Making your zapper zap through walls

You may know of our Printmakers media cabinet build. We love our cabinet. But there was one major design flaw (well not so much a flaw, more of a drawback). If we wanted to watch TV or control the volume on anything in the cabinet we needed to have at least one door open so that the remotes could reach the components.

I looked around for a solution and couldn’t come up with much. Until one day I was listening to a podcast and off topic one host started talking about an IR repeater and how he put all his components in to a closet. DING!

I headed over to Amazon and promptly purchased the Cables To Go Impact Acoustics 40430 Infrared (IR) Remote Control Repeater Kit. Long name. Tiny thing. Great product.

An IR repeater takes the infrared signal from your remote and “blasts” it out out of little stick on modules. It’s super simple to hook up and took no time at all to get working.

Step 1:
Position the IR receiver:

photo 1(1)

I chose just under the center speaker. Even with our bluetooth remote out of habit we always point it at the TV. This can sometimes be a problem when your components are a foot below the tv. This takes all the guesswork out of changing channels.

Step 2:
Plug the IR receiver in to the base unit.

Step 3:
Plug your IR Blasters in to the base unit (while you’re at it plug in the power cable too).

photo 4

Step 4:
Position your base unit somewhere hidden. Mine is actually sitting right on top of our audio visual receiver.

Step 5:
Position your IR blasters over the IR sensors on your equipment.

photo 2(1)

You can figure out where your IR sensors are by shining a flashlight on to the front of your components at a 45 degree angle. You’ll see a circle under the translucent plastic (usually about the size of a nickel). Peel off the sticky back of the blaster and stick it on.

The kit I purchased came with two double blaster cables. We only have two IR controlled components in our cabinet so I only needed to use one cable.

The IR repeater will now take any signal it gets and blast it out to all the components and you can leave your cabinet doors closed!


Two unforeseen advantages came along with installing the IR repeater too! One, the dog is no longer tall enough to get in the way of the remote signals and two, there’s a little blue LED on the IR receiver so you know 100% when  you’re sending a signal.

I’m 100% so happy happy happy that this little guy came in to our entertainment world. No more unsightly audio visual components hanging out in open doors. No more dog smashing in to them while playing and no more getting up (after forgetting they’re closed) to open the door when you’ve finally sat down after a long day at work! That last bit happened WAY too often.

Printmakers Media Cabinet – The Reveal

Its been six weekends of hard work, but we finally reached the final stretch of the printmakers media cabinet project.

This is where we left off. The cabinet was built and sanded and ready for finishing. If you missed it, check out part one, two, three, four, and five of the project.)

Cabinet built
Cabinet built and ready for stain & hardware

Next up we took all the drawers outside, and set up a staining station, and gave everything a coat of wood conditioner.

Wood Conditioner
The drawers & doors ready for wood conditioner
DIY Tip: Put your cabinet on scrap wood to make it easier to stain the bottoms of the legs
DIY Tip: Put your cabinet on scrap wood to make it easier to stain the bottoms of the legs

After letting the wood conditioner sit for half an hour, we set out to staining. We had done many a test on stain, and came across a cool technique we wanted to try on the cabinet. It involved wetting the wood, then putting on oil based stain on top of the water, then quickly wiping away. It left an almost zebra like effect. We knew it was going to be a risk, but decided to give it a try none the less. It involved several hours staining, many a swear word, lots of teamwork, and a whole lot of second guessing.

Cabinet stained
Cabinet stained

We took two days to stain everything, the first day we did the cabinet and all the drawer & door fronts. The next day we stained the interior of the cabinet and the drawer boxes. For the interior, we didn’t bother doing our stain technique, and instead just used the stain traditionally.

After the stain dried, we applied several coats of polyurethane, sanding with a 320 grit sandpaper in between coats. We put a total of 5 coats on the top of the cabinet, and three everywhere else.

We use Oil-Modified Polyurethane with a foam brush
We use Oil-Modified Polyurethane with a foam brush
Drawers & doors mid-polyurthaning
Drawers & Doors mid-poly

Once the poly had dried, we set to installing hardware. The screws that came with our cup pulls were too short for the double thick drawers, and too long for the single thickness doors. So we headed to the hardware store and picked up longer screws for the drawers, and El Granto cut down the screws with the dremel for the doors.

