Thursday, April 2, 2015

Upcoming salvage shutter conversion project

Years ago, Lorraine and I had bought some old salvage wood shutters as decorative pieces in our home. We still have them, but have always wondered how to incorporate the these old elements. With our new house under construction, Lorraine came up with a wonderful idea. We are going to use these shutters as the frame for a bathroom shelving unit. The two shutters will exist as the sides, which will be connected by a top, bottom, and a couple shelf pieces.

We look forward to sharing the results. This weekend I hope to have the outdoor and dining tables stripped for refinishing. 

- Lowell 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Converted Table Legs

Some of you may have wondered what we did with the original table legs from our last post about making outdoor table legs. The original pieces were beautiful, but not going to work outside. However, we would not just throw those away. Lorraine is always thinking of how to re-purpose our furniture pieces. 

For the new house, she was interested in creating a sitting desk. We had an old maple coffee table top. After attaching the legs, we're happy with how it came out. It will make a nice addition to the home once re-finished. 

Happy Wednesday!

- Lowell

Monday, March 23, 2015

Outdoor Table Conversion (building table legs)

I've been dreaming of creating an outdoor dining space. This led us to select an extended back patio for the new house.

Initially Lorraine and I discussed building a new table. However, Lorraine thought up an excellent idea to re-purpose what we already have. We actually have 2 dining tables, but the ornate legs just didn't have the right feel for an outdoor area in the Southwest. 

Flipping it over, the table was attached by bolt screws through a cleat that attached to the aprons. Removal was easy.

The next step was to figure out what might be a decent match for the already existing table top. Maple and cherry woods are nice, but relatively expensive. Ultimately I chose poplar due to its ability to stain like other woods and it's modest price. The challenge was that the size of the original legs was nearly 4" at maximum width. Finding actual solid wood that size is exceptionally difficult and expensive. I used a technique of boards close to 1" and stacking them together. This served to create a "post" style leg that had the strength and size to support the table

Once the boards had been selected, cutting the approximate length with a chop saw got the ball rolling. 

I have to thank my dad for letting me use some of his more advanced woodworking tools. He is a great resource. Below I included a picture of a jointer. It's essential during this process to plane the wood and create a nice square post.

A table saw was used to rip the boards to an approximate width. When I say approximate, I mean leaving a little extra for planing purposes. Inevitably the boards will not be perfect when pressing together. Planing it down with a jointer is great, but you always need a little excess. You can always take off, but never add once it's cut.

With the boards cut to their general size, I started the "folding smash" as I like to call it.

My dad had a great idea to use alternating biscuits between the boards to prevent them from sliding apart too much during the clamp process. Basically when the boards are pressed together by significant force, they will have a tendency to slide apart. The biscuits aid in greatly reducing this. The jointer will smooth out the rest.

After applying Titebond wood glue with a cheap brush, the post legs were ready to be formed. I employed pipe clamps to press them together. After they dried, the posts were squared off and smoothed flat with the jointer.

I was excited to put the legs up on the table, and even happier to see they fit nicely.

From there I had to create a beveled edge at the corner that would accept the bolt screws. This was critical due to being the attachment point of the legs to the table top.

After making marks from the original table legs, I traced out the bevel template. With a workbench vise, I created a strong grip on the post legs.

After cutting the bevel with a hand saw, I created pilot holes with my corded drill. Once done, my new legs were ready to attach.

This was just the first step in a comprehensive table project. My next post on this topic will show the entire table with the new legs along with my work in refinishing the entire piece. 

- Lowell

Friday, March 20, 2015

Surprise Credenza find!!

We've been looking for a TV stand to get ready for our new house. Lorraine was looking on Craigslist and found this mid-century modern piece for $40.

It looks like some variation in the finish was done, as I see 2 different colors. I'm not sure if these were replacement parts or someone tried to stain match.

I was very curious to see what was underneath the stain. As I stripped a small portion, I found what appears to be mahogany. I have to inspect more closely, but it is at least a mahogany veneer on solid wood, or could have full mahogany. Either way, it's an incredible find, and I really am excited to refinish and restore this piece as an addition to our home.

Have a great weekend!

- Lowell

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Sailboard project

In between all sorts of house projects, one of my favorite hobbies involves pretty much any and all watersports. I grew up on the Gulf Coast and spent years surfing. Here in the desert, surfing is a pretty limited option, but our lake system provides an excellent place for kayaking, paddleboarding, windsurfing, etc.

A few years ago, I found an old windsurf board (sailboard) on Craigslist. I made some repairs and started learning how to sail with it. Windsurf kits are pretty expensive so this was a way to get my feet wet and find out if I wanted to put any more into it. After discovering how great windsurfing can be, I decided to embark on making my own board.

Essentially the board will have a traditional foam core surrounded by fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin. All the component parts will be modern, which are much more user friendly.

The first idea was to figure out what  I wanted. I may have years of surfing experience, but windsurfing is relatively new for me. A large, high-volume board is the way to go. I figured a blend of a traditional longboard surfboard and paddleboard would provide a great design idea. Although it will be large, the foam core will be EPS, which is exceptionally light. The epoxy resin is also very light, but very durable.

So far I've created a board building stand and have cut my template out. I'll provide periodic updates for this crazy project.

- Lowell

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Dining Room Chairs

Exciting news! We're moving to a new home in August of this year. It's a dream location and we love the design of the house. This has kicked our efforts into high gear.

The house will have a dining room, so we decided to refinish the dining room table and chairs with our chalk paint and stain combo. The chairs are being done completely with the chalk paint, made with the Valspar flat paint and plaster of paris. After Lorraine finished the painting, I used a 600 grit wet-sand, followed up by a 1200 grit wet-sand. This creates a furniture smooth finish to the touch.

We have so many projects, but that's how we like it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Lorelai's First Swim Class

Our first outing as a family after Lorelai was born was to her brother's swim class. Since then she has always enjoyed watching her brother swimming on the other side of the glass. For several months she has pointed at the pool at the school and smiled as she said "waa waa." We took this to mean that she too was ready for swim lessons.

She was signed up and placed in the beginning Starfish class. Her brother especially looked forward to this development as he would be swimming in the lane next to her in his Porpoise class. Lorelai spent many hours in the pool last summer, but her pool did not have swim instructors who dunk you underwater and crying babies. The tears begun the second she went into the pool with her dad.  The tears only stopped briefly when she caught a glimpse of her brother smiling at her.
I couldn't tell you much of what happened after that because I was hiding behind a couple so Lorelai couldn't see me. Her dad told me that she finally calmed down when she was put on her back. We surmise this is because she could look at her dad and with the water in her ears could not hear the other crying babies.
We are so proud of our little Starfish!