clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Nobody needs to know you didn't sweat over a lathe to make this graceful oak server: Just pick up turned furniture legs at the home center. A stain made from white vinegar and rusted steel wool, plus a wax finish, lends it rustic charm. Here's how it comes together.

Cut list to build a tray 11½ inches wide by 11½ inches deep by 20 inches tall:
½x12 oak for the top tray: one @ 8 inches, ripped and cut to an 8-inch square

½x12 oak for the middle tray: one @ 10 inches, ripped and cut to 10 inches wide

½x12 oak for the base tray: one @ 11 ½ inches, cut to 11 ½ inches long

1x2 oak for the feet: four @ 1 ½ inches

¼-by-¾-inch shelf-edge trim: Mitered to fit

Or download the cutlist here.

Step 1

Make the Trays

Photo by Mark Lund

On a miter saw, cut the ½x12 oak board into three square trays, one measuring 8 inches, one 10 inches, and one 11½ inches. Using a drill/driver fitted with a 5/16-inch bit, bore a hole through the center of each tray.

Step 2

Trim the Trays

Photo by Mark Lund

Mark and miter the edge trim to fit the perimeter of the trays. Apply alternating dabs of wood glue and superglue to the back of the edge trim and glue it in place flush with the bottom of the trays to create a lip.

Step 3

Add the Feet

Photo by Mark Lund

On the miter saw, cut the oak 1x2 into four 1½-inch-square feet for the stand. Apply a dab of superglue to the four corners on the underside of your base tray, and glue the feet in place.

Step 4

Remove the Bolts

Photo by Mark Lund

There's a factory-installed bolt in each table leg. Using locking pliers, remove the bolt from the legs to be used for the top and middle posts; leave the bolt on the bottom post in place. Thread a 5/16-inch dowel screw into the spots where you removed the bolt.

Step 5

Prep the Supports

Photo by Mark Lund

Grip the bottom post firmly in one hand and use the drill/driver to bore a ⅛-inch pilot hole. Then drill a ¼-inch hole into the top of the post, stopping at a depth of about ¾ inch. Repeat on the middle post.

Step 6

Insert Screws

Photo by Mark Lund

Hold the top post in one hand and thread its dowel screw through the hole at the center of the top tray. Screw the middle post onto the top post, capturing the top tray between them. Do the same with the middle tray and the bottom post.

Step 7

Assemble the Server

Photo by Mark Lund

Fasten the base tray to the bottom post with the 5/16-inch nut and washer on the bottom. Finish the piece with stain.

Step 8

Make the Stain

Photo by John Gruen

We used a stain made from medium steel wool, rusted in white vinegar, and then coated the piece with white wax. To make the stain, pack a jar with the steel wool, pour in the vinegar, and soak the steel wool for a week. Test the stain on scrap oak and dilute with more vinegar to lighten, if desired.