Here’s the litmus test for whether or not you’ve completed a successful “old barn wood” project:
Are you still picking splinters out of your hands two days later and happy about it?
This was a four-splinter project for me, one of which is still embedded deep in my right palm, but I grin like an idiot every time I see it because I’m so damn thrilled with how this project turned out.
This hallway used to contain a cabinet that was awkwardly taking up space in the corner:
When I removed the cabinet I had a couple of different ideas about how I could better utilize this space… I didn’t actually think I’d settled on what to do with it, but in the midst of a bad period of insomnia apparently I bought this 18×72″ chalkboard, which showed up–quite unexpectedly–on my doorstep last week.
Insomnia sucks for not looking like a zombie, but apparently it’s awesome for making decisions about accessorizing hallways. Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say something that might be unpopular (I know, shocking) but… I really don’t like chalkboard paint. I know it’s been all the rage for a few years, and I used it myself on this Pottery Barn inspired pinboard, and these tin containers, but as far as things I like to write on with chalk? I’m really not thrilled with the stuff.
So I did a couple of google searches to see if it was possible to get a custom cut piece of actual slate chalkboard. Either I didn’t find a place where I could procure that, or the cost was astronomical, because instead I (apparently) settled for a faux slate laminate version from billyBoards. If I had been fully conscious at the time I may have actually sprung for the magnetic porcelain version (I’m actually a little pissed I didn’t do that) but sleep and learn, I guess.
Still, this was a perfect excuse to use some of my tools that have been neglected for far, far too long…
There was about a 2 minute span of time where I thought about going to get some 1-by pine from Lowe’s to build a frame, and then I was like, um, hello, did you or did you not clean up an entire barn’s worth of old wood with your bare hands this summer? Right. So instead of going to Lowe’s I went to my very own lumber pile, complete with neatly stacked barn wood.
After hunting around for a bit I found a 2×6 (which is actually dimensionally 2″ by 6″… god, I love old building materials) that I thought would be perfect for the job.
Ideally I would have ripped this down with a table saw, but that is the one tool currently missing from my workshop so I made do with the handheld. Not as easy as the table saw, but it did the job.
Once I got the pieces ripped down, I cut the corners at a 45 and then used my palm router to create a nice little space for the chalkboard to sit in…
Have I ever mentioned how much I love having a palm router? I probably don’t sing the praises of this tool as much as I should, but it is so much easier to use for these little jobs than the big ol’ full sized router in the router table.
Anyway, once I had my notch, I dry fit everything…
(Yes, that’s the inside of my future basement door sitting there as well. It was a two-projects-at-once kind of weekend.)
Because I tend to fly by the seat of my pants when I’m building stuff like this, I usually have to make some adjustment cuts at this stage, but once I got everything snug, I used the cordless 18ga finish nailer to tack it all together.
I was debating about adding some luan to the back of the chalkboard (which is only 1/8″ thick) for stability, but I tacked it in every 4″ with the nailer first, and it’s actually pretty stable as is.
It was a pretty quick project–I think the hardest part about the whole thing was carrying it into the house without getting yet another splinter– but a lot of that has to do with having the right tools. Without the miter saw, palm router, or nailer? This whole thing would have been much more difficult. So basically what I’m saying is… go buy yourself more tools.
Right now I’m just planning to leave the board leaning up against the wall right here, where it conveniently hides the missing floor tiles from where the cabinet was, but I may attach a chain to the top and hang it from the wall eventually.
Score one for insomnia.