Monday, June 29, 2015

DIY X-Stool or Table

Happy Monday! I've been on an "x" kick when it comes to planning patio furniture, and the first thing I've put into play is a new x-end table (which is also seat-height, so it can double as extra seating!).

If you were here last week, you've already seen this

Can I just say that I. Am. LOVING. This??!!

Which is based off of some tables in an image that I'd pinned a while back.

I reused the wood from the first thing I'd ever built (which fell apart, but I was too sentimental about to throw away), and didn't have enough wood to do the four sides with the "x", so my new design only calls for the x's on two sides.

And below are plans if you want to build your own! As with my last bench, the plans don't include instructions for the top. Mine is a 17"x17" concrete slab, but you can make a wooden top or mosaic or plain tile.

Shopping List

3 - 1 x 3 @ 8'
1 - 1 x 2 @ 4'
1 1/4" outdoor Pocket Hole Screws
Outdoor Wood Glue (I use Titebond III)
1 - 17" x 17" top

Cut List


4 @ 17"
4 @ 12"
4 @ 12 1/2"
2 @ 17", both ends pointed at 45-degrees
2 @ ~7 1/4", both ends pointed at 45-degrees


4 @ 17'

Step 1

Build the sides as shown above with the 12" and 17" 1x3s using wood glue and 1 1/4" pocket hole screws. You'll make two of these.

Step 2

Cut the long x-sides to the specifications above.

Step 3

Cut the short sides of the "x"s as shown above. Measure the opening in your sides and cut to fit.

Step 4

Build the non-x sides as shown above with pocket hole screws and glue.

Step 5

Assemble the stool by screwing or nailing through the face of the "x" sides into the non "x" sides. You could also try to pre-drill pocket holes in the 1x2s to attach the outer sides, but I didn't have luck with that.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mr. Goats' Father's Day Gift

Hello lovelies! It's Friday, and I've got The. Perfect. weekend project for you!

This is what I gifted Mr. Goats for Father's Day!

He loves his charcoal Weber grill, but we only had the aluminum tripod that it came with. There was nowhere to prep food, place food, or hold grilling tools, so this was obvs not super functional.

The photo above has been pinned on Pinterest countless times, but I can't seem to find a source for it. 

The design is based on a photo I saw of a potting table, which goes to show this would also make an amazing potting bench (cut the hole on top to suit your needs, or create a slab-top and use this as an outdoor buffet/serving station!).

Oh, I didn't mention!! It has a tilt-out bin!

And I've got plans so you can build your own!

Please note that these plans do not include instructions/materials for the top of the table. I planned to do a concrete top to inset the grill, but Mr. Goats broke his toe and I am physically unable to handle an 80# bag of concrete. The top photographed is made from cedar fence pickets and i would be perfectly content with it if I hadn't had my heart set on a concrete top. It's weather-resistant and beautiful! If you love it, add 5 fence pickets to your shopping list. 

Shopping List:

8 - 2x4@8'
12 - 5 1/2" x 72" (1x6) Cedar Fence Pickets
3 - 1x2@8'
1 - set outdoor hinges + pull (I used these)
1 1/4" outdoor pocket hole screws
2 1/2" outdoor pocket hole screws
Outdoor Glue (I use Titebond III)

Cut List:

  4 @ 49" (stretchers)
  4 @ 32" (legs)
  2 @ 24" (shelf stretcher)
  2 @ 24 1/2" (front/back divider)
  8 @ 25" (deep stretchers)

1x6 Cedar Fence Pickets
  15 @ 28" (shelf boards and side slats)
    7 @ 22" (front and back of "drawer")
    6 @ 21" (sides of "drawer")
    3 @ 22" (bottom of "drawer")

  2 @ 24" (drawer frame front stiles)
  2 @ 17" (drawer frame back stiles)
  4 @ 19" (drawer frame rails)
  4 @ 21" (drawer stretchers)


56 1/2" W x 30" D x 33 1/2" H
(dimensions are given based on suggested tabletop size, accounting for a 1 1/2" top)

Step 1:

You get two pictures in one step because I didn't capture all of the dimensions in a single shot.

