The Joy of Building Things: Part Two

I’ve developed some momentum with the my woodworking goals this month.  Since I last built the bookcase, I’ve completed two other small projects and thought I would share those here today.

Both projects have been made out of “waste” materials that I have left over from past jobs I’ve completed.   Even though I couldn’t use this material on the job, I kept it with the intent to build something.  I also believe it is the best way to develop my skills and learn new techniques without incurring the expense of buying new materials.  So far it’s working well.

The first project was for an end table.  I wanted to use a chevron pattern that I found from a coffee table that was made from reclaimed pallet wood.  I thought it looked cool and I wanted to try my hand at it.  (Full disclosure; I did end up buying a piece of 1/4″ plywood to use as a base to nail to.  Everything else was stuff I had on hand.) The design is created by cutting opposite 45 degree cuts and butting them together in the center.  It looks like this while you’re putting it together:

Cutting the pattern to later nail to plywood base.

Cutting the pattern to later nail to plywood base.

Once everything is in place I used finish nails to secure it to the plywood.  Once all pieces are in place you cut off the edges and add trim to give it a more finished look:

The top finished and ready for legs.

The top finished and ready for legs.

An actual end table that I built!

An actual end table that I built!

Getting the legs to secure firmly was a bit more complicated than I was expecting but again, all this is learning.  Every project reinforces current skills and introduces me to new ones.  I think we often shy away from things that we have little knowledge of and it’s a shame, because life should always be about new experiences.

I later added a second shelf near the bottom.  It’s a little bigger than I planned for it to be, but I enjoyed the process of putting it all together.

The next table is part of an Adirondack table, chair and ottoman set.  I started with the table because it looked easier to start with.  All material came from scrap I have on hand.  The legs and feet called for 1x6s but all I had was 2x6s. It gives it a meatier look, but I think it turned out ok and it is a very stable table.

The plans for this come from Steve Cory’s book, Outdoor Wood ProjectsI really enjoyed this little project  because I tried things I haven’t done before such as using a router, drilling counterbore holes, using plugs, and cutting my first dado joint.

Cutting kerfs for the dado joint.

Cutting kerfs for the dado joint.

Clearing out the wood strips to get a clean surface.

Clearing out the wood strips to get a clean surface.

A hammer was used to loosen the larger strips in the previous picture and a chisel is used to get a nice flat surface.

A hammered was used to loosen the larger strips in the previous picture and a chisel is used to get a nice flat surface.

The dado joint connects the leg to the base of the table offering a stronger joint than a simple butt joint would provide.

The dado joint connects the leg to the base of the table offering a stronger joint than a simple butt joint would provide.

Drilling counterbore holes for the top table slats and cutting wood plugs to fill in the screw holes.  Dewalt, I'm accepting sponsors. :-)

Drilling counterbore holes for the top table slats and cutting wood plugs to fill in the screw holes. Dewalt, I’m accepting sponsors. 🙂

Not too bad eh??

Not too bad eh??

Cutting the s curves was kind of fun.  I used two bowls to make the pattern and a jig saw to cut it out.

Cutting the s curves was kind of fun. I used two bowls to make the pattern and a jig saw to cut it out.

It may be hard to see in this picture, but the wood plugs filled the holes nicely and I cut off the excess and sanded the top giving it a nice smooth finish ready to be stained.

It may be hard to see in this picture, but the wood plugs filled the holes nicely and I cut off the excess and sanded the top giving it a nice smooth finish ready to be stained.

Both projects were very enjoyable to build.  It’s a relaxing hobby and a cheap one, as well as an activity that provides you with something to show for your time spent.

I use a lot of cedar wood on these projects and even though I’m able to use a good portion there is some waste from cutting off split ends, knot holes and other defects.  I keep this and use it for backyard fires I’m so fond of in the winter.  If I were using a wood burning fireplace for heat in the winter, I could use the wood to keep me warm.  It dawned on me that I was getting three different uses for something that had been purchased for one use and would have normally been discarded.  I used it to produce my income, I built furniture from the waste, and used the waste from that waste to warm and entertain myself on cold winter nights.  In time it is even possible that I could make a small income from selling items on Craigslist.   It is rare you find this kind of multiple-use-per-item quality in our modern world.  We have rice cookers and garlic presses, the divisions of labor we find in our jobs has crossed over into our physical world as well.  We have homes full of items that rarely perform more than one function.  What impact would it have on our financial lives if we started requiring our things as well as some of our activity to have more than one duty, required them to serve multiple functions?

 

 

 

 

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