Folding Screens from 2x Material

On my last post, I tried to weather some southern yellow pine to make it look old. Well, this screen was the reason for my attempt. I made a couple of these screens for my wife as a backdrop for when she does shows. Building them was super simple. I took a 2 x 8 and ripped it to 3″ wide and ran a 3/4″ wide, 1/2″ deep rabbet down one side.

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I then pinned and glued fence boards and wood from an old pallet to the rabbets with some 18 gauge pneumatic nails to create the slats. The assembly is so simple that the majority of my time was milling the wood to the proper thickness.

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When making the second screen I decided to change the process just a little.

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Instead of planing the 2 x material from 1 1/2″ down to 1″, I decided to re-saw the material to 1 1/8″ on my band saw instead. This saved a lot of time and a whole bunch of planer shavings. You can see the off-cuts that I had from building the second screen on top of my table saw. I’m sure my planer knives thank me for not having to plane off all this crap.

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Unfortunately, a big obstacle when using 2 x material is sometimes after I rip the boards in half, they spring back due to their high moisture content. I try to buy straight grain boards with no pith in the middle, but sometimes that’s not good enough. You can see in the picture some of the boards that released their tension once I ripped them in half. I had more than a full 2 x 8 board of waste making these panels.

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The day of the show, the screens did their trick. You can see one of them in the background, however, I think they would have looked better being toned down with a weathered stain. Maybe next time.

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Making a Farm House Table

My wife Anita was getting ready for a design show she was doing called Over the Moon in Lawrenceburg, IN. She asked me to make a farm house table from basic 2 x 8’s I bought from Lowe’s. So I bought the wood and laid out the boards on the floor to see how big of a table she wanted. We ended up deciding on a table that was around 3′ x 5′.

When I bought the lumber, I chose boards with the straightest grain possible with very little or no knots. However, most of the boards I chose were still high in moisture content so I had to let them acclimate in my shop so they could dry out a little bit.

After milling the boards to one inch thick, I stickered them on the floor and placed a fan near them to help the boards dry out a bit. I placed weights on the top board just to prevent it from cupping. The paper towel underneath the weight is to prevent the iron of the weight staining the wood.

After about a week, the boards were down to a workable moisture content. You wouldn’t think that simply laying boards down for a week would change the moisture content that much, but it did.

Anita already bought legs at an antique show back in the fall for about $10.00. All I had to do was make the frame and top and assemble it all together. I used a 3/8″ beading molding plane to put a bead on the sides of the table to give it a bit of detail.

It doesn’t get much simpler than this. I used pocket screws to attach everything together. The idea of a farm table is keep the joinery simple.

Anita stained the top with gel stain and painted the base with chalk paint. The table was too wide to get through my basement door so I had to finish it in the living room.

I asked Anita if she wanted me to attach the boards from the bottom so the fasteners wouldn’t show. She told me no. She said “just screw down the boards and fill in the holes with plugs”. So I did just that leaving about a 1/8″ gap between the boards for expansion and contraction of the wood. After I was done, Anita sanded the top again with 220 grit sand paper and reapplied some more stain.

This is how the table looked when it was done and ready for the show. Anita applied a dark wax to the paint to highlight the details of the legs. She also waxed the top to give it some luster.

You can see some of the dark wax detail here.

Anita posted this picture of the table on her Facebook account right before the show started. One of her followers saw the picture and private messaged her asking Anita to hold the table, however Anita never saw her message. When the show opened, the young woman ran to her booth and asked if the table was still available. Anita said it was and the woman bought it right on the spot. It’s nice to know someone likes my work. haha.

Sofa Table

Last fall my wife Anita and I redid our screened in porch. Since then we’ve slowly added furniture to the room but what we really need is a table to put our 20-year-old TV on. Right now the TV sits on a big clay pot with a piece of plywood on top. Not an ideal place for a TV so she asked me to build something quick to use for out there. So I designed this table which measures 56″ long x 17″ deep x 30″ tall.

Because the table will be outside, I decided to build it out of 2 x 8’s in case it gets destroyed by the weather. Plus, I really didn’t feel like spending the money on something more weather appropriate like cedar or teak. The 2 x 8’s around here are Southern Yellow Pine and if you scavenge through a pile, you can find some clean board free from knots. Once I bought the boards I let them acclimate in my shop for a couple of weeks.

Since 2 x 8’s are 7 1/4″ wide, it was a no brainer to make the sides of the table 7″. In some cases I was able to rip the boards in half on my bandsaw to yield two thinner pieces. Because the boards are a 1 1/2″ thick, cutting them in half yielded a two boards 11/16″ thick rough sawn. I kept planing those boards to 1/2″ thick and used them as the drawer stock.

I tried using the grain to my advantage as best as I could. The bottom slats only being 1/4″ thick are susceptible to warping so I cut them with quarter sawn or rift sawn wood.

Those aren’t dovetails!

What can I say, I wasn’t in the mood to cut half blind dovetails. I’ve used this pin joint in the past when I built my toolbox ten years ago. Those have held up fine over the years and these drawers are going to get minimum use so I’m not too concerned.

Anita plans on painting the piece with gray chalk paint and distress it a little to make it look old. Painted gray with some nice old style handles and this table will be a show stopper in our screened in porch. But I have a feeling a new flat screen will be on top of it instead of a 20 year old dinosaur.