Introduction: Mid-Century Inspired Console Unit From Found Materials Using 3 Power Tools
Here's the step-by-step process of how I made my reclaimed console shelf using only three power tools and found materials. You can use any wood you want of similar dimensions to achieve a good result, found or bought. The video is a great way to see all of the details of the build in one go, if you want, or you can follow along with the pictures below.
Step 1: Reclaim the Wood
I grabbed some old pine subfloor (3/4"x10") out of a factory renovation. Step one to making it usable again was to remove all the nails. I sanded the wood with 120-grit pads to clean it up and smooth it out a bit, but didn't go with a rougher grit in order to maintain some of the weathering and character of the boards.
Step 2: Marky Mark
I used my square to mark the lengths of the primary cuts for the top and bottom of the carcass. The top and bottom were about 48 inches long. The sides were about 24 inches high.
Then, I made sure to cut as accurately to the line as possible with my jig saw.
Step 4: Creating the Joinery
This build uses no screws or nails, just wood and wits! So I decided to use a simple, yet good looking and functionally strong joint for this piece on every corner. It is basically one giant finger (box) joint. Here I marked out the depth of the joint, which is equal to the width of the boards.Then I marked 3 inches in from each edge of the board, which was a little less than a third of the board's total width.
I cut carefully along the outside of my marking lines to form the joints.The "tongues" or the male pieces were cut on the top and bottoms of the piece, and the sides were cut with the"female" part of the joints.
Step 5: Assembly
Now that I have checked the fit, I can set to making these joints permanent. I first add glue to all the mating surfaces.
i fit the joint together, add a clamp for stability and start drilling holes for my though-pegs (3/8" oak dowels). I will put one though each "finger" of the joint. Two on the sides and one in the top/bottom.
I spread glue on the outside of the end of the dowel and then used a mallet to tap the dowel all the way into the hole, which was drilled to about a couple inches deep.
I then cut the dowel flush with a fire tooth saw
Step 6: Cutting and Arranging the Slatted Shelf
For the shelf of the piece, I used some pine lath i salvaged from a home renovation, but any stock that is 1/4"x1" will do. The interior measurement of the cabinet is 46.5", so I cut a bunch of them to one third of that length plus 1.5" for overlap.
I made sure that the lengths were good for the slats by quickly laying them in the basic arrangement they'll end up in for the shelf.
I clamped both sections where the pieces overlap to make it easier to work with as one unit. To begin the glue up, I removed the clamp from one end and applied glue to each mating surface of each slat in that joint.
After gluing the first overlapped section, I re-attached the clamp and made sure everything was flat as could be.
I then repeated the same process with the other overlapping section.
Step 7: Finishing Before It's Done
While waiting for the glue on the shelf to dry, I was able to get three coats of lacquer on the main carcass. There is no more gluing to be done to the exterior of the piece, so I was able to take care of it now and save time.
Step 8: Shelf Improvement
To strengthen and square up the ends of the shelf, I cut 1.5" lengths of the lath material, and glued them into place the same way I did with the long pieces. I then clamped up both ends nice and tight.
After all the glue was finally dry, I sanded the shelf so it was all flat and flush, added one front slat that spanned its entire length for looks, and cut the ends straight with the jigsaw. I then gave it a couple of coats of lacquer.
Step 9: Reclaim to Fame (installing the Legs)
So, I had these feet from a mid-century radio cabinet laying around and decided to use them. Really and feet could be used to get the piece to the height you want, even ones you'd make yourself. Hairpin legs would look great, as would round stock cut at an angle. I had these, so I saved myself some time, by "distressing" them so they matched the tone of the piece better.
I chose to put my salvaged legs in three inches from the sides and one inch from the front and back of the cabinet. It looked right for them, i may differ depending on what's used.
I used a 3/4" paddle bit (the pegs that were already in the legs were 3/4") and drilled down 1/2" using a trick I will explain later on. I then added glue to and fitted the legs
Step 10: TIP: Marking a Drill Bit for Depth
I have made a habit of just taking a sharpie, measuring the depth I want my hole to be on it, and marking with a line all the way around the bit at that measurement.
As you can see, when the bit spins, it very clearly throws a line you can use to know when to stop advancing the drill. The sharpie cleans off easily with acetone later if you want.
Step 11: Marking the Shelf Height
I used a shim and my 12" combination square to draw a mark where the top of the shelf brace would be.
And i pulled the square and my knife right across like so, leaving a clear line at 12.25" (I envisioned this shelf to be able to hold vinyl albums which are 12" or so tall.
Step 12: Assembling the Shelf Braces
I then clamped the brace in place with my twin screw vice
I drilled through the brace (more slat material) enough to leave a divot, but not a deep hole, on the piece behind it.
I then drilled at the divot mark to the depth I had marked on my drill bit earlier to ensure i didn't drill through the piece accidentally.
I inserted the dowel to hold the brace in place while I repeated the process for a second hole.
Then I drilled the marked hole to depth again.
I cut the dowel flush with a fine-tooth saw, then did the same for the other hole.
I added some glue to the dowels and ran them back and forth through the brace to ensure the glue reached the surface in between them.
I then pushed the brace with dowels into place and tapped it in with the mallet.
I repeated the entire process for the second brace, then used some 220 sandpaper to clean up the pegs
Step 13: Shelf Placement
After the glue on the braces is dry, it's time to put this thing where it goes (on top of the braces, duh)
It might take a few good taps with the heel of your hand to get the shelf into place. You want a snug fit, but not so tight that it break/warps the piece.
I gave the piece a quick and light 220-grit hand sand to smooth out the finish and dusted it off.
Step 14: And We Are Done!
Here is the finished piece. It's sort of a mid-century reclaimed feel. I am a fan.
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