Office storage solution - large bespoke sideboard made from reclaimed & salvaged wood.

Office storage solution - large bespoke sideboard made from reclaimed & salvaged wood.

This particular build stemmed from a need for a better storage solution for my own office. It presented an opportunity to make what would be my largest furniture project, while also trying out some traditional cabinet construction techniques. 

Office room setting with a large custom madesideboard handmade from reclaimed cherry hardwood with a horse chestnut slab top and drawer fronts

The design element central to this sideboard was in the use of waney edge slab wood as a sort of outer skin, partially concealing and revealing contrasting painted elements beneath. The same slab wood was also to be used for a matching cabinet surface.

By constructing a traditional cabinet framework with inset  panels, I was able to combine different hardwood species to good effect and create a strong but relatively lighter weight cabinet.

The timber frame is constructed from some reclaimed cherry I spotted on one of my frequent visits to local wood recycling company, Glasgow Wood. 



About a year after finding the cherry hardwood, this particular build idea began to form but I knew I'd need some more material. I had this idea of using a combination of painted panels and natural timber to create a stunning visual effect; elevating what is essentially a very functional piece of furniture into a bold statement piece. Live or waney edge slab-wood was going to be the key design element.


The slab wood was sourced from a local timber merchant & sawmilling service who had recently acquired a sizeable horse chestnut tree following some damage in a storm. This timber tends to be very pale in colour and can have interesting grain marbling effects so I was hopeful this would be a good match for the cherry. You never know until the log is cut but straight of the bandsaw mill and it looked very promising...


horse chestnut slab straight of the bandsawmill

While waiting for the kiln to do its work and dry out my slabs, I got on with building the frame. By using a traditional cabinet construction method and joinery I was able to save significantly on both material and weight. Mortice and tenon joinery is used on the frames, with rebates cut to hold the loose fit 18mm plywood panels which were also reclaimed and salvaged from old built-in storage solution. 

This was my first attempt at hand-cut lapped dovetails, so a steep learning curve! These mechanical joints are used to secure the middle two panels at the top and bottom of each rail; this creates a super strong fixing even without glue and prevents the frame from spreading apart across its length. The assembled framework is 1650mm x 500mm x 500mm, and a supremely more efficient way of cabinetry compared with using solid hardwood panels.


Workshop setting showing the back and side of large bespoke sideboard being constructedClose up shot of hand-cut lapped dovetail detail on a sideboard frameWorkshop setting showing the back and side of large bespoke sideboard frame under constructed


Large custom sideboard assembly in progress with clamps being used

Following a successful test fit, it was all disassembled, the panels painted and then brought indoors where it was considerably warmer than my workshop, for the final assembly with glue and clamps.


Shot of plywood back panels on large sideboard in the process of being assembled



Some more plywood panels (5.5mm) leftover from another project provided just enough to make three back panels and then the drawer rail supports from the remaining cherry were added internally. Drawer boxes were quickly knocked together from 12mm plywood and painted to match.

The only thing purchased new for this project was the simple pressed-metal legs, and with these quickly attached directly to the frame it was time for a quick test fit in the room. Just one thing missing I've noticed...


Room setting with a large custom made sideboard with waney edge detail on the top and drawer fronts drawer handles or pulls (I quite liked the streamlined look), and in hindsight I could have installed 'push-to-open' drawer slides and maintained this look. However, I hadn't done that so a solution was needed and as the metal handles I'd initially considered didn't look right, I needed another solution.
In the end the answer came from the scrap-wood bin where I salvaged some of the waney edge offcuts from the slab and created these single piece wooden handles. I think these are a good fit aesthetically, completing the sideboard.
Close up of finished handmade sideboard
Overall I'm really pleased how this bespoke furniture build turned out and think it's a statement piece I can be really proud of. 
If you have need of a bespoke furniture piece or a custom storage requirement  for your home (of office) please contact me and I'll be happy to discuss.
Almost forgot, I made a matching slabwood 'floating' desk as well, but that will need to wait for another blogpost...
a floating office desk made from a waney edge chestnut slabwood
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