Things I Build When I’m Supposed to be Writing About Building Things

This week I started a fun little side-project writing a DIY site for Lifehacker. (More on that later, but if you want to check out the site you can find it here: Since I’m contributing a post a day– much shorter and less full of farm animals than the stuff you usually find here– I decided last week I needed to be a bit more regimented about my writing time. The plan was that Sunday at noon I’d lay off off building things, and spend that time writing about building things.

12:01 PM: Well, but just look at this pile of wood just sitting in my driveway. I should do something with this. And I do need a new stand for my TV (that isn’t hooked up to anything and doesn’t get any actual stations.)


Oh. Look. I might have just accidentally sketched out a rough plan for a console table.



12:20 PM: Okay, fine, I’ll just pull all of the nails out of this barn wood to get it ready to maybe build a console table with this week.


(We’re not even going to talk about the number of splinters I had to pull out of my own hands after doing this.)

12:45 PM: Since the wood is just sitting here, ready and waiting, maybe I’ll just cut it and sand a few pieces down to see how it looks.


Okay, shit, let’s rip these boards down too…


And sand them. Because why not?


2:00 PM: I mean, really, I’ve got everything cut and sanded, it’s not going to be that hard to attach it all with my Kreg jig.


Ohhhh, look who’s helping…


3:30 PM: Well, shit, I have half the thing together already, I might as well just finish assembling it.

imageIt’s just the side pieces, after all.


3:30 PM: Okay, I’m done.


3:35 PM: I need a beer.

3:45 PM: Since I’m out here, and I have a beer, and I’m not (yet) bleeding from the mouth, I’ll just build the top of this thing. You know, because I’m almost done.


4:15 PM: Well then.


4:17 PM: I should stain it, right? Okay, I’m going to stain it.


5:30 PM: Did I just spend all the time I’d allocated to writing about building things… actually building things? That’s ironic.

Okay, also, this thing is not done. First off, it needs a bottom shelf. After that the whole damn thing needs a poly or wax to finish. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be adding casters to the bottom, but right now I like it as is.

Also, the lesson I learned this weekend is that I’m really bad a following rules. Even my own. But it’s hard to complain when I get a new console table out of it…

23 Responses

  1. I cannot believe you built that so fast. Wow.

    Here’s a fun, off-the-cuff, no relation to any situation currently happening in my house, suggestion. Why not do a coloumn about, say, having to sledge the crap out of the cement triple laundry sink in the basement because the bastard is leaking all over the place from the rusted out pipes. And how best to NOT break any of the rest of the drain pipes because you REALLY do not have the time to deal with that right now. What with the porch pillar replacement and all … .


  2. p.s. I think the whole thing would be better if I had Nuggets to help me. I do have a black cat that lies all over my plans and I swear walks away with my tools.

  3. Who the hell(in their right mind) would sit inside at a computer on a gorgeous, relatively cool summer Michigan day when you could be outside doing instead of writing about doing…especially when I think you spend most of your weeks *not* building things?

    You made the right choice!

    Nice Frickin’ table!!
    Kreg Envy…love the shim for the stretcher reveal….isn’t that blade set just a tad too low?

    P.S. clicking the link to lifehacker did not work for me….cut and paste did tho.

  4. Damn, that looks good! Especially if you consider that all you used was scrap wood.

    I really need a Kreg too, just to be able to screw stuff together like that. I mean, it’s all I’d do for a whole week probably, just screwing stuff together.

    Btw, like Anne said, your lifehacker link doesn’t work… The url isn’t correct in the link.

  5. Oh and by the way, opening a beer bottle can be done with about anything that has an edge. For instance, with that crowbar, you started fine by putting it upright and then the bottle, but then just push down on the cap + bottle on the side not supported by the crowbar. It should come off smooth and gentle (if you get my explanation).

    In that same light you can use a lighter, a knife or a fork, another bottle, anything with an edge. Trust me, I’ve got years of experience and live in the country of beer 😉

  6. Holy Wow woman. You build fast. I’ve been lurking on your blog for the last few weeks. That table looks amazing. How big is the table and what kind of stain did you use? The color is perfect.

    1. Ha. I’ve built variations on that table design enough that it was pretty easy since I had all the wood and the tools. The table is roughly 60″ wide, 28″ tall, and 16″ deep.

      I used a mix of dark walnut and driftwood (to gray it out a bit) but that’s old oak barn wood and it takes stain so much better than any new stuff, so that’s part of the reason it looks good I think!

      1. In my experience barn wood tends to be thirsty. It takes stain really well, but it literally *takes* it… sucks it all right in. I’ve learned that the stain often turns out darker than I think it will. Good tip mixing in the driftwood.

  7. Here I am stressing about having to build 2 screen doors from scratch this weekend and you just tossed together a gorgeous table out of scrap wood *mind blown*.

  8. Sweet table Kit. Solid, funtional with a nice stain to it and fun to build.
    An inspiration to get some barn boards from Ned up the road, dust the shopsmith off, create and build again. I miss it and quite relaxing in my element.

  9. Dang I hate it when you do that! “Voila! Done!” Having table saw and scrap wood pile envy! lol

  10. It’s taken my husband 4 weekends to change a door and the door casings in my son’s room. One side left to case. Maybe I should figure this shit out on my own so I can get it done.

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