Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Herringbone Vanity Table | reveal + tutorial

Remember that table I found at the Habitat store last week for just $5?

photo 1 (13)

Well, when I first brought it home I decided it would be just fine with a few coats of white paint as a little vanity table on my side of the bed. When I brought it home I took it outside sanded and primed, liked I showed you in my primed for perfection post.  Then disaster struck... I'm not being dramatic here, we really had the nastiest weather that day.  And I had left the table outside that morning to vent out all the nasty smells of the degreaser and primer.  While I was out, it poured rain like there was no tomorrow, and my little table top got hit hard.  The veneer was completely bubbled up, and the particle board underneath was ruined.  Even though the table wasn't really a loss at just $5, I didn't want to throw it away.  So, I had an idea to make a new table top and keep the pretty little base.  I decided to run off a design idea I saw on Sarah M. Dorsey's blog -- her herringbone coffee table.  She's incredibly brave and has a very handy husband, so they milled their own driftwood the picked up on the beach -- how cool is that?  I'm not that cool, but, here's how that worked out:

First, I took the measurements of my original top and created a design in Illustrator to figure out the best length and width for each piece of wood.  I decided on 2 x 6" pieces of 1" thick pine would work, and then I calculated all my cuts and measurements.  The math really got to me, but planning these things out before heading to the store really helps and keeps me focused.

HB Table 3HB Table 2

I headed to Home Depot with my shopping list.  I had them cut a piece of 3/4" Pine Board to 46.5" x 15", which were the original top measurements.   Then, I picked up 7 pieces of 1 x 2 x 8 pine and had them cut in half (just so they' d fit nicely in my car).  I measured the 1 x 2s and marked off every 6".  I originally tried to cut them with my miter box, but that proved to be a bit too much to handle, so I brought out my jig saw and cut them a straight 90 degree cuts every marking.   Because the jigsaw didn't leave a pretty cut edge, I used my orbital sander with 100 grit paper to sand down the edges.

HB Table 6

Then, using my pre-drawn pattern I went ahead and placed the pieces on the board that was cut to size.  It was a lot like putting together a puzzle.  Even though all the pieces are supposed to be 1 x 2, I'll tell you, that's just not so.... so, finding pieces to fit into certain areas was a bit of a challenge.   But of course, because I like to jump into things full of excitement and I don't always think them through -- I forgot that I needed to bring the piece inside before I glued everything.  So, I had to refit everything again!  I was nearing the point where I was either going to power through the project, or I was going to throw the table and walk away crying.  The latter was looking better and better to me.

HB Table 4

Once I had everything in place, I started gluing.  I used both Gorilla Glue and Liquid Nails, just depending on what area I was working on.  I generally prefer Liquid Nails, but it takes a bit longer to dry and for this project I needed the wood pieces not to move around so much, so I switched back and forth depending on the area.

HB Table 7

Once all the pieces were glued in place, I placed heavy objects all over the table (i.e., paint cans, my sanding machine, books, whatever  I could find basically) to weight down the table and make sure the pieces were secured overnight as they dried.  The next morning, I took the whole piece outside, flipped it over and trimmed off the edges that were over the pre-cut plywood board with my jigsaw.  This part was extremely frustrating.  First of all, I'm not a master at the jigsaw and I find it really hard to get a straight cut.  Secondly, there are a lot of little edges that were glued on just the tip and the jig saw put a lot of pressure on these pieces and they went flying!  Literally.  So those smaller pieces needed to be re-cut and re-glued.

photo (10) - Copy

HB Table 9

Once all the smaller pieces were glued back in, the table top needed to be framed.  I went to Home Depot and purchased 1" Pine Lattice by the linear foot.  I cut it down to size at the store, leaving a little extra length just in case.  When I got home, I fit each piece and trimmed it down.  I glued the pieces around the edges with Liquid Nails and taped all of them down using painter's tape.

HB Table 10

I let the lattice dry over night and then gave the whole table a light sanding with 100 grit paper.  I noticed some holes in areas I wasn't thrilled about so I added a little wood filler to those areas and sanded again.  I love the natural color and variate pieces, so I went with Varathane's Natural stain, just to give it some depth.  I then followed with two coats of  Polycrylic.  You can also use Polyurethane, but it does yellow over time and I didn't want that with this piece.

Finally, I reattached the top of the table to the original base and sat down with my cup of coffee to enjoy the piece.  It goes in my room, next to my side of the bed as a vanity table.  I have my refinished cane chair with it now, but it's not the right chair for the piece so I'll have to find something that goes better soon.

Here's a close-up of herringbone pattern:

I'm really happy with the way the table turned out.  Here's a cost breakdown for those of you who may want to try this!

2 x 4 plywood board = $11
(7) 1 x 2 x 8 pine pcs = $12
Liquid Nails = owned
Gorilla Glue = owned
10 linear feet of 2" Lattice = $7
Stain = $5
Polycrylic = owned
Table Base = $5
Total $40

Not bad for $40, 

Update: here's what my table looks like now, after it had been styled. 


  1. This is very nicely done! Good for you. I agree, "walk away crying" sometimes seems like the only choice. Aren't you glad you didn't? Well done!

  2. I absolutely love how you transformed this table.

    1. Thank you so much! I have a lot of projects coming soon, I hope you'll follow along with me! :)

  3. Looks absolutely amazing wish I was this handy-- im more on the crafty simple side!

    1. Thank you! I checked out your blog! It's great! :)

  4. Well done. I may steal this idea for a dresser upon which I currently am noodling.

    1. Thank you! Of course, let me know if you have any questions too! And I'd love to see your work too! :)