Several weeks ago I was sitting in the living room, watching tv with Bridget and Eli, when I started to think about things around the house that had not been addressed yet. There is that barn door that I’d like to make for the office, which to be honest I keep thinking I may find one some day that will work. And then there are cabinets in the kitchen that need a face frame and a coat of paint. Oh yeah, and I need to do the same thing for our upstairs built-in closets. But one thing that’s been getting a lot of consideration has been our end tables. Up until Wednesday we had been using two old wine crates. They were nice as they were very unique, which I really like. But they were skinny, and pretty light weight, which made them easy to turn over. What to do?
I started at my warehouse (in other words, dad’s horse barn loft) where I keep a lot of my finds and came across this 1 1/2″ thick board (part of a stack of 15 or so). They were originally in the Wannville Post Office, which I was able to salvage sometime around 2003 or so after I purchase my farm. To be honest I had forgotten about having them. Initially, I thought they were walnut by the look of the end grain and the color. But once I started cleaning them up (lightly sanding) I figured out they were poplar. The interesting thing was that the darker color was actually from many years of use as a shelf and the fact that the heart wood had a green tint to it. In fact there was only about 2 inches along the side that were not heart wood, which was probably due to the size and age of the tree. Also, I’m not sure what the holes in the side were used for, but I definitely like the way they look. And once I cross-cut the piece to make two tops, it left me with 2 tops measuring 14×18″.
For the stiles (sides of the tables), I decided to use some of the tongue and groove wainscoting that came out of the Wann house (also a salvage from the old house on our property). All I did was planed the back side, sized them with the table saw, and then used my dado blade to cut tenons on the ends to accept the legs.
For the legs, I used a left over piece of a crossbar. You see these everyday as they are the horizontal pieces located on power poles that hold up the utility lines. The piece was 3×4″ so I roughly quartered it to get eight 1 1/2″x 2″ legs. A run through the planer, some hand sanding, and drilling the slots for the tenons and they were ready for glue up.
So here is the finished product. The legs and backs of the stiles got a coat of Tung oil, which helped to tone down the freshness of the planing. The tops got 3-4 coats of lacquer prior to assembly. And once everything was put together I sprayed an additional 2 coats on the legs and tops.
Everything worked out great on these two tables. I really like the way each piece reveals some history for how they were once used. I also like how I was able to keep the little round-over detail on the stiles (in the pic above you can see it on the red stile). Its little details like this that I think add a lot to a piece of furniture. They both measure 18″x14″, stand roughly 22″ high, and will fit in nicely with our living room furniture. Plus they are solid enough that we no longer have to worry about “Destructo Boy” turning them over!
Please feel free to comment your likes/ dislikes as I’m always open to constructive criticism. And if you see something you’d like for purchase, please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org . I can always reproduce (or come up with a new design) a product that will meet your wishes/ desires.