Builders Challenge: Part IV

Here we are, Part IV, which was delayed due to my FIRST DRESSER BUILD. I will certainly be posting about the dresser in the near future, but now we return to the Builders Challenge. A quick reminder that participants had three weeks to complete their build, and I was so stressed about that timeline that I spent quite a few early mornings and “late” (this is a relative term when bedtime is by 9 pm) evenings working on mine. Fargo (and Tim when he was around) were very supportive and kept me company.

Blooper

After completing the table top and attaching the legs, I then went on to the drawer and drawer box. I opted to use pine for the drawer box and cedar for the drawer so that when opened, the drawer would coordinate with the cedar from the table top.

I had opted not to line the side panels up with the inside of the legs, which came back to haunt me a bit at drawer time. There was enough wiggle room that the drawer could easily get hung up on the front legs as it was pulled out. I’m proud to show you my solution, which no one will ever see again unless they remove the drawer. I made drawer guides.

Next step was adding the drawer face, which I find to be a really tricky process. I’m sure I used a very unconventional method which included very short brad nails to temporarily attach and test the positioning of the face that could be removed before the final fastening with screws. I found the drawer pull at Home Depot early on, saw it and knew it was what I wanted.

The original plans did not include a lower shelf.I loved the cedar so much, I wanted to use more of it and decided a shelf would be a perfect way to do just that. The few times I’ve done shelves previously, the slats were always sitting on top of rails. In order to keep with the theme of challenging myself, I decided I wanted the slats to be flush with the rails. You can actually see a bit of the channel I made in the back rail in the picture above.

One way to make such a channel, called a rabbet, is with the table saw. I was not ready to try that. Another way, is with a router/router table. I was not ready to try that either (we have since purchased a router table and I’m building a stand). Remember the hand held router tool I used in the very beginning? I decided that was the way to go…

It was not pretty. I somehow managed to salvage that mess with lots of sanding, but when I started the next one, it was worse. At that point, I was ready to give up. I have no idea how I came up with “I’m going to do this with a hammer and chisel even though I’ve only ever used them together once before, for one minute, at the start of this build,” but I did.

This one actually turned out better than the one I did with the router tool, but also required a mega amount of sanding. It was all worth it though, when I did the test layout.

And the actual shelf install. Fargo was beside himself with excitement at my triumph.

And that is the story of my Builders Challenge experience and table build. I literally cannot wait for Season 8!!! I hope to have added at least a few new skills to my repertoire by then.

Builders Challenge: Part III

Working with dowels was yet another new skill for me to attempt. I’m still somewhat challenged when it comes to drilling straight, so I knew there was NO WAY I was going to attempt to drill dowel holes freehand, especially 1/2″ in size. I did some research online and saw a few dowel jigs that people made and decided to try it.

Using an ancient drill press didn’t make it easy and my hole was slightly off center, but straight up and down. I wasn’t going to try and wrestle the clamps and drill press again and decided I would try to compensate later. I used a 2×2 cutoff since I would be drilling the holes in the 2×2 legs. I then glued that to a piece of thin mdf board.

I was pretty excited after using my jig on the table legs! I then moved on to the lap joints of the table top frame.

The first hole I drilled ended up with a chunk of wood chipping out on the bottom. Luckily Tim showed up after that and suggested putting an old 2×4 underneath to drill into which solved the problem. I was able to glue the chipped piece back into place.

The next step was to dry/test fit the legs and hold my breath with the hope that, between the dowel holes in the legs and the ones in the table top, the alignment wouldn’t be too far off. Thank goodness that although only one was really amazing, none of the rest were off enough to draw attention.

I stained the legs and then glued the dowels into the base. WOOOOOT!! This was a pretty exciting moment for me. Okay, really, the whole thing was filled with exciting moments, but I did hold my breath a TON.

Next step is to cut off the extra dowel. I purchased a flush trim saw for another new skill attempt. I watched a few youtube videos and saw someone use a plastic card to protect the surface and thought that was a good idea, especially for a first timer. I put my AAA card to good use.

