How to make wood DIY table top for beginners

Craft DIY dining table top can crack if woodworking table breadboard ends be attached with pocket screws. Why don’t you get the same look and reduce the chance to crack with this easy craft solution. In this article, we will show you unique DIY table top processes and how to fix the craft problems of do-it-yourself table top with simple tools and equipment. If you are into creating DIY farmhouse table, rustic DIY table top, or cheap DIY table top from wood, you should not miss this article from DIY living room of The Crafty Pioneer!

DIY table top
Preparation to make a DIY table top

>>>Read more: DIY faux fireplace.

Woodworking DIY Table Top

Over the years I’ve gotten a handful of messages from readers asking why their DIY dining table top and farmhouse coffee table top have cracked. Many times these tables have the breadboard ends that were attached with pocket screws. Attaching breadboard ends with pocket screwing can cause the wood table top to crack.

Why DIY Table Tops be cracked?

Homemade dining table top plans are popular. And it’s easy to understand why. It’s something charming about family and friends gathering around a rustic style table so enjoy a home-cooked meal.

Rustic DIY table top
Rustic DIY table top.

That is until you start noticing cracks in these table top manufactured goods. Many of these DIY farmhouse table top plans have breadboard ends be attached with pocket screws. Breadboard ends are narrow pieces of wood that run right to the boards of the table top crafts.

Breadboards are an attractive design, but they will cause the DIY table top craft to crack when they’re attached to pocket screws. To understand why a wood top cracks, we need to say about wood movement, how breadboard ends were traditionally attached, and what happens while we attach them with pocket screws.

What is Wood Movement?

Wood moves to seasonal changes. It swells when it’s more humid and shrinks when it’s reducing humid. Wood moves the most across its width. We need to understand wood move so that we can properly plan and build our DIY furniture design.

When we look at a do-it-yourself table top with breadboard ends we’ll notice that boards of the DIY table top crafts move in one direction while the breadboard moves to a different direction. The breadboard needs to be attached in a way which allows for the boards of the wooden table top to move. The top of table could crack if the breadboard restricts or prevents the boards of that table top from moving.

What is the Traditional Way to Attach Breadboard Bottoms?

Breadboard ends were used as a way to add strength to top table. They were also added to hide the end grain of the table and bring the piece a finished look.

One traditional way to attach breadboard ends be with mortise and tenon joints. Holes are drilled for dowels through this breadboard and the tenon in the manufacturing table top. The holes in the tenon be elongated side to side.

The dowel holds the breadboard against the top table, but the elongated holes allow the dowels to slide side to side like the wood expands and contracts. This is a dry joint. In another word, glue is not used on the tenon as this would prevent moves.

What Happens if You Attach Breadboard Ends With Pocket Screws?

When we stick breadboard ends with pocket screws it prevents the DIY table top from moving by seasonal changes. Preventing or limiting wood movement can cause the table construction.

The Solution for dining DIY Table Tops

Here’s our solution. This breadboard support joins the DIY table top industrial process to the breadboard ends and let the wood to move with seasonal changes.

unique DIY table top
How to avoid breaking table top

Many farmhouse dining table tops craft be made with 2×6s. So this tutorial was made with that look in hand . The outside boards are 2×6s. The inside boards are 1×6s. 1×6s are smaller  than 2×6s which allows a space for the breadboard support pieces.

The breadboard bottoms have a recessed area that accepts the end of the support pieces. The end of the support piece has oversized holes. Screws and washers stick the supports to the breadboard ends.

The screw is similar to the old method of attaching a breadboard with a dowel. In this case, the screw keeps the breadboard against the woodworking DIY table top, but the oversized holes allow this screw to slide side to side as the wood expands and contracts. It is a dry joint. In other words, glue is not used on this support pieces as this would prevent movement.

Tips for Making DIY Table Tops Construction Which Won’t Crack.

There are a few other steps we can take that would help to prevent our table top furniture from cracking.

First, we should allow this wood to acclimate before we start building. Let’s think about it this method. What would happen if we brought wood that was stored outside (where this humidity was high) into our workshop (where the humidity level was low) so we immediately started building?

The wood is going to move or shrink to apply to the humidity level of our shop. This means the wood be moving while we’re building. And this means there’s a good chance the wood can crack.

The bottom line is we should let the wood acclimate before I start building. Allowing the wood to acclimate for a week is often a good rule of thumb.

We also need to attach the top with the aprons or legs in a way that will allow for seasonal different.

