Occasional Steam Punk

Last weekend my wife and I went to American Furniture Warehouse and bought a little table.  We were looking for an end table to sit between two chairs and act as a charging station for our cell phones, iPod, and iPad.  I wanted a steam punk feel and only solid oak would do, also a little brass would help seal the deal.  We found just what we were looking for.  A “Solid” oak replica of an old American Ice box, I put solid in quotes for a reason, more on that later.  Luckily they had one in stock, AFM is famous for not having what we are looking for and we usually expect a delay of at least a week. 


Once home we found that the color of the oak didn’t really match any of our furniture.    Ok, I guess it’s time to add some elbow grease to the project.  I took our new “solid” oak occasional table out to the garage for a serious inspection.  I wasn’t going to sand it down and refinish the wood without being absolutely certain than the wood wasn’t in fact a laminate glued over particle board.  Well, I was surprised to find that the top and front was in fact actually solid oak. The sides were of course laminate.  So I picked up my old trusty vibrating sander and went to work. 

After about a half an hour of sanding and changing out paper I started to smell something funny.  Being that I teach electrical safety my nose is specially tuned to the smell of overheated wiring.  Then I looked down and my suspicion was verified by the trail of smoke coming from my sander.  Uh-oh.  It seems that the old sander has reached its end of life.  A trip to Ace hardware and $29.95 later I was back in business. 

The finish turned out exactly to match the job I did on the desk a few months back.   But I wasn’t satisfied.  Something was missing.  It just wasn’t steam punk enough for me.  I looked around in my basement shop for brass doo dad and whatchamacallits to punk it out a bit more.  I found a set of test-tubes and some brass bar stock, all I needed was some screws.  I went back to Ace and found they had a sale on some solid brass drawer pulls.  I was in business.  It turned out that the test-tubes fit perfectly into the cut outs on the door. 

The final step took some time and thought.  What do I put into the test-tubes?  I gave three to my lovely wife and asked her to come up with something that would be cool to fill three test-tubes.  I had my own ideas.























Well here is how it turned out.  Next question… what did we put into the test-tubes?  I will give a week for comments then post the correct answers.

Oh, and I cut holes into the wood behind each test-tube and installed a light inside with a timmer.  Between 6pm and 10pm the tubes light up. 

What would you put into test-tubes if you had this table?


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3 thoughts on “Occasional Steam Punk

  1. Diana (AKA Mom) says:

    My guess is either sweet tarts or jelly bellies. Love the results of your work.

  2. planetross says:

    gun cartridges, jelly beans, rose buds, wax, squished marshmellows, and tiddly winks.

    I don’t have the willpower, ability, tools to do anything to furniture. You are making me look sad. :(

    note: I have skills, but they aren’t very useful. … but I can change a tire into another tire with more air. That’s got to be worth something.

  3. Thought you would like this:

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