Blog

My First Built-in

Posted by Bill McBeth on

My first built-in build for a customer.  Read the story about the build and watch the video.

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My First Built-in

Posted by Bill McBeth on

My first built-in build for a customer.  Read the story about the build and watch the video.

Read more


Solid Cherry Desk....For Me!

Posted by Bill McBeth on

Sometimes you have to look on the bright side of life (I bet you are whistling that tune now aren't you, if not go watch Monty Python Life of Brian).  May of 2016 the company that i have been with for 5 years laid me off due to budget cuts and a re-org.  It was quite a kick in the gut and I thought being an IT Manager and Systems Engineer I wouldn't be out of work for very long.  Fast forward 4 months, I finally got a job offer.  It wasn't the ideal position, however, it paid well and was work from home.  The work from home left me in a lurch, my desk only had room for my gaming system and wouldn't work well to add another workstation, so I decided I was going to build my first piece of furniture using quality materials.  I had some cherry that was slated for a Morris Chair i wanted to build....I'm not going to lie the wood has been in my workshop for a couple years now.   I decided that this material would be perfect to build a minimalist desk with a large work surface, but there are so many design options.  I spent a couple week looking at desks online, I tell you what Pinterest is a wonderful site.  I finally decided that I really enjoyed the aesthetics of a Parsons Table.

I began this journey by milling the wood for the top and getting the legs ready.   The top wasn't quite deep enough so i had to go and get more cherry, unfortunately I couldn't find any that was as thick as what I had, this means there is going to be a lot of planing.  Lucky for me my Father In-Law has a nice new thickness planer that he was more than happy to let me come test out. After getting the boards to the desired thickness, I decided I was going to use pocket holes and glue to create the panel for the top of the desk.  So i went ahead and drilled all the holes for the pocket screws and then thought it was a good idea to go ahead and glue the panel up and then put in the screws after it dried.  This was a big mistake, the boards shifted a lot when I clamped them.  In retrospect, I will use dowels or biscuits next time, this will ensure that I have even boards when glued and clamped.

The next steps were the apron boards for the bottom of the desk.  Well here is another mistake, somehow I cut one of the boards for the apron way to short...and by short I mean damn near a foot, I knew I should have measured when squaring the boards.  So now i have to cut the top to fit the aprons or go and buy more cherry wood.  Well being unemployed and living off unemployment pay the option was to cut the table top to fit the apron.  Now instead of having a nice 8ft long desk it is now a bit over 7ft.  I learned some more valuable lessons during this part of the build.  Next time I will create the leg and apron structure before I even touch the top, I will use dowels instead of pocket holes or take the time to do a mortise and tenon.   Well the desks construction is gone, I won't go into the horror story of trying to use the drum sander on this large desktop panel, I really don't want to relive that horror.  Side note, I will be creating a new cart for the drum sander and building in larger extensions.

Once again I am stumped on how to finish this desk, like I said it is my first build with quality material and I want to finish it with a quality finish.  I watched so many videos, read forums, it seems that not one woodworker out there can agree on how to finish cherry.  Cherry can be tough to finish, it can be blotchy, blah blah blah blah, the only common thread was cherry can be blotchy.  I decide I am going to take a risk and use Watco Cherry Danish Oil and then finish it off with a wipe on polyurethane.  To quote one of my favorite movies Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade "I have chosen wisely."  The desk is exactly what I wanted a minimalist desk with no storage and a lot of work space.   I learned so much from this build and can't wait to build another.  Thanks for reading.

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Solid Cherry Desk....For Me!

Posted by Bill McBeth on

Sometimes you have to look on the bright side of life (I bet you are whistling that tune now aren't you, if not go watch Monty Python Life of Brian).  May of 2016 the company that i have been with for 5 years laid me off due to budget cuts and a re-org.  It was quite a kick in the gut and I thought being an IT Manager and Systems Engineer I wouldn't be out of work for very long.  Fast forward 4 months, I finally got a job offer.  It wasn't the ideal position, however, it paid well and was work from home.  The work from home left me in a lurch, my desk only had room for my gaming system and wouldn't work well to add another workstation, so I decided I was going to build my first piece of furniture using quality materials.  I had some cherry that was slated for a Morris Chair i wanted to build....I'm not going to lie the wood has been in my workshop for a couple years now.   I decided that this material would be perfect to build a minimalist desk with a large work surface, but there are so many design options.  I spent a couple week looking at desks online, I tell you what Pinterest is a wonderful site.  I finally decided that I really enjoyed the aesthetics of a Parsons Table.

