If you spend any time on Pinterest looking for ideas of furniture to build you will come across Ana White. She is like the patron saint of Pinterest’s DIY furniture community. From rustic farmhouse furniture to close facsimiles of high end lifestyle retailer’s furniture the titular Ana White is a source for a lot of ideas on how to turn a weekend and a pile of 2x4s into something for your home.
Unhappy with what was commercially available for our in-process remodeling of a family room—which was transitioning from some well-worn IKEA items to something more to our liking—my wife and I began sliding down the rabbit hole of Pinterest. In the interest of full disclosure, we knew we were going to end up building furniture because I already had a garage full of woodworking tools acquired over the process of remodeling two prior homes and helping lots of friends with casework, cabinets, and built-in project over the years.
We chose to build a modified version the Rustic X end table, which is part of the particularly popular “x series” of tables on the site. The real fun began when we started to change all of the measurements. How much fun?
Most end tables that we looked at were too tall and so was the end table we were planning to build. So, off came two inches on the height taken from the legs which begat changing the measurements of the x brace. The table was also quite large at approximately two feet by two feet square give or take. So, off came six inches in width to get something that matched the proportions of our couch a little better. If you have an overstuffed or large leather couch the proportions may work quite well, but it just did not in this case.
Another deviation from the plan is the top. Instead of joining 5 2x6s together for the top I chose to create a flat top with 6 boards. To eliminate any grooves between the boards I machined one long edge of the two end boards and both long edges of the four middle boards. On each pass with the table saw I took off ~1/4” so that in the end the overall width was quite similar to what was in the plan. After some time with a belt sander, random orbital sander, and a router equipped with a roundover bit the top came out like this:
There are still some machining marks and imperfections in the wood and the result along the edge is far from uniform. It is not quite as rustic as what was in the original plan, but I think that the lack of grooves between the boards will be welcome since none of that gunk from tables will end up accumulating in the spaces. Please note that sawing through a dozen pieces of 1.5” thick wood is a task for a fairly robust table saw equipped with a high quality blade. Some “consumer” table saws will gak after a few passes and the blades will produce some awful chatter marks on the machined edge. Also, if you take this route get ready for some serious piles of sawdust. My compost pile got quite the addition of material.
Additionally, I did not attach the top using screws from to bottom. I chose to use a tabletop attachment bracket which will allow the large wooden top to expand and contract without placing undo stress on the rest of the construction. In a lot of these DIY rustic plans there is little effort to take into account the movement of wood through the seasons which will lead to unsightly splits, joint separation, and warping in time.
All in all, the tables came out quite well for something that started with a pile of 2x4s and a plan from which we deviated quite a lot:
As you can see from the pictures I also went with a more traditional stain and polyurethane finish as opposed to the weathering and wax that was used on many of the examples shown on Ana White’s website. One, I did not feel that the grey to blue tone of the weathering would look particularly good against the blue to grey couch. Two, polyurethane is a much more durable finish as opposed to wax and these tables will be the victims of coaster-less drinks. Trust me, I have two children who never think to use coasters.
Next up is a version of the rustic x console as a sofa table for behind the sectional.