Again, holding my breath, I went for it. I was thrilled that I managed to saw off 8 dowels without gouging the table top! The only problem I discovered with this method, however, is that it leaves a good bit to sand. It took me forever to sand the rest of the dowels down and I did end up leaving some light sand marks on the top. Maybe no one would notice, but I saw it. Fargo wasn’t super impressed with the amount of sanding I was doing.

I might have been a little teary when I rubbed on some Weatherwash Clear Maintenance Oil and saw how beautiful the cedar and the dowels came out.

I’ll leave it here for now. I may be able to wrap it up in one more post, but I’m not making any promises.

Matching Nightstand

Although this was the third nightstand I built, it was the second type of nightstand. This Reclaimed Wood Look Bedside Table was another Ana White plan. It had a few firsts for me, including making side panels and installing drawer slides. I learned a lot while building this, though I learn a lot with every build.

Here is a view of the side panel, boards are attached to each other with pocket hole screws. I opted for one coat of stain prior to assembly because it is hard to get all the nooks and crannies once it is together.

Here you can see the pocket holes on the inside. Fargo is inspecting the assembly of the two sides. I was very proud and excited that it was all square!

Also square, were my drawer boxes.

First time installing drawer slides.

I had seen several people use a deck of cards to center drawer faces. Unfortunately, these cards were so slippery, that it made the process extra challenging. Centering drawer faces well is something I think I’ll be working on for a while.

For the top, I laid all the boards out and lined them up, then clamped one board in place to use as a guide for the rest.

Added the knobs and here it is!!

I again used Weatherwash Rusted Stain and Satin Varnish, as those are what I used on the headboard. I ordered the drawer slides from Rocklers, and the knobs are from Home Depot.

My next few posts will focus on the table I built for The Builders Challenge, which took place on Instagram. My current build is a dresser to match the headboard and nightstand. Stay tuned!

Headboard Number 2

Here is the post I promised, with more details about the headboard and nightstand I built for a friend. The past two weeks I have been immersed in The Builders Challenge, which is one of the reasons this post has been delayed. I will definitely be telling you all more about it soon.

When my friend approached me about building a headboard, and then a nightstand, I was excited at the chance to expand my building experiences. She chose two Ana White build plans, so a familiar style. Each piece had new (to me) aspects and challenges. An additional challenge was maneuvering around the still not quite finished shop/garage work.

Given my positive experiences with Weatherwash, I offered that as a finishing option, and she chose Rusted. I had read that most people like two coats, and I followed that recommendation. It really came out pretty.

The Simple Bed Plan headboard had slats that needed to be evenly spaced across the span of the horizontal boards. It took me a good amount of time checking and rechecking the measurements.

The center section came out looking great and was Fargo approved!

Probably the biggest hurdle was attaching that section to the uprights. The directions said to drill sideways, from the outside, through the 4×4 posts and into the vertical pieces. Tim helped me on this part and, not only could we not get a sturdy hold, but the screws broke off in the process of tightening. I thought the headboard was toast and I was going to have to salvage what I could and start over. Tim was great and he was able to saw the screws to detach the post. All I needed to do was an additional post, the center section was fine.

Between the two of us, we came up with the idea to add an additional cross piece, underneath the center section and we used pocket holes to very solidly attach it. the center section then had something to sit on, AND, best part, it actually tied beautifully into the design.

This piece is heavy and solid and I love the grain and knots in it. My next post will focus on the nightstand, which included drawer slides to mix things up.

Catching Up and a Headboard and Nightstand Pair

The months fly by, seemingly faster as I get older. When I started this post, it was a March round up and I was asking, “where did March go?” I’m wondering the same about April! Now that yard/garden work is in the mix, I’ve been keeping ridiculously busy. I’ve actually started posting a few times and just haven’t finished. Today is the day though!

I do want to share one of the highlights of March, which was seeing the eldest, who was on the East Coast for work and was able to hop a bus to spend two days with us.

Another highlight was the youngest having her artwork selected for a second gallery show in Pasadena. It’s bitter-sweet for us as we are super duper proud and would so love to be able to attend these events. We are grateful the kiddos are nearby-ish to each other and can be supportive in person.

Tim and I bought new wedding bands from Groove Life and I posted about them on Instagram. We’ve been wearing them for a few weeks now and we are both really pleased.

