Builders Challenge: Part II

The Season 7 plans were for a cell phone charging table/nightstand. I was very happy when I saw someone asked my question as to whether the charger was necessary and that the answer was no. I don’t see us ever using something like that, and I knew I wanted an entryway table and there is no plug anywhere nearby.

As a bonus, the plans arrived a day early, so I took that first day to inventory my supplies, figure out what wood I wanted to use, and make a quick trip to gather a few items. We’ve had 1×4 cedar boards laying around for a while and I thought this would be a great opportunity to use them. I really only needed the 2x2s, a 1×6, drawer pull and a dowel (first dowel purchase).

The next morning, at 4:30am, I was pouring over the plans, trying to figure out how to put some of me in them, and HERRINGBONE flashed before my eyes. The middle piece of the table top was designated as plywood in the plans and that is where the charger would have gone (underneath), but I was seeing the center section as herringbone.

Lap joints were recommended for the table top frame. I’d never tried lap joints, which can apparently be created via several methods. I watched Lazy Guy DIY’s video to learn more. One option, the best option, is the table saw. I hadn’t yet used the table saw, and frankly, I have an overly healthy fear of it.

So, I tried the hand held router tool, and chiseled out the rest.

Circular saw and chisel.

Neither of which ended with an acceptable result.

Granted, these are two different thicknesses of wood, but oy! It’s a lap joint, but an ugly one.

I posted about my lap joint trials and tribulations on Instagram with The Builders Challenge hashtags and I was amazed that one of the organizers reached out and offered to help. She sent me the link to a video of how she makes lap joints on the table saw. Her way didn’t look as scary because the blade is covered by the wood at all times since you’re only removing half. LOOOOOK!!!!!!! Thank you 3×3 Custom!!!

I didn’t originally realize that the cedar boards had a rough side and a smooth side. After sanding, I loved them both, so beautiful. I decided to make the table top frame with two smooth sides and two rough sides.

Originally, I was going to use pine 1x2s for the herringbone to tie into the rest of the pine I was using. When I did a mock up, it just wasn’t doing it for me.

I loved the cedar, so I cut a few pieces and knew it was right. Again I opted for a combination of smooth side and rough side.

I’ll get back to the dowels later. One thing I learned from doing my second herringbone with the puzzle method was that I like doing it the way I did the first one better. In the future, if possible, I will be doing the herringbone layout and glue up, I will zip off the excess and build the frame around it. Trying to fit teeny tiny pieces into the corners was a lot of sanding and very little fun. And, spoiler for later, this picture shows a dry fit. I took all of those pieces out in order to glue them to a backer board and they did not want to go back together as well the second time.

One other detail I’ll point out here is that I originally intended the lighter side of each long board to line the middle (see lap joint frame picture). In the picture above, you can see a light streak on the left inside of the left board. The light streak on the right board is on the outside and should be on the inside. I was so focused on the next step, the dowels, that I didn’t pay attention when I was laying the frame boards down. I’m sure not many people would notice, and I still love it, but it does bother me a tiny bit. Woodworking is about being present in the moment and paying attention to the details. This is something I need to really work on because my mind is always racing ahead.

That’s probably enough babble for now. I’m thinking there may be a Part IV at this rate. Next up will be dowels and legs and maybe the drawer. Thanks for continuing along with me on this journey!

Fly Fishing Rod Tube Holder (Hopefully): Part I

Back in November, I decided that a great woodworking Hanukkah/Christmas gift for Tim, would be a fishing rod tube holder. I looked all over the internet for ideas and “how to” instructions, without much luck. I finally found someone’s blog post from 2011 that included an option I liked and some basic instructions. Here is a picture:

I bought the 2x4s, I had the 2x6s, and I had some 1×12 pieces someone gave me that I thought would work well for the bottom. In order to make this the most useful for Tim, I did ruin the surprise and talk it over with him. We decided that it would only need two rows vs three. That was the first of what would be multiple deviations from the original plan.

This build required 3″ holes, quite a few of them. I researched using a hole saw bit vs a forstner bit and the general consensus seemed to be hole saw. Besides the holes in the 2x4s, I planned to drill holes in one sheet of 1×12, then glue/nail it to a solid sheet for a sturdy bottom. I bought a hole saw bit at Ace, attached it to the drill press, and decided to try it out.

Let’s just say, using a hole saw bit is not my favorite. We have an ancient, hand-me-down drill press which gets the job done, but is not user friendly. I had used it many times with a forstner bit, but was definitely unprepared for how the hole saw bit would grab and turn the piece of wood when it touched. (I had to copy this picture from my Instagram because I lost the original when my phone imploded). After drilling the first hole, I opted to add a clamp and recruit Tim to help. It was a thick piece of wood, and none of us were happy…the drill press, the bit, me. You can see in the picture that the wood just stuck to the teeth, and it actually burned the wood in spots.

