Sunday, August 16, 2015

Budget Table - Part Two

As our lives have changed over the past few years our furniture needs have also evolved.  While it would be nice to go out and purchase new pieces as needed, the wallet doesn't always make that  feasible.  My solution? Reuse what we have to the extent we can and modify it to fit our needs.  The latest example of this? Taking our "budget table" and hacking it in half to make it a square breakfast room table. Here is a link to the original post about the budget table we purchased: Budget Dining Table

Our previous breakfast room table was perfect for the two of us before having a kid (and okay while he was light and on a clip on chair), but the "in style" tall bar-height would work no more. We went ahead and sold off that table and went to work on modifying our repaired dining room table to fit the space.  The process also resulted in a great matching toddler table.

Let's get right to it. The first step was to saw the old table right in half. Well, not technically in half as I just squared it off. The remaining piece will be used later.

Turning it over, there wasn't a whole lot of modification necessary.  I removed the long runners, trimmed them to length to accommodate the end pieces and reassembled. This whole process was very similar to the first post about this table, however less involved since I didn't have to disassemble the entire table to rip the runners. With my little helper...

After gluing the table and getting it put back together I sanded the new cut edge and applied some stain that was close enough.  I don't know a lot about finishes, but whatever the company used that made the table was very odd.  It was super thin, almost like a light coat of paint and scratched very easily.  In an effort to help fight the unavoidable toddler messes I went ahead and added a polyurethane layer to the table with a satin sheen. 

The chairs are straight from local thrift stores.  They ranged from 6 to 10 dollars and were covered with a few quick coats of seafoam colored paint.  We'll get all four of them at some point...

To put the cut portion of the table to use, I decided to make a little toddler table for my boy.  This is one of the cheapest projects I've ever done as I only had to purchase a couple 1x4's and some white spray paint.  I trimmed the top to have a small overhang past the existing support beneath the table. From there, I cut 45 degree legs to give that picnic table look.  After mounting each side I added another support down the middle.  Each joint was glued and tacked together with a small finish nail gun.

After a quick sand of the leg edges the unit went out back to the paint both for its white coat.  Why white? Because toddlers are really clean and it will stay white forever. Great.

The now painted unit came back inside, got the edges stained and then the same satin polyurethane coat that the other table received.

Originally we were going to use the toddler table as a game room station, however it quickly made its way near the kitchen in an effort to provide an activity zone while his Mommy is busy in the Kitchen. We'll see how that plan plays out...

The End.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Industrial Baby Bookshelf

Well, I guess it doesn't have to be a baby bookshelf.  In fact, given it's size, it's more like a regular sized person's bookshelf.  A cheap(?) alternative to a standard furniture shelving unit that will last for years to come.

As always, here's a good completed finish:

Let's get into the construction of it now.  I really wanted this to be another "budget" project, but honestly, the galvanized steel probably puts it outside of the budget category.  In fact, if you are or know a plumber.. get these things cheap and sell the heck out of these things.

I'm rambling.  The first step is to buy, shape, and stain the wood for the bookcases to your desired size, finish, and color.  For my project I wanted a heavy duty look, so i went with some solid 2x12s that should really stand up to some kid abuse.

Here are the 2x12s cut to length and getting sanded...

Get the wood stained and finished to your preference.  Now is the time to do this, because once assembled you will be fighting to keep the stain off the metal.

Here is a look at the steel parts.  Iron plumbing straight pipe and fittings, available at both home depot, lowes, or your neighborhood plumbing outfitter.

Once you have assembled the pipe units, start putting the shelves together, one layer at a time.  It is important to keep the pipe units the same length, as this will ensure that each shelf stays level as you stack them.  Minor adjustments can be done at the end, but it isn't the greatest task.

After assembly I put it where I wanted and then attached two straps to the wall to ensure it wasn't going to come crashing down.  If I did it again I would probably get the wheels spaced out a little wider for a bit more stability, but with it being on carpet mounting to the wall is the best bet.

Picture heavy ending with some detail shots:

The End.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Country Dog House with Porch

A few of my past posts have been of the "budget" variety, especially since we bought our new house.  I hate having to build within a budget, often because the plans and ideas in my head are much grander than I could ever afford.  The following project is a great example of having to walk that line between reasonable for its application and what I want to build.

A dog house.  I already had it planned in my head before I ever put pencil to paper: a large, elevated log cabin, ramp access(for the old blind dog), 2nd floor patio, doggie pool, you name it.  Man it would have been cool. Would have been.

I scrapped 95% of the fun ideas and ended up with a reasonable and purposeful end product. Shade for the summer and shelter for the winter.

