Category Archives: Furniture

Outdoor and indoor furniture

Reclaimed Floorboard Coffee Table

A year ago, I made a garden table for the first time. This was no ordinary table, but our very first DIY project which would go on to inspire this little blog. Epic it was. I had a pencil behind my ear, a power saw in my hand and a tape measure clipped to my belt for good measure. I felt like I could have built a ship that day. Until Anna told me to remove the tape measure as I looked like Handy Andy.

Although, admittedly not all my carpentry projects have been worthy of a mention. In fact, there’s a knee high pile of discarded ideas stashed in the back of the shed. Stuck for something to blog, I decided to rummage through and see if there were any old ideas worth revisiting. Around 45 minutes and handful of splinters later, I discovered a forgotten bag of parquet floorboards I got from the reclaimed wood yard. So I decided to rescue these from the bad ideas scrapheap and remake them into a lovely new table top.

The great thing about using old floorboards is that they’re already set up to be joined together. So all I needed was a sheet of 3mm thick hardboard that’s 890mm x 475mm as a base. Across the top of the hardboard I smoothed over a layer of wood glue, then carefully placed the floorboards across it. Every second section of floorboards overhung the base, which was okay, as I would square it off later. To help the glue set I put as much weight as possible on top, which meant I had the BBQ gas bottle, garden furniture and even our fat cat sitting on top of it for 24 hours.

Once the floorboards were set I trimmed off the overhang so it was a clean 890mm x 475mm board. The floorboards themselves had years of varnish, paint and scuff marks across them. So there was only one thing for it…to get the electric plainer out. Now this is one of the scariest tools I own. The speed it spins a sharp blade at fills me with fear every time I turn it on, but it does strip the wood all the way back to how it should be.

To finish the edges, I used some thin 8mm thick timber to cover up the hardwood base, glue and the joints from the floorboards. I went with a 35mm width as it would give a slight overhang for when I build the table base. It was attached with wood glue and some panel nails, which I then nail punched right into the wood and sealed the holes up with wood filler. Once dry, I smoothed it off ready for a lick of paint and treated the striped back floorboards with a little teak oil.

Now I had the reclaimed floorboard tabletop done it was time to start building the rest of the cabinet. You’ll have to wait for the next update to see how we got on.

A New Throne for a New Home – Part 2

Tah dah, we finally did it. Now I know that this sounds like a fairly small triumph in the year we have Olympians breaking all manner of records, but nonetheless, it is with great pleasure we’d like to reveal our latest DIY achievement. Our lovely new chair.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, but you’ve upholstered a chair before. Nothing new here. Yes, that’s technically true, but around this time last year we would have never thought this possible. You see our blog URL is just nine months old this June. It was this time last summer when we stumbled upon the idea of ReMadeIt, and look how far we’ve come. So without further delay I’ll stop gloating and let you know how we did it.

In our last update we spoke about how we had three main things to cover. First up, the right arm was in pretty bad shape with a large crack down the middle. After some careful inspection, it turned out just a little bit of wood glue and some clamping was all we needed. A collective ‘phew’ and we’re on our way to tackling the next thing – a large hole where the cushion straps used to be.

To be honest, I thought ‘d have this done in a flash. I mean, how hard can strapping upholstery webbing to the chair be, right? Well how wrong I was. It turned out that you needed the hands of a five year old to get in between the frame to staple it down. After much cursing and two tea breaks to de-stress it finally came together. Thankfully all I then had to do was paint the chair. The upholstery is Anna’s bag.

 

To re-upholster the chair we adopted the same method used in our previous story – a lovely chair for two. This involves carefully laying out the old fabric pieces and using them as a template for the new fabric. A top tip is to not undercut, you’ll need to do a fair amount of stretching. Better to have too much which you can just trim off afterwards.

We seemed to be sailing through this until the discovery of a very sad looking cushion. It’d clearly had some mileage and perhaps a rather large previous owner. No problem for Anna, who managed to carve a new one with nothing but a square of foam and a very sharp bread knife. Yes a bread knife, in fact my new bread knife which has now been renamed the cushion knife.

 

Finally to finish we have discovered something brilliant, decorative nail strips. Now I know this does not sound that exciting, but with just a few taps of the hammer we were done. Who needs a fiddly trim eh! Anyway, we finished just in time for the new house move and our new throne sits proudly in our new home.

