The instructions for the table saw I got has the following section:
9. Dust suction
At the back of the housing of your FSK [table saw] you will find a connecting piece for dust suction, see fig. 9: a vacuum cleaner is connected here. This should always be operational while working! Not only because it guarantees a clean working environment, but also because this prevents the interior of the saw from becoming contaminated with sawdust.
Well, I got a vacuum that is rated for this type of use, and I can’t wait to try it out and make a real table to use. But for now, the project concluded below has been working fine.
When I had first partially disassembled the IKEA table, I saw that the plastic veneer had been applied to both sides of the tabletop. I thought that this was unnecessary, but I was appreciative because I gave me an idea: flip the table top over and use the underside at the topside.
I began fully breaking down the table.
Now, I’ve taken apart IKEA furniture before. It hasn’t been pleasant, but it also hasn’t been difficult.
This was difficult.
Sometimes the things that catch the bolts aren’t aligned correctly. I turned them. I jiggled. I jiggled the panels. Nothing was working.
Then it dawned on me that it might have been glued together.
Who glues IKEA stuff together? The whole point is that you just use the allen wrench the thing comes with.
When I saw some give, I decided to use arm strength. I’m no bodybuilder, but I have some arm strength at my disposal.
I found that the table had indeed been glued together. Ridiculous.
The table–like much IKEA furniture–is normally held together by the dowels/pegs and by the bolts. The bolts are what keep the parts from being disconnected, but the dowels/pegs keep the thing intact. Of course, unless they’re glued in place. When they are, they keep the thing together, too.
The holes for the dowels/pegs and the bolts are drilled only on one side. If my idea were to work, I’d have to drill through the other side.
I have a drill and drill bits, so that was no tall order.
Rather than drill from the other side, I just drilled the holes all the way through. That way there would be no misalignment.
Once drilled through, I installed the bolts.
It was looking like my plan could work.
I reassembled the table with the old top hidden directly above the drawers.
But there were now holes in the top of the table!
Now it was my turn to use glue on a piece of IKEA furniture.
I was prepared with glue gun and plastic screw cap covers that I had around.
I’d fill the holes with glue gun and then cap them off before the glue cooled down.
I will have updates from the side tables coming soon, but this was a project I recently talked about with some friends and felt that it’s worth resharing this week.
Now that I have a small table saw that I haven’t yet used, I may make one of these (but a lot nicer) out of solid wood.
Months ago I saw an IKEA table in the free stuff section of craigslist. I like mid-century modern furniture, and from the pictures, this table looked an awful lot like one of those made from solid wood.
I reached out to the person who posted it and headed out to pick it up. She told me she’d put the legs and mounts into one of the drawers so it was ready to go.
When I got there, I grabbed the table and wiped it down before putting it into my car.
A few blocks into my drive home, I realized I’d made a huge mistake. The table reeked of weed. Just so strong. But it also smelled like someone had tried to get rid of the odor. So it smelled like weed and urinal cake. So foul.
I resolved to disassemble the table and leave it in the garage for weeks, and I prayed I wouldn’t get pulled over.
I noticed a few things when I went to take the table apart: First, it was standard IKEA stuff. That is to say that it was not solid wood. Second, while all four legs were in the drawers, there was only one mount of the four. Third, the plastic wood veneer had bubbled and looked super gross. In my rush to get out of there, I had mistaken the plastic veneer for messed-up wood. Nope!
The sane thing to do would be to throw it away. That was an option I felt was valid. And likely.
I decided that in order for me to attempt anything with this table, all of the following criteria had to be met:
The table would air out fine. I’m not stinking up my home.
I would be able to figure out a way to make the surface look nice.
I could find mounts that would work.
Total resource spend would be kept under $5.
Since there’s a part 2 of this, you know that all four were met. The way I did it is worth reading about next week.
This was for certain the jankiest project I’ve done so far.
I’m happy to document as I go with my projects because I can look at things with a fresh perspective.
