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Dining Room/ Home Office {Make a pencil drawer}

I mentioned before that I wasn’t sure I was going to add a pencil drawer drawer to the Dining Room built-ins.  Luckily I didn’t have to decide until the very end, and I wasn’t so sick of this project that I scrapped the idea altogether by that point!  I really like this addition to the desk portion.  Not only does it add a usable feature, but I like the look of the desk with it in there.  I built it to look like part of the face frame, so you really don’t know there is a drawer in there.

Finished pencil drawer

Up until now I have not owned a table saw but you might recall that right before I started on this project, I got one for my birthday.  I decided to try my hand at using it to construct this drawer.

The bottom’s dimensions are the depth of the drawer glide plus 1/4″ (in this case it is 14″ plus 1/4″) and 1″ shorter than the width of the drawer opening (to compensate for the space for the drawer glides–1/2″ for each side).  The sides of the drawer are 3/4″ plywood, because I used some scrap I had.

Bottom of the pencil drawer

I attached the sides to the back of the drawer and then glued and nailed them onto the bottom through the bottom 1/4″ ply.  There’s a 1/4″ lip I left on the bottom that will slide into a dado I cut into the front of the drawer

Make a pencil drawerThe front is 3/4″ ply as well because you only really see the front.  I made sure to sand the top and sides well, so it still looks nice.  I cut the dado the depth that the lip sticks out.  The width of the dado is the thickness of the 1/4″ ply.  I had to make two passes to get it right.  Truthfully more than that, but I’m still learning ;)

Close up of drawer assembly The little bit of wood at the bottom under the dado cut provides a place for me to be able to pull open the drawer since I’m not attaching a handle.

To attach the glides to the cabinets, I pulled out my double sided tape again–love that stuff!  You’ll recall that I used it to attach the inset door hinges and it works like a charm to hold the glides in place while you try to work with those horribly tiny screws that come with drawer glides.  I positioned the glide with my Kreg drawer glide jig to get it squared up with the face frames on the cabinets.  I had to lower it quite a bit than it looks in this picture because I used european glides and you have to be able to get the drawer glide wheel over the cabinet glide wheel and that ain’t gonna happen with it this close to the top!  This was wishful thinking in this picture.

Double sided tape to attach drawer glide

Insert the drawer into its spot so that you can attach the front and get it positioned just right.  I put glue in the dado and then just nailed into the sides through the front.  This is a tiny drawer and won’t get much abuse so that should hold it just fine.

Drawer without drawer front attached

Drawer front attached

Fill the holes with wood filler, sand, prime, paint and topcoat!

DIY pencil drawer open

This drawer took much less time to build than it took to wrap those headphones!  That was a Pinterest-inspired project that took a LONG time to finish.  This drawer was pretty simple to assemble and I’m glad I took the time to complete it!

Dining Room Home Office built ins full view

Dining Room/ Home Office {How to Install Inset Door Hinges}

I’ve installed inset door hinges on a number of my projects now, and I’ve finally come up with a way to do it easily.  And by myself.  Sometimes it seems like you need about 7 pairs of hands to keep things where you want them when you are building, and with this method all I needed was my own set.

This is the magic ingredient for only needing two hands to install hinges.

Carpet tape to install hinges Read More…

Dining Room/ Home Office {How to make a hanging file drawer with a Dremel}

I love hanging files, so when turning the Dining room into a Home Office space, hanging file drawers were a must.  I played around with my own design and measured existing file drawers in our house to come up with a plan.  I pinned some things I could purchase to attach to the drawer, but I wanted two drawers and I was looking at about $30, which was more than I wanted to spend.  And then Sandra over at SawdustGirl.com rescued me and published a post about how she made some file drawers and it was cheap.  That was the way I wanted to go, but the problem was that Sandra used a table saw to make hers.  And my table saw was still in a really big and heavy box in our garage at the time.

Dremel sent me some of their tools awhile back to try out and I decided to use the Multi-Max to make my hanging file drawer instead of the table saw.

Dremel multi-max

My drawers are going in horizontally so the files go from side-to-side rather than front to back.  The drawer dimensions are 14″ deep by 19″ wide (exterior dimensions).  If my cabinets were deeper, I would have made the file drawer deeper because getting them in and out works, but I can’t take them straight up and out because it would hit the drawer above it.  You can see that it sits right under the drawer above when fully extended.

