Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Four years ago I made an amazing Ikea hack. Using the Besta storage system, I made a beautiful, not-Ikea-looking fauxdenza that I hung on our dining room wall.

Well, now that we don’t have that dining room wall anymore, I had to come up with a way to keep our beautiful fauxdenza. My solution? Legs.

Inspiration

But what exactly should it look like? What kind of legs should I get? What should the thickness be?

I spent a lot of time researching other credenzas to see how I could design something that would look as amazing as my hanging fauxdenza. I eventually came across a couple of examples that were similar to what I had in my head.

Design

I decided that I wanted to add a piece of wood to the bottom of the current fauxdenza and add steel legs (like the ones in the left photo above). But I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about getting a pair of steel legs made.

I looked to Etsy but came across options that were either extremely overpriced ($300+) or the sellers were non-responsive and difficult to work with to land on a specific design. So, in my natural fashion, I decided that if I wanted something specific, I’d have to make it myself.

My father assured me that he could weld something fairly easily. Skeptically, I agreed. I mean, I didn’t really have another plan anyways.

Adding a Bottom Piece

Before I started on the legs, I had to modify the existing fauxdenza so that I had a piece of wood on the bottom. Luckily I had some leftover birch plywood that I could cut to size.

Just like with my first run at making the credenza, I started by applying veneer to the end of the plywood. Luckily I had enough leftover from the original project.

When I tested the fauxdenza on my newly cut piece of wood, I had two problems.

I’m not sure how I did it exactly, but when I cut the wood, I made the piece so it wasn’t deep enough. It wasn’t a big deal because I could line up the front and the gap would be at the back, but I knew seeing the gap from the side would drive me nuts. So my solution (which is brilliant, thank you very much) was to cut a small piece of wood for either side and then veneer over the seams so you wouldn’t know I put two pieces together. See? Brilliant.

The second problem was that I had trouble getting the doors open. They were catching on the new piece of wood because there wasn’t enough of a gap. So, I had to come up with a way to shim the wood a bit. My solution was to apply a couple of rows of veneer. It was thin but just thick enough to make the gap I needed. Plus, it was easy to apply.

I then stained the wood and applied a finish before attaching it to the fauxdenza. When I went to use the stain, it had completely dried out. I luckily found some at our trusty paint store (where we originally bought it). It’s really toxic stuff so they actually told me they didn’t know what I was talking about when I called to see if they had any. It wasn’t until I physically went in and explained that I bought it there before and needed a new jar to match my old stain that they magically found some in the back. Whatever. I have my stain.

I’ve warned of this before, but stained-soaked rags should be soaked in water and then thrown in an outside garbage because it was spontaneously combust.

Like last time, the stain worked well and I had a perfectly matching piece of wood!

I didn’t attach the bottom piece until after my legs were finished because I had yet to figure out how the bottom piece would attach to the steel legs. I wanted to keep my options open, and I’m glad I did.

Making Steel Furniture Legs

As I mentioned, I couldn’t find the perfect legs for my fauxdenza, so I decided to make them myself.

I don’t know much about steel, but there’s actually quite a few options. We first looked at our options at Home Depot, but were fairly disappointed. They had hollow square steel, but limited in length. Also, it’s pretty expensive…

I then got on the internet to find a place in Toronto that sold steel and was open on the weekend. I found this brilliant little place in Etobicoke called Metal Supermarkets. First of all, how great is that name? Second, they had a tonne of options.

We didn’t buy any when we first went, but regrouped and made sure I knew exactly what I needed. I also needed to decide what thickness I wanted. I decided to get 3/4″ square pieces so that they were the exact same width as the plywood.

I also decided to buy the solid steel bars instead of the hollow ones. The benefit of the solid steel is that it’s easier to weld. We’d have had to fill in the hollow square and it likely wouldn’t have been a nice clean edge. However, solid steel is heavy. It’s not so heavy my floors are going to cave in, but this thing isn’t going to move. The benefit of the weight is that it’s less likely to tip over. So win win?

I eventually went back and bought steel and had them cut to size. I was most stressed about this step. I didn’t have a saw that would cut the pieces at home, and my history of bad measuring made me very nervous. Also, just because I had the measurements right didn’t mean that they would cut them as precisely as I needed them cut.

But it actually all worked out. The guy I dealt with was super helpful and took the time to cut the pieces for me, even though I had a measly $60 order.

I borrowed a welder and mask from my contractor and my dad and I went to work on making the steel legs. His job was to weld everything together, and my job was to supervise and make sure that it was done exactly right.

We started by testing the pieces to make sure that they were all the right size. By some miracle, they fit perfectly against the bottom piece of wood.

My dad spent the afternoon welding. I couldn’t really watch since it’s dangerous to look at the welder without a mask, but I watched as he ground off the excess steel.

When the legs were fully assembled, we then added four plate for the wood piece to be screwed into.

I then brought it home to paint and assemble to the fauxdenza.

I spray painted the entire piece with a primer spray paint (specifically for metal) and then moved on to a white spray paint. It took a few coats, and I had to keep flipping it to get all the different sides and crevices.

When it was finally done, I left the legs to cure for a few days to make sure that the paint wouldn’t chip or stick.

Final Assembly

I started the final assembly by screwing the bottom wood pieces into the steel legs using the 4 plates we added. I drilled some pilot holes to make sure that the wood didn’t split.

After the bottom wood piece was attached to the legs, I then attached the fauxdenza to the bottom piece. I’m so happy I waited to attach the bottom piece until I knew how I was going to assemble everything.

I took off the doors and used the existing holes in the Besta along the sides of the unit. Since I’m using this to store dishes, I wanted to make sure that any screws were off to the side and wouldn’t interfere with what was inside.

Screwing into the bottom piece wasn’t easy because it was awkward to reach into the unit. After an hour or so of patient tightening of screws, we finally had the unit attached to the bottom piece and legs.

I reattached the doors and then spent quite a bit of time readjusting the doors until they were perfectly aligned. They’re not perfect, honestly, but they’re as close as they’re going to get…

Cost

The original fauxdenza project cost me $450 between the Besta unit, the wood and the fixings. The only costs I had to make to turn it into free-standing furniture were the steel ($73) and the spray primer/paint ($9/each). Luckily I didn’t have to buy any additional wood or veneer, or rent a welder.

So for $550, I have a pretty expensive looking piece of furniture that I also proudly made myself!

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