Friday, November 22, 2019

More Floating Shelves

I'm finally getting around to posting about finishing Lena's floating shelves. When I designed the shelves it was supposed to wrap an inside corner with a continuous line of shelves. I already got the left side of the shelves put up, now it's time to fit the right side!
Drawing with lengths

Cut out the stack of boards


This is all of the scrap oak I had left over
I started with 2 boards of red oak, 4/4 by about 6" wide rough cut. I cut them to width with straight sides, then got them through the planer and cut out the boards I needed to length. After that, I have to rip out a 1.5" strip off of the side to attach to the wall, add a bunch of holes and seal it with polyurethane.


Laid out on the new deck
I put about 3 coats of a glossy brush on poly on each side. Then I marked the stud locations inside the wall onto the strips so I could use a 3" draw-tite screw (with the pan head, like you would use for pocket joints) to attach the strips into the wall. Then I can use dowels to attach the bulk of the shelf and seal the joint to the wall.

Right side wall strips are attached


Attaching the fronts for the top sections


All set!

These turned out super cool. Lena absolutely loves them. I totally got the idea from pinterest but it executed really nicely. Her friends are pretty impressed with her room setup, and I'm really happy with the way it all turned out.
That's my pink-haired girl with all of the ducks decorating the shelves

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Slight daybed update

One of the things that always bugged me about the daybed - I had to hang the ropes from existing ceiling joists. When I built the porch ceiling I didn't anticipate hanging a bed there, so the ropes on the yard side rubbed against the bed. Also that side wasn't exactly far enough away from the wall so the bed constantly bumped the house or the handrail. I finally decided to get into the attic and add some 2x6 blocks in there with joist hangers to move the anchors into the proper location.

First, I put holes in the plywood ceiling where I wanted the hooks to go, that was I made sure to put the blocks in the right location. Then it was just a matter of getting up into the tight corner of the roof and nailing everything in place, then moving the ropes.

that's a tight corner to be swinging a hammer

Now in the proper location

Those ropes don't rub!
I didn't think the daybed could get more comfortable, but this is really nice. It might actually be nicer now that the bed doesn't hit the wall anymore.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

New Deck

The muscadine vines that I have enjoyed for about 7 years now have never produced any real fruit. This year I got a whopping 3 grapes. It is nice to see the vines leaf out in the spring, and my grandfather had some of the same varieties on his farm so it makes me feel connected to him. But the new porch creates a bottleneck where the vines are in the front yard, and I need something else out of that space anyway so it is time for the vines to go.  Before:

See the bottleneck?

6 vines on 3 trellis'
Time for them to come down. The shed has a flaw, namely the walls & roof. it's an enclosed building and I need a flat platform with square corners to assemble furniture outside. No limits like walls or doors. Luckily the trellis is well anchored in concrete already. Also I can clear out the far side for a new space for boat building.

First, I cut these off level

Then ran a 2x6 rim around the blocks

Ok, this 2x6 rim

I pinned these in first, then added joist hangers and set the scrap 4x4  posts into the concrete pier blocks

I needed this to come out to almost 94" - I love math

First deck board is on


All decked up!

Platform established
The final size is 8' x 12'. It went up clean, and this thing is sturdy - I mean solid as a rock. So far it has come in really handy. I screwed down a jig to build beds that are square and consistently sized, I've been using it to stage furniture and stain shelves. This is a really nice addition to the shop.

Monday, October 14, 2019

More Bunk Beds

These turned out to be pretty interesting. I was contacted by the chairman of the deacons at my church about building some bunk beds for a mission that supported refugees. They had plans and a few people to help build, and just needed me to lead through the process. Ok, no problem, let's go!

I was not a huge fan of these plans. They were kind of confusing and didn't look like the finished product was going to be that stable, but in the end it makes sense. Build the ends, and some rails, then cut plywood for the base. We never did figure out the stairs to get up to the top bunk. But what we did take care of, made it back to the church for some middle schoolers to sand and stain.

Tripp and Wilson on the cut line

First we assembled the ends
Essentially we cut & notched out enough 2x4's to scrub together 4x4 posts with places to attach the rails, then built up 2x6's to connect the posts together.

Tripp caught me on the saw

Tripp and myself

Assembling the posts

Cutting plywood with Wilson

the stack of plywood and 2x2's for the rails


It only looks wonky because of the ground we assembled. Everything really is square
It's 3/4" plywood attached to 2x2 cleats on the 2x6 rails that actually support the body weight. That just doesn't feel as sturdy as the slats I've been using recently.

Overall this was a fun project, and a great time spent with friends. This refugee mission tries to get people as soon as they get into the country. I hope if someone spends their first night in the US on one of my beds that they can find comfort.

One other fun event happened again, I got to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity again with a team from work! Habitat events are the best way for me to spend my RE Cares days and a good way to bond with teammates.


Adding sill plate to wall framing

It's a good day for framing

This really makes me want to give more effort to charity.Really I want to start with the bunk beds. I've got the Etsy store up and going, and placed a Craigslist ad to sell custom bunk beds. For every $1500 in beds that I can sell, I'll build and donate a twin/twin bunk to some kind of charity. Might be this mission with the church, or a homeless shelter or something else entirely. This is going to be good. And if you can donate something, go out for a day with Habitat, you will not regret it.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Pinterest Shelves

After wrapping up my youngest daughters' bedroom remodel, I kept seeing these floating shelves in a zigzag pattern all over pinterest. It looked like an interesting challenge as a woodworker, and we had to lose a cabinet in the bedroom so my Evil Genius needed a new place to display her collection of rubber ducks.

