The end table…

I usually don’t start my projects by saying, “Wow, I would really love to build an end table!” No, instead, I usually buy three or four end tables and realize nothing quite fits the space like I was hoping. Then I put it off for another 6 months convincing myself that I’ll find something the right size. In the end, I break down and build it myself to the exact specifications that I was convinced I would find somewhere else.

I often build out of necessity. Things are too expensive, items are made poorly from cheap materials, the lead time is too long, it’s not the right color and or not the right size. So I build. I waited for almost two years to build this table and I shouldn’t have put it off for so long.

I purchased 4/2 white oak, so it’s nice and thick and heavy. I glued pieces together for the width I wanted my tabletop to be and traced a large circle. I originally thought I was going to cut this with a jig saw, but I thought better of it and used a router with a circular jig. This proved to be problematic as the wood was so thick and I had to make multiple passes around the circle. The bit kept having issues and getting stuck and then falling out of the router all together, gouging the wood in the process. I think I needed to take smaller passes each time I went around the circle.

It wasn’t a pretty process, but I eventually had a decent circle!

I spent a lot of time on the computer figuring out the angles I needed for my legs so my table would be a certain height (one of the major reasons for building my own table). I wasn’t overly confident I had figured it out when I started cutting but I had spent far too long drawing it out, I just needed to move forward and see if it worked. By some miracle, all the measurements and angles were accurate. Essentially I built an X and then built two 1/2 X’s to join to the X.

Stain is always tricky for me – I love some of the finishes you see in commercial pieces and I find it hard to replicate those. I loved the grain of the white oak, and I wanted to accentuate it, so I used Verathane White wash on a freshly sanded surface. Once it was dry, I sanded all the surfaces again and wiped clean. This left the wood ready for stain (a mix of weathered oak and classic gray), with white embedded in the grain.

I attached the 1/2 X’s to the solid X. This is one of those steps that I wasn’t sure how to do and so I just jumped in and quickly realized I hadn’t thought it all the way through. I ended up using glue and a screw through the 1/2 X and into the large X. I then attached the tabletop with screws (through the legs into the top) and I just about did a happy dance when I realized the table was solid and wasn’t rocking! 🙂

I used wipe on poly to finish it off. I love Rustoleum wipe on poly in satin. Home depot used to sell it, but now I can only find it at Lowes. Unlike brush poly, wipe on is forgivable. It’s doesn’t leave strokes and it dries even. It has a short re-coat time, but you do have to put a lot more coats on. Every couple coats you’re supposed to sand in-between coats. And I typically do my final coats using a wet sand paper. Its as if you’re using the wet sand paper as your rag to apply. It leaves a smooth flawless finish.

And there she sits. She is heavy, solid oak…and beautiful.

Christmas gift…

Every year, there are a couple gifts that I’m really excited to give – this sign happened to be one of them this year. In Steve’s family, we rotate which sibling we give to and this year we gave to his youngest sister. She is a mother to five boys and this is their family motto. I had the idea to turn that motto into a large wooden sign with each letter cut from wood. (similar to some signs I’ve previously made shown below).

It’s been a while since I’ve made one of these and now my wheels are turning again for all the holiday signs I want to make!

The reality of projects…

This is real life – a project that was seemingly simple (attaching the sweep attachment to our central vac) that just didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped. This has been unfinished for months and I was ready to cross this easy project off my list. As dinner was cooking, I searched through the garage to find the pieces I needed. And I found myself on the floor of our kitchen.

My three-year-old captured this picture (this picture and 100 other pictures in burst mode).

Let me be the first to tell you – my most “simple” projects usually take the most time! What should have been hooked together in less than a minute took so much longer.  The hole wasn’t cut large enough, which meant the central vac pipe wasn’t fitting and we couldn’t push the plate back in. Steve and Hallie tried their hand at it as well. (Also more burst pictures from the toddler) And then we stepped away. We’ve learned in frustrating moments it’s good to just step away for a minute and think through a new solution – most likely outside the box.