Ready for Hinges
Pulls attached to door fronts, and ready for hinge installation

After the handles were installed, we set to installing the hinges, stays and clasps for the doors.

Installing hinges on the doors
Installing hinges on the doors

This involved a whole load of finikity work, lots of tiny screws, and stubby little screw drivers to fit into the cabinet.

Attaching hinges to the cabinet
Attaching hinges to the cabinet
Attaching claps to keep the doors closed
Attaching claps to keep the doors closed

Next up, we needed to add the lid stays to make sure the doors dont open too far. We wanted them to stop at 90 degrees.

Installing lid stays
Installing lid stays

We used a square to hold the door at 90 degrees and attached the stays with small screws.

Now we could set to putting all our electronics into the cabinet. To keep things neat, we installed power bars to underneith the back of the shelves. This keeps the cords off the ground, and makes it so that the cabinet can sit flush with the wall.

The view of underneath the shelf in the cabinet showing the power bar.
The view of underneath the shelf in the cabinet showing the power bar.

We routed all the cables and electronics as best we could through the cabinet, and its so much more organized than our old media center!

The electronics all tucked into the cabinet
The electronics all tucked into the cabinet

Enough with the technical stuff, are you ready to see what it looks like all finished?


photo 3(6)

photo 5(2)


photo 1(4)

photo 2(3)

photo 5(4)

Now a little comparison between our cabinet and our inspiration: the Restoration Hardware Printmakers Media Cabinet. (ours on top, the RH cabinet below)


What do you think?!


DIY Plans for an RH Inspired Printmakers Media Console – Design Confidential *(a BIG Thanks to Rayan @ Design Confidential! Her plans are awesome!)


Hardware: ($130)
15 cup pulls – Lee Valley
6 inset hinges – Lee Valley
6 sets drawer slides – Lee Valley
3 lid stays – Lee Valley
3 cabinet clips – Lee Valley
8 1 1/2″ felt furniture pads – Dollarama

Lumber: ($100)
8 – 2x2x8 – Downtown Lumber
2 – 1x6x8 – Downtown Lumber
5 – 1x10x6 pine shelves – Home Depot
3 – 1x2x8 Downtown Lumber
6 – 1x4x8 – Downtown Lumber

Finishing/Misc: ($50)
Wood conditioner (already owned)
Stain – Varathane “Kona” – Home Depot
Polyurethane – Minwax Oil Modified in Satin
Minwax Stainable wood filler – Home Depot
Kreg Screws – Lee Valley & Home Depot
Foam brushes – Dollarama
Shop rags
Sand paper

Tools Used:
Kreg Jig
Mitre saw
Table saw
Palm sander
Wood clamps
Corner clamps
Short Kreg drill bit
Stubby screw drivers


Trips to lumber yard -4
Trips to hardware stores -10+
Coats of polyurethane – 5 on the top, 3 everywhere else
Stain samples made before deciding on one – 11
Time involved – 6 weekends, 70-80 hours total
Number of electronics in the cabinet – 11
Number of screw-ups – 3
Number of arguments – 2
Total pieces of wood – 119
Screws – about 300
Injuries – 0!
Swear words – more than I’m proud of

Difficulty Level (on a scale of 1-5):

five out of five

Total Cost: $280

Media Cabinet – The Final Steps

I feel like we’ve been working on the media cabinet forever (check out part one, two, three, and four). The whole being a grown up and having to work 40 hours a week really gets in the way of project time. The end is however finally in sight. In fact, this will be my last update before the reveal.

Where we left off, we had made the drawer boxes for the upper and lower drawers. We then had to cut down the upper drawers as they were too tall. Oops.

Cutting the sides
Trimming the height of the drawer boxes.

We used our new table saw to cut everything down to size (setting the fence and ripping each side of the drawer until they were all the proper height.) After a quick sand, we installed the drawer slides and had operating upper drawers! (woot!)

