I built this 6 legged Console/buffet table for a client. She wanted to replace an aging sofa table with something a little larger, and with a restoration hardware kind of look that would blend with her existing french country decor. In this instructable I'll cover the design, the build process, and how to get the washed out look my client wanted.
Regards, J.D. Goldberg
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Step 1: Materials
Lumber : Red Oak, mdf (for templates)
Tools: Tape measure,
General finishes medium brown dye stain,
white latex paint,
Festool Domino joiner,
or square chisel mortiser,
or Pocket hole jig,
bandsaw or jig saw,
1 1/4" screws,
1' Flush trim router bit
A few chip brushes, rags, and a bunch of paper towels.
This is just a list of what I used there are many other ways to create this project.
Step 2: Design
I always like to start with a sketch up design. It makes for a very quick accurate way to come up with picture of what I want, and helps with figuring out how much materials I need. Also MUCH faster to alter the design this way. Oh it's free! Never a bad thing. The design I came up with is 80" long, 15" wide, and 33.5" tall. the long apron rails are 36" long. They are 4" on the ends, and arch to 2" in the middle. The short rails are 7" long, and they also are 4" at the ends, but only arch to 3" high in the middle. The legs are turned from 3, 1" laminated pieces of oak, and are 32.5" long. They have a 6" upper block, and a 4" lower block. I chose a classic english country stretcher block style leg for this project. If you don't have a lathe straight legs can be used or you can order pre turned legs off several websites.
Step 3: Dimensioning Lumber
I started with 5/4 rough red oak. All pieces were jointed and planed down to 1" thick. Rip pieces @ 4" and cut at 36" x 4 fr front and rear apron rails. Rip two more pieces @ 4" and cut to 7" for short rails. Next set up your saw @ 2" and rip some pieces for the lower moulding rails. Dimensions are the same as above but you will need one more short piece, 3 total. *TIP* I always set up my table saw cross cut sled with a stop block and cut all pieces at once to guarantee they are all the same. Saves a ton of hassle in the long run. Last piece will be a 2 1/2" piece 7" long that will act as a middle support between apron rails but it will never be seen so feel free to use any solid piece of stock. Make one extra piece of each from mdf that will be used as a template later on.
The top is also 1" thick. After jointing and planing pick the pieces that look the nicest side by side. Pay extra attention to this, it will pay off later when you have a seamless tabletop.
Cut 3"x3" strips for the legs. Each leg will need 3 pieces. Make them longer than you need, to leave room for changes made later.
Step 4: Making Templates and Arched Apron Rails, Lower Rails
I start with the MDF and bow draw here, but there are many ways to draw a curve. A bow draw just makes it easier. mark the middle of the long apron rails and then make a mark 2 " down from the top. Now mark on the bottom outter edges 1" in. Whatever you are using to make your curve needs to be marked in the center. Align that center mark on the center line of the MDF pieces you made allow the tips to bend so they both come off the piece at the 1'' inset marks from the end, Mark with pencil. If done properly you should have a perfect smooth curve. do the same for the small piece of MDF but this time after you mark the center of the piece, mark down 3" from the top.
Cut the template out with a bandsaw or jig saw, leaving line. sand down to line and get rid of any bandsaw marks. Careful to avoid making any flat spots.
Once you have templates made transfer those to your actual apron rail pieces. Trace the shape of the curve on your pieces and cut out on saw. Make sure and leave line. when all pieces are cut attach the templates with screws or double sided tape. Using a 1 " flush trim bit and a router table or hand held router run the bearing along the template side and that will make an exact copy of the piece. repeat for all curved pieces.
The lower rails are straight pieces that are run thru the router on all 4 sides to add a detail and have the look of a moulding piece. I used a 3 rib 45* bit for this detail. It's simple but adds a nice design and,Tab the whitewash gets caught in it later adding to the uniqueness of the piece.
Step 5: Table Top and Legs
Making a top is pretty simple. It is very important that everything is the same thickness. I use my winter and thickness planer. If you don't have one You will need to sand and hand plane to size. Once the pieces are the same thickness you must edge join them. I use my domino joiner for this. It doesn't add a lot of strength but really helps with alignment. Match up the grain the best you cane here as it will show later. Also it's very important to alternate the ingrain of the pieces. If they are the same the top is likely to cup. Alternate your camps here as well top bottom top bottom to keep from cupping the top. Let top glue overnight. The next morning I added a round over with a nail edge detail with the router. Gives it a nice finished look.
For the legs I chose design I have done many times that I turned on the lathe. If you don't ave a lathe, you can use straight legs, you could make up some tapered legs, or order some online.
Step 6: Joinery
I use a Festool domino joiner for all of my joints. It's a fast easy way to make a very strong joint. A standard mortise and tenon joint would be great too. You could also use pocket screws and attach them from the inside. I used two dominoes per joint on mine, they will hold for a very long time! Whichever method you choose take your time and make nice clean square joints that are flush with the top of the legs to minimize hand planing later. Glue all joints and clamp over night.
Step 7: Color
The client wanted a whitewash type of look. It was left up to me to make samples that would be chosen from. The final recipe is this..
1 coat of General finishes medium brown dye stain, wiped back with a wet rag immidiately after application. then one coat of a watered down latex paint. applied heavy so it won’t dry up, and then wiped back and wiped again with a wet rag after excess has been wiped away with a dry paper towel. Then I used the wet rag I used to wipe the dye stain back with as a glaze and wipe the entire project down with that, that mellows out any intense whites or blues that may be present and gives nice weathered look. The table was then sprayed with 3 coats of genera finishes high performance satin.
Step 8: THE END!
This table came out great. The client loves it. It looks great in her home. I wasn't sure about the whitewash as I always stain my pieces and rarely stain them. But she is happy, So i'm happy. If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them. Just let me know.
This is a 100% original design and I give any and all permission to build one.. Do me proud!
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