Sunday, October 31, 2010

Built-In Bookcases pt. 3 ... Oh, what to do?

For a couple of days I found myself struggling with deciding on a work-around for the desk and it pretty much had me stopped in my tracks.
My original plan for the desk ( Dry fitted bookcases and desk ) just wasn't going to fly.  It wasn't deep enough and I didn't like that the center needed to be supported by brackets ... no matter how much I pretty up the brackets they still look like brackets.

I ran to ReStore and purchased this 1.5" thick solid wooden door:

 The door is dingy, but nothing that a little sanding wouldn't fix
But if I decided to use the door for the desk I had to figure out 2 problems:
#1) It's 4" too short.  I knew that when I purchased it ... but I knew that I would come up with a work-around.

#2) 6 routed panel/recesses in the door ... how do I work around that so it has a smooth top for writing?  Do I cover the door with a thin piece of plywood?  Do I buy some bar-top epoxy and fill in the routed panel recesses?  Since I was planning on painting it anyway, doo I do as Dad suggested and go with Bondo or wood filler?

I got caught up with the price of the door and really wanted to make it work.  The original piece of wood that I was going to use for the desk was only 16" deep, 3/4" thick and cost $17... the door is 24" deep, 1.5" thick, didn't need center support and was cheaper. 

The thing is though, if I did decide to use the door and cover it with a thin sheet of plywood, or fill in the recesses with Bondo, woodfiller or even the bar top epoxy... I'm still looking at spending at least $10 more, possibly up to $40 more for the epoxy.

So why put in the extra work with trying to figure out a work around when for the same price, I could just go and pick up a decent sheet of plywood... rip it in half, glue it & screw it and I get the nice thick single piece of desk top that I was looking for?

Sheesh, sometimes I just make things way more complicated than they need to be!

I did get the plywood ... it's ripped, glued, screwed, stained and in the process of drying.  I'll post a picture of it soon ... I'm pretty stoked about how nicely it turned out.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Table Saw roller stand replacement

Yesterday I cut the piece of wood that I will be using as the desktop for the built-in Bookcases and set up a knock off roller stand to help me out.
This idea came to me out of necessity one day when I was trying to trim down a pair of french doors that I got an AMAZING deal on from the local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.  The doors were raw and still needed to be trimmed down to size so I got the scarey circular saw out and started to go to work ... but the saw was not powerful enough to cut through 2" thick hardwood.  I've never experienced that before (I wonder if they make a pill for that, hehehehe!) I got about 4 inches in and the saw would mire down. 
My only choice then was to put the door through the table saw.  The size of the door made it necessary to have someone help me and support the other end but it's almost impossible to have two people push a large piece of wood through a table saw in unison without kinking the cut.  So I grabbed a plant platform with casters that was sitting close by and put it under the door, and the platform worked like a charm. 

I used that same set-up yesterday and it workout out great again ... you can even see the french doors leaning up against the wall in the background of the picture (poor lonely doors, waiting so patiently for me to get back to working on them.)

 yeahhhh... I had the platform sitting outside all summer and I didn't bother to wipe it down before using it or taking the picture ... just pretend it's all clean.

Maybe some day I will purchase a table saw roller stand ... for the convenience ... but at the moment, I'm happy with this substitute ;)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Built-in Bookcases part 2

I spent the whole weekend working on the bookcases & desk that will span between them ... the weekend went by so quickly, why does the time fly when I'm playing with power tools?

I built two cabinets that will support the desk and went ahead and primed everything (along with some parts of another project.) The desk cabinets are constructed out of leftover pieces of mdf on all sides except for the one side that will show.