Back then, I had my Makita finishing sander. The Makita palm sander has two speeds: off and 14,000 OPM. Since then, my purchase of a DeWalt 1/4-sheet palm sander has allowed me modify my approach with an adjustment wheel from 8000 OPM to 14,000 OPM.
Would I have avoided sanding through the veneer if I’d been able to adjust the speed of the sander? Maybe!
More importantly, I would have looked for evidence of a veneer and found it just about immediately.
But even if I had known that it was a veneer, the rings on the table had gotten so bad that I don’t know what choice I had but to keep going.
The takeaway: Now equipped with tools that can adjust, I can be sensitive to thin veneer while trying to remove damage completely.
The table has been working wonderfully.
Here’s the original post:
As I await the arrival of what I hope will be the last piece I need for the end table project, here’s a standalone post about a side table project.
I found a listing for an end table on the free stuff section of craigslist, which you know by now is where I go almost exclusively for things to refinish. Of course not everything worth redoing is limited to the free stuff section (more on that in a future post), but that’s the page that receives most of my focus.
The person who listed the table set it outside for me to pick up at night, and about 50 minutes later, I was home with it. But with everything these days, outside it stayed at first.
Daylight gave me comfort this table with its solid wood top just had water damage that could be sanded off easily. The white paint was in pretty good shape, and I figured that the paint was thick enough that light sanding would be the way to make it bright again.
As expected, the more I took off, the more the water damage went away. It was shaping up very nicely.
As I kept going, I got to see how the tabletop was looking so much nicer than I had expected.
I was marveling at how the top was made with a single, wide piece of wood and with no knots. How did I come across such a gem? And then I realized my mistake. The top wasn’t one solid piece of wood like I’d thought. Rather, a wood veneer had been applied to some other hardwood underneath it. That’s why the grain didn’t line up where it should have.
It seemed like I couldn’t go much further without running out of veneer, so even though there were parts that showed discoloration, it was time to stop.
In my first woodworking post I mentioned that I had decided against refinishing the coffee table with teak oil because it had that weird yellow river, and I was concerned that it would stand out without stain. Faced with a similar situation, I decided to go for it. I’d learn a lot from it. And what kind of guest (remember guests?) is going to be looking at my bedside table?
I found I had not stopped sanding too soon. The teak oil make it obvious where I’d gone through the veneer. But the discoloration of the veneer itself seemed to be hidden well.
While this isn’t normally my style of furniture, it fit well physically in the room and was a very quick turnaround.
I learned a lot from this project.
Wood veneers can look very good but require much more caution for a flawless refinishing.
Teak oil doesn’t absolutely require a surface that is free of all discolorations for the result to look good.
It’s kinda nice to have some projects that don’t take forever.
The next part to address was the upper portion of the step-up end tables.
The top part of the 1/4-sheet palm sander with its own giant rings. I’m thinking more vases.
I had wanted to treat both tables equally and really test the sanders, but it became very apparent with the second table that I could not in every respect. And for that reason, I must focus this post on the second table.
See, the top part of the step-up table was cracked. I saw daylight through a seam. The glue had lost integrity.
So I did what I do in these situations: I broke the board in half. I feel like there’s a video somewhere of that, but I cannot find it.
I know to get rid of the old glue before gluing up boards. In the past, I’ve used sandpaper. Then I switched to a sanding block. It never lines up properly. It’s annoying. I always worry about ending up with a rail when I start out with a table. And that was happening with this board.
So I stopped myself and tried to find out how I could just do it right. I figured there had to be a woodshop around here somewhere that has a jointer.
But I started with reddit to see what the folks there recommend.
Many people recommended getting a hand plane. So I researched hand planes. But what would I need a big plane for afterward? I already had a mini plane. I used the mini plane to chamfer the edges of the seat cushion boards. The mini plane had no hope of creating the edge I wanted.
So back it was to try to find woodshops in the area because I really didn’t want to mess around with this part of it.
House of Hardwood no longer offers use of their jointer as a service. That had been my go-to. But only in my mind, really. I remembered that someone who also had made a chessboard in my woodshop class the summer after 6th grade had taken his chessboard to House of Hardwood to run it through the planer so he didn’t have to do it by hand. I was proud to have hand planed my chessboard. I still am. But what with no plane and such a small job, I was OK with letting someone else handle it.
