You can never have enough storage space in your home, and few things are better for storage than rolling shelves. You can move them anywhere and they look great! In this article, I’ll walk you through a fun build to make the perfect rolling hall table.
First of all, let me say that I can’t take credit for this design. I got the idea for this table from a Pinterest page run by Infarrantly Creative. You can see their original post here. I did modify my design a little from theirs, and I think for me it worked out great.
The first step was to cut out all of the wood. I finished this project before I bought my new DeWalt miter saw (which I reviewed here), so I was still using my old Chicago Electric (read “cheap”) saw. This made it even more important to help myself be as accurate as possible when cutting the pieces. This project uses a lot of pieces of 2×4, so the key is to get them to all line up. Use stop blocks on your miter saw or table saw sled to help you with this. Just set a block of wood so that you have the correct length of board and then repeat the cut as many times as you need. Plan out your cuts and boards so that you maximize your square inches of lumber. It doesn’t make sense to cut a board an extra time and then realize that you could have used it long instead. Plus it costs money and time to go back to the store for more lumber.
After I cut all of the pieces I needed from the 2×4’s, I laid out the three shelves. I changed the layout of my shelves slightly from the original design and needed to make an extra cut on the table saw to rip down a 2×4 on the edge, but the overall sizes of the shelves are the same. There was no technical reason I did it this way, I just decided to make one shelf different for a different look.
The next step was to screw the boards together. You can use wood glue to hold them and I suspect it would be strong enough, but only if you can get very straight 2×4 boards pressed tightly against each other so that the wood is not pulling out against the joint. This is difficult to do with regular 2×4’s since they are not known for their straightness and easy jointing. Plus this is more of a rustic piece so I think seeing the seams between the boards adds to the looks in this case. So, the best way I could find to make the shelves was using pocket screws.
Before we go on, let’s get acquainted with pocket screws. The idea is not new: drive a screw in at an angle to hold two boards together and keep the screw hidden. I remember growing up we did this with nails and screws sometimes when it was impossible to drive it in from the outside of a board or wall. It’s handy and strong. Pocket screws have taken this idea to a new level. I’ll do a different article all about them in the future, but basically there is a family of jigs made by the Kreg tool company (not a sponsor but they make a lot of really cool stuff) and the sole purpose of these jigs is to make easy angled holes for a specialized screw to go into. The jigs clamp on the workpiece and you just use a regular drill in a guided hole on the jig to create the hole. Afterwards, the screw is inserted just following the hole and no one is any the wiser. There are some structural drawbacks that could come up from using pocket screws but often they are a really handy and fast way to join parts of furniture or other projects.
The website where I found this design has a great diagram for how they suggest to drill the pocket holes. If you have the Kreg Mini Jig (only one hole) like I do, this takes an unseemly amount of time. It’s not hard and it’s very accurate, but it’s not a job for someone who wants to be done in 20 minutes. Take a look at that picture above. Each arrow is a pocket hole. Multiply that by three shelves and you get…worn out. But if you stick with it you will have a very strong and very repeatable shelf, and that’s important when you want to make something that looks uniform.
I did the shelves first when I built this table because I knew they would take the longest and I figured if I was going to mess up anywhere it would be on one of the many cuts for the shelves. I used clamps to hold the parts together tightly as I inserted the screws. This helped the boards to stay straight and avoid any bowing they might have naturally had. The shelves turned out fine and I moved on to the sides. The sides, though they’re still using pocket holes, were basically just rectangles and much easier to make. Make sure that your table is tall enough for what you want during this stage, and make sure that you include the height for the wheels in that calculation.
When all three shelves and the two sides were assembled, I put them all together. Because of the prodigious use of pocket holes, it was very simple to screw together. In some ways it reminded me of assembling furniture from, say, a Swedish furniture and home store where one might also purchase meatballs. Use a level to make sure that your sides and top are straight. When you’re putting in the middle shelf, decide how high you want it and find blocks of wood to put under it as a kind of stop block. I put my shelf in the middle of the sides but you could easily put it somewhere else. I set the scrap 2×4 pieces standing up from the bottom shelf and then just set the middle shelf on top of them to make sure that it was at the same level all around. This is another time when clamps can come in handy just to hold the parts together while you work.
When the whole wooden part of the table is assembled, it is time to move on to the staining process. I did this before I added any hardware, including the wheels, because it was just easier to stain it first and not have to worry about being too tidy around the metal parts. When I stained it, I started from the top and worked my way down. This way if any extra stain dripped down it would land on something I needed to stain anyway. Don’t forget to get the underside of the shelves and take your time in the corners. Always check for drops of stain running down the sides and make sure to clean them up before they dry.
I have to admit, I did not stain the very bottom of the table. I knew I was just going to use this table in my house so no one would see the bottom. I have heard that if you stain one side of something you should stain the other side to prevent moisture from coming out of the wood unevenly. This can lead to warping and twisting. However, I haven’t seen any issue with that yet and those pocket screws are clamped down pretty tight. I’m considering it an experiment.
After the stain was dry (I only used two coats, by the way), I turned the table on its side and installed the wheels. Two of my wheels pivot and two of them don’t. This is just a preference of mine because it makes it easy to steer but also not too easy to move where it rolls any direction it’s accidentally bumped in. I measured the length of the bottom shelf and then measured in a short distance from the edges on all four corners. I placed the wheels carefully, holding them with my hand while marking the screw holes with a pencil, and then pre-drilled the holes. Pre-drill holes whenever possible to help prevent tearout around the edges of the holes. I went back after drilling the holes and used my impact driver to put in the screws. Impact drivers are nice because they have a limited amount of torque so when they meet too much resistance from the screw being tight they simply stop turning. I have never stripped or broken a screw when putting it in with the impact driver. If you don’t have one of these you could do a similar job by using an adjustable drill with the torque set fairly low.
When the wheels were on I flipped the table right-side-up and started on the aesthetic hardware. The angle iron pieces on the top corners are not structural at all, they only add to the rustic look. In fact, the Infarrantly Creative website suggests that you use a wire brush or sandpaper to make them look even more rustic. I didn’t go that far, but I did install them using silver push pins that are basically glorified thumb tacks. They’re generally used for upholstery but they worked great for this non-structural purpose. If you want to add this touch to your table, the angled metal pieces are at Lowes (and probably Home Depot) and the pins were from the craft store Michael’s. Both are pretty cheap and add a nice visual appeal to the table. Plus they could be spray painted to a different color or even texture to match different wood stains.
And that’s all there is to it! This wasn’t a difficult or expensive build, but it was a little tedious. With careful measurements and a little patience you can make your own gorgeous rustic hall table.
Thank you as always for reading my articles. If you got value from it, please click like and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. I’m always excited to hear from people who see my work so feel free to comment!