Outdoor Sectional – Part V – Stain

Some people love the color of old cedar. Gray and weather worn. I am not one of those people. It is nice that cedar doesn’t need any stain to last a really long time outside. But I want it to both survive a long time and look like fresh cedar for as long as possible. That means I need to protect the outdoor sectional with a coat of stain.  Not all types of stain are made the same. In order to understand the important part of each stain, you have to first understand that the thing that makes cedar age is sunlight. More specifically, the UV rays. With that in mind, it makes sense that the best protection against sunlight would be a tinted stain, and a dark one at that. The worst protection then would be a clear stain. It’s like wearing a long sleeve shirt vs sunscreen at…

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Outdoor Sectional – Part IV – Backrest and Seat Slats

In part IV of the outdoor sectional build, it is time to talk about the backrest and seat slat installation. Compared to the rest of the build, a fairly easy process. The best part was that at the end of it, I could sit my butt down on the sectional and enjoy the fruits of my labor! Not a bad reward for a day of work. For the backrest and seat slats, I used 1x4 cedar. The slats for the back had to be cut with a slight, ~6°, angle to account for the corner of the backrest where the two sides meet. They also had to get incrementally shorter from top to bottom. My strategy for this was to first cut the longest piece to size. That way, if I made a mistake or realized that the angle was wrong, I could recut that piece and turn it into…

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Outdoor Sectional – Part III

What does every good outdoor sectional need? A good backrest. So after finishing the base, I got started on building the backrest.  Since I am not a robot, the key to the backrest build was to make sure it had a slight angle to it for comfort. I once again set up a stop block for consistent lengths on all of the backrest supports and cut all of the pieces with a 6° angle. The angle is on both sides of the backrest support, so that it connects to the base square and the top runner sits square as well. It was worth it to really take my time on this step, as the angles had to be oriented correctly relative to each other. Almost forgot! Before cutting the backrest supports, I ripped the 2x4 down to 2½”. That way, there is room for support slats on the face of…

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Outdoor Sectional – Part II

After last week's post on design, it is time for the fun stuff! Cutting long pieces of wood into shorter pieces of wood and then attaching them to one another! This week we get into the actual building of the outdoor sectional for our front porch.  To begin, I had to build two different rectangular boxes with supports that would serve as the long and short seating areas on the outdoor sectional. I’ve learned over the course of other projects that a key to building rectangles square (that’s not confusing at all) is to make sure the sides are exactly the same length. It makes assembling with square corners much easier. To achieve that for the seating areas, I used my new miter saw stand and a stop block to cut every support exactly the same length. The new miter saw stand has been an amazing addition to my shop!…

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Outdoor Sectional – Part 1

For the past few years that we have lived in our house, our outdoor furniture has been pretty lackluster. We have a couple of uncomfortable metal chairs that were hand-me-downs from my grandma. In addition, we have a couple of cheap plastic chairs that were left in the backyard by the previous owner. Surprisingly, these are actually really comfortable. We've even brought them to use during fireworks shows (in the before times). Regardless, it was time to upgrade to something bigger and better: an outdoor sectional. The local design expert, Allyson, found a really straightforward design online from Real Cedar. It is an L-shaped sectional that fit what we were looking for perfectly.  Real Cedar's outdoor sectional, mostly hidden by pillows and other junk. The design from Real Cedar came with SketchUp plans, which made it a simple choice to go with their design. We initially planned to use their…

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French Cleat – Sandpaper Storage

Another week, another new french cleat storage system. With all of the woodworking projects that I’m building and planning, I have collected a large collection of sandpaper. The majority of it is circular sheets for an orbital sander, but there are also rectangular sheets for hand sanding. All of that sandpaper has been taking up too much space in my toolbox, so I was excited to store it more efficiently. As an added bonus, this sandpaper storage system allowed me to practice box making skills for the first time. The design consists of a rectangular box with one open side. I used ½” plywood for the box. Within the box are multiple shelves to hold the different grit levels of sandpaper.  To join each side of the box together, I used half lap joints. In order create the joints I had to use a router and guide. They were used…

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French Cleat Storage – Clamp Holder

Last week I described how I built a new french cleat storage system for my workshop. One of the main selling points of a french cleat system is the ability to build custom storage holders specific to my needs. My first custom storage system is a clamp holder. Prior to this, I didn’t really have a great place to store my clamps. They were stored in my garage on a few nails. Not exactly an ideal system, especially because most of my building work occurs in the workshop. With the french cleat system, it was extremely easy to rectify that situation. The design of these clamp holders is fairly straight forward. It consists of 4 right triangles attached to a rectangular backing. I cut the points off of the triangles to soften the edges and make them a bit safer as I’m moving around the workshop. I measured my clamps…

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DIY French Cleat Storage System

Recently, I wrote a quick post about how important it is to appreciate the little things like an organized workshop. This week I get to write about one of the keys to my newfound organization: the french cleat. It’s a simple build and allows for lots of flexibility in storing almost anything in my shop. My workshop is tiny (10’x12’), so using wall space for storage is critical to keeping my tools organized. A french cleat consists of a 45°-angled wood strip mounted to the wall. A corresponding 45°-angled wood strip is attached to the back of a tool hanger or bin. Then the hanger cleat slots into the cleat on the wall. French cleats sometimes come installed on the backs of picture frames or mirrors. For a workshop, french cleats provide a lot of weight capacity and allow for custom tool hangers, bins, and more. They are similar to…

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Weekend Build – Raspberry Trellis

It’s another edition of Weekend BuildsTM! In this episode we’re talking about building a raspberry trellis. Or is it raspberry trellises? Trellisi? Hard to say. Anyways, we built a system to keep our raspberry plants from collapsing! This was a relatively simple process that only took a day or so to do. That is, if you order the correct number of wire vises (visi?) the first time around. We ordered half of what we required, so it technically took two weekends (don't tell anyone). The cedar raspberry trellis system is simple. Two 4”x4” posts put into the ground on either side of the raspberry bushes. On each post there are two cross beams, one near the top that is longer than the other located just under halfway up the post (think telephone pole style). Two wire vises on each cross beam and a bunch of wire and it is all…

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The Little Things – Organized Workshop

This was a very busy weekend for projects. I was able to finish up a raspberry trellis for our backyard garden. This took most of Saturday morning. After that I spent the rest of the weekend working on the last bit of trim for the workshop. I just finished getting it hung up about 1 hour ago. It still needs to be painted, but it looks great!  Posts on both of those projects will be coming in the next couple weeks, but I wanted to write a quick post before calling it a weekend. I’ve been trying hard to keep my super small (10’ x 12’) workshop organized. This means that at the end of a project or weekend of work I take enough time to vacuum up all of the sawdust, sweep the floor clean, and put all of my tools and workbenches away where they belong. It can…

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