Begin by building the main frame using wood glue and 2 1/2" pocket hole screws. The top "shelf" can be placed at your desired height, but make sure to match the front and back frames. Make two.

Step 2:

With your front and back frames built, you can add the 25" stretchers as pictured. I found it easiest to start from the outsides, in. The only thing to pay special attention to is the bottom, middle stretcher. It should be flush with the top of the adjoining boards.

Step 3:

Finish adding the stretchers to create the top shelf.

Step 4:

Make the front frame for your "drawer" using glue and 1 1/4" pocket hole screws.

Step 5:

Make the back frame for your "drawer".

Step 6:

With your 21" dividers, create your drawer "box" as shown above.

Step 7:

 Finish your box by first gluing/screwing the side boards in from the front and back of the frames (countersinking your screws) and then gluing/screwing the front and backs. I screwed from the inside of the drawer frames into the outer boards. Set aside.

You have the option of leaving gaps between the boards to fill up all the space or ripping a board to the remaining gap, but I just left the space at the top. 

Step 8:

Notch out four of the shelf boards to the dimensions above. These will be the front and back boards of your shelves.

Screw your shelf boards in place, starting with the bottom shelf, first. Use glue and 1 1/4" outdoor screws (I used pocket hole screws w/o pocket holes, because it was what I had).

Step 9:

Insert the pull out "drawer", using a 1/4" spacer on the bottom. Attach hinges and drawer pull. If necessary, add a stop block (created with a wood scrap) to the inside of the frame using glue and screws.

Step 10:

Screw on the side slats using glue and 1 1/4" screws.

There! Your table is built!! The choices on tops are endless, from tile to wood to concrete! Suggested dimensions for the top are 30" x 56 1/2".

I'll be t.h.r.i.l.l.e.d. when we can get our concrete top built! Then, Mr. goats will stop using my newly finished bench to hold his super hot tools.

Plans for her are coming soon ;-)

Disclaimer: Please use common sense when building. In this case, use common sense when grilling. Fire may come out the bottom of the grill, so add a barrier to prevent your newly-built (and amazing) grilling table from catching flame, and avoid grilling items that may cause the fire to crackle. I, Gina @ am not responsible for injury incurred by building/using your table. Build and use at your own risk! Have fun!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bench-Building Workshop

I've had this idea percolating for a few years to host a small building-workshop and finally got to make it a reality.

There were a couple of reasons this idea hadn't been shared, but the biggest reason was just that I don't have enough tools for multiple people to work with at once. After that was put out there, we'd decided that this was going to be a Bring-Your-Own-Drill workshop, and somewhere along the lines, I'd decided that we'd build benches (pretty sure the logic was, "Who can't use an extra bench?").

It ultimately ended up being a group of four ladies that would come over and build benches. I gathered a few benches from the interwebz to propose to them and they ended up choosing three different benches.

One was building this

Two were building this

And the other one sent me this screenshot and asked if we could do this.

I had to draw up the plans for the final bench (and mention that we wouldn't be doing the hardware that day), but it was probably the simplest of the three. 

After deciding on benches, I did a lot of the prep work in the week leading up to the workshop. That included buying all of the lumber for all four benches, [under]estimating how many screws we would need, printing out and making notes on the plans, reminding the ladies to charge their drills, making nearly all of the cuts, pre-drilling most of the pocket holes, and getting all of the tools we would need prepped in the garage (if it sounds exhausting, it was!).

The morning of the workshop, I was ready!

Well, other than not having bought enough pocket hole screws, but I wouldn't find that out for a few more hours.

Everyone got their plans and a pencil, some wood glue, a cotton rag to clean up any excess of wood glue and a tape measure.

In addition to what you see in that photo, I had prepped snacks and water bottles because building furniture takes a lot of effort.

