If all I had done was add a hutch to a desk, then the reveal post would have come about much sooner. But before I could add the hutch, I had to paint the desk:
I didn’t sand the desk down. I bought some bonding primer at Lowes (hope I don’t regret not getting the Sherwin Williams version I’ve heard others use–I was already at Lowes and got lazy…). I also skipped the polycrylic topcoat I’m fond of using and bought a semi-gloss finish in the paint instead. I didn’t get the really smooth finish I’ve come to love, but I did get done with the project a little quicker, which I also love.
Repair a chair. Paint the chair. Recover the chair seat. Spray the chair bright pink. Discover bright pink doesn’t work. Repaint chair white.
And spray paint the handles and horizontal metal inserts a nice, brushed nickel.
But now it is all done and in her room! Here’s a before photo to refresh your memory about how the room looked, well…before! I didn’t purposely take such awful before shots, I wanted the Hubs to take the desk down so I could paint it, but I needed before photos…and it was at night. Flash photos + no natural light =no good
I love the brushed nickle spray paint! Look at the difference in the hardware.
It’s coming along in there. I’m working on a couple more projects for her room right now that I’m hoping to have done by the weekend. Now that I’ve said that out loud it’ll get jinxed somehow
Here are all the posts in the series:
You might notice that the drawers in the plans didn’t make it into the hutch. That is a sore spot for me at the moment, since I did some incorrect math in my head…I was dreading going out in that garage in the cold, I procrastinated for a few days over the long weekend, finally went out and got it done, took it up to her room, and discovered they weren’t going to work as is. Sigh.
If you’re ever in need of feeling better about how your own projects are going, you know you can always depend on me for a mistake or two!
**This project (and all my plywood projects on here to date) are made using PureBond Plywood because I’m concerned about the air quality in my home.
You know, I could wear a black turtleneck every day of the winter and be quite content. I have never looked at myself in a picture and wondered what I was thinking when I’m wearing a black turtleneck in the snapshot. It’s timeless. It’s classic. It’s flattering. It may be boring, but it’s a sure bet–and I love those kind.
You may be wondering whatever this has to do with DIY. Well, white is also classic, and I had Pip’s desk chair all painted up and ready to go, in classic white, when I began to worry it might be a little dull. There was quite a bit of white going on in there with all her furniture, and now the desk and hutch. I fretted that putting a white chair in front of it all would not have the punch I thought the room needed.
I was wrong. I shoulda stayed with the sure bet.
Do you know how easy it is to spray paint a chair this size? Wayyyyy too easy–if it were harder I would have pondered about it a little while before skipping outside to transform the color before it got too dark to see. I’ve thought longer and harder about what I’m going to wear in the morning when my black turtleneck is dirty.
There’s the inspiration culprit in the form of a bike helmet laying in front of the chair. I had a lot of spray paint leftover after I sprayed over top of the Barbie decal that Pip wasn’t liking anymore, and it was the right color. Just the wrong choice. Pip’s desk is a lady, and putting that chair in front of it was like looking at Princess Diana in a suit with a pink boa. It just didn’t go!
I’ll have the desk and hutch reveal soon…after I repair the results of my temporary lapse from the safe bet.
What about you? Make any rash DIY decisions you almost instantly regretted??
I was so honored to be asked to review Ana White’s new book The Handbuilt Home. I have made no secret of the fact that I think Ana White is phenomenal in my past posts. Read on to find out more about her first book!
If you want to build your own furniture but you are frustrated with the lack of resources available to learn how, you are waiting for Ana White. If you want to build furniture that you covet in the stores, but can’t stomach shelling out the cash for it, you are waiting for Ana White. If you’ve always had a feeling you could do it yourself, but got stumped when the books for beginners called for dadoes, rabbets, and biscuits, you are waiting for Ana White. Lucky for you, Ana White has written a beautiful book called The Handbuilt Home and she’s going to help you create furniture that will make you stand back and say, “I can’t believe I made that!” I know she can do it for you–she’s already done that for me.
The book starts off with a “Getting Started” section and herein lies the first of Ana’s strengths. She builds furniture with a minimum of tools, which is less intimidating for the beginner–and cheaper. She tells you what you absolutely need and what is just nice to have. Nothing more, nothing less. She began with the basics and bought more of the “nice to have” as she went along. You can too.
