Buffet1

My wife and I love the Ethan Allen Tango Console but didn’t want to pay $1,099 for it – almost twelve-hundred dollars with tax! It also didn’t fit the space we had for a buffet as perfectly as we wanted so, after my nightstands worked out so well, I was elected to build something close to it. Voila: the Salsa Console!

The project took me two weekends, but was less complicated than I had thought it would be. I’m calling it an intermediate plan, because it doesn’t call for any tools beyond a miter-saw and a pocket-hole jig. Definitely a fun build, and for less than $200, it turned out great.

Skill Level: Intermediate
Estimated Cost: $100-$150

dimensions
18x56x31 (approx.)

Shopping List

  • (2) 1x12x8
  • (6) 1x8x8
  • (3) 1x6x8
  • (7) 1x3x8
  • (10) 1x2x8
  • (1) large sheet of pressed paperboard
  • 4 Furniture feet from your local big-box store (you can make your own, but I didn’t think I could do better than the stock model.)
  • 3 sets of drawer slides
  • 4 hinges
  • 5 knobs
  • About 100 thin pocket/wood screws
  • Wood glue

Cut List

  • (1) 1×10 @ 56″ (base)
  • (1) 1×8 @ 56″ (base)
  • (1) 1×2 @ 48″ (base)
  • (2) 1×2 @ 10″ (base)
  • (6) 1×2 @ 16″ (bottom face)
  • (2) 1×2 @ 16″ (sides)
  • (2) 1×12 @ 16″ (sides)
  • (2) 1×12 @ 26″ (dividers)
  • (1) 1×2 @ 56″ (belly band)
  • (2) 1×2 @ 17″ (belly band)
  • (6) 1×2 @ 10″ (top face & sides)
  • (2) 2×12 @ 10″ (top sides)
  • (2) 1×2 @ 6″ (top face)
  • (2) 1×2 @ 52″ (top face)
  • (3) 1×6 @ 52″ (top)
  • (2) 1×2 @ 18″ (top)
  • (6) 1×6 @ 17″ (drawer front & backs)
  • (6) 1×6 @ 12″ (drawer sides)
  • (3) 1×8 @ 17″ (drawer faces)
  • (2) 1×12 @ 10″ (cabinet doors)
  • (8) 1×3 @ 16 (cabinet trim)
  • (6) 1×2 @ about 24″ (wine rack)

base1
Cut a 1×10 and a 1×8 to 56″. Drill pocket holes into the face of one of the two boards (either or both is fine) and then secure the two boards together with pocket-screws and glue. This joint is going to support the weight of whatever you keep inside the cabinets of the buffet, so don’t skimp on the fasteners or the glue!

base2
Once the base is dry, flip it so that the pocket holes are exposed. Secure one of the feet at each corner.

My feet were 4″x4″, so I cut a 1×2 down to 48 inches and glued it between the feet. This is now the front of the buffet. I cut another two 1x2s down to 10 inches, and glued them between the side feet. Because my feet had sloping sides, I mitered the 1x2s to match.

IF YOUR FEET ARE NOT 4″x4″ THEN YOU WILL HAVE TO ADJUST YOUR 1×2 CUTS!

face1
Next cut six 1x2s to 16″. Flip the base so it sits on its feet. Then fasten two of the 1x2s at right angles, and then fasten the boards to one of the front corners of the base. Then fasten the remaining 1x2s at even spaces between the corner pieces (should be about 17″).

Looking at the original piece, you can see that the base and the belly board extend a little farther out than the face. To match the original, I inset my corners by about an eighth of an inch. Doing so means that you have to shave a hair off of a lot of the measurements, but the difference is so small that you can do it with sand-paper.

sides
Cut two more 1x2s to 16 inches, two 1x12s to 16 inches, and two 1x12s to 26 inches.

Fasten the sixteen inch 1x2s to the sixteen inch 1x12s with pocket-hole screws and wood-glue. Then fasten the new board to either side of the console.

Looking at the original piece, again, you can see that the sides are inset from the face by just a little. I set mine back by an eighth of an inch, so my sides are about a quarter inch from the edge of the base.

Attach the 26 inch 1x12s to the base and the middle 1×2 facing pieces.

bellyboard
Cut a 1×2 to 56 inches, and fasten it on top of the facing pieces. I just used wood glue and finishing nails.

