Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bones of Winter Project

I use remodeling as a creative outlet for myself. This year is no different and, like always, there's a back story.

Our house has a wonderful area in the living room for an entertainment center. However, it's never been much of a priority for us. Our son sticks his fingers in his mouth, even right after eating, so pretty much anything and everything he touches goes to crap. That is one of the reasons we still have a tube TV in our living room. The other is, well, a lack of a good mounting arrangement.

You see, that lovely wall niche also houses many of the home's services running up its back wall. Duct work, pipes, power lines - they fill that wall and any stud finder lights up like a Christmas tree on that wall.

One idea was to make a horizontal cabinet. Perhaps mount a board to hold a TV wall mount. Fine ideas, but it doesn't really help pull the room together. It may not be a selling point to its next owners. I've just not been 100% sold on anything.

Except this year I'm done waiting and I don't want to just buy something out of Best Buy.

So I bought some character hickory plywood and some solid 1 x 2 character hickory and I'm going to make a TV table and a matching coffee table.

Here's the idea in a nutshell. Cut the solid hickory to length with mitered ends. Glue and screw to the edges of the plywood. Use I-Semble brackets between these tabletops to build the pieces. That's it. Oh, just using a simple polyurethane coating to the wood. That way, it will match our character hickory floors and, when we leave, they can come with us as a reminder of our first (and only) home.

Like I always tell folks - if you can piece together some particle board crap that comes flat packed in a cardboard box, you can make simple furnishings that cost less, look better, and last longer.

One thing of note is that hickory is heavy. Really, really heavy. I believe it is the densest hardwood native to the US. I had spaghetti arms after lugging just that amount of wood into the basement. I'm just saying that those are going to be some serious pieces of furniture.

For those so inclined to try something similar, the brackets I bought from Rockler (scored a half-price sale - they have them often). The wood I got from Keim Lumber, pre-milled to my specifications. In total less than five hundred dollars, delivered (about four hundred for the lumber and another hundred in hardware). Yes, you read that right. I sent Keim a cut list and sketch on how I wanted the plywood broken down and they cut it for me (something like $5 per cut) and delivered it to my house for free. I don't own a table saw and breaking sheet goods using a circular saw and guides is fine, but getting it cut for you is finer. Again, I'm not doing much more than I would if I were putting something store-bought together.