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Two builds – One post. And Shop news

Alright. It’s been a busy month. I smashed out 16 board and batten shutters and an ash table top for the new Piatto at the causeway (I got the contract! They liked it so much they asked me to build them a counter top, too!!).  I am pleased with how they both turned out. I always get nervous before a build but with every build my skills are getting better!  I’ll post a how-to build for each build below.

In other news, I’m excited to say I’m making headway with my new shop plans!! I’m  pumped to start this and it could happen as soon as August. Fingers crossed!! I also got a new job. Some of you may know I’ve been a resource teacher at Morell High and Mt. Stewart Consolidated for the last 8 years. I really enjoyed my time at these two schools but I accepted a new position at Glen Stewart Elementary teaching grade 2 and 3 resource! I am beyond excited to be teaching at a school where my daughter will go. Once she finishes at Glen Stewart, I’ll transfer to her next school, then her next school and so on. That’s okay to do, right?! But I am looking forward to my new position! Interesting fact–  I was in resource from grades 1-12. Six of those years were at Glen Stewart. I’m going back to where it all started!

Lets get into the builds. We’ll start with the shutters

How to build board and batten shutters

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I built 8 sets of shutters. First, I measured each set and clamped them together so they would all be an identical length.
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Some shutters were bigger than others. Some windows are larger than others.
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I put my chamfer bit in the router table and took the sharp edges off to give it a little detail.
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Oh man, the concentration!
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Like so.
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Next, I got a couple gallons of black paint and went to town. I put 5 coats on. Shortly after this picture was taken, my elbow hit the can,sending the paint can tumbling to the garage floor. I then decided it was a good time to paint our garage floor black lol. 
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Oh baby, great form!
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I ripped the cross pieces down to 2 1/2 inches. (Note the saw, and pretty nice bum if you zoom in)
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I made a little jig and used paint sticks to evenly space out the boards. I glued and brad nailed them in place first.
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I then flipped them over and screwed them from the back. You won’t see these screws as this side will be against the house.
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Me hanging with shutters.
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A few more coats and there you have it. Shutters!
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If you noticed the saw I was using in the picture above, you’ll see that this is a new one!!! This saw was once my grandfather’s, who gave it to my father, who then mentioned I could have it once I built my shop. He then said I could take it anytime. About 10 minutes after he told me this, I had it in my garage. I absolutely love my new saw!!! It is a beast and I’m proud that it’s mine!!

Alright, you all know how to build shutters now. I can’t wait to see you all make these wooden shutters.

Lets jump right into the next build. This table top is solid ash. It weights 6589 pounds and it is awesome!!  I can’t wait to head to Piatto and eat some pizza on their new custom built table!!

How to build a table top

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I ordered the Ash from Royalty Hardwoods in Pools Corner.
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Isn’t it beautiful?!!!
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I just happened to pick them up on a day where it rained like a mother f*cker. Thankfully, I had a tarp that kept most of the water out! (Pretty happy I bought this trailer off Kijiji)
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Unfortunately, one board got soaked. I put it in the boiler room at school to dry out.
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I cut all my boards to a little over 10 feet long, making sure to cut out any bad parts of the wood.
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I test fitted before glue up. I built this at school because there is more room and better clamps!! Plus, I had my mentor keeping an eye on me.
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I used biscuits to help me align the board for glue up. This just helps keep everything level and straight.

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Mr. Roger Kelly. I will miss him. Not sure what he is doing here. Probably forwarding a chain letter or a joke to someone.
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I put it back in the trailer after glue up and brought it home. Doesn’t that grain look killer?!!
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Next, I squared off the edges
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Like so
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I sanded the top using 80 grit paper, then took a damp rag and rubbed it into the table top. The water raises the grain and then I sanded it again at 150, then 220. It was some smoooooth!
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They wanted it to look weathered and white so I thought I’d first stain in grey!
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Once I did that, I thought it was looking pretty awesome!
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Next, I figured I’d put a little white wash on top to really give it a weathered look.
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Like so
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Jesus mother of a duck, it turned the table top blue!!! Not good Jim, not good!
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So I had to sand the bastard back down and start again.
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But once I sanded it, the stain left some cool marks in the grain and I just went with it! I put 7 coats of polycrylic on both sides.
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I busted out my palm router and rounded over the sharp corners.

Voila

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Oh yeah. I built a cutting board for a colleague I’m going to miss next year!
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I also built this for my mother’s birthday and Father’s Day. Two for one. Get them while they’re hot!

Alright. Two big builds. One big post. For those who have read this, which I think 85% are my Mom’s friends or the parents of my childhood friends/teammates, thank you for making it to the bottom, and thanks again for the great support! It’s awesome!! Up next, I have a maple kitchen table to start (possibly two), and I’m doing a mock up for the beer tap handles. I’ll submit that to my client and hopefully they’ll think they are awesome and I’ll get that contract!!  I’ll be starting to build my shop real soon too! I met with my contractor Saturday morning to go over what I need to do. I’m not sure if he knows he’s my contractor yet (lol) but hopefully he tells me what to do and I’ll just listen to his directions. It’s actually my friends father. Awesome dude!

