Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Building A Tic-Tac-Toe Bookshelf

The Challenge
I'd spent some time searching online for the perfect bookshelf, one that was not only sleek, modern, and clean in design, but also had those just-right dimensions. Well, I did finally find such a bookcase (see below) that met the design requirement, but lacked the dimensions and all-wood constitution (it was wood veneer). And since I fancy myself a bit of a craftsman wannabe, I  decided to take upon the challenge of replicating it for much cheaper, using real wood.

Tic-Tac-Toe Bookcase, Challenge Piece
The Materials 
  • (4)  1.5-inch-thick, 60-inch-long, 11.5-inch-wide wood planks/beams
  • (15) 1.5-inch-thick, 15.6-inch-long, 11.5-inch-wide wood planks
  • (6)  3/4-inch-round, 3ft-long (36in) threaded rods (option 1)
    or

    (12) 3/4-inch-round, 1.5ft-long (18in) threaded rods (option 2)
     
  • Drill and appropriate bits
  • Wood finish
  • Electric sander and sandpaper 
  • Wood glue (carpenter's glue)
  • 12 Metal T-brackets 

The Dimensions
60W x 11.5D x 84H inches

The Schematic
Before any construction took place, I created the schematic (see below) so that we would have something to follow. It's always good to have a diagram of some sort.
Bookcase Schematic - click to enlarge

The Construction

Initial Goal
The goal was to build the bookshelf by having 6 threaded rods travel  from top to bottom inside the vertical supports to ensure stability.

Augmented Plan
Because of our wood selection, using 2-by-8s rather then plywood, we soon realized that we had to deviate quite a bit from our initial construction goal in order to support the bookcase. Rather than use the 6 long rods, we had to use 12 shorter rods, wooden pegs, wood glue, and t-brackets both to support and reinforce construction. 

Our Steps 
  1. We went to local hardware store and had the wood pieces cut to size, according to the dimensions specified above in the Materials section. 
  2. We center-drilled a 3/4-in round hole, 12-in deep in the top of three of 15.6-inch-long vertical planks.
  3. We threaded a 1.5ft-long rod into each of the first three vertical planks. 
  4. We followed that by drilling three 3/4-in round holes (about 13in. apart) in each of the 4 horizontal planks.
  5. We assembled the first shelf by threading the rod in each of the first three vertical planks into the appropriate hole in the first horizontal plank and reinforced with wood glue. Once assembled; this left three exposed, vertical threaded rods that would be used to attach the second row of vertical planks (see photos below). 
  6. We took six more vertical planks and center-drilled a 3/4-in round hole, 12-in deep in both the top and bottom. Then threaded a 1.5ft-long rod only into the top, as we'd done in step 3. 
  7. We threaded the bottom of three of those six vertical planks into the exposed rods from the first row we assembled and reinforced with wood glue. 
  8. We threaded the second horizontal plank in place, matching the three holes in it with the three exposed rods from the second set of vertical planks. 
  9. We could and would now attach the third row of vertical planks and follow that with the attachment of the third horizontal plank. Keep in mind that we are still reinforcing with wood glue.
  10. We would assemble the forth row of verticals and forth horizontal plank in a similar manner, leaving all the final three vertical planks to attach.
  11. For the final three verticals, we center-drilled the hole in the bottom of each and threaded each into the final three exposed, vertical rods, reinforcing with wood glue.
  12. We attached t-brackets to each joint (12 total) in the back of the bookshelf for even more reinforcement. 
  13. We seals any joint gaps with wood finish and applied sanding where needed.
  14. Staining and varnishing are the remaining tasks. Note: We've not gotten around to this task, so the bookcase remains in its natural state for now. 
Photo Gallery
It's said that "a picture can say a thousand words," so I'll let the construction unfold through the gallery of images (click on images to enlarge)














































 

  
















The Results
So, without further ado, here's the semi-finished product: 

Semi-finished Bookcase (without stain) - click to enlarge

COMING IN FUTURE!
Finished Bookcase (with stain)

Reupholstery Gone Right!