Following her tool recommendations is a section on materials where she discusses what beginners need to know about wood and boards, and working with sheet goods such as plywood and mdf. Then she moves on to fasteners–giving the reader recommendations of what to keep on hand for nails and screws as well as information about both. She includes an overview of finishing supplies, which can make or break your project, so they are very important. To finish off the section she talks about hardware supplies such as drawer glides, wheels, and knobs and handles, that give the finishing touch to a project.
Chapter 2 covers Basic Techniques, which include understanding the plans, tips for cutting your boards and sheet goods, and advice on angled and curved cuts. She then covers the building process, from marking joints to checking for square. Finally she touches on finishing your project by filling in the holes, sanding, and then applying a paint or stain. She never talks above the beginner’s head so you won’t get lost in here, and you’ll be ready to get started when you are inspired by the rest of the book!
Next is the eye candy. I love every single project in this book. Every. One. Ana gives you very specific and easy to follow directions for every project for all areas of your home: entryway, family room, dining room, kitchen & bath, office & craft room, bedroom, children’s room, and outdoor furnishings. No complicated, “exploded view” diagrams that seem so popular in woodworking magazines and books–each step has an accompanying diagram so you can visually see what is happening. The Lego Coffee Table might be getting added to my to-do list because we are in need of a table in our front room…and I covet plan #26 the Armoire. I don’t have a spot for it, but I might have to build it anyway.
The projects are marked with icons that identify them as starter, beginner, intermediate, and advanced. She also gives approximate time frames for completion, and cost: less than $50, less than $100, and more than $100.
Some of the projects were built by people other than Ana, which is a nice chance to get to know some other talented bloggers who are building out there. I recommend checking out their blogs as well as visiting Ana-White.com to learn even more.
If you go to Ana’s book on Amazon, you’ll see one person gave the book a 3 star review, based on the fact that it was geared so heavily on beginner projects. I’m puzzled by this, because that is where Ana was aiming with this book. I personally don’t have a problem with beautiful furniture that is more simple in its assembly and I am no longer a beginner. At the same time, Ana responds to the review by saying she hopes to produce another book aimed to the more experienced woodworker. If her second book is anything like her first, it will be wonderful!
I was standing in my daughter’s room tonight, waiting to tuck her in and looking around at the changes that have happened in there–her bed, her built-in cabinets, her nightstand, her closet organizer–and it hit me that I’m the one who built her room. I made it all! If you check out the brag post area of Ana’s site, you’ll see many others who are thinking the same thing: “I can’t believe I made that!”. We were all waiting for Ana White and we’re so glad we found her. You will be too–take a look at The Handbuilt Home and start on your own DIY journey with Ana as your guide.
Boy was I ever rusty in my woodworking skills for this build!! I’m glad I am here to show you that multiple mistakes during a build can still result in a usable piece of furniture…
First off, my plan. Wherever did I think that I could fit the amount of shelves I had planned for is beyond me! I had an extra cut out that the plan called for. You know how I have warned you that using my plan “as is” is probably not advisable? I had a good laugh at myself as I was laying out the pieces on the garage floor for a dry fit!
Which reminds me–I really, really need to get a workbench made so I can quit using the floor.
And then I realized that I was going to have to figure out how high I wanted to make the first shelf, because it was going to be permanent and not moveable. I had not figured that in–I wanted it to all be adjustable. BUT this will not be attached to the actual desk because the desktop is formica. In order to keep it square I need to have it fastened in the middle. This ended up being a monumental decision–I went back and forth on it. Right now she doesn’t need a ton of head room for that first shelf, but I want this to work for her as long as she is at home. I went with the shelf being at 17.5″ (16.75″ once I added the face frame) so that she can fit a bigger monitor under there if need be someday. (I was really irritated with myself for making that such a big decision because it ate up precious time! Sometimes I can be so indecisive.)
Then I got to use another of my birthday presents–my brand new Kreg Shelf Pin Jig. Love it.
Thanks for the warm welcome back everyone!! I’m excited to be posting again. Well I finally got to use my birthday presents, just a few mere months after buying them! And let me tell you, I am in love with the Kreg Rip Cut.
It came in pieces, which took some of the wind out of my sails about getting back to woodworking. I just wanted to start! But it didn’t take too long to assemble the parts.
