Finally, A Dining Room Table – Part 1

Since we moved into our house, our front room has been either completely empty, or filled with junk. After I finished up all the window trim and the wainscotting, we’ve really needed to get some furniture to fill up the space.

I really wanted to build a dining room table but wanted to keep it simple considering this will be my first. My wife really likes the rustic farm tables that are popping up around at all the home stores so this was a prefect chance to make something that wasn’t all that difficult, plus I was able to use very cheap building lumber to get the desired look.


Here is the table I’m looking to build that is currently sold at Urban Barn for a cool $1,300. All the materials for this table, not including stain was $110.


The first step was to join all the 2×8’s together to form the table top. They are 8′ long and with 6 joined together make it around 42″ once the edges were run through the jointer. I used biscuits and glue to hold them together but also added some pocket screws to give it a bit more holding power during the glue up.



Clamped everything together and voila, a pretty rough table top ready to be worked on.


Here it is with the glue dried and ready to be planed.


I got my Vertias low angle jack plane a little over a year ago and have used it for minor things here and there but this was my first good test of using it on a large scale. It works absolutely beautifully and made it really easy to get nice clean shavings once I was able to dial in the right thickness it was taking off. It’s hard to see in this picture but a couple of the boards were really off after the glue up due to the size of the pieces. I initially was going to leave the table as-is but once I saw the gaps and started planing, I couldn’t stop.


Here it is almost finished and looking really nice with lots of great features in the wood. Construction grade lumber is great for furniture once its been cleaned up.

IMG_2339This was another shot just to see all the shavings I’ve taken off it to get it nice and level flat. My basement looks like the bottom of a rabbit cage right about now.

More to come once I start building the legs.


Are You Not Entertained?

Well here is officially my first post of work I did for a customer. I had someone ask me to make a sign for their restaurant, unfortunately the restaurant wasn’t doing so well at the time so they weren’t able to continue on with the project.

I did this with a good friend of mine who is a contractor by trade and does a lot of these types of units on the side. This was for another friend of ours who wanted a bookshelf/storage unit in their upstairs living room. It was a fairly simple design and we were able to make most of the cuts off-site and build it at her home.


The base was a fairly straight forward 2×4 base which was eventually covered up with a kick plate on the front.


As I mentioned earlier, we made all the cuts off-site so we just continued on making the boxes and filling in the spaces. We left the edges of the boxes just a little out from the wall and covered it up with some cleats.


We did another full piece of MDF across the top so it had a bit more width to the top as well as covering up the box tops.


Here it is with all the pine face frames just about ready to be filled and ready for paint.


Here is the final picture of it all painted and ready to be piled in with stuff. The painter did a great job of this part and I’m really glad for once I was able to do just the woodworking aspect of a job and pass the painting onto a professional.

Muskoka Bound

Well it’s a little ridiculous that I’m posting the chairs I built in the summer on Christmas Eve. I wanted to wait to get a final picture of the chairs on my front porch but I just kept forgetting to snap a good picture. Now that it’s so miserable outside, it could be a while before I get a good shot of the chairs in their usable location so I figured I just post them anyway.

My mum gave me a copy of Cottage Life that had the plans for these chairs so I can’t say I completely made them from scratch but it was pretty close.


I took the plans, printed them out and had to tape everything together to make 1 big sheet. Then I cut each piece out a little oversized and put them onto 1/8″ hardboard and finished everything up on the bandsaw.

My first attempt at the chair I ended up scrapping a couple pieces because of the method I used. I mounted the hardboard on top of the wood with double stick tape and tried using a router and a pattern bit to be able to make everything the same size. Because I don’t have the best router and a bit that wouldn’t reach all the way through the wood, I made a mess of 1 leg stretcher before I finally ditched the router step and just cut everything as close as possible on the bandsaw and then cleaned everything up with the belt and spindle sander. When doing identical pieces (the armrests and chair side stretchers) I just double stick taped the pieces and was able to get them identical. By the second chair, I flew through the process.


Here are all the pieces for 1 chair ready to be assembled. Each piece was cut, sanded and the edges rounded off with the router.


Assembling the chairs was a little trickier than I thought, but again, by the second chair, it was a breeze.


The final step was cutting the top curve but the plans didn’t have a specific curve, they said to just make something that looked pleasing to the eye. I made a template out of cardboard so both chairs have the same arch. This part was a little time consuming because I needed attach all the pieces to the chair, mark the pieces in place with the template, remove all the pieces, cut them on the bandsaw, sand and round off the edges.


One chair completed.


Here are the final chairs ready to be placed on the front porch of our new house. I really would’ve liked to take a final picture but they still need to be finished properly with an oil of some sort.

Hanging On

So in our new home we don’t have the best front door situation when it comes to hanging up our coats. The “hallway” closet is actually much further down the hallway from the front door so coats were getting thrown everywhere. My wife found a couple nice examples and I went to work.


Here is the basic frame of the back getting glued up. I used 1/2″ MDF but the realized that the hooks I bought had much larger screws so it was going to burst through the back. I put the piece on the bottom so it would have more meat to grab but this also made it really easy to add a French cleat so it could be mounted on the wall flush.