I began this journey by milling the wood for the top and getting the legs ready.   The top wasn't quite deep enough so i had to go and get more cherry, unfortunately I couldn't find any that was as thick as what I had, this means there is going to be a lot of planing.  Lucky for me my Father In-Law has a nice new thickness planer that he was more than happy to let me come test out. After getting the boards to the desired thickness, I decided I was going to use pocket holes and glue to create the panel for the top of the desk.  So i went ahead and drilled all the holes for the pocket screws and then thought it was a good idea to go ahead and glue the panel up and then put in the screws after it dried.  This was a big mistake, the boards shifted a lot when I clamped them.  In retrospect, I will use dowels or biscuits next time, this will ensure that I have even boards when glued and clamped.

The next steps were the apron boards for the bottom of the desk.  Well here is another mistake, somehow I cut one of the boards for the apron way to short...and by short I mean damn near a foot, I knew I should have measured when squaring the boards.  So now i have to cut the top to fit the aprons or go and buy more cherry wood.  Well being unemployed and living off unemployment pay the option was to cut the table top to fit the apron.  Now instead of having a nice 8ft long desk it is now a bit over 7ft.  I learned some more valuable lessons during this part of the build.  Next time I will create the leg and apron structure before I even touch the top, I will use dowels instead of pocket holes or take the time to do a mortise and tenon.   Well the desks construction is gone, I won't go into the horror story of trying to use the drum sander on this large desktop panel, I really don't want to relive that horror.  Side note, I will be creating a new cart for the drum sander and building in larger extensions.

Once again I am stumped on how to finish this desk, like I said it is my first build with quality material and I want to finish it with a quality finish.  I watched so many videos, read forums, it seems that not one woodworker out there can agree on how to finish cherry.  Cherry can be tough to finish, it can be blotchy, blah blah blah blah, the only common thread was cherry can be blotchy.  I decide I am going to take a risk and use Watco Cherry Danish Oil and then finish it off with a wipe on polyurethane.  To quote one of my favorite movies Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade "I have chosen wisely."  The desk is exactly what I wanted a minimalist desk with no storage and a lot of work space.   I learned so much from this build and can't wait to build another.  Thanks for reading.

Read more


Loft Bed

Posted by Bill McBeth on

Let me start this post with a story….

It is around 2007 maybe it was 2008, the wife and I are shopping for our (at the time) only daughter.  This was going to be her first big girl bed.  Being new parents we had delusions that if we spend an obscene amount of money for (what we thought was) a quality bed made out of real wood that it would last until college or longer.  HAH! wish I could go back into time and slap myself.  Within the first year the white bedroom set had been exposed to markers, crayons,  stickers, spit, you name it this bed and dressers had it.

Fast forward a few years.  We have moved form our home in Kansas to our new home in Nebraska, this bed has survived well so far and had the stains to prove it.  The bed was sturdy as it should have been being made of real wood.  CRACK…somehow the 50lbs 9 year old broke the bed and split the wood where the rails attach to headboard.  So here I am cursing up a storm, carrying this bed to the garage to get repaired, more upset that I spent as much money on the bed and it broke.  The bed was repaired and back in her room, it lasted another 2 years before it finally gave up the ghost and broke again.  I wasn’t going to repair it again….that is when I decided I am going to build her a new bed.  Problem is I had no time and my workshop was in a complete disarray.

Lets Fast forward again….I keep telling her I am going to build her a bed, she decided she wanted a loft bed.  I was like heck yeah lets build this elaborate awesome bed….hah like I have time for that.  It is March/April of 2015 now, I finally think of a design that I like and she likes as well…Another lesson for you fathers of girls…DON’T SHOW YOUR 11 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER PINTEREST, you will get an endless supply of pins from your tween daughter.  This is great I have a plan, I have a design in my head, I head to Menards and pick through all their 2x6 pine to find the clearest, straightest pieces I could get.   come home with 15 8ft 2 x 6 pine.  I go ahead and start cutting the wood for the bed frame…done!

I go ahead and cut the legs that are going to hold the bed up off the ground, around 5ft off the ground with excess for rails.  I go ahead and assemble the bedframe using my Kreg pockethole jig.  Being the through person that I am and not wanting to get ahead of myself I run up to her room and grab one of the mattresses so I can do a test fit on the frame. The fit was so tight there was no way she could have ever changed her sheets…what did I do wrong.  I go back over my measurements I wrote down, the paper matched was the bed was, the bed frame was 1 1/2” off…DOH!!! I forgot to take in account the width of the material on one side.  Lucky for me the legs that I cut were the exact length I needed, Happy dance.  I swap out the boards, test the fit again and it is perfect.  I attach some 2x4 for the slats the mattress will sit on.  Bed frame is Done!!!!

