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  • Writer's pictureThe Rural Legend

How to Replace a Table Top

Last year, I spent a lot of time searching for the perfect dining table.

I scoured Facebook Marketplace for an affordable look-a-like to some high end tables I loved, and found a 1980's oak table for $25! You can find a step by step guide for how I stripped and refinished my table here!

A preview into a dining room.

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During the refinishing process, I discovered that the table top was actually made out of MDF with a very thin veneer wood top. Some of the MDF was exposed and the veneer didn't properly take the polyacrylic I used to seal the table.

A table with a floral arrangement and candle decor on the wall.

While I was absolutely in love with the base of the table, the uneven tone of the top was not making me happy, and I've been looking for a replacement ever since. The beauty of buying inexpensive, second hand furniture is that you can alter them and take your time making them the right piece for your home without spending a lot of money!

Two chairs under a wooden table.

I considered buying a marble or quartz remnant for a French countryside vibe, but everything I found fell way out of budget. I also looked at having a custom top made, but again, the prices were steep. I even looked for a second table on Facebook Marketplace with a nice top that I could transfer onto my table base.

A dining room interior with teal walls and a wooden floor.

We actually completed a similar project with our former dining table by removing the trestle base and adding the farmhouse legs from my grandparents' table. You can see how we did that here!

A room with tan walls, white rug, wooden table.

I finally found a unique solution for my table troubles - a gorgeous acacia butcher block countertop that was the perfect size for our table! After having a little experience with the dining table that became my desk, we came up with a simple list of steps to replace any table top for an affordable and sustainable DIY project!

A smooth wooden table.

Tools Needed for This project

A man working with a table saw.

Before attaching the butcher block to my table base, the raw wood needed to seal to protect it from spills and stains. You can read all about the easy process of sealing wood here!

A man working on assembling wood.

In attempt to keep this project as sustainable and inexpensive as possible, we repurposed a lot of the original skirting from the table. The skirting is the pieces of wood that are mounted around the underside of the table top to conceal any materials used to mount the top to the base.

A man working on a wooden table.

We were able to use the long-side skirt pieces just as they were from the original table, but the short-side pieces had large notches where the original extending mechanisms slid through.

Bottom of the wood table.

Because the two ends of the original top were actually made from solid wood, unlike the main portion of the table top, we cut this wood down to size to create the short-side skirt pieces.

A table top cut down and smoothed.

We used a table saw to cut the wood down to the width we needed and then cut them to length with a compound miter saw.

A man using a table saw on wood.

Using inside corner braces, we attached the 4 skirt pieces to one another, creating a rectangular frame.

A man building a wooden table and a dog.

The original long pieces of skirt already had holes predrilled to mount them to the bottom of the table top, so we just needed to drill pilot holes through the short pieces.

A rug and wood block.

We made sure the skirt frame was centered on the underside of the table top before using both wood glue and wood screws to securely attach them.

Building a wooden table.

With the skirt in place, we moved on to cutting wood pieces that would attach between the table top and the table base. If you attach the table top directly to the base/legs, your table will be too short. The original platform pieces were unsalvageable, so we were able to use more wood from the 2 ends of the original top which we cut to 2 3/4" thick

Wood and wooden table legs.

We made sure these were evenly positioned on the underside of the table to make sure the base was not crooked. We then attached the platform pieces to the table top with wood glue and more brackets.

Nails and wood.

Pilot holes were drilled into the platform blocks in preparation to mount the base to them. We used lag screws to make sure everything was fully secure. After the wood glue cured, we were able to turn our completely upgraded table right-side up!

A dining room set.

This dining room has come a long way from its humble beginnings 5 years ago! We didn't even have a fridge yet when the image below was taken!

A preview into a dining room with white walls and picture frames.

Don't miss any of the updates from this room! You can see them all here under the dining room tag! She's had a lot of transitions and swaps and it finally feels like this space is finished.

xoxo, L


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