Next step was attaching the crown moulding as well as filling all the nail holes and caulking the gaps.


First coat of primer which was then followed by 2 coats of the Benjamin Moore Advance paint which was the same as the paint I used on my stairs. Finishes really nice and smooth and doesn’t leave a lot of brush strokes.


Finished product turned out great and has been really useful for us. Now you can barely even see the nice work I did because it’s covered in a mountain of coats but it sure serves its purpose.

Wayne Scott?

To quote a line from Marge on The Simpsons: “I read an article about wainscotting at the tire store. Did you know it’s not named after someone named Wayne Scott?”

So this was something I wanted to do since the second I walked in the door of our new house. Our front room is really nice and open and serves as a great dining/living room once we get some furniture (more on that later).


I don’t have the best final picture as I would like to take a shot with the furniture in there. Currently it’s just a toy dumping ground so it’s not very picture worthy.


Had a little help measuring to get started.

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The windows were something I also wanted to add as I think the two styles go great together. It’s a pretty straight forward trim. It’s just pre-primed MDF 1×4 strips for the side and a 1×6 for the top and bottom. The whole thing is capped with a cove moulding a 2 inch top to cap it off. I also put in a piece of pine to trim out the bottom of the window. I had to glue it and go directly through the front face with a 2 3/4″ brad nail so I didn’t want to split the MDF.

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Next was putting up the chair rail and the wall panels. During this project I got a new mitre saw and what a difference it made cutting the pieces. It has a nice long wing extension so I was able to index all my cuts and just rip through them. I took my measurements, drew out a full layout of the room and got cutting. I drew all the layout lines on the wall as well using some scrap blocks as spacers and I was able to glue and nail this thing in about 2 hours.


This room also happens to be the room that the “corner” is for my son when he’s not being all that nice. When I came back in the room, this is what he had done. Can’t get mad at that.


Here is the room with a primer coat. This is where a nice “finished” shot should really be but I’m saving that for later.

Stairway to Hell

Well, here was an example of a job that almost broke my will to ever renovate anything again. Since we put down the dark hardwood floor in our house my wife insisted that we change the stairs to match. I knew what was involved but I *never* thought it would be as painful as it was. Living in a house with a little guy as well, my time to do any of the heavy work was very limited. This took me roughly 65 hours of work over the course of a month and half. That was working pretty much every night and weekend for that entire stretch.

The first daunting task was sanding everything. I really didn’t want to paint the stairs as it’s a nice oak staircase and I really wanted the grain to peek through so I went to work sanding.


The sanding portion of the job took about 14 hours to finish up every nook and cranny. I used an orbital sander for most of the treads and banister but for all the tight spots I had to use some elbow grease. The next step was taping everything so I could put down my first coat of stain. In hindsight, I didn’t actually need to do the taping because I just primed over everything anyways.


The staining went fairly smooth however because we still needed to use the steps, I was only able to stain every other stair. It was also a bit of a game remembering what steps we could step on each night.


I used a regular polyurethane to cover all the steps and did 2 full coats on each step. For the banister, I used a wiping poly because I found it was a lot easier to apply it and the look was nice without any small bubbles that sometimes happened with the brushable poly.



Once all the stairs and railings were done with their poly it was onto the final pass of work. We picked up a really nice Benjamin Moore Advance paint that was a bit of a hybrid paint. It was latex with Alkyd so it has the finish of an oil base paint but without the smell or cleanup. Amazing product. Before we used the paint, we used a primer called Stix which was AMAZING! This stuff really does stick to anything. We didn’t need to prime any of the spindles or risers and it stuck great. When the paint went on, it was flawless.


2 coats of paint on everything (I HATE painting spindles by the way) and it was ready for action. Really happy how it turned out but I will never do this again. Even though I just saved myself about 4 thousand dollars, I think my time is worth more than that.






Well it’s been some time since I’ve posted an update on the blog but that’s because I’ve been busy as all get out and in the coming weeks there’ll be a flood of posts with the work I’ve been doing lately. We purchased a new house back in April and we got the keys in May. The lead up to moving into the house obviously took up all my time so my shop was neglected for quite some time.


When we saw this house we really liked it because of the pure bare-bones nature of it. Nothing was upgraded, everything was builder grade so this presented a great opportunity to do a lot of home renos to boost the value of it. Cue the hardwood floors!


We ended up going with a really nice dark oak hardwood with a lot of grain to it mostly because we have a little one so anything dropped should just blend into the floors. Day 2 of being in the house we got the hardwood delivered and the work began.


First night was the purging  of the old carpeted floors and getting everything prepared. I had to pull out all the carpet, tack strips, underpad and then go around and pull out each staple. Back breaking and knee breaking work, let me tell you! But once this was done the work was able to commence.




I found the flooring to be fairly straight forward except for a lot of the transition pieces which needed to be bevelled a bit to meet with the tiled areas. This was a scary process feeding the hardwood through the table saw on that angle. But amidst the smoke and sawdust the pieces turned out great.

And here is the finished product.







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