1. Buy dimensional 3/4″ poplar boards.
2. Plane to uniform thickness.
3. Rip 2″ and 3″ strips on the table saw.
4. Two dado cuts on table saw for 1/4″X 3/8″ panel groove.
5. Run each section on router because table saw is a POS and there is depth variation in all the grooves…
6. Threaten table saw with large iron maul – mean it.
7. Grumble a little.
8. Cut door stiles (sides) to length – Measure opening for stiles, subtract 4″ for stile width and add 3/4″ for double 3/8″ panel slot.
9. Write all measurements down on a non-descript sheet of paper.
10. Put measurements somewhere safe.
11. Take a 2 week to 4 month break because life gets busy.
12. Lose paper with measurements.
13. Tear house and shop apart looking.
14. Give up and re-measure.
15. Cut rails.
16. Lay all parts out and label, check sizing, trim two pieces, and pray a little.
17. Set up horizontal drill press to drill for dowel joints.
18. Screw up at least 4 initial holes.
19. Hit head in shop at least 3 times.
20. Build sweet dowel trimming jig for table saw – let head swell a little.
21. Cut 3/8″ off each dowel (8 per door).
22. Drill 16 holes per door.
23. Sand the cut-off end of dowel.
24. Dry fit first door.
26. Get out every bar clamp, hand clamp, and Quick-clamp that you own and set up clamping station.
27. Find original measurements for doors in the “safe place.”
28. Say dirty words very loudly. Repeat.
29. Add glue to dowels and joints and assemble door.
30. Apply judicious blows from wooden mallet to seat parts.
31. Get glue on hands and in hair.
32. Clamp up.
33. Wipe extra glue on door off with wet rag.
34. Repeat last 6 steps 8 more times.
35. Scrape clue, plane joints, and sand doors with 3 different paper grits.
36. Check and adjust door fit to openings and prime after more planning.
37. Re-prime and paint with two coats of white cabinet paint.
38. Mark, mortise, and install hinges on door.
39. Install red glass pulls.
40. Mark and mortise hinge/door onto cabinet.
41. Check fit and adjust 2 to 9 times.
42. Repeat steps 28 thru 41 eight more times
43. Drink three beers and swear to never build your own kitchen cabinets from scratch ever again!
Archive for category Furnature
1. Buy dimensional 3/4″ poplar boards.
This weekend was busy with friends, a dinner out, St. Paddy’s Day activities, an outing to the Roller Derby (?!), and the 9th anniversary of the day that my sweet wife and I met was on Sunday. Even with all that, we still got bunches done around the house: Our under-bed dresser finished, bathroom table drawer installed (a little work on that left), wine crate storage boxes made, basement lighting installed, and the basement work bench is moving along.
The drawers for the under-bed dresser and the one for the bathroom all came from a wooden donor-dresser that my father-in-law drug home from a garage sale last summer. He paid $4 for it and it was in pretty bad shape, but it was solid wood and had potential. It was mistakenly left in the weather (plastic cover leaked) for a month before I salvaged the drawers, cut out off the top and used the sides for kitchen cabinet door panels. I re-squared the drawers, added dividers in the fall, and over the Christmas break sealed the insides (The Ruminator helped). After lots of filling and sanding and more sanding, I stained the fronts to match our bedroom furniture, then built ¾” plywood beams to hang the drawers from bed frame and used some scrap oak flooring as drawer guides/runners. The final product really looks good and is super functional. While some husbands bug their wives by filling the house with brought-home junk – I give my wife more and more and more storage and organization space.
On Sunday, I put the final coat of finish on the basement workbench top, let it dry, and then installed the three runs of aluminum t-track. Stamps-With-Foot bucked up and helped me wrestle its 200 pound beech and maple mass onto the steel base. I secured it with screws and covered the top with carpet squares while I finish the upper shelf/cabinet. I installed a outlet power strip under the main body of the topper and removed the old drawer dividers. I will soon add a plywood back with a mirror, a light under, a dedicated air supply line, install the desk drawers under the bench and mount 4 reclaimed letterpress drawers directly under the top as well. Happy with the progress so far.
In 1969 or 1970, my father helped my grandfather build a rental house that my grandparents saw income from for the next 24 years. He came home at the end of the project with a truck bed full of spare/cut lumber and building supplies. Lumber was not wasted in our house. We didn’t go and buy a new 2X4 for a project… We rummaged through the cut-off bin or wood storage shelves for a piece that was the right size or that could be cut, planed, or trimmed to work – Wood was not wasted or thrown away in the Talley house! It is a lesson that I have taken to heart and most of the things I build for my own home are made, at least partially, out of used or recycled materials.