Thanks again everyone!

Brett

Juddy Judson Builds turns Two- Shop news

 

Holy smokes! Two years and still building things! Who would have thought this would actually turn into a successful little business!? I certainly didn’t. I basically started “blogging” to get outside my comfort zone and talk about my builds. I remember being really timid about writing about my wood working adventures, let alone allowing people to read what I had to say (my wife gives me so much confidence!). It has been nothing but a positive experience for me and it has really opened up all kinds of avenues that I would never have expected. I sort of just figured I’d build things around the house, buy as many tools as I could on Kijiji and just be a tinkerer. However, things have just been heating up over the last 6 months and I just sent in my application for a building permit to build my own SHOP!

Let’s chat more about my shop. It’s going to be facking awesome! It will be roughly 20 x 24 (It keeps get bigger then smaller, then bigger again!). My plan is to start saving my money from my builds instead of buying things on Kijij or anything that is on sale in the flyers. Did I tell you I just got a new chainsaw!? I want to fund this build purely out of wood working money (not that I had a choice). No bank loans, no lines of credit. Straight cash! Wouldn’t it be incredible and rewarding knowing that?!! Plus, I’m building it myself and pouring the concrete. I’ve been doing some research on how to do these things and it saves a ton of cash. My plan is to hopefully start building in the fall, or the spring, or maybe even the year after that, or the year after that! It’s going to happen as long as business stays steady. I’ve basically been working 7 days a week for the last year so hopefully it continues (as overwhelming as that can be when I take on too much work).

Here’s what I’ve been up to the past month and what is happening this month.
• Finished and delivered a headboard.
• I built one of 3 baby gates for my own house. I haven’t finished painting it yet but I had to install it because Everly is on the move. Hopefully I can finish painting this one and build the other two before she is 5. Don’t worry. Our stairs are carpeted with a landing in the middle.
• My wife has been asking me to build a latter shelf for a few weeks now. I’ll get to that after I finish the baby gates….
• I just finished 12 more sandwich boards. Eight for the Murphy’s Group and three for the Scales Group.
• I built some shelves and a work bench for M&M Resources. They are a paving company located on the 48 Road. If you need anything paved, these guys are awesome! (They didn’t pay me to say that nor did they sponsor this post….. yet)
• I’m building 16 shutters for a client’s house. Hopefully I’ll start that today! (I’m not, might have some beers instead)
• A 7 X 5 Maple kitchen table! I’m really excited to build this! I ordered lumber from a local sawmill, so now I’m just waiting for them to mill it.
• I could potentially be building a table for a new restaurant in Charlottetown! Shit, did I just jinx it? Screw it. This would be cool to do!
• I could potentially be building beer tap handles for a local brewery!? Shit! Did I just jinx that too? Lol

My quotes are out so I’ll wait and see. It’s been a learning experience sending these out! I absolutely hate that part but it’s the only way to grow. I’ve received a few no’s/no responses lately which isn’t a bad thing according to the books and podcast I’ve been reading/listening to that are about pricing and running a small business. I just want to be fair and worth my time!

Well, that’s all I have to say about that. Two years building things out of wood. It’s been a dusty ride (thank god for the Roomba, it’s more than just a go-cart for Everly to drive) but I can’t and won’t stop learning as much as I can before I turn to dust myself! If that is morbid, it’s okay. It’s the truth. Life is short. Never stop learning or challenging yourself!!! I’ve solved the world’s most complex problems in the shop by myself or with my buddy, Colin, who typically comes down on Friday nights. We pretend to work and ponder the meaning of life. I could do a series about this. I’ll keep you all updated on this!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Juddy Judson

Cool cooler.

I’m back into my first custom order since I finished the sandwich boards. It feels great to be building new things again.  However, they liked the sandwich boards so much, Murphy’s Group put in an order for 7 more! I’m pretty happy about it actually because I love building things and the fact that they want more says a lot, too!!

This build was a lot of fun! My buddy, Dave, sent me a YouTube video of a fella named Pete building this awesome cooler and asked if I could build it. Of course I would! I watched the video and built it. I am definitely not trying to take any fame away from Pete. He did a great job building it and his directions were super easy to follow. But for something not overly big, it was more expensive to build than I anticipated. Go figure! I really need to learn how to use Excel so I can have a list of all the prices for individual materials and I just plug in how many I’ll need for each project and it will generate the cost for me. Who wants to help me?? I’ll take 5% off a custom build.  So basically you are just paying for material lol.

 

Lets get into the build.

