Monday, May 21, 2012

{oxidized} X Console

I've had a console table pinned on my "furniture to build" Pinterest board for a few months so I was thrilled when Ana agreed to work with me on the plans for a modified version of the one I pinned. I didn't know what I would use the table for, but I knew that I wanted it to be heftier and bigger than the piece I'd pinned (it needed to be big enough to fill the space behind my sofa) and I wanted it to feel more rustic. Ana totally came through with a design inspired by this Pottery Barn buffet. The bulky size and feel are a great match for my big family room and chunky sofas.


The console is built from 2x6s, 2x4s, 2x2s, and 1x12s using pocket hole construction and glue. The plans were easy to follow and I finished most of the building in one day. The Xs on the ends were a bit of a challenge -- they require some 60 degree cuts, but my miter saw only goes to 50 degrees. After a bit of trial and error, though, the Xs went in pretty easily. Including the lumber, hardware, and finish, the console cost about $110 to build -- quite a bargain considering the price tag on the inspiration piece!


I love the mellow, silvery tones of weathered wood. I keep an oxidizing solution (steel wool dissolved in vinegar) in a jar in my garage to treat the freshly cut ends of reclaimed wood, but I've never tried oxidizing an entire piece made from new wood. For this piece, I treated it with black tea first to increase the concentration of tannins in the wood (pine has a naturally low concentration of tannins). I let the tea dry for about six hours, then I painted on the oxidizing solution. After letting the oxidizing solution dry overnight, I lightly sanded it and then applied a light brown wax to warm up the color just a bit. To get the exact color I wanted, I mixed a bit of dark brown Briwax with a lot of clear bowling alley wax. For a more precise tutorial, check out my oxidizing post here.



This finish has me hooked. Smooth and rustic. Not too light or too dark, not too warm or cool. Oh, and the oxidizing solution is all-natural. No headache-inducing chemicals here!


When I first started photographing the console, I wasn't sure how to style it so I loaded it up with baskets and books. But, I quickly realized that decorative stuff wasn't what I wanted in there. Instead, I collected some special quilts and blankets that had been hiding in random pieces of furniture all over our house.


Scott and I agree that this new console is the perfect spot for our collection of quilts and blankets. Each quilt and blanket here has meaning. Most of the quilts are antiques that my mom bought in an antique store in Oxford, Ohio while Scott and I were in college there. I used to think she was a little nuts when she would pack another one into her suitcase at the end of nearly every visit, but now I admire her for it. One of the quilts my mom picked up was on Brynn's bed when we moved her out of her crib, and one was on my bed before Scott and I got married. One of the afghans was made by my grandmother, I think one is from my great-grandmother, and one was made by Scott's grandmother as a gift for his high school graduation. One of them is a blanket I picked up in Salvador, Brazil while on Semester at Sea. It kept me warm in the freezing air conditioning on the ship for three months as I traveled the world. I love the feel, the texture, the weight, the colors, the smells, and the stories behind all of them.

Having those quilts and blankets in a place where I can see them every day is inspiring to me. I can walk past them and touch them and think of the hands that created them or the memories that are woven into them. They remind me of family and history and simplicity and learning and the legacies that we leave. 

So, while this piece of furniture is beautiful and fulfills a basic purpose in my home, what thrills me now is not just the beauty of the piece itself, but also the beauty of what it holds. 

Psst...find the matching coffee table here and a tutorial for the finish here.

54 comments:

  1. I love the console table and even more your story of the quilts. Nice work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Whitney! I love them both, too.

      Delete
  2. I want to build this for my fiancé. Do you have directions I could follow?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. It's linked above, but I'll put it here for you, too. http://ana-white.com/2012/05/plans/rustic-x-console

      Delete
  3. Beautiful work! Are those just simple L brackets? Brilliant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yep, L brackets that I spray painted with flat black paint.

      Delete
  4. Absolutely gorgeous. The finish is exquisite. Now I just need a reason to have a console table!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What are the little black 'dots' at the bottom that give it the rustic look like the l brackets?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Angie! Those are half-inch hex bolts spray painted with the same black as the brackets.