Anyway, Daddy took some of the lumber and built a set of bookshelves that in the next nine years held everything from encyclopedias to technical manuals. Four 12-inch shelves sat on a box base that my father stained and varnished with whatever color he had left over from the rental kitchen cabinet build. It sat in our living room and in the shop. In 1980 we moved back to Houston and somehow my aunt and uncle ended up with the shelves. They put them in their living room, knocked the bottom shelf back, drilled a hole for a cable and sat their 19″ TV on the base. It remained in their home until 2010, when my uncle passed away. My mother asked to have the shelf unit back and brought it to me when she moved to Seattle. It is the only object that I own that my father built with his own hands and I feel so very lucky and proud to have it.
I decided immediately give it an update to make it an everyday part of our home: add a little something here and there to update it and make it that much more useful. Plans are one thing and actually doing the work is quite another – it sat relegated in my overcrowded shop for almost a year before I finally got a chance to work on it. I put the knocked out shelf back, glued all the joints, added reinforcement and screws to hold it all together, and built a base with turned wooden bun feet for it to stand on. The original base box was 12″ X 30″ and I wanted to both maximize the space and add my own signature to the piece. I carefully cut an 8″ X 24″ opening in the front and added rails for a drawer. It was amazing working on the piece. I found my father’s 42 year old pencil marks, a divot from a hammer, saw marks, and I found part of a fingerprint from when it was stained – just on the inside of the bottom. Finding and touching these this tangible proof of my late father brought me more joy than I have words to describe.
I also added a face frame, edge trip, and crown mounding. The piece was sanded down with 120 grit, then all the holes and gaps were filled, sanded with 120 again and then with 220 grip. I then primed with two coats and finished it with 3 coats of white Benjamin Moore ultra-tough cabinet paint.
I think it turned out really nice and I think my dad would be really proud of the work that I did to it. I am taking the original brass corner trim and a piece of original shelving and turning it into a picture frame to hold my favorite picture of my father. I think that he would approve of that as well…
I have come to both love and accept my wife’s little quirks. I don’t understand them all and from time to time I have to just shake my head and mutter after finding something odd in the recycling or noticing that kitchen silverware was used to dig in the flower beds for example. I have also discovered that it is best to work within the confines of these quirks instead of confronting them/her with what most people would call reason. That confrontation would lead to a two hour discussion that would, in turn, lead nowhere. I would have to apologize for even bringing it up and then I would have to buy her something shiny for my transgression. In the end, I would be right back where I started – muttering to myself and slowly shaking my head with my lips pursed in an expression of both frustration and amazement.
Stamps-With-Foot is very visual and she has to SEE something for it to be real for her. Visualization of a concept like arranging pictures on the wall, where flowers COULD go in the yard, or where to move a chair in the living room is an exercise in frustration. This normally means that after a week+ of debating where a piece of furniture should go, I will move it 4-9 times before she decides that the original decision was the correct one. This comes up for me because we have been talking about to swapping offices at home. Her sewing/estrogen room will go upstairs to the sunny well-lit wood-floored bedroom at the front of our house and I will move my faux-Edwardian office/man-cave into the basement so that it will be co-located to my tiny hobby machine shop, work bench, and our den: A win/win for us both of us as long as I don’t have to move crap up and down and around for two days.
In the spirit of working with her previously addressed/documented traits, I formulated a plan to have it all work in my favor. I measured and drew a scale model of the room upstairs, showing locations of the doors, windows, and air vents. Then, I made scale cutouts of all the furniture that she could possibly have in the room. I left her with the drawing and cutout so that she could torment and second guess herself in peace while I went into the basement and worked on my new machine shop bench. 24 hours later and after looking at every possible combination at least 6 times, she had determined a location for each and every twig for her sewing nest and taped her choices for furniture location down on the drawing. I have elicited a promise that her decision is a final one and that if there is a change in any of the locations it will be made before the very first piece is picked up and humped upstairs.
Now all that is left for me to do is to bribe/con some friends and neighbors into helping move all the crap, putting it in its designated place and then to disappear in to my basement to plot my plan for world domination…. Mwahahahaha….
I have found that my workshop productivity goes way down in the winter/the six months of Seattle rainy season. My garage shop is small and quickly fills with material, lumber, tools, and projects. To add to the handicap of the small size, the lack of heat means that I can’t do any finish-work because of wood humidity, shrinkage/swell, and moisture. I have made do in the unfinished side of our basement for the past three winters, but I am done my wife is done with the mess and clutter and my bitching about an inadequate work area when the weather turns crappy. I need a little bit of dedicated space that I can work on the small stuff year round that doesn’t require power tools and a little bit of assembly/finish space where I can glue and clamp some projects up, a solder station, a spot to reload ammo, work on my bikes, and a clean/dry/warm space to apply stain or a hand-laid finish coat. Add to this my current want of a small metal lathe and mill and I will have the makings of a nice little hobby shop from which to launch my plans for world domination …er, I mean a spot where I can make small parts, solder, or tinker.
