Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Tutorial: A fish tank, scrap wood and a pile of pebbles makes ...........

This is one of the first items I made for our new home, a coffee table for the front room. Well actually it was originally intended as a piece of furniture for the patio but my husband liked it so much he asked if it could be relocated inside. Great! I was super chuffed he liked it that much (though I suspect it was partly a form of encouragement for me, bless him) but it meant starting all the wooden structure of it from scratch as it had been stained the wrong colour for indoors. Anyway, I gave it a go and I must admit I am rather chuffed with the outcome.

So here is the finished piece (Spot the dog). Sorry I just didn't think to take pictures as I made it, just the finished item.

scrap wood,fish tank, pebble coffee table, handmade furniture



So how did I make it?
Unfortunately I'm one of "those" people who makes it up as I go along. Usually it works out in the end but I suspect I would save myself alot of heartache if I worked out plans to start with. Sorry, but not me! A tape measure is about as technical and planned as I get.

Firstly I measured the tank and made a base from whatever scrap wood I could find. I wasn't too worried about the look of this bit of wood as it wouldn't be seen but it needed to be strong as the tank weighs a bit when full.
I then made an edging to go round the base and the tank sits inside this edging and on the base I made. Mitres always seem to go over my head but I managed these ones just fine - at least that's what you'd think by the pictures and I ain't breaking that illusion! Or have I just done that.......
Then for the table top I used some leftover wood from the roof rafters in our new home, solid 6x2. I mitred the corners again and added a middle insert of the same wood.
To attach the table top to the tank I simply added a plate of MDF underneath the table top (to hold all those bits of wood together) and then added a square ridge of 2x1 timber that enables the table top to sit snuggly inside the top of the tank. That's it!
I then stained it to match the front room and gave it a couple of coats of Varnish - voila!
Normally I would have counter sunk the screws but I dislike wood filler as it always shows so I just used Black screws (Plasterboard screws - I love em) and spaced them evenly.
On the original, patio version there was a wooden bar through the tank hidden by the pebbles and screwed to the underneath of the top to keep the table top in place but when I re did it all I didn't feel it necessary. This wood is heavy and it goes nowhere - very substantial.
Obviously the pebbles (courtesy of local beach) had to be put in insitu as it makes the whole thing impossible to move but overall it was a pretty easy piece of furniture to make and best of all it cost me nothing, unless you count the cost of petrol to the beach 2 minutes away.

Now the downside. Me being me (impatient) I didn't dry the wood thoroughly first but used it fresh from my husbands workshop. As such it held a lot of moisture and since it's been sitting in the house it's dried out and shrunk! Somewhat! Bit cheesed off with that but it was entirely my fault and should teach me to dry the wood properly first.
No matter,I will take the top to the workshop and recut it and put it back on.

This post is linked to:-


'Momma Hens Coop' Link party.


Transformation Thursday









Craft Junkie Too Friend



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