DIY hanging file drawer installed

So here’s how I went about it.  Take your hanging file and mark where you should cut. Read More…

Dining Room/ Home Office {How to make a Desktop or Countertop}

When I was thinking about the Dining Room turned Home Office project, I envisioned a dark, stained desktop that had a reclaimed wood feel to it.  I knew that reclaimed wood would probably be expensive to buy or time consuming to try to find.  I was inspired by ThriftyDecorChick’s dining room built-ins (I actually played around with the idea of buying pre-fabbed cabinets like she did as well, to try to speed up the build, but obviously nixed that idea).  Then I ran into CleverlyInspired‘s DIY countertop and later Sandra at SawdustGirl did a tutorial using 2x4s also, so I thought I was good to go for the desktop!

I bought the 2x4s and had them all set to go.  I even bought a table saw–did I mention that yet?  I am in love with it :)  I had been saving for awhile and got the Ridgid R4512.

After I read a few pages of the manual, where they talk about how if you don’t do everything right you will cut off a limb, or die–several times on each page–I was sufficiently spooked about using pine with knots in it.  So My Man and I tried to cut off the rounded edges of the 2x4s together, because someone had to catch the 2×4 coming off the saw.  We got 1 board done when he started questioning whether this was the best way to go.  He thought maybe there was an easier way (and ssshhh, he was right, but I didn’t quite see that at that point…).  I humored him, not in a good-natured way though, and did some searching at the box stores’ websites.

I found something called a laminated pine board that had the right dimensions.  I wasn’t sure it was going to have the look I wanted, and I think I was a little pouty when we were buying it, but boy was I happy once the first coat of stain went on!

DIY desktop grain detail

I used 3/4″ plywood as the base under the laminated pine.  I chose to use cabinet grade plywood because I could get it in PureBond, which doesn’t off-gas from formaldehyde.  I cut the base plywood and the laminated pine board to 16.5″ wide so that once I attached the 1×2 to the front, the desktop would extend 1″ wider than the cabinets.  I glued the plywood and pine boards together a day before attaching the face.  This is painters tape “clamps” to attach the 1×2 face with glue.  I didn’t nail or screw it in–just the tape for a good 24+ period of drying.

DIY Desk top assembly

The second side I attached needed more convincing that this was a good idea, hence the clamps.

DIY Desktop assemby 2

Desktop assemby 3

Mitered corners.  Make sure the tape makes these corners meet correctly when you are clamping it up.

Miter corner on desktop

I think I would like this better if I had faked a cut in the left side so that the corner looked more intentional.  Then where it meets would look more decorative.  Oh well.

Where the corners meet in the desktop

This desktop would be far cheaper going with the 2×4 option, but I think I prefer the look of this one–the pattern is more like a wood floor–and it couldn’t have gotten much easier.  My option ran around $100 for 11.5 feet of counter top 17.25″ wide.

The stain is a custom mix that I had since our house was built and the painter used it on one of our mantels.  I used it on the DIY Entryway Bench and on the frames for our Family Name Sign and the Geometric Wall Art in the kids’ bathroom.  I used a wood conditioner on the desktop before I stained it and I’m so glad I did.  I did a test run of the stain on a scrap that was really blotchy without the pre-conditioner.  I sanded between coats with 220 grit sandpaper, and then applied polycrylic with a brush.  Making sure to sand between coats of that with 320 grit sandpaper, I applied 5 coats of the topcoat in all.

And there you have it!  So happy Hubs decided that the 2x4s were not going to go through the saw evenly (I’ve since heard of a way to make that work better and will use it if I build with 2x4s in the future).  But don’t tell him…  ;)

Dining Room/Home Office {The Reveal}

I knew turning the dining room into a home office/dining room was going to be a big project, I just didn’t know it was going to be a big, BIG project.  Ignorance was bliss, until I was in it too far to turn back!  I don’t know that I will ever take on a project this big again (thankfully there aren’t that many this size on the to-do list!).  But here I am 2.5 months, 14 door and drawer fronts, 16 hinges, 1 gallon of primer, 1.75 quarts of polycrylic and 5 days where I thought “this is the day that I will finish” only to end the day “not finished” I am finally on the “done” side of the build.  And I’m happy.  REALLY happy!  All of the “what ifs” and unknowns are neatly tied up in a bow and all I have to do is fill up the cabinets and style the bookshelves.

Dining Room Home Office built ins full view

The biggest stress for me throughout the entire build was that inside corner where the two units meet.  I just couldn’t visualize what would look the best for that spot until I actually had most of it constructed.  And even then I wasn’t sure.  I’m really pleased with the end result.

Dining Room Home Office built ins desk view

The middle part of the desk that looks like a face frame is actually a pencil drawer.  I hadn’t decided whether I was including that until the very last part of the project, but I’m glad I did.  I’ll show you how I made the drawer in another post.

Dining Room Home Office built ins shelf view

The right cabinet under the shelves has a charging station in it that I am loving also.  I’ll show more details in a later post.  Couldn’t wait to get the reveal up, so the detail shots will have to wait!