Anyway, instead of buying a crazy expensive cabinet bench or making do with a thin metal and partial board Home Depot bench, I have decided to build the sturdiest all-around hobby bench that I can with the funds and material I have available (~$130.00), add some really nice features (aluminum t-track, lots of drawers, removable vises, power, lights, etc…) and make it into a finished piece of furniture that I will be proud to sit at and show off to friends for the next 30+ years. To start the process off, I found a cheap older thick steel framed 6′ workbench at Second Use that I felt would make a bombproof, rock solid base. I sourced a used IKEA cutting-board counter top that I cut down to the appropriate size and then used the trimmed pieces to add thickness and rigidity (I am still going to add some angle iron). I thought about and sketched 3-9 different ways to add some shelving and some organization to the top and was still tossing around options in my head when a realized that an old buffet that my mom had just might work. I took some measurements and looked into reinforcing here and there and realized that not only would it work, but that its style would set the tone and color for the entire bench build.
I decided that the drawers to be added under the bench top needed to be narrow and at least partially match the newly planned top section, so I looked for an older desk or vanity that I could cut apart. I struck out at Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and Craig’s List, but Second Use came through again and hooked me up with exactly what I needed at a decently fair price, well decent after I haggled a bit…
The current state of the build is that the bench top is 2/3 done, the desk is cut apart, the steel legs are up and in place and I am 1/4 of the way done with reinforcing the buffet/top shelving unit. I will update the build as it is completed and share some more pictures.
- Looked at hutch for too long and decided to get it done.
- Started with bottom section – doors removed.
- Stripped off all old paint and varnish from outside with “environmentally friendly” orange stripper.
- Scraped and scraped stripper off.
- Cussed “environmentally friendly.”
- Put more stripper on.
- Scrubbed off again.
- Wife helped for 40 minutes, hated it and didn’t touch either section again.
- Shoved a 1″ splinter under one of my fingernails.
- Said the “F” word 5+ times, bled on base & floor and thought about cutting it all up for firewood.
- Washed whole thing with paint thinner to stop the stripper residue from working any more.
- Let dry and sanded whole case with 120 grit.
- Sanded with 220 grit.
- Sanded again with 220 grit.
- Stained with a crazy pricey, but color-matched mahogany tinted oil-based stain.
- Used wife’s special dish gloves.
- The old, old fir had issue with the stain and was a little splotchy in some really key spots.
- Was grumpy for two days.
- Second coat of stain used to blend some areas.
- Put on first coat of wipe-on poly acrylic semi-gloss finish.
- Wife found stain covered dish gloves and I got in trouble.
- Went to store and bought wife new gloves.
- 24 hours later, scuffed finish with white 3M pad and applied finish coat 7 more times.
- Spent HOURS on the final coat.
- Repeated all above steps with the four raised panel doors.
- Installed 100+ year old glass pull-knobs on doors.
- Whole process took two months.
- Moved base into finished side of basement for use as a media cabinet and LCD TV base.
- Went downtown to Chinese-owned granite shop on Seattle’s 1st Ave and haggled over granite for top.
- I am a poor negotiator in Chinese.
- Left and came back with Mandarin speaking co-worker.
- Got GREAT deal on custom top. 1/12th of the price that I was quoted at Home Depot – really!
- Built A-frame jig for back of truck to haul granite.
- Picked up top and hauled home.
- Bribed 4 neighbors to help move it into place.
- Neighbors won’t answer my call anymore…
- Four months from start to finish.
- Two weeks later I started the top section.
- Decided to make top section into a living room “built-in.”
- Built, painted and installed new 8″ base for the top section in our living room to match existing trim.
- Removed the doors, hardware, and hinges.
- Repeated steps above with the exception of splinter under nail and use of wife’s gloves: I learned my lesson the first time.
- Cut hole in back for outlet already on wall.
- Had other, unsuspecting neighbors help me move the top section up.
- New neighbors called me names after it was all done.
- Hole for outlet 1″ off to the left.
- Said hateful words.
- Grumpy again.
- Calmed down and used Dremel tool and coping saw to remove section from one side and glued it to other side.
- Trimmed out outlet hole.
- Stained and finished outlet trim.
- Had wedding and took 30 day break in the rebuild/refinish process.
- Started looking for matching trim and crown molding at reclaimed lumber yards.