 

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1. Go out and buy a cooler.
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2. Take the hinges off the cooler.
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3. I thought you need to cut the hinges off. Turns out you just need to turn them counter clockwise. Make sure you focus during this part.
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3. Take the handles off. You will need to cut the rest off.
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4. Sand them flush
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5. Take the drain out. It screws out.
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6.  Measured the height you want the legs. These were 31.5 inches.
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7. Put up a stop block on your saw and cut. This makes sure all the legs are cut the same length.  Nobody wants a wiggly leg.
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8. Attach the legs using pocket hole screws.
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9. Fire some glue down first and attach the two legs.
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10. Measure the perimeter of the cooler and cut boards accordingly.
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11. Put some glue on the ends and attach to the perimeter wood.
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12. Like so.
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13. Take a picture of yourself and build the bottom brace.
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14. Attach the top braces for the cooler top. This gives it a better look.
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15. Cut a bunch of boards and attach them to the sides. I used a brad nailer, using 1 1/4 nails.
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16. Got it?
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17. Now you have to make a lid for the top. Measure the thickness of the cooler top and build a frame.
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18. Wrap the cooler top in wood.
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19. I wanted to hide the corners so I made a case around the cooler lid. This step makes it look nicer. My buddy, Gator, suggested this.
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20. Next, I found out where the cooler drain needed to go and drilled a 1/2 inch hole
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21. I picked up some threaded pipe and threaded it into the existing part of the cooler.
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22. Cool right!
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23. Insert it into the cooler
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24. Pretend you are closing a longneck Pepsi bottle and it’s in.
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25. Swear when you see a little tear-out. Mother f@cker.
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26. Attach the bottom shelf. Use a little spacer to make sure everything is level.
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27. Screw them into the legs
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28. Attach boards to the top of the shelf.
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29. Put some nice outdoor sealer on this bad boy. I put two coats on.
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30. You are finished. Crack a cold one and relax.
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31. Once you finish that one, crack open another cold one and relax.  *Repeat as many times as you like. I won’t judge.

 

 

There you have it. Quick and dirty! I think this turned out really nice. It’s a simple, fun build and who wouldn’t use one? I also attached a bottle opener,  lid handles, castors and a drain. I forgot to take pictures of this part but I’m sure you all get it.

Thanks for tuning in!

 

 

 

King of sandwich boards – Finale

If you’re reading this, it’s true. I finished my biggest build yet– 51 sandwich boards! And let me tell you, it was a lot of work but I loved every second of it. I started working/researching these in late October, and by the time all my materials came (trying to find the best deals/pricing) it was late January. It took me 3 months and 180+ hours to finish them. I really wanted these to look awesome and I think they turned out looking damn fine!

I had a lot of people asking me how they were coming along and if I was getting sick of them. And you know what? Not once did I ever get tired of working on them. Even with the twenty I had to fix because I didn’t think they were good enough or the two that broke when I was completely finished (I had like 30 leaned up against my sander and it was too much weight… toppled over. So stupid), I still didn’t mind it. I’m really proud of the work I put into these and that’s what I kept telling myself when I would see a mistake. Sure, nobody would ever notice them, but I didn’t want to leave any doubt that I did the best work I could and that’s what I did. They are more than just sandwich boards to me. They represent hard work and the willingness to take chances. Yes, that’s deep and could be in someones motivational speech, but it’s the truth. I didn’t really know what I was getting into or how much time and work it would be, but I wasn’t going to learn anything if I didn’t try. ALWAYS TRY.

I know many of you are thinking, 180+ hours, Juddy Judson Builds is now rich as balls, swimming in a grocery bag of toonies. But keep in mind, I could have made the same amount of money working at Burger king. Actually, probably more. Minimum wage is pretty good right now. But I was able to do this by myself, for a business I started. Plus I spent all my money before I even had it.
Let’s break it down to see where my $ went
1. Blue Jays home opener tickets.
2. I bought a trailer for the business. (got a great deal on Kijiji)
3. Trailer hitch. (Not a good deal)
4. Industrial Sander. (Another Kijiji deal)
5. ½ of my wife’s 30th birthday cake. I had to take the bottles back to pay for the rest (Not a joke)

What I learned
If you are friendly, polite and honest with people and work to build a connection with them, they will generally go out of their way and give you a better price. I’d always asked if there was a better price when buying my materials and 95% of the time, there was. By asking someone how their day is going and listening to them, they’ll do what they can to help you (wouldn’t you?). Not only does my theory work for building materials but it also works for internet, oil, cell phone bills and insurance. If you are kind to people, they will be kind to you. Everyone wants to be respected. This implies to every aspect of life.

Overall, I really enjoyed this build. I learned a lot, mostly on the business end which is where I needed the work. My pricing and quoting still needs some fine tuning but the more I do, the more I learn.
Check out the second half of my build process below. My picture captions may make you smile. Smiling is important.

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I may have moved my shop up to our unheated garage a little early. Thankfully I had this kerosene heater my father-in-law was storing in my barn. (he likely won’t get it back). One particular chilly day, I turned it on and went into the house for 20 minutes till it heated the garage up. Well, apparently you should turn them on outside first. I didn’t and it was smoking for a good 20 minutes before I re-entered the garage. I literally couldn’t see my hands in front of my face. As you can imagine, my concern was that I was going to light the house on fire. I was a little worried for a few seconds but I was able to feel around for the garage door opener, thankfully. The smoke just billowed out of the garage.  My face was pitch black from the smoke. I probably lost 5 years of my life.
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I decided to order everything in bulk. It was cost efficient.
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I bought a spray gun to help speed up the process of staining.  It was a life saver and does a better job than a brush
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A transfer truck backed into my driveway one day (not kidding) and dropped off a huge pallet of these. 102 to be exact. They came all the way from Cincinnati!
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Next I ripped 1/8th off one side of the boards. They are 24 inches wide so this gave me a little wiggle/breathing room if everything wasn’t completely square.
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Dad’s hardware came through with free staples. I went to town stapling the boards onto the frame.
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Juddy Judson Sr. Hardware came through with a free/loan staple gun.
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If I build it, I will brand it.
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Oh hey Dad, love you.
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Next, I put the hinges on. I became very frustrated during this part. I actually hated it. If both hinges weren’t perfectly parallel to one another, the boards wouldn’t close evenly. I used paint sticks to help.
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Next, my helper and I started to cut the chains for the back.  She mostly clapped and cheered me on. Shirts were optional.