I’ve been logging a few miles 3-4 times/week since January. I ran outside a few weeks ago for the first time in WAY TOO long. I’m slower than the slow I already was before, but I’m proud of myself for getting back into the swing of some weekly miles.

Fargo has really taken to his role as driveway workshop dog. He doesn’t always opt for the bed, but he enjoys being outside with me when it’s sunny. It’s hard to see in this picture, but I’m getting quite the silver streaks going on both sides of my hair. I started using a new hashtag on Instagram: #silverhairandsawdust.

Okay, now on to the headboard and nightstand. A friend asked me to build these for her son’s room, with the understanding that I would be learning through the process. I learned a TON through both of these, as they each had elements (such as drawer slides) that I had never done before. I will show some end result pictures here, and hopefully do a more in depth post about the builds.

Both were Ana White plans. Both are finished with two coats of Weatherwash Rusted Stain and Satin Varnish. I know I need to expand beyond Weatherwash at some point, but I really love their results.

We’ve also done so much in the shop (garage) and I will get a post up with all of those pictures/descriptions as well. Hope Spring is treating you all well!

Sofa/Console Table: Part III

It’s finished!!!!! I built a sofa table and it’s finished and I’m ridiculously excited about it! Tim provided support and some guidance and suggestions, but this baby was 95% me. I’ll start with a finished picture because I wouldn’t want to make you wait til the end of the post (told you I’m excited) and then back-up for some in-progress pictures.

I’m not great with decorating, but here is my first go at it. May try a few different versions of table decorations over the next few weeks.

Okay, in the last post, I had made it as far as the assembling the table top. Took advantage of a nice day between polar vortex and snow/ice storm to get moving on next steps. Trimming it down to size was interesting and super stressful. I started with the table top upside down, so I could follow the plywood, but the circular saw blade was rubbing on the plywood and the track was catching on the nail heads. This is one of the times Tim had to really talk it through to help me figure it out. THANK YOU, TIM!!

Flipped it over, marked the plywood edges on the sides of the herringbone pieces and lined up the track.

Once I was finished with the circular saw, which I’m slowly getting better at using, I cut/glued the remaining small pieces. Before I added the frame around the outside of the table top, and attached it to the base, I sanded it again and stained it first. I used the Oaked Stain from Weatherwash, and had planned to use the White Maintenance Oil, but loved the stain color so much I opted to go with the clear oil. Due to the crazy weather, and the state of the garage, I moved everything to the basement where the lighting is not optimal.

So pretty! I added the Clear Maintenance Oil, which deepened the colors. Oiled sections on the right in the picture below.

I will say, once again, that I’m not sure I understand assembly before staining. I realize it’s nice to know if it’s going to look good/correct once it’s all together, but it sure makes finishing a supreme pain. I used a teeny tiny brush to reach in between the bottom shelf slats. Pretty sure I’m going to go back to finishing all of the pieces first for the next project, even if it’s wrong.

The Shanty-2-Chic plans I followed for the base called for wheels on the bottom. Tim and I weren’t interested in wheels, so we did some internet searching and came up with an alternative. We love how these look as part of the finished piece (thank goodness).


Here is a picture from the other direction with a good view of the feet.

Well, that was probably more than you wanted to know about my first table build. Maybe it should have been a 4 part post. I learned so darn much through this process and I can’t wait to try it all out again, and to use what I’ve learned on new projects. Thanks for following along on this journey with me!

Oh, and something super fun happened when I posted on Instagram yesterday! I tagged Brandi at Eternal Harvest Decor in my comments to thank her for inspiring me to try a herringbone table top and for her youtube instructional video and she posted my table in her stories!

This is illustrative of the support I’ve seen in the Instagram woodworking community. On top of this, the amazing comments I’ve received from you all on Instagram and Facebook make me feel grateful and I appreciate it.

Sofa/Console Table: Part II

After a few days of Spring, the Winter weather has returned to Central PA. We made the most of the post-polar vortex reprieve and got much of the drywall up in the garage.I loved being able to get outside early enough that we could watch the tail end of the sunrise.

The whole back wall is now done and only a third of a sheet is left to do by the garage door.

