain gets dried, coat the tabletop with polyurethane according to the directions given on the product. You could as well go ahead to coat the entire table with polyurethane.

Once you’ve applied the last coat of polyurethane, wipe the table with a rag. This will enable the coat to dry quickly and reduce the chances of a speck of dust getting on the table and ruining the finish applied.

A custom dining table provides the comfort and atmosphere required when dining with friends and families. A DIY dining table creates an atmosphere of sentimentality. You know, having a perfect picture of when, where and how the dining table in your home came to be, gives you a sense of achievement and responsibility. There’s this comfort that also comes with it. In choosing the DIY dining table to build, consider building one that will complement the atmosphere of your room and also readily add to the feel of your home.

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