Finally I found Angel City Woodshop. They make amazing stuff. Truly remarkable.
Paul agreed to straighten out for me what I’d screwed up, and that saved me in this project.
He’s really nice, and the stuff I saw in progress in the shop was superlative. I recommend Angel City Woodshop for their kindness and craftsmanship. There’s no sacrifice in either quality.
When I got home, I glued up the board.
Back on track with the two tables at the same stage. I would have had something a lot worse had I not stopped myself and gotten the help I needed.
These two oak tables were going to be a challenge. The first challenge was to get to the oak.
Table 1: 1/4-sheet palm sander.
Definitely a rough time.
The main board of the table started out pretty gross. I mean it wasn’t the worst I’ve dealt with, but it was bad. Water damage was the main issue. It looked like a potted plant lived on it, and then either smaller flowers or tea.
After 18 minutes of sanding. I was making some considerable headway.
There was still clearly more to do.
I kept going, and almost 10 minutes later
I think this water stain is the worst I’d dealt with. The prior step-up end table project also had some crazy water stains, but those were manageable. I wasn’t sure what would happen with these.
Let’s switch over to the the other table.
Table 2: Random Orbital Sander
But first a little bit about the sander and the sandpaper.
I had waited for the DeWalt sander to go on sale on Amazon. When it did, I got it. But the sandpaper for a random orbital sander is different from the sandpaper for a 1/4 sheet palm sander.
After some research, I came across the 3M Pro Grade sandpaper that claimed not to clog. Also that it had grit of varying size and sharpness, so rather than 80-grit, there was 80+. I got a variety pack.
It says not for retail sale on the real box, too. I don’t understand. That’s amazon for you.
I expected the random orbital sander to be much more powerful at removing material. And it was.
Water stains not as bad. Could be easy!
Four minutes of progress with the 80+.
Eight minutes in, and I saw stains I hadn’t seen before. Including a familiar big circle! Another potted plant or flowerpot, I imagine.
At the 30-minute mark, the DeWalt random orbital sander with 3M Pro Grade 80+ sandpaper had blown away the DeWalt 1/4-sheet palm sander with 3M regular 60-grit.
And the amazing thing after an hour of use:
How is there no clogging? I’d swapped out the 60-girt numerous times at this point.
The other surprise: It was never oak. I’m working with maple!
I like maple better, anyway.
More next week!
Note: This post is a little lighter on text. I’ve been struggling with WordPress to get captions back on my photos. No luck just yet, but that has eaten up a lot of time. More cool stuff later.
Usually my projects start with the Free Stuff section of craigslist. This one does not. This started with the purchase of a pair of tables–tables that were in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
I have never been to New Mexico. I’ve been to regular Mexico, but that’s a different story.
My friend Winston recently moved to Albuquerque, and he looks to see what people post for sale on facebook. He sent me pictures of this pair:
So $50 for the pair plus about as much for shipping. Normally I’m still at $0 when I bring a piece home, but by the time I got these, I was already in more than $100.
I saved a little bit of money on shipping by gifting the legs to Winston. I believe he then threw them away because he and I have a lot of things in common, and not wanting those legs is one of them.
Since this is a pair of tables rather than a single one, I decided to do an experiment to compare tools. In past projects, I’d used my Makita corded 1/4-sheet finishing sander. I then got a cordless DeWalt 1/4-sheet variable speed palm sander, which I decided to use for one of the two tables. For the other, I got a DeWalt random orbital sander. I hadn’t had one of these sanders before, but what better time to learn than to put it head-to-head with the other?
While I worked on these tables in sequence and not in tandem, I will be approaching this series as a comparison of the two processes, as they were extremely different. I made some mistakes, and I learned a lot. I had to modify my setup, get some new tools, and attempt many techniques for the first time. I’m glad I did this project, and, as of the posting of this first installment, the project isn’t finished. By the final post, it will be.