One of our good friends/neighbors heard what I was working on and thought it was a neat idea and something he might want to build as well. In talking with him and with Tim, the next alteration would be replacing the 2×4 legs with 2x2s. A few days later, our friend brought a bunch of boards from a garage clean out, all different types of wood, including one we believe to be cherry.

The next alteration in the build was to use the “cherry” (using quotes because I’m just not positive that’s what it is) board and have one flat row of four and four, to mimic the bottom. In addition, our friend said I should really have taller holes on the bottom for the tubes to sit in so that they wouldn’t slip out sideways. This led to the idea of drilling holes in another cherry piece in order to layer it over the pine board on the bottom.

After getting this board finished, the project sat for quite a while, repeatedly getting pushed to the bottom of the list. Flash forward to this past weekend, and a rare sunny day. Tim and I rolled the drill press out, and after a little trial and error, and some oil on the drill press, we were able to get a decent rhythm going.

We still had some tear out, but once the drill press lever moved more smoothly, it was less. Also, the “cherry” boards, though harder wood, aren’t as thick as the pine, which helped.

As Tim got a good look at the “cherry” wood, which is really pretty, he decided on the final alteration to this build. He wants two flat pieces of board on either side, instead of the 2x4s or the 2x2s. The board is a little wonky in spots ( you can see it a bit in the picture below), and it is on the dry side, so we’ll see how this all goes. Note the blue sky in this picture…the RARE blue sky…and Tim, prepping for more Winter weather.

Hey, if this actually works out, maybe I’ll find someone who can help me post plans for it that I can share.

Hobby Adventures on the Water

Many years ago, we bought the kids a kayak to go with our canoe. They went out a few times for floats, but the kayak wasn’t highly used. I usually declined going along for the opportunity to have some quiet time. Since the nest has been empty, the kayak has had even less activity.

We’ve had the neighbors’ kayak at our house for a while as Tim has used it a number of times for fishing. One morning, we decided to take both the kayaks to the lake a few minutes from our house. It was a most fantastic decision.

We went at 6:00am, because we’re morning people, and we only stayed for about an hour, but it started off our day with some much needed zen.

We went out two more times. I’m hoping we’ll go many more. No chance I’m taking the fancy camera out on the water. I was nervous about dropping the cell, but I’m glad I got a few pictures from that first morning.

 

Corbel Lights To Match the Bed

I definitely have a few favorite furniture project sites at this point. A few months ago, I was scrolling through project ideas and I saw the Corbel Sconce Light by Shanty-2-Chic.Tim and I agreed that these would be a great compliment to the new bed frame. Have I mentioned that WE BUILT A BED?!?

I started with leftover 2x4s, ordered the lights and cages online, and found bulbs at Lowes.

In order to match the bed, I used the same Weatherwash PINED Aging Stain, Clear Maintenance Oil and Satin Varnish that is on the bed. I really love love love the way the wood looks after using this combination. It’s also pretty darn fast and easy. On the left is the wood just after applying the stain, on the right is after drying for an hour.

Using Tim’s ideas, we made a few changes. We used a router for the first time and made a (too large but workable) channel in the back of the upright piece. Instead of the cord being in front of that piece, it would go up the back and be less prominent.

That led to drilling a hole just on top of the perpendicular piece to bring the cord through, instead of it laying over the top. What we didn’t think of, until assembly, was that Tim had to detach the cord from the light in order to feed it through the hole, then re-attach it.

It was worth that extra step. We love how they turned out!

The cost estimate from Shanty-2-Chic is $25/each. Using leftover pieces of wood helped, but that estimate is a little low depending on the light bulbs you choose. We went with the “vintage” looking bulbs, which were $10/bulb. This raised our total cost to closer to $30.

Tea Light Centerpiece

Let me start by apologizing to anyone who might read this and then get one of these for the holidays.

I saw this project a few months ago, on the same site that I found the plans for the beer totes I made. I thought it would be a good way to get some experience with sanding, and I learned about forstner drill bits. We were lucky enough to end up with a hand-me-down drill press, so I learned how to use one of those as well. One note, is that I had to seek out a 1 5/8″ bit because the 1 1/2″ in the instructions just wasn’t quite big enough.

On top of all of that, a friend/co-worker asked if I’d ever tried wood burning, which I hadn’t. I’ve now started playing with that skill, at the most basic level, and I am combining it with the tea light centerpieces.

This has been a fun thing to mix in between the big bed project an the upcoming complementary bed projects. I’m trying different finishes, including the same Weatherwash Pined Aging Stain I used on the bed. I really love that stuff.

One coat of Weatherwash, still need to add the oil and varnish. This one is plain, no woodburning. I love how the Weatherwash accentuates the grain and knots.

With candles.

This one has Early American and Cherry stain on it.

I’m trying to figure out the best pairing of finish with the woodburning. I have a few more to try.