Monday, January 19, 2015

Dining room buffet table

During the Christmas season my girlfriend and I set up a nice big Christmas tree at our front window.

We did have to move some furniture around to do this, namely one of my bookshelves, which ended up in our dining room.

The bookshelf took the place of my bar, which I moved into the kitchen underneath my rustic kitchen shelf.

This new spot for my bar is way better than it's old position in the dining room, so I decided to keep it there.  But with the Christmas season over and the tree down, I moved my bookshelf back to the living room.  Now I need something to go back into the dining room, so I drew up some plans to make a nice buffet table.  This table is based off of Ana White's Benchmark Media console (you can see her plans by clicking here).  I followed her plans and recreated it in Google SketchUp, but eventually I made my own changes to it (Ana's table had drawers and used glass.  My table has no drawers and I'll be using plexiglass.  Also, my table will be taller).

This will actually be the second time I am making this table.  My first attempt was a little too short, and wound up becoming a new vanity table for my girlfriend.

You can see the build for the vanity by clicking here.

The next step was to buy some wood.  The people at the hardware store were nice enough to cut a 4-foot by 8-foot piece of .75" thick plywood down to several smaller strips.

This made it easier for me to transport, plus it was cheaper than buying several smaller planks.

After measuring, the smaller wood was cut to size with my miter saw...

...and the larger pieces were cut with my table saw...

...and circular saw.

The first step was to make the sides.  I did a dry fit first to make sure all my cuts were the right size.

Then I assembled the 2 sides using glue & brad nails for the top rails, and pocket holes/screws for the side rails/legs.

Next I started drilling pocket holes for the shelves and back.

Instead of building the frame and then attaching the shelves, I assembled the shelves with the frame on it.

Next I attached the shelves/frames/backs to each other.

Then I attached the sides.

Next came the top trim and center leg.

After that was assembled I began work on the table top.

The top itself was assembled using plywood and a 1x4 plank.  Then the whole top was attached to the carcass with screws.

With the body mostly done, I began work on the doors.  I opted not to have 45 degree mitered corners for this build.

Instead the pieces of wood will attach to each other with more pocket holes & screws.

The last step in building the doors will to have some plexiglass attached - but I will get to that later.

Next I want to add some extra trim above the doors - mostly to hide some gaps from where the top trim attached to the center leg.

To do this I cut some leftover plywood...

...and I'll put it above the doors.

But before I attach the trim, I used my router to give it some nice edges.

Then I attached it with glue and brad nails.

Next I used the router again to make the doors look nicer.

Looking good so far!

With my router still out, I decided to route the top edges.

Then I went about attaching the doors to the carcass with hinges.

It came out perfectly.

To ensure the doors would remain closed when I wanted them to, I added some magnetic clasps.

Then I attached door knobs.  When I bought these knobs at the store, I took 2 from the same bin, but they wound up being different knobs.  Later I'll go out and buy the correct one.

Now I feel that the trim on the top of the doors needs something... I cut some thinner trim and routed the edges.

Then I glued and nailed them in place.

It looks much better, but now I want to add some nicer trim on the bottom.  So I cut some more trim...

...routed, and attached it with glue and brads.

Next I decided to tackle the plexiglass.  I've not worked with plexiglass before, so I watched some videos on how to cut it.

I marked where I wanted to cut and scored that line with an X-acto knife several times.  Then I snapped off the pieces...

...I still need some practice - the plexiglass snapped mostly on the line, but some off of it.

But once the glass is attached to the doors, you won't be able to tell.

Next I added wood filler...

...then I took off the doors to attach the plexiglass.

I should have planned this stage out better - if I had made grooves at the inside edges of the door frame, I could have had the glass sit in place.  Unfortunately I didn't do this, so all I could do is drill some holes and screw the plexiglass to the inside of the door.

But when the door is closed it looks great.

With both doors complete, I reattached them to the body to see how it closes.  Luckily the plexiglass is thin, so the doors still close nicely.

Next it was time to sand this thing, so I had to remove the doors, plexiglass, hinges, knobs and magnets.  

I used a few of my sanders to get everything smooth, including some sandpaper for all those routed edges.

Next I cleaned up all the saw dust and propped the carcass on my saw horses.

Then I began to stain everything.

I used the same American Chestnut stain as I did for my other furniture in the dining room and living room.

Using the saw horses makes it easier to stain.  My knees kill me after a while when staining or sanding without them.

Once all the stain had dried it was time to sand again, but this time to make it look worn and rustic.

Then I assembled the doors.

When putting on one of the sheets of plexiglass it cracked.  Sometime in the future I'll buy a new sheet, but for now I'll just say that it give the whole table more character.

Then I attached the doors to the body and cleaned it up.

Then I moved it into the dining room, and I'm done!

I threw on a few nick-nacks and a box I made a while back just to give an idea of what this thing will look like when filled up.

I'm sure once my girlfriend gets home she'll decorate it nicer than I can.

I'm very pleased with how this small buffet table came out.

Thanks for reading!

UPDATE:  Close to a year after making this table I decided to make a few revisions.  The biggest thing bothering me was the plexiglass doors.  I decided to replace the plexiglass with solid wood.  I also resanded the whole table, especially the top which had become slightly uneven.

Then I restained the whole table and applied gloss polyurethane.

And now the table looks even nicer than before.

Thanks for reading!

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