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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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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Faux Beams

Allyson likes to call this project the “faux beams” project because it sounds better than fake beams. Whatever you want to call it, the same goal exists. Cover old, ugly 2x4 cross beams from the roof trusses with pine made to look like a fancy thick beam. I think Allyson was talking about the messy parts of the shiplap ceiling in this picture. But the exposed 2x4s are also pretty messy. The plan to cover these 2x4s was to build a 5 ½”x5 ½” box made of pine as a shell around the beams. To start, I have to decide what sort of joint I would make on the corners of the box. Option one would be to have the sides butt up to one another. This would be a really quick and easy way of building the boxes, since the joint wouldn’t require any angles to be cut. It…

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Dining Table Build – Final Assembly

It is final assembly time for the dining table! After many weeks of ripping, routing, glueing, and leg assembly, the table was ready for a drive up to Fort Collins, CO for final assembly on location. Unfortunately, I had a continuous brain fart for about two hours and did not take any photos of the table packed in the CR-V for the drive. Let’s just say that it was majestic and impressive that the entire table fit in there. The back window was open for the entire ride and it was fantastic. Live reenactment After getting to Fort Collins the final assembly process was pretty straightforward. The first step was to reassemble the table top into one piece, since I had to take it apart for “shipment”. I then attached the base to the table top using the figure 8 fasteners I discussed last week. After getting the table top…

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Dining Table Build – Table Base

We are chugging along in the dining table build. Last week covered building the table legs, and this week will cover building the rest of the table base and attaching the table top to the base.  The base itself was fairly quick and easy to build. Using 2”x6” boards for the outside runners, and 2”x4” boards for the perpendicular supports, I built a rectangular frame for the table top. Simple design from SketchUp I used pocket hole screws to both build the frame and attach it to the table legs. I only glued the inner perpendicular supports to the table legs. I do not have any experience with building something like this, but I left the outside supports unglued to allow them to expand and contract across their width. Since the piece is only 5½” wide, the wood movement should be small enough to not cause any issues within the…

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Dining Table Build – Table Legs

I’ve spent quite a bit of time talking about the table top of the dining table build. How I made the mortise and tenons, glued together the table top, created the breadboards, and drilled the holes for the breadboard pins. It’s probably a good time to start talking about the legs that make that table top stand.  The design of the table calls for two slightly beefier legs to support everything. In order to get the beefier leg size, I used 4”x4” lumber that was ripped down to 3”x3” to get rid of the rounded lumber edges. After ripping the pieces and then cutting them to size, it was time to attach them together. The simplest way to do this was to use pocket hole joints on the inner three cross pieces to attach them to the outer posts.  I'm pretty much a pro at photoshop. The red arrows show…

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Dining Table Build – Breadboards

Today I am finally continuing the series on the dining table that I built for my friends. Previously I have gone through ripping common lumber for the table, adjusting the design to account for seasonal wood movement, routing the tenons, and glueing the table top together. This week I’ll walk through the steps I took to route the mortises in the breadboards.  Breadboards are the long boards attached to the sides of the table top to hide the joints of each panel. Sometimes called a rail, these have to allow for seasonal wood movement. For my table, I decided to create mortise and tenon joints that allow the table top to expand and contract within the breadboards. Below is a great picture of the mortise and tenon joints that go into a breadboard or rail. Source: https://www.woodcraft.com/blog_entries/breadboard-ends Specific to my design, there are nine mortise and tenon connections within each breadboard.…

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Dining Table Build – Tabletop Glue Up

In this week’s iteration of the dining table build, the tabletop glue up! Last week was all about routing each of the 19 individual boards to have tenons on each of their ends. In an effort that was probably the most time consuming part of the entire dining table build, I had to route 76 different sides of the boards. A repetitive task that I was happy to be done with and on to the next thing. In order to turn 19 individual 2x5” boards into a 95” long table, I needed to glue and then screw them together with pocket hole joints. To begin, I once again got into an assembly line groove and drilled 5 pocket holes into one side of each individual board. I varied the pocket hole locations across boards so that the joints would be offset in final assembly. After drilling the pocket holes I…

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Dining Table Build – Routing for Days

We have come to the most time consuming part of the dining table build. Routing. In order to create the mortise and tenon joints I outlined last week to deal with seasonal wood movement, I had to route every board used in the table top. I decided to start with making the tenons. This meant routing 19 boards on both sides, and in order to create a ½” tenon in the middle of the 1 ½” board, I had to route ½” from each side. If you’re following along and doing the math with me, that means routing away ½” of wood from 76 different sides.  To further complicate matters, each tenon had to be 2 ½” long, which meant taking 4 different passes with a ¾” wide router. Long story short, this meant an absurd amount of routing was required to create all of the tenons. Full disclosure, I…

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