Monday, November 5, 2018

Upcycled ottoman from vintage parts

How many times have you seen that worn out table, chair, or bookshelf, and thought "with a little paint, new hardware, it could be so awesome"... But what do you do when you have an amazing piece that's simply beyond repair? Why not re-purpose those salvaged parts for something completely new!

When I found this jenny lind chair it had already been mostly dismantled, but I fell in love with the classic curves immediately! So I gathered what I could in a box knowing that one day I would have the perfect project... and here's how it all came together ;D

A few of my favorite things
After a little design research, I came across a few designs that I loved... they incorporated the bobbin style spindles, but paired with a squared section. I can only guess that they had been turned this way out of one piece of wood, but that didn't mean I couldn't work a little magic with the parts I had. I'd also been admiring the look of some vintage wooden benches that used an "I" bar to support the entire piece, keeping everything square without getting in the way. And of course, I knew that a woven rush top would just be the perfect icing on the cake. So there it is, my new favorite ottoman design is complete!

Putting it all together
Building the frame for the ottoman came down to lots of planning and a little trial and error... Knowing I only had a limited amount of materials to work with (without the ability to get more of the jenny lind spindles) I did several drawings with detailed measurements before cutting into anything. First step was to create the four legs. Each one was made up of a 3" length of 2x2 poplar, an 8 inch spindle section, another 3" length of 2x2 poplar, and a 1" spindle section as a foot. Using a doweling jig, drilling centered holes in the top and bottom of each piece is easy (but time consuming). The only thing left is to assemble, peg, and glue.

Next is the "I" bar, made up of 2 short sides and one long center piece. These measures determine the width and length of the overall ottoman. I'm going for 15" wide, and 18" long overall, but the spindles and 2x2 are actually 1.5" wide so accounting for that depth, the measures are as follows... short pieces 3" spindle, 3" 2x2 section, 3" spindle. The long piece is simply one 15" length of spindle. Assemble and glue the short pieces just as the legs; drill holes in the top and bottom center of each piece, peg, and glue.

Now that the parts are ready, it's time to connect the short sections of the "I" bars to the legs. These pieces fit perpendicular to the legs, so we'll drill a peg hole in the lower square section of each leg, and insert the short section of the "I" bar to connect two legs. At the same time, we can take the same steps to add a 12 inch section of dowel connecting the top section of the legs. This part won't be seen, but will be the part that the rush seat is woven around.

OK, now we have two sets of legs that need to be connected. They'll be connected by 3 parts: two 15 inch dowels at the top to support the woven rush, and the long section of the "I" bar at the bottom. Start by drilling holes and connecting the top pieces with pegs and glue. Once that's done, add the long section of the "I" bar by drilling dowel holes in the inner center (square) piece of the short "I" bar sections, peg and glue. That's the frame assembly complete!

Finishing touches

With the frame assembled, it's ready for sanding and painting. No tips here, just a really good arm workout! I prefer to use spray paint for the speed and smooth finish, but brush painting is also an option. I love how the gloss black looks on this style of furniture...
Lastly, I'm using fiber rush (which is actually a paper product) to weave the top. If you've caught my other furniture projects you know I'm a big fan of rush stools/chairs. There are lots of great resources out there on how to weave a rush seat... so I won't cover that here. But I will share my final piece!

Now available in my etsy shop!

OK, that's all for now; on to the next project! Want to know what it is? Follow me on twitter or instagram for sneak peeks and updates! If you're just looking for DIY inspiration, stayed tuned @ for more on my DIY projects through the year! And if you're looking to get some of the items you've seen here on my blog, on twitter, or on my boards, just head over to my etsy shop!

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