17 Dec

Modern Rustic Farm Table

Modern Rustic Farm TableToday I delivered this 3″ x 6″ modern rustic farm table. The client gave me a picture of what she wanted and the dimensions of the table top and let me run with it.

The top is made of beech salvaged from a barn in Ohio and the legs are made from poplar timbers salvaged from a barn in Alabama. Both are beautiful with many natural features and color variations.

The beech lumber used for the top was planed, biscuit joined, sanded and finished with penetrating tung oil. A few larger imperfections were filled with wood filler before sanding. The legs were planed square, cut to length, and finished with tung oil. The aprons were cut from the same lumber as the top and attached with glue and sunken wood screws.

Hanger bolts were used to attach the legs to corner cut outs in the top. Corner supports were attached to the apron with glue and wood screws.

This project was very enjoyable and I am looking forward to seeing the client’s rustic kitchen redo she plans to build around this table.

02 Jun

Built-in Shelves Finished

Finished the built-in shelves a while ago but forgot to post a pic and details since last post on the process. [The trouble with digital media storage is that it is easy to forget what pictures you have on the card.]

I framed the exterior of the shelves with stained ¼” x 2″ poplar lumber purchased at Lowes. The stain was the same red hickory used on the mirror frame followed by sealing with satin polyurethane. Cutting the angles was a bit difficult but the obscurities of my college trig class finally came in handy.

The back-splash is an easy to use product from Improvements (#337192, $27)—aluminum metal wall tiles. They are advertised as “will not crack, chip, or stain” and easy to install. The later—I can confirm—installation was so simple!

Each box of tiles contains 48 4 x 4 tiles and double adhesive foam for affixing  the tiles. The tiles come in almond, aluminum, black, white, chrome or copper and in triangle shaped to spice up your design.

28 Aug

Built-in Bathroom Shelves

Unfinished built-in shelves

Unfinished built-in shelves

In a small bathroom space is at a premium. Recently I replaced a vanity and counter-top  that ran the length of a bath with a European-style, shallow-profile vanity. At that time, a new light fixture and a re-framed medicine chest were added.

While those improvements were needed, the reduction in counter and under-sink storage space were a problem. So, built-in shelves were next.

Finding the studs was the first step. A standard stud-finder worked like a charm and from there I could measure out the 16″ centers and start taking out the drywall within the selected space. (interior space between studs is normally 14.5″ unless you have an unpredictable old home or a nutty contractor built the wall)

Once the drywall was punched out using a flat-head screwdriver and a hammer (most efficient way I have found), a couple shelves of 3/4″ plywood were cut and  inserted. Friction plus some wood glue made for a good tight and permanent fit.

Built-in shelves, close-up

Built-in shelves, close-up

I used some left-over 4 x4 stone tile ($5/sq ft) for the main part of the shelf tops and some smaller squared sheets ($10/sq ft) for shelf accents and  the back of the shelves. After tan grout is worked into the cracks the shelf under sides and frame will be completed with poplar stained to match the mirror frame.

25 Jul

Medicine Chest Update

mirror-beforeIn the process of updating a bathroom trapped in the 70″s, I had to make a decision about the medicine chest. To replace or redo. The chest itself had nothing wrong with it except a worn, out-of-date frame around the mirror.

Rather than contribute to the volume of junk in the local landfill, I opted for replacing the frame. I took the chest out of the wall and disassembled the mirror from the metal box. It was held there by about two dozen screws.

The metal box needed a bit of light sanding and a quick spray paint job. The mirror was in perfect shape and really was a very nice piece of electroplated glass. Probably cannot buy one this nice any more.

mirror-afterThe replacement frame was made with mitered corners from standard poplar purchased at Lowes. I bought a European-style narrow profile vanity from the local box store. It had what the manufacturer called a Cherry finish. Trying to match that color required testing several different stains on scraps of the poplar. The final choice was one by Cabot called Red Hickory. I put one coat of the stain on followed by one coat of satin polyurethane. A light pass with fine steel wool followed by another coat of finish was all it needed to match the finish of the vanity.

Total cost of the project: $20. Compare that to at least $100 for a new medicine chest. Love it.

10 Mar

Shell Robe Hanger

Shell HangerThis was a quick project that I finally finished. I had the oyster shell sitting around for a couple of years and had planned making this since I found it in my travels. The wood was a leftover from a king-size bed I built for a friend out of Indiana poplar.

I love that wood! It has so much character and interest, in its coloring,  the grain and from the insects that had a party there during storage.

Anyone could make this with limited tools. You would need a handsaw or scrap wood already the size you wanted  for the mounting plate, a drill, a shell, sandpaper, three screws, some epoxy, and wood finish.

The limiting steps in this are drilling the whole in the shell—I used a Dremel tool—but an electric drill and some patience will do the trick. The drill bit will get hot—pause periodically to let it cool.

Try to find a shell of sufficient length with a flattened edge that will sit flush against the mounting plate. You can sand this flat edge to make it more even. Depending on the shell, you may want to sand the edges a bit to take some of the sharpness down or get rid of barnacles. The shell is calcium carbonate—the smell may remind you of the dentist.

Shell HangerShaping the mounting plate took some patience too, but that is the beauty of woodworking.  Once it is shaped just like you like it, place the shell, measure and mark the spots for the two mounting screws and the through the shell screw. Drill pilot holes for the mounting and through screws and  countersinks for the mounting screws.

You can finish the mounting plate with about anything you want. Paint it if the wood is not all that interesting or use a stain or  a natural finish. I used some left over teak oil to penetrate the wood and then followed it up with a coat of paste wax applied with a steel wool pad. I think this is a supremely natural, but protective finish.

Make sure you choose a screw to mount the shell that is not so long it will stick out the other side of the mounting plate. Secure the shell with a small amount of epoxy, like JB Weld, and a wood screw.  Be careful not to over tighten and crack the shell. Let this dry overnight.

That is it. It is ready to mount wherever you choose. I used some self-drilling dry wall anchors . If you would like some measurements, let me know and I will post them. But really it is up to you. If you have more than one shell, you could mount them in a series on a wider piece of wood.