This idea came to me a long time ago, shortly after building this chevron box….or this chevron box…or this pallet table. I don’t know, all chevron stuff is kind of a blur now (but I still love it) but I really liked the idea of leaving the wood in it’s natural wood tone (as opposed to staining or painting any of it). So using a bunch of leftover wood from various projects I started working on this console table. I started by building a table top that I would attach the recycled wood to, along with a set of legs made out of 1-inch black pipe (painted the pipe too). Sorry, no pics of that process but the table top is just a box/slab framed kind of like a basic wall with “studs” and “sheathing”. Then I started picking through my wood and finding pieces that would work well and were relatively straight but with good character. The wood consisted of a bunch of different stuff, not just pallets. My cutting started with shaving some wood off the edges to give me a clean edge on both edges of each piece, plus I wanted all the pieces to be the same width. Then I set up the table saw to slice each piece in half. Doing this not only made each piece thinner and more lightweight, but since each piece of wood had two good looking sides I was also able to get two pieces out of each.
When I finally ripped all my wood to size it was time to start making my 45-degree angled cuts. Pretty simply done using the miter saw after which I started attaching the angled pieces to my table top. Gorilla Glue is incredible. I don’t use anything else. I attached my pieces using Gorilla Glue first and spread it around the backside of each piece using Rockler’s glue spreading tool. It’s pretty sweet! It’s like a comb and as you spread the glue around it makes grooves in the glue….just like a tiling trowel…and you get all your wood evenly “buttered” with glue.
I had a serious butt-load of rusty nails that I’ve pulled out of pallets in the past, so these were going to serve as an additional way to secure each piece to the table top. As you can see, a lot of the nails were bent and twisted but a little bending with some pliers got ’em all straightened out. After past experiences I’ve learned to pre-drill in certain situations to avoid cracking or splitting the ends of a piece of wood, so that’s what I did here. I pre-drilled the holes in the recycled wood pieces, then hammered the rusty nails into place. I wanted the nails in a very basic but specific pattern. They came out nice!
When I cut the angled pieces, I left them a little long on purpose. That way I could come back later with the router and clean up the edges since I was planning to attach trim around the edges. Using the router with a trimming bit allows every piece to get trimmed to the edge of the piece beneath it. The trim bit has a rolling bearing at the end of it that travels along the edge of the table top….anything hanging over the edge gets trimmed nicely!
Once all the overhang was trimmed off it was actually starting to look like something and I could see my vision coming together! Now I needed to figure out which pieces were going to be the face trim. Since this console table was going to be about 7-feet long I saved my biggest and longest pieces of wood for this step. Unfortunately, even after planning my cuts and my rips the best I could, my longest pieces still didn’t quite make it, so I had to attach a couple shorter pieces using a 45-degree cut technique to make the joints as seamless as possible. Doing it this way is just like doing baseboards and other trim like that. This also came out pretty good! Since all this wood is salvaged, it’s got it’s twists and turns that need to be dealt with, so in order to attach my trim pieces I decided to use pipe clamps to get things nice and tight. Glued and nailed and left to dry overnight gave me pretty awesome results. You should try it sometime
While I do love the “as-is” look of the recycled wood, I wanted this piece of furniture to be a bit more “finished”, so I took the sander to it with some 220-grit sandpaper. I was careful to take it easy with the sander because I didn’t want to strip the table of all it’s character or clean the rust of all the nails. I just wanted to soften a few edges and take care of a few spots that could lead to a splinter disaster! Once the sanding was complete I brushed on a single heavy coat of Minwax Crystal Clear Satin Polycrylic. It really brought out the rich warm tone of the wood.
Now that the table top portion of this project was complete it was time to add another industrial element to the mix. For this I decided to start gathering a bunch of cool metal drawer units. You can find a ton of different variations of the Steelmaster drawers, so I definitely incorporated some of those. After taking a bunch of measurements I hit up Etsy, eBay, the Rose Bowl Flea Market and the Long Beach Antique Market, until I FINALLY accumulated the perfect collection of unique and interesting metal drawers. Then it was just a matter of figuring our what order I wanted to put them in and then attach them to the underside of the table!
Attaching the drawers to the underside was a little tricky. Some were more tricky than others. But whatever….when you want something done a certain way, and you want it bad enough, you’ll figure out a way to do it.
Aside from the awesome wood pattern of the table itself, the unique mix of industrial drawers hanging beneath it, and a couple lamps from Target, the only decor on this table is our collection of light bulbs. About 3 years ago we were at Anthropologie getting inspiration from all the overpriced stuff in the store and we came across this large industrial light bulb that was mounted on a simple block of wood. The price tag? $249!! I very very carefully put the light bulb back on the shelf with the other ones and backed away very very slowly. Fast forward a few months and we went to the Rose Bowl Flea Market for the first time. As we browsed through all the seller’s things what did we find? The EXACT same style light bulb as the one at Anthropologie. The price? $10! Boom….first flea market purchase complete. That started our collection of cool and industrial light bulbs. I don’t think we’ve even spent $200 on our collection, and it’s way way cooler than just having 1 light bulb from Anthropologie. Am I right? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.
Now it’s all done, assembled, decorated and put in place. We love it. Like…..really love it. A lot. Do you? You’ll also notice a very unique piece of art above the console table. This piece of art was done by a very talented artist named Rob Cartwright a.k.a Survive185. We’ve never actually met Rob in person, but he was the hotel manager at The Blackstone Hotel in Chicago when we photographed a wedding there. The Blackstone Hotel has a really cool story behind it with a lot of history (a history that includes Al Capone!). Anyway, the hotel was hosting a street art/graffiti gallery in the lower level and the hotel was running a special package where you could book a room at the Blackstone and it would include some interesting things but one of those things is that the manager would create a small graffiti piece for you using any three words you wanted. We didn’t stay at the Blackstone on that trip and we didn’t actually find out about the graffiti package until after we got back home to San Diego. But we emailed Rob and asked if it would still be possible to have him do a piece for us using only one word….”ZELO”….for our business, Zelo Photography. He was excited to do it and we were excited that he was excited. We told him to do whatever he wanted with it. We had no idea what the final product would be until we caught a glimpse of it on his Twitter feed. My heart skipped a beat when I saw it because I wasn’t expecting to see it on Twitter! But dang….when it arrived at our door it was bigger and better than we ever could have imagined it. Now it hangs in our home and we get to enjoy it every day. Jump out to the Survive185 Facebook page and like it to see more updates and more incredible art. You can also follow Survive185 on Instagram and also on Twitter (and here). Great stuff.
Anyway…..here it is…..in all it’s glory! Maybe one day when I learn how to weld I’ll fabricate a more “custom” set of table legs but for now the pipes will have to do. Thanks for looking at our Industrial Recycled Wood Console Table!
Remember….if you have an idea of something you’d like to see built…either in general or for your home or business, please let me know! I’d love to throw around some ideas and some numbers and see what we can come up with! Contact me (Seth) at the following email address: INFO [at] ZELOPHOTO [dot] COM and let’s make something cool!