RM Blog Inside, Out11/23/2010

Hands On with Amy Devers: Two Night Stands

Hey Amy,

I’m in dire need of two nightstands, but I can’t find anything that I really like. I want something rough-hewn with a modern twist (like hairpin legs under a wood plank or something). Do you have any tips on the best salvaged wood to use, where to find good legs, and/or how to attach the two?

OK, let’s start with where to find good legs, because you really should scout out your hairpins first, (try HairpinLegs.com  or HipHaven.com) but do NOT order them until you find your wood. Why, you ask? Because reclaimed wood comes in a slew of sizes and personalities. Even if you know who you have a crush on, you may fall in love with someone entirely different once you get to the prom. Or you may decide to go to the prom alone in a pink dress you sewed yourself, only to rekindle an old flame to a soundtrack of OMD. Regardless, you’ll want to have your leg options in mind while searching for your wood, but you don’t want to commit to a leg height until you find your wooden true love.

There is no best kind of salvaged wood to use. To me the beauty is in the story of its past life, and in your quest to find it. You said rough-hewn, so maybe you want to track down some old barn wood. Of the beams, floor boards, and wall planks used to build barns, I think salvaged wall planks would be best suited for nightstands. Or if you want something with more mass, you might be interested in used railroad ties. With hairpins, old gymnasium floor boards with visible paint markings could be beautiful, too. There are online sources for reclaimed wood, but it may be worth it for you to do a local search (scan Craigslist, eBay, Recycle.net, and call up local demolition services for leads) so you can meet your boards in person first, you know, to find out if you have chemistry.

Attaching the two is just a matter of placement and the right screws. I think it looks best when the footprint of the hairpins is set in a bit from the edges of the piece. Use #10 pan head screws, the length will be determined by the thickness of your wood. Pilot your holes first by marking them and pre-drilling with a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the diameter of your screws. Drive in the screws to mount the legs, flip them over, and enjoy your two nightstands (that will hopefully evolve into a long-term relationship.) And remember this, if James Spader tries to tell you that they’re trash, it’s only because he’s jealous. Cue the Psychedelic Furs….



[Image via HOMME]