The console/sofa table has been an experience. It will apparently take three parts to really share the experience of making it. Part II is focused on how much harder it was to get the pieces of wood lined up in the herringbone pattern than I anticipated. First, Fargo and I got the round 1 sanding done, and I didn’t even have a coat on!

Once the sanding was completed, I had some interesting hours. It was all fun and games when I was just laying the pieces of wood out to make sure I cut enough. Actually lining them up so that the centers didn’t travel off to one side of the plywood or the other was a different story.

I used clamps on two pieces in the middle. I then lined the rest of the boards in place above and below. It was so frustrating that I had to walk away for a bit and come back to it. It would definitely have been easier if I had just cut the angle on the center edges and lined them up on the middle line. This way, not only did I need to line it up even from both edges, but the tilt had to be correct as well.

Once I FINALLY got to the point where it was as centered as possible, I tightly clamped the two middle pieces in order to permanently affix them in place and use them as a guide. I actually flipped the board over, nailed those two pieces from the bottom, crossed my fingers and began the glue-up process.

As an extra measure to secure the herringbone pieces to the plywood, I nailed all of them to the board from the back. I honestly have no idea if that was a good idea, or not, but I was just too nervous they would fall off.

Now that all but the smallest pieces are attached, I’m hoping to use the circular saw today (once temps get into the 20s) to trim the herringbone pieces to the size of the plywood. I’ll then use the scraps for the remaining open spots. Hoping the circular saw and I get along well.

In between, I’m still doing yoga (and Fargo is still fighting me for the mat), and I’m still stopping to take some pictures (mostly from indoors). Had a pileated woodpecker stop by the back yard.

I’m ready to get the final sanding on the table done and start staining it. I submitted my table project to the Weatherwash Brand Ambassador program and it was accepted, which I’m pretty excited about. They sent me the Oaked Stain, White Maintenance Oil and Satin Varnish for free to use on the table in exchange for some social media postings and pictures to help with their company promotion. Given that I started using their products for the bed and nightstands and how much I love the results, it’s super cool to be working with them on the table.

Okay, wish me luck!

Sofa/Console Table: Part I

As I type, the crazy winter winds are blowing and pairing up with the crazy polar vortex temperatures. I’m very grateful to be indoors right now, working on a blog post (assuming we don’t lose power). I’m also working on a blog post because the weather conditions are preventing me from working on my current project…a sofa/console table.

I’m still using construction grade lumber “soft” woods, with edges in the slightly rounded condition in which they come. I do this partly because I can with these types of builds, but mostly because I like the rustic look it provides. As my skills improve, I plan to try working with more hard wood varieties, especially if I can find local sources for reclaimed lumber.

The table I’m building is mostly based off of this Shanty-2-Chic plan. The place I’m diverging from the plan is the table top. I was able to get the pieces for the main structure cut and first round sanded last week. Here is what it looks like so far.

Fargo, as always, watching, and inspecting the work.

After watching a bunch of tutorial videos, including this one from Eternal Harvest Decor, I decided I wanted to attempt a herringbone table top. As an aside, I follow Brandi, of Eternal Harvest Decor, on Instagram and she is a talented woodworker and a hoot. Luckily, I was able to use the driveway workshop on Monday and started cutting the 1x3s for the top.

It took me a few minutes to really get the hang of how the pieces of wood were going to be laid out. I’m really excited now that I have this started (imagine the 13.5″ x 51″ plywood underneath is cut out). I had to stop due to frozen fingers and toes, but you can get the idea.

I’m really proud of myself because I used the circular saw, by myself, and cut the plywood. I even did a freaking good job! I know it’s not as powerful as the corded circular saw we have, but this Ridgid cordless saw is so much quieter (i.e. less scary) and it cut super smoothly.

I’m planning to try a different Weatherwash aging stain on the table, it’s called Oaked. I’ve done some test pieces and I like it with the Clear Oil I’ve used on all of the other builds, and with the White Maintenance Oil which is also new to me.

Okay, now to the non-woodworking part of the post. I’ve stuck with the 30 Day Dedicate Yoga with Adriene program, completing Day 29 today. I really enjoy the 20 minutes (=/-) each day, as does Fargo, who tries to steal my mat. How am I supposed to argue with that face?!?

