How to Build an Inexpensive DIY Wood Tabletop

Hey! I’m really excited to share this plank tabletop tutorial today. This is one of my favourite DIY projects – The wood plank tabletop.

To make this tabletop you will need:

  • 3 – 10′ 1 x 6 Wood Boards (I like knotty pine)
  • A Kreg Jig – I use the K4 Pocket-Hole System but the Mini would also work
  • Self-Drilling Screws
  • Sander (This is the one I use)
  • Course and Fine Sandpaper (I like 60 and 120)
  • Your Favourite Stain & Finish

Your first step will be to decide the size of your tabletop and cut your boards. The example in my photos is 55″ long so I was able to get two out of each 10′ board.

 

DIY Wood Tabletop Sanding

 

Sand each board first with coarse sandpaper (60 or 80 grit) and then sand again with a fine sandpaper (100 or 120 grit) to make sure everything is nice and smooth.

Lay your boards out and decide on the order you like best. You may find that your boards are a little wonky and that some will fit better together than others. Once you’re happy with your layout, flip the boards over making sure to keep the correct ends together. I number my boards and add a little arrow to make sure I remember the correct order.

Mark the placements of your pocket holes on each board starting 2″ from the ends and spreading them out evenly aiming for 6″ to 8″ between holes.

 

diy_plank_tabletop_kreg

 

Now comes the fun part! Ok, I’m a total geek, maybe I’m the only one who finds it fun.  Time to drill your pocket holes! As I mentioned before, I use the Kreg K4 system. It was a Christmas gift I got last year and it is amazing. It’s so easy to line up the pocket hole guide with the markings and clamp your board in place, I was able to drill all 60 pocket holes in 7 minutes. You could totally drill these holes with the Kreg mini jig it would just take a lot longer.

 

DIY Wood Tabletop Clamps

 

Once all your pocket holes are drilled, lay out your first two boards in order (top down). Clamp the boards together to create a tight seam.  I also tend to reach under the top and feel if there are any ridges between the boards as I clamp them together. You’re not going to eliminate the ridges entirely, but you can get pretty close. Use your self drilling screws to attach your boards together.

 

DIY Wood Tabletop Pocket Holes

 

Repeat this adding one board at a time until all your boards are attached together. Flip your tabletop over and take a look at the seams between your boards. If there are any that stick out a lot or a sharp take a quick pass with your sander to smooth them out (they don’t need to be perfect).

If you like, you can use a little wood filler between your boards to fill in any gaps. BUT be warned that wood filler will not take stain the same as the rest of the wood (even if it’s labeled “stainable”) so you might want to tint the filler with stain beforehand. Yup, totally made that mistake before.

 

diy_plank_tabletop_stained

 

If your boards don’t quite lineup at the ends you can use a circular saw to make a straight cut to even them up, or leave them as is. It’s called character yo.

 

DIY Wood Tabletop Finished

 

You can now finish your tabletop with your favourite stain and seal. My favourite finishes are Minwax Satin Polycrylic and Varathane Matte Soft Touch Polyurethane.

I used this method to make mum’s new office desk:

 

Mum's DIY Wood Desk Top

 

And the counter for the storage unit in our shared office (but using 2 x 6 boards instead of 1 x 6):

 

Office Makeover Ikea Hack

 

Spoiler: I *might* be updating our guest bathroom for the One Room Challenge this fall and using this method to make a new top for our existing builder vanity!

Hope you find this tutorial helpful and that it inspires you to DIY you own tabletop or counter!

 

This post contains affiliate links, you can find my full disclosure statement here.

5 thoughts on “How to Build an Inexpensive DIY Wood Tabletop”

  1. I got one of those fabulous jigs for my birthday earlier this year and I am absolutely in love with it! Also, we just started the To Grandma’s House we go link party and I thought you might be interested in sharing there too, thanks 🙂

  2. Hi Casey,
    I’m new woodworking and found your post. I love it. I’m going to give it a try to build a tabletop for the garage. My Kreg just came in…the same one you recommended. So looking to work on this in the next couple of week!
    Thanks,
    Kurt

  3. Hi Casey,

    I’m making a sewing table and would like to cut a roughly rectangular hole in the table top to drop my sewing machine down into so that the sewing surface is flush with the table top. Would making that cut weaken the top? Amy suggestions?

    Thank you!

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