Repairing an Accent Table

My wife bought an accent table at a local thrift store yesterday. She hesitated on buying it because it needed some work but I assured her that I could fix it quickly.

When we got it home, I examined how to repair the stretcher and make the legs not so wobbly. It seems that someone else tried to repair the stretcher in the past with no luck.

After popping off the glue blocks, I noticed that the only joinery on the legs was a dowel rod and some glue. It’s no wonder why they wobbled. I’m not sure how old the table is but it’s made from mahogany and the fasteners are straight slotted screws. My guess would be around the 1940’s but that’s just a guess.

If I was to restore this table properly, I’d used mahogany for the stretcher and make it similar to the original but I’m by no means a professional furniture restorer. If anything, I’m closer to the craftsmen you see on Flea Market Flip where people buy a $40 wheel barrow at an antique show, turn it into a coffee table and sell it at a New York City art show for $450. Except, I don’t do that dramatic transformation on pieces and don’t get anywhere close to those prices. (Personally, I think that show is fake). My wife will eventually paint the table so I just grabbed some scrap wood.

I grabbed some red oak and planed it down to 3/8″ then drew some arches on it with my french curve. Then it was onto my band saw and spindle sander to cut and sand the stretcher to shape. I just whipped this shape up in my head without much thought. I think it’ll do fine.

To break the edges of the stretcher and give it curves, I used my specialty scraper with various radius’s cut out and scraped the edges to shape using the 1/2″ radius.

Cutting the piece to proper length took a little trial and error, but I eventually got it to seat in the mortises with the legs being perpendicular to the top when the table was flipped over.

Then I grabbed some scrap pieces and glued and pinned hefty glue blocks onto the legs to hold them to the top better.

Here’s the table all glued up waiting for paint. My wife will paint the table either white, or black, or green, or duck egg, or whatever. I’ll have to wait and see which one she picks. I’ll throw a picture up when she’s done. Merry Christmas!

UPDATE 1-20-20; Anita painted it white with a stencil on top.

The Console Table Build

My honey-do list usually starts out the same. My wife will ask if I can make something for her and then asks how much it will cost in wood. I told her it would probably run around $60 so we headed to Home Depot and bought some white pine boards.

I bought a few 1″ x 10″ x 6′ to use for the legs. One 1″ x 10″ cut in half and ripped into 2 1/2″ wide segments would yield me two legs. After I laminated three of the boards, I sized them to 2 1/4″ square and then turned them on the lathe. I looked at the picture she gave me but I turned the leg from feel of what I thought it looked liked. When I was done, we both decided the bottom part of the leg looked too “boxy” so I decided to turn another leg.

The second leg turned out better than the first. When I threw a picture of both legs onto instagram, one of my followers said that he liked the bottom of the leg on right but liked the top of the leg on the left. I agreed so I refined the leg so the ball of the leg looked more like a ball and not a fat lazy bead.

After refining the leg, I made five more freehand. I’m by no means a master wood turner. In fact, my wood turning is passable at best. The only lesson I’ve ever taken on wood turning is watching The Woodwright’s Shop over the years. I take a ruler, a parting tool, and some calipers and try to make the sixth one to look like the first. In the end, I think the legs came out pretty good.

My wife wanted table to be fourteen inches wide by five feet long so I laid the legs on the top and decided the dimensions of each part of the frame.

After cutting out all the parts of the frame, I attached them to the legs with pocket hole joinery. This is a simple table made from construction grade material so I wasn’t in the mood to start cutting a bunch of mortises for mortise and tenon joinery. Sorry.

I sized and glued the bottom shelf to the lower frame. Ideally this would be best suited for plywood due to the expansion and contraction of the wood however, after studying the original picture, this is how the table my wife wanted was built so I went ahead and made it the same way. Eventually there will be a nice crack in the middle of the shelf, but that will just add to the farmhouse look.

I made the drawers as simple as possible as well. I planed down some of the pine to 1/2″ thick and made the sides with rabbeted joinery and a 1/4″ plywood bottom. I then simply glued and nailed a drawer front to the box.

In the end, this is how the table came out. Not bad for a weekend build. My wife will finish the table with some sort of weathered look stain. I’m happy with it and it’s one less thing off of my honey-do list.

