Monday, June 9, 2014

Table Top Gas BBQ needs a sturdy Table!

My mom got a pretty nifty table top gas grill, but it needed a nice and sturdy, fairly high table to sit on under her covered porch.
We decided it needed to be just the right depth, and a bit wider than the grill so she could put down a plate of food.

I came up with this sturdy and heavy table out of lumber I had in the garage.
Materials list:
5 2x4s 8 feet long
1 2x10 8 feet long
1 2x2 4 feet long
pocket hole screws/jig

I decided to make it a bit under 4 feet wide, so I could trim up my 2x10 to be perfectly square. Also, I used 2x4s to make the aprons, so we could put some heft looks on later to hold tongs and forks.
The top was two lengths of 2x10 with a 2x2 going down the center. The three table top pieces were joined using my Kreg Jig and some 2.5 inch pocket hole screws (blue kind for outdoor use).

 Join the table top from one apron to the 2x10, to the 2x2, to the 2x10 and the final apron. With pocket holes, you need to work in order to be able to access the screws.

 I added two 2x2 supports, but it probably didn't need it. This way it is sure not to sag or warp, though.
 The legs were simple 2x4s with cross braces. These braces may become the supports for a plywood shelf for propane, so I made sure they were low enough that a tank of propane could fit between them and the bottom of the front apron.

 Table before sanding. The mitered corners look nice, but can be a pain. This table would work with butt corners as well.

And the final stained version. I used a Behr premium deck stain in redwood first, then a coat of Cordovan Brown, also in the Behr.

Mantel Re-do

We decided a mantel in a house we are building was a little too narrow, as it was built out of just a 4X4 piece of lumber. It looked too small to put anything on, or to hang stockings, etc. The solution was to build a mitered box beam with 5 sides, so it could slip over the existing and secured 4x4.

I started with premium pine boards even though we were painting it, as they don't have the knots and bends that could cause problems later.
I used the table saw to rip all the edges to a 45 degree bevel, and measured it so it would fit very snugly on the 4x4 post.

The cut outs are to accommodate the tile surround on the wall. I have to say this project was a little tricky to do offsite, not being able to double check measurements as often as I usually do.

I ended up going with L brackets to secure the 5 sides, and some corner brackets too as it is the cleanest and strongest way I could without special joiners. It turned out pretty solid, and only needed some sanding, planing a little, and a bit of wood filler to fill any little imperfect bevel joints. Use tape to hold all the sides together while you place brackets-- it really is a good way to keep things square while you are working.

We are offering it to the buyers, so if it goes up, I will post a final picture!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Baby changing station for top of dresser

In frantic baby#2-nesting-mode, I decided that our master bedroom could hold no more furniture. Husband's dresser became the obvious place to make a changing table, so I measured it up and built a custom tray topper to hold all new baby's clothes, changing pad, diapers, ointments, etc. All of his currently fitting clothes and accouterments fit in this tray...we will see how long that lasts!

The stain color is a little off, but I already had it! In fact, the whole project was made from wood already in the garage, but probably cost $15 for lumber and $20 for the two little sheets of plywood, before staining.If you attempt this, be sure to add sticky felt pads to the bottom so it doesn't scratch your dresser. Also, measure from the front of your dresser to the wall, not just the top of your dresser. This way you can gain extra surface area between the back of the dresser and the wall.
Yes, I realize that is a big TV for a bedroom. It was on sale.

Was a super easy build that probably took 2 or 3 hours, plus one hour to stain. Used my Kreg Jig to assemble, and finished the bottom off with a really nice piece of plywood meant for cabinet sides and backs.

Used three 1"x 6" boards (6'), 24 self-anchoring screws, and two sheets of birch plywood.

