Weekend Project – More Shelves

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This is actually an old project that I’m re-doing. My urge to build started around the new year. I wanted to turn my office space into a more livable space for me and my girlfriend. I wanted to move some furniture around, get rid of some stuff, add a couch, etc. I had a real specific need for a shelving unit that I knew I wasn’t going to find anywhere, and from that came my brilliant idea of building all this stuff to replace all the crappy particle board stuff. Fast forward to almost three months later, I looked back on my original shelf and I didn’t really like how it came out. Structurally it’s fine, but I stained it the wrong damn color. It was the first time I’ve stained anything in a long time, and I’ve realized that the colors they show you on the swatches at Home Depot are no where near what the actual color will look like. So far everything has been A LOT darker. My options were to either strip the thing down and re-stain it, or just build a new one. You all should know my thoughts on excessive sanding by now, so I took the build new road.

Since I’ve also had so much fun with Sketchup I thought it’d be relevant to do a mock up before hand. This actually falls in line with my other strategy of creating a scale model of my office so that I can take all my current furniture and my conceptual pieces and compare them and view them together in real time. There’s the sketchup model in the top right there. Simple.

The second fun part of this project was to see how quickly I could build this using my Kreg jig. The first one I used screws to secure the top and bottom panels of the shelf, but I had to drill holes from the outside, and then with a bigger bit, clear out some space so I could inset them, and then covered them with putty. It’s not bad. It’s visible, but not awkwardly so. I was able to avoid that with the Kreg Jig, and after spending maybe 20 minutes making the cuts, it took less than 20 minutes to put the thing together with the Kreg Jeg. I’d spent much longer with the first one. I believe it took me an entire Saturday afternoon. What a difference.

I also made the shelves adjustable as well. I do this by taking my square and lining it up and using the width of the square to determine where the 4 holes will be that will hold the shelf supports. I can easily make this shelf a triple or a double, depending on my need. I know you can buy jigs to create those holes, but it’s pretty easy to line it up, calculate how far in you want the holes and just mark them with a pencil. This was the most time consuming part of the project.

Since the weather has finally started looking up I was able to take everything out to the garage to stain. I’m so glad too, I was getting tired of being cooped up in the basement doing this. The garage is definitely the better option for staining. I used Minwax’s Early American stain, which is the same color I used on the end table in my office, and the color I will probably continue to use for all my office projects. I really like the way it looks on pine. It gives it a very aged look, and really makes the knottiness of my cheap pine stand out. (I totally love knotty wood, more detail and personality.).

Check out the full gallery of in process pictures after the break. I’m not done with the thing yet. It’s outside having its second coat of polyurethane set. I took my time doing the poly, and I’ve sanded in between coats, so I’m interested to see the difference in results this time.

I’m going back to messing around with Sketchup. I’m redoing my desk for the third time, trying something slightly different this time. I’ll post that before I hit the sack.

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DVD Rack – Kreg Jig Review

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This month’s big project is to replace my Target bought DVD rack, as seen on the left. There are a couple problems with it. One,  you can see how it sags in the middle. Two, my collection has really outgrown the capacity. And three, it doesn’t match anything else in my living room.

Per usual, I drew up a little diagram with my measurements and my basic designs. It’s not so much a plan as it is a brainstorm, and that usually ends up being my working copy. I went with a super simple design for this thing. I did attempt something different though. My buddy Jeff has had great luck using Google’s Sketchup to mock up his projects. My Sketchup skills suck, and after 2 hours of trying to get used to it, I gave up. For me, it was really over-complicating what I do, and while I like to improve my technology skill set, if it’s not actually making my life easier, it’s not worth doing.

I went with a simple design for another reason too. My mom bought me a Kreg Jig. She saw their infomercial on TV and ordered it for me. Thanks Mom! I was hesitant at first, but after watching the instructional video on the website, and doing a bit of research, I thought it might be a cool tool to have. The last few projects I’ve resorted to using Dowels and Biscuits for joining pieces. I think they will still have their place for certain projects, but the Kreg Jig really makes things incredibly easy. More on that later.

More after the break.

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