Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Do you knock off wood?

A couple of months ago I found Knock off wood. If you haven't heard of this blog, you must not follow very many craft blogs. She is awesome! Basically, it's a mom that loves to make furniture. Really nice furniture. So she takes pictures of stuff from places like Pottery Barn and Land of Nod and figures out how to make them. Then she posts the plans - FOR FREE for the world to make their own.
I've been drooling. Seriously. I want to build something for every room in my house.

Well, I FINALLY got around to getting some wood. For my first project, I decided to do THIS plan: the simple easy console table. But since I apparently have an inability to keep anything simple or easy, I had to change it. I needed some shelves for this puppy. I really wanted drawers, but those are supposed to be harder. So here's how I changed it.

The original plan:
My table:
The shelves are made from (4) 1/3's cut to 38" long. The bottom one is screwed into the top of the side supports, and the upper shelf is screwed into the bottom of the side aprons. I also changed out the 1 x 4 to a 1x6 to give a bit more room for the top shelf.

I spent $27 on the wood, and another $40 for all the screws, sandpaper, glue, stain, pre-conditioner, and poly to finish it. So a total of $70 out of pocket, but I've got enough of the supplies to make another dozen things. It took me about 8 hours to build it total, but I'm a newbie to wood work, so I was slow, and I had a newborn that didn't want to sleep AT ALL that first day!

My stresses with this table: first of all, I don't have a nail gun. If I had, I would agree that this would be a simple easy table. Instead I used screws, which meant I had to drill every hole, switch to a driver bit, and then screw in the screw. Very time consuming. But it's sturdy!

Second: I'm cheap. And I bought some cheap boards for my 1x3's. I saved like $10 or something by buying the cheap boards instead of the nice ones. But added 300 hours of stress with them! They weren't quite the required 10" wide for the shelves. So I had to slightly stagger them for the shelves, which meant I had to sand them to perfection so I could stain the sides before attaching them. They were pretty chewed up in places, so sanding was a LONG process. And they were bowed in some places so getting them to attach at all was an adventure.

Third: I've never built anything in my life. I did this with Happy Mom, who had never really built anything either. So it took a long time to figure out how to do stuff. The first leg took us like 30 minutes to figure out. But then I did the next 3 in another 20. Each step was like that. The first part took forever to do, but then it got faster.
Fourth: the finish. Did you know that wood glue is not stain-able? Yah, neither did I until I stained my table. Apparently you have to buy special glue for that. So I've got white patches where the glue dripped out and I didn't sand it enough (but thought I had!). I did get "stainable" wood putty, but you can still totally see where the screws are (REALLY wish I had a nail gun!). Also, those blankety blank stupid cheap boards totally took the stain different. Here's my nice beautiful 1x12 board:(see that blob dot in the corner. That's the "stainable" putty. grrrrr!)

Now check out the legs of my table:

I console myself by saying it just looks nice and rustic. Of course that totally was NOT the look I was going for, but it works for now. Some time I'll fix it (I think I'll save staining for when I'm a bit more experienced!)

My tips: do this with someone. It's really hard to get things evenly matched up without an extra set of hands to holds stuff together. If you can't do it with someone, you need a bunch of big old clamps so the clamps can hold the wood together while you drill and screw together. Or get a nail gun. I think it's going on my wish list for Christmas! And don't save yourself $10 with cheap boards. It's not worth the stress!

Next on my list: THIS bed for Buddy's new room.


  1. It looks FAB!!!! I'm sooo tickled!! I want to make the bookcase next week!

  2. Look at you with your mad skills! Way to be!

  3. I am totally and completely one hundred percent impressed. It looks so good!!

  4. Wow, my sis the carpenter! I am totally in awe of your skills!

  5. I live right next to Euless :)!

  6. I want to be like you when I grow up! Impressive!

  7. Wow! I love it! Very impressive! I love Knock-off Wood! My husband and I have made two projects so far and we're starting on our third tonight...a media console.

  8. I love your modifications! It makes it so much more functional by adding the shelves. My only question is, what 1x4 did you change to a 1x6? Would you mind elaborating?

  9. I love the changes you've made. I've been lurking on Ana White's site but haven't gotten up the nerve to try anything (I've never built anything before either). You have inspired me!! :)

  10. To speed up the drilling/driving screws invest in a flip drill/counter sink. It goes in a drill as an extension about 3/4" wide. It has a slide lock. Push and it released and you can pull out the drill bit, flip it over, and there is the screw driver. Slide it back into the holder, pull back on the lock and you can use the screwdriver. Plus the holes will be counter sunk.


Blogging tips