Dado Time

The fancy cattle panel fence that we want for our backyard is ready to move from design to the implementation phase. That means dados, and a lot of them. What is a dado and where does it go in this design? A dado is a groove cut into the face of a board. In this design, each of the 2x4s on the outside of each panel has a dado cut into the middle of one of the faces. The dados provide a slot for the metal cattle panel to sit in after assembly. It is essentially like making a giant picture frame. In this case, however, the picture is replaced with cattle panel fencing. I used cedar 2x4s for each of the separate panels in the fence. In the end, I had 5 different panels, one of which was smaller than the rest for a fence gate. The fence gate…

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We’re Back – With a Fencgeance (Fence/Vengeance)

The title says it all, we’re back. I’ve been neglecting posting lately. I’d like to say I’ve been more busy than usual and that’s my excuse, but in reality I just haven’t stayed on top of it. Here I am though, looking to turn that around. I do these posts almost entirely for myself, as they help me keep a good record of my projects. They also help me to practice writing, which has been pretty useful in my job as an engineer. It turns out that having a very small amount of writing skills makes you one of the best writers when you work for an engineering company. Guess that’s payback for the ‘B’ I got in English at an engineering college.  Sidetracking over, let’s get down to what this post is about. Back in 2020 there was a huge storm that knocked down a bunch of trees and…

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Home Desk – Final Paint and Assembly

We have finally made it, the home desk is complete. From the initial plans, cutting the legs and frame, the frame assembly, the drawer frame, and finally inset drawers, it has been a fairly in depth project. But now we’re on to the last step, final paint and assembly. This should be the easy part, so let’s hop right in. As always, the design expert, Allyson, came in at this point in the project and chose the paint color. This meant 11 paint samples examined in different lighting over 2-3 days, obviously. All of the color options laid out on the desk. In the end, Allyson chose to go with Anonymous from Sherwin Williams. Before putting the chosen paint on the desk, I started with a layer of primer. I had an old can of tinted primer from a previous project, which worked for about 60% of the desk before…

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Home Desk – Inset Drawers

After a week off of writing, I’m excited to post about making the inset drawers for my home desk. After completing the drawers, I realize that inset drawers are not overly difficult to make. But they require a bit more precision than overlay drawers. Definitely worth the extra effort on this project. Not only did they turn out fantastic, but they were great practice for some future projects (like a kitchen remodel). Before I can even get to how I made the inset drawers fit correctly, I have to go through how I built the drawers. I chose a width for each of the sides to make sure they have room to fit without issue. I cut the sides with a circular saw to the correct width out of the same sheet of plywood I used for the entire frame. No need to overly complicate that dimension. For the depths,…

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Home Desk – Drawer Framing

It is time to make my relatively sad, yet functional, desk a bit more functional and a bit less sad. That’s right, time to add some drawers, and more specifically, some drawer framing. The final desk design has three total drawers. Two drawers to the right of the chair location, and one long drawer above where I’ll sit. The drawers will be inset drawers, which I’ll go into more detail about in the next post. The first step to adding the drawers was to complete the drawer framing. I added a 1x2” stretcher from the front left leg to the front right leg of the table, using pocket holes to attach it to the leg. This provides the top of the long drawer and one of the drawers on the right. It also helps to strengthen the desk frame and provide support for the eventual top. I then added two…

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Home Desk – Frame Assembly

The table frame and legs are cut and obviously very classy. Now I can start to see the table take shape. All of the joints in the table frame assembly consist of pocket hole screws. Each of the legs will have the frame screwed into it and then I’ll add stretcher supports in the front. I marked each plywood piece of the table that I cut out to designate the pocket hole locations. This ensured that the pocket holes were on the inside of the table so that they stayed hidden. It also allowed me to drill every pocket hole right away. I couldn't wait until after the frame assembly was built because I would lose access to most edges. There is a lot of labeling on the plywood so that I make the pocket holes in the correct locations. Part of the original design called for adding “picture framing”…

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Home Desk – Table Legs and Frame

Where does one start when building a desk? Obviously you need to cut all of the wood out at some point. In this case, my desk design has the frame directly connected to the table legs. That means that starting with the table legs and frame makes the most sense.  As I mentioned last week, I took a lot of time planning out my cuts on this build. Lumber prices are high. Plus, I already have plenty of scrap wood around the house, so I try to avoid adding more. That level of planning carried through to marking out each of my cuts on the plywood for the desk frame and drawers. All of the cut lines laid out before starting the real cuts. When cutting sheets of plywood, my strategy is to use my two workbenches and a circular saw. I measure the offset of my circular saw guide…

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Work From Home Desk

One of the nice things about developing woodworking skills is that I can take on projects to improve my standard of living or comfort at home. So it makes sense that while working from home for over a year, I would make myself a desk right? Wrong. I spent the first 11 months of that time working from my couch and coffee table. Why? Who knows, I’m weird sometimes. However, I finally decided to build that “work from home desk” a few months ago. It has been a game changer. As is typical of any builds at our house, we like to spend some time thinking about the design. This allows us to make sure whatever we are building fits our style. It also makes the build process much easier. And since this desk is going to reside in our living room permanently, getting the right style was key. When…

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Outdoor Fire Table – Final Costs

I realized this morning that I never summarized the outdoor fire table final costs for everyone. I think it’s a good exercise to show what things like this cost if you’re looking to do something similar. It also shows why I like to do things myself, because I’ll try to give a comparable example of what it would have cost to buy instead of make. Let’s jump right into it in the order of the build posts that I made. I am very bad at tracking my hours working on a project, which makes detailing how long I worked on this very difficult. I’ll do my best, but understand the hours are very rough estimates. Moving forward I’d like to do a better job of tracking my hours, just in case I want to sell some of my creations and figure out a decent rate for my time worked. Design…

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Outdoor Fire Table – Final Wrap-Up

It’s the final wrap-up, duh duh do do... Seriously though, the outdoor fire table is just about complete. My last post captured the build of the wood table top. So all that remains is to put support in place for the concrete insert, add the metal table legs, put it all together and light it up. Once that is all complete there will be nothing preventing me from eating s’mores at my new outdoor fire table. First up, concrete insert supports. As you’ll see later in the post, the concrete insert actually spans from table leg to table leg. But I wanted to give it a little bit of extra support, so I added wood supports to the table top.  The supports leave room at each end for the table legs to overhang the insert gap. I used scrap 2x6” cedar to span the length of the insert and provide…

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