I love all before and afters but when I get to use tools and be creative, it's always a little extra satisfying.
I happened to use old planks of wood that I had been holding onto for this particular top but one could definitely use new wood or pallet boards. The past few tops I did I happened to use old fencing that my neighbor was getting rid of.
A lot of work can go into using old wood and for me, I had to use my reciprocating saw to cut the fence material from the posts and pressure wash the heck out of it. I would definitely do the same with pallets and any old, found wood as well. I also know there are some pallets that should NOT be used because of chemical they are infused with. I would do a little research if your considering the pallet route.
Whatever you use, you will want to make sure that the boards are all exactly the same width. In this case I started with slightly uneven 10" wide boards that I ripped down into 3-1/4" pieces to make sure they were all even.
I think trickiest part of this style top is figuring out where to begin, where that perfect center is. You would think that you can simply line up the middle of the desk with the middle of the first board's angled cut but unfortunately, with this herringbone design, it's not that simple.
1- Find the middle line of the side your starting on.
2- On your starting board, make your 45 degree cut and divide the end of that cut into quarters with your pencil.
3- Line up your middle line on the furniture with the 1st quarter line of the wood. PHOTO BELOW SHOW EXAMPLE
**On the last top I did like this, I divided the first board into 3rd's and used the first 1/3 mark to line up with the middle point. I felt that it was pretty accurate as well. So maybe play around with it a little, do a few dry fits and see what works best for your project**
**Make sure to have some overhang on your first (and all boards) when starting as you are going to need to cut another 45 on the end of the board and don't want to waste any wood**
**It is always a smart idea to "dry fit" and set up a few rows before you start gluing and nailing, just to make sure you feel confident with what's going on**
4- A corner square is VERY helpful and in my opinion, nccessary for getting your first board perfect. All other pieces are only as good as your first piece. So take time to get it right.
**I clamped my carpenters square to the desk after I got the first board in place.**
After you do a dry fit of a few boards (remember to keep those end cuts long until your ready to cut), it time to make your cut marks.
In order to get a photo of how I make my mark for the cut, I had to get creative and use my foot to hold the board. To be honest, these shenanigans happen many times a day:)
5. After each cut, attach your board and move onto the next.
6. Any time I do a wood top of any sorts, I always use construction adhesive as well as the brad nails.
7. You really only need 1 or 2 pin nails on each end if your using the construction adhesive. I promise, after it sucks the boards down and dries, it isn't going anywhere.
Just a photo of how to do a trickier cut, which will happen.
This tiny cut is an example of what I try to avoid but isn't always possible. Fortunately you don't even notice that tiny cut I had to fill in on the corner and it was the only one.
8. To finish off the edges, rip down the board to the width you need, make your cuts, glue, nail and enjoy!
**you don't need to miter the corners of your finished edge but it does look a little nicer**
If you want to or have to use new wood, here is a stain color and technique I like if your looking for an aged, graywash, barn wood look. I did it a few years ago on some shelves I made for my son's room and the tutorial is HERE.