Creating a Rustic Barn Wood Coffee Table

I often find fabulous wooden boxes with vintage advertising on them but no lids. I had always wanted to try making a barn wood top, but didn’t have the tools to make them.

For this project you need a Mitre saw, a planer, electric sander and a drill. (You can get away with not planing, but will have to be more selective with your boards and do a lot more sanding. My very first barn wood table was done this way – all I had was a jig saw and a mouse sander.)

I had a pile of 60 year old barn wood and started by cutting them down to size with my Dewalt Mitre Saw (you can also use a Dewalt table saw).

While these boards came from the same building and were all siding, they had slightly different thicknesses that I had to even out. With the Dewalt planer, the idea is to slowly shave off layers little by little. However, for this piece, I wanted to achieve a more rough look rather than completely smooth, so I planed the top to the roughness I wanted, and then planed the underside as much as I needed to achieve even thickness for all 4 boards. I then used my Dewalt 5″ orbital sander 120 grit to clean up the sides and other splintery spots.

The beauty of barn wood is its uniqueness and perfectly aged look. But along with that, especially when making a table top that is still a little rough is that your table top is not completely smooth nor the boards joined up perfectly. There may be gaps and slight thickness variances. But I feel it’s a lot easier to work “for” the barn wood rather that make the barn wood work for you. Embrace its ambiguity and uneven parts!

You can tell more of those uneven areas and decide what to do with them better once you have joined your pieces together on the back. I numbered my pieces because I had to put them away one night and didn’t want to try and remember how they best fit together the next day. I found some basic scrap wood pieces and cut 4 down to size using my mitre saw again.  I cut the pieces slightly smaller than the width of the box. I also used bar clamps on each end to hold the pieces together while I was attaching the wood.

Drilling pilot holes definitely helps the screws to go in better.


Once attached I figured out where the most uneven parts of the table top were and I decided to pull the one off I felt was the worst and passed it through the planer 2 more times. I could have sanded it but it would have taken longer and would have taken away the roughness I had worked to keep. Sometimes extra, unplanned steps are what’s needed and it’s how I learn for the next time. Next time I will be more precise in getting the thicknesses equal.


I decided to use the “natural” color stain because I liked the look of the wood already and didn’t want to change the color.

Then I applied several coats of clear lacquer. Be sure to use a respirator in a well ventilated area!

The “floor” of the bread box was thin and not very sturdy to hold table legs, as the table top and box weight 30 lbs each. So I cut scrap wood and attached them to the bottom with corner braces and mending plates. This was a little difficult as some of the wood underneath was deteriorated due to its age. The scrap wood also did not line up evenly with the wood on the box so I used washers on the under side of the mending plates to make it even heights.

The last thing I did to the underside of this box was “repair” the deteriorated wood in the one underside corner with clear resin. This seals the area in case the dry rot would spread.

Stella can barely contain her excitement in showing you the finished product! This item is available for purchase, local pick up or delivery only. Contact me for details!

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Antique Coffee Box End Table

Buy this vintage end table, now available in my shop!

I found this amazing, antique Dwinnel-Wright shipping crate with 2 unique paper labels that were in great condition despite the 1906 date on it!

This box was a perfect candidate for a rustic end table with storage, but needed a lot of repair work and I needed to preserve those paper labels. I use Mod Podge to preserve vintage paper labels. I use a paintbrush to gently apply the Mod Podge. Use a throwaway brush as the glue doesn’t wash out well. It looks scary at first but dries clear and helps preserve the label from further flaking.

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How to Make Vintage Christmas Centerpieces

Last Christmas I made some fabulous Christmas planters with vintage kitchen utensils. I decided to try some this year with some different vintage items.

I found these amazing vintage tins and thought they would look just as great as Christmas centerpieces! I just love the red and green pop of color and the graphics! (These vintage Christmas centerpieces are available now in my shop!)


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Rescuing a Piece of History

Have you ever had one of those moments in life when you wanted to be a blessing to someone but in the process you actually felt like you were the one that was blessed? That’s how it happened in this story. It actually almost didn’t happen except for what I believe was “divine intervention”.

My husband and I decided we wanted to buy an antique cash register. We just loved the artistry and the detailed craftsmanship. We found one on Craig’s List and made arrangements to meet and purchase it. Only to find out when we arrived that the seller had already sold it to someone else who had come earlier. At the moment we were angry at the injustice, but turned back to Craig’s List in search of another.

Enter our friend into the story. A dear friend we would have never met had we not been double crossed by a creeper on Craig’s List. As it turned out, our friend worked his whole life for National Cash Register Company, as a cash register repairman. And as a side business, also restored and sold these beautiful registers. At one point in his career, he had an inventory of 900 antique cash registers.


Our very first cash register

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Easy to Make Vintage Christmas Wreaths

These vintage Christmas wreaths are available now in my shop!

I have always loved this gorgeous, red metal go cart wheel. I’ve had it for quite awhile and although it’s a great architectural salvage piece as is, it occurred to me that it would look amazing as a Christmas wreath! And actually, you can make these fabulous farmhouse Christmas wreaths with just about any vintage wagon wheel.

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How to Display Vintage Paper Advertisements

I’ve always loved picking vintage advertising, but the signs can often be so expensive. I recently found these vintage paper advertisements taken from newspapers and magazines and had an idea about how to display them on the wall, given that their odd sizes make it hard to frame. Besides, I like this rustic idea better!

I decided I would attach them with mod podge on a rustic piece of wood. Now, it would be so easy to just grab a pre-made, blank, vintage-inspired wooden sign from the craft store (which you can do!).

However, other than greenery/floral and drawer hardware, I prefer to work with authentic vintage materials only.

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How to Re-purpose Sewing Machine Drawers into a Table

[buy this barn wood table now in my shop!]

Sometimes you find a sewing machine that cannot be saved, but still has some good parts to it! That’s what happened with this set of sewing machine drawers. I had seen in these in the past be re-purposed into a table.

The woodwork on these drawers is incredible. I imagined putting some sort of table top on it (the one pictured is from the sewing machine but not salvageable) and table legs on the underside. I found the perfect set of hairpin legs with L brackets that fit perfectly.

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