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?

Woodworking for woodworking’s sake

I don’t typically think of myself as an old man. There’s only a few times that I do. One was just the other day when I told a kid (twenty-something) to get-the-f off my garage roof (He was fetching a football. It’s a silly expletive filled story). After doing so I felt so old I had to do something to calm my nerves. Some old man stuff. “Why not some wood working” I thought.

I have a pintrest board (yeah I know I know. Not typically a place for guys like me. It doesn’t see a lot of use.) that is absolutely FULL of things I want to make. I won’t link to it because I think a lot of it will end up being posted here at some point. Probably even before Christmas as I really enjoy making gifts for family and friends. It’s cheaper and it really shows you care when you can make something for someone that’s genuinely cool.

So my first adventure in woodworking was to create something functional and not too hard to make. I checked out my pin board and found the perfect item. The Nail Head Bottle Opener.

Wood… I need some nice wood… all I have is pine. Hmmm. The next door neighbors have LOTS of wood! And nice wood! Ipê Iron Wood.

I ended up securing a piece of wood from my neighbor Dietrich (on his birthday. Happy birthday! Can you give me a gift instead?!).

Enough story time. Let’s get to it.

I started by drawing the outline for the bottle opener on a piece of card paper that I had laying around in the garage. I modeled it somewhat off of a wire brush that I liked the handle shape of and modernized it a tad to fit with the feeling I wanted from the piece.

Template for opener

I then traced the outline on to a small piece of wood that I cut down to size with the miter saw and cut the general shape out with a jigsaw being careful to cut just outside the lines so that I had room to sand down in to the final shape I wanted.

Template Tracing on to blank

Rough cut opener

Once the shape was cut it was time to sand. I started with a rough 60 grit paper on a palm sander and got the exact shape I wanted. This was also when I found out that our jigsaw doesn’t quite cut on a 90°. Darn. Sand away the angle. Once that was done I switched to a 100, 150 then 220 grit paper and sanded by hand. To get the curve near the top to feel just right I took the sand paper and wrapped it around some spare pipe so that I would get a consistent groove without too much hassle. Sand sand sand sand sand. Now sand more. Sand till your fingers are raw and the wood is buttery smooth.

blank about to be sanded
Notice the lack of a 90° cut

I took the finished wood inside to the warm and applied and buffed 5 coats of finishing wax. Man did it pop after the wax!

With the wood all sanded and shiny I then set to bending nails. Kristen picked me up some special nails for this project specifically. I wanted nails with a large flat head that still looked nice. Luckily the rep for the nail company was visiting HD that day and was able to show her to the absolute perfect ones. I bent 4 nails in the bench vice using a hammer and a rag wrapped around the bottom of the nail before I got the result I wanted.

box of nails

I had a magnet laying around that I wanted to put in to the opener to catch the bottle cap so I carefully drilled a hole that was purposely a little too small for the magnet to fit in to then I hammered it in to place using more rags to protect the piece from getting marred by the hammer. The magnet will stay in place strictly through friction.

magnet inset to opener

I then clamped the opener in the vice (more rag protection) and drilled a hole in the top just big enough for the nail to slip in to easily. I didn’t want to force the nail in by just driving it in as it could split the wood OR mar the nail leaving the whole piece useless. I applied a generous amount of wood glue to the nail and slipped it in place cleaning up any that splooged out with a wet cloth.

nail inset to opener

Applied and buffed one more coat of wax and I’m ready to pop bottles!

opening a bottle
Easy as 1…
opening a bottle
bottle open

Making this bottle opener was actually quite simple. I will however drill the holes for the nail and magnet BEFORE waxing next time as drilling requires more sanding.

Working with a strange wood was a great learning experience. Hard woods take longer to cut and work with and you have to be careful of burning or scorching the wood. During the drilling of the nail hole I was glad I don’t have a smoke detector in the garage (on the to do list for sure) but there was a lot of smoke.

finished opener

finished opener


Ipê Iron Wood – Dietrich the friendly neighbor
3″ Common Framing Nails – Bright Finish – Home Depot – $4.00
Pretty magnet – Repurposed (I have since picked more up at Lee Valley – 3/8″ diameter 1/10″ thickness – $0.46 each)
Minwax Paste Finishing Wax – Home Depot – $9.99

Tools Used:
Miter Saw
Palm Sander
Sand Paper
Bench Vice

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

Three out of five

Due to time and patience.

Total Cost: $4 Only bought the nails!