A New Throne for a New Home

We’ve got so much catching up to do. You see, we’ve just moved to sunny Hove and are very much overdue a chat on some of the cool stuff we’ve been making. The thing about moving is most of your stuff doesn’t fit anymore. That kitchen table we loved so much is too large, what do we do with Anna’s sewing machine, where did we manage to hide so many pairs of shoes? Oh, and we need a new chair.

But here at ReMadeIt we can’t just pop off to the latest DFS sale (which is always on by the way) to get a new chair. Oh no, we need to make or restore one. So off we set to find a chair. The only problem is we’ve had a bit of rain recently, actually who am I kidding? The rain has been relentless. I’ve been moping around Brighton all week, wet and cold while Anna drags me into countless second hand shops, markets and boot fairs looking for this elusive chair.

 

We found a 50’s style sofa, but that was deemed too large. Then there was the Ercol chair near Preston Park, but that required all of our life savings. We’d almost given up hope, only to discover a diamond in the rough round the back of the North Lanes. To be fair, the bloke who owned the shop looked pretty miserable standing in the rain, so it was no trouble at all bargaining him down to £20. Then came our next problem, how do you get this monster into the back of a mini? We squeezed here, nudged there and even tried a make shift roof rack. A short cab home later pushed the chair price up to £30. Still a bargain.

So that’s the good news. The bad news? The chair has seen much better days.  Oh, I know there are those of you out there chuckling, thinking not such a bargain now eh! But I’m telling you this is going to look brilliant when we are done with it. I’m not going to lie, we were slightly terrified at the size of the task, we’d be moving in a couple of days and still had to pack, but I’m slightly warming to this chair.

First things first, we needed to strip the chair down. Cough, cough, cough we went as decades of dust flew into the air. Time to invest in a face mask and some goggles I think. Sadly there were no coins or lost lottery tickets like the Victorian chair, just a mountain of dust. Once down to the bare bones we quickly summed up there were three things we needed to do.

1)      Repair the arm which had a crack down the middle.

2)      Fix the hole in the bottom. A comedy chair is not what we’re after here.

3)      Get Anna to find some fancy fabric to reupholster it with.

After a bit of DIY woodworking on the arm we left it to dry and headed off into town to source some fabric.
Click here to see how the finished chair looked.

Project Toybox

As there is no casual way to say this, ahhem, let me just gloat about it: we’ve been commissioned to make a bespoke toy box!

Honestly, I’m not pulling your leg here. Remember that fairy tale toy box we made for some friends? You know, the one for a little boy’s second birthday. Well somebody saw it, loved it and asked us to make one just  for them. We were over the moon. That said, straight after being asked we started freaking out over the magnitude of the project.

So off we set to try and source a toy box or chest to upcycle and we sort of stumbled at the first hurdle. Normally, you would be falling over chests at boot fairs and second hand shops, but we couldn’t find a single one. Where were they all? Then we had a new idea. Why not just make one? Which is exactly what we did.

Making the box was fairly simple as I had my trusty Kreg Jig. I used red timber planks to make the sides, base and bottom. The Kreg Jig made joining them up really easy. I screwed them together and used a corner piece of wood for a clean finish. On a more scary level I used a router to give the top a nice rounded edge. Now when I say scary, I mean scary. It’s a sharp blade that spins like a helicopter and gives me visions of lost limbs. This router has been sitting in the shed for months while I plucked up the courage. I’m glad I faced my fears, it looked brilliant.

Next came the finish, which is where Anna got to work her magic. The brief was tricky as it needed to be quite personal to the birthday boy, have a link to family heritage and be something the little guy wants. Plus we had no idea what his room looked like, so we were winging it for a bit. Although saying that, we had some brilliant help from Stuart, who commisioned the piece, on getting the theme just right.

The plan was to build in the family crest of arms, so we all agreed on a medieval theme. So Anna set about cutting and designing the various character templates…knights, dragons and various medieval type things. At first Anna tried these with card, but didn’t get the crisp finish we needed, so moved onto acetate for the templates. It sounds like a lot of work but the finish with acetate was so much stronger.

Beyond that, it was really simple. Gently sponging on the templates the creative story started to come together. We then hand-painted the name onto the top and side and got on with distressing the box for a worn finish. To finish we used beeswax to seal the artwork and preserve the wood. Job done!