By this time it is full on summer, camping, vacations, pools, and BBQ get in the way of working on the bed (there was also a lot of procrastination on my part).  The design I had in my head changed and I really didn’t like where I was going with the legs and how it was going to assemble.  I wanted to make sure that this was going to be strong enough to hold her until at least high school, because at this point in my life I am realistic that this bed is not the last bed she will want or that I will ultimately build for her.  Summer is now pretty much over, I have decided that I am going to attach the bed to the wall.  This leaves me with building something for one end of the bed where she will climb in at.  After a lot of pondering, drawing and…yes I’ll admit it Pinning, I came across a bookshelf that had a pretty slick design and would make a bookshelf and also function as a ladder.  I show it to my daughter, she approved the design.  I go out to the garage and start cutting and assembling.

Long story short, the bed is completed, installed and it doesn’t leave much clearance between her and ceiling but will be at least usable for the next few years.  I don’t have any delusions that she will want another bed as she gets older.  Luckily this was made with inexpensive materials that I can find another use for in the future.

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Loft Bed

Posted by Bill McBeth on

Let me start this post with a story….

It is around 2007 maybe it was 2008, the wife and I are shopping for our (at the time) only daughter.  This was going to be her first big girl bed.  Being new parents we had delusions that if we spend an obscene amount of money for (what we thought was) a quality bed made out of real wood that it would last until college or longer.  HAH! wish I could go back into time and slap myself.  Within the first year the white bedroom set had been exposed to markers, crayons,  stickers, spit, you name it this bed and dressers had it.

Fast forward a few years.  We have moved form our home in Kansas to our new home in Nebraska, this bed has survived well so far and had the stains to prove it.  The bed was sturdy as it should have been being made of real wood.  CRACK…somehow the 50lbs 9 year old broke the bed and split the wood where the rails attach to headboard.  So here I am cursing up a storm, carrying this bed to the garage to get repaired, more upset that I spent as much money on the bed and it broke.  The bed was repaired and back in her room, it lasted another 2 years before it finally gave up the ghost and broke again.  I wasn’t going to repair it again….that is when I decided I am going to build her a new bed.  Problem is I had no time and my workshop was in a complete disarray.

Lets Fast forward again….I keep telling her I am going to build her a bed, she decided she wanted a loft bed.  I was like heck yeah lets build this elaborate awesome bed….hah like I have time for that.  It is March/April of 2015 now, I finally think of a design that I like and she likes as well…Another lesson for you fathers of girls…DON’T SHOW YOUR 11 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER PINTEREST, you will get an endless supply of pins from your tween daughter.  This is great I have a plan, I have a design in my head, I head to Menards and pick through all their 2x6 pine to find the clearest, straightest pieces I could get.   come home with 15 8ft 2 x 6 pine.  I go ahead and start cutting the wood for the bed frame…done!

I go ahead and cut the legs that are going to hold the bed up off the ground, around 5ft off the ground with excess for rails.  I go ahead and assemble the bedframe using my Kreg pockethole jig.  Being the through person that I am and not wanting to get ahead of myself I run up to her room and grab one of the mattresses so I can do a test fit on the frame. The fit was so tight there was no way she could have ever changed her sheets…what did I do wrong.  I go back over my measurements I wrote down, the paper matched was the bed was, the bed frame was 1 1/2” off…DOH!!! I forgot to take in account the width of the material on one side.  Lucky for me the legs that I cut were the exact length I needed, Happy dance.  I swap out the boards, test the fit again and it is perfect.  I attach some 2x4 for the slats the mattress will sit on.  Bed frame is Done!!!!

By this time it is full on summer, camping, vacations, pools, and BBQ get in the way of working on the bed (there was also a lot of procrastination on my part).  The design I had in my head changed and I really didn’t like where I was going with the legs and how it was going to assemble.  I wanted to make sure that this was going to be strong enough to hold her until at least high school, because at this point in my life I am realistic that this bed is not the last bed she will want or that I will ultimately build for her.  Summer is now pretty much over, I have decided that I am going to attach the bed to the wall.  This leaves me with building something for one end of the bed where she will climb in at.  After a lot of pondering, drawing and…yes I’ll admit it Pinning, I came across a bookshelf that had a pretty slick design and would make a bookshelf and also function as a ladder.  I show it to my daughter, she approved the design.  I go out to the garage and start cutting and assembling.