Dining Room Home Office Built Ins left side

I’m a file-drawer junkie, so the two bottom drawers are both hanging file drawers.  Lot of room for organizing, gotta love that!

Dining Room Home Office right side

Dining Room Home Office built ins full view

If you recall, we don’t have much time to sit back and enjoy the fact that this is finished this year–I’ve got one graduating this spring, eek!  I’ve already moved on to trying to pick out a table, chairs, and rug for this room to really finish it up…and move on to the next project ;)

More posts on this build will be churned out!

***

As always, I only use PureBond plywood in my builds because the air quality in my home matters to me.  I have used this plywood since the very beginning of my woodworking adventure and I love it.

PureBond_Pledge(2)

Dining Room/Home Office {Drawer Glides}

Ahhh, installing drawer glides.  I’ve done my fair share by this point, and each time I’ve went about if a little differently.  I started out measuring, using a level to draw a guide line, and attaching.  And then there was a LOT of fiddling around to try to get the inset drawer to fit just right in the drawer front space.  After that, I came across a pointer on Pinterest that I used for Pip’s closet organizer.  That worked really well until I tried adding an additional drawer to the top.  Oops.

Last June I made good on a promise to myself to buy a drawer glide jig since I knew I was going to be installing quite a few drawers for upcoming projects.  Well I haven’t had a reason to use it yet until now…and it was pretty disappointing.  Kreg hasn’t let me down yet and I’ve invested in quite a few of their products–love them!  But when I tried to use the jig and had the glide set so that the glide left room for the inset drawer face, it lifted the glide slightly in the front.  The picture I took of the problem doesn’t show it like seeing it in person.  Here’s a photo of how far in front the glide goes when the glide is flat on the jig:

Kreg drawer glide jig

Maybe that isn’t a problem?  Anybody use this jig?  Maybe it is the drawer glides that I bought that don’t fit correctly?   I wasn’t going to take the time to test that out though–I had 6 drawers to install!  I’m also pretty sure I would have had to use a clamp style for this that I don’t own.  My Kreg face frame clamp is the littlest one and didn’t have the reach I needed (if you are wavering between the smallest and the bigger one, just spent the extra $5!)  This is basically a frameless build (there is a face frame to cover the plywood, but it is even with decorative boards I put on the outside of the project).  This jig works more easily with what I’ve got if the project has a face frame.

I still used the jig to get the glide set so that it drawer front would lay flat in line with the face frame.  I had it like it is in the to photo and drew a line.Drawer glide line placement

I then used duct tape to keep them in the right spot.  Fancy, I know.  But it worked!

Drawer glides duct taped in

I drilled a pilot hole and then used a screw driver to get the screws in.  The only thing that was making me swear on these glides was trying to keep the drill bit on the screw!  The screws are so little–they want to wobble and strip–it is frustrating.  I ended up just using a screw driver and my muscles in the end.  Only some minor adjustments after they were in this time.  I also did (or tried to do) what Sandra over at SawdustGirl.com suggests when installing drawer glides (how to attach the screws).  However, these glides that I bought at Home Depot did not have horizontal adjustment options on the cabinet part.  I will be more organized next build, and order the glides from Rockler that I have used in the past to compare.Drawer glides completedThe bottom drawers are hanging file drawers, so I needed to use full-extension glides that were heavier duty.  I’ve never used anything but the european glides like the top drawers have, so I once again turned to Sandra’s blog to install those.  She covers that in the link also.  I think I had to double the 1/4″ plywood bottom when I had them in the cabinet though, in order to get the clearance I needed on the bottom.

Compared to other drawer glide installations, this one was rather smooth!

Anybody out there have advice or opinions on the Kreg drawer glide jig?

 

Dining Room/Home Office {The Plans}

I know I over think my projects before I even buy the first board.  I know I do it and I can’t help it.  Every time I tell myself to not be so uptight about the plans.  And every time I spend hours and hours drawing up every aspect of it.

Oh well!  Here’s evidence of my problem.  I didn’t scale down the size of the photos so you could click on them to get a larger size if you want to look closer.

Once again a disclaimer–I can’t guarantee that these dimensions or plans will work since I modify and discover mistakes as I go along.  Although you’d think with the time I spend on these they would be perfect…most often they end up not perfect.

Dining Room Plans Desk Drawing

I spend quite a bit of time trying to figure out the way I can cut for least waste.  That means my shelves generally end up being 12.5″ deep–11.75 board width with a .75 face front.  That way I can get 4 equal rips down a sheet of plywood.  Remember that you have to allow for the kerf when making accurate cuts. Read More…

Dining Room Built Ins {The Before Pictures}

I’ve had plans to change our dining room into an office/den/project area for a long time now.  We actually went out to a kitchen cabinet place with the intention of them pricing out unfinished wood cabinets for the room year ago–long before I ever picked up a circular saw.  I was going to paint them myself to try to save some money, but it was still going to be several thousand dollars for what we wanted.  I’m glad we held off on it, because I think what I’ve come up with is way more usable for our family.  All of that was before I was blogging and way before I was woodworking.  So it sat like this.  For 13 years.

