Thursday, August 9, 2012

Vintage Stair Spindle Projects: Small Side Table

Okay, so if you're at all like me, you go to vintage shows or shops selling architectural pieces and you see bins of turned spindles and legs with old paint and you just have to have them even though you have no idea what you'll do with them....sound familiar?

I know you're out there....well, here's one obvious idea that's a pretty quick simple project.

1.  First, assemble your collection of spindles and find four that match.  I chose four spindles that had at least 4 or 5 inches of square at one end to attach the table skirting.

2.  Trim the chosen four to equal lengths.  Since my spindles were going to be legs, I trimmed the bottom square part of the spindle completely off so it would look like a leg.

3.  I  liked the blue color and decided to keep it; but the spindles needed to be cleaned up.  I sanded them a bit to expose a little of the original white primer and natural wood.  Then I used Fiddes Supreme Wax for a quick easy finish.

4.  I dug through my scrap pile for some table skirting.  Obviously, I chose the legs and skirting on the left.  When I'm photographing, I don't always know what I'll be using to finish my project...after all, I'm just winging it!

5.  When using scrap wood, the length of your boards pretty much determines the size of your table.  I cut two longer pieces and two shorter so that my table would be rectangle.  Considering the length of my scrap, if I had cut four equal pieces I would have ended up with more of a plant stand.

6.  When I'm using salvaged materials for a project and decide to leave some parts their original color (in this case, the legs), I don't try to match the paint.  Instead, I just embrace the differences.  It's makes it look intentional instead of trying to match and miss.  One trick to pulling it all together is to finish all the pieces using the same technique.  With this in mind, I slightly sanded my white skirting boards and waxed them with the same Fiddes Supreme Wax.

7.  Time to pull out one of my favorite tools, the Kreg Jig.  I simply adjust the collar on the drill bit depending on the thickness of the wood.  This will ensure the hole is at the correct depth.

8.  Then just clamp the piece of wood into the jig and drill two holes on each end to attach the skirting to the leg.  I also drill several holes along the top edge to attach the table top from underneath.

9.  If you don't have a Kreg Jig, you can always drill holes in the skirt ends and  legs.  Then dowel and glue the base together.   If you're a project person like me, a Kreg Jig is well worth the investment!

10.  When I attach the skirt to the leg, I use a stir stick or some scrap that's about 1/8"-1/4" thick and set that under my skirt wood as a guide so that the skirting is set back from the edge of the leg and will be consistent on each attachment.  It's much easier than measuring and then trying to keep it there while screwing the joint.  Add a little wood glue to the end before screwing for  a nice strong joint.

11.  Once the base is together,  I can determine the size top I need.  I cut a piece of scrap shelving that happened to be the right width and then used my router to give it a nice finished edge.  If you don't have a router you can simply sand the edge to the desired softness.

12.  I waxed the top with Fiddes Supreme Wax in Rugger Brown to tie my three different colored parts together.

13.  Then, to attach the top to the base, simply add a little wood glue to the top edge of the base and screw the top on from underneath where the holes were pre-drilled in the skirting.

...and there you have it.  A cute little side table made from stair spindles and scrap wood. time....a less obvious project using the same vintage stair spindles...since I have four more:)


  1. That is a great looking table! Love the color and construction.
    Smiles, alice

    1. Thank you, Alice! I recognize you from JMS. So nice to see you following. I've only been at this a couple of weeks so I can use all the encouragement I can get....and feedback is always helpful.


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