      Delete
  6. Hillary it's DIY perfection. Love all the attention to detail and smart use of brackets and bolts and the finish is just beautiful. I so wish I had space for a large piece like yours as I'd love to make it myself too, Ana is too generous! From one quilt collector to another, your new display area is so fitting and makes your collection truly shine.

    ReplyDelete
  7. what a wonderful piece of furniture to hold such treasures~ i love all the creative energy in the whole display...thanks for sharing it!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is such a great project. I'm following the plans on Ana's website and have cut all the wood pieces to length. Would you recommend sanding and oxidizing all the wood pieces before assembling? I'm wondering if it will be difficult to sand and oxidize everything consistently if I do that after it's all assembled.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Zeek! Thanks!

      I think you could do it either way. Oxidizing first would also give you the added advantage of the glue not blocking the oxidation process, so if any glue seeps out of the joints when you're looking the other way, it's not such a big deal.

      The only problem I would foresee is if you end up having any joints that are slightly uneven, you wouldn't be able to sand them down without refinishing at least that spot. And on a planked top like that, sometimes it is nice to be able to sand the whole thing at once, to get the board ends all perfectly even and rounded (or not rounded) the same. If you were working with nice ($$$) lumber, this wouldn't be an issue. But with construction-grade stuff, it's not always super-consistent in size and sometimes it needs a bit of extra elbow grease with the sandpaper.

      Good luck! I'd love to see it when you're done!

      Delete
  9. Thanks for the advice Hillary. Did you have any issues oxidizing and sanding down the surface of the table after it was already assembled? My main concern is being able to access and sand all the areas properly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Zeek! Nope, no problems reaching all of the nooks and crannies. I used a sanding sponge wrapped with sandpaper for most of the table, which seemed to work fine. I used an orbital sander on the top and finished with the sponge/paper method.

      Delete
  10. Hillary. Thanks again for the reply. I've decided to go ahead and start assembling the table and I'll do the oxidizing later on. However, I realized that I'm not sure where to put the pocket holes on the first 2 frame sections. On Ana's site it says to put 1-1/2" pocket holes on the back side. Are these pocket holes supposed to be drilled through the 2"x4"s or the 2"x2"s? Originally I started to drill the pockets holes through the back of the 2x4 but then realized that wasn't a good idea since you'll see the holes as you look through the table later on. So, I'm assuming that it would be better to drill from the 2x2 into the 2x4. I have a picture of what I've done so far but I don't know how to attach it to this blog.

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Zeek. Yes, you should be putting the pocket holes into the 2x2s and then screwing from the 2x2s into the 2x4s. You're doing it right!

      Sorry...I don't know how to give the blog photo-uploading capability. I'm kind of a tech dummy. But if you upload to Picasa or something similar, you can leave the link here. Can't wait to see your piece! Let me know if you need more help.

      Delete
  11. Hillary -

    How did you attach the 1/2" hex bolts at the bottom.... Did you drill into the wood and thread the bolts in, or did you glue it in place?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Zeek! I drilled 1/2" holes and glued the bolts in place.

      Delete
  12. Hillary -

    This table is turning out great so far. The plans that you and Ana have developed are fantastic. I have another question regarding the oxidizing process. I've tried a few different methods of oxidizing some scrap pieces of wood. I've found that just using the iron acetate tends to give the 2x6 a reddish hue. However, when I use the black tea and the iron acetate, the 2x6 becomes very dark in color. I'm having to spend a lot of time sanding the surface of the wood just to get to the shade of color I want. Is there anything I can do to the iron acetate or the black tea solution so that the resulting color isn't so dark?

    Also, it seems like just using the iron acetate on the 2x4's works better than the black tea and iron acetate. Using both tends to give it a very dark color. Did you notice the same thing?

