Modern rustic oak sideboard build.

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Blog entry by gavinzagreb posted 03-03-2012 09:45 AM 4386 reads 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My first blog. Bound to be a little incoherent.
Modern rustic I hear you repeat in your mind ? Yes, the style does exist. It might not be called that, in fact it might not even have a name, but I have seen many examples of it in various style blogs.
This is the biggest and I think the best thing I have made ever.

The need –
We have a very old farm trunk (picture to come) that is full of all sorts of bits and pieces. It is too small and we (my wife) no longer want that style.

The idea-
Our family bought an old farm house that has been undergoing renovations for the last couple of years. It’s made from solid oak and is dovetailed together at the corners (something for another blog).
There’s a bunch of old oak, and bits of new oak for me to use as I see fit.
So I decide i want to make at least the doors and drawer fronts out of oak, and try and use as much recycled material as possible. It should look modern but with a rustic quality. I decided on 2 drawers in the middle and doors on either side. Fairly classic layout for this type of thing. (sideboard ?)

The design influence-
I liked the way some of the barn timbers are overlayed to cover gaps between them. It has a nice textured effect. More interesting than a flat face. Mostly this is done vertically above the main wall area where the peak of the roof is (sure there is a technical name for that part of a barn). I decide to make my doors and drawer fronts look kind of like that.

I did a few sketchup drawings of various ideas, but i had trouble imagining what it would actually look like.

I found one that looks fantastic, and fits in with my idea of how it should look.

I decided to scour the internet for images of sideboards to see if i could find inspiration.

That’s a US$4000 sideboard !! I’m going to make it for $150-$200.

I’m not making an exact copy. For a start instead of solid wood, i had to buy block board panels for the main carcass and that will be painted in the end. I wanted to use some of the reclaimed panels I had already, but i didn’t have enough of the same thickness. As it turns out, now i do, just 2 months too late. Mine will look similar, but with different dimensions and leg shape and presumably construction methods.

I’ve got a bunch of pics of the build so far, but for now I’m going to post one of where it’s at right now, and then go back to the build process in following blog entries.

Thanks for reading.

6 comments so far

View gavinzagreb's profile


210 posts in 2346 days

#1 posted 03-04-2012 04:54 PM

I said I’d add some pics of the farm house where i got some of the inspiration and most of the wood.
So, here they are.
The first pic shows the part of the house that i liked the look of and started the idea for the front of the sideboard. As you can see, in the end I went with a bit of a different look but the concept was still there.

This house is over 100 years old, is made from solid oak (obviously not the brick bit), and is dovetailed(compound dovetail ?) together at the corners. It was a popular style of building back in the day, and they were very good at it.

Here’s a shot of the fence that I felt bad about using good oak to build, but I felt good about getting the leftovers to build something else. There’s also a shot of about 1 cubic meter of oak that was used for the fence posts rails and pickets. Some of this along with some 100 year old oak beams, I’ll be using to make windows for the barn.
Of course, this is the wood i am also using for this sideboard. A Mix of old and new.

Having trouble finding the pics from the start of the build. Too many computers and memory cards.
Hopefully I can find them and add them soon.

View gavinzagreb's profile


210 posts in 2346 days

#2 posted 03-12-2012 11:32 AM

Ok, so I tracked down the pics from the build.
wood for the doors and drawer fronts.

Milled L shaped pieces of oak and used splines to join the panels at the corners.

I used loose tenons to join the legs together

The odd way I chose to join the doors together to create the look i wanted.

clamping was a pain, I don’t have nearly enough clamps.

I used an unconventional method to trim the doors to size and ensure they were square. I clamped them to a flat laminated table top that has factory squared corners and trim each edge with the router. Worked well.

Heaps more to come at a later date.Still need to finish this thing. Seems never ending.