Here’s the table completed with a stain Anita put on. It’s for sale at a design show. It originally wasn’t meant to be for sale, but we had such a good show, we needed more inventory to sell.

Fixin’ Up a Buffet

If you follow my blog, then you know that my wife and I have a couple of booths in antique malls where we buy and sell antiques. Occasionally we’ll buy old furniture and fix it up. This is a buffet we found at a yard sale for dirt cheap. It had some issues, but the price was too good to pass up, plus I knew I could make it usable again.

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The first issue I had to take care of was the stretcher on the bottom looked like a dog gnawed on it.

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The easiest thing to do was simply cut it off. Since Anita was going to paint the piece, I wasn’t too concerned about the dowel cut offs showing. Removing the stretcher didn’t cause the buffet to lose any stability.

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The biggest issue the buffet had was the runner on the large drawer on top was  completely broken off. There was no way  to properly repair it so I decide to make a new one out of some scrap wood.

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I milled a new piece to size and then used my Stanley No 45 plane to plow a 1/4″ groove down the middle on both edges.

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I then cut a wide groove down the face of the piece with my table saw and cleaned it up with my router plane.

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With a tenon cut on the end of the piece and a rabbet cut on the other end, the new piece worked perfectly in the old drawer. I tacked down the runner to the back of the drawer with a couple of small nails.

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After the drawer was fixed, I shaved down the edges of the doors with a block plane so that they would close better. Once the buffet was functional again, Anita painted the piece with milk paint.

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You can see how the milk paint gives the buffet old world character. This piece should sell quick in the booth.

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A Quick Harvest Table

My wife, Anita, wanted me to make another farmhouse table for her. She sold the last one I made several months ago and missed how it looked in her booth. So, I went to Home Depot and bought three 2×12’s and two 4×4’s.

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Two of the 2 x 12’s I bought, I planed down to 1″ with my surface planer. It did a fine job, but I had three garbage cans full of shavings that I had to burn in my fire pit in order to get rid of.

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I ripped the last 2×12 in half on my band saw, then ran kerfs down each side on my table saw 7/8″ wide so I could use them for the frame of the table. Ripping them down to 7/8″ would allow me to plane one of the pieces to 3/4″. Then I took the 1/2″ off cuts and glued them together to create a 1″ thick stock to mill down to 3/4″ back at the surface planer.

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In the past, I ripped kerfs down the sides of the board and then take it over to the band saw to finish up the ripping. However, this board gave me some real trouble as it kept binding up the band saw blade. Frustrated, I tried everything, even giving it a go with my rip saw, with no luck.

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I was so disgusted I threw up a picture of my struggles on Instagram and then a follower of mine gave me the idea of finishing the ripping with a sawzall. Curious, I gave it a shot and sure enough, it worked perfectly only taking me ten minutes. Social media is awesome!

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With the ripping done, I was ready to get back to business milling and gluing up the off cuts so I could still use them to build the frame of the harvest table.

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With the wood gluing, I turned my attention to the legs. Taking the 4×4’s I cut them to 30″ and turned a leg that my wife was pleased with.

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I then repeated the steps of the first leg to the next three. I ended up with four legs that were identical enough to one another.

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I wanted to use mortise and tenon joinery to attach the frame to the legs. so I set my mortising gauge to 3/8″ wide, the same width of my mortise chisel.

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I ran my mortising gauge down the side of the leg where I wanted a mortise and used the chisel to chop out a shallow area.

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Next I used a 3/8″ forstner bit and drilled down the depth of the mortise. Doing the mortise this way allowed me to not have my drill bit sway outside the mortised area.

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I then finished up the mortise back with my chisel making the ends of the mortise nice and square. This is an unconventional way to make a mortise,  but it allowed me to remove a lot of the waste much quicker than with the chisel alone.

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Test fitting the joint, I was pleased with the results. It took me less than an hour to cut all eight mortises.

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Using one of my beading planes, I planed a 3/8″ bead down the bottom of the frame boards. Cutting a bead on a seven-foot long board takes a bit of patience.

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Using pocket holes, I glued and screwed the frame to the legs and top. My wife wanted this table to be quick and easy which it was.

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I flipped the table over and was happy with my work. The top is just two boards lying next to each other, not even being glued together.

