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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Big Ole Wood Shelf

Several months ago, I started making a shelving unit out of southern yellow pine that my wife asked me to make for her booth. I got this far and it sat in my shop unfinished for months. After much contemplation, my wife and I both realized that the shelving unit was really too big to fit in our Ford Edge.

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The best thing we could do, is take it apart and resize the thing smaller so we wouldn’t have to rent a trailer to transport it. Luckily, I put the shelf together almost entirely with pocket screws. The part that was glued, I cut apart on the band saw.

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After, I cut the shelves shorter, I used my router and cut floating tenons on all the pieces instead of using pocket holes screws like I did before.

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A few hours later, I had the new resized shelving unit put back together. The height stayed the same at five feet, but the length was cut down from five feet to forty inches so that it would fit in our car.

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My wife always wanted the unit to roll so I added four old casters to the bottom. We actually bought the casters many months before we decided to make the shelving unit just in case someday we needed them.

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With 1/2″ plywood installed for the shelves, the unit was built, but unfinished.

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Anita wanted the unit to look somewhat old, so I smacked the wood around with a hammer and crowbar to give it an aged look.

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I bought a few piece of thin gauge metal, drilled some holes in it, bent it over in my vise, painted them black, and screwed them to the corners of the shelving unit to give it a more industrial look. The brackets and the dark stain really makes the unit pop. Now it was ready to throw in the Edge and bring it to our booth. Saved us $50 not having to rent a trailer and we both feel it looks nicer then it did before.

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Making a Harvest Display Table

A few months ago, I built a Harvest Table for my wife to use in her booth to sell some of her antiques. You can read the blog post here. She still has that table, but she asked me to build another one for another booth she has. I went to a local antique store that sells reclaimed wood and bought a 4″ square posts and three pieces of barn wood siding. I have a picture of the wood on instagram. Unfortunately, I deleted the original photo from my phone before I uploaded it to photobucket to share here.

I started this harvest table in much the same way as the first one, turning the legs on the lathe. The major difference is that this table was turned with reclaimed birch instead of douglas fir 4×4’s that I bought at Lowe’s. Turning reclaimed lumber is probably not the smartest thing to do since you never know what the integrity of the wood is as it may snap off while on the lathe injuring you, but I thought I’d take my chances.

A couple of the pieces I wanted to turn had some nails stick stuck in the wood. I grabbed a chisel and hammer and I dug into the wood to extract all nails I could find. There were a couple of nails that were too deep to grab, so I carefully turned the leg, stopping every few strokes making sure I wasn’t near the top of the nail.

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While a couple of the posts had nails holes in them, the other two had old worm holes. I turned each leg the same and in the end, they were full of character. You can see the final four turned legs here.

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With the legs turned, I focused my attention on the top. I took the three slabs of barn wood siding and brought them together to determine how wide the top of the table could be. The boards were only 3/4″ thick and I wanted the top to be thicker, so I took some scrap OSB boards I had laying around from when I was building my shed and built a substrate for the boards.

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I glued and screwed the OSB to the siding gluing in the middle of the boards and screwing on the ends. The siding is so old that I figure the expansion and contraction of the wood would be very minimal. Even if they did crack, it would just add more character to the top of the table.

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I added some pine edging to cover up the OSB substrate underneath the top boards. Cutting the corners is where my miter trimmer comes in handy. I love that thing!

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Flipping the top back over, I figured out where the legs should go. I kept the design simple by using a scrap pieces of edging that were 1 3/8″ wide and making them gauges to show me where the legs should go. Easy P-easy.

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Next was to make the frame of table. I grabbed a 2×12 and milled it to 3/4″ thick by 5″ wide pieces and cut them to fit between the legs.

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I then channeled my inner Scott Phillips of The American Woodshop and used my Kreg Pocket Hole Jig and screwed the frame to the top. I was trying to build this table as quick and as easy as possible. I wasn’t trying to win a woodworking contest with this table.

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I still needed to attach the legs to the frame so I drilled a pilot hole in the legs and screwed in 3/8″ hanger bolts.

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I then simply drilled a hole in the corner brackets, fed the bolt through the hole, and tightened it in place with a nut. As the nut tightened to the corner bracket, it drove the leg tight to both sides of the frame. Attaching the legs this way makes it possible to take them off and carry it out of my basement shop.

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Flipping it back over, the table was built. Super simple and super fun. I posted this picture on instagram and it has been my most liked picture, ever!

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The final picture is the table with an antique stain applied to it. I’m happy with the way it turned out and so is my wife.

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Why my Wife Hates Woodworking Magazines

I received the latest issue of a major woodworking magazine a few days ago and my wife Anita was flipping through it. She came across an article about making a cabinet that hid a high end mixer and in disgust, threw the magazine down and said “why would anyone make this piece of shit?” For years she’s been telling me that the projects in these woodworking magazines I subscribe to often have articles with outdated projects that were only popular in the 1980’s. I never really thought about it until she said that.

She does have a point. The writer of the article wrote that the “appliance garage acts like a cabinet effectively cloaking an unsightly blender.” I don’t know about anyone else, but my wife prizes her Kitchen Aid mixer. She would never even think about hiding it on her countertop. If anything, she would highlight it.

Don’t get me wrong, not all the projects in the woodworking magazines I get are outdated, but it does seem sometimes the furniture that are featured would look nice in my Grandma’s house. So much so, that when I look for designs of furniture that hip and popular, I often look at design magazines. Below is the latest issue of Country Living. When flipping through it, I came across several pieces of furniture that would appeal to a younger generation and would be fun to build.

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Here’s a nice deck lounge chair that looks like it would fit nicely on a cruise ship. The chair would be made out of weather resistant wood and would be a challenge to build with all the hinging and sculpted parts. This chair would look real nice on the cover of a woodworking magazine.

Here’s a simple bench made from reclaimed wood. These types of benches are real hot right now in the marketplace. In fact, anything made from reclaimed wood is hot. It’s hard to even find old barn wood on Craigslist in my area and when I do, the owner wants a premium for the wood. A project like this could be tackled in a weekend and would be a real hit with young women.

The real nice piece for me in the magazine is this architect’s desk that these ladies are sitting at. The wood looks to be made from stained maple or birch and apparently has some wrought iron hardware on it. It would be hard to draw a plan from this little photo, but it could be done. If a woodworking magazine featured this desk on their cover I bet it would be a hit.

These are just a few examples of the many furniture that are in these design magazines. If you have time, go to your local bookstore, grab a cup of coffee and browse through some of them looking for ideas. You may be surprised what inspires you. By the way, take a look at what is on the counter in the background on the cover of the Country Living magazine.