Keep coming back every Tuesday at 10am for new installments.
HELLO! This is the last installment of my cushion adventure.
Step 4: This week I’m going to show you how I secured these two beautiful cushions to two beautiful chairs that Matt beautifully refinished. You can see that journey here.
I had successfully made two fitted cushions for two chairs at this point. This is how I wanted them to sit on the chairs:
I wanted to use the secondary fabric to secure the cushions because 1) the seconday fabric is super strong and does not stretch, 2) it made sense to use the same fabric that covers the back of the cushions for continuity purposes, and 3) it was a benign color that I felt would blend in and be less visible. You’ll notice that the cushion is a bit wrinkled as I placed it up against the chair? Yeah, that’s expected. The back of the chair is a bit curved, and my cushion is very much not curved, so it’ll wrinkle a bit. I didn’t mind.
So now comes the part where I attach the darned thing. I wanted the method of attachment to be functional, reliable, and look decent. Sounds reasonable, right?
I mocked up how that should look with scratch paper:
The zig zag design was my first idea… but that turned out to be much harder to make each “v” precise, and I got frustrated.
I still went ahead and made the straps out of the secondary fabric because I knew that they were going to be incorporated no matter what. Turns out that I measured them too small and so when it came time to turning these little tubes inside out, I darned near lost my mind (I also lost a chopstick in the process). It was not a pretty scene.
Ok, so now what? My tubes are TINY and impossible to turn inside out to hide the seam. I set out to make the same length tubes (11″) and a new width. I think I just added 0.5″ to the original measurements?
Here are those new and improved tubes!
I had given up on the zig-zag design for the straps to the cushion so I tried a cross-cross pattern:
Pretty intriguing, right? I kept my annotations on a scratch piece of paper that I slipped between the straps and the chair. Once I was happy with how each strap was placed, I needed to pin them on the cushion.
I put pins on the top edge of the cushion where the straps would line up with the criss-cross pattern. Then, by some miracle, I was able to preserve the spacing and criss-cross pattern after I had pinned the straps to the secondary fabric on the cushion. This step took a while and some creativity (and MANY reattempts).
I almost forgot the strip of secondary fabric where these straps would attach to! In my head I would add a long strip of fabric at the bottom edge of the cushion to house the velcro that would grab onto the tips of the straps when securing to the chair.
These pictures are of me adding those two strips:
Now, maybe you’re already ahead of me on this… did you wonder how the heck I was going to sew all of these things onto the cushion? Well once everything was neatly in place, pinned to the cushion itself, it was only THEN that I realized I still needed to SEW things down!
Great. *slow clap*
Ok don’t panic…
… this is me thinking…
With a flash of brilliance I decided to sew my straps all onto a second-secondary fabric panel and then just hand stitch that panel onto the cushion. Smooth finish, sufficiently secured straps with the sewing machine, and that’s that. Here’s what that looked like:
I prefer this finished clean look.
Let’s check to see that I haven’t messed this up too badly:
Wait. Where’s the criss-cross? What am I missing here? Why is there that icky situation where the straps are not flat against the top of the chair??
My guess is that somewhere between the point at which I meticulously measured out the spacing and placement of my straps against the scratch paper and the moment when I moved the straps onto the second-secondary fabric panel, things went awry.
Here’s what it looks like from the front.
I decided that I was ok with the parallel design instead of the criss-cross. *sigh* Honestly, I didn’t want to do the whole thing all over again, especially after I hand stitched that secondary panel down.
Seeing how things went to heck on the first cushion, I intentionally spaced the straps on the second cushion so that they WERE lined up to be parallel. That looked like this:
Yeah… that’s pretty… different…
BUT no puckering! Just nice and flat. I didn’t want to go back and fix the first one. Maybe one day, when I’m REALLY bored I will. For now, it works.
LAST STEP: VELCROOOO
Pro tip: Don’t sew with the velcro that has adhesive on the back. It’s impossible to get any needle through (even on a powerful sewing machine). Plus, things get all gunky-sticky and messy. Get yourself some non-adesive velcro and be done with it.