I do chuckle some mornings when Adriene is wearing a tank top, and I am trying to decide what is the perfect number of layers to have on.

In addition, we’ve continued to have some lovely Winter scenes, as long as one is indoors, that I’ve tried to capture.

I’m hoping to finish building the table this weekend, as we’re supposed to have more “normal” Winter conditions by then. I will jump for joy if it turns out like I have it pictured in my head, or at least reasonably close. Also, we were able to squeeze a trip for drywall in between snow showers on Sunday, so putting that up is on the weekend agenda. Then, I can’t wait to figure out what will be next!

Programming note: My wonderful cousin made some adjustments to try and prevent pictures from appearing sideways on phones/tablets. They appear correct on the computer, which confuses things. I don’t seem to be able to go back and fix pictures in the old posts, but as I’m about to hit “publish” I’m hopeful everything will be facing the right way.

A Smattering of Stuff

Quick unrelated note: It seems that my pictures are appearing sideways on some platforms. I am working to fix it and in the meantime, I apologize.

Hello! Hoping 2019 is treating you well so far. Due to weather and the ongoing garage insulation project, I’ve been working on a smattering of stuff. It’s all good, and I am getting some small things done, but I know what my next project will be and I’m super anxious to get started on it. I definitely need Mother Nature to cooperate a bit more.

I’m trying to expand the food repertoire a little and cooked a new recipe from Pinch of Yum, Vegetarian Swedish Meatballs. It was amazing. I loved it and ate way too much, and wanted there to be way more leftovers than there were. Somehow I didn’t end up with as much sauce as I think I should have, so will make more next time.

Did I mention that I LOVED THIS DISH?!?!?

An exciting shop related item is that I bought a random orbital sander. I opted for corded vs adding to my cordless collection for two reasons. When I picked up the RIDGID cordless sander, it was heavy. Once I added the battery, it would have been WAY heavy. I didn’t think I would be able to manage it for an extended period of time. Once I made that decision, I tried the grips of the corded sanders. I have pretty small hands, so it matters. I chose the DEWALT because the grip was the best and they have a great reputation.

I follow Gator Finishing on Instagram and really enjoy their feed, so decided to support them with my first sandpaper disc purchase.

Since we built the lumber storage rack, it has been used as a quick repository. We’ve tossed many (mostly smaller) pieces of wood in there along the way, and the disorganization shows. I decided to use some of the wicked weather condition time to try to inventory and organize the cart. I did a post on Instagram asking any woodworkers out there how specific they were with inventory, but only received a few responses.

After I pulled all of the smaller pieces out, I actually measured and logged most of them. Maybe that’s weird. I did figure out that I have a bunch of the wood for my next bigger build already, which is fun.

Two final items. Our headboard, and part of Tim, were featured in a Weatherwash ad. I was ridiculously excited.

And last, I’ve been taking part in the Yoga With Adriene 30 Day Dedicate program. It was a recommendation from the youngest, and randomly echoed by a few other friends. I have really enjoyed it, more than I ever would have thought. Fargo has been doing way better than me in his stretching and relaxation though.

Making Stuff With Wood: 2018 Review

Although my “making stuff with wood” journey began at the end of 2017, it really became a passion in 2018. I thought it would be fun to do a recap of what Tim and I made in the past year. He helped a ton in the beginning, and any time I asked for assistance/guidance after that. I did more and more on my own as the year went on. I linked to the posts where I talked more in depth about each.

Go big or go home I guess as we sure started with a big one…workbench:

Next up…miter saw cart:

We combined a few plans and added our own touches to a lumber storage cart:

No sense starting small with the non workshop projects either…queen bed frame:

And corbel lights to match:

I did some smaller projects along the way, some from plans and some that I put together on my own (with varying degrees of success). Most were decorated with some wood burned designs:

Finished up with nightstands, also to match the bed, for which I was chosen as a Weatherwash Ambassador (I submitted a project proposal and it was accepted). It was super freaking exciting as I have used Weatherwash on almost everything here.

I can’t wait to tell you all about the upcoming furniture/house/woodcraft projects and to take you along on my learning journey…once the shop (garage) is done.