Sunday, August 17, 2014

PB Inspired Clara Buffet

PB Inspired Clara Buffet

I love my kitchen, but I had an empty space where the counter ends before the outside wall. As usual I turned to The Design Confidential and found plans for the PB Inspired Clara Buffet. The dimensions were perfect for my space! My write-up over at TDC can be found here.

Build Details

Estimated Cost:

I used oak for almost the entire piece which raised the project cost quite a bit. Lumber totaled just over $200 and the hardware, glass for the top, and finishing supplies added another $150 so roughly $350 total. Still a steep discount compared to the real thing!

Build Pictures:

As with some of my other posts, I'm going to just post a bunch of build pictures and comment on each for you to read (or not!)

We approached this project a little differently and started with the finish (errr...) Anyways, I wanted a fairly modern looking finish so we tested some different stains and ended up choosing a process we were familiar with, which can be see by the middle board in this picture. 

This consisted of a red gel stain, brown glaze, and black glaze with sanding sealer sprayed between each step and lacquer at the end.

Here are all the cut frame pieces with the gel stain applied and first coat of sanding sealer. You can see at this point it's pretty red...kind of nerve racking after having spent all that money on lumber. Have faith, glaze is on the way!
I decided to assemble the door panels and side panels after staining but before glazing. Reason being, the door panels and side panels are held together with pocket screws so we put plugs in where the pocket screws are and had to re-finish those areas.

Below you can see the plugs in place, where we had to sand them flush with the rest of the piece, and finally the re-stained final product. The gel stain was very forgiving in this regard!
If I were to do this project again, I would definitely construct the panels in more of a traditional manner with the panel being secured inside a routered groove in the frame. Live and learn; I'm pretty happy with the results we achieved (after a lot of work to get there)
The panels are all oak plywood which looks gorgeous on the faces but still has plywood-looking edges. As such, I used iron-on edge banding to clean up the look. 

Here one of the shelves is getting it's front edge treated with edge banding. Overall the BandIt Edge Banding worked great and adhered very well. If I made a mistake, I just reheated the area and adjusted as necessary.

The plans for this project call for the use of 4x4's as the legs. That would have worked and been easy, but if I was going to spend the money on hardwood I wanted to mimic the original piece as much as possible. I used 1x6's to re-create the legs as close as I could from looking at PB pictures online.

One struggle I had here was getting the miter exactly 90 degrees, which ended up giving me some trouble during assembly on getting everything square.

First of the assembly steps attaching the side panels to the bottom. This was done using pocket screws on the underside, which worked great.

As you can see, everything has been completely finished at this point so assembly had to be done fairly carefully so as not to damage the finish.

Shelves, middle divider, and the drawer frames all added. At this point, the piece was far more rigid than we thought it would be.

One item to note, the shelves are held in place by pocket screws. This was no problem where 3/4 material mated with 3/4 material, but the outer panels have 1/2" plywood which did not provide enough meat to put screws into. If I were to do it again, I'd use cleats to hold the shelves instead of pocket screws.
Here the drawers and drawer slides have been added. The biggest task here was making sure that everything was level and even on both sides of each drawer. One lesson learned: make sure the surface you're working on is completely level before using it as a reference for parts of your project!
Adding the drawer faces. This was fairly straightforward and just required the use of multiple shims in order to get the spacing even.

Final assembled piece after adding the doors and hardware. Thanks for looking!

PB Inspired Benchwright Coffee Table

PB Inspired Benchwright Coffee Table

This is a rather old project but I've been lazy about doing a write-up! I was previously using a borrowed coffee table and had to return it. I had just finished building the Chesapeake Sectional and Coffee Table and was happy with the results so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Plans came from The Design Confidential for the PB Inspired Benchwright Coffee Table. I did a write up over there that can be found here.

