A huge reason why I love blogging, reading blogs, and being a part of the blogging community is that inspiration is everywhere! I find myself hugely inspired by Brooke at Killer B Designs. She and her husband have basically handcrafted an entire house-full of awesome, hand-built, totally custom furniture. Even now that Brooke is adorably eight months pregnant, she is still turning out awesome new projects! Here are some of my favorites from her portfolio:
All images by Killer B Designs
Brooke recently wrote a post about how she got started with carpentry and building furniture, and the biggest tip I took from her was to just try it. So I did!
Floating around the blog-o-sphere lately has been the idea of reusing wooden pallets to make furniture. I’ve had some mixed feelings about some of the pieces I’ve seen, but some look pretty cool.
This coffee table isn’t exactly my aesthetic (so low? on wheels? how are we supposed to eat all our meals off that?) but I liked the concept and a coffee table seemed like a pretty manageable project for a first-timer. I recruited Marcus to help me rescue a pallet I knew was living down the street. We got a few funny looks from neighbors as we were carrying it home. Don’t these people read blogs?? Probably not.
I determined that we should use about half of it for our table. I wanted it to have a fairly solid top and open bottom, and I wanted to keep the general structure of the pallet intact. So we left the two boards on the end (the prettier end, of course) and Marcus used a crow bar and mallet to start removing the rest. Since we were reusing most of the boards, I opted to supervise to make sure he was careful. The wood was extremely splintery so I would definitely recommend wearing gloves and safety glasses.
After we had the boards pried off, we had to determine how wide we wanted the table to be. Since we weren’t particularly picky, we lined up the prettiest boards until we thought it looked good, then marked the base of the pallet with a pencil. We then cut the three boards running cross-wise with a jigsaw.
I really loved the patina on the old, ugly nails in the pallet and wanted to reuse them if possible. Since Marcus had been extra careful when removing the boards (ha), most of the nails were still straight-ish. He banged the nails out the top of the board with a hammer, we lined the board up, then he banged them back in. This is probably not the most secure method for assembling a piece of furniture, but we’re only building a coffee table that doesn’t need to hold a particularly large amount of weight, so we think it will be okay.
Can you guess the last step? Sanding!! We busted out the power sander and sanded the crap out of every surface. We weren’t sure how we would feel about the finish at first, and we considered possibly staining or sealing the wood. But once we started sanding and saw the super cool patterns showing up on the wood, we decided to keep it as-is!
But what about legs? This, in my opinion, was my best idea for this whole project. We had been using two red Ikea Lack Side Tables as a coffee table, retail price: $7.99 each. So I suggested why not use the legs we already had? I thought the bright and modern look of the legs would add a cool contrast to the rustic nature of the wooden top, and you can’t really beat $2 per leg. We assessed several methods we could use to attach the legs and decided the easiest way would be to remove the existing hardware with vise grips and screw through the side of the pallet into the leg.
Then I asked Marc to carry the table around the corner so we could take some “after” pics. He first placed it in front of a pretty purple flowering plant and I said, “No no no, over here in the ugly grass.” He looked skeptical. Then a bunch of tourists walked by who looked even more skeptical. They don’t read blogs either. This table looks awesome in the wild.
Then we brought the table into its natural habitat. And Marcus and I took turns loudly shouting at each other, “That is a nice table!” and “WOW look at that table!” and “Where did you get that awesome table?!” Is it perfect? Heck no! A few of the legs are crooked so if we take it off the carpet, it wobbles back and forth. Do we care? No – we’re proud! We built something ourselves that didn’t come from Ikea! Well, most of it didn’t.
Have you ever built at piece of furniture yourself?