How to Use This DIY Table Top Craft Plan

The plan below is to a method to build a dining wood table top only. There are no legs and base included with this plan. The first step is to find a dinner table top plan that you want to build and then use the way outlined below to build the DIY wood table top.

do-it-yourself table top
Do-it-yourself table top.

Option #1: Your Existing Table Tops Industrial Process Are Made With 2×6s

This is the easiest option. Build the legs/base from this farmhouse table top plans you’ve found. Then replace the wooden table top equipment using this plan below.

Many farmhouse table tops craft manufactured goods are made with 2×6s. So this instruction was made with that look in mind. The outside boards are 2×6s. This inside boards are 1×6s. 1×6s are thinner than 2×6s which allows a place for the support pieces.

To replace the DIY table top metalworking from your existing plan, you’ll simply adjust the length of the boards from this plan to connect the length of the boards from your plan.

Option #2: Your Existing wooden table tops is Made with Boards Other than 2×6s

You can still use the method to build a top for your farmhouse table. Again, you’ll build that legs/base from the farmhouse table plans you’ve found. Then simply follow the instruction below and replace the 2× material middle boards with thinner 1× material boards, put the support pieces, and make the breadboard ends.

DIY Table Top Industrial processes (Easy)

• Wood (per the printed plan)
• 1-¼” Pocket Screws

• 1-¼” Wood Screws
• Wood Glue


  • Tape Measure
  • Drill
  • Kreg Jig
  • Miter Saw
  • Kreg
  • Multi-Mark
  • Jigsaw
  • ⅜” Drill Bit
  • Countersink
  • Drill Bit Set

I wanted this solution so be easy for DIYers of any skill level and especially for beginners. The simple furniture decorative arts can be made with just a miter saw and one jigsaw.

Many farmhouse DIY table tops building engineering are made 2×6s. 2×6s have round edges. This table saw is often used to rip off those round edges.

This instruction uses a combination of 2×6s and 1×6s. 1×6s have square edges. If you own a table saw and want square edges for your project then you could rip off the round edges of the 2×6s.

Again, I wanted it to be easy for all craftsmen. I understand that many do-it-yourselfers don’t own or are not comfortable using a table saw. So I did not rip this edges off my 2×6s. Instead, I used sandpaper to gently round over this edges of the 1×6s to match the contour of the 2×6s. This handmade table top I made measures 33″ × 58″ but you can use the method and adjust the length of the boards to make a homemade table top so fit your project.

Step 1. Assemble DIY Table Top Woodworking tools

Cut 2 parts of wood to length for the sides. Cut 4 pieces of wood that length for the middle of the table top.

Drill the pocket holes, put glue and clamp. Attach using pocket screws.

Step 2. Attach the Breadboard Support

Devide 8 pieces of wood to length for the breadboard supports. Drill one hole to attach the support to the breadboard and drill countersink holes to stick the support to the DIY table top.

Position the supports on the manufacturing table tops, clamp and attach using wood screws.

Step 3. Make the Breadboard Bottoms

Cut 4 pieces of wood to length for the breadboards. On 2 parts use a jigsaw to remove an area for the breadboard support.

Apply glue between the two parts of the breadboard and clamp. Attach using wood screws. While the glue is dry sand the edges (or use a router) to connect the edges of the 2×6s.

Step 4. Attach the Breadboard Ends

Make the breadboard on the supports and attach using wood screws and fender washers.

This center area of the breadboard is supported by the support pieces. However the ends of the breadboards are not supported. I added a small cleat that support each end of the breadboard. The location of this cleat should need to be adjusted depending on how your legs/base of your table stick to the DIY table tops breadboards.

Step 5. Attach the Table Top breadboard

The simple method uses two boards laminated together to make that breadboard ends. You can take a different approach if you have a router and router table top. Instead, you could use one 2×6 and then use one router to remove the area that’s needed to accept the support pieces.

How to Attach a Table Top?
cheap DIY table top from wood
Cheap DIY table top from wood.

We also need to allow for wood moves when we attach our woodworking DIY table top to the DIY table legs. Pocket holes should not be used to attach a do-it-yourself coffee table top with the aprons of a table because they do not allow the wood of move.
The best way to attach a table top craft to aprons be with table fasteners.

Final Thoughts

DIY table top construction often crack. Much times these tables have breadboard ends that were attached with pocket screws. Connecting breadboard ends with pocket screws can cause the wood table to crack. Use that simple method to build a sturdy table top mechanical engineering that reduces the opportunities of cracking the wood.

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