DIY Bedside Tables

I have been scoping around Craigslist and local antique stores for the last couple weeks trying to find some tables to turn into bedside tables for the guest room. We were using two (well worn) Ikea $10 Lack tables that we’ve had since the dawn of time, but they really needed to go. I searched and searched, but couldn’t find anything I loved. I didn’t have the budget to spend a couple hundred on new bedside tables, so I decided to make some. I headed over to The Design Confidential to look at some of their furniture plans. (They have some amazing DIY furniture plans!). I took a look through their end table/bedside table collections and spotted this plan. I instantly saw it and thought I could do a more Moroccan version of it.

The plan calls for the tables to be 18″ high, but that was a bit short for my application. I wanted to make them as tall as possible using one 4×8 sheet of lumber to make two square tables.  So I did some math and figured out that I could (just) get ten 19″ squares out of one sheet, so I headed to my local Home Depot and got a 5/8 sheet of MDF cut down to 19″ squares.

After getting my wood home I drew out a pattern for the table legs on a piece of scrap paper. I only did one side of the pattern (as its easier to just do one side, trace it onto your wood, and then flip it and trace the other side.)

Making the table pattern
Tracing the pattern onto the wood

After I traced my pattern, I cut it out of the MDF using my jig saw, sanded any rough bits, and then used that one as a pattern for the rest of my pieces. (for two tables you need a total of 8 leg/side pieces, whatever you do, don’t cut all 10 of your pieces into the leg pattern, you need tabletops too! duh!)

One table leg cut

Now follow the rest of the Design Confidential’s instructions here. Essentially you have to cut down the width of two of your table legs so that they overlap nicely. Then you stand it all up, and nail it all together. I found that using some masking tape to hold the legs together temporarily helped a lot. I just dont have enough hands to hold everything and nail it all!

Attaching table legs
The Table Assembled

After you’ve assembled everything, if you’re using MDF as your wood, I HIGHLY advise going and getting yourself some spackle. Sand all your edges so everything is nice and pretty, and then take that spackle and rub in into the mdf edges. HUH? MDF edges are rough and not as nice as the flat parts, so if you want everything to look perfect, you need to spackle those edges. Once they’re dry, sand them to a nice smooth finish, then get ready to paint. (yes I know it looks like utter crap before you’ve sanded, but just trust me.)

The rough edges of mdf covered in a thin layer of spackle

I painted the tables (inside and out) with a coat of dark grey Behr Premium Plus Ultra Paint + Primer I had laying around. Now if I hadn’t been using paint+primer, I would have put a coat of stand alone primer on first.

Tables painted a base coat of charcoal gray

After my paint dried, I mixed up a batch of DIY Chalk Paint (come back tomorrow for my DIY on this). I painted 2 coats of chalk paint in robins egg blue on the front and top of the tables. I left the inside of the legs the base colour so you got a bit more contrast with the blue.

Tables painted with two coats of chalk paint (leaving the insides of the legs the base color)

Then I sanded and slightly distressed using sandpaper and a damp cloth (to see more on my distressing chalk paint using a wet cloth check out this post). After I was happy with the distressing and smoothness of the finish, I gave it a coat of furniture wax and polished it.

Table Complete

**UPDATE** Check out this post on how to DIY your own chalk paint


1 – 4×8 sheet of 5/8″ MDF – Home Depot (cut into 19″ squares by HD’s cutting staff)
DAP Spackle: Home Hardware
Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint in Cracked Pepper – Home Depot
Chalk Paint – DIY

Tools Used:
Jig saw, sand paper, compressor & brad nailer, circular saw, paper & pencil, paint brush, wet rag

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

Three out of five

Total Cost: $30 (already owned the spackle & paint)

DIY Coat Rack

For those who follow me on Pinterest, you may have noticed a lot of front hall coat storage solutions being pinned to my “Organization” board lately.

Our front entryway is well…a mess. Our front door opens to a square tiled area with no closet and a blank wall. No place to put your keys, coat, shoes or, well… anything.

Slowly we have introduced a few good things to the front entryway. A Ikea Pax wardrobe for storage, a handcrafted bench from a local artisan and a giant mirror that came with our last apartment. The black sheep of the entryway however is an ugly, broken $15 Ikea RIGG coat rack that we’ve had since college.

Ikea RIGG Coat Rack

In fact, I believe its been broken since college. Held together by duct tape and zip ties (really!) The thing fell down every time you put a winter coat on it, and generally looked like a giant blob of coats taking up a massive amount of space in our entryway. We wanted to change it for a long time…we just never actually did.

