The Challenge: To build a toy storage bin for Lucas’s new big boy room. He’s 2 and he has TONS of toys.
My Inspiration: I heard about Ana White for the first time last week when I was listening to the Young House Love podcast. She was their featured guest and she talked about her her quest to build her own affordable furniture and the website/blog that followed. She started with a farmhouse bed and through the years she has added hundreds of other pieces to her collection. She shares all of her plans online for free and takes great joy in inspiring others to tackle many types of furniture builds and DIY projects.
What I Need: According to her instructions…
- 1 – 1×12 @ 8 feet long
- 1 – 1×10 @ 8 feet long
- 1 – 1×8 @ 3 feet long *
- 1- 1×4 @ 3 feet long *
- Wainscoting panel if 32″ tall
- 3/4 inch screws **
- 1 1/4 inch screws **
- Wood Glue
- Wood Filler
*Maybe I didn’t see the 3 foot boards, but I had to buy a 6 foot board ** Her directions say to use finish nails, but we don’t have a nail gun.
What it Cost: The lumber and the wainscoting panel were $34 at Home Depot. The tools, the glue, the screws and the clamps were used for free from My Handy Hubby Adam. (that’s who I’m referring to when I say “MHH”)
Who’s Helping Me: MHH. In the spirit of Ana’s site, I will attempt to tackle as much of this challenge by myself as possible and reserve MHH for purely consultative help.
Who’s Not Helping Me: The lady at the register (see above graphic). Yep, that happened.
How I Did it:
- I bought the materials and I printed the instructions.
- Side Boards: I measured and then executed my first cut on the 1×12 board. This will be one of the sides of the bin. After the cut, I prayed that I hadn’t lost any of my hearing because the saw was insanely loud. As you can see in the GIF above, I wasn’t wearing protective ear covering. Desperate for some sort of ear protection, I found some shoddy ear plugs and noise canceling headphones. Please see my public service announcement below:Try these instead?
3. I looked back at Ana’s directions and realized that I had measured the first cut completely, inexcusably WRONG. I measured 36 inches instead of 31 1/12 inches. How and why I did this remains a great mystery to me. I thought to myself “No big deal!” I’ll just cut the errant board to 31 1/2 and move on. I’ll definitely do the next board right!” I cut the 2nd board to 31 1/2 inches and I was feeling pretty dang confident
4. Diagonal Cuts: It was then then time to cut the diagonal piece on the first side board. I did the cut, but not before accidentally nicking the board. Ay yi yi! It was definitely easier to cut the second side board because I used the first board as my pattern.5. Break to Resume Normal Life: I needed to stop for the day because apparently my son needs a mother to take care of him and actually pay attention to him
6. Sanding: When I returned to my masterpiece the next day, I sanded both side boards and felt exhilarated by all of my woodworking prowess. I also was able to sand the spot where I nicked the board to make it not so noticeable. 7. Things Take a Turn for the Worse: The next step was to attach both side boards to the bottom board. When I made the stupid mistake of cutting that very first 1×12 board wrong, I hadn’t realized that the bottom 33″ board was to also come from that same 8 foot long 1×12! Do the math with me: 31.5+31.5+33=96 (8ft). When Ana made these plans, she assumed that you wouldn’t be a dummy and make your cuts wrong. All 3 cuts would come from the 1×12 perfectly. Again I say “Ay.. yi.. yi..
8. Sister, Sister: I glued together the two boards that I had assumed were “scrap” and MHH told me I needed to make a “sister” in order for the glued boards to reliably hold weight. I had no idea what a sister was, but he told me how to make it with scraps and it looks like this:9. A New Day, A New Saw: The next day, I made the rest of my cuts with MHH’s new fancy miter saw and now it was time to start assembling the shelf.
10. Bottom + Sides, Ready to Rage: This was perhaps the most frustrating element of the whole process. I could NOT figure out how to attach the side boards to the bottom without having the boards fall over. My Dad borrowed me some pony clamps and when those didn’t work I caved and asked MHH to hold the boards for me while I screwed them in. Technically that was more than consultative help, but considering my level of frustration he was preventing me from setting the whole project ablaze in the driveway.
11. Top, Inside Shelf: Having the bottom and sides finished, these two parts went a lot quicker.
12. Dividers and Not Listening to My Inner Voice: At this point it was 10:30pm and my stubborn persistence kicked in. I was determined to get the dividers attached even if it meant very little sleep. I should have listened to that itty bitty voice in my head that was telling me to stop, but I did not. My biggest mistake was trying to cut the angle on the boards with the miter saw. MHH had told me it was possible to do so and without any additional training or YouTube tutorial viewings, I decided to try cutting the angles. This was a BIG, BIG, BIG MISTAKE! I did something miserably wrong. See below (some photos taken the next day):
13. Rock Bottom: It was late, I was tired and all my dreams of being a first-time-woodworking-prodigy came crashing down. My naïveté and my blind persistence finally caught up to me. I went to bed feeling low, low, low.14. Morning Mercy, Front Aprons: I woke up early in a sheer panic about my shelf, praying that it was all just a dream. I returned to my makeshift garage workshop fresh out of ideas. As I was attaching the front aprons, MHH came to the garage to see what I was up to and brought with him refreshing perspective, helpful ideas and encouraging words. I was ashamed to admit my failures, but he told me he had heard our son was starting his morning singing/yelling “MOMMY!” routine so I had no time for sulking.
15. Wainscoting Panel, Wood Filler: I quickly attached the back panel and slapped some wood filler on the screw heads and attended to my now hysterical son.
16. Sanding, Painting: I sanded. I painted. I thanked God I was finished.
Would I do this again?: Yes, definitely. This project made me realize that I can accomplish a woodworking project, but I’m far from being a master of woodworking projects. I didn’t quite realize how many questions I’d have and how uncertain I’d be every step of the way. I didn’t fathom how much I’d rely on MHH’s expertise to guide me and I certainly didn’t expect how many simple mistakes I would make and how devastating those mistakes would be to my progress.
Thankfully, this is why I started this blog! I’m not a master when it comes to MANY things! I want to grow in skills and knowledge and prove to myself that avoidance is not the answer. Just because I think I can’t do something doesn’t mean I shouldn’t at least try. So, I tried to make the shelf. I DID make the shelf. It’s not amazing and I’m hoping guests don’t look at it from certain angles… but it will fulfill its purpose and the 2 year old boy chucking toys into it surely won’t notice the mistakes.
Coming Up Next Week: The elusive EYELINER WING!