A friend got a small table-top washing machine. She wanted to put it on a low, sturdy table that would not allow it to “walk” off the table during the spin cycle. The dimensions of this table were chosen for her specific situation. You could easily add a shelf, but she wanted to put her wastebasket underneath, so I left it open.
Creating a design is my favorite part of any DIY project. As much as I enjoy working with wood, and the satisfaction of building something useful, it is the desire to see my design come to life that keeps me motivated. In fact, I often have to push myself to complete the finishing work on a project, since I loose some of that excitement after I can see whether or not the design will work.
Since I haven’t built anything recently that is interesting enough to share, I want to ask readers of this site what they would like to see designed. Suggest an interesting idea, and I’ll write up a plan, draw it in SketchUp, and post it here on the site, all for free.
A neighbor was looking for a Thomas the Tank Engine toddler bed, hoping to find one second hand. The manufactured plastic version, aside from being expensive, didn’t even do a good job of capturing the shape of a tank engine (not that the average 3 year old would notice). I drew one up, but the neighbor moved, so I never built it.
Any search for woodworking plans will return multiple links for one particular vendor that claims to offer 16,000 plans on CD for a little over $60. I am not going to give them the benefit of even mentioning their name, since you probably already ran across multiple versions of it before finding this site.
The scam tactics employed by the site should be enough to deter anyone from handing over their credit card. But for those who may have missed the warning signs, I feel compelled to offer a little analysis.
Why would you want to do it yourself?
The push to build your own piece of furniture, rather than buy a completed piece, could come from several sources.
- – Price: you’ve seen a piece you would like, but can’t afford it
- – Quality: you’ve seen a piece you like, but it was made of particle board
- – Fit: you can’t find a piece in the correct size or shape for your needