DIY Solid Wood Block Table - Oh the possibilities!

Is it metal?  Is it wood?  All we know is it's awesome!

Alright, we'll admit it, this is one of those projects we thought would be ridiculously easy and when it's all said and done, it just wasn't.  Why not, you ask?  First, a quick backstory:

As you may already know, we adore The Washington School House Hotel, a small luxury boutique hotel in Park City, Utah.  While staying there for a Park City Wedding we fell in love with their coffee tables, which consisted of four silver blocks of wood.  See them in the middle?

Intrigued by the idea of what seemed like a pretty functional piece of furniture (side table, coffee table, or seat) we set off to find the maker.  These blocks are called the 47 Table from Design Within Reach and carry a hefty $1,200 price tag.  That's per block folks!

And thus, our idea was born.  We knew we wanted two of these blocks for our house and that there was no way we could pay that much!  We found a few other blogs that discussed the topic, the most extensive list was at Remodelista by Alexa Hotz.  Here are some we like:

West Elm Natural Tree Stump Side Table for $199.

West Elm Natural Tree Stump Side Table for $199.

Terrain Woodgrain Garden Stool for $68.  Note that this isn't solid wood but a fiber clay cast.  Not quite as cool as the real thing but definitely easy on the budget!

Terrain Woodgrain Garden Stool for $68.  Note that this isn't solid wood but a fiber clay cast.  Not quite as cool as the real thing but definitely easy on the budget!

So that's the backstory!  The project, the mission, the goal --- DIY Solid Wood Block Table.  

Now as we mentioned, here's the bit about why this DIY wasn't as easy as we planned.  

1.  Wood is HEAVY!  To get these babies home, out of the car, into the garage, back into the car, into the workshop, into the paint booth, out of the paint booth to dry, back in for multiple coats, flipped over for other coats, back to the workshop for clear sealant, back in the car, into our house for pics...GET THE POINT YET?  These things have been our trainer, gym, workout video, for the past couple months!

2.  We did it right.  You will see from the list of how we set about this, we didn't skip any steps.  This included a full primer, paint, and finish on all 6 sides of each block.  We'll let you think about the logistics of the clear coat on the bottom of the block.  Seems easy in theory but not so easy when it comes down to it.

3.  Wood sucks up paint!  Oh yeah, and it sucks up primer, more paint, clear coat...these guys were thirsty!

All that said, we love these blocks!  We enjoyed the project and couldn't be more happy with the finished product.  They are shiny, smooth, and just perfect!

Enough disclaimers - here is what we did:

First, we called our local lumber yard and ordered a custom 8 foot beam of Douglass Fir cut into 4 pieces.  Total investment = $340.  

Once we got the wood into our workshop, we sanded all 6 sides of each block thoroughly with a radial sander.  The cut sides really needed some work!

After sanding, we applied a wash coat and a coat of gray spray primer.  We knew this would be messy so we made a paint booth in the workshop.  It worked awesome!

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Finally it was time to paint!  We used silver for two of the blocks and decided to try gold on the other two.  Each block took about 3 coats of paint, which was about 2 cans per block.  At approx $5 per can, total paint investment came to $40.  The toughest part was waiting for the coats to fully dry so we could flip the block over to get the top/bottom.

After all the paint had dried, we put about 5 coats of clear finish on each block.  We really wanted the cut sides to be smooth, which took more coats than originally expected.  

And that's it!  Final step -- take these babies everywhere we could to photograph their beauty!  

First up, the nursery:

The garage:

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The reading nook:

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And here are the silver blocks in the master sitting area:

Silver Wood Block Side Table
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And that's it!  What do you think?  Have you tried this?  Would you try this?

Note:  We kept the silver blocks because they are a nice contrast with our light wood floors.  The gold blocks are available for sale in our Etsy Store.