    Thanks!
    Adam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Adam! Yes, I noticed the same thing but not by the size of the wood, more by the species. The more tannins in the species of wood, the darker it will get and the less you need to use tea first. I had good luck with douglas fir turning the color I wanted. Pine didn't turn at all without tea and redwood and oak both turn black. If the iron acetate solution is too strong, add some more vinegar to it when you are ready use it. That should help give you a lighter color and depending on the species you may have to dilute it a lot. With a high tannin wood, I suspect that even a diluted solution will still turn the wood super dark and require some sanding after it dries. Good luck! I promise all the work is worth it. :)

      Delete
  13. C'est trop beau !!! Je vais voir si j'ai le courage de me lancer ^^

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hillary -

    I'm about 90% finished with the table. I tested out the black tea and iron acetate on some scrap wood and got the color that I was looking for. Unfortunately, when I applied it to the actual table, the color was not as dark as I wanted. The wood almost had a reddish hue to it, which isn't what I was looking for. I did a lot of sanding to try to dull the color, but it still isn't exactly there. Can I somehow use a different wax or wax mixture to darken up the table a bit? I don't want to use anything that will give the wood that orange color. I'm basically looking for the wax to just give more depth to the color and possibly darken it up slightly. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!
    Adam

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Adam. It sounds like your mixture might have been too concentrated. You might try applying a second coat with more vinegar. Or maybe a test patch on the underside? That is probably your last shot at getting the grey color.

      The darker waxes (from Briwax) are great for taking away the orange hue, but you'll lose the grey. It will still look rustic and beautiful, though! Let me know how it goes!

      Delete
    2. Thanks Hillary. I'll give that a try. Does the iron acetate become more concentrated the longer it sits around? Once I get the right grey color I need, what kind of wax would you recommend?

      Delete
    3. Yes, as it sits it gets more concentrated. The older mine is, the more vinegar I add to it to dilute it. If you are totally happy with the color, I'd recommend clear wax. It will just give more depth but won't change the color.

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  15. where did you get the corner hardware and decorative bolts? Did I miss that tip?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey! I think that tip is probably in the comments somewhere -- I need to add it to the post! It's just hex bolts and corner brackets from Lowe's that I spray painted black. Thanks!

      Delete
  16. Hi Hillary!

    This looks amazing and is going to be my weekend project- I'm a beginner though and was wondering if there was a way to point out where the pocket holes were drilled. It seems you did a good job of hiding them, but for instance on step one, do you drill from the 2x4 to the 2x2? Beginner here, sorry if this is a silly question! Thank you for your help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Stephanie! Nope, not a silly question. Drill into the 2x2. You almost always want the pocket holes to be in the end of the board you're joining to the side of another. I can't think of an exception to that, but I'm sure there is one somewhere.

      Kreg has some good intro videos online and the DVD that comes with the jig is helpful, too. They will give you some hints for how to get your joints super tight and square. You should check them out when you get a chance. I didn't do it until I'd been using the jig for a year and I wish I'd watched them sooner!! I could have avoided a lot of frustration. :)

      Delete
  17. Hi Hillary! I found your blog via pinterest while looking for paint colors and new decor inspiration for my new home! I just wanted to say I love all of your ideas, and have read almost everything from this year :) I cannot wait to get into our new home and build and try so many of your projects you have shared! Thank you so much! Side note: I live about 15 minutes from Oxford, Ohio, kind of neat :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for sharing the stories about the quilts. My Mom is an avid quilter. She has made the most beautiful quilts. She has a few hanging on her walls in her condo. She has made one for my husband and I. Our house is so small. There is really nowhere to display it. I had it over a quilt stand but it didn't really work. If I could get my husband to build that console stand maybe I could incorporate that in our decor. That way my mom could even make us more quilts. My mother always says you will be sorry you didn't take the time to learn how to quilt. Both of my nieces know how to quilt thanks to Grandma. Maybe I can get her to make her grandpuppy a quilt since I don't have any kids.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Found you on Pinterest. Love the table, the quilts and the stories with them.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Love this table! Just finished building it and oxidizing it, but have a quick question:

    We have been building this outside in hot, humid weather, and are wondering if it needs to be brought into the air conditioned inside to acclimate before sealing with polywhey? Or is this not an issue?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm...that's not something I've had to think about here in dry Colorado so I really have no idea! I'm sorry I can't be more helpful! I've put it on wood that isn't super dry and haven't had any issues. Good luck!