A few hours later, after kids were in bed and the dishes had been cleaned up from dinner, I found myself back on the kitchen floor with a new approach and within a few minutes I had it attached and screwed into place using the exact tools and pieces we had before.

Projects can be frustrating and NEVER seem to go as planned which requires some creative solutions. Step away. Take a breath. Think outside the box. Repeat over and over again.


DIY Walnut Bed…

DIY Walnut Bed

This post was a long time coming. In fact – we did this project 1.5 years ago. I had a newborn baby at the time and I was working to get out of the funk I was in. The rest of the boys were gone for a weekend camping trip and I asked Hallie what she wanted to do. We could go to dinner. We could go shopping. We could watch a movie. You know what she chose: Build a bed (made my mom heart proud!!)

She was in a twin bed at the time and the thought of ever getting a sister to share a room with had been dashed and she wanted a queen bed. How could I deny her of her one request (that really I was excited to work on)? But building a bed in a 24 hour stretch is tough – especially when I was still tending to a newborn. But he went down to bed for the night and we worked our tales off. Side by side. Late into the night.

DIY Walnut Bed

The next morning we were back at it trying to beat the boys getting home. Hallie sanded and I attached pieces together. Hallie did more sanding. At one point she asked – do we really need to sand this much? Yep – unfortunately we do. We made the frame out of 2×4 pine – but the rest of the bed was made from walnut and when you spend that much money on wood, you might as well sand it and make it feel real nice!

DIY Walnut Bed

By the time the boys were pulling in – I had just completed the 2nd coat of wipe-on poly – no stain was used, no need to when you work with wood as pretty as walnut.

This bed consists of a simple headboard, footboard and rails. In the four beds I’ve built, I’ve always used this hardware from Rockler hardware. Its easy and fool proof. I’ve not had any problems with this hardware and I used it on our bed that I built 8 years ago. Not only is it secure, it can also be dismantled in no time.

DIY Walnut Bed

After we got it set up in her room I had “givers remorse”. I really loved the bed and started wondering why we didn’t build it for my room and Hallie could have our old bed. I threw the idea out to her but she wanted this bed. The bed she worked and helped to build.

Suddenly, it no longer looked like a little girls room! Throwing this bed in their with new bedding aged her room 10 years. A year and a half later and I’m still wishing that bed was in my room! (Find her frame makeover here.)

DIY Walnut Bed

DIY Walnut Bed

DIY Walnut Bed

DIY Pallet turkey…

It’s officially turkey week! The beginning of the holiday madness – what we like to call the calm before the storm.

I feel as though Thanksgiving has been slightly overlooked this year in our household. I had all intentions to put up decorations but by the time I got Halloween decor down and knowing Thanksgiving was early this year, I’d be ripping Thanksgiving down in no time to make room for Christmas. I would love a little more breathing room between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Can’t Halloween be bumped to September?!

The only decor that made an appearance this year was the pallet turkey on our patio.

Pallet Turkey

Last year at this time I had a friend visiting and we decided on a whim to do a project that she could fit in her suitcase and take home with her. (Which ended up only kind of fitting!) I had pallets left over from a project and I was about to throw them out when they were finally repurposed.

Pallet Turkey

The only tools we used were a scroll saw and a drill. We put pieces of wood together and traced three different sized circles and cut with the scroll saw and attached them together with screws. We shaped the feathers and cut with a scroll saw as well as the legs and feet. The face took some time drawing and redrawing – cutting and then recutting.

My friend went home with a semi-unassembled turkey with intentions to piece it together when she got home. I just learned recently she still isn’t quite done – and she asked that I not un-friend her for not finishing it yet. 🙂 Perhaps we should’ve stuck to a project that she could’ve taken home finished! But if I’m being honest I’m the queen of semi-finished projects. They always gets finished…eventually!