Sunday, January 27, 2013

Building a Modern Scrap Wood End Table

I had started my weekend sewing the slipcovers for the modular sofas in the living room, until a rainy weekend washed away my ability to dye more canvas drop cloth and line dry it for the slipcover fabric.  Instead, I looked at my large stairway mudroom of wood scraps and decided to build a little end table from what we had leftover.

My little guy is truly little, measuring 18" high x 8" deep x 2' long.

I was tempted to stain the plywood top a dark walnut, but I wanted to take a step toward adding a pop of color in the living room.  Of all the leftover paint I have, deep purple was the winner.  This was a nice 2-3 hour project: 1 hour to design, measure, and cut all the pieces. 45 minutes to drill pocket holes, screw pieces together, glue and clamp the table top, 45 minutes to sand the many sides smooth, and 30 minutes to paint the legs and table top.

1 - 8" wide x 4' long 1/2 plywood plank, cut in half and glued together. Worth $2.50 not calculated in floating shelf project
6 - 1x2 x2' long.  I measured and cut these to fit my plywood planks. Already owned
Pocket hole jig, 1 1/4" pocket hole screws, wood glue, sanding supplies, paint finishing supplies.

The amount I paid is based on pricing in Hawai'i. 
I paid $2.50 for this end table, since I used leftover materials from other projects, including a plywood plank from the bathroom floating shelves project, leftover 1x2s from shortening our kitchen windows, and paint from the living room floor cloth project.

Still $202.50 left to spend to make a coffee table, pillows, and decor.  It's looking more and more possible every weekend.  :)


I used my new miter saw to cut the plywood in half and all of the 1x2s to the size I wanted.  I used this pocket hole jig and a Kreg Jig drill bit to make pocket holes.
I used a little spring tension clamp I had in the garage to hold the pieces perpendicular to each other while I used Kreg Jig pocket hole screws and my brother's drill to create the joint.
Here is one "leg section" of the end table.  I made the pocket holes on the top (so it would be covered by the plywood) and the bottom (so it will not be seen) so that I wouldn't have to apply wood filler.
The design is quite simple.  I made another identical "leg section" and  connected them with table top supports.  The pocket holes are in the inside to attach the sides.  I drilled 2 on the inside of each table top support so that I could secure the top from below later.  I normally would have made two pocket holes to strengthen each joint, but I was concerned that the screws would "butt heads," so I placed pocket holes on certain sides of the boards purposefully and used wood glue to strengthen joints.
Like Caitlin at Desert Domicile and her beautiful console table, which I hope to build too, I glued the halved plywood plank pieces together to thicken the top.
I clamped the two plwood pieces to the legs to provide extra support and to get an idea of what the end table looked like.  I left this in the garage and spent the rest of the evening after putting my daughter to sleep with my husband eating dinner he grilled and watching a movie.
On this windy, rainy day, I sanded this piece for almost an hour before my 3 year old daughter and I painted the legs and table top separately.  I used Olympic white semi-gloss for the legs and watered down some deep purple semi-gloss paint to "stain" the plywood top, allowing the grain to still shine through.  The legs look crooked, because I took this picture at an angle; the table appears square and sturdy.  In fact, I've used it as a mini-bench and sat on it with my daughter to test its strength.  Next I'll apply a few polycrylic top coats to protect the finish so this piece will be ready to use.
This end/side table is a great height for our low sofas, and will fit a small lantern and a few other trinkets, including coasters for drinks.  However, I'm thinking of making an end table twin, so that I could put the tables side by side and increase its surface area, but still have the flexibility of separating them and using the other end table elsewhere.

I love using materials up from a project so that there is almost no waste at all.  If I could build this, I think anyone can!

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