- No Luck.
- Had crown custom milled at high cost by a shop in SODO that had 90 year old machines running on their floor (shop closed about a month after I was there last
- Started the process of refinishing the doors.
- Installed crown molding.
- Shot nail through molding and into palm on final piece of crown.
- Bled on top of hutch – no dirty words.
- Installed refinished doors.
- Built two interior shelves out of 80 year old fir floor boards. Stained and finished – look original!
- Smacked the back of my head when installing shelves and almost knocked myself out.
- Sourced and purchased piece of wavy restoration glass to match original broken pane.
- Stained and finished the crown.
- Put final coat of trim paint on the new base.
- Installed the one missing glass pane.
- 5 months after base installed the top is done and looks like it has been in our place since 1928.
I was perusing the furniture isles of the Goodwill in South Seattle a few months back looking for a few pieces that I could put a little work into and turn for a profit. I have found some amazing stuff there that has been donated: an $800+ mid-century 8-drawer dresser for $59, solid wood buffets, a camel saddle, hand knotted carpets, two Morris chairs, etc.. It is not always a gold mine – I find something I can turn maybe one out of three or four trips. On this walk, I spied a solid wood and black iron hardware blanket chest that had some heavy water damage on the top. I opened it up, twirled it around to look for a makers mark and any unseen damage. Nope, it was a sound piece. I hopped on my iPhone and looked it up on the Interwebs… I found that it was originally sold at Pottery Barn for almost $400 and I whisked the thing to the front, dropped $39 off at the register and ran out the door.
I gave it a light sanding (320 grit) all over, gave the top some serious attention with 120 then 220 grit sand paper, and layered in some mixed mahogany and dark walnut stain to color match the top before putting on three coats of satin polyurethane finish a couple of days later. After it was done, we were teetering on the fence about keeping what had been returned to a really nice piece of furniture, but our limited space and us not having a clear need for a blanket chest led to the decision to sell it.
I dropped it off at one of the local consignment shops on a Saturday morning and it was sold within two hours. I pocketed $89 after paying for the chest, supplies and the store’s cut. Not too shabby for a 3-mile drive, some stain/poly, and an hour of my labor.
My sweet sweet wife has issues with the color green – most shades. While living in Hamburg, we had a tiny bedroom that Stamps-With-Foot wanted to paint “sage green.” She bought the paint at Max Barr (a Teutonic version of Home Depot) brought it home and painted a little swatch on the wall. It was kinda dark, so she painted the whole wall. Still kinda dark. She then painted the whole room. I came home and my bedroom was Olive Drab, Army Green… It took me two coats of primer and three coats of paint to banish the darkness.
Flash forward a few years to Seattle. We have replaced all of our MDF particle board IKEA crap furniture with real wood pieces with the exception of our night stands. I hate them. Hate. I traded my mother a couple bookshelves for a former dressing table/vanity that was deeply scratched in places and had a couple of drawers that wouldn’t budge. It was in two pieces already and I shortened the legs, stripped off some of the old finish and prepped them for paint. Stamps-With-Foot wanted the pieces to match our 1930′s bedroom set, which has a sage green accent color. The plan is to have the bodies painted green, use a soft sunflower yellow for the accent and to completely strip the top and drawer fronts and coat them with a polyurethane so that the natural color and grain would pop. I had primed them, sanded, primed again, and grabbed some color swathes for her to choose from. She chose a fine green and I had it custom mixed at my local Benjamin Moore store (friends don’t let friends buy paint at Home Depot). I had two smooth coats sprayed on before my sweet wife decided they were the wrong color green. I tried in vain to talk her out of making me swap the color. I tried really hard – I even mentioned the Hamburg incident. No dice, the color WOULD be changed.
I showed up at the paint store with a picture frame for them to color-match, ignored their snickers, bought all new paint, went home, sanded, and resprayed both pieces with two coats of the “new” green. I painted the accent color and rubbed the color into the cracks before washing it off the high spots. The tops were polyurathaned, drawers were fixed, dividers installed, fronts refinished, 100+ year old glass knobs bought/installed, and then I carried them up to our Master Suite and my sweet bride gushed over them. Her delight made my heart happy.
In my heart of hearts I know she is still second guessing the 2nd color choice, but I have sworn to myself that if she changes her mind again she will be banned from deciding house/furniture/accent colors for the term of one year and that I will turn the basement into a mountain chalet-themed man cave- which might happen anyway, I am just really looking for an excuse to belay my guilt.