So finally we got off our butts and decided to make a wall mounted coat rack to streamline the entryway some. Our lovely reclaimed wood bench was our inspiration. We wanted something that looked like it belonged with our bench. Like a brother from another mother. We picked up a piece of 1x12x10 rough pine (also used in the bath table DIY) from Home Depot. We measured our space, and decided for a 12×33″ wide rack with a 4×36″ mini shelf on top (to hold some art etc.)

Cutting the boards to size

We cut down the pieces of wood, sanded the roughest bits out and got to distressing.


We hammered, nailed, sawed, chiseled, and generally beat the crap out of our wood. My favourite part is some rusty nails (that I salvaged from my pallets) that we bashed into the wood, leaving nail heads and in one case the whole nail showing. It really does make it look like its been around 100 years.

Distressed Wood

As we wanted to match the bench, I headed out to pick up the darkest brown stain I could find. I came back with Varathane “Chocolate” and put on a coat. It looked great at first, but as it dried, it was still too light. So I put on a second coat of stain, then followed it up with a coat of Minwax Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane.

After 2 coats of Chocolate stain

After it dried, I sanded lightly with a fine sandpaper, then gave it a second coat. Once it was completely dry we attached some nice cast iron coat hooks, and attached it to the wall (into the studs) with some nice 2 1/2″ long black screws.

So here is the before and after:

Before: Coat Monster
After: YAY!



1×12 wood: Home Depot
Varathane Chocolate Stain: Home Depot
Minwax Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane: Home Hardware
Cast Iron Coat Hooks: Home Depot

Tools Used:
Circular saw, miter saw, measuring tape, level, stud finder, drill, small foam paint brush, rag, misc. tools to distress

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

Two out of five

Total Cost: $40 ($16 of that is the for the hooks)

DIY Bath Table

I loooove baths. Like unhealthy obsession love. Like you may have to call Intervention love. If we had money and space in our backyard I would have a hot tub for sure. A bath is like a hot relaxing hug. When I have had a shitty day, all I ever want to do is take a glass of wine and a book to the bath. When I have baths I drag all sorts of things into the tub with me. My Kobo (e-book reader), beverage, glasses, candles etc. Thats a lot of stuff. About 10 minutes into the bath I start to get all sweaty (cause I have the bath set to boil) and I am always afraid I am going to drop my Kobo in the bath. So about 6 months ago when I pinned this lovely pin to my Pinterest.

I love the whole bathroom, but especially the live edge board acting as a table on the tub. I normally hate bath accessories. I don’t need a wire basket to hold my loofah. I need a wine glass cup holder, and manufacturers don’t seem to be making those… So finally after much procrastination I set out to make myself one.

I loved the thought of using reclaimed wood, or a nice live edge slab like the above photo, but alas I couldn’t source anything easily/locally. So instead I purchased a rough 12″ wide 1″ thick pine board from Home Depot. The rough boards are a good deal. We got a 10′ long one for about $10. We had the guys at HD cut it down to 2 five foot lengths for us, so it would fit in the car. I came home, measured up the width of my bath tub, and cut a board to length. We distressed it a bit, and I took the sander to it smoothing it a bit, but still leaving it fairly rough.

Board cut to length and distressed

I finished it with a coat of Varathane Early American stain. Then a coat of Linseed Oil.

Board Stained

Bingo bango bath table.

Bath Table

Now excuse me while I go get naked and enjoy my bath. Trust me, no one needs to see a pic of that…


1x12x29″ piece of rough pine: Home Depot
Varathane Early American Stain: Home Depot
Linseed Oil: Home Depot

Tools Used:
Palm sander, sand paper, random items for distressing

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

Two out of five

Total Cost: $17

From Billy to Built-Ins

Our house is a three bedroom, two large bedrooms and one smaller. The smaller is of course the best choice for either an office or nursery. We wanted to plan for an office now, and if we ever needed it down the road, an easy transition to a nursery. Continue reading “From Billy to Built-Ins”

DIY Pallet Crates

If you have been being a good boy or girl, you will have read my Project Office post and you will know I have a lot to do! One of the items on the To Do list was crates for built in bookshelves. Bookscase DIY tutorial will come soon (I promise) but until then here is a sneak peak on how we made the crates to go ON the bookcase.

I was planning on sourcing some framing grade lumber and roughing it up a bit to get a worn look for my crates. Odin & I happened to be walking through an industrial area in our neighbourhood on Friday when we spied a pile of shipping pallets on the side of the road.

Stack of Pallets

I thought to myself, “self, there some rough wood, and its CHEAP rough wood”. You see, cheap is one of my favorite words. I like it so much that people often use it to describe me. So Saturday morning Odin and I took off to steal grab ourselves one of these pallets. I picked one that looked good, didn’t appear to have hobo pee or bugs on it, so I carried it home. By carried it home, I mean I walked 100 feet, rested, walked 100 more feet and had another rest all the way home. It was also a Saturday morning, and I had to walk past a hipster brunch spot in the neighbourhood looking like a crazy person. The dog happily trotted behind me wondering what on earth I was up to.