All the drawer boxes installed (the drawers will have fronts on them to make them look all fancy like)
All the drawer boxes installed (the drawers will have fronts on them to make them look all fancy like)

The way this cabinet is designed, the drawer boxes are fabricated and installed,  then drawer fronts are attached to them (to cover the unsightly visible hardware and gaps.)

The center portion of the cabinet also gets fold down doors to hide all the electronics.

Now we needed to make the drawer fronts & doors. We headed to the garage and ripped down a bunch of lumber to size, then did all our length cuts on the miter saw.

All the wood cut and ready to assemble
All the wood cut and ready to assemble

The larger doors & drawers are actually made up of three pieces attached together so that they look like two small drawers and a spacer. (as its supposed to be a printmakers cabinet that looks like it has lots of little drawers.) To attach them together, we used pocket holes and screws.

Assembling the drawer fronts using the pocket hole system. (also note the use of a square to keep everything all nice and straight & square.)
Assembling the drawer fronts using the pocket hole system. (also note the use of a square to keep everything all nice and straight & square.)

After everything was assembled I spent the afternoon filling and sanding everything.

small drawer fronts
The three small drawer fronts ready to go
large drawer front
One of the large drawer fronts. You can see how its made up of three different pieces.

Then we used our Ikea Fixa drill template to mark where we needed to drill holes for all the handles. We have gotten so much use out of that darn template. Worth every penny.

Fixa template
Marking holes for the cabinet hardware
Drilling the cabinet hardware holes
Drilling the cabinet hardware holes

Next up we needed to install the fronts. The plans call for a very ingenious way to do this. (Sorry for the lack of pictures, this was an all hands on deck kind of task.) Essentially you space the drawer fronts perfectly in the cabinet, and attach it temporally with two screws through the cabinet hardware holes.

temp screws
Temporary screws through the hardware holes holding the drawer front in place until it can be attached from inside the drawer

Then you take the drawer out, and attach the front permanently by putting a few screws through from the inside of the drawer.

attacing drawer fronts
Attaching the drawer fronts with some screws inside the drawer

Then you can remove the temporary screws from the hardware holes, and drill all the way through for the hardware. We continued on and attached all the drawer fronts this way. (Note, we didn’t attach the fold down doors, as we didn’t want to do that until everything was stained & finished.)

Now the whole cabinet is built, sanded and ready for finishing.

Cabinet built
Cabinet built and ready for stain & hardware

Ta da! All that’s left is stain, poly & hardware! Stay tuned for (hopefully) the big reveal next week.


Cabinet drawers, not underpants. Get your head out of the gutter.

A big part of our Printmakers Media Cabinet project is the 6 storage drawers to hold remotes, and our DVD’s & video games. The cabinet has three shallow drawers at the top (for the remotes), and then three deep drawers at the bottom. Where we last left off was that we had built the small drawers.

Drawer Box. These skinny drawers go at the top of the cabinet to hold small things such as remotes and magazines
Drawer Box. These skinny drawers go at the top of the cabinet to hold small things such as remotes and magazines

Last weekend we cut some hardboard bottoms for the drawers and attached them with brad nails.

drawer bottoms
Attaching drawer bottoms
Completed drawer
Completed drawer

We gave the drawers a final sand, and headed inside to install the drawer slides. At this point in time the whole cabinet build had went very smoothly. No major hiccups, everything was great. Usually every project has it caveat. Its one pain in the ass task, or something liable to go wrong. Well we hit that with the drawers. We had tested the size of the drawers to make sure the drawer slides would fit on either side of the drawer into the hole in the cabinet. What we did NOT take in to account was that we purchased regular old kitchen drawer slides, which require at least 1/2″ in clearance in the height of the drawer to be able to take the drawer in and out. (The drawer slide has two rollers, and to take the drawer in or out you have to lift the drawer roller over the cabinet roller, thus the 1/2″ height clearance requirement. Our drawer boxes were 2 3/4″ tall and our hole in the cabinet is only 3″ high. So when you tried to put the drawer in, the drawer box hit the frame of the cabinet. Oops.

There were three options on what we could do to fix things.

Option A.)
Head back to Lee Valley and return our traditional drawer slides and buy the fully extending expensive slides. The reason we didn’t buy the fancypants full extending slides to begin with was that they were FOUR TIMES THE PRICE of the regular ones. If it was my kitchen and drawers that I would open and close several times a day, I would have went with the expensive ones. However, for a media cabinet that will maybe get used a few times a week, I was not ready to invest $120 in drawer slides when I could have something that worked for $30…. So I wasn’t too keen to this option.

Option B.)
Rebuild the drawer boxes shorter. This would mean essentially tossing out the drawer boxes we had made and making new smaller ones. A decent option, still cheaper than buying new slides, but it meant another trip to the lumber yard and a few hours work.

Option C.)
Cut the drawers down 3/8″ in height. This would involve no cost, but the potential for disaster was huge. (Our biggest worry was hitting a pocket hole screw with the saw blade, ouch.)

While we debated on what to do with the small drawers, we decided to build the large drawers (albeit to a shorter height than the plans said) to make sure that the drawer slides would in fact work. Cause I would be really pissed if I rebuilt the small drawers only to find that it still didnt work.

So we cut, sanded, drilled, clamped and screwed the big drawer boxes, and added drawer bottoms.


Assembling large drawer boxes
Assembling large drawer boxes

Then we gave a shot at installing the drawer slides. I was a wee bit worried at this point, and even watched a YouTube video on installing drawer slides. (Yep, that happened.) However it was one of those worry for nothing tasks. It was easy as pie to install. We had measured everything properly, the drawer slides fit in perfectly, and after a mere 20 minutes everything was installed correctly and moving without problems.

Bottom Drawers Installed
Bottom Drawers Installed
Holy crap, they actually work

The drawers still need their drawer fronts (which will cover up all the hardware and gaps etc.) But hey, it’s actually starting to look like a cabinet! Yay us!

So I bet you’re wondering what we decided to do with those small (but too tall) drawers?

Cutting the sides
Trimming the height of the drawer boxes.

We did just get a new table saw after all…


Media Cabinet – Odds & Ends

The Printmakers media cabinet project is coming along (if you’ve missed it, check out part one, two and three)

We checked a few things off the list last weekend. First up, we headed down to Lee  Valley Tools to pick up the hardware. I had pre-scouted online but wanted to go to the showroom to take a look at everything in person. Turns out, we walked out of the store with the exact things I had picked out online! (not that I minded wandering the isles full of awesome tools and hardware at Lee Valley…)

Here’s what we bought:

Inset Hinges
Inset Hinges
Cup Pulls
Cup Pulls
Door Stays
Door Stays

We also picked up standard drawer slides (350mm) and some door latches. The purchase set us back $135 but it was actually considerably less than I was expecting. I will give you a breakdown of all the fees once the cabinet is finished.

On the same day as our hardware adventure, we also trekked out to the lumber yard and picked up the wood for our interior shelves and drawer boxes.

We got to work installing the shelves. They are inset into the frame, so we were trusting our fabrication to have everything go in perfectly. I was expecting disaster, but it went smoother than expected. It was a tight fit, but with some persuasive hammering we were able to get everything in and screwed into the frame using pocket holes. It needs a good sand, but overall we are pleased with how its shaping up.

Media Cabinet with Shelves Installed
Media Cabinet with Shelves Installed

We also got started on the drawer boxes. We cut the sides and fronts of the boxes to length, pre-drilled pocket holes, then assembled using our corner clamps and a square to ensure the boxes were perfectly square. (Un-square boxes will cause us a ton of headache when we try to install them.)

Assembling Drawer Boxes
Assembling the Drawer Boxes using corner clamps and a square

The assembly of the drawer boxes went fairly swiftly and smoothly. Now they’re ready for the drawer bottoms and then we can install them (which I am super stoked about!)

The Drawer Boxes ready for drawer bottoms
The Drawer Boxes ready for drawer bottoms
Drawer Box. These skinny drawers go at the top of the cabinet to hold small things such as remotes and magazines
Drawer Box. These skinny drawers go at the top of the cabinet to hold small things such as remotes

We also spent a good chunk of time trying out more staining options. I am still not in love with anything, but am getting closer.

