09 Oct

Pet Steps with Storage

pet stepsA friend asked me to build some steps for her aging dog to use to get up into the bed more easily. I did some research and modified a plan to suit her needs.

Construction is really simple and could be done with a hammer, Phillips screwdriver and handsaw, if that is all you have. I used ¾” plywood for the stair supports and back so using a power saw was beneficial. If you wanted to use a handsaw, I recommend adjusting the measurements for standard 8″ x 1″ pine boards. If you want to make something really nice for Fido, use birch plywood or oak lumber available at most home improvement stores.

You will need some wood glue (preference for polyurethane), 1 ½” finishing nails, wood putty, sandpaper (medium to fine), 12″ piano hinge, and a couple 6″ pieces of scrap and short nails to hold up the interior shelf. The piano hinge is used to attach the top stair so that you can store treats or toys under the top shelf.

For finishing, you can stain before or just seal with paint or polyurethane. I used a walnut stain and a satin polyurethane.

Because dogs prefer carpeted stairs for sure-footed-ness, I recommended getting one self-stick stair tread runner that could be cut in half, one for each of the stairs.

You could knock this out over a weekend and give your pet a leg up on getting into bed.

01 Aug

Coastal Living Idea House Toasted by Lightning

One of the coolest Idea Houses I worked on is now toast. Lightning started a massive fire that burnt the River Dunes, NC home to the ground earlier this month. It is a such a waste of a gorgeous home.

Saddest thing to me is that the 4′ x 7′ red oak dining table that was custom built from old barn timbers was presumably also destroyed by the fire. It was a beautiful piece—pardon my prejudice—that I really enjoyed building. You can see more pictures of the table here and there is a shot of it in the news video above.

20 Apr

Cabinet- It is finished!

cabinet-finished-1Delivery tomorrow to the showhouse. Finish was still a bit tacky, but by morning it should be fine. I applied a coat of paste wax over the satin polyurethane to dull the finish even more. No time to add much in the way of peeled wood accents, but did add a natural twig handle. Hinges are rusty iron and there is a hidden door catch. I am pleased and hope the interior designer will be too.

19 Apr

Cabinet in Progress

Cabinet with interior finishWith the deadline looming, I have been working like crazy on the cabinet for the Birmingham Symphony Decorator Showhouse. This weekend I got everything assembled except the door. I even started to put on the finish before I remembered to take more pictures. I had already applied stain (Olde Maple) to the interior of the cabinet in this picture.

At first I wasn’t too sure about the final result, but after covering the entire piece with one coat, I am very pleased. The finish looks very natural but has an aged feeling to it that compliments the origin (barn timbers) and rustic character of the raw wood. I have not decided about a second coat. I am leaning toward a coat of paste wax.

What remains is to mount the door and, if possible, apply some fall peeled wood accents to the door. I had originally thought I would trim out the top with  the peeled wood, but it is very difficult to get straight cuts on naturally curved wood without a band saw. That may be my next purchase. Applying some accents may or may not work out. More on that later.
Cabinet with finish

The compound miter saw came in handy on this project and I finally laid to rest my Porter Cable orbital sander. It died after a very useful and productive life. I replaced it with a Black and Decker Palm Grip Sander after trying out the newer model of the Porter Cable  sander. Did not care for it and returned it the same day. The B&D is very nice and feels great in the hands due some gel inserts in the multiple handles. Bonus: It was also on sale for only $34. The PC model I returned was $59. Gotta love that.

12 Apr

Cabinet: First look

Symphony Cabinet: First LookThe cabinet for the Birmingham Symphony Decorator Showhouse is beginnning to take shape. This first picture is of the frame made of red oak barn timbers from northern Alabama. There are some really cool knots, nail holes, worm-wood, and rough sawn places that make this wood very interesting and rustic. The majority of the cabinet is going to be crafted from this stock. I plan to use fall peeled maple for accents.