My son was here for a week+ for the holidays and we did cool stuff as he is the Igor to my Dr. Frankinstein. He left on Friday morning and to keep myself occupied so I wouldn’t mope around all weekend thinking about how much I missed him, I busied myself with a few on-going projects:
Underbed dresser – 95% done
Letterpress drawers made into occasional tables – 50%
The never ending kitchen remodel – 85%
Sofa table rebuild – 20%
Bathroom drawer for wife – 50%
Candle box – 100%
Glass cabinet handle installation – 45%
Hall mirror – 22%
Helping a friend move – 50%
While fitting the final pieces of the under bed dresser (built from an 1980s $4.00 garage sale upright five drawer) for our room and I transposed two numbers and cut something a touch too long. Grumble… Grumble… I went out to the shop, measured for screw clearance and put it on the table saw to rip down just a touch. I missed one screw, but my $56 carbide tipped cabinet blade didn’t. Sparks and bits of carbide flew. I said dirty words and came into the house to drown my sorrows in a Mexican coke, Jack with honey and an old Clint Eastwood western while propped up in bed with my grumpy face on.
We had an eventful, rain soaked weekend. Lots of stuff got done, but it wasn’t the sort of thing that great novelists write thought provoking prose about. Maybe a SNL skit though. Details below.
Home from work and into jammies.
Sent some e-mail and web-surfed.
Yummy pizza for dinner.
Finished watching season 6 of Dexter – Debra KNOWS!!
Heard weird water noise outside of basement window…
SHIT!!! Gutters clogged!
Ran outside, pulled ladder out, said DIRTY WORDS.
Up on rickety old wooden extension ladder after midnight in a rainstorm…
Prayed for the death of my neighbor’s pine tree.
No, really. Prayed for the tree to die or for neighbor to sell me his house so I can have the pleasure of turning it into mulch.
Dried off and apologized to Stamps-With-Foot for snapping at her while 15′ in the air, digging out leaves from the clogged downspout.
Off to bed.
Passed out and dropped Kindle on the floor -still works.
Up at 10:00 – no time for coffee – grrrrrr…
Drove downtown with my mother to see a talk by Clay Jenkinson – a Jefferson and TR scholar – my two favorite presidents.
Coffee and half a cookie for brunch – health food…
Presentation was great – funny and enlightening.
Took Mother to grocery store then home.
Called The Ruminator and chatted about Christmas lists and school and stuff.
Cleaned living room floors and rug.
Cussed the neighbor’s tree again – pine needles everywhere.
HATE that tree.
Took sweet wife to see shiny vampire movie instead of new 007 – we suffer for those we love.
Snuck food and cookie into movie.
Came home and obsessively checked gutters for clogs and basement for water for the next 24 hours.
Cursed tree – shook fist at it like an old man.
Spent some time in the hot tub in the rain relaxing/fantasizing about a chainsaw, limbs on the ground, and wood chips everywhere while laughing maniacally.
Went to look at Pintrest “for a minute” before bed – closed iPad 4 hours later at 3:45am.
Skype/FaceTime call with friends in Germany.
Worked on mid-century modern style bookshelf for bedroom.
Poked 20ish holes in wall looking for a studs. Stud-finder worthless on plaster walls.
Threw stud finder.
Hung shelf in a partial stage of completion. Will paint later.
Worked out Christmas budget with sweet wife.
Re-arranged living room to make room for Christmas tree.
Set iPad on top of built-in hutch to keep it out of the way and “safe.”
Watched helplessly as iPad slipped into crack and fell 5 feet and between hutch and wall.
Stared at wood, disbelieving.
Said foul, vile, hateful things.
Paused to collect myself.
Said foul, vile, hateful things again.
Contemplated getting the sledge hammer and splitting maul out.
Had to walk away before I broke stuff.
Went to Target: mood did not improve.
Shopped for Christmas tree in driving cold rain: mood still poor.
Found a nice, full 7′ tall Noble Fir.
Let tree air dry a bit and put it up in living room.
Worked on Christmas cards with sweet wife.
Wrote some funny stuff on cards to friends and family.
Went out to my little shop and cut two long 1/2″X5/8″ sticks of fir & popular.
Attached L-bracket to the ends.
Fished iPad out using the chopstick technique.
Wife so impressed, she bragged about my big ol’ brain on Facebook.
For just a second, I thought “When McGyver spends alone-time with a bottle of lotion, he is thinking of ME….”
Remembered that I was the dumb-ass that dropped it there in the first place and decided not to let me ego run rampant.
More Christmas cards.
House smells like Christmas.
Taught cat to hop onto edge of tub.
Fought internal demon to keep from teaching her to swim.
Also resisted the urge to splash.
Shower and shave – need new blades
Dog snored like a 70 year old alcoholic man with sleep apnea.