Stain options
Three stain options using Varathane “Kona” stain. I love the one on the left, but have been unable to reproduce it

I think this is the most indecisive I have been about anything in the house. I have a wildcard option that I am going to try out this week, and I will let you know how it goes (that is if I don’t light the house on fire while trying it.)

Hopefully this weekend we can install some drawers and get some staining done!

Hardware Shopping

To me, hardware on cabinets is like jewelry. The finishing touch, a hint of sparkle, a bit of shine. Shopping for hardware is like buying the final accessories to go with a fab outfit.

So, I am very excited that we’re at a point where we need some hardware for the Printmakers Media Cabinet project.

The plans call for the following hardware:

  • 3 pair of  inset or concealed hinges
  • 3 cabinet clips (to keep the doors closed)
  • 6 lid stops (3 – right, 3 – left)
  • 3 sets 14” drawer slides
  • 15 – drawer pulls

That’s a lot of hardware… As the cabinet is a faux printmakers cabinet, it looks like it has 15 little drawers (printmakers cabinets used to have tons of shallow drawers to hold metal and wood type and plates). So we need 15 drawer pulls, and traditionally for a printmakers cabinet they should be cup pulls.

If anyone has done a kitchen reno lately, you’ll know that pulls are expensive. From the big box stores, you’re looking to pay between $5-$15 per pull. From a high end hardware shoppe, you can pay in excess of $25 each.  Ouch, that’s not in our budget. As much as I love the hardware from Gingers or Restoration Hardware, I was not about to drop that kind of cash.

So where can you get nice, inexpensive hardware?

There are a ton of cheap online shops. However, Canadians beware. Most of the time the online knobs/pull companies will ship UPS or other courier from the US to Canada. UPS is a carrier that charges brokerage to cross the border. Brokerage SUCKS. It’s an unknown fee that the delivery guy will charge you before he will hand over your package. We have been charged upwards of $40-100 in brokerage on things that didn’t even cost that much. So by the time you’ve paid for the purchase, paid for cross border shipping, and paid for the brokerage, you’ve negated any savings from purchasing online. If you’re going to purchase online, try to buy from a Canadian supplier, or where they ship USPS or FedEx, both of which (normally) have the brokerage covered.

Your other option is purchase locally. Often local business can offer you the same or even better rate than buying online. Check out your local hardware store, and ask if they have a catalog of special order pulls. Also take a look at the special order hardware displays at your local big box stores.

My go-to spot for hardware is Lee Valley Tools. Even if you don’t have a Lee Valley in your town, they have an awesome hardware catalog and online store and they will ship to you.

So here’s what I’ve found from Lee Valley for our cabinet:

Drawer Slides:

Drawer Slides
Drawer Slides

Cup Pulls:

Cup Pulls
Cup Pulls





Lee Valley carries everything in stock at their warehouses, and yep, we even have a location in downtown Toronto  (King Street between Bathurst & Spadina). The best part of Lee Valley is their volume discount. Most of their items have a 10+ or even a 25+ volume discount (the price goes down if you buy more than 10 etc.) So for the 15 cup pulls we need, they will only cost us $2.55 each. (excuse me while I do a little crazy Elaine dancing.)

Do you have any go-to hardware stores? Grabbed any great deals lately?

*In case you’re wondering, no one paid me in anyway for my views. I just to pass on my recommendations for places I like to shop.



How was your Easter/Passover weekend? We enjoyed some well deserved good weather, which meant many a good dog walk as well as a lovely Easter dinner and ruckus Yahtzee game with the family.

We also used the long weekend to get a bit more work done on our media cabinet project.

We started with the cabinet frame assembly, and quickly discovered that it would be near impossible to hold everything straight and square while screwing it all together without more hands or some sort of corner clamps.  (Of course El Granto said we needed the clamps from the onset, but eager me said we should try without them.  Kristen fail.) The problem with pocket holes is that you have everything lined up, and start to screw everything together and at the last second it all goes to hell. The last bit of the screw tightening somehow pulls it all out of whack. Swearing ensues.