And now, for the final reveal…
And it’s comfortable too!
Thank you for adventuring with me through this experience! Stay tuned for Matt’s weekly woodworking blog every Tuesday at 10 am. You can also check out his entertaining daily Spelling Bee blog here.
Step 3: Somehow put the foam into the cover I just made. Sounds pretty simple… right?… anyone?… hello out there?
My plan was to use the sewing machine as much as possible to secure those seams before I had to hand-stitch anything because I knew that whatever the machine did, it would be 10,000,000 times stronger than whatever my two hands could do… and especially since the cushions will face a future life of constant sitting, leaning, shearing, and other inevitable forces, I wanted them to have the best chance of surviving at LEAST 10 individual buttocks interactions before I had to fix them/replace them. So that’s what you will see in the first picture below. I kept the two ends open for hand stitching, thinking that those areas would experience the least amount of stress (Is that factual? I haven’t the slightest clue. But it sounds good, right? If you do actually know the answer, comment below and set me straight.). As we speak, they are still intact and holding their own! Time will tell, but I have a good feeling about their longevity.
Once I adjusted the foam to be exaclty lined up with the corners and edges, I folded the two open edges and began to hand stitch them closed. It was here where I learned the value of thimbles. I had never used them before, though, I was aware of their existence. I had to hand stitching the thick bulk of secondary and fancy fabrics all rolled up on the ends of the cushion. This can get to be pretty tough to push through with just your bare fingers. And even though there was a decent amount of swelling at my J&J injection site (I’m like the Hulk now, but just in one arm because J&J is a one shot deal so I list), my rippling bicep didn’t stand a chance. Trust me, get yourself a thimble… your fingers will thank you.
The wrinkling you saw in the previous photo bothered me a lot. All of my other corners were smooth and lovely, but that one darned corner would just not do. Honestly, I am not 100% certain where I went wrong, but I suspect that I didn’t fold and close the ends as nicely as I could have when I was hand stitching.
Just to be sure, I performed a cesarian on the cushion, freed the foam from the wrinkled case, and made a brand new cover that fit JUST RIGHT.
Pretty darned cool, right? I thought so too.
And here are both cushions!
And then to see if I actually made something worthwhile…
I placed the cushion against the back of the chair to see how it looked, and man… it looked pretty sweet. At that point, I was pretty darned pleased that what I had envisoned in my head ACTUALLY looked like what I had made in reality. That doesn’t happen often for me. So after my victory lap around our one bedroom apartment, I started to brainstorm ideas on how to make my beautiful (and comfy) cushions stay put on the chair.
Join me next week for part 4!
Lessons learned: Thimbles are very helpful, and needles are still pretty sharp.
Last week I talked about HOW the idea came about to make cushions for the top panel of the chairs that Matt brought back to life.
Now I need to show you exactly how I tried to do that.
Step 2: Making the actual cushion.
Matt cut the actual foam with a Turkey-carving-knife-tool according to my measurements with the added 0.50″. You’ll see one of two cut foams in the picture above.
Now I’m thinking, great! I have the foam…now I just need to cover them and… BAM! Cushion made! It’s that easy, right? So, I went about cutting, sewing, and stitching a cover to wrap them: in the front with the fancy fabric, and around the back with the secondary fabric. See below:
This is my machine. I have had it since I was a little girl. My mom and I used to go to the art and craft expos and bask in the DIY glow. One year, while walking around the vendor tents, mom and I decided that we wanted to learn how to sew. So, mom bought this machine and we signed up for sewing classes at Michaels (or Jo-Anne Fabrics(?)–it’s been so long). Since then, we have made pillows, skirts, pajamas, curtains and more. We used to go to the annual bird expo too… but that’s for another time. At one point in my childhood, we had over 50 birds.
Ok enough chit chat. Here is how I went about making the cushions:
This is the secondary fabric that will be up against the panel and hopefully not too visible once the cushion is attached. In this picture, I’m just making sure that I have enough fancy fabric to reach the secondary fabric. I probably should have done that before I went and cut up the fancy fabric… but it looks like I have enough! *high five*
Check out that gorgeous corner! I sewed the cover inside out so that my seams were nicely tucked inside the cushion. All of the seams were 0.25″.