Estimated Cost:
I just used no. 2 pine for the top, FSC certified premium pine for the bottom shelf and frame pieces, and pine 4x4's for the legs. Since the lumber wasn't anything special, it totaled right to $100. After hardware, stain, etc. I'd put the total cost to a little over $200.

Build Details
Since I have a write up over at TDC, I won't go into all the detail I did there but rather talk about various build pictures:

Laying out all the pieces. You can see the pocket holes have already been drilled and of particular note is that the aprons (large pieces laying towards the back of the pile) already have pocket holes drilled that will face up and provide an anchor for the top once it is set on the frame.

Beginning assembly of the frame with the aprons attached. You can see the aforementioned vertical pocket holes a bit better now.

Also to note, the plans on this project originally call for a 1x3 and 2x3 to be sandwiched together. To avoid a seam, I chose to use 4x4's but had to trim them down to be the correct dimensions. This was done first by slicing off the bulk in a band saw and then running the legs through a surface planer.
Frame is complete! The openings for the drawers are visible now and we have a mounting surface for the bottom shelf.

At this point, the piece is already very solid, which is a testament to the strength of pocket screws. However, once the bottom shelf was added, the piece became very rigid.
Bottom shelf has been added and cross supports for the top to secured have also been added.

The bottom shelf was a bit of a bear to put in, and it may have been easier to assemble the entire bottom portion from back to front in retrospect. One more note about the bottom shelf: it's made of joined 1x6's and 1x4's. I assembled and sanded the entire bottom shelf before placing inside the frame to avoid tight corners.

Here the top is seen being assembled with pocket screws on the bottom side. I worked from one side to the other using glue, clamps, and 2" pocket screws to attach each board.

Here's the "pre-finished-finished" product! The top is actually not attached in this picture, but rather just resting on the frame. The only reason for this was to promote ease of staining later on.

I could talk a lot about this section because frankly it was a huge struggle, but the basics are that we used a five step process consisting of lacquer based stain, sanding sealer, brown glaze, more sealer, lacquer top coat.

Here the frame has been stained, sealed, and glazed already and is ready for the final sealer and lacquer.

The final product without the drawers in.

We struggled a lot with humidity levels and adhesion of the multiple layers of the finish.

Final product minus the hardware on the drawers. Had to use this picture since my friends' sleepy pup is giving the table a final inspection.

Up Next: PB Inspired Clara Buffet

Friday, May 23, 2014

PB Inspired Chesapeake Coffee Table

PB Inspired Chesapeake Coffee Table Build

Having finished the PB Inspired Chesapeake Sectional build and being very pleased with the results, I needed a centerpiece for folks to set drinks and food. Again I turned to The Design Confidential and referenced plans for the PB Inspired Chesapeake Coffee Table.

Estimated Cost:

I used FSC certified select pine for the top and side boards and cedar for the 2x2 legs. I bought the lumber at the same time as some of the other sectional pieces so I'm not sure of the exact cost but estimate around $100, which is a substantial savings over the real thing.

Build Details:

This project was very similar to the sectional unit in that once all the pieces were cut, drilled with pocket holes, and stained, assembly was very straightforward.

Here is a picture of the completed frame without either the lower or upper shelves:

Here it is again with the bottom frame installed. This was a tight fit! You can see where the corners of the shelf had to be cut out to accommodate the legs; if I were to do this again, I'd cut out those sections and stain the sections before assembly to ensure good protection. I'd also install the bottom shelf before assembling the support aprons on the top...this led to some interesting angles as I attempted to fit the shelf in.

Top shelf assembled. It really helps to have a large bench for this!

Final assembly with both shelves in place. Turned out great!

I used the same Cabot Semi-Solid stain that I did for the sectional unit and am pleased with the results. I brushed it on then used a small art brush to fill in all the pocket holes with stain. After assembly, I filled the pocket holes with silicone in order to protect the screws. The alternative would have been to use the BlueKoat pocket screws by Kreg...but I'm cheap :)

Hope you enjoyed!