So we headed to the hardware store, and picked up two Irwin corner clamps. Best $25 spent, ever.

3" Irwin corner clamps
3″ Irwin corner clamps

We then were able to pretty quickly assemble the rest of the cabinet frame. We were a little assembly machine, clamping, gluing and screwing.

Corner clamps in action holding everything in place
Corner clamps in action holding everything in place
Assembling the frame using pocket holes and self tapping screws
El Granto assembling the frame using pocket holes and self tapping screws

After a couple hours work we had the front and back frame built. (The front is more complicated as there is the whole exposed framework for the drawers and doors.)

The frame back
The frame back
The Frame Front
The frame front. I really need to touch up that wall…Yay for dogs scratching your walls trying to get a ball.
Detail shot of one of the (many) joints made perfect by the corner clamps
Detail shot of one of the (many) joints made perfect by the corner clamps

The next day we set to attaching the front to the back of the frame. According to the directions, we should have attached the sides before attaching everything, but of course we didn’t have the wood for the sides and impatient Kristen wanted to go ahead anyways. (It’s OK, it turned out fine!)

We used the corner clamps again to make sure everything stayed where it was supposed to be, then we screwed everything together from inside.

*TIP* The Kreg jig comes with an extra long drill driver. It normally works perfectly, however when we were trying to assemble the cabinet it was too long, and made it so the drill was not able to fit inside the cabinet. Oops. So we headed to the hardware store and picked up a mid sized #2 driver. This will come in super handy as the rest of the cabinet installation will be done from inside the cabinet!

Inside view of how the sides attached to the front and back of the frame
Inside view of how the sides attached to the front and back of the frame
The sides being attached to the front and back of the frame
The sides being attached to the front and back of the frame

After almost 100 pocket holes and screws, this is our completed frame!

Cabinet frame assembled
Cabinet frame assembled
frame frame frame
frame frame frame

Starting to look like a cabinet now right? Remember this Restoration Hardware cabinet is our inspiration.

Restoration Hardware Printmakers Media Cabinet
Restoration Hardware Printmakers Media Cabinet

The frame that we built will actually be exposed (you can see it in the RH version).

The front still needs drawers and doors, and of course the top and sides, but we’re actually over half way done! Woot.

Are you working on any big projects? Ever built a cabinet?


Printmakers Cabinet – Frame Supplies

It’s starting to get warmer out again. Do you know what that means? It’s finally warm enough to stand out in our unheated garage for more than 30 seconds, and be able to operate saws and equipment without mittens. Yep kids, that means it’s project time.

I have had my eye on a new media cabinet for the living room for a good long time. There’s nothing wrong with out current cabinet per see, it has just seen better days, and its not really our style. The little cabinet was a big box purchase of El Granto’s from his college days. It has done us well, but its not really big enough for all our electronics, and its center shelf is sagging a bit from the weight of our receiver.

So a new cabinet it is! As we love Restoration Hardware, I fell fast and hard for this fellow; the Restoration Hardware Printmakers Media Cabinet.

Restoration Hardware Printmakers Media Cabinet
Restoration Hardware Printmakers Media Cabinet

The cabinet has three shallow drawers for remotes, magazines and the like. Three fold down doors to hide your electronics, and three deep drawers for dvd and other assorted storage. There are two sizes available. We liked the 55″ wide one, as it would hold our 46″ tv and not be too big for our small space. The only problem is that the cabinet has a price tag of almost $1000. Not really in our budget, especially when we want to add a new sofa to the living room sometime in the next decade.

So we did decided to take things into our own hands, and looked into building a similar cabinet. I checked my go to spot for furniture plans; The Design Confidential, and low and behold they had plans for a similar cabinet. Awesomesauce.

The Design Confidential's plans to build an RH inspired Media Cabinet
The Design Confidential’s plans to build an RH inspired Media Cabinet

We printed out the plans, looked at the vast lumber and cut lists, cried a little, and then decided to nut up and take on this project. I had helped my dad make drawer boxes in the past (and by helped, I mean watched) and the rest of the cabinet was held together by pocket screws, so I felt confident that we could bumble our way through it.