Long story short, the bed is completed, installed and it doesn’t leave much clearance between her and ceiling but will be at least usable for the next few years.  I don’t have any delusions that she will want another bed as she gets older.  Luckily this was made with inexpensive materials that I can find another use for in the future.

Read more


KIDS KITCHEN PART DEUX

Posted by Bill McBeth on

A couple of years ago the wife and I were shopping for kids kitchens, my requirements was it was well made and wouldn’t fall apart. After much shopping we found that the well built ones were going to cost around $500 from KidsCraft; with that price tag it better cook dinner for real. I knew that I could build one that look very close to those expensive models and I set out to do so and have it done before Christmas. It was completed and my girls loved it.

Fast forward a couple of years, every time we have our cousins Tony and Tina over their youngest daughter Tatum always goes directly to this play kitchen and has a blast with it; so they asked if I could build one for her Birthday in April; of course I didn’t get the final okay until about two weeks before her birthday. Normally that would be enough time, however, as it always does life got in the way and I procrastinated a bit, unfortunately I was two weeks late with it. Luckily for me her parents kept it a secret and she was quite surprised when it was delivered and presented. It didn’t take her long to have all her food, pots and pans on it and was cooking away. I always love when the items I build bring a smile to their face.

I designed the kitchen after the one I built for my girls, I made the fridge unit about half the size and only did two burners on the stove/sink unit. I used a wide variety of technologies on this build, the burners and faucet were printed on a friends 3D printer and the wings on the fridge were cut out using my wife’s Silhouette. I used 3/4” MDF and and used basic butt joints that were glued and then a few brad nails. I primed the kitchen with oil based primer, I always find that Oil based sticks better to MDF and then allows me to use any type of paint I want. The paint is a Pink latex Satin paint, once this stuff dries it produces a nice surface and can hold up to the abuse of a kid playing on it. I purchased the handles from Rockler and they really give off the 50’s style I was going for. The original design was supposed to use Electro Luminescence Wire (EL Wire) to light up the burners when the knobs were turned. I had to nix this because I was going to have to build a new circuit board to drive them the way I wanted, the burners were printed with a channel in them that the EL wire would slip into. If I build one of these again I will definitely incorporate the lights as it would look awesome.

All in all this was a good build, as with everything I build I learn a lot that I will be able to utilize on my next project.

Read more

KIDS KITCHEN PART DEUX

Posted by Bill McBeth on

A couple of years ago the wife and I were shopping for kids kitchens, my requirements was it was well made and wouldn’t fall apart. After much shopping we found that the well built ones were going to cost around $500 from KidsCraft; with that price tag it better cook dinner for real. I knew that I could build one that look very close to those expensive models and I set out to do so and have it done before Christmas. It was completed and my girls loved it.

Fast forward a couple of years, every time we have our cousins Tony and Tina over their youngest daughter Tatum always goes directly to this play kitchen and has a blast with it; so they asked if I could build one for her Birthday in April; of course I didn’t get the final okay until about two weeks before her birthday. Normally that would be enough time, however, as it always does life got in the way and I procrastinated a bit, unfortunately I was two weeks late with it. Luckily for me her parents kept it a secret and she was quite surprised when it was delivered and presented. It didn’t take her long to have all her food, pots and pans on it and was cooking away. I always love when the items I build bring a smile to their face.

I designed the kitchen after the one I built for my girls, I made the fridge unit about half the size and only did two burners on the stove/sink unit. I used a wide variety of technologies on this build, the burners and faucet were printed on a friends 3D printer and the wings on the fridge were cut out using my wife’s Silhouette. I used 3/4” MDF and and used basic butt joints that were glued and then a few brad nails. I primed the kitchen with oil based primer, I always find that Oil based sticks better to MDF and then allows me to use any type of paint I want. The paint is a Pink latex Satin paint, once this stuff dries it produces a nice surface and can hold up to the abuse of a kid playing on it. I purchased the handles from Rockler and they really give off the 50’s style I was going for. The original design was supposed to use Electro Luminescence Wire (EL Wire) to light up the burners when the knobs were turned. I had to nix this because I was going to have to build a new circuit board to drive them the way I wanted, the burners were printed with a channel in them that the EL wire would slip into. If I build one of these again I will definitely incorporate the lights as it would look awesome.

All in all this was a good build, as with everything I build I learn a lot that I will be able to utilize on my next project.

Read more