Front room we decided would be the dining room (when we first moved in)
After a few months of searching for dining tables online and not finding any that fit what we were after, Bryan and I decided to build a large dining table for the front room of the house.  We have a table from West Elm in the breakfast area of the house that will seat four but I really wanted one that could seat eight and maybe ten if pushed.  Ideally we would build this monstrosity of a dining table before Thanksgiving, which we did! 

Only to have my parents tell us that they would really prefer to host Thanksgiving at their house.  So we'll have to host a table party separately or maybe even the dreaded Friendsgiving.  There are tougher problems in life.

Bryan's schedule this past month has been more relaxed; he's actually been in town on the weekends which is a rarity.  We picked one of the weekends in October at random to be our construction weekend.  The plans we used were for the 4x4 Truss Beam Dining Table from DIY Pete who posted a very helpful youtube video on his entire process.  He also made it look super easy and fast, which imbued us with a sense of optimism.  The following "new to us" tools we obtained were incredibly helpful in the table building:

Kreg Jig for pocket holes - No nails!  No wood glue!  The entire table is held together with screws and one of the highlights of the table project was seeing how effectively pocket holes work.  We were even able to apply that lesson on to one of our other projects (after the table). 

Miter saw - We borrowed this one from my dad, who had it sitting unused in his garage.  We could cut angles!  We sliced through those 4x4s like they were sticks of butter!  Much better than the skill saw we were using before.

Orbital sander - Just typing those words makes my forearms hurt.  I spent over an hour sanding down the table top with the orbital sander borrowed from my dad.  I don't even want to imagine how long that would have taken if I had to do it manually with a sanding block.  We went through maybe five of the 30 sanding pads I bought.

We bought our wood from Home Depot.  The table top is pine and the 4x4s are Douglas fir.  Before the HD trip, we had made a trip out to a specialty lumberyard, but it was closed on the weekends.  The same bit of advice that I repeated before when building the headboard and the console table still applies - choose your wood carefully.  Pick the straightest pieces you possibly can.  Take a level with you to double check.  It saves a lot of heartache in the long run.  If you have or have access to a planer, that's even better.

Pre-stain but after a long construction day
We assembled all materials on Friday night, constructed the table all day Saturday, and spent all day Sunday staining.  Bryan put a couple of extra coats of clear coat on the table on Monday and we left the table out to dry for an extra day.  The weather wasn't cooperating toward the later part of the process.  There were some looming big storms in the forecast, so we moved the table inside to completely finish drying.  We hadn't attached the bottom of the table and the table top because it wouldn't fit in the door together.  Luckily we hadn't done so because we just barely managed to carry in each piece separately.  The table probably has a combined weight of 300+ lbs.  An entire dinner party can dance on this table and not have any fear of collapse.  On Sunday, we also ran into a minor issue with the stain.  After the first coat, the colour was still too light for what I had in mind.  Luckily we had a can leftover from the console project and layered those coats over the lighter colour.  The final result is 100% what I was looking for.

Bowie "helping"
We constructed the table outside under our covered patio, and Bowie decided that since we were in his territory, all of the scrap pieces of wood were his.  Also that wood stain tastes pretty interesting.  And we needed to take a break every five minutes and play tug-of-war with him and his rope. 

And there's the final result - I'm still missing two chairs on the ends but I haven't yet decided what I want those to look like.  We also built the frame for the vintage American flag in the background - a minor DIY project using leftover scrap wood and more pocket holes to hold it all together.  Voila!  A custom built table for 10% of the cost of what we were looking for.  What do y'all think?  Would you ever DIY a project because you weren't able to find what you wanted in the store?