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This is safe for an 8 month old to play with, right?

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Just me taking another picture of myself.
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I put a final coat of urethane on with a brush and lightly sanded it when it dried
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Award winning.
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They wanted 10 painted a yellow to match a beer label so first I primed 20 of them with Binn.
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I put a thick coat of yellow on with a brush first.
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Then I sanded off all the rough spots
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I put two more coats on with a roller for a smoothish finish.

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A last minute causality.

 

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Finished!!!

There you have it. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. Thanks again for everyone’s support. They did take a lot of time but I certainly learned a lot.  I have a list of back orders to get to, so not a lot of down time. A special shout out to Murphy’s Group and Shelley Bruce for reaching out to me to do this build. Locals supporting locals!!  My wife was also very, very patient with me during this build. She loves me, I love her!

If you see these around Charlottetown, don’t kick them. Warranty not included…

King of Sandwich Boards – Part 1

I’m sure many of you are wondering how the sandwich boards are coming. Well, I have 102 frames built!! It’s taking me a little longer than I expected (who would have thought?) but the frames are together and I put a chamfer edge on them all. Class it up a bit, you know! This took a while to do. Mostly because it sounded like a heard of Buffalo were running through the house so I had to pick my times wisely, which is difficult to do when you have a baby. The tricky part is I have a smoke detector directly above my work bench. When you are using a router for 2 plus hours, the bit gets really hot and starts to burn the wood, which creates smoke, which rises, which sets off the fire alarm. There were a few times it went off and I didn’t even realize because of the noise and I had my ear protection on. The baby monitor lighting up was the key to figuring it out (my wife wasn’t home during these times). I ended up putting a fan next to me to blow the smoke away from the alarm. That worked well, just turned my lungs a little black.

As you can imagine, with 102 frames jammed into my little basement workshop things were going to get tight, real tight, real fast. With warmer weather just around the corner (I thought. My wife disagreed. She was right.), I decided it was time to move back into the garage. The move keeps getting bigger (perhaps it’s my kijiji addiction — I just bought a new trailer to tow my lumber and lawnmower around!) but I’m happy to be back in the garage with a lot more room and it just happens to be the home of my beer fridge! Win, win!

Once I moved my shop back up into the garage, I decided to hire a couple workers to help me sand the frames (I filled the fridge full of beers and whiskey to make it more enticing!) I set up 3 stations and everyone had 30 frames to sand. I thought we would easily get this done and it would be a huge help! Unfortunately, when you factor in ‘work beers‘, productivity seems to take a drastic hit. Lets say we were in the garage from 8 p.m – 3 a.m. One employee worked well for about an hour getting around 10 frames sanded but took a bathroom break around midnight and hadn’t been seen since. I found him asleep on the couch. He had mentioned that his feet were sore.  I kindly pointed out that wearing his wedding shoes perhaps wasn’t the appropriate choice of footwear. They were really nice shoes, though.

I won’t name names but my second employee managed to finished 6 frames. 6. The frames he finished were well done, it just took him 7 hours. Another gentleman showed up around 10:30 p.m with an 800 pound kitchen table he was looking to refinish. It still makes me laugh to think of him showing up with this beast of a table shoved into the back of his car. It may not have been the most productive shop that night but if you don’t have awesome friends, what do you have? I am totally grateful for their help. It was a lot of fun. I moved very, very, slowly the following day.

So, I am roughly halfway finished and am about 80 hours into this build. I still need to finish sanding them, staining, two coats of polyurethane (I bought a new spray gun to help) and get the hinges and blackboards on. I am also happy to announce that the blackboards made it across the border!! That was a big stress reliever.

Below are a few pictures of the process.

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A truck load of lumber. I ripped them all in half.
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I made them in sets of 12. I cut all the pieces to length and labeled them.

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I screwed a piece of wood to my chop-saw and used it as a stop block. This allowed all my cuts to be the exact same and I didn’t have to measure every single cut. Simply slide the board against the stop block and cut.

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Once all my cuts were done, I made this jig and screwed it into my workbench. I’d slide the boards into the open space and screw them together. I know it just looks like boards on a table but it’s not. It’s a highly complicated jig I put together in 23 seconds. I must say my critical thinking and problem solving skills (are they the same thing?!) have improved 78% since I started woodworking.
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If you look real closely, you can see what I’m talking about.
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My hand. I’m not even left handed.
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And repeat 3459 times.
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Taking the sharp edges off.
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Action shot. Still looking great. (Note the fan!)