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My wife stained the wood with steel wool and vinegar solution and then applied a couple of coats of milk paint to give the table an old world look.

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Here’s the table in her booth with some of her antiques on top. Quick and easy.

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Whipping Up a Reclaimed Tray

Last week, Anita came home from Home Goods with a tray that she bought for $18.00. I took a look at it and thought to myself ” I coulda made that, but whatever”. Well, after she had it on our dining room table she decided that the sides of the tray were too high and asked me to make her one with shallower sides.

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I went into the basement and looked in a box that I filled with wood that came from an old pallet I tore apart. I know using pallet wood is frowned upon in the woodworking world, but it was free and has the character Anita was looking for.

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The first thing I did was grab a few pieces and planed them down only on one side to make them about 3/8″ thick. I then milled the boards to 3″ wide and glued them together. I used two old panel clamps that I bought last year at an antique show that excel at gluing thin boards together.

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The bars on each side prevent the boards from buckling up when clamping pressure is applied. I originally bought the clamps to sell them to make some quick cash, but I’m glad I never did. They work great!

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After the glue dried, I sanded the planed side on my Performax drum sander to make the bottom of the tray perfectly flat.

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Anita wasn’t thrilled with the gray color of the wood, so I used my Porter Cable Restorer and sanded the gray off the panel perpendicular to the grain. This allowed the wood to get cleaned up yet not lose its character.

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After the panel was sanded, Anita applied Weathered Oak stain to the pieces. You can see how the stain pops the grain, but still makes it look old.

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After the stain dried, I glued and nailed the sides to the bottom. The sides are 1 1/2″ wide x 1/2″ thick reclaimed pine.

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Anita installed some blacksmith made handles to the sides and placed it on our dining room table. A super quick and easy project that was made within just a few hours.

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Making a Nesting Box

I had some reclaimed barn wood flooring lying around in my shop for a few months that I wanted to get rid of. I originally bought the lumber to use for a farm table, but I decided the wood was too thin to use for the top so, I decided to make a 3′ long nesting box out of it.

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I used my Stanley No 8 jointer to plane the edges square and straight so they could be glued together.

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After I planed the edges true, I glued the pieces together to make the nesting box wider. I didn’t bother planing or sanding the sides as I wanted the box to have a rustic look.

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I cut the top sides of the box to an angle of 14″ which is the total width of my leftover pieces. I then nailed the sides to the bottom with my 15 gauge pneumatic nail gun.

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Next I installed the front rails to the box simply nailing it on. I didn’t even use glue as I really don’t care.

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No fancy dados to fit the inside walls to the box. I simply toe nailed the wood to the bottom of the shelf.

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The finished nesting box came out well. Looks old and rustic which should appeal to the shabby chic crowd out there for design purposes.

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These things are so easy to build that I built another one an hour later. No real milling of lumber, no sanding, no gluing. Just cut and nail. Definitely an entry-level woodworking project. I’m just glad I have $50k in woodworking tools to build them. haha

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Repairing the Foot of a Walnut Table

A few weeks ago, my wife and I, were visiting thrift shops in Cincinnati when we ran across a round walnut table for $20.00 at Goodwill. There was nothing special about it. It had a dull flat finish and was missing the extension wings that go in the middle. It even had two feet that were broken. Anita asked me if I could remake them and I told her I could, so we took it home.

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In order to fix the feet, I grabbed some scrap walnut and glued pieces to them to re-sculpt the feet.

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Once the glue dried, I cut the arch of the foot with my band saw, then I sawed off the sides with a hand saw.

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Next, I stuck the leg on the lathe and turned the pad of the foot.

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I then brought the foot over to my workbench and carved the rest of the foot by hand using chisels and rasps.

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After shaping the foot was complete, I started to sand the leg with 80 grit sand paper working down to 220 grit.

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With the foot finished, I was happy with the way it turned out as it matched the other two. I then repeated the same steps for the other broken foot.

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Noticing the top was solid walnut, I decided to sand off the dull stained finish. You can see how bland the table was when we bought it.

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A few minutes of sanding, the table was really starting to shine again.

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After applying three coats of hemp oil, you can see how the table has been brought back to life having much more character between the sap and heart wood of the walnut. Looks much nicer than the boring spray toner stain that was on it before. This piece will be a nice addition in my wife’s booth as a display table.

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