Tuesday, December 3, 2013

woodworking adventures part 1, overcoming the fear.

This is a tad embarrassing, mostly because I finished this veggie bin stacking toy box this past spring and I'm only now getting around to posting about it. I look back on this project now and almost laugh at my fear of my own power tools, only because I've done so much more than this fairly simple build since then... but baby steps have gotten me to where I am now, so step along with me ;)

It was about a year ago that I became slightly interested totally obsessed with woodworking and learning how to build things, it started off "small" with a scroll saw (which I still haven't really learned to use, oh the irony in that) and quickly escalated to me discovering Ana White's site and wanting to build everything I find plans for... which meant my crafty woodworking aspirations turned into great big build plan aspirations and that meant I needed more tools. So I ordered more tools... a miter saw, router, kreg jig, and the biggest bad boy... a table saw. One slight issue. I was TERRIFIED of these new tools. A few google searches on tool safety will lead you to staring and lots of experienced builders who had accidents resulting in lost fingers, multiple fingers, bruised body parts, even severed arteries and death. Um.. I wanted to build stuff, not die. So I left those tools in their boxes and remember writing my best friend worried that I wasted a ton of money because I was too afraid to use my tools. They stayed in their boxes for a couple months while I read up on building, found some amazing women builders to follow and watched A LOT of safety videos.

I then tried out my miter saw, the rush was crazy... sounds silly but it was so empowering to use that tool and cut some simple wood. I LOVED IT and was hooked. I did a few small projects (that I might some day get around to posting... framing mirrors, etc).

However the first project I really wanted to build was a much needed toy bin for our livingroom/entrance... and that required not only using the tablesaw, but doing angled cuts. I was NOT up for that. Luckily my dad was visiting from CA and has experience building, so my plan was to have him help me.... which still turned into me being too afraid to use the table saw, so I simply watched him. He cut all the lumber for this piece for me. I then used my kreg jig (best tool EVER) to put it all together, my miter saw (who I was no longer afraid of by this point) to trim it out, and my beloved General Finishes Java Gel to stain. I highly recommend if you're new to building that you find someone to watch first, observing how my tool would work without actually being the one to work it at first really helped me learn to respect it, and not fear it.

So this piece of furniture (and it really is, it's not a junky fiberboard box that will collapse, it's made with 3/4" Purebond and is so sturdy I could easily sit up there with my kids) is a collaboration from myself and my dad... and we LOVE it!

I don't have plans for this since we sort of winged it looking at my inspiration from Land of Nod (which for the record would have cost me over $400 not even counting shipping, I assure you I didn't spend anywhere near that price to build this, mine was under $100 and customized to fit my space)

prior to staining, you can see the pocket holes that hold this together. I opted to make it all one piece instead of stacking 2, saved me a piece of wood not having to have a separate bottom/top like 2 pieces would have required too.
 Java Gel is AWESOME! You just rub it on with an old sock!
my little impatient helper, she wanted to fill it up as soon as it was built!
 1st coat on, I ended up using 2 coats of the Java and then 2 of the clear satin sealer
 All filled up in it's spot! Not only does it store a ton of toys, but it's easy to see and find them now!
 There are no words to express how great it feels looking at this everyday, knowing that I saved a ton of money, made a lasting piece of furniture, and learned to overcome my fears of building!

Next time I'll show you my first solo project, I made my 9yr old a full sized loft bed with platform!