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This is an a abrasive cleaning stick my grandfather gave to me. Once your sandpaper gets old you simple just run this against it and it gives it more life.
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A tunnel of wood
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102 frames built.
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stations ready.

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Men at work. For a short period.

So there you have it. A quick little update. Hopefully I’ll have them ready for the Jays home opener, which I have opening day tickets for!!

-Keep your chisels sharp

Table for two, please.

Talk about crushing out builds lately. Here I am, Saturday night, its 8:26 pm. My wife’s out for the night. Baby is in bed.  I’m down in my shop watching the Scotties, (hooked up a TV in the shop) writing a blog and having a taste of Ireland’s finest whiskey. I’ve changed, and you know what, I’m pretty cool with it. Actually, who am I kidding!? I was at Sportsman’s last night. I’m exhausted and have a headache.

Anyway, into the build. This one is for the same customer as my last build. For a little girl who just turned one! A pretty special birthday and some pretty great parents asked me to build a little table and a couple of little chairs for her. I got this one out pretty quick. I’ll go through the build process in pictures below.

But first, this build is going to be my last commissioned build for at least two months. I have to start building 51 sandwich boards. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with this. I woke up at 2:30 last night and started running numbers in my head and realized I made a mistake in the quote, I think!? There I am at 2:30 am, calculator out, making sure I did things properly. There are a lot of different things I needed to cover in the cost. For example:

  • Screws – over 1000 of them
  • Glue (a bunch)
  • Hinges (102)
  • Stain (Not 100% sure on this)
  • Polyurethane (same as above)
  • Staples (2000)
  • Chain (100 feet, 33.33333 yards)
  • lumber (102 1 x 6 x 6)
  • Black dry erase boards (102)

The dry erase boards are coming from Cincinnati and 102 of them need to clear customs in US currency and I’m trying to figure out how much HST I’ll need to pay.   I ran the numbers 987106 times but I keep thinking I may have missed something. Quoting is f***ing hard and I want to be as fair as possible. That’s my business model (in my head anyway).  I’m just a guy trying to run a small business with zero experience!! I may have gotten in over my head. But with any great businesses, mistakes will happen. The only way to grow as a business and as a person is to try new things and take risks. Calculated risks are probably the best. I’ll get there.  I’m sure there are going to be a few growing pains.

I will definitely keep everyone up to date as I try to find my way through this mass production. It will be fun to document the learning curve as I tackle my biggest order to date! Again, I’ve been getting great feedback and I appreciate it.

Let’s get to it, to do it!

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First, I ripped the table top down to size.
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Next, I took a 2 x 4 and ripped that in half for the legs and cut to length.
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Marked the length of the stretchers and cut.
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I fastened everything together using pocket holes.
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Like so
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and like so.
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I ripped 1/4 inch off a 1 x 4 and used that to hide the edge of the plywood.
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Cut the angles to 45 degrees.
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I brad nailed the edge banding onto the table top.
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I rounded over all the sharp edges. Safety first! The focus on that handsome bastard.
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Voila
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Next, I started on the chairs.
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I’ve never built chairs before but they turned out pretty sturdy.
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I filled in all the holes with putty. Once I sanded them flush you couldn’t even tell they were there.
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I put a round over bit in my router table and rounded over the seat and all the hard edges.
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Next, I sanded everything smooth till it was like butter.
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🙂

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I spray painted everything white. I used a cabinet paint which drys really hard and won’t stain as easy. I also put several coats of poly on the table top for extra protection. Let me tell you about how much I hate painting.  I don’t like it. I went the depot in a hurry and bought the first paint gun I saw. Went home, filled it up with paint. Turned the sucker on and pressed the trigger. Paint started shooting out in blobs. It looked more like I painted the chairs with a paintball gun. I took a quick look at the box and it turned out it was for making popcorn ceilings…. I’m still trying to clean up the paint.  Could have happend to anyone though… right!?

IMG_1220 Finished! My little helper showing off the finished product. She’s a great help. I love her.[/caption

I also got some good tips on how to improve my writing from my good buddy. He also wrote a book called  “The Supperstar Curriculum”. It’s a must read. Check it out at http://www.ryankeliher.com

That’s it. Another build, another blog. Stay tuned as I begin my next big adventure.

A fisherman’s Daughter

A fisherman’s Daughter

What a headline! That definitely lured in an extra 7 people into reading this post! So, one of my oldest friends and curling teammate asked me to build a boat-shelf for his daughters first birthday (he’s a fisherman)! I googled a few pictures and said sure I could do that. Turns out, I could build that and I think it turned out pretty frigging rad!

At the start I didn’t have any plans for the build but an old friend reached out and sent me a link with some (Thanks Nick). I figured this would make everything run a lot smoother. However,  I’ve never been one to follow plans. It makes me feel tied down, I dislike them! (Did I ever tell you about the time I flew to Europe for a month with just a plane ticket and no place to go!?) I’d rather figure it out on my own and make adjustments on the fly. My wife loves this about me ……………………………………………………

Anyway, after several mistakes trying to get the correct angles (I ended up fixing them with putty) it all worked out, it always does ;). I put a lot of time into this build, I’m really trying hone my skills on each project and I think this one shows a glimpse of it. Sure it’s only a shelf, but I’m sure it will be in this little girl’s bedroom for a long time to come. I hope she loves it, it might even float!