Me: Calah, you did good. Also me: I know right?!
I turned the cushion over to see if I was on the right track. It’s a bit baggy, but that should resolve once I sew on the secondary fabric because the fancy fabric will be pulled taut against the foam.
Checkpoint: So you can see that the fancy fabric was measured, cut, and sewn into shape to wrap around the foam. I intentionally left extra material on the fancy fabric’s edges JUST IN CASE. It’s always good to have some wiggle room.
The next part was to add the secondary fabric to the back part of the cushion. It was at this point where I needed to make a decision: Do I, essentially, sew the foam into this fabric cover or do I do something else that is different and likely nicer looking but a method that I also wasn’t sure would work?
So I got to work sewing the foam into the fabric cover like so:
The secondary fabric is pinned into place and ready to sew!
Check out that lovely seam.
Now I am at the step where I needed to actually close the cover and encase the foam. My brain told me to go like this: sew the top and bottom edges (parallel seams) so that I could then gracefully shove the foam into the cover from the smallest possible hole. Make sense, right? I thought so, too.
Lesson learned in this step: Pins are sharp.
I went ahead and did the same thing for the second cushion. Now that I had both covers, I just needed to get the foam into them and secure the finished cushion to the chair.
Hi! Calah here! I am going to be sharing how I made cushions for the first time ever… from scratch… like a boss.
First, let’s talk about WHY I took all of this time to make them (total time = 3 weeks).
Matt resurrected two previously really ugly and orangeCraigslist chairs (if you don’t know what I am referring to, check out the earlier posts in his weekly woodworking blog. They drop every Tuesday at 10 am PT.
Ok, so, Matt finished the chairs a few weeks ago and they are delightfully comfortable–EXCEPT for the top wooden part of the chair’s back–you know the place where your spine hits as your sitting in the chair? Maybe it’s because I slouch (my mom was always reminding me to stand up straight), but whatever the reason, if I could just have some cushion on that area I’d be able to sit in those chairs for forever. So Matt suggested that I make some cushions. I thought to myself, I never made cushions before, but how hard could it be?
Here’s that adventure divided into multiple blogs for your entertainment.
Step 1: How TF do I make a cushion??!
I had to decide what these cushions would look like–fabric, size, how they’ll attach to the chair, etc. For consistency, I wanted the cushions to be the same fabric as what Matt used for the seat of the chairs. To make things easy, we are going to call this particular fabric fancy. I will be using a second fabric, and we’ll call that one secondary (creative, I know). I didn’t need to have the entire cushion covered in this fancy fabric mostly because it is a bit too stretchy for my taste, and I was concerned that it might sag in the long-run after consistently being pulled taut (you’ll see what I mean)… and also, why have it up against the back of the chair where no one gets to see it?
Enter: the secondary fabric! Matt and I have a massive tub of our combined fabric remnants, scraps, and old clothes that might come in handy one day for patching and such. A deep dive into that tub produced the perfect fabric for this role! I don’t know what kind it actually is… feels like denim but isn’t… it’s durable… does not stretch… and it’s brown. Perfecto.
THEN, once I chose the fabric, I got measurements on scratch paper of every length, width, height, of that top board. I must have measured and remeasured those panels a million times to be sure that I had it right.
So, in case you can’t see the notes on the paper, the actual sizes of the panel are: bottom edge length = 17.5″, top edge length = 18.25″, height = 4.75″ (see top paper in this picture). But, according to this YouTube video by SailRite, I should add 0.25″ to all sides of the foam when I cut it (I assumed this allowed for foam compression). So, the foam’s measurements would have, essentially, 0.50″ added to the length and width (see middle paper in this picture) . We were working with 2″ deep piece of foam, so that part was not going to change.
I decided that since I had the measurements and the fabric, the next best step was to make the actual cushion. Premature? Likely. I still wasn’t sure how I was going to attach the darned things to the panel.