18 inch doll's bunk bed

With 18-inch dolls all the rage with the Kindergarten set, I decided to make my niece a bunk bed for her dolls. Favorite color? Purple, of course! Plan adapted from You can find that plan here: Ana White's Bunk Bed Plan

The finished product

 The sheets, blankets and pillows

Sanded and holes filled

End supports with pocket holes

Starting supplies after cuts made. This lumber needed a lot of sanding.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Rustic Milking Stool

This is a little short stool modeled after one we have in our kitchen in Ireland. It is a really basic design, made entirely of one 1''x8'' board (I got an 8' board, but didn't use the whole thing).

I made this for my dad, as an early father's day gift, and you could make it in less than 30 minutes!


1 1"x8" board 6' long (you only need 3', so you can make two of these for about $10!)
wood screws
Kreg Jig, if you have it

Cut List:

All from your single 1x8:
2- 12" length
2 - 6"  lengths

One of the 12" lengths will be ripped lengthwise, and the curve detail will be cut with a jigsaw. This stool can also be made with straight design details, if you don't have a jigsaw.

Here are your pieces with lines for the last cuts:

And here they are trimmed:

Step One:

Trim the curved corners of each apron. I used a compass to make a nice curve that I could then replicate 3 more times.

Step Two:

Cut a 4' by 3/4" rectangle out of the top corner of each leg (so, for rectangles are cut out). These will be the support shelves for the side aprons. Note: Wood is named in nominal lengths, but are actually smaller than their names. I am using 1" by 8" pieces of wood, which are more like 3/4" by 7.5" pieces of wood. The support shelf should be as deep as your wood is thick, and as tall as the apron is high (half the original thickness of your "8 inch" wide board.)

Step Three:

Cut a triangle out of the bottom of each leg. Make them even and matched to each other (unlike my drawing above).

Step Four:

Sanding! To make this look really old and used and rustic, you need to sand all the corners way down. Do this before assembly, so that it looks like it may have been built out of old reclaimed wood from the farm. If you want some nice wear and tear on it, you can use a hammer, or even a chain and beat it up a little before assembly.

Step Five:

Assembly! Choose the best side of your 12" by 8" top board, and put the top face down on your work surface. Line up your first apron along the side, and either use pocket holes with your Kreg Jig, to fasten from below, or countersink screws from above into the apron. Do this to the other apron as well.

Step Six:

Slide a leg in between the aprons and position it so that the 4" wide part of the apron sits on the notch of the leg. Use pocket holes to fasten the leg to both the top and the aprons. Repeat with the other leg.
Here is the underside of the stool; you can see where the leg placement goes for full support.

When you are done, you can fill the holes with wood filler, and then stain and seal.
I used Minwax oil-based stain in Hickory, and then a light wax finish at the end.

For an even more rustic look, you could assemble with finish nails. Often, little stools will also have an oval hole cut out of the top for a handle.

That's it! Enjoy the stool as a toddler's hand washing helper, a place to prop up your feet, something useful with which to hold a french door open, or as a nice little low table on which to rest your beverage.

Building Ana White's Double Chaise Lounge

In case you haven't found her, Ana White is an inspiring builder-mom from Alaska. She posts free plans for furniture, toys, household accessories, yard items, etc. I encourage you to check out her site and build something this weekend!
What a weekend it is--I am going to have a whole extra day of childcare, err, Dad at home, to get this current project done.
So far the wood has one coat of stain. I am trying to get all the staining done before the weekend begins, so I can just build build build come Saturday.

I will post updated pics as I complete stages!

Closer to being done with staining...Just have a second coat on three sides to go...

 Framed the base, and starting with the pocket holes for the slats.
 All 11 slats are screwed in--22 pocket holes per joist, and 4 joists...88 screws, but very secure and no visible holes on the top of the piece.
Using the Kreg Jig as a portable unit to predrill all those pocket holes.
So it is totally assembled, and just needs a touch up on stain, a few holes filled with wood filler, and some cushions sewn!
The legs seemed a bit weak, so I reinforced with some brackets behind each leg, and will probably add a notched 1x4 behind each leg, for strength.

I was thinking of sewing custom cushions for the chaise, but outdoor foam is pretty expensive. I decided that two regular chaise cushions side by side would be just fine!