When everyone was here, I went over a couple key points that you may not think about if you haven't worked with wood before (covered that they shouldn't rub their hands along the wood in case of splinters, glue spills should be cleaned up with a wet rag, etc.). At this point I'd also passed out everyone's lumber and had them look through the plans to get a general idea of how things are going to be put together.

Dry-fitting the pieces seems to be a natural part of the building process (and it was so awesome to watch!) because everyone immediately picked up wood and started to try to place it where it should go. Some of the gals' pieces from step 1 weren't cut yet, so I had them man the saw.

Key points to cover (in addition to mentioning that they should have hearing and eye protection - which I didn't provide - bad, bad Gina!) were to start the saw before putting it on the wood, keep the blade spinning until it was lifted, and to keep fingers far, far away from the blade.

They rocked it.

Drilling screws into lumber (even if the holes are pre-drilled) was something that I'd forgotten wasn't easy. There's a pressure that should be applied, and when the screw "bites" into the adjoining lumber, it jerks a little. Little things like this were fun little lessons we got to work in to the workshop. Even towards the end, I had to tighten the screws because I had more of a "feeling" on how they should be than the builders. 

They got comfortable enough to help each other when I was busy with someone else.

And mastered tools I hadn't even planned on them using. 

That's Nicole. I hadn't pre-drilled pocket holes to attach the seat and shelves to in the More Like Home bench plan... honestly, I'm not sure why I didn't, but she got a little instruction on how to do it and rocked out all of the pocket holes for her seat and shelf. 

For the record, this is a perfect example of why you should have a Kreg Jig Mini on-hand. Would've had to disassemble this to pre-drill those holes if I didn't have it. 

Most of the Upholstered X-Bench was assembled with the nail gun. I think Linda got a little trigger happy, but her bench turned out ahh-maz-ing. This was the last bench that I'd started the prep-work on, and I waaaaay over-thought the plans (don't believe me? Click over to the plans and read the comments! I was pretty NUTS). They were accurate (of course) and super easy to follow... So I'm thinking i may build one of these! LOVE this one. 

Shelby, givin' her bench a good sanding. This is going to look stunning when the hardware's put on it. 


And here are all the ladies with their finished benches!

And here's a photo of all of us garage-buddies, dogs included.

Left to right: Linda, Edna, me (Gina), Nicole, Shelby
And up front is Luna and Percy, the fur-legged helpers. 

If you'll allow me to share some tips that I've learned from this, the biggest I can give is to choose a smaller project! I think I threw these ladies in the deep in with this and, while they swam, it would've probably been a little less overwhelming at times if we'd have done something like a bird house or a picture frame.

Another thing would be to either 1) have an experienced helper or 2) keep the group number smaller (I think 2-3 for this-sized project, 3-4 for a smaller, simpler project). 

Finally, having everyone do the same project would simplify things. It wasn't really bad when it came to building the pieces, but prep-work could have been sped up if I didn't have to mentally switch gears between projects. 

This is definitely something that I'd love to do again, and I'd love to offer suggestions if any of you have been contemplating doing something like this. 

Is this something that people would be interested in? Or am I as crazy as I thought I was when the idea was still only known to me? 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Someday Desk

I'm going to start off this post stating that the desk that I'm posting about didn't actually work out for me, but I still want to share all about it because, someday, it will be my desk.

You see, the overall plan for my master bedroom has been to have a desk in there. My sewing machine currently lives on a chair in my kitchen, always plugged in and ready to go in case something needs mended (which happens often enough for me to leave it there, plugged in, ready to be used).

I've been on the lookout for the perfect sawhorse desk, and when Ana White posted a roundup of the sawhorse desk trend, one picture in particular had me drooling.

The part that cracked me up about it is that I'd actually pinned that image without any interest in the desk, but for the love of the room divider..

Crazy, right?

Well, the craziest part is that it's a frickin' IKEA desk. Of all the places I didn't think to look (what's wrong with me, right?). So I contacted Ana and asked her if she could draw up plans (that ended up veering a little from the IKEA for ease of building - not everyone has a table saw that can bevel - and stability).