Check out the build process below!

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First thing first; stuff a sheet of 1/4  plywood down into the basement and into the shop.
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I ripped the sides to 10 inches. I never realized how little hair I have till I saw this picture. The sides look great though!
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I labeled the shelves before I cut them. Somewhat organized but unfortunately I had the wrong degree in several cuts. I based everything off 100 degrees instead of 90 degree. I’m not sure what I was thinking. Apparently I wasn’t.  Clear as mud?
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I had a really hard time getting the shelfs in. I tried to brad nail them but they wouldn’t stay so I camped and screwed them in place.
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Looking Wobblier than the Sweeping Beauties (our curling team) coming home after a big Tuesday night win.
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Looking like a boat.
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I layed the frame on the sheet of plywood and traced the outline for the back.
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Cut out my marks and it was a snug fit.

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I glued and nailed the back to the frame. Put some weights on for extra support

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There were a few small gaps from the angle I cut wrong. I filled it with drywall compound.

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covered the screw holes.
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Once everything dried, I sanded it all down flush.
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I primed everything with Binn. Binn helps keeps the knots in wood from showing through.
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One coat of prim.
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Next I ripped a 1×4 in half.
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Then I ripped that in half for the rails of the boat. I did this because it makes it much easier to bend.
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I glued and nailed the rails onto the boat with all the clamps I had.
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My nails were too long and went through the shelf. I pulled them out and painted over them. You can’t tell.
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I used my chesil to get rid of the access glue.

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I’m not even sure what this is called but it goes on the top of the shelf/boat. I routed a little chamfer along the edge.
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I made this thing for rope to go in. More decorative than anything. I think my hands could use a little moisturizer. Sometimes I don’t use sand paper. I just rub them in my hands to get the wood smooth.
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I used a Q-tip to clear up the glue. It’s really important to clear up as much glue as possible when you can because when you go to stain, glue turns a different color.
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Next, I glued my fingers and letters to a piece of 1/4 scrap plywood.
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The letters were tricky to cut because of the size. I like having my fingers.
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I spay painted them grey.

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I put a clear coat on the rails. I liked the contrast with the white and natural wood!

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Glued them to the side of the vessel. Every boat needs a name!
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Finished

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World’s Biggest Bird House

The World’s Biggest Bird House.

Kidding. It’s not a bird house (it could be though), it’s actually a book return for Mt. Stewart Consolidated. Our school is revamping the library and a few staff got wind about my little hobby (I had a few beers at a staff function and started talking about woodworking). Four months later, I’m building my first build for the government! I was given pretty much free rein to build whatever I wanted. The library team showed me a few pictures of what they had in mind and away I went! I’ll go through a step by step process of the build because I know many of you were wondering how to build a library book return.
This build was rather time consuming (probably because I had no plans and just made it up as I went). I bought two sheets of plywood and broke them down at home. With two 4×8 sheets of plywood jammed into my 12×16 shop, the furnace running pretty heavily beside me, cords and tools littered across the floor and workbench and sawdust making it look like White Jaun (I could hardly see my slippers), it was pretty hot, stuffy quarters down there. I need to work on putting things away after I use them rather than at the end of the build. My wife would also probably appreciate it if I practiced this around the house, too.

I won’t waste any more of your time. Everyone’s here to see my photography skills. But first, I want to give a shout out to my mentor. If you’re from the Cardigan area, you likely know Mr. Roger Kelly. He’s the shop teacher at Morell High (I rotate days between Morell High and Mt. Stewart Consolidated). I typically ask him 45 837 questions a day. I honestly get to school and trouble shoot my builds or show him what I’m building. He is a big help to me. He’s probably sick of seeing my face but he continues to show me new skills and tricks, and like any good teacher, he is a patient man. He likely will never read this, as I’m not sure he knows what the internet is, but thank you Mr. Kelly! You’re a good man– I don’t care what anyone says!!

Check out the build process below. Again, thanks for the support! The blog has just surpassed 11,000 hits. I’m not really too sure what that all means but I do think that’s a lot. So I’ll keep the builds coming, Stay tuned!

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First things first, I marked where I needed to break down my sheets of plywood.
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Cut to length.
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Cut to width.
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Boom, you have two sides. I clamped both sheets together while making these cuts so they would be the exact same.
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Pre-drilled pilot holes so the wood wouldn’t split.
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Glued and screwed.
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Taking shape
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Support brace.
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Attaching the top I counter sunk the screws in one side. I put tape on the bit to prevent me from drilling too deep. (I drilled too far). The other side flips up.
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I screwed the roof down then plugged the holes with dowels.
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I cut these off with a flush trim saw.
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I attached a piano hinge on the other side of the roof.
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Screwed up here, (literally) but nothing glue and sawdust can’t fix!!
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Two doors will go on the back for easier access to get the books out.
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For the books to slide in. I drilled 4 (pretty) symmetrical holes so my jig saw blade would fit in.
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like so.
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Now you have a book slide.
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I trimmed it in to prevent splinters.