Put him on wife’s side of the bed so they could snuggle.
This guy makes every excuse I have ever had or thought of for why I can’t do something complete and utter BS. Indomitable sprit found here:
I sort of inherited/acquired a beat up wood and iron cafe table set this summer. While working on some other projects that I took some time and refinished both the table and chairs: sanding, adding some stain, and finishing it all with three coats of sprayed outdoor spar varnish. I dropped the set off a a local consignment shop and it sold after a couple of weeks. I was able to make about $95 after paying for the supplies that I used and the shop’s fee. I put the money toward a a utility bill that wasn’t ours, but that we ended up responsible for.
In my head, a nice trendy couple will have coffee and croissants every Saturday morning on the porch or patio of their starter home, sitting at that little table for years to come….
As I mentioned in a previous post, there had been parts for Adirondack lawn chairs all over the house and shop for 9+ months waiting on me to gather the will to glue them up and drive some weatherproof screws home. The Ruminator and I put together when he was here this summer – he supervised while waxing poetic about dressing up like a viking – and I spent a combined 12 hours priming and painting them candy apple red.
Since I don’t want to repaint them every spring I used an oil-based exterior paint. Holy crap, it was hard to find! It seems that everyone has switched to latex based paint for homeowner use (ease of use, easy cleanup, better for the environment, etc…) and I had to resort to having gloss deck and concrete paint custom mixed. It went on like glass though and should be impervious to our rainy long winter weather for three or four years. My sweet wife super loves them and could barely wait until they were dry before giving them a proper, reading a book in the sun, test.
Below is a gallery of the whole build process:
It has been roughly eight months since my shop was robbed. It is just now that I have found the will and desire to start building furniture again. I have let projects and repairs pile up and let my garage shop digress into a sawdust filled junk-room. There have been parts for Adirondack lawn chairs in my basement and shop since December. I finally got around to gluing them up and screwing the pieces together when my son was here this summer. That little project led me to start cleaning the shop and find all the stuff that has been waiting on me. I dabbled with a couple of boxes, then started making pieces and organizing tools and supplies to tackle the larger stuff. Below is a list of current projects that are in work:
- Painting the Adirondack chairs
- Re-build of my father’s 1971 bookshelves
- Kitchen cabinet doors
- Misc. Lathe tasks
- Kitchen cabinet pullouts
- Camp Kitchen box build and paint
- Campaign furniture for luxury car camping
- Hall mirror
- Copy of a 12th Century Abby oak door
- Fireplace surround and mantle
- New Kitchen cabinet pulls and knobs
- Garden tool shed
- Christmas gifts
- Garden table
The above are started and in-work. I have plans to also build the below items soon:
- Small basement work bench (reloading and winter projects)
- Rebuild bookcase in master bedroom
- Murphy bed for my home office
- Box ceiling for master bedroom
- Home office bookshelves
- Chicken coop
- Ornamental planter box
- Cookbook shelf in kitchen
- Rebuild my standing desk
- Basement stairs rebuild
I “discovered” Monocle Magazine while living in Hamburg. As I was perusing my favorite bookstore there after work one day, I happened upon a new glossy – interesting title, bike wheel on the cover, quality paper, hmmm… I have a mistress and she has two wheels, so anything that is smartly bike related catches my attention. I sat down, read a little and fell in love. There were articles about bikes interspaced with design, global politics, a Japanese comic, well-designed fonts (I grow nerdier every day…), lifestyle, city profiles, travel, branding, craft and men’s accoutrements.
The premiere issue of Monocle was launched in February 2007 and the bike issue happened to be the third issue of the magazine. Monocle is headed by Tyler Brûlé, a Canadian-born journalist who also writes/wrote a good weekly editorial for the International Herald Tribune and has some serious chops as a journalist and writer: BBC, The Guardian, Stern, The Sunday Times, Vanity Fair, runs a design firm, and was shot by a sniper while covering the war in Afghanistan…
One of my guilty pleasures in life is buying Monocle Magazine at a specific magazine stand near “C” concourse at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. Which sounds snobby, but I am SOOO unsnobby (except for coffee and beer…). It is just happenstance that for the last couple of years, I travel through Amsterdam every couple of months and it has coincided (give or take a week or two) with the release of each new issue. On one of my recent trips to England I got to spend an off-day in London. I made it a point to detour into the Marylebone neighborhood and into the first Monocle retail store (there are now five along with podcasts, a radio show and a TV spot on Bloomburg) to buy the most current issue. The shopping experience was great: small, but well stocked store, attentive staff, my purchased was wrapped like I was in a Tokyo stationary shop, and I had missed a visit by Tyler Brûlé by 20 minutes. The Monocle HQ is close by and he apparently stops in from time to time.
