December 19, 2011

Building stuff

It dawned on me a few weeks ago that I might like a coffee table for my living space, so I decided to build one.

I don't yet consider myself especially handy, but I've built stuff before. I built myself a functional but ugly desk a few years ago. No screws, no glue necessary. Just interlocking pieces and a back that screws in. (Oh, I guess there were some screws involved. Regardless...) I've got some experience, I know how to cut wood. I don't hold a circular saw at arm's length and wince and tremble like it's dying to hack me to pieces. Anymore. Wood glue, finish, polyurethane, this guy has at least a cursory understanding of what goes where and when.

I like working with my hands, building stuff that will last a while. They say you get your best ideas when you're building, tinkering, when your hands are busy, not when you're deliberately trying to think up brilliant stuff. Everyone should be able to do that somehow. And if I can have a lasting piece of furniture and build a skill in the process, it's an even better use of time.

I'd like to one day reach a level of comfort with woodworking so I can build stuff that looks at least passable, or even "kinda nice, in the right light," as opposed to that desk I built. The finish was nice but - what's the saying? A face only a mother could love? Yeah, that applies to that desk I built, I'm sure. Also, camp has all the tools I need, so I figured now was the time to do it while I have easy access to them.

So I started looking for woodworking tips and found, which is full of easy-to-make stuff and helpful ways to make it without hurting yourself. It's noobie-friendly. I found plans for this so I decided to build it.

We had some old broken trolleys (4x4 logs with ropes attached, used for team-building exercises) that couldn't be used anymore. I wanted to use those for legs. It gives the table a little bit of history. I bought the rest of the wood at Home Depot. I dropped about $40 on wood and screws, all said and done. Stain, foam brushes, and Polyurethane ran about $20 more. So I sunk about $60 into the project.

Once upon a time, those were building teams. Now they're holding up a coffee table in my living room. But first, they went through this progression. (there were more, but my Droid X2 likes to mess up/lose pictures for some reason. What gives?)

[this is where pictures my phone ate would go...]


A real, live presentable coffee table. Took me a few nights of work spread over about two weeks. It's not too shabby, really. I learned a bunch - this thing is definitely not perfect. If I built another one (any takers?) I would build it better. I might build myself a matching end table next month - who knows?


Heather Ingram said...

When you leave PR and if you decide not to ship it with you....I call dibs ;)
Good job and looks beautiful!

Dan Quist said...

I'm actually quite impressed Jim. Nice job.