The part that had me at "Hello" was the adjustable height. Sometimes I want to work standing up. That's just how it is. Sometimes I want to sit with good posture. Sometimes (like now), I want the desk low so I sit with one foot on the desk and the other knee resting against it.

The part that wasn't so appealing was that it was $35/sawhorse. Okay, don't look at me like I'm crazy... I know that's not unreasonable AT ALL, but I have to make things difficult. I wanted to make TWO desks (remember the friend that I built the barnwood frames for last April? Well, her birthday came again and I wanted to give her something to replace the cheap fold-up table that she was using as a desk).

So! For a dollar and change over the cost of ONE sawhorse, I was able to build four.

I painted my friend's coral because I wanted to help her bring color into her space (this is the Rustoleum Painter's Touch spray paint in Coral, gloss). I may or may not have been inspired by the color of the sawhorse in the plans...

And the painting of mine got put on hold because I learned that the space that I have been saving for my sewing area was going to be used for a new treadmill.

oh. yay.

But I want to make it known that I am keeping this desk (and will build a top for it when everyone realizes that no one is going to use the treadmill), and it WILL be in my bedroom. In the meantime, let me show you how easy it was to build!

That's it!

Okay, there's a little more to it (and I'd accidentally swapped the boards in the above photo, creating more work for myself later), but this is what I had about an hour in. The plans say to use pocket holes to screw the top dividers in, which i thought would be difficult since there's a board there.

It was totally fine.

They actually came together unbelievably quickly, and all that was left to figure out was what hardware to use and how to measure for the holes.

The plan was to use scrap 2x4s as spacers, which worked out beautifully! I ended up buying 3 1/2" long 3/8" bolts and pre-drilled the holes using a 1/2" bit (thought that using a 3/8" bit might be a tad too snug, making it difficult to adjust). Buy the nuts while you're there, too... They don't add much structurally, but they make sure the bolts don't just slip out on a whim.

After drilling the hole with the 2x4s flat, I put them on their side and drilled another (lumber is apparently an amazing notepad!).

On the first bench that I'd pre-drilled the holes for, I also added another 2x4, flat, as a spacer.

But I now feel that this one was unnecessary. At this height, the adjustable part becomes wobbly and you would need to probably shove some shims next to it for stability. It was also a little too high for me to use comfortably (at 5'7"), and I couldn't see myself actually using that notch.

Finally, when all of the holes were pre-drilled using spacers, I'd decided that I could probably drill one with the adjustable part sitting in the sawhorses so we'd have somewhere to store the bolts if we wanted the desk at the lowest position.

That wasn't common sense for me, unfortunately, it took me putting the desk at the lowest setting and realizing that I had nowhere to store the bolts for me to think of it.

Never claimed to be smart ;-)

Here's the first one finished, and I used it as a worktable to build the second. It was awesome. Set to the third notch, it's a little taller than countertop height and was perfect to work on.

And here it is in my room, half-heartely staged as my sewing area since I was still pouting that it won't actually be my sewing area (for now).

The top is a door from Baby Goats' closet remodel. It's nothing fancy, but I'm thinking of painting the bases navy and doing a light stain on the top (or even just using poly) when I get to it. I'll update this post when I finish my friend's, too! She still has to decide how long she wants hers to be (ohh, the possibilities!).

Baby Goats is loving it in her [floorless] room, so I may have to decide on a desk for her soon, too (no, she's not getting mine!). But first we have to do flooring (the laminate that was in there was waterlogged from when the water that caused the mold in her closet came, so we just pulled it all up and plan to replace with the same flooring that we used in the closet).

And next time we meet, I'll get to describe why i have my sawhorses set up this way (hint, if you follow me on Facebook, you've probably seen it).

In the meantime, go visit Ana White for plans on building your own adjustable-height sawhorse desks and, if you build/use them, I'll live vicariously through you!