First-Why I decided to finish my unfinished pine farmhouse table

Before we get into how to finish a pine farmhouse table, I want to give you a little background of why I decided to finish my unfinished table.

Many years ago my son, who was dabbling in furniture building, built me a small wood plank table. This was made to hold my very large guinea pig page. Well, because I am so impatient, I never finished the table and used it in it’s raw wood state. Besides, it matched my unfinished guinea pig cage LOL

This table was built to fit perfectly inside a recess in my living room built-ins. Because of this we had to cut our pre-made table legs pretty short.

farmhouse styled table used to hold a very large guinea pig cage

For many years this unfinished table worked perfectly for it’s intended use. But, when one of my piggies passed away I cut the size of the cage in half. Then I no longer needed the table to hold it.

So, it got a new life as a perfectly sized table for my three grandchildren. They love to play school and do crafts and the table was a perfect fit. I added a set of children’s chairs and it worked great.

The only problem was that the table was still unfinished (raw wood) and my grandchildren were growing up. It was quickly becoming too short for them. You can see in the photo I used bed risers to elevate the table so they could still use it. 😉

Well, I decided to redesign the room that currently housed this table. So I knew that redoing this table was going to be on the list of things to update.

Materials used

How to finish a pine farmhouse table.  Tabletop image after finishing

Installing new turned legs on my unfinished pine farmhouse table

My grand-kids playroom morphed into a new family room decorated in the farmhouse style. So, I wanted the table to have the farmhouse style as well. But first, the little table would have to grow up and become a full height table again.

farmhouse style table leg from Home Depot

So the first thing I did was purchase new legs from Home Depot. They were just a basic turned style leg. I simply removed the old legs by unscrewing them from the table base and screwed in the new full height legs.

Farmhouse table – Staining the top

While deciding how to finish my pine farmhouse table I decided to stain the top and paint the base. However, you can either paint or stain the whole table if you wish.

If you are refinishing a table, then you will want to sand the entire surface before painting or staining. However, you will see below that I elected to skip this step (on purpose). This way I could achieve a more aged effect.

Starting with staining the table top, I chose a medium brown stain (see above) and used an angled paint brush to brush the stain one board at a time. The stain I used was a combo stain and poly blend but I still added 2 coats of a regular water based poly on top.

I did this so that I wouldn’t have any obvious stopping marks in the stain. By going one board at a time it wouldn’t matter if the stain took more on one board than another. And it would actually look more “farmhouse” even if it did.

How to finish a pine farmhouse table.  Close up of the table top

If you are looking to make your new, unfinished pine boards look mismatched, then let the stain sit on the boards for different lengths of time. This will give you the feeling of different types, or ages of wood. You could also add more coats of stain to some of the boards or use a different colored stain to get the same effect.

My pine farmhouse table already had some differences in coloring in the wood. This is because it had already been used for many years. Since my grand-kids have been using it for a craft table, it also had areas with spilled paint, dents, and scrapes. So instead of sanding the table, I wanted to keep the imperfections. This would give it a worn look instead of a brand new look.

Finishing and Sanding the farmhouse table top

Once the stain was dried, I finished the top with a water based polyurethane. I really like the water based poly because its easy to clean up. (You can use water to clean your brushes) and it dries really fast.

After the first coat was dry, I sanded it lightly with a fine sandpaper. Then I applied a second coat of poly. If you don’t sand your first coat your finish will feel “bumpy” instead of smooth and you don’t want that.

You can add multiple coats of poly to your pine farmhouse table. This will add more durability and shine. But remember to lightly sand the surface in between each coat for a smooth finish.

pin of a finished pine farmhouse table

Painting the base of the pine farmhouse table

When the top was completely dry, I turned the table on its top and painted the legs and base. I used a soft white, Sherwin-Williams, Dover White in a satin finish. But you could also use semi-gloss or even gloss. I chose the satin finish to give the table an “older, worn” feeling.

To paint my base and legs, I used the same angled paint brush I used for the top. This worked fine. However, if you want a no brush strokes, kind of finish, then you may be better off using a paint sprayer or several light coats of spray paint.

If you elect to spray on your painted finish then you will need to cover the stained surface. And don’t forget your work surface. You want to prevent the paint from getting where it shouldn’t be. You can use rosin paper, a roll of craft paper, or even old newspapers and secure it with painters tape.

How to finish a pine farmhouse table.  close up of painted legs

Note: If your table is raw wood you will probably want to use a primer before you paint. I elected to skip this step because I was not worried about having a perfect finish. Using a primer will seal the wood and help your paint adhere better to the wood.

I absolutely love how this table looks like a new piece of furniture in my home! And I love the imperfections, like the paint splatters on the top and how the boards don’t all sit perfectly together. To me, adds to the charm of the piece.

How to finish a pine farmhouse table.  Finished table in room.

This is a great beginner project for your home. You can find inexpensive unfinished or used furniture everywhere. And now you know how to finish a pine farmhouse table. So get creating a custom piece for your home.

Be sure to check out my post “Room Remodel – Part 1” . I’ll teach you how I redesigned the room I mentioned above, from start to finish.

More great diy projects…

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