I started by grabbing a 4' level and a pencil. I drew lines on the wall to establish the pattern around the existing furniture, then measured the lines so I knew how much wood to buy. She said she wanted nicer stained lumber instead of painted pine, so when I bought the cypress for the daybed, I also bought (3) 12' boards of red oak. Of course, when they came through the planer one of them turned out not to be oak at all, so I had to dress a 4th board to get the 36' of lumber that I needed.

Assuming you can see the lines for the left side of the zigzag

And here is the right side
 If you can't see those lines drawn onto the wall, sorry. Pink walls aren't the easiest thing to show linework. Trust me, it's going to be cool.

To make the shelves, I'm started by cutting the boards to length, then ripping them to about a 5" width. From there I ripped a 1" strip off of one side that I wanted to put against the wall. My plan is to mark the studs on the inside of the 1" strip, then use draw-tite screws to anchor the strips to the wall. Then add 1/2" holes for 1/2" dowels into both the strip and the main shelf to align and support the weight. These things only have to hold rubber ducks, not books haha

To finish the shelves, I ran them through the planer & tablesaw to shape, then belt sanded with 80 & 120 grit, random orbit sander 180 grit, hand sanding 220 grit. Then I brushed on a glossy polyurethane, 2 coats per side. I didn't seal the edges that go inside the joint or against the wall, but that poly really makes the grain shine!


Getting stained, and you can see the holes drilled into the strip

This is just the left side shelves

Finished sealing

First strip is attached

I'm happy this is coming together

These are all of the strips it took for the left hand shelves

attaching the wide parts

The left side is complete
These turned out pretty cool. I needed to make the holes in the edge of the boards much deeper than I originally thought. This section only took 1 of the 3 boards that I bought, so the right hand side will be twice this much work. It took a lot more glue between the strips and the boards than I was expecting. I'm still kind of suspect about how much weight these can hold, but we'll see. EG loves them so far.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Finishing the daybed

I had all of this cedar hanging on the roof gable ends that I've been building all summer, and Kelley really wanted to seal it before it grayed. I was on the fence, but she bought some Thompson's water seal Timber Oil that looked like really good stuff. It was cedar tinted, so she thought it was a clear coat for cedar, which is pretty different. I did end up sealing the cedar with this stuff, and it is great. One coat gives even coverage and you don't have to reapply for years. That's actually the most common problem, people putting on multiple coats.

I'm not a huge fan of the natural color of cypress. This timber oil stain means that I could also brush on one coat of the Thompson's and be ready to hang the daybed, so that seemed like a great plan to me!

All stained up!


The color really pops now, and you can see the grain prominently. This is a great way to finish cypress, and it's a lot less work than putting on 8 coats of wipe-on poly. Having said that, it dries with a gritty feel to it, appropriate for timbers but not furniture. The next time I make one of these I'll go back to the poly, it just creates a nicer texture.

To hang a daybed you have to have the right space and equipment. We figured the 8' width of the front porch would be good. Weight distribution is supposed to be equal, the weak points are the knots in the rope and the anchor hooks that go into the ceiling. I got J-style anchor bolts that were rated for 225 lbs from a local hardware store, and some 1/2" rope rated at 525 lbs from Lowe's. Also I ordered a twin mattress from Amazon for $80, memory foam with a water resistant fabric for outdoor use. Kelley found the rest of the decorations somewhere.

Drill pilot holes and insert the anchor bolts directly into ceiling joists. Since I just built that roof I had no trouble finding appropriate securing. Also being an Eagle Scout, I had no trouble getting the knots figured out. The trickiest part about installing is getting the bed level, so all of your knots in the rope have to start at the exact same length. We cut 4 10' sections out of the rope and taped/burned the ends. Then I put a double knot on one end, fed the other end through the bottom of the support and did a loop at the top. Hang the loops into the anchors and pray everything holds.

It hangs!

The anchors are secure


The knots on the bottom

With the mattress

Add some pillows

It even holds up my fat ass

This is amazingly comfortable


Kids like it too. that's about 450 lbs of human on top of the 75 lb frame

Wife approves

The whole setup on that side of the porch - with the rocking chairs and pine slab table
The other side of the porch, for reference. That rocking chair doesn't look right there.
This is what it's all about for us. Comfort and being able to enjoy the outside space that we created. Hanging daybeds are unbelievably comfortable. If you have the space and can put up one of these, I can highly recommend it. We thought about buying a swing, but I'm so glad I was able to build this instead.

In fact, I've been building a ton of beds lately. And I'm getting pretty good at it. There is so much interest, in fact, that I opened an Etsy store! - https://www.etsy.com/shop/HandyNorthCarolina with this bed listed as my only product. I looked around at Etsy, Wayfair,anywhere that I could find that sold beds to figure out pricing, shipping, all that stuff. I think this is going to work. I hope somebody wants to buy the hanging daybeds. I need to add a painted version slightly cheaper than this one because I can make it with pine, and some other products too. I also placed a craigslist ad for the bunk beds, hopefully I'll get some feedback on that. If I can figure out how to ship the bunk beds I'll put those on Etsy too.


This is what it's all about. Hanging out with the family relaxing on a great day. Building this daybed was one of the coolest projects I've done, and it is a perfect fit for this porch. I come home from work every day and take a nap on this bed, it really is that amazing.