Here is where I finally got to dry fit all the sections together to find out what needed fixin:

Right away I found the first thing that needed to be fixed.  Because this house is just like every single other house out there the corners, ceiling and walls are not perfectly level, so I had rip 1/4" off of the 2x4's that I'm using as feet to lower the entire project so that it won't get caught up in the low spots of the ceiling.  That meant then that the bottoms of the bookcases and cabinets now were not going to clear the base molding:

I spent a couple of hours pondering my options for a work around.  I could trim the top sections so that only they will lower, but I didn't want to take those large pieces and try to keep them level while ripping.  I could take the base molding completely off, but I tell you wuuut ... under that new, pretty, final coat of light yellow paint, is a coat of bright yellow paint that didn't make the cut, and under that is a different light yellow paint that ended up taking on a slight green tint so that didn't make the cut either, and then under that is 2 coats of primer to cover up the summer sky blue walls.  Sooo ... those walls there have 6 coats of paint on them and I wasn't too keen on ripping out the base molding which would at the very least mean recaulking, and touching up the paint. 
Instead, I decided to use the circular saw and ripped a notch in the baseboard.  It was a very nerve wracking job for me because the circular saw is my least favorite power tool ... it scares me.  Hey, I am a female and while I won't let myself be intimidated by the saw, I don't have a bunch of upper body strength and this job required me to hold the saw sideways against the baseboard.  Whew, the weight of the saw plus the control that was needed to keep it level, that was bit of work ... but I did it!  The depth was set pretty much just right and didn't rip the drywall apart ... double yay!

Once that was done, I put the sections together and check it out ... I put the levels on and I didn't need to do any tweeking!

Here's the left side dry fitted in:

 And there be the whole project dry-fitted, including the desktop which is a little hard to make out in the picture.
Now I need to secure everything to each other and the walls.  Then on to the doors for the cupboards below the desk, and then the trim, and then the curtains .... and on and on and on  :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Built in bookcases pt. 1

I've been working on built-in bookcases for my daughter's bedroom.
The bookcases will be on both sides of the window, with a desk spanning the length underneath.

It's taking a while to construct because for just about every step that I take with the bookcases, I have to figure out how/if it will affect the desk.
Here are a few pics of the progress to this point:

                      Bottom section of the bookcase... they are 30"wide X 16"deep and made with 3/4" mdf.   At these measurements mdf will bow, if not right away then eventually, so I had to add in the supports in the center.   The bottom sections are deeper than the  tops so they will match up with the depth of the desk:

 The top sections ... they are 30"wide X 10"deep ... also made with 3/4" mdf.  Now these shelves probably should have center supports but I didn't like how the bottoms looked so I'm waiting on that.  I won't wait too long, but I'm looking for something other than just chunks of wood:

Once I had them all built, then it was time to fill in the nail holes:

Prime 'em up:

 All 4 sections are upstairs in the bedroom and of course now it's time to fix and smooth over what little problems I didn't anticipate ... that's for a later post.

Edited in:
   The wood blocks below each shelf were put there to support the trim that will be put on.  I am using a very thin trim, it's only about 1/8" thick and it will hang down lower than the shelf itself to help cover up the side brackets holding up the shelves.

   Here is a little closer of a view to try to show how I secured the center supports:

 On the very top of the unit you can see the pencil line where I marked the center of the support below it.  I did the same thing with the very bottom of the unit and also on the middle shelf (in the picture the upper center support is placed over the pencil line on the shelf but you can see the end of the line sticking out a little bit.)  I added the bottom center support first and used the nail gun to shoot through the bottom of the unit up through the edge of the support, and did the same down through the middle shelf... using the pencil lines as my guide.  For the upper support I toe-nailed through the front and back base edge of the support, and down through the top of the unit... again using the pencil line as my guide.
If you look close in the picture, you can see the toe-nail at the base of the edge of the upper support.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A couple more past creations

I will be working on the bookcases today but want to post up a few more of my past Halloween creations before I get to work:

I ended up giving away most of the wine glasses that I've done, but here are a couple that I've kept:  (the RIP has a spot where I forgot to fill in the second hand, but I've just never gotten around to fixing it and I kind of like keeping it 'original')

The spine candle holder was done as a quick Halloween party decoration but I like the idea so I haven't taken it apart.  I should do a new base for it, but there are soooo many other projects to work on:

And then last year I started a haunted birdhouse village, it's a small village considering that there are only 3 houses.   I WILL finish the third house and complete a new one this year... I can't let this idea fade away, I like how the houses look bunched together:

I'm editing this to add in my witch painting.  I had seen this picture in a catalog and the painting was $300 ... I didn't want to pay that and I was in my rock collecting phase, so I took a flat rock from the lake and painted the same scene on the rock.  It's pretty large ... I would say around 20" tall and 18" wide.  I like that it's a natural medium and love that I can be fairly certain that no other human hands have ever touched that rock before I dug it out of the side of the lake.