      Delete
  21. Hello! The table looks great, but the "X" really gave me a hassle! I mounted it onto the table 1 piece at a time, but I had real issues getting my drill to fit in and connect the last 2 small piece into the center of the "X". I'm guessing that this would be easier if I built the "X" and screwed it in as 1 piece?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, the X is not easy. I've done it both ways, putting it together in place and assembling it first, then screwing it in. Neither way is easy. It helps to have a small drill, though. :)

      Delete
  22. Young professional with zero time for crafts... How does one purchase this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Reis! I totally understand. Shoot me an email and we'll talk. hillary(at)friendly-home.net

      Delete
  23. Hillary please help. I'm sending out an SOS. I've built the front and back frame, but am struggling on how to attach the two shelves. The instructions say to add pocket holes along the bottom of the panels and attach them to the frame, but how??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Kayla! Okay. Lay your back frame down on the floor with the inside facing up at you. Put your shelf down onto the middle cross-bar so that it's perpendicular to the frame and the top part of the shelf (the surface where you would set stuff) is flush with the top part of the middle cross-bar. Use your pocket holes (which you hopefully already drilled into the underside of the shelf) to join the shelf with the frame. Do the same with the bottom shelf. Then put your front frame down on the floor, pick up your back frame with the two shelves attached, and put it down and join the shelves to the frame using the same method. It helps to have a person or some spacers cut to keep the top and bottom of the frames from shifting during this step.

      I hope that helped! Clear as mud, probably.

      Delete
  24. Ha! Just had the exact same question as Kayla, and your explanation totally makes sense. Thanks, and thanks for all the helpful info you supplied in the comments section. Can't wait to finish this awesome table!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Dentist in Puerto Vallarta provide superior quality dentistry at best price. Our highly trained bilingual Puerto Vallarta dentist have extensive experience

    ReplyDelete
  26. Did you have any trouble with wobbling? I am not happy with the stability of mine but am sure it should be chalked up to something I am doing wrong...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I always have trouble with that – I think because I don't have a flat place to build. You can buy some adjustable furniture feet at Lowe's or Home Depot for about $5. That will solve your problem!

      Delete
  27. Just curious, how did you connect the cross peaces without having any holes showing. It looks as though you didn't do any pilot holes on the out side or anything or you just did a good job of covering up. I'm not sure if i'm just having a brain fart or not.

    Thanks,
    Nathan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The holes are showing. I just toe-nailed some darker colored screws, countersunk them, and didn't bother filling them. You can see one if you look closely at the third photo. The holes don't bother me since it's such a rustic piece!

      Delete
    2. Humm, guess they don't show up as good as I thought they would on a picture. But to make sure we are talking about the same thing. So there is a hole where your black metal bolt is on the bottom, going through that board to hold the cross peace that makes part of the shelf?

      Delete
    3. Oh! Sorry. I thought we were talking about the Xs. No. I attached those bottom 2x4s on the ends to the 2x4s that make the legs using two pocket holes on each end of the cross-piece 2x4s. Also, the 1x12 or whatever it is that makes up that bottom shelf has pocket holes in it with screws going from the 1x12 into that end 2x4. Same for the 2x2s on the middle shelf. I'm pretty sure that's how it's laid out on Ana's plan, too. The black metal bolts are just for show. They're not actually joining anything.

      Delete
  28. This looks absolutely stunning! Would just want to buy it from you! Its really beautiful and exactly the color I am looking for!

    ReplyDelete
  29. It looks great. I love the quilts in it too; they look perfect. Did you use stud grade 2x4's and if so, have you had any twisting or cupping from the wood? And if you got kiln dried 2x4's, where did you get them?

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for reading! I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say.