This is starting to get out of hand. We have six desks in our home and I need more. It may have now turned from fetish into a sickness. We are using them for all sorts of stuff: a work table, a liquor cabinet, a sewing/project center, paper repository, and for their intended purpose of writing and surfing the interwebs. Whenever I travel I have a wandering eye for bicycles and desk-like furniture – imagine Ron Jeremy leering at the contestants in a beauty pageant and you will have a good idea of what happens to me when I see a brazed bike frame or a Georgian secretary… I have seen a couple of pieces lately that I NEEDED! I needed them WAY down deep inside – like the Pope needs Jesus.
The one and only thing that keeps me from being more of a desk hoarder is my epic lack of proper funding. It makes me sad to leave them in the store all alone, where no one caresses their tops, opens the drawers slowly, tells them that they are pretty, and where they will end up with someone who will not treat them as nice as I would have.
Below is a selection from of desk-p0rn from the Sherlock Holmes Museum, the Charleston Antique district, Harrods in London, Restoration Hardware, misc. furniture shops, and my favorite Seattle antique store.
Charleston, SC is one one the places that makes Marta Stewart go all weak in the knees: it is antiques heaven. I had just finished reading a post on the Lost Art Press Blog about a shop there that deals mainly in campaign furniture (a type of furniture made specifically for travel and/or military campaigning and something that makes my inner Martha breathe heavy), when I got the serendipitous news that my J-O-B was sending me there for a few days. Well then… I had one afternoon off and I drug a couple of coworkers to the antiques district downtown and hunted for the shop. My, my, my…. The proprietor had original pieces from the British Raj that he let me fondle and covet. I really wanted some personal alone time with a specific teak and wicker lounger. Me, the chair, some port, candle light, and sweet, sweet love….
I am in the process of building my own campaign-style camp kitchen, chairs, table, and wet bar to take with us on the Lukowski-Gahagan-Talley Glamping trips planed for this spring and summer, where roughing it means the mushrooms are crimini instead of chantarails. I snagged a few ideas from the shop and some additional research that I am incorporating. I will post when somewhat complete, but in the meantime, take a look at some of the pictures I snapped and have included below.
Are you old enough to remember standing in front of a wooden box in your school/neighborhood library, flipping through yellowed note cards, looking for the tittle/author of just the right book? As I sat in Mrs. Peterson’s 3rd grade classroom, learning the intricacies of the Dewey Decimal System, I would have never imagined that I would one day look back on it all with smiling nostalgia. Going to the library and thumbing through the old oak card catalog drawers – pulled out and sitting on a table – and finding titles like The Roghfort Gang, My Side of the Mountain, How to Eat Fried Worms – happy memories.
The days to the DDS and the card catalog are almost completely gone. Almost all libraries – large, small, rural, urban – have digitized their catalogs/holdings and have sold off or just thrown out their cabinets (insert look of horror). I had looked for my own case for the last 3-4 years before finding one at a decent price that fit in our home. A fine old card catalog should be de rigueur for a bookworm’s home office/living room. When I found that perfect one early this year, I may have caressed and spoke to it in soft loving tones for the first few days. I moved it right into my office, re-arranged the drawers, and mounted my book press on the top. Something was still missing though. I realized that I needed labels installed in the brass pull/placard to complete the piece. I set up a template in Visio and set the lettering to an interesting script-like font that I found at dafont. Then I had a little fun with naming the drawers from A to Z.
As previously noted, I have a certain almost unnatural attraction to desks. While in Dubai a few weeks ago, I happened into a swanky furniture store. It is the type of store that rich folk with vast oil deposits peruse. I walked in and marveled at the pieces and the prices for about 30 seconds, when a sales person was ON me. She was nice and said I could stay, but followed me around the store for ten minutes. She was fine with me taking pictures, I just wasn’t allowed to touch any of the gorgeous desks or sit in any chairs. Fair enough…
There was no particle wood to be found. all solid wood with a smattering of exotic veneers. The jewel in their crown of desks was a huge cabinet desk that had a price tag of 71477.000 Dirham – that would equal $19455.13! I was astounded, but I will admit that my heart was full of lust for that finely crafted writing destination.