Stopping to take a break and admiring my “found” pallet

After lugging this darn thing home, swearing a few times, wishing I owned a car, and wondering what I was so damn crazy, I finally got down to work. I thought bringing it home was hard, I hadn’t yet met hard. Hard is not owning a crow bar, and trying to take out massive nails with a hammer and Mjölnir to pry and bash them apart.

Taking Apart Pallet While Trying not to Hit My Foot with a Hammer

Break time yet? GAH! This is hard work. You are probably asking right now, where on earth is El Granto? He was having a lovely day learning to drive NASCAR’s with his Dad and Brother. At about this point in time I was cursing him in every language that I know a curse word in. These include, English, French, Spanish and German. My mother would be disappointed that I don’t know any Danish curse words. The worst thing I know is how to say underwear in Danish. This was a hit when I was six…

So… I finally managed to pry apart some boards, and then bashed out the nails.

Striped Apart Pallet

As you can see the wood before sanding is…well kinda gross. It will get better, I promise. Now I put some super rough sandpaper in my palm sander, and set to work.

Getting Ready to Sand

Once I sanded everything, using the dimensions of my bookshelves, I decided on a size for the crates. I wanted them to fit in the bookcase nicely, but have a little room to slide in and out. I drew up a quick diagram on a piece of wood, and started cutting! The finished size for the crates are 29″x10″x11″ and 13″x10″x11″. I cut my front pieces 29″ long for the big ones and 13″ for the small. The sides were 8 1/4″ and each crate was 3 boards high. I cut the boards to length on the miter saw, and used scrap pieces of 1×2’s as corner braces. I attached the front panels to the corner supports using brad nails. I spaced the corner supports 5/8″ in from the edge to allow space for the sides to fit flush.

One Front of Crate Assembled

I assembled both the fronts, then attached them to the sides with more brad nails. I then traced a bottom for the crate onto some extra hardboard we had laying around the garage. I cut out the hardboard with the circular saw, and nailed it to the bottom of the crate.

Voila! Crate!

The wood is all different thickness, and I didn’t worry about having everything match perfectly. It just adds to the distressed look. After I had assembled it, I took the palm sander to it again making sure there were no sharp corners or splinters. There, I was done! It only took me 3 hours to make one crate. Wait, what, I need four more of these? DAMMIT! I better get back to work. I sanded and cut the wood to length for one more crate, but I ran out of brad nails. Uck. So I waited for El Granto to get home from his NASCAR adventure and then headed to Canadian Tire to pick up more nails, and some felt furniture sliders for the bottoms of the crates. We also stopped and pilfered one more crate on our way home, which I made El Granto carry, and he cursed me in the same fashion that I had cursed him earlier. Once I got home, a soft couch and a cold drink sounded better than doing more work, so I gave up, and left it for Sunday.

Sunday morning, we got all ready to start work (this time with El Granto in tow). When we went outside our neighbours were putting up a big glass panel on their amazing deck, and asked for some muscle. El Granto went to help, and I got back to work making more crates. El Granto’s work conveniently consisted of standing holding a piece of glass for an hour, then being rewarded with a plethora of yummy beverages. Of course he preferred doing this to helping me make crates…so once again I was bustin my ass alone. El Granto did stop in to help me take apart the second pallet (it’s much easier to watch him then to do it myself.) I proceeded to make one more big crate, and three little ones.

Small Crate

The little ones are cute. Like a puppy version of a crate. I finally finished all five of my crates, and stood back to appreciate my giant stack-o-crates.


Some of the wood turned out really cool. The ones that look all spotted were really really rough boards, that I sanded and sanded and sanded and they came out all spotty! I also really like the boards with the rough saw marks. I thought I may have to distress the crates more, but I think they look fairly worn. They look like driftwood almost. I was on the fence with staining them, but we like them just the way they are, so we’ll leave them as is for now. They do need some hardware, I am waffling between shiny fancy nickle handles (that I am using elsewhere in the room) or sticking with rustic and using some rope, either as a handle, or making small monkey’s fists and using them as pulls. What do you think?

Sneak Peek of a Crate in the Office

So what do you think? Free crates, were they a pass or a fail?


My idea to use pretty polished handles on my crate was overruled by El Granto, my Mom, our neighbours, my co-workers and the garbage man. So rope handles it is!

