Abstract nightstand

I’m baaaaaaack and I hope my readers are too! Sorry for the long break, May was a crazy month (4 weddings) and this past week was a doozy. I’m still processing the events of last week, and when I feel ready I will probably talk about them on here. Three of the four weddings were on the East Coast, but somehow in the chaos of all that travel I did manage to squeeze in a project. Before this, my nightstand was a TV tray. It’s a nice wooden TV tray, but was quite pathetic next to my beautiful headboard. Unlike some of my previous projects, I didn’t really have a vision going into this project. I simply knew I wanted a nicer nightstand than I currently had.

Leftovers from another project

I realized I had a lot of scraps leftover from making my coffee table – I loved how they were all cut at a 45° angle. I thought it would be fun to make a table with no right angles in the pattern. The first step was to find a piece of cardboard roughly the size that I wanted my table to be and started to lay out the top. This was not at easy as I thought it was going to be. I figured it would be like a puzzle, which it was, the problem was that there were multiple solutions and no “picture” to look at to help me fit the pieces together.

The first of several iterations

After many different attempts, I found a design that worked. I ended up having to cut some more boards because I didn’t have scraps that were long enough. Once I had the design laid out I made sure to take a picture, I knew there was no way I would remember which board went where.

It took a long time to choose this pattern

After I had the top laid out, I had to configure the structure of the nightstand. I decided I wanted a shelf so my junk would be less visible. Per usual, I was working in metric because it’s so much easier than the imperial system. I wanted the frame and the plywood base to be less visible so I chose to make them 3 cm smaller than the top. 3 cm just so happens to be the distance from my circular saw’s blade to the edge of the base plate.

I think I need to work on my drawing skills

This table isn’t completely from pallets; I ended up purchasing 2×2’s at the store because I didn’t want the added weight of the 2×4’s from the pallets. After settling on my preferred dimensions I cut and sanded all the wood. I stained everything except for the top of my table, I wanted to wait until it was glued down,trimmed to size, and had one last sanding before I stained it.

Ready to be stained – don’t mind the random 2×4, it was for another project

Once again I mixed up a custom stain, a mixture of provincial and golden oak. I needed it to be dark enough to match my headboard. I prefer to stain my wood before I assemble, I think it’s easier to get an even coat. After the pieces dried, I began assembling the table. I started by attaching the legs and the “cross beams” to each other. I know cross beams isn’t the right term, but I don’t know a lot of technical terms and I figured this was more descriptive than “the short wood pieces that go in between the legs.”

I used the plywood as a guide

After assembling the legs I flipped everything over and attached the plywood. I then added the braces for the shelf. My wood was a little warped, so this took a little bit of wrangling to get everything together just right.

Lots of clamps

I use a lot of clamps because I pre-drill everything. I don’t know if this is right, but it makes my life a lot easier. After the braces were attached I screwed on the shelf. The screws ended up going in at a bit of an angle because I didn’t have a better solution. The screws stick up a little, but that’s okay, my table is rustic!

The next step was tricky. I had to glue the top boards onto the plywood. I needed to make sure that everything was squared up with the table, the correct pattern was maintained, and I had to make sure there was at least a 3 cm overhang on all the edges. It was tricky, and I actually had to adjust some of the boards in order to make sure I had enough overlap on the plywood for a decent hold – I also made sure to buy the strong wood glue.

Cutting off the extra wood
Cutting off the extra wood

After the glue dried it was time to trim the top to the correct size. As I mentioned before, I planned on having a 3 cm overhang because that’s the width of my saw. I turned my table upside down, clamped it to my little workbench, and used the frame as my guide. After I cut all four sides I sanded the fresh cuts and the top once more for good measure. I then added stain to the top. Once it dried I realized the color of the table was too light, it wasn’t going to match my headboard. I mixed in some darker stain and reapplied.

The darker color looks much better

The only thing I had left to do was apply polycrylic, but with the wedding craziness it took me two weeks to get to it. I ended up applying 3 coats in total.

After applying the polycrylic

I’m extremely happy with this project, I think it’s my most creative to date. The actual construction didn’t take long, but the design of the top took several days.

The finished top
The finished top

The top of the nightstand looks like it’s either a patchwork quilt or abstract art, I can’t decide which. I love that most of the pieces were scraps that were left over from a previous project.

Finally in place
Finally in place

I hope that everyone forgives me for the long absence, I hope it won’t happen again. I really missed my power tools. Here’s hoping you all enjoy your weekends, I have to work on my car – I hit a pothole and the radio stopped working, that’s normal, right?

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