I have, for years, prided myself on my ability to make or fix just about anything found in our home or yard. Instead of having to hire a repairman or contractor, I have just done it all myself. That sounds smug, but I don’t mean for it to be – bear with me and you’ll see where this is going…
In the years since I met my wife, I have made: squirrel feeders, two loft beds, cutting tables (sewing), bird houses, 5 cutting boards, bookshelves, 2 hutches, kitchen cabinets, a hall tree, reupholstered chairs, refinished countless pieces of furniture, designed/built drawer organizers, patched walls, made a bat house (?!), hung drywall, sewn dresses, painted countless rooms (one with 5 coats of paint…), unclogged toilets & sinks, said some dirty words, welded a bumper, made a working boomerang for my son, etched glass, rescued old furniture from the burn pile, repaired a ukulele & 2 guitars, built window box planters, installed crown molding and fancy trim, bound books, constructed pellet gun targets, fixed printers/plotters, organized crap, made many of my own hand tools, hung doors, planted a garden, cleaned gutters, reseeded lawns, planted a mini-orchard, baked bread, made 2 yards Ireland-green, hung light fixtures, split firewood, soldered pipes, installed irrigation systems, pulled dents from two fenders, cut down trees, built 2 decks, sharpened countless kitchen knives, BBQed like a spatula wielding God, crafted raised garden boxes, installed 4 wireless home networks, baked turkeys, epoxied stuff back together, framed pictures, made pies, rewired lights & switches, changed automotive oil, installed shocks, brewed beer, hung about a 1000 pictures, replaced an intake manifold gasket, rewired the TV and remote, built-up 8 bikes, re-glazed windows, built PCs, replaced/rekeyed locks, and have been the entire family’s Computer Help Desk – on call 24hrs a day...
While this has saved me a few bucks here and there, it has had a couple of unwanted effects as well. 1: While I CAN fix this stuff, I don’t have the time to work, write, see the kids, snuggle my wife, and walk the dog and still take care of all the crap on my list of stuff to fix or build. 2: My wife knows I can do it all and so she is forever finding new tasks for me AND she breaks shit constantly. Now, the first thing is just one of those parts of married life that one has to just accept. It is like the 9th unwritten wedding vow: Do you, __________, promise to trap mice, carry grocery bags, repair the little things on the coming honey-do list, and put the toilet seat down, so long as you both shall live?
The second issue is more an unconscious development than a malicious attack on our household goods. Some examples:
- A cutting board gets left in a sink of water overnight and warps/splits. “It’s OK, you can fix it right?” She says when I find it in the morning and make the grumpy face…
- Kid who worked at the grocery store puts HUGE dent in car door with a train of shopping carts. No report is made. “Can you smooth that out?”
- First day in our home in Seattle… Me: Don’t use your hair dryer upstairs, the old wiring can’t handle it. Her: OK. After two tripped breakers when she plugged it in anyway the next morning, I found myself at the bottom of the stairs, crumpled in a ball, with a dislocated shoulder after I fell down said stairs trying to turn the breaker back on.
- Me: “Where is my bike lock cable?” Her: “Oh, that… I used it the other day and it fell off my bike somewhere and I didn’t notice.”
It is my fault, I have trained her to be this way – it is a learned behavior. If we had to pay cold hard cash for all the little/huge messes/dents/dings/cracks that seem to follow Stamps-With-Foot she would be more careful. I love my wife. She is amazing in so many ways – in most ways, but I swear the very next thing time I have to fix around the house (caused by her own personal tornado), my lovely/girly/sweet wife is going to get covered in sawdust, mud, paint, goo, putty, primer, glue, stain, and gunk – just because.
The wife and I have desk issues: Not problems with sharing, it that we own too damn many. I have a 1950s copy of a 1790s Federal secretary, we use an Art Nouveau drop front secretary as a liquor cabinet, her sewing desk is a ’80’s maple laminate, there is an 7X3′ drafting desk in the basement, I am currently refinishing a solid oak university desk for her office and we pay the bills on a Duncan Phyfe drop-leaf. We need another desk in the house like John Hinkley, Jr. needs an assault rifle…
For Stamps-With-Foot’s birthday, we went and perused jewelry stores, had lunch and coffee down town, window shopped for a new Persian carpet, and eventually wandering into our favorite antique market… Damn! I bought another desk. In my defense though, this is the most awsomest desk ever!! No, really. It is a solid wood 1960 build of a Norwegian/English/Swedish cabinet desk – a modern interpretation of a Moore or Wooten folding wing desk. It unfolds and slides like a fvcking Optimus Prime Transformer! The minute I saw it, I felt all funny in my lower abdominal region…
Now, to get my little bride to agree to this purchase, I had to promis to sell the Federalist secretary and a 5-drawer quarter-sawn oak dresser, but it was SOOO worth it. Additionally when I went back a couple of days later to pick up the desk, I also brought home an additional 2’ section of library card catalog. The wife was not as pleased with that surprise…
Sorry, the pictures were snapped with my cell at the shop and do not do this beauty any justice at all.