Sometimes, when a man and woman love each other very much, they spend 11 months planning a ridiculously elaborate 8-hour event, otherwise known as a “Wedding.”
I was recently part of this marathon event planning session and was responsible for many of labor intensive, made-of-wood decorative features.
The corn hole boards were one. A croquet stand was another. But the crowning jewel of my pre-matrimonial chores was a custom made wooden cake stand.
We shopped around before I started. eBay. Etsy. Smelly and dangerous local flea markets. Everything was either too expensive, or too not-at-all-appropriate for our wedding. We almost gave up hope. We almost bought pre-fab.
I know, I know. Craftsman blasphemy and all that.
I decided, after having viewed a few dozen online, that I could totally make one of these things myself.
With the wedding fast approaching, and our free time quickly dwindling, I used the fading twilight of a post-work Tuesday evening to stomp around in the woods, dressed in my corporate finest. I was looking for a big stick, roughly 4-6″ in diameter. I was under strict orders to make sure it had lots of bark intact.
I finally found one, rolled up my sleeves, and in the waning sunlight, wielded my ripsaw with a fury unexpected from someone wearing a button-down.
Tools you’ll need:
-Power saw (Jig, reciprocating, or band preferable. I used a miter because I’m cheap and unprofessional)
-Regular saw (I used a foldable FatMax™ to do fine cuts)
-Glue (Lots of it. Epoxy would also work. I used Gorilla Glue™)
-Wood stain (I chose a dark walnut to match the subtle cashew of the tree wood and the pistachio of the bark)
-A piece of stain-grade wood (Something that doesn’t need sanding, preferably, because sanding sucks)
-A big stick that you found in the woods
-Beer (I didn’t get a picture of it, but I was drinking Bass Pale Ale)
Step 1: Cut the big stick you found in the woods into equally sized pieces to make the legs for the stand
With proper tools, this shouldn’t be too hard. I did not have proper tools. My stick was bent at a funny angle, but I measured out four, 5″ sections that were straight enough for my purposes.
I shoved the stick into my miter saw, hoping it would fit. It kind of did. It took a few heavy-handed “BZZZZZZTs” to finally get through each piece. Lots of barks fell off as I did this. I hid it from my wife and planned to glue it on later.
You may have to make additional smaller cuts to get the piece exactly level.
Step 2: Stain what is to become the “stand” portion of the cake stand
If you bought the right wood, you shouldn’t have to sand it at all. If you didn’t you weren’t listening to me and you should feel bad.
Open your stain carefully, and do not accidentally hit it with your elbow, spill it all over the deck, and have to go back to Lowes to buy another can before you even start. Trust me on that one.
It is much easier to stain a flat piece of wood using a soft cloth, as opposed to a brush. Note: if you care about your hands being a completely different color than the rest of your body for a week, I recommend wearing gloves. Or you can be like me and not realize how badly wood stain stains, and have to explain your new skin to your coworkers come Monday.
Rub the stain with the grain of the wood. This will bring out all of the nice looking wood features.
Step 3: Let dry, drink beer
Pretty self explanatory.
Step 4: Use an insane amount of glue to cement the legs to the bottom of the stand
My wife didn’t want ugly screws or woodfiller marring the beautifully stained wood. I don’t have any plug cutters, so I couldn’t even try to do the job correctly. On top of that, my au naturale stand legs were hollow in some places, which would have made driving screws very difficult.
So, as any good craftsman should do, I said, “Screw it, I’ll glue it.”
I used about half a bottle of Gorilla Glue on each leg (slight exaggeration). As anyone familiar with the product knows, it expands, filling any gaps it can find. It overflowed and spilled down the legs of my cake stand, which actually ended up looking pretty cool, so I left it and claimed it was deliberate.
Once you’ve got the glue applied, carefully center your newly stained top on the legs. Use a level to make sure the cake won’t come sliding off. Once it is decently balanced, put a bunch of crap on top of it and go away for a few hours.
Step 5: Have an incredibly talented photographer named Matt take pictures of your cake stand to make your work look way better than it actually is
I don’t need to say much here. Just look. I think he was trained by Gandalf.
Being married is awesome.