The first hurtle was deciding on wood. I loved the antique pine finish of the RH cabinet, so I decided pine was the way to go.

Last weekend we walked the dog and our Ikea cart to my favorite place on earth; our local lumber yard Downtown Lumber. I love this place. I have yet to find a wood product they don’t have, and they’re happy to rip things down for me on request, which is awesome since we don’t own a table saw. I called ahead and confirmed that they could cut me 2×2 pine boards that we needed for the first step of the project; the frame.

When we got to the lumber yard, paid for our order and went to the back to pick it up. We watched the yard worker pull beautiful solid straight as an arrow kiln dried pine 2×10’s down from the shelf, and rip them into our 2×2’s. Yep that’s right, they used 2×10’s to cut our 2×2’s. Now if you’re unfamiliar with wood, 2×2’s are like the lowest wood on the totem pole, and quality is usually crap. The 2×2’s are cut from the smallest pieces of wood, often young wood, and they are usually found twisted and turned like a corkscrew. That’s why a framing grade 2x2x8 will only cost you about $2 at the big box store. To have 2×2’s cut from 2×10’s is like making hamburgers with prime rib. Expensive, but amazing.

We watched in awe as they ripped down our lumber order and smiled like bank robbers as we carted it all home. (Yep, I say “carted” as we literally dragged it the 3.5km home on a cart. Hobo style.)

Cartin it up
Cartin it up

After we got the wood home, we set to making our cuts. I soon noticed that our 2×2’s looked a bit bigger than I was expecting. The big box stores 2×2’s usually measure in at 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ . Our fancy schmancy lumber yard boards were 1 3/4″ x 1 3/4″.

The lumber safely arriving at home
The lumber safely arriving at home

That was great news for us (who doesn’t like bigger wood, eh eh?) however it threw the plans a monkey wrench. After some quick math we opted to lengthen the frame by an 1″ to compensate (as to not skew the drawer sizes). However we didn’t want to futz with the height, as it was already quite high, and we didn’t want the TV to be any taller, and harder to see.

El Granto measured the cuts, I cut them on our new miter saw; Martha. (It’s named Martha because the saw is a Mastercraft brand, and Martha Stewart is the master crafter…see it makes perfect sense, right?)

Martha the compound miter saw
Martha the compound miter saw
The wood cut waiting for pocket holes
The wood cuts waiting for pocket holes

DIY TIP! We keep all the cuts for one project in a milk crate. This keeps your offcuts from mixing with your good pieces, and ensures you don’t forget anything.

Then El Granto started drilling the pocket holes for assembling the frame. OMG there are a bucketload of pocketholes. We cut all the frame & supports, and drilled all our pocket holes. I counted them up and El Granto made a total of 104 pocket holes. This isn’t even counting the holes we’ll need for attaching the shelves, sides, back and top. Holy hell batman.

El Granto Drilling Pocket Holes
El Granto Drilling Pocket Holes

Here’s a video of El Granto drilling some pocket holes. He attaches the Kreg Jig with a regular clamp directly to his small work table. This makes the whole thing steady, and keeps the clamp from digging into the wood. Yep, that’s Green Day playing in the background. El Granto has his garage stereo hooked up to his phone so he can blast inspiration woodworking music, like punk rock or heavy metal.

We brought the wood in, and let it warm back up, and I laid out how the front of the frame is to be assembled.

Wood cut, pocket holes drilled, ready to be assembled
Wood cut, pocket holes drilled, ready to be assembled
Frame laid out
Frame laid out

That was enough work for one day! The frame assembly will have to wait for next weekend.

What did you get up to last weekend? Any big woodworking projects you’re taking on this spring?

Ikea Hack – Vittsjo Laptop Table

I was wandering through Ikea the other day, when I ended up in the office section. I didn’t need anything for the office (much less furniture!) but I browsed none the less. Out of nowhere, I spied this little table. Continue reading “Ikea Hack – Vittsjo Laptop Table”