Oh yeah, I built this. (My rookie attempt at carpentry)
I’m taking a one-post break from my snarky attempts at wit and sarcasm because I actually did something I’m very proud of. My wife came across a site called Knock Off Wood and it kind of inspired my to take a shot at building a piece of furniture. The site is published by a girl named Ana. Why she doesn’t have her own show on FLN or something, I don’t know. She is beautiful and builds things. I would think a show with her would really take off. She has a good way of explaining things and gives her directions in an easy to follow way. And the majority of her designs are her version of pieces sold at furniture stores. (Hence, “Knock Off” Wood) My first foray into furniture making was trying to make a table and bench sold at West Elm.
The table retails for $599 and the bench sells for $399. I looked at the plans and headed down to Home Depot. I picked up the 2×4’s, 2×6’s, 2×2’s, screws, stain, and polyurethane to make what I thought was going to be a throw away first attempt. I was excited to finally get to use some of my tools that were starting to collect dust. I started to build the frame and was pleased with the initial results. I couldn’t believe I had actually made it perfectly square! So after a couple hours, I had the frame together.
I completing the frame by attaching the supporting beams to the frame. It really looks like a table.
Next, I put on the planks for the surface of the table. Countersinking screws has never been so much fun.
After finishing the construction, it was time for the finishing. I sanded it so much I felt like I took a half-inch off the top of the table. It came out very smooth. My wife and I decided a darker finish would be best for our house so we picked an ebony stain. After covering the screws with putty, I applied three coats of stain before I got the color we wanted. Three coats of polyurethane finished the table.
Next came the bench. It was much easier than the table and only took me about a day and a half including waiting for all the finishing to dry.
The final result looks like this.
I going to stain our current chairs to match the table, and my wife is in the process of making cushions for the bench and the chairs. (She’s pretty crafty. You can check out her DIY’s at Stitch in my Side.) All in all, the total cost of material for both pieces was less than $90. It’s much cheaper than the $900 retail price. Sure, I didn’t use sungkai wood, but that doesn’t make up for the difference. And it turned out so well.
If you decide to do this yourself, you can find the plans for the table here and the plans for the bench here. As I said, the plans are well done and easy to follow. there are just two things that I would add:
1) Make sure to sand the legs and aprons to your desired finish before you assemble the frame. It was very difficult to sand it once it was together because of the lack of support.
2) Before making all the cuts, measure the total width of the 2×6’s you will use for the surface. The wood I got at Home Depot was good, but the measurements were not always exact. They should have added up to the 33″ width, but mine ended up being more than that. Since I had already put together the frame before I realized this, I had to improvise with the planks. It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but I used a couple 2×4’s and 2×2’s on the surface. I still like the surface. Some have told me they think it looks better that way.
Other than that, I encourage anyone to give it a try. Like I said, it turned out so much better than I thought it would. And it really gives me a sense of pride when we eat our dinner on the dining room table that I MADE. It’s a good feeling. There’s nothing better than answering the question “I love your table, where did you get it?” with “Oh, I made it myself.” If you decide to try it, let me know how it turns out. Also, send a picture to Ana. She likes seeing people build things from her site. Good luck.