I am a baker by trade and I have been wanting to try my hand at furniture making and thought making something small would be a good starting project. I made a footrest for a new computer desk that I recently got for a birthday/Christmas gift. I used mostly scrap wood from an old shelving unit that we tore down a week prior to this project.
Step 1: Design As You Go! Footrest Top
I am not one to try to overthink and plan out every detail in a project, but instead enjoy finding a natural flow in what I am working on. In other words I have no real idea as to what I am doing, but that is where I find my creativity!
I found a piece of pine that felt like the right dimension for a footrest top and sanded it down (It did have an splotchy stain previously applied on it for the past 20 years) unfortunately I didn't take any before photos of it.
I decided I wanted to try what I think is a mortise and tenon joint (correct me if I'm wrong) for the two legs of the stool.
I drilled a 1.5 inch hole in diagonal corners of the stool top with a bit meant for PVC pipe holes and drilled plugs out of some scrap wood that fit, after some sanding, into the holes
Step 2: Design As You Go! the Legs
Next I found an old 4x4 post that was split into fourths. Two of the pieces were used as kindling in a fire if I remember correctly.
I marked about the center of the post to be drilled with the same drill bit as the table top.Then used a wood paddle drill bit to clear out the hole in the leg.
After that I put wood glue on all the surfaces connecting the leg, to plug, to footrest top and then clamped it all down overnight.
Step 3: Design As You Go! Shaping the Legs
The next morning the legs were sturdy and were balanced even though the other diagonal set of legs were missing.
I decided I wanted something fancier then the not-square-but-still-blocky looking legs so I grabbed my angle grinder with a sanding disk attachment and went to town adding curves and tapering the ends by eyesight. No real measurements were made. It helped that in my day job I decorate cakes and routinely get them level and symmetrical by eyesight, so it was similar but with power tools and sawdust everywhere!
After the legs were shaped I wanted two corners of the top rounded to match the symmetry of the legs so I used the angle grinder as a guide and followed its curve for the two corners.
Step 4: Legs : Enter the Rebar
I had ran out of thicker pieces of wood to make what I deemed suitable legs so I bought 2 pieces of 1.5 foot length rebar from Lowe's.
I bent it by leveraging it between two bolted down pieces of wood to the desired shape, like a very curved check mark.
Then to attach it to the footrest I cut out a thinner plug like before, drilled a hole that would accommodate the rebar, and another hole for a 1 inch wood screw, then drilled at an angle into the wood leg to fit the rebar, and glued the plug down since it was not actually set in the wood like the other leg's plug. After the glue was set I eased the rebar into the matching holes and bent one of the legs over again because it wasn't level at first, but now it is!
Step 5: Design As You Go! Filling Holes
As you can see one of the original leg's plug was not flush with the top of the footrest so I decide to try my hand at a colored sand plus epoxy mixture to fill it in, since I have always wanted to try that.
I ordered 1 pound of blue sand off of amazon and bought a two part epoxy mixture from a superstore. I mixed the epoxy together along with some of the sand until it was like a bread dough then pressed it into the shallow hole above the leg.
I did not take picture of this part because the epoxy was fast drying and I wanted to make sure I did it correctly.
After waiting till the evening, I sanded down the excess epoxy/sand mixture with a orbital sander until it was flush with the top and smooth.
To finish the footrest I wish I had used shellack or something clear because I stained it with leftover black cherry stain (which I love the color in the final product) but had to carefully sand the blue epoxy again since the stain stained it as well as the wood and I wanted to make sure I could see that hard work in the final product.
Then a few coats of polyurethane following the directions on the can to seal everything up.
The final touch not pictured is adding some small felt circles on the bottom of the footrest so that the rebar does not scratch up my floor under my desk. Hope you enjoyed!
Second Prize in the
Beyond the Comfort Zone Contest