View gavinzagreb's profile


210 posts in 2346 days

#3 posted 03-21-2012 10:52 AM

Some more pics of the build, and the finished product.
Dry fit of the cabinet. I didn’t take any photos of clamping it seems Probably because I was busy combining what few clamps I have with cauls and ratchet straps to get this thing together.

After this dry fit minus the divider panels, i took all the panels home and painted with primer. They ended up sitting in a corner for a few weeks during the coldest snow bound period of winter.
After I took them back to the workshop, I did a test fit of the doors by taping them to the cabinet.

I have a tiny jointer and a table saw with a crap blade (replaced soon after) and was having trouble making the 20mm x 20mm oak edge banding. I ended up going to the cities parks department workshop where I get oak off cuts and asked the very nice boss if he could have his guys make up 4 mts of it for me. I offered to pay, but he declined and gave 6 mtrs for free. I later bought him a bottle of something.
I wanted to mitre the corners perfectly. Not having much success in the past with this, I went out and bought a good 60 tooth blade and made a mini crosscut mitre sled. I cut the corner off a factory cut piece of melamine attached 2 ‘rails’ to it and used it in the very narrow slots of my table saw.
As long as I alternated joining pieces to the left side and right side of the sled, the joints came out perfect.
Forgot to take a pic of mini sled but will add later. I came up with a way to clamp the edge banding using small bar clamps and 2 wedges. Worked really well.

Once putting it together I realized that nobody will ever see these joins because the doors always cover them and the others are at the back against a wall. Oh well. Another skill practised.
I hadn’t put a lot of though into what would be on the back, I wanted to use something reclaimed so I went through my various scavenged panels. Nothing seemed right for the job until I remembered that I had an old wardrobe or bed base frame that held a large 6mm sheet of plywood. Fished it out of the smoke house where I’d forgotten about it, dusted it off and decided it was in good shape. Trouble was it was glued onto the frame. Some cutting and gentle prying eventually yielded a usable piece. There was some damage on one side which I filled and painted, but the other side was a great looking piece of quality beech ply.

You can’t tell so much from this picture but the ply looked so good I decided to use the unpainted side showing on the back of the sideboard. for now nobody will see it, but it will look good if it ever gets used in a position where the back can be seen.

I have no pictures of the drawers being made. I used the same blockboard that I used for the main cabinet and routed a type of drawer lock join. Like this

Blockboard is not the ideal material to do this with, but it worked out ok and any mistakes have been mostly hidden by the drawer fronts. I’d like to collect enough free wood to make box joined solid wood drawers one day. Who knows.

Used Teak oil to treat the wood and decided not to seal that with anything. turns out Teak oil has nothing to do with teak, it’s basically the same as Danish oil, a mix of linseed oil, resin, and thinner. I like how it looks and feels and I can add more when needed. The panels are painted with a dark grey water based latex. This required a lot of masking. I used a fine sponge roller to apply the paint and after 3 coats, was happy with how it looked. I then but 2 coats of clear acrylic over it. I learnt that i probably should paint the panels and wood separately before glue up. It would still require masking but would probably be quicker. Not sure.

Had problems fitting the drawers. Not much experience with full extension drawer slides but thought I knew how to do it ! I sort of did but had a lot of alignment issues which eventually got sorted well enough. Putting the drawer fronts on was also a pain. Double side tape saved the day with them.

Finished ?! Basically. I took it home and put it together. I needed to get it out of my workshop to make way for the next project. I just need to touch up the paint on the inside a bit, which I can do right after i type this. I promise.

Questions, suggestions and general comments welcome.

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2524 days

#4 posted 03-28-2012 01:41 AM

You write well, honestly and take a pretty good picture. What more is wanted?
It’s a dramatic piece, nice story, great build.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View DocSavage45's profile


8601 posts in 2869 days

#5 posted 03-28-2012 03:04 AM

I agree, great to see you at work!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1248 posts in 1740 days

#6 posted 10-16-2014 08:21 PM

Nice pieze of furniture and a great written blog. Love reading about that old wood and where it came from.
Thanks for sharing!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

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