Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pallet-to-Console Table

A couple of months ago, Hubs brought home a "half-sized" pallet for me.  He knew I was itching to try my hand at making pallet furniture, and I realized immediately that it was the perfect size for a Console table, either for the front hallway, or behind one of the sofas.

The next Saturday, we were driving around going to yard/garage sales in our area, and one of them had already closed up, but they had left a pile of stuff at the curb.  "Babe! Grab that wood!" Yep, there was a nice pile of boards there. Whoop!

My Sweet Hubs helped me to remove the two long boards from the bottom of the pallet, and we screwed them onto the top side where there were large gaps.  While perusing Pinterest, I had seen several examples of pallet console tables, and picked out the best style of legs that could be made with the wood I had.

To determine the right height, I measured behind our sofas to see what would work for the height of a console table, and determined that 30-inches would be just right.
We measured and cut 8 of the boards {that we found on the curb} to 30 inches long. (The boards are 1 X 4's, if you were looking for them at a lumber store.)  Then, I started on the assembly!

Using construction screws that were #8 by 1-1/2-inches worked well for this project, and I tried to countersink them by driving them in deeper. However, a couple of them didn't sink in well and in hindsight, I should have used a countersink drill bit to make a pilot hole, and then screwed them in.  I did use the countersink bit later in the project!

The legs were put on, using wood glue and screws, at 90-degree angles. I just butted up one side of the board to the end of the other board (no miter joints). I also clamped them while the glue dried.  After the legs were on, and we turned it over, this is what it looked like:

The weather was turning very humid, then it started to rain, so I put the project aside for a few days.  In the meantime, I looked over my Pinterest inspiration board, and it dawned on my how much I liked the tables with a shelf on the bottom, to Home Depot we went for $16 worth of boards. (I also purchased a 1 X 6-inch board to give the top a more finished look.)

Measuring and cutting the new boards for the shelf support and shelf boards, I discovered it needed 2 extra boards that were {thankfully!} left over from the legs, for a total of 12 shelf boards.  The 1 X 6" boards were installed between the legs to make a "skirt" around the top, (this time using the countersink drill bit!), and I learned how to "toe-nail" the screws to secure the skirt to the legs.  I also was careful to countersink on the boards for the shelf. {Lesson learned...}

 After some sanding, filling the holes with stainable/ paintable wood filler, and more sanding, I took a deep breath and began staining the top and the shelf.  I used Minwax Jacobean, the same stain I had attempted to use on the antique desk with disappointing results.  This time, I applied it to the raw, sanded wood (no pre-stain!) and it worked perfectly!  I left it on for about 5 minutes before wiping it off, and I'm in LOVE with the way the grain of the wood still shows through! {This was actually done in the garage just as a severe thunderstorm struck up, so I had to hurry!}

For the legs and frame color, I turned to my trusty Chalk Paint (I actually had some white, and some cream that were left over from the TV console and French table projects, that I mixed together.  Waste not, want not!)  As I painted, I tried to achieve a white-washed effect, so that the grain of the wood could still be seen a little bit. Thankfully, it turned out just as I wanted it to look.

We brought it into the house as soon as it could be handled, because yet another storm was kicking up outside and I didn't want the dampness to ruin my hard work.  Hubs has been very complimentary to me about my first build, and has already secured another "half sized" pallet for me!  I'm thinking bench or coffee table?  Oh, and he found a little square pallet for me, too!  Just what I needed to make a side table for the guest room!  Whoo hoo, I'm having fun designing pallet projects!

Here's a peek at a gift I made from old pallet wood scraps for our grandson's 5th birthday {his room is getting a makeover}:

If you've done a pallet project, I'd love to hear from you!  Please email me at:

Thursday, May 21, 2015

ReLoving an Antique Desk

Normally, I don't give much glance to the furniture for sale at our Goodwill.  Most of it is '70s plaid, or those pound-it-together pieces that are falling apart.  And, there's not usually much in the way of furniture anyway, in our small store.

Until... The Desk showed up.  She was a grand old lady, with dovetailed joints on her drawers and all of her original handle pulls intact!  A mahogany-veneered curvy girl from the 1920's, I'm guessing.  But, it was her price tag (or tags...there was about 10 of them!) that drew me in completely, just $29.99.  Yep, you're goin' home with me, baby!

Now, her {ahem} top, was not so great. The veneer was about 60 percent lifted off {probably from moisture}, and had some deep gouges in it.  I toyed with the idea of re-gluing it, but those gouges were just too deep to try and sand out.  Also, her drawers were all very difficult to open...I had a few doubts, but ventured on.

The Lady sat inside our garage for a few days, and when I went out to start on her makeover, lo-and-behold, her drawers slid out like they were new! Humidity had caused the wood to swell, but now they were back to normal.  I discovered that each drawer was numbered and corresponded to a numbered drawer opening. Quality work back-in-the-day!  The back of the desk is stenciled "VAN NO 1920 MAH"...and I was sure that MAH meant mahogany.

After taking a few days to ask questions and research the best and easiest way to remove the veneer from the top (I wanted to leave the rest of the desk as she was), the overall opinion from experienced folks was to use a wet towel and a hot iron.  Wetting down an old towel (not drippy) and placing it over the top was the first step. I also put her out in the hot sun for a couple of hours, to let the 90 degree heat help soften that glue! Then, I peeled off as much of the already lifted veneer as possible, by hand.  Next came the hot ironing of the wet towel, which steamed the veneer and glue until it at last all came off.  I didn't do much damage with the putty knife I used, so not much repair was needed, but I did try to scrape off as much glue as possible.

After she was completely dry, I sanded until her writing surface was as smooth as silk.  Now, this next part is what became a nightmare:  Being told to use a pre-stain conditioner, I followed the instructions on the can, to the letter. Then, I carefully applied 2 coats of stain, again following the directions on the can and on the manufacturer's website. Result: TOTAL FAIL.

The stain didn't absorb evenly, and was a splotchy mess.  I was so disappointed!  And of course, it meant more sanding!!  I thought my right arm was going to run away from home from the workout I gave it, sanding and sanding.  At last, all the stain (eh, 99% of it, anyway) was gone, and I once again had a canvas to work on.

I wasn't taking any chances this time; I mixed up a batch of my trusty DIY chalk paint recipe in a rich, deep chocolate brown.  Two coats of that, and a light sanding with 220 grit sandpaper later, I then applied 2 coats of Minwax Water Based Polycrylic. It goes on milky, but dries crystal clear.

The heavens have opened and angels are singing!  I LOVE the way the desk turned out!  As a reward for letting me sand the heck out of her, I gave the rest of the desk a good "drink" of furniture oil.  Her mahogany curves really shine now!

This project took me longer than I thought it would, because of trips to Home Depot for this and that, and hours of researching: "Can I use chalk paint over fresh stain without sanding?" {um, no.}  However, I am very pleased with the results!

The only thing left to do is clean up the drawer pulls with some Barkeeper's Friend. But, that's tomorrow. For now, I'm sitting at my beautiful, perfectly imperfect antique desk and am crushing on the soft sheen the top takes on in the glow of the computer screen.

Overall I didn't spend a lot on ReLoving this desk, because there is almost a full can of stain, and Polycrylic, left over for other projects and I already had the ingredients for the chalk paint on hand.  My right arm has forgiven me, too.

Please leave me a comment below, and follow me on Instagram and Facebook.  Ta for now!