Midcentury Modern Cowboy Cabinet: a Furniture Build

We’ve been receiving some inspiration from some of our friends lately. Sam had almost finished Apothecary #3, and was contemplating the next piece of furniture.

I had been opening up recently to friends and family about Sam’s new endeavor, and one of my BFFs from high school sent me a bunch of pics of furniture; mostly mid century modern. I showed Sam a few pics, and he told me: “Tell Nick thanks a lot. He’s spot on.”

Sam had a couple pieces of oak barn wood cladding, which had been shaved off of each side of one board, so they were book matched. The design for this one was going to be the two book matched pieces, layed up next to each other with a continuous waterfall. (This means one board is used, and is mitre cut on the edges so you can see the grain and patterns of the wood continue from the side to the top, and down to the other side.)

Same board, both sides. You can see the old nail holes, and how they match up when you place them together.

Reclaimed oak barn wood cut in a book match

The drawer fronts, before cleaning and sanding.

Reclaimed oak barn wood with saw tooth marks, knots and stains.

Here are the backs of the pieces:

the clean sliced back of four reclaimed oak barn wood boards, two sets that are book matched.

Sam ended up using the longer pieces for this waterfall effect.

He was contemplating using this side for the waterfall, but went with the front side instead… he strengthened some of the weak spots, and ran them through the planar, and oh man! The colors that were coming through! It looked more calico with some red and white blending together.

Then they were layed up on some 1/4 oak veneer, and mitred to fit together.

Reclaimed oak barn wood layed up on quarter inch material and miter cut for a continuous waterfall edge, sitting on a table in a work shop with a man holding the edges together.

Now for the nosing; there were a few spots that needed some strengthening, and Sam fixed this piece right up. But somewhere in the process, the nosing received a chip out (top piece)

Two pieces of reclaimed oak wood with the top piece featuring a chip out, and the bottom piece a partially sawed out to fix the top piece, and a hand saw below them both.

So Sam used another piece of wood with similar characteristics to replace this chip out: (Check out how we fixed this piece in How to Fix Damaged Wood)

Reclaimed oak wood board with clamps on it and super glue in the background

These clamps are some of our favorites, purchased at Harbor Freight.

Reclaimed oak wood with a chip out that has been replaced with another piece of reclaimed oak with a similar grain pattern.

Chip out fixed!

Then came the fancy leather drawer boxes. Sam cut the drawer bottoms down to size, and attached the leather with contact cement. After drying, he flipped them over and used a razor blade to cut around the edges.

After that, it was time to mill down the box sides. Believe it or not, the boxes are the most time consuming step!

Reclaimed pine pallet wood cut to size and planed sitting on a work bench in a wood shop

Using our new planer, they are milled down to thickness, and are stained using our favorite dark walnut stain:

Reclaimed pallet wood pieces stained a dark walnut color

then using the table saw, there is a corner notched out on the box sides so the box bottoms will fit inset as a drawer. This way, you can’t see where the box is attached on the sides when you pull the drawer out; and the last step is to attach the boxes to the bottoms, and the drawer face to the box. Check our that leather bottom!

Leather lined drawer box with dark walnut stained sides and reclaimed oak drawer front being attached with clamps

The next step is to install the drawer runners and supports:

The frame of a midcentury modern oak barn wood cabinet with drawer rails installed

And would you look at that? This Midcentury Modern Cowboy is almost complete! Before waxing:

Drawer fronts on a medcentury style cabinet that have been sequenced from reclaimed oak barn wood with old nail holes, saw tooth marks and knots.

And of course, we used our favorite bees wax:

Reclaimed oak barn wood partially waxed with Howard Feed-N-Wax wood polish and conditioner

And after the waxing, the legs were attached.

Right when we were about to start installing the pulls, Sam saw the cabinet in a new light. “Erika, come sit right here, just where I was.” And I did. What I saw was beyond stunning:

a medcentury Modern style cabinet that has sequenced drawer fronts from reclaimed oak barn wood with old nail holes, saw tooth marks and knots and the natural light showing the shimmering colors throughout the features

Unfortunately this picture does not do it justice. There are hundreds of colors on this piece, all blending and folding together. We took a step back and amazement. Think of all the cowboys that walked through the barn that this wood came off of. All of the stormy nights that this wood protected animals from Mother Nature. It really sings to my heart.

And the waterfall…

A midcentury modern waterfall cabinet side made from reclaimed oak barn wood featuring old nail holes

And Sam elaborated on how he received this wood; while he was working at a cabinet shop, they brought in this wood, sliced off a quarter inch from the front and back, and used the heart wood for their customer. These four book matched boards were trash. And he bought them.

Here is the finished product:

A midcentury Modern cabinet made from reclaimed oak barn wood featuring old nail holes, knots and saw tooth marks with the drawer fronts cut sequenced, and tiny brass knobs on the drawers for pulls

All four boards that grew together on their tree, that were cut down and used to build a barn and protect animals for years, had finally made their way to Sam’s hands and evolved into their next stage of life; my new dresser.

A midcentury modern waterfall cabinet side made from reclaimed oak barn wood featuring old nail holes and knots and saw tooth marks

This piece is replacing an old dresser in our bedroom (Which will now be painted and flipped!)

And it gets even better; leather lined drawers!

The top drawer of a cabinet pulled out to reveal brown leather lining on the bottom of the drawer

I’m in love!

On to the next…

With Love, Erika Nora

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  1. The picture that is said unfortunately this picture does not do it justice is the best picture of it. From down low with the light right on it.


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