Nothing difficult about it, but makes sure you have a phillips screwdriver on hand to tighten up the parts. I also used a pair of pliers to get all of it out of the package (there are some white pins you need to pinch to open it up).
Here it is all ready to go:
I also took a few minutes to square up my saw blade with the plate of the saw. Please do this if you use a circular saw. Please. It is so easy and it made such a difference. Loosen up the knob that allows you to make an angled cut, square up the blade (I used my combination square), and tighten up the knob. If you are a visual person, here is a video explaining the process. Actually, if you don’t know a thing about circular saws, there are 15 videos in this series and it explains everything to the complete beginner.
That all was the hard part and nothing about it was hard. Here is the accuracy I got. Beginning part of the board I cut:
And the end part of the same board:
That’s pretty accurate. And I was able to get that accuracy immediately. And it’s looking like I need to replace my circular saw blade–I’m getting some rip out…
The most amazing part for me was that I worked at my job, picked out and bought the plywood & boards, put together the Rip Cut, cut out the parts I needed for the actual hutch (no drawers), and started assembling it ALL IN ONE DAY. Part of that was the miracle of straight 1x2s one after the other at Home Depot, part of it was the low number of cuts I had to make, and part of it was how fast the Rip Cut makes cutting plywood!
Now for the issues I had with it. I still used my set up that I had in my how to cut plywood video with the 2x4s. Without the Rip Cut attached to the saw, I am able to cut with the saw to the side of my body, so any kickback incidents happen with the saw to the side of me. With the Rip Cut attached, the saw is still to my side, but the Rip Cut is in front of me–and if the saw kicks, the Rip Cut is going with it, and I’m behind it. I don’t see a way around this–I’m short. Short arms come with short legs. Even if this were elevated on a table, I just don’t think I can reach that far!
I also had a problem with 1/4″ plywood wanting to travel with the saw. With my homemade straight cut jigs, the jigs weighed down the plywood and it stayed in its spot.
This is also a problem with thicker plywood once you’ve gotten most of it cut up. It wants to move with the saw.
If you need a piece that is larger than the width of the Rip Cut (which is 24″), you need to do a little finagling with the numbers. Say you wanted a piece 36″ wide from the 48″ width. You have to cut away 12″ from the other side, because you can’t cut larger than 24″ with the guide on the Rip Cut. But wait! Remember that the width of your saw blade (the kerf) is going to eat away some of the measurement. My current blade is 1/8″ wide, so I would need to set the saw at 11 7/8″ (which will cut away 12″ from the waste side of the board) leaving you with 36″. Not a deal breaker, but you’ve got to be on your toes when cutting like that. I would just nick the plywood with the blade enough to get an imprint of the blade without cutting too deep. Then I double checked my measurements before taking up the saw again, and completing the cut.
Last, but not least, you need to eyeball the last part of the cut, because you run out of guide before you run out of saw in the board. I still got a straight cut each time, but just be aware that you need to keep moving straight forward and don’t swing the saw either way. You’ll end up taking off the last corner of what you are cutting if you swing it. This also happened with my homemade straight cut jig until I got used to it, but the Rip Cut seems to leave me feeling like I’m on my own sooner than the jig I was using.
Now after all the issues I listed, I will remind you that I said that I loved thee Kreg Rip Cut and I was going to count the ways. 60 seconds in every minute. 60 minutes in every hour. The Kreg Rip Cut is going to be saving me quite a bit of time and when time is precious, you love what helps you conserve it. I won’t be throwing out my homemade jigs, but I won’t be dragging them out as much either!
**Although Kreg did take notice of my initial posts about the Rip Cut, the only thing I received from them was a nice comment–no compensation for this post.
I’ve never discussed what plywood I use, if I recall correctly. I can honestly say it has only been one kind for every single project using plywood on this blog, right from the very beginning. The Hubs and I have always been a little green, not in the jealous sense, but in the environmental sense. We spent quite a bit extra buying no-VOC paint and primer when we built our house 12 year ago (and painted it all ourselves, with much help from friends and family!). So when I decided that I was going to attempt to plug in the power tools and build, I spent HOURS on the computer trying to find “green” building products. It was quite frustrating and all special order. And EXPENSIVE.
