clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Build It | Rustic Dining Table with Jimmy DiResta

Ask This Old House host Kevin O’Connor returns to upstate New York to build a farmhouse table with maker Jimmy DiResta.

Steps for Building a Rustic Table:

  1. Use the circular saw to cut all the wood slabs to a rough, workable length.
  2. Rip off any live edges or other irregularities with the circular saw.
  3. Pass the boards through the table saw to straighten the edges. To do this, pass the board through the table saw multiple times and flip the board each time it’s passed through. Do this multiple times until the board is straight along the fence of the saw.
  4. Plane all the boards using the surface planer until they are a uniform thickness.
  5. Arrange the boards on a workbench and experiment with each board to see how they best fit and look together.
  6. Using the framing square, mark on each board where the floating tenons will join each board together.
  7. Use the tenon joiner to cut out holes on each side of the boards on the mark. Some machines have options to make the hole the exact size of the tenon and also slightly larger than the tenon. To ensure and easy but tight fit, cut holes the exact size of the tenon on the left sides of all the boards and cut holes slightly larger than the tenons on the right sides of the boards.
  8. Add wood glue into the holes in all the left sides of the boards. Then, hammer in all the floating tenons into those holes with the rubber mallet.
  9. Add wood glue to all left sides of the boards and the other side of the hammered in tenons. Spread it out and ensure wood glue covers the entire surface being secured together.
  10. Connect the boards together using the floating tenons and the rubber mallet. As each board gets flipped, exposing the right side of the boards, add more wood glue to that side before securing the left side of the next board.
  11. Clamp the tabletop together until the glue dries, or about two hours. Once it’s dried, square up the ends with the circular saw and give everything a good sanding.
  12. Assemble the legs from the preordered kit.
  13. Finish the legs with stain, a finish coat, or paint, based on preference.
  14. Apply a finish to the tabletop. In the video, Jimmy applies a wax finish with some rags.
  15. Secure the tabletop to the legs and apron using a drill and wood screws.


The spalted maple slabs were provided by Vermont Wildwoods. The table legs kit was provided by Classic Designs by Matthew Burak

To fasten the table together, Jimmy and Kevin used wood glue and floating tenons. The glue is manufactured by Gorilla Glue and the floating tenons are Dominos, which are manufactured by Festool.

Expert assistance with this project was provided by Jimmy DiResta.

Recommended Tools: