10 of the best ideas for using off-cuts of oak

Got a slab of lovely oak lurking in your garage and can’t bear to burn or bin it, but don’t know what else it’s good for? Bespoke Maker‘s Elizabeth Harvey does. Here, she reveals her top ten ideas for using off-cuts of oak…

You don’t have to be a furniture maker to come up with ideas for using offcuts of oak – or any other kind of wood, for that matter. Some of the simplest and most effective ideas involve almost no construction at all. All you need is a little imagination and some elbow grease. We’ve all got some of that! 

10 of the best ideas for using offcuts of oak*

*Scroll down to the bottom for a gallery of photos of each idea listed!

1.       Slab Coffee Table – Grab a few old weathered pieces of wood, it doesn’t matter what shape or size. Pile them on top of each other and voilà, you have a ‘no construction required’ coffee table for your outdoor chill out space.

2.       Rustic Welcome Sign – We’ve sanded and stained this plank of oak and added some simple painted lettering in a classic style, to create a gorgeous rustic welcome sign to decorate the front door.

3.       Peg Rail / Towel Rail – Just a simple short plank of oak makes a perfect towel rail for the bathroom. You’ll need a few screws, some pegs and a spirit level to create effortless Shaker style.

4.       Bath Tap Shelf – Even the most unassuming scrap of wood can make an effective shelf. This piece of aged pine was found lying in a barn. Cleaning and sanding was all that was required to reveal the perfect place to rest our bathroom taps.

5.       Floating Kitchen Shelf – With a slightly more substantial plank of oak, why not create a floating shelf for the kitchen? Add brackets at the back of the shelf and two level screws to the wall, and all the fixings are completely hidden. Ta da!

6.       Chopping Boards – these can be cut in many shapes and sizes. Turn the wavy outside edge of an oak plank into a beautiful feature. Plenty of sanding is required to smooth out rough edges, so a sander could be useful if you have one. Hand sanding requires a little more elbow grease, but it’s well worth the effort.

7.       Concrete Bucket Stool – If you are renovating, this is a great idea from Mother Earth News for turning leftover concrete mix into something useful. The only other ingredients needed are a bucket and 3 or 4 off-cuts of wood for the legs of your stool. Set them at a slight angle for a contemporary touch.

8.        Oak Cheese Platter – A wonderful use for even the gnarliest piece of leftover oak. Add two small scrap pieces of wood for feet on the underside of the board – simply attach with nails by tapping them in at an angle. Sand (and maybe stain, then sand again) and finish with board oil. If you prefer a faded, weathered look, stand the whole platter in a solution of diluted bleach for 10 minutes, then dry.

9.        A Table Top – You’ll need 5 or 6 oak planks for this project. We glue our table tops and use special joins, but an easier way to make a farmhouse style table top is to simply butt them all together and brace them underneath before laying them on the framework of your table base. Sand and finish with oil.        

10.      Reclaimed Oak Kitchen – When renovating our house we couldn’t find a kitchen that we liked in the shops so we decided to make our own. We made a feature of using pieces of reclaimed oak from one of our barns to make the framework around the painted cupboards doors.

Things have moved on a little since then and making bespoke pieces of furniture out of oak has become our livelihood. As well as regularly making dining tables, we have also made several bespoke kitchens for clients in France, using locally sourced sustainable oak. We welcome commissions and if you have a bespoke project in mind, do get in touch – we’d be delighted to hear from you. Call us on 02 43 09 63 70 or email info@makersbespokefurniture.com