And then I found PureBond. Which happened to be carried by Home Depot just 15 minutes from my home. No formaldehyde at all, and it was local! I was so excited that I posted about it over on the boards at Ana White’s site. If you look at the date on that forum post, it was before I even started the blog And it burned up the boards over there with exactly…zero comments back. Oh well! Now PureBond’s name is getting out there with all the blogs that are taking the PureBond pledge!
Since I have been using PureBond for two years now, I am happy to say that I am now officially taking the PureBond Pledge as well. This blog will wear the badge with honor on the sidebar. Thank you PureBond, for making your product available for DIYers like me, who are concerned about the air quality in their homes.
If you want to read a little more about the product, you can visit the manufacturer Columbia Forest Products, visit the website especially for PureBond Plywood, or take a peek at the PureBond Facebook page. I want to see the different species they have available to order–so far I’ve only used the birch ply–but when I went to the special order counter awhile back, the guy couldn’t find the samples (he didn’t normally work in that department). Ana had mentioned in a post that they have a variety and I would love to check them for the projects I want to stain instead of paint.
And now that I mention two years of blogging, I think I have a two year anniversary coming up!! October 27, 2010 was my first post. Wow. Time sure does fly…
**Now I’ve always said you would be the first to know if I am getting compensated for anything on this blog. I will receive compensation from PureBond for the Pledge. How sweet a deal is it that I already use and love this product?? Excuse me while I pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming…
I promised plans today and here they are! Hopefully I’ll be seeing how a sheet of plywood fits into a Honda Pilot today. A Home Depot employee and I had a discussion on this matter several months ago, and he assured me that the old model Pilot fit a sheet with no troubles, while the newest version fits a sheet, but just barely. We traded on our 12 year old van for a Pilot in July–the Honda salesman was a little bewildered by my interest in fitting lumber in the trunk We bought the old model, so hopefully no worries.
I’ve kept the pictures at a large size so that you can click on them to enlarge and see the dimensions better. I don’t know if that will work, but we’ll try it out.
Obviously this is not to scale. As a general rule I like to use graph paper and get it somewhat to scale so I am not surprised by how the project ends up appearing. Today I am walking on the wild side.
And here goes the disclaimer: Use these plans at your own risk!! I already modified some dimensions, that affected other dimensions, and although I think I did a good job going back and making the changes, I’m not guaranteeing that!! From here on out I’ll be in the garage and lucky if I remember to take the pictures I need, much less jot down the corrections to the mistakes I’ll probably find.
I always feel better after saying all that, ha ha. But the changes I made allowed me to utilize the entire sheet of 3/4″ plywood more effectively, just by shaving off 1/4″ of the width on the sides of the hutch (which also changed the width on the shelves). I went and measured some of her books, and 10.25″ is plenty of width for even the biggest ones she has. I am using up some various pieces of scrap ply I’ve got from other projects, for the sides of all 6 drawers–love using up scrap! I would have preferred to use 1/2″ ply for the drawers, but I’d rather utilize the entire sheet, so 3/4″ it is.
There you’ve got it! I’ll be trying out my brand-spanking new Kreg Rip Cut on this, as well as the Kreg shelf pin jig. I got those back in June/July for my birthday, if you recall. Sad that it has taken me this long to break them out of their packaging, but I can’t wait to use them now!
Yowza, it’s been awhile!! The beginning of my new job was a whirlwind–up until this point, my part-time job was pretty much full time hours, but I am hopefully at a point that I can begin tackling some new projects here at home. I am really excited to get going!!
The project I chose to oil my rusty woodworking skills on is a hutch for a desk I bought for Pip on Craigslist a few years ago. Here it is, complete with the piles of her “special things” I have mentioned in past projects. I didn’t clean them off because I like to keep it real on here (shall I refer you back to her closet before pictures?). Besides, it makes for a more dramatic “after” picture, right? Please say yes, because I have some doozy “before” pictures for a different future project. They are BAD…
Anyway, here are some photos of the desk:
The desk will be getting a coat of paint as well, because it is not as bright a white as the existing furniture. The top is Formica, which has been a wonderful feature, because everything wipes right off of it. The only thing I would change would be to have a file drawer instead of the two bottom drawers, but all-in-all it was a great buy at $80 for the desk and chair. Actually, I would change one other thing and that is to have a hutch! Plans will be posted tomorrow Going to go charge the batteries for the drill…so excited!