Vintage Yardstick Table

5 Materials
2 Hours

This was my first project after we lost our home to wildfire. We were living in a rental and I was so excited to get this little table, but it needed a little TLC and a new top. I decided to get creative with some vintage yardsticks!

It was warped and a bit moldy, so we removed the rest of the top, sanded and cleaned it, repaired a broken corner (I forgot to take a photo of the repair, but I just squirted some Gorilla Glue in the cracks, clamped it down, and let it dry for 24 hours - good as new!), and I gave it a coat of black chalk paint.  

Then Mr. TBG cut a new plywood top (he's the best!).

Then we set out to attaching the yardsticks. This can be a bit tricky! Here's my advice for this part:

  • Lay out your sticks in a pleasing order. Some of them will be thicker than others, and this may determine how you place them.
  • Mark the top of the plywood with lines so that you know where to drive your nails. We used a nail gun, but I think you could also drill small pilot holes and use paneling nails. Hands down, though, the nail gun is going to be easier. Your sticks will most likely be a bit warped, and when you use the nail gun you can press your sticks down and instantly attach them in the right spot!
  • Use your straightest stick first; it will act as a guide for all the others.
  • Measure, measure, measure as you go...make sure that you are keeping the sticks straight! Our table top happened to be the same length and width as our rulers, but you could cut them if needed.
  • Use glue on the backs of your sticks. I tried both tacky glue and Gorilla Glue. Both are fine but the Gorilla Glue is much stronger. I actually would have chosen wood glue, but hey our house had just burned down and I was using what I had restocked the cupboard with at that point in time!

I thought we were all done when the top was done, but Mr. TBG had the great idea to create a ruler "handle" for the drawer. I did this part all on my own - just cut and glued a piece of molding to the back of the ruler, then glued that to the drawer. The molding was a FREE scrap from our local hardware store! Mr. TBG then drove a few nails in to make it even stronger. I just love the new handle, don't you?! You can see in these pics that we also added yardsticks around the edges to cover up the edges of the plywood and finish it off nicely.

And here are a few photos of it all done... the first was taken in our rental (yep, we had wood paneling in that old place!), and the second was taken in our new home.

You could use this method on a stool, bench, or chair seat, too! So fun and I love the industrial vibe! Please give me a follow in Instagram and Facebook if you're on social media (@jagcagdesign), I always post my most current projects in my stories. And if you do a ruler project, please share -- I would love to see it! Xo, Jamey

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Debbie
    on Apr 19, 2020

    I think I missed a step. When you started out the yardsticks had different thicknesses, but the finished product looks level. How did you do this?

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