My grandfather is basically the quintessential “movie grandpa” that everyone wishes they had. He’s loving, warm, funny, and inappropriate in the way that only old men can get away with. He knows all the best swears and comes out with some of the greatest one-liners I’ve ever heard, which my family affectionately refer to as “Grampie-isms”. Growing up my parents never had to fight with us to go visit our grandparents — the fighting only started when it was time to go home. (True story: my youngest sister Emma used to throw straight up rages when Mom and Dad came to pick us up from Nan and Gramp’s after school. RAGES.)
Grampie is in the process of doing some redecorating and sprucing up the house, and
demanded asked me to make him a bookshelf for his living room. He gave me very precise and specific dimensions and also requested it be stained, not painted. (He is nothing if not particular.) I decided to go with a pallet-esque look using 1 x 4 strapping.
1 x 4 x 8 strapping (I got 11 boards at about $2 each)
Kreg Jig pockethole system and screws
Kreg right angle clamp
Trim and finishing nails (optional)
Hammer or brad nailer
You will need 19 pieces cut to 30″ long, three cut to 45″ long, and six cut to (roughly) 43″ long.
Six of the 30″ boards will form the sides of the shelf. I attached the side boards together using 1″ pocket holes, so I had two panels consisting of three boards each.
Next I attached the three 45″ pieces together for the top using 1″ pocket holes. This panel was then drilled onto the top of the two sides, again using pocket holes and my right angle clamp.
Once I had the two side panels and top put together, I worked my way across the back, attaching the remaining 30″ boards together with pocket holes on the top and bottom of each one. The last board had to be planed down a bit with the table saw so it would fit (about an inch or so) but it isn’t noticeable unless you’re reallllllly scrutinizing it.
Once I’d finished adding all the boards across the back, I drilled in the shelves (cut your boards at about 43″ — it doesn’t hurt to measure here just in case) and trimmed out the top using some basic pine trim and finishing nails. (This is optional, but I wanted to hide the seam on the ends to give it a more ‘finished’ look.) Make sure you use a level when installing the shelves. I *ahem* tried to eyeball it the first time and did I ever shit the bed! Tee hee!
I filled some of the more obvious pocket holes with wood filler and then went to sleep.
The next morning I dragged all the stain I own out into the driveway, along with the shelf and my sander. I sanded off all the stamping and any super rough areas but didn’t get too fussy with it. It’s supposed to be “rustic”, and there is only so much you can do with strapping. I wiped down the dust and went to town with the stain.
I used a ton of different Minwax shades (Ebony, Dark Walnut, Early American, Classic Gray, Puritan Pine) and just kind of played around with them, layering some, trying to make it look as ‘reclaimy’ as I could. It took quite a while to do the entire shelf, but by this time a group of slack-jawed locals had gathered to watch and keep me company.
I let it dry over night and then sprayed it with two coats of Poly. All ready to be delivered to Gramp!
This was a bargain project and I think my stain experimentation was a success. It looks like this shelf has been left outside on someone’s porch to rot for the past 15 years, which was just the vibe I was going for! All together I spent about $30 and it came together in a weekend. Gramp already has it set up in his living room with all the family photos (including a 5 x 7 of yours truly sporting a horrendous page-boy haircut). I think that means he likes it.