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I trimmed it all around the perimeter. I originally stained the roof grey but I didn’t like the contrast.
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So I sanded it all off and went with a walnut.
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Next, I printed off my letters for the front. I glued them to pieces of wood and cut them out.
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The E broke. I just glued it back together.
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A little paint and you can’t even tell!
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Hired a model to showcase the build. She immediately shit her pants in excitement.

A couple builds

Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone’s year is off to a great start! It’s been tough not having a bottle of baileys in my coffee every morning. It was a good run.

Shop orders have been piling up. I finished up a barn door, floating shelves and a coffee bar/table. I was pretty happy with how they turned out and they were both returning customers, which is important to me. However, I did have my first complaint!!! Not really a complaint, but one of the drawer slides on a set of end tables I built isn’t working properly. I know which one it is too because I lost my shit installing it.. several times. I have no problem fixing it and I’m glad it was brought up. Everything I build is 100% guaranteed. If it breaks, I’ll fix it.  But, I’m never building anything for them again…. Kidding, they are my top customers.

For my next builds I have:

  1. A pretty big order of 50 sandwich boards to complete for the spring. Each one takes me a little over two hours to complete. Let’s say it will take me 100 + hours. My plan is to work 4:45 am – 6:45 am and again 6-8 pm. If I can finish 10 a week, I’d be pretty happy. Hopefully I will have everything finished by the end of March! I have a lot of work ahead of me.
  2.  One of the schools I work at (I work at two) asked me to build them a library book return. I’m going to build it basically like a tiny house where the roof opens up to return the books. It should work. I think.
  3. I’m building a boat shaped bookshelf and kids table with chairs for my curling teammate.
  4. I’ve also been getting my materials ready to tackle my kayak! I’ve kayaked twice in my life so I figured I should invest countless hours and a fair bit of money instead of finding one on Kijiji. I’m addicted and have been finding a few things on there. I’m basically the king of Kijiji (I’m serious). I also thought it was a good idea to build two kayaks. Can’t go drinking beers in a kayak by yourself. That’s no fun!

I’m getting anxiety just writing about the things on my build list. As always, check out a few of my latest builds and a glimpse of the process below. I’ve been trying to work on my photography skills, which isn’t going awesome but I’ll get there! (see last post if you don’t know why)

Well that’s it. First post of the New Year! I’m excited to see where it takes me. I’m excited to see what treasures they find on Oak Island and which lucky girl wins Arie’s heart on the Bachelor. My moneys on Bekah. All great things to look forward to! Have a great weekend everyone!

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Meet my hired hand. Shawn Doogs Meals MacDougall. He’s a tremendous friend/cousin and growing up I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere or do anything unless he was also going. He may have been the mature one… maybe. Anyway I hired him to sand his own order. Didn’t pay him.
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He has a great work ethic
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Deep in thought
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Precision
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I made these little brackets for the shelf to sit on.

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First drink at the new coffee/bar.
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In its new home
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How to build- A barn door: Build a frame 2 inches bigger than your door opening
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Buy tongue and grove boards. Glue and screw them to frame.
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Use a circular saw to cut the boards to fit frame
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Clamp them to frame
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Stain the door and you’re finished. Congratulations, you just built a barn door!
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Floating shelfs

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This is the bracket you screw into the wall and simply slide the shelf onto it.
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Little bit of stain and a lot of booze and you have yourself a bar.

How-to.. not get the job

Well, I received word that I was not the successful candidate for the writing position. If you are behind, I applied to be a writer for a DIY site where I made it to the final stage of the interview process. Basically, it came down to the photography component of the post I submitted for a sample piece. I’m not sure what their problem was though. I guess they weren’t interested in seeing  my slippers in pictures or when I upgraded to my deck shoes! I thought the fact that my father-in-law’s white, old man, New Balance sneakers are in several pictures would have made me a shoe in (see what I did there?). It could have been the shot with half my dog in a picture or it might have been because I did the build in my in my basement with couches and other things clearly visible in background that lead to me not being successful. I guess it could have been the gas cans too.

Regardless, I knew photography was a major component of the job and I dropped the ball. Or did I drop the ball? I’m really just learning a pile of things all at once. Last week I did go out and buy myself a pretty nice camera and I’m really going to work on and learn more about photography. Like when to not have my feet in a picture, and when to move the cat dish out of the way. I will be the best photographer of wood in no time!!! The great Albert Einstein said it best:

“Once you stop learning, you start dying”

HOWEVER, they are still interested and there is a possibility of me writing some one-offs or even a series for them. So, they are saying there is STILL A CHANCE!!!

Below is my article I submitted for the position.  I had already written about it but this is a How-To build or just look at the pictures for a laugh.

