We have always liked the look that a serve stand provides to a dining room. As you have probably seen at your local TJ Maxx or Marshalls, there are many options out there that may or may not work for the look you are going for. We decided to put a contemporary spin on the concept to provide an option that you can do yourself at home if you have the tools needed and are willing to take on the challenge. Another aspect that we like about this design is that you can use different wood species to better fit the exact style you are looking for.
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If you are like us, looking on Etsy or going to the store to browse things like serve stands can be an overwhelming task because there are so many options out there. Although we still love to window shop (let's be honest, who doesn't), we are now browsing to find inspiration for items that will make our home more inviting to guests while expressing the personalities of those that live in our home. Although it takes time, there is something about building heirloom-type items from your own hands. We hope that this blog post will give you the inspiration needed to try to build this design on your own. We can also build a serve stand to meet your desires if you feel that diving into a project like this is not something you are currently looking to do. Let us know if you need support or would like your own custom build.
Jointing and Planing Lumber
The cool thing about this project is that we were able to utilize some of our scrap walnut wood to create the chevron pattern in the center of the serve stand that was already planed down and ready to go. However, we did have to purchase some ash lumber from Wall's Lumber in Mayodan, North Carolina that needed to be jointed and planed. It is possible to buy lumber at a box store like Lowe's or Home Depot that has already gone through this process if you do not have a jointer or planer, but you will pay a premium for that lumber.
We start with putting the lumber through the jointer to create a smooth 90-degree edge on the lumber on two perpendicular sides. Depending on the lumber, this may take a few passes on each chosen side through the jointer to get the desired 90-degree edge.
We then planed down the lumber to a thickness slightly thicker than the thickness that we needed (thicker by around a 1/8") for the finished product; this allowed us to plane everything down one last time after everything was glued up. The planing process takes that rough-cut lumber and smooths it out so that the grain becomes apparent, making it ready for the next phase.
Although we already had a general idea of the overall design and dimensions that we wanted the serve stand to be prior to jointing and planing the ash lumber, we still had a little bit of planning to do to make sure we understood how the walnut would be put together in the center of two ash pieces to form the chevron pattern. We have found that not everything goes as planned (we have a long list of projects that haven't gone as planned), but spending quality time on this phase is important to mitigate those unplanned issues that will arise in just about every project.
Cutting Small Pieces to Size
After our initial major planning phase, we were ready to start cutting our left-over walnut into smaller pieces to form the chevron pattern. We used our miter saw to cut individual pieces at a 45-degree angle on each side of the walnut and used a stop to make sure we had consistent cuts each time. We then put all of the walnut pieces together in between the two pieces of ash to ensure no further adjustments were needed before the glue-up phase.
One thing we realized later on is that we could have done a standard glue up with boards side-by-side and at the length we wanted. Then, we could have set up a jig on the table saw to cut the 45 degree angles. This way might have been easier, but we chose to cut individual pieces because we had various sizes of scraps that we need to make consistent in the end.
Gluing Up Phase
After we finished cutting all of the pieces to size, we were ready to start gluing everything together. We did this in three steps.
In the first steps, we started gluing the pieces related to each level of the chevron pattern together using corner clamps.
In the second step, we used small clutch clamps and a 50" parallel clamp to glue all of the walnut pieces together to form the chevron pattern. The clutch clamps were used on the sides of the chevron pattern to keep everything clamped together tightly horizontally. The 50" parallel clamp was used to clamp the chevron pattern vertically so that all of the pieces were clamped tightly together to form a single piece.
We also used a DIY miter clamp that the point of the chevron pattern fit into so that the 50" parallel clamp could effectively tighten everything together. Additionally, we wrapped two smaller pieces of wood with wax paper (so that the boards do not stick to the chevron piece) and placed them on the sides of the chevron piece so that the clutch clamps could clamp down properly.
The chevron glue up had some rough edges and glue drips, so we ran it through the jointer, planer, and table saw to clean it up.
The last step of the glue-up phase is to glue the now single chevron piece to the two ash pieces. We used a combination of clutch clamps and 24" parallel clamps to make sure we had clamped everything together sufficiently. The clutch clamps were used with pieces of wood running across the entire piece to put downward pressure on the piece to prevent the separate pieces from rising higher than the other pieces. We also used 24" parallel clamps to keep the separate pieces tight together during the gluing process.
Final Planing and Cut Down
After the gluing process was completed, we used our miter saw to cut the serve table to length and our table saw to cut the serve table width. Then we ran the entire piece through the planer to get a smooth and consistent depth. We then sanded the piece with our orbital sander to take out any left-over imperfections, such as burn marks.
Once the four legs were cut, we used glue and clamp to hold them securely to the board. We let these sit overnight to help with drying and stability. Then, we used a sanding progression to work through the entire piece. This helped us prepare for a very smooth finishing process next.
Josh and Sydney are life adventurers that love to learn and create. We are exact opposites and enjoy gaining new perspective. Our home is where our varying personalities shine, and we use it to gather our friends and family together.