So many of my projects begin with a conversation like this “Topher, I need you to build me something.”
I then vaguely explain what it is that I am wanting to do, and then he says “And just how would you like me to go about doing this?” and I say “I don’t know but I’m pretty positive you can figure it out”. Then he sighs and goes out to the garage where I hear power tools and lots of colorful words.
Amazingly enough, at the end of the day he comes in with the project I described. Notice I say most of the time, but lets not go there right now.
So when I told Topher that I wanted to replace our big glass coffee table with a table made from an old door, I got “the look”. The look means “I want to be playing Xbox or watching Walking Dead, but I will do it for you since I love you, but I will gripe about it the entire time it takes to build it just to let you know how annoyed I am”.
I, on the other hand, pretended like I didn’t see it.
I found this door on Craigslist. It was so perfect. Not only was it a five panel (which I had been looking for) it had the perfect amount of vintage chippiness to it. But wait it gets better. What is my favorite color in the whole world? You know it. Aqua baby. Can you believe I found a five panel that was chippiness perfection … and it was aqua?
I could die.
When Topher looked at it, it looked like he wanted to die too.
The only down side was this bad boy was filthy. 50 years of sitting in a filthy barn to be exact. So the first thing that had to be done was to clean that sucker up. After being wiped down about twenty times, we were in business. I say “we”, but it was pretty much all Topher from here on out.
Looking at the before photo below, I have to laugh since I’ve tried so hard on some of my pieces to get that “aged” look with dark wax … but I suppose that’s a little more sanitary than 50 years of horse dust.
The door in the photo is upside down. If you look closely, the top of the photo (the bottom of the door) is wider by about 4 inches. The first thing we had to do was trim down the long end in order to have the end panels the same length. Topher used a circular saw for that, and it took for-ev-er to saw through this 2 inch-thick old oak door.
From there, it was a matter of measuring the length of the ends/legs, and cutting off panels 1 and 5.
Here it is all laid-out, ready for the dry-fit to make certain all the pieces went together cleanly.
When it came time to secure the pieces together, I wasn’t quite certain how to accomplish this and not interfere with the lines. I toyed around with the idea of some wrought iron brackets that might look neat, but these get really expensive really fast. I also thought about adding a shelf to give it a little more stability.
What we settled on was my Kreg Jr. Pocket Hole Jig ($40 from Amazon). It was Topher’s first time to use it, and it’s something he says he will definitely keep nearby the toolbench. The jig and included bits do all the work for you, and it makes super clean pocket holes to inconspicuously hide screw anchors.
The only screw-up using this jig had nothing to do with the jig. In the image below, you can see the clean pocket hole (the crack was preexisting). Since the door was so thick, the hole needed to be further down the panel, and in this particular instance, once the table was assembled, it is visible while seated on the couch.
So the next time we use this jig, we’ll know to drill the pocket holes a little closer to the center where they’re more hidden.
Here’s the finished product!
This wasn’t a difficult project (right Topher?). There were basically three cuts: one to even-out the sides, and two to knock off the end panels. Once those were cut, it was simply a matter of gluing and drilling.
The key is to get straight cuts. That makes the assembly easier, and the finished product look nicer.
The only other thing we did was stain the ends where the cuts were visible. The freshly cut wood looked a little too “fresh”, so we darkened it with some dark walnut stain.
We kept the hinges and doorknob on because I love the look. We’re going to keep a tally of how many times someone scrapes themselves — so far, so good!
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