Dining Room Before Picture Full Room

It is embarrassing.   Thirteen years this room has been sitting waiting to be finished.

Dining Room Before Picture Stair Wall

Nothing on the walls but paint.

Dining Room Before Picture Window Wall

And windows.  I do love the windows.  Until I have to wash them all.

Dining Room Before Picture Kitchen Wall

This table was an antique when I sat at it at age 5, went to a relative’s house when we moved when I was 8, and back to me when I was 29 since we had a dining room with nothing in it at that point.  Besides the windows and paint, it is the only thing that has been in the room.  For 13 years!!!  Incidentally, my cousin wants it when we move it out of here–she lived in the house with the table for the 21 years it wasn’t with me :)

Dining Room Before Picture

This is where the magic is hopefully going to happen.  I’m planning built-ins for this corner.  I don’t have a desk and I have been using this room for several years now–first with a fold up table in the corner while I completed my online degree, and then this table when I started blogging.  The problem is that there are no drawers, only a flat surface that I have problems not covering with anything and everything that comes and goes from the house.  What is on it right now is pretty tame.  In fact, I would call that neat and tidy compared to other times in our home’s history.  The Hubs would not.

So it is time for a desk and some built-ins in the Dining Room!

How to build a simple, scrap wood upholstered footstool

An upholstered footstool is one of the gifts that I made for Pip for Christmas this year, in my quest to have one room in this house completely finished up.  This is part of how I made it–I say part, because I think I deleted the building part of the pictures…oops!  It is so simple though, you really don’t need anything but a picture to put it together.  And I used scrap plywood and miscellaneous supplies from my sewing room, so it was free.

Scrap plywood upholstered footstool

See what I mean?  This was a very easy project.  I had put together the bench part before I started on the living room built-in, but I finished the rest of this in the midst of my general-Christmas-madness-combined-with-starting-a-major-project brilliance.  I will once again beg all of you to remind me that I should not start major projects during the holiday season next year!

I left the edges of the plywood unfinished–I just filled some spots where there were little voids in the ply with wood putty and sanded really well.  Two coats of primer and 1 coat of my white.  I did do two thin coats of polycrylic since I had it out already for the living room built in.  I really like the smooth finish I end up with when I use it.

Here are the steps I used to upholster the top.

Upholstered footstool supplies needed Read More…

Living Room Built-In {post 6: Make A Pocket Hole Plug Jig & Pocket Hole Doors}

If you use a pocket hole jig to assemble cabinet doors, you are left with holes on the back of the door that can be seen.  This may not bother you, and I decided it didn’t on Pip’s built-ins for her room because I didn’t want to deal with it and it wasn’t going to be seen by many.  For the living room built-in, I decided I needed to do something about them.  Using the plugs that Kreg makes is an option, but Kreg intentionally leaves them long so you can trim them for an exact fit.  I decided that if I needed to trim them anyway, I’d do it a little cheaper.  Here’s my DIY pocket hole plug jig.

Here’s a picture of one of the doors I put into the built-in for the living room.  I actually didn’t mean to construct them this way…I meant to do it the same way I constructed the drawer fronts on Pip’s closet organizer.  But I remembered that after I had already routered the edges on all the 1x3s I used for the rails and stiles.  Oops.  Constructing them this way  makes it more difficult to assemble the door perfectly square and end up with cuts that meet exactly right on the corners.

Mitered Corner Pocket Hole cabinet doors

One door was perfect and it was the one I did second.  For that door I assembled 3 corners, and then used the clamps in the picture to square up the door before screwing in the pocket  holes for the last corner.  To make sure the door is square, you measure the diagonal corners–each measurement should be the same.  If not, adjust the clamps until they are.  The one that I did first, and didn’t square it up with the clamps before attaching the last corner, did not turn out exactly square…I had to shave off the top edge.  Next time I construct a door or drawer front that is going to be inset, I’ll plan on making it a little oversized so I can shave it down to perfect (thanks for that hint Dennis!)

Now onto the pocket hole plug jig.  First step is to take a piece of scrap and drill the pocket holes into both ends.  I used my miter saw to shave off some of the ends of the boards after I drilled the holes, so that the screws could move freely without catching on the wood.  Don’t take off too much though, then the screw falls right through the hole (I did that the first try…).  Put screws into each pocket hole. Read More…

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