Patchwork Nightstand

I have some alarming news, we’re almost halfway through August, which means that summer is almost over. How does time pass so quickly? The last two weeks I’ve been working on a new project, a patchwork nightstand. Earlier this year I built an abstract nightstand, and since then the other side of the bed has looked lonely. Now I have a pair and my bedroom looks balanced. 

Before sanding, halfway through, and after

About a month ago I was searching for pallets on Craigslist, but I struck out. I did however find someone giving away a bunch of free wood, including some oak pieces. The oak had a finish on it, I think the previous owner had torn apart an old entertainment center. This wood sat in my living room for two weeks until I decided what to do with it. In an attempt to combine my sewing and woodworking skills, I came up with a modified log cabin pattern for my nightstand. The log cabin pattern is a common quilting pattern, but with a few tweaks I was able to apply it to wood.

Clamps always help the assembly process

I’m proud of myself because I actually drew out my design and I even used a ruler and drew it to scale. At first I was skeptical of the oak because it had an ugly yellowy finish to it, but it came right off after sanding. Using the dimensions from the previous table, I cut all the pieces then sanded and stained them. Assembling the base was easy because I only had to replicate what I did with the previous nightstand, which involved a lot of clamps.

I had to get creative with my clamping when gluing the top on – I think I need more clamps

Gluing on the top was a bit tricky. I meant to cut the plywood a little bit bigger, but I forgot and there wasn’t as much leeway with some of the pieces as I would have liked. I had to get creative with my clamping, but I made it work. Once the glue was mostly dry I flipped the table over and put glue all the way around the edge and put some chairs on top (or the bottom) to weigh it down to make sure the boards were glued on nice and tight.

Using patio chairs as a weight is totally normal, right?

The next day I cut off the extra wood, using the base as the guide for my cut. After sanding the edges, I stained the top and I hated it! It turns out I don’t like the way oak looks when it’s stained, the grain is very noticeable and I happened to choose very grainy pieces. After the initial stain application I bought the darkest stain I could find and applied that to half the pieces. I liked the spiral look it ended up with. The next day I decided the overall color was still too light so I applied the dark stain to all the pieces. At last I had achieved a look I liked.

Before staining and the progression of my staining experiment, the final stain color is not pictured

After letting the stain dry for a few days (mostly because I was too busy to work on it) I applied many layers of polycrylic. Once it dried, I ended up loving the color and I’ve even come around to oak.

The spiral look is fun

I know this isn’t a true log cabin pattern, but I like that I created my own version. I think it was a fun way to merge my sewing and woodworking skills.

I like it from this angle

Halfway through my photo shoot Harry decided he wanted to check out the table. He approves.

What a little model!
Not too shabby

I’m glad I finally have nightstands on both sides of the bed, my room looks more balanced now.

I think my nightstands compliment my headboard nicely. Don’t mind my mess on the left!

This was a pretty quick project, mostly because the frame was identical to the other. Now that I’ve figured out what stain I like, I need to figure out what to do with the rest of my oak. Any suggestions?

What do you think? Let me know!