Things I learned (or was reminded of) during this build. 1. I am terrified of routers. The bit came off during the cut, and 2 words: cord management. 2. Don’t try to cut a perfect circle with a jig saw unless you have steady hands (which I don’t). 3. Adult ADHD. The shop looked like it exploded and I couldn’t find a certain drill bit. 4. Nothing offers me the same high, the same flow, the same unawareness of time passing as woodworking, and while I can’t make perfect things or perfectly square things or fancy joints yet, I do love the shit out of it. Cost: free.
- spare 2×4’s
- Spare plywood
- dark stain
- extra white paint
- wood glue
- countersink drill bit
- wood filler
- router circle cutting jig
- chop saw
My boss/coworker/friend has two elderly basset hounds that have difficulty navigating stairs due to arthritis, previous back surgeries, and general old age. So, he and his wife requested that I build a couple of ramps and some stairs. The couple asked that the ramps not be too steep and that they blend into the home environment.
I used birch plywood and little strips of trim to make the foot grips. Since my boss wanted the ramp to be pretty, I put these trim strips on the edges of the plywood also. My boss painted the ramp himself, sparing me from that detail (as I’ve mentioned before, I loathe finishing work).
Here is a picture of the ramp. I’m still working on the stairs and the second ramp.
I used Ana White’s Adirondack Chair plan for these chairs. I used the cheapest 1×4 cedar planks I could find. This was before the days of owning a nail gun, so there are a lot of screws and glue. I also did not have a jig saw at the time, so the top is square and flat rather than rounded. I don’t mind. They’ve held up well the last few years and have done their job.
I used the plans for Tommy’s Farmhouse Table to build this table. I was able to find most of the wood for this table from the ReStore in Ballard (now Ballard Reuse). I spent about 38 dollars on the wood, but I ended up spending some money on some new tools…including the following:
- Table saw (purchased for 80 dollars on craigslist)
- pipe clamps
- Worlds tiniest pocket hole jig (Kreg Jig Mini)
- Circular saw (Ridgid 71/4 inch)
I also worked on this table at 2 different houses. I started it at one rental, and began constructing it in the dining room. Modern Family made a timely joke about lesbian carpentry projects in the dining room. When we moved, I acquired a garage to set up shop in, and I was able to finish the table in the comfort of my very own wood shop.
This was the first big piece of furniture I made, and I learned a lot of things during the process. Some things that come to mind:
- Clamps clamps clamps. Use more clamps! As shown in the picture, I only had 2 pipe clamps at the time. I made it work, but the table expands and contracts quite a bit, partly due to regular wood expansion and contraction, but likely also partly due to not being able to get a tight enough grab initially.
- Invest in a bigger Kreg Jig. The Kreg Jig Mini was nice because it was cheap! But it took a long time to individually clamp and drill each pocket hole.
- Take your time finishing. I don’t like finishing, so this is really hard for me. But really, you should sand between coats and take several days and finishes to get it right.
That being said, this table rules. I had an absolute blast building it and it has served most excellently as a dining room table. Not many people can say that they built their own dining room table!