How to Build a Modern Barn Board Kitchen Table

So, my in-laws packed up their things and moved 600 km (372 miles) to be closer to their two daughters, grandchildren and of course, me 😉  When they sold their house, their kitchen table didn’t make the move. In need of a new one for their newly renovated home, they asked their average looking son-in-law to build them one! I was rather skeptical of this build because they can be picky (there goes my Christmas present). That’s not a bad thing! They know what they want and know what they like, but when you are a novice woodworker you second guess your skills.  Plus, it would also be a little awkward to put hours of hard work and beer money into a build that just didn’t suite their style. It could end up on Kijiji, yet (Kijiji is similar to Craigslist). Keep an eye out- you’ll get a killer deal !

But really, I wanted to build them something that was incredible! I may not be the best woodworker (yet) but it is pretty special to build a piece of furniture for the people you love. A kitchen table is a place where people gather to eat, drink and banter. I wanted to knock this one out of the park and craft the best table I could. Even if there are a few mistakes in it, they are my mistakes and I am proud of them!

Let’s get into the build process.

 

Materials and Tools

Tools

  • Table saw
  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • Orbiter sander
  • Kreg pocket hole jig

 

Materials

  • (11) 6 foot long 1 x 6 barn boards (table top)
  • (2) 8 foot long 2 x 4 (skirt)
  • (3) 6 foot long 1 x 6 boards (brace)
  • 1 1/4” long  pocket hole screws
  • Wood glue or construction adhesive
  • Minwax Polycrylic
  • Paint brush
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • 4 hairpin legs

Step 1-

You can find old barn board just about anywhere. My local Home Depot actually sells some, but I picked up some old barn boards from Reclaimed PEI (I’m from  Prince Edward Island which is on the east coast of Canada. Support local!). Once I got all the lumber,  I ran both sides through the table saw, taking 1/8th’’ of the edge off. I did this so that when I put them together they would fit together perfectly. They didn’t.

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Ripping the edges off.

 

Step 2-

I laid the boards out and decided which colours would look and fit together the best. I then flipped them over and got out my trusty Kreg jig. This thing is super easy to use and is a dream. I marked my lines out every seven inches and drilled my pocket holes. I used 9, 1 ¼” pocket hole screws per board. Here is a link from the legend, Steve Ramsey, on how to use a Kreg jig.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvO6zaIUO18

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Step 3 –

Once I had my 9 million pocket holes screwed into my table top, it was time to build the base. The table top was still quite flimsy so this part reinforced everything. I ripped some 4” pine boards down to 2”.  The base of the legs are 2” wide so they were a perfect fit. Since my table is a square ( 5′ X 5′ ) I built my base 6” smaller on all sides to factor in the width of the skirt. I also drilled pocket holes into the base so the skirt could attach directly to it. It made it a lot easier thinking a few steps ahead.  I also squared off the ends of the table at this stage. I used a straight piece of lumber as a guide and ripped it to the final dimensions using my circular saw.

 

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A couple of pocket holes

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Making sure the legs fit my base before I squared off the ends of the table.
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I attached more braces to insure this thing would be a beast.

 

Step 3-

Attaching the base to the table top. I knew I needed my base to be 6 inches away from all sides so I just measured and put pencil marks on the bottom of the table top where it would be attached.  Next, I flipped over the base and used construction adhesive. Normal glue would work fine too, but this is a little stronger. I actually messed up this part and glued the wrong side. Thankfully, I caught my mistake before I ended up gluing it together. So, I glued and screwed the base to the table top. I used a lot of screws because I wanted to make sure everything was really secure. The screws really helped suction the adhesive to the base, too.

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That’s me gluing the wrong side.
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Still gluing the wrong side
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flipped it over, lined up the corners and put another 9 million screws in.

 

Step 4-

The next step was attaching the legs and skirt. I ripped the skirt from rough/weathered 2 x 4’s. They were full of nails which wasn’t ideal for my saw blades, but I needed new ones anyway. I had already put pocket holes in the base for the skirt so I used my construction adhesive and screwed them in. They aren’t going anywhere!  The legs are supper easy to install. Six screws and ‘Bob’s your Uncle’ or my case, father (my dad’s name is Bob).  I got the legs from http://www.tablelegs.com. They have all kinds of different makes and sizes.

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ripping through nails and the skirt @ 2 inches
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The skirt hides the table brace and the leg plates.

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The only time it's okay to look under a skirt
The only time it’s okay to look under a skirt!

 

Step 5-

The home stretch! I flipped the table over and it was time to do the fun part — sanding! I actually didn’t want to sand it right out of the gate because it would take the weathered look away from it. Instead, I put three coats of a clear polycrylic on first before the sandpaper ever touched it. The poly raised the fibers in the wood, so once I finished my third coat I sanded it down with 220 grit, using my orbiter sander. This knocked down most of the fibers, giving it a pretty smooth surface. I put four more coats on, hand sanding it with 220 grit between coats.

 

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Smooth like Jameson Irish whiskey

 

 

Step 6- 

The final product! I am supper happy with how this table turned out.  It’s a mix of rustic and modern. It’s not perfect but like my father says “We aren’t building a piano”! There is something to be said about building something for family. A piece of me is in this build (it’s actually blood, I cut myself on a nail). I hope everyone enjoyed this tutorial as much as I enjoyed building it!

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