Cut two more 1x2s to 17 inches, and place them on top of the side pieces. Again, I just used wood glue and finishing nails.

These pieces make up the belly-band, which sticks out from the facing and sides a little on the original piece. I gave mine an eighth of an inch overhang, so it’s flush with the base.

face2
Cut six 1x2s to ten inches, and then cut two 1x12s to ten inches. Secure a 1×2 to a 1×10 to make one top-side of the buffet, then fasten it to the belly-band, flush with the bottom-side – about a quarter inch inset from the face of the belly-band. (I used glue and pocket-hole screws.) Repeat on the other side.

Using the remaining four 1x2s, make right angles as you did for the bottom face, and secure them to the belly-band, flush with the bottom right angles – about an eighth of an inch inset from the face of the belly-band. (Again, I secured them with glue and pocket-hole screws.)

Cut two 1x2s at 52″. Secure one to the front of the belly-board, flush with the facing below.

Cut two 1x2s at 6″. Secure them to the interior dividers with glue and/or with pocket-hole screws. They should be right on top of the facings from the bottom.

Place and fasten the remaining 52″ 1×2 on top of the interior dividers to finish the top facing.

furring
Next comes the interior hardware. You can do it while the top is on, but its easier without, especially if you’re bad at drawer slides (like me.)

First, I furred out the sides with a scrap 1×2 to provide a place for the drawer slides. Then I added the slides, making sure to carefully check for level, and to be sure their fronts were parallel. (It’s trickier than it seems, and it took me a LOT of attempts.

top
Now it’s time to build the top. Cut three 1x6s to 52″, and then fasten them together using glue and pocket-hold screws. Again, these joins are going to have to take a lot of weight, so don’t skimp on the glue or the screws. If you have even a little wiggle in the joints, consider securing the bottom with cleats.

Cut two more 1x2s to 18″, and secure them to either side of the top as trim.

Place and fasten the top on – you guessed it – the TOP of the buffet, and the main unit is complete! I used glue and countersunk finishing nails that I puttied over.

Buffet3
Next comes the drawers and cabinet doors.

The drawers are just boxes built from 1x6s, with a 1×8 attached as a face. The dimensions of my are 12″x17″, and I’m using pressed paper-board as a bottom. The advantage of using the 1x6s is that you can attach the drawer slides, and then affix the 1×8 face AFTER the drawer is put in to the unit. That way there’s no guesswork with where exactly to put the interior parts of the slides! Smart, huh?

The cabinet doors are made out of a 1×12 inset and surrounded by mitered 1x3s. I did them with pocket-hole screws and wood-glue. The doors are going to have to close in the space you’ve made for them, so some amount of sanding and re-cutting or sanding is probably inevitable. Measure carefully before you make your cuts, and follow your own measurements before mine.

To be honest, my own design for the doors was mostly put together out of sloth: I didn’t have any wood large enough to cut down into a single-piece door, so I made doors out of five smaller pieces. An alternative is to measure the space for your doors, and cut a piece of plywood to fit precisely. You can add molding to the plywood to simulate the effect of recessed cabinetry. Many local hardware stores will cut plywood to your dimensions, so if you’re daunted by the idea of five-piece door fronts, this might be a good idea.

Once the doors are assembled, you can attach them with whatever hinge hardware you like. If your hinges aren’t self-closing, consider adding a cleat to the inside of the cabinets with a magnet to keep the doors shut.

Buffet2
Last, measure the center space diagonally, and miter six 1x2s to fit. The bottom of the 1×2 should be pressed flat against the bottom piece, and the top of the 1×2 should be pressed flat against the wall. If only a tip of the 1×2 touches the bottom, or if only a tip touches the wall at the top, then the pressure will cause a dent when you put heavy bottles of wine there.

Add handles.

I also added a strip of thin crown molding along the top of the piece, that I thought made it look a little less chunky. You can add a paper-board back, I haven’t (but may in the future.)

If you’re like me, there are LOTS of cracks and holes in your buffet, so I went through and puttied EVERYTHING. Let it dry, then sand it with a medium grit sand paper. Then I re-puttied the remaining cracks, and sanded again with a fine-grit paper.

Tonight I’m going to stain it black, and then polyurethane it to match the rest of the furniture in the room.

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