Everyone loves the classic Emerson West Elm Dining table, but who has the $1,500 to cough up for a table like that. So instead of soaking in the unlikely, why not just build it.

When we moved into our house, the deck that was there had not been cared for in 15 years. So after building a new deck, I kept some of the salvageable pieces and decided to build a barn wood dining table for free. I made a video of how I did it and I’ve written down a few Spark Notes of helpful things that were useful to me along the way.


  1. 1. Weathered/barn wood boards are warped and often need love milling them. Pick the worst side of the board and run it through your jointer with minimal passes. Try to keep track of the number of passes you make on all the boards to keep it consistent. Do the bottom and then the side of the board.
  2. 2. Run the boards with the planned side down through your surface thickness planer. Again, make very minimal passes all while running them through equal amount of times to ensure even thickness across all the boards.

  1. 3. I can’t stress the minimal passes enough. If you take too much material off the top, youre table will no longer have the cool barn wood look.
  2. 4. Now run the boards through the table saw with he straight edge along the fence, creating a parallel straight edge. Basic milling.
  3. 5. When jointing the boards together, it’s helpful to use dominos or biscuits or even downs for even alignment across the entire panel glue-up.
  4. 6. When doing the breadboard ends, either google the proper technique, or just pay closer attention to the way I do it. Be mindful where the loose tenons are and when the glue goes. A very important part is to make sure your table looks great in 20 years as it did the day you made it.

  1. 7. When doing the through tenon without the wedge, make your joint tight as well as ensure that your top is secure. What I did, is create cross bars out of 1×3 boards bridging the two panel legs together to prevent the legs from wobbling.
  2. 8. When sealing the table, I sprayed it with 5 coats of water based satin polyurethane. I sprayed 5 coats because I have kids and used satin because I did not want the barn wood to be glossy.