The Triple T’s. I always tell my friends who order or ask about what i’m making next or currently, that quite literally anyone can do what I’m doing with wood. That being said there will always be a learning curve and some time needed to make it all possible. I’ve always said you need to develop/grow 3 things and you will have no issues turning wood into furniture.
Time. Talent. Tools.
At first you may think to yourself – “CRAP… I have NONE of these.” well that was true for me too, but I soon learned that it truly wasn’t the case for me completely and what I didn’t have… I could quickly work towards.
Time – Lets start with the hardest one. TIME. No one has any, but if someone does, they certainly don’t want to lend theirs out. It’s a precious commodity. Personally I have a full time job, three kids, a wife, and a very very limited resource of time. So what do I do… Well. I simply changed my priorities.
Kids and Wife are #1 – so they can’t suffer at all.
Job and supporting the family is #2 – so that cant be sacrificed
Self quiet time #3 – now this I can play with. You see after the kids go down to bed, and my wife either goes to sleep or has a bath or what have you I found that every evening I had an easy 1-2 hours of wasted time, whether it was sitting in front of the ol’ Boob-Tube watching my programs and stories, or trying to sort out what snack to eat, I realized that this is time I can turn into a successful hobby. I also added in Saturday mornings while the kids are out biking or maybe they want to help me in the garage. and sometimes on a Sunday afternoon when the day is quiet and I’m not needed it’ll hammer a few nails.
Talent – now here is another thing you may thing you have little to none of. Well let me tell you right now… I have little to none still, and I can manager a pretty nice piece. All you need is the patience to learn and the ability to cut and measure… and believe me, those are easily learned.
Tools – as I mentioned there is some growth needed, so over time you will learn what you want or need to add to your treasure trove of tools. That being said. you can build some pretty amazing stuff with your very basic tool kit, from a drill, sander (or sand paper if you wanna work your arms) and a saw (ideally a compound miter saw, but honest any saw to start will do, the more limited your saw the more limited your cuts.
SO, if you have a desire. and you want to work on your T3’s then you will have plenty of opportunity to build yourself or your customers some amazing furniture.
I recently had a call from a business wanting a “Big, Beefy, Rustic TV stand for our conference room.” We had the idea to work in some metal but overall the idea was to make it rustic. With a price in mind and a budget set I took a day and built the following table.
Step 1 – Prep the wood.
Every design I make is different, but for this, since a TV was resting on it, I wanted the top to be one solid piece, this isn’t always the case. I usually like to have the gaps for my coffee and hall tables, as I like that look. But for this I wanted solid. Since I’m working with SPC (construction lumber) the corners are always rounded so I needed to take a small slice off each inside piece. Then I glue (using heavy duty clamps) the two new flat sides together.
Easy Peasy. (now if you don’t have clamps you CAN cut a few pieces of wood and screw them into the underside of this until the glue dries… but be careful where you put the screw holes as you will not want to make a mess…)
Then I make a skirt for the top. 4 pieces of 2x6s with 45 degree cuts (mitered edge). Now the trick to making these look fancy is to use a 1/2 ” drill bit and go into the wood (see pic) then screw them in. after that you want to fill that hole you made with a piece of dowel (glued) and then sand it all down so you barely even notice the holes.
I like to use a corner clamp for a nice tight hold while I screw in the screws (otherwise the boards can tend to wander and leave things uneven.) After I make the skirt I drop it on over the two table top pieces that are currently being clamped. Pop the skirt on. use a rubber mallet if you did it nice and tight. Then simply flip it over and pocket screw the top to the sides (to pocket screw you can just screw in on a deep angle, maybe predrill first as I do so the wood doesn’t split, or use a Krieg Jig once you’ve got some money to spare. )
At the end I like to clam the entire unit, and draw a glue line underneath for some extra strength. it’ll dry clear and its underneath so it’ll be a silent strength.
Now you cut 4 5 or 6 legs. here I did 5. 3 at the back and two at the front. mostly it was just all for looks, do what you want. just make sure you cut them all the EXACT SAME LENGTH to the millimeter. or else there’s some finishing work at the end that is never easy. Be precise and do it once. Now here I like to paint the TOP part of the leg. As I know i’m going to stain the top and I don’t want to worry about making the top black at all, I just paint the part that will be close so there’s no issue down the road)
Don’t be afraid to really screw those legs in, and do it from the inside, I like to use 4 for each, a super solid leg is a super solid table.
then I build a skirt for the legs (I use a smaller 2×4 this time), just like I did for the top. This is all design preference, but it’s also needed for stability, there’s a number of ways you can do this, but for me, I like the lower skirt for the shelving unit. So do your precise measurements, use the Counter Sink procedure again for the holes for the screws (so we can hide the screws) and use a rubber mallet to slide it on from the bottom (table upside down). Find where you want to put it and clamp it on for the screw down process.
Oh man, we are close. now pull out a hunk of plywood. again there are different options for this part. you could do a 2×4 decking base for the shelf, or you could do pine planks, but I like a strong piece of plywood (since were painting it anyways). I cut the plywood down to size (basically the smaller skirt dimensions, but when I measure that skirt I take off a half inch on all sides.
Cut it, and place it on the bottoms of the legs (table is still upside down) when you’ve got your positioning right, use a pencil to outline where the legs are (the part that needs to be removed. Then get out a jig saw, or hand saw, or sawsall or whatever and cut out those little corners where the legs will go. Then… install the shelf (underneath the skirt)
OKAY… so now the basic Table is done. there’s just some MEGA sanding to do, then some stain and paint. any ideas after that is all yours. you can add some metal like I did, or some black metal corners, or maybe an additional shelf, or what have you. anything you like… make this your masterpiece! You can add ends like I did, or keep it open, you can do metal posts for that wood/metal industrial look… use your imagination and make it incredible… then post your makings here!