Next Up: PB Inspired Benchwright Coffee Table

Saturday, May 17, 2014

PB Inspired Chesapeake Sectional Deck Furniture Build

PB Inspired Chesapeake Sectional Deck Furniture Build

Well, this is my first post and I imagine if you've taken the time to go past the jump you most likely know me, so I think I'll dive right in!

This all began with the discovery of a very addicting (for me) website. I'm not sure how I stumbled upon it (no it was not using StumbleUpon..), but it's an outstanding resource for anyone wanting to dabble in furniture building. Head over to TheDesignConfidential if you're interested; they have a huge variety of free furniture plans that allow a person to build furniture that mimics popular brands.

I purchased a house a little over a year ago that came with a wonderful deck - thanks previous homeowners! This presented the issue of needing some deck furniture... Have you shopped for deck furniture?  Yikes, it's expensive. Anyways here's the deck after putting a fresh coat of stain on it!

Wanting something to compliment what was a selling point for the home to me, I decided on some plans for an outdoor sectional unit and matching coffee table that is inspired by a set sold at Pottery Barn. You can check out my project write-up on the sectional here: John's-chesapeake-sectional-build and the project plans here: Pottery Barn Inspired Chesapeake Corner Unit - The Design Confidential and here: Pottery Barn Inspired Chesapeake Armless Unit - The Design Confidential. Here is the finished project!

The cushions are the real deal and were the most expensive part of the project. These plans could easily be modified to fit more affordable cushions, but as-is they are a rare size and would either have to be bought from PB or made.

Build Details

Estimated Cost:

I used select pine from the orange big box store, which definitely added a lot to the project cost but it also saved me time by not having to deal with warped boards:
Lumber (3 armless units, one corner unit, 1 ottoman): $298.95
Stain (Cabot Semi-Transparent deck stain custom mixed color): $41.16 (There's tons left for more projects!)
Total Furniture Cost: $340.11 

As mentioned above, I couldn't find cushions this size anywhere else so I waited till the end of season sale at PB and bit the bullet there. Despite this, the project saved roughly $500 or 37%.

Build Details:

Hope you like to operate a miter saw if you want to do this project! There's a ton of cuts but honestly it's very straightforward. 

You can see by the picture on the right that there's a lot of boards that are cut to the same dimensions so it's very helpful to have an adjustable fence on your work surface so you can make multiple cuts of the same dimension and not have to measure every time.

This is the lumber that was cut for two armless units and the ottoman. I built the other armless unit and corner unit previous to this picture on more of a test basis to make sure I could render results similar to the plans online. Bottom line...lots of repetition!

A note about the legs: the plans call for a 4x4 to be ripped to 2-1/2 x 2-1/2. Sounds simple right? My dad and I did this with a table saw for this project and it was a pretty nervous process because we had to raise the blade so high. I would highly suggest using a band saw instead to get the rough dimensions then follow with a surface planer if you have one available. I did this for a later project and was very pleased with the results...with much less fear of losing a digit! Also, we did end up using a band saw to make the angle on the back legs. I then sanded to get the profile I wanted on the edges.

After all the cuts are made, the beauty of this project is that there's really only one more step before you can assemble; All the frame pieces are held together with pocket screws so get ready to drill! I use the Kreg Jig for my pocket holes and absolutely love it. Again, lots of repetition and sawdust but very straightforward. Here are all the pieces assembled without the cushions.


This was by far the most time consuming part of the project but both necessary and rewarding seeing the wood transform.

I used a custom tinted semi-solid deck stain by Cabot to coat the boards since it would also protect them from water. I later found out that the PB website has replacement stains listed for their outdoor wood for thought!

I sanded everything first with #120 grit on a random orbital wiped, vacuumed, and blew off any dust. I brushed on the stain to keep it darker, but you could wipe on or even spray. 

Next Up: 
Matching Chesapeake Coffee Table