When my family moved into our new home in Bluffton SC, I quickly realize we needed new furniture. As we slowly purchased items I had an epiphany for my home office. The town did not have the style of office furniture I wanted. My daughter, Jeana, who had recently moved back home after graduating from SCAD in Savannah GA, suggested I build what I wanted. Well, that was a great thought and we teamed up searching the web and Pinterest to find examples of what I was looking for. We did find examples, and a mixed bag of plans. So with her help we built our own plans and I worked on executing that design. My goal here is to show that anyone can build a piece of industrial pipe furniture. Our first attempt was a wall unit which I will share in a separate blog, but my final piece was the office desk I needed.
My first suggestion is you do the same research, add a Pinterest collection and start pinning. Here is a link to my collection LINK. After we identified what I wanted, and saw how others created their desks, we started building the design. I am not a graphic or CAD designer, but felt below gave me a working design I could build upon.
Second item, determine what type of wood you want to use. I had access to 1800's Georgia tobacco barn wood, so I tweaked my designs below to fit the measurements of the wood planks. Each plank was 11" in depth, and the length was 120". So cut it in half and put two pieces together to build the top. Cut 4 small shelves and the one shelf for the keyboard.
I use a speciality product told by Lowe's for pipe furniture (SteelTek) for a couple of reasons. The pipe fittings do not need to be threaded to use the connectors, which saves a huge amount of time. The cost is almost exactly the same as real pipe fittings, but no cleaning is needed. Real pipe furniture has a coat of oil which has to be washed off. The pipe comes in 10' and 8' lengths and Lowe's will cut for FREE. Just be sure to have all your measurements listed clearly, so you can hand over to their team. Sometimes I leave and come back to pick up.
Below is my list of supplies and the cost I paid. Since I have hardwood floors I put felt pads on each of the Flange so they did not scratch my floor. The 2 Hold Pipe Straps were used to secure the top of the desk to the pipe. I will eventually add a glass to the top to protect the wood.
Connectors and Pipe
1. B&K 3/4-in x 3/4-in 90-Degree Gray Galvanized Steel Structural Pipe Fitting Elbow (8)
2. B&K 3/4-in x 3/4-in x 3/4-in 90-Degree Gray Galvanized Steel Structural Pipe Fitting Tee(14)
3. B&K 3/4-in x 3/4-in Gray Galvanized Steel Structural Pipe Fitting Floor Flange(11)
4. AMERICAN VALVE 4-Pack 1-in dia Galvanized 2-Hole Pipe Straps(2)
5. Waxman Round Felt Pad (2)
6. B&K 3/4-in x 10-ft Galvanized Steel Structural Pipe (4)
Cost Break Down: (note number relates to list above)
Lowe's Industrial Pipe Assortment
This is how I got the gray weathered look on the wood. The color of the wood untreated on one side is naturally brown, from the tobacco which was cured, and a little gray. I used "white tint base" first on the side I was going to be the top of my desk. I suggest you do some sample tests to see how long you need to apply each coat. My wood was very dry, so I kept it on about 2 minutes and then wiped off the excess. Then I applied a gray stain using the same timing. I left the piece to dry over night then used an ebony stain with a very fine paint brush on the deep groves, and immediately wiped it off. The black stays in the tracks leaving a beautiful look. It takes time to do this with each of the pieces. This is the part I enjoy the most. Once it is finished to my satisfaction I let it dry a full 24 hours. I then wiped on coconut oil over the painted area and let it sit in the South Carolina sun all day so the oil was absorbed deep into the wood. My wood was very aged and I had to put several coats of oil on it so it has a great luster. You could use poly finish if you so choose. The bottom side of the wood I only coated it with the oil, leaving the red from the barn and weathered wood look. Below are some pictures of the wood and my process. I hope this helps you with your DIY project. Email me if you have any questions.
I applied a White Tint Base stain to the wood after I finished the cleaning and sanding. I chose the side without the red paint, since this fit my decor. Using a kitchen brush to get the white deep into the wood works great. I would suggest you do a sample test of the dryness of the wood. Dryer pieces absorb the color fast, and you want it lightly coated not heavy white
Each color I used a soft cloth to wipe off the color when I felt it met my needs.
Gray and Block
I applied a grey stain and let it absorb enough to bring out the grain look I was going for. Last step is applying the Ebony black. Wipe quickly on the black until you know your wood. It can take too much and leave it looking very dark.
Ebony stain with a paint brush