We checked Rona, and their rope was too big, Home Depot had even bigger rope and some smaller rope. We went with the small one. In hindsight, I wish it was a bit chunkier. Will be keeping an eye out for some bigger rope. Also, check out the completed bookcase here.


Wood Shipping Pallets : side of the road
1×2’s: Pile-o-wood in my garage
1/8″ hardboard: My garage
Brad Nails: Canadian Tire
Sandpaper: Canadian Tire
Felt Furniture Pads: Canadian Tire
Rope: Home Depot

Tools Used:
Maul, Hammer, Circular Saw, Miter Saw, Measuring Tape, Compressor & Brad Nailer

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

Four out of Five

(cause damn those pallets were heavy!)
Total Cost: $7 for the rope & furniture pads

Building a Fence!

Before we got Odin we knew we needed a fence. There was a slightly dilapidated chain link fence between our house and our neighbors to the north (we have a 30′ brick wall to the South and a garage on the West end of our yard). We have an amazing relationship with our neighbors. They are a young family, who is currently renovating their entire house as well. We wanted a fence that would be functional, provide privacy but also allows us to socialize when we want to.

We put pen to paper, and designed a horizontal slat fence with 5″ boards and 2″ boards. We were going for a traditional meets modern design. We then set out to removing the old fence. We prepared shovels and tools, and mustered up the courage to start digging out deep concrete foundations. El Granto started pulling absentmindedly to one of the fence posts and the post easily started to come up, so he pulled more and more, and out came the post! All of the other posts came out just as easily, except one that was too close to our deck foundation, and must have got stuck in the deck’s concrete when it was poured.

Now it was time to build!

Fence Before

Our fence needed to be 26 feet long, and would be anchored on one end to our 2 story deck, and on the other end to our cinder block garage. We used 4×4 posts for our main supports. We used 10″ bolts to attach one 4×4 to the deck, and masonry screws to attach another to the garage. We then spaced out our two center posts equally so that all the fence panels would be the same size. This would involve loads more cutting, and more wasted wood, but visually it was much nicer.

As we were anchored at both the deck and the garage, we used post spikes for the two center posts. Now don’t you do shaking your finger at me… Yes, we could have dug post holes and filled with cement, but our ground is FULL of rocks, and the thought of digging those holes was, well…unplesent.  So we looked into other options. We found the level-able post spikes, and after considering our fence (it was a small span, well anchored at either end, was sheltered by a 30′ wall on one side). It wouldn’t be subject to gale force winds, or pole vaulters, so it would be.just.fine. I will hear none of your “you took the easy way out”. OF COURSE we did. The hard way sucks.

Back to the task at hand. We set the fence spikes and El Granto got to hit things with Mjölnir (yes.. that is what we named for our great big hammer. If you’re ever at our house and need the use of a big hammer, you must ask for Mjölnir, anything else and you will be ignored. (No “Maul”, “Big Ass Hammer”, nothin.)

Grant Uses Mjölnir to Hammer in the Post Spikes

We set the posts, leveled them, and then got to putting on the boards. This would have been a time when two cordless drills would have been handy (hint hint Santa). We spaced the boards right tight up to each other knowing that they would gap some as the wood shrinks.

Kristen Screwing on Fence Boards

When we got up to eye level, our fence was starting to look like a wall, not a fence, so we spaced out a row of the smaller 2″ boards, so that we would have a space that we could see and converse with our neighbours. Once we finished one fence panel, we dropped a chalk line and cut off the overhanging boards with a circular saw.

El Granto Setting the Chalk Line and Cutting off the Excess Boards
Getting Ready to Cut

Once we finished fencing all the panels, we placed fence boards vertically where the two panels met to cover the cut marks. We screwed in the last board just as the sun was disappearing. Finishing the top of the fence would need to wait for more daylight and lumber. That was one hard days work, time for a drink!

The Last Board Went On as the Sunlight Went Down

The fence stayed ugly like this for a few weeks until my Mom & Dad came down to help us reinforce the deck (that’s another story for later). While they were helping us, we used the opportunity to borrow Dad’s truck, and head to the lumber store for some 2×6’s to make top rails for the deck.

Here is the finished product!

Fence After Looking Towards House
Fence After
Fence After Looking Towards Garage


Pressure Treated Lumber (1×2’s, 1×5’s, 4×4’s & 2×6’s) : Downtown Lumber
Fence Spikes: Downtown Lumber
10″ Bolts, 1.5″ Deck Screws: Home Depot
Titen Masonry Screws: Home Depot

Tools Used:
Maul, Circular Saw, Chalk Line, Drill

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