First up: Trip to Lowes.  Pretty basic shopping list here, 2x4s, exterior siding, tin roofing, and some discount paint.

The base was made using pressure treated pine.  The darker material was some old wood that was laying around that I repurposed.  My trip to Lowes wasn't quite perfect, but I pulled together enough scrap to make it work.

One sheet of 1/2" exterior plywood makes up the flooring as well as the roof.  The enclosed portion was about 3'x4', with the entire house being about 3'x7'.  I sized it to get the most out of just a few pieces of plywood.

After the basic framing I went ahead and moved it to its final location in the backyard. Now or never, it got heavy quick. Before starting the siding I made sure my blocks were leveled out.

Paint on before decking and roofing to make my life a little easier. I really lucked out on the paint: they happened to have a full gallon of exterior wood stain and waterproofer on the "oops" shelf.  This is a product that normally costs $40 discounted for just $7.  I probably would have been good with any color at that price.

Slapped on the decking, roofing, and then added in some hay for warmth.  Here are a few finished pictures, complete with a fully posed dog.

The End.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

House Update 2 - Rec Room Bar

The house we bought had a converted garage that really didn't serve a purpose. It had concrete floors, peg board, and a big ugly counter.  We eventually want to turn this into a nice family/game room with new flooring and closing off the water heater with a new wall, but somehow I managed to get building a bar first on that list. Bravo me.

Here's a quick picture of the finished goods.

This project was supposed to be quick and simple. Rip out old cabinet/counter/peg board, paint, and install new stuff. Easy enough, should be done in a weekend. Ha. What follows is a photo trip down the quick bar build that I managed to procrastinate into a two or three week project.

As Purchased... A different take on the "industrial" look maybe?

Annnd.. Old crap gone.

So here's the deal on the goofy plumbing. The house is on a septic system and at one point the washing machine was routed out the garage to it's own drain field in the backyard.  The same line was tapped for this sink drain.  It works fine, but is a bit cumbersome in the garage.  Thats another project for another day(year).

Here's a shot of the modification I had to make to the cabinet unit to get the funny plumbing to fit. Turned out functional.  The cabinets are premades from Lowes that I picked up while they were 20% off.

And with all four units mounted...

For the countertop I needed something financially reasonable while still adding a good contrast to the rustic feel of the cabinets.  The solution? A premade stainless steel top from Sears.  It's built for a workbench and let me tell you the dang thing is heavy.  The underside of it is solid 1" mdf and the thing must weigh 200 lbs. Some quick construction adhesive and a few screws later and that heavy SOB wasn't going anywhere.

I used a jigsaw to cut the hole for the new bar sink, but somehow forgot to take a picture of that one.

What's next? Backsplash. Looked and looked at options, finally deciding on a cool pebble mosaic that Floor and Decor had. Great. Then go to Lowes to buy grout and what do you know- some glass tile on say for 4 bucks a foot. Sold. Decisions like that are hard, but sales always win.

Repainted the wall, put the fridge in place, and there she is. The under cabinet lights are cheapies from Ikea, but so far have worked flawlessly.  The wine glass rack was picked up from Amazon.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

House Update 1 - Budget Stainless Dishwasher

Times are crazy.  Just as I posted that we were in a house with a garage we packed up and moved again.  I hope this one is for a while. Moving is terrible. Moving with a packed garage is hell.  I'm going to try to keep updating this frequently as we have a ton of projects ongoing and a baby on the way.  That means deadlines... which really helps me (a natural procrastinator).

First on the to-do list? Replace the 1990s era black appliances.  The kitchen is going to need a full blown makeover, but that is going to have to wait a while.  Fully functional ovens and a microwave take priority over some granite.

We started the appliance search getting the necessities, fridge, new oven, and microwave. Ouch. Appliances are ridiculously expensive.  We were left with a half matching kitchen, and that is where this blog steps in.  Converting your still working black dishwasher into a stainless beauty.  In our case, the previous homeowners had recently replaced the dishwasher, so we couldn't justify replacing it just so it would match.

Our solution?  Search and search online until we could find a stainless front panel to swap out.  Easy $100 upgrade to give the appliance that brand new look.  Took a little time to figure out the stainless steel model equivalent, but it ended without any real issues.  A key to look for should you decide to tackle this: Find parts diagrams for the similar models.  GE had one model number for the white and black dishwashers, but changed the numbers up completely for the stainless version, even though everything else was identical.

Here is a look at the project.

There were about eight screws around the perimeter and bottom that holds the cover on. Very challenging.

The control panel slides in place and is held on by similar screws around the perimeter.

Completed. $100, Maybe a 20 minutes, and a fresh dishwasher. Not bad.