My Materials 
  • 1 Thonet Mid-Century Modern Bentwood Armchair, antique shop ($50) 
  • 1 Thonet Mid-Century Modern Bentwood Armchair w/fabric, ebay ($30) 
  • 3 yds Company C Nori fabric in Slate, modern-fabrics.com ($100) 
  • Upholstery Services, Houston-based ($130 per/chair)  
My Story  
So here's how it all got started. I found the first Thonet chair a few years back at an antique shop in Tenaha, TX, on my way heading back to Houston from Shreveport. I fell in love with the lines of the chair and knew it was a great find @ $50.  As luck would have it, I found the second Thonet chair a little over a month ago on Ebay for $30. It was local, so it was an even better find. 

Initially, I had considered reupholstering in leather, but after online research about mid-century modern furniture, I stumbled upon some great resources for fabrics and fell in love w/ the Company C Nori fabric in Slate from Modern Fabrics.  
Note: At the time of writing this blog, it seems that fabric color is currently not available anymore. Boo!
Compnay C Nori Slate Fabric
Fabric Sample
Compnay C Nori Slate Fabric
Fabric Info


 









At any rate, the next step was to determine whether I would attempt reupholstering myself or leave it to the professionals. And after a bit of online research on DYI , it was clear that I should consult a pro, which I did. I found a nice little upholstery shop in the antique district here in Houston and let Luis do his  magic and boy, did he ever!  He was even able to replicate the arm padding that had only been on one of the chairs--Fantastic! (Thanks, Luis!)

My Results
So, without further ado, here are the finished products: 

Chair 1 (antique find) Before/After - click to enlarge

Chair 2 (ebay find) Before/After - click to enlarge

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bottle It: DIY Diffuser Station

You can turn an ordinary block of wood and recycled lotion bottles into an amazing reed diffuser station!

Materials Needed
Pencil
Level
Ruler
Wood Finish (stainer)
Paint Brush
Old Bottles
3x3x36 Poplar Square (wood block)
Drill
Large Drill Bit
Saw
Diffuser Oil
Reeds
Twine
Sander or sand paper
Safety goggles/glasses


Steps
[1]
Gather your old lotion bottles and remove all the labeling from them. You may need to use an adhesive removal solution to aid with this. Wash the containers thoroughly and set them aside to dry for later.

[2]
Go to your local hardware or home improvement store and purchase block of wood (I used a 3x3x36 Popular Square block). You'll cut it to size later, depending on the number of bottles you have. Keep in mind that you can make your station as long or as short as you wish.

[3]
Use your ruler to measure out the length you wish your station to be and mark the cut line on your block. Since I used only 3 bottles, my station is 10" long. Once the cut line is marked, use one of the bottles to trace its circumference on the block. Be sure when tracing that you space them equally. In my case, I made 3 circular tracings on the block. This will be where you drill your slots for the bottles.

[4]
Use a drill with the appropriately-sized drill bit to drill your slots, each 1/2" deep into the block. In my case, I used a 2-1/8" drill bit (see photos).

[5]
Once you've drilled out your slots, use your bottles to test the levelness of the slot depth, positioning the level over the bottles. Drill to level the slots, as necessary.

[6]
Use your saw to cut off the excess block from your station, making your cut at the line you'd previously drawn. Then smooth any ragged or rough surfaces of your block with your sander or sand paper.

[7]
Apply your first coat of stain (I used MinWax Golden Oak 210B) to your block and allow to dry thoroughly (It's good practice to apply at least 3 coats). While your block is drying, you can proceed to Step 8 to begin sprucing up your bottles.

[8]
Wrap several rows of the twine around the neck of each bottle, making it as decorative as you wish. Then fill each bottle with the diffuser oil and place a set of reeds in each.

[9]
Apply the remaining coats of stain to the wood block. Once dry, set your diffuser bottles into the wood block slots and place anywhere in your home. The fragrance will be pure delight!