To build my Rustic X coffee table I went about it as cheap as I could. I found all of my wood either through crap piles at lumber yards or from free wood piles on craigslist. The interesting part was trying to find the pieces for the top which I had to improvise with the two 2x3 pieces in the middle of the four 2x6's also instead of using the two 1x42x12 pieces for the bottom shelf I could not find what was asked for so I used a few 1x4's which worked out great. The only other change I made to the plans was to change how the X's attached to the main frame. The original plans wanted the X's to butt up against the sides while I cut them to be flush with the top and bottom of the frame.
The only things that I purchased were the bracers, steel wool and vinegar and tea for the stain, and the screws. The only tools I own are a measuring tape and a pencil, luckily I have a friend with a full woodshop who helped me out. I followed the instructions on http://thefriendlyhome.blogspot.com/2012/07/how-to-oxidize-wood.html to make the stain. I left a wad of steel wool in white vinegar (about 2/3 of a pasta sauce jar full) for about 5 weeks. After all the cuts had been made and the table put together I sanded it by hand and then stained it. After the stain had dried I waxed the surface with Minwax paste finishing wax. I would love to enjoy my table but for lack of room in my 160 foot dorm room I've had to leave it in a friends apartment for now.
That table looks great! I agree, any imperfections in the table just add to the rustic look. And it doesn't get any better than free. :)
Your coffee table looks awesome, and it's so great that you were able to get free/cheap lumber. I wanted to share a little info that I learned about the vinegar stain. I used it on a picture frame and wanted a little more weathered look. I had read that lemon juice will reverse the oxidation, and sure enough, it did just that. I ended up with a beautiful frame with streaks of natural wood through it, where I brushed on some lemon juice. Perhaps your brother and friend spilled lemonade or other citrus drink that reversed the oxidation.
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