When we moved into our home nearly 7 years ago, my significant other and I were both starting new jobs, had never owned a house, and were in the mindset of a college student when it came to home furnishing, i.e. “that recliner by the dumpster looks like it still has a few good years left, don’t you think?”. And who’s to say that eating dinner on the floor with a stout cardboard box for a dining table doesn’t have it’s perks?
And so like many other young couples we wanted to have nice things but couldn’t really afford them and that put Ikea directly in our sights. I’ll leave the big-box store pros & cons arguments to others who are more eloquent, but to be perfectly honest it was convenient and cheap.
As the years have gone by, I’ve made an attempt to build a few more pieces to replace the early ones we bought, like a dining room table and seating, a sofa table, etc. One piece I’ve wanted to swap out for some time is the TV console that we use to hold our record player/stereo. Currently that honor goes to the LACK model seen below by IKEA.
Here’s our iteration:
Fast forward to February 2016 and a good friend gave me an incredible piece of white oak just because he’s awesome. It’s about 7 feet long, 13 1/2″ wide and about 2 1/2″ thick. I went back and forth over what I could do with it. It’s got a couple of large knots on one side, and it’d be shame to cut it up to make something out of it so I figured here’s my chance to make a new low, console table. Here’s the plank in the below image, sitting outside yesterday as I received it. More or less flat but a little rough around the edges.
For design inspiration I had initially considered using it as simply a Japanese style bench-top, but I wanted to put it in a place where more people would be able to appreciate what a fine piece of wood it was, hence inside our house. None-the-less I’d seen a couple of examples online where a plank like this when used as a portable bench-top would have larger sliding dovetails underneath for when it would sit on saw horses to keep it from sliding around. So I found a couple of 3″x3″x14″ pieces of Poplar in my shop and using my dovetail plane, cut the biggest tails I could. Which ended up being about 1 1/2″ tall. These will be placed about 1 foot in from either end on the bottom of the console top. For the base, I’ll take some large left over 6″x8″ pine beams and fashion them into feet that the whole piece will rest on.
To add some lightness to the wood I cut a large radius on both ends and I’ll use my drawknife and spokeshave to smooth those ends out. The board has also been squared and planed. For the finish I think I’ll try soaping it with soap flakes to keep the lovely white hue of the wood.