Well no I didn't make him, he is just one of my favorite decorations and I just love how he fits perfectly up on top of the shelf and looks down at us so I took a pic of him.  I've played with the idea of trying to make one some time .. and I think I might ... he's basically just made out of styrofoam pieces and then painted and has feathers put on him... that's do-able right?

Cinderelly's Ride ... Past Halloween creation

I've been spending quite a bit of time working on the built-in bookcases for my daughter's room which in turn hasn't given me much time to be working on any Halloween projects for this year ... so I'm going to show a project that I've done in the past.

This inspiration for this was the cover of the now defunct Hallmark magazine ... they used real pumpkins but I didn't want to see my work rot away so quickly, so I made the Cinderelly carriage out of the foam pumpkins:

4 mini pumpkins were painted up in a contrasting color so that they would show up well.  They are attached to the big pumpkin by using a bamboo shishkabob stick and hot glue:

To keep the wheels from sticking out too far, I traced around them and created a wheel-well. Once I carved into the pumpkin I realized that I needed to also paint the big pumpkin because any carving resulted in the white foam showing:

I ended up taking 2 old drawer pulls and used a hack saw to cut the pull off of the handle base.  I then put the two pulls sideways to frame in the doorway:

Sculpey clay was used to make the frames for the windows... I used an old necklace to make indents into the frames to give them some pizazz, I baked and painted them with antique bronze (Plaid paints):

I used the decorative part of the handle bases and put them back to back and coiled some wire for tendrils to finish off the stem:

 The inside of the pumpkin is painted a cream color and has some sparkles to help brighten up the inside.  A small hole was cut on the bottom of the pumpkin to put a string of lights inside.  I usually put the pumpkin up high to where you can't look right inside the carriage and see the lights... instead you only see the fun warm glow when it's lit up!

It's one of my favorite Halloween projects and can even be kept out through Thanksgiving!

Check out this link party @ Sawdust and Paper Scraps blog full of fabulous other creations:  Sawdust & Paper Scraps Linky party

Thank you to Cassity for featuring this on Polly Want A Crafter?

Yup, a year later but I'm also linking this to  DIY Show Off Fall Festival

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Halloween book-purse

So I've seen book-purses all over lately and I couldn't wait to make one.
The very first time I saw this project was on Annie Shao's blog:  but I've also seen it here on Cassity's blog:
I did change it up a little bit to get it to fit my style and functionality ... which is, when it comes to purses, something that will keep my junk from slipping out easily... so I took the book purse idea and just flipped it upside down so that it had a more secure cover.

Because it's coming up to Halloween, I wanted to combine the project with the season so I picked out Bram Stoker's Dracula.
I used red velvet for the lining, a roll of cording for the strap, black lace, red velveteen ribbon and magnetic snaps ... and used the Headliner spray glue, a glue gun and some heavy duty cardboard.

I bent the cardboard to make the shape/frame:

I attached the ribbon and the lace with the spray glue:

I wanted to be able to hide the strap if I don't want to use it, so I glued it and sewed it to the material that will cover the area of the upper back inside:

Figuring it all out ahead of time was what took the longest ... I had to go through each step in my head to figure out what had to be attached first before the lining was put in ... that meant figuring where the strap  and the snaps should go.

Here it is finished with the strap out for a shoulder 'bag':

And with the strap hidden inside, making it a clutch:

I love the look and feel of the velvet, but after working with it I wouldn't recommend using it.  It's too bulky and you can't iron it to get the crisp lines and creases.  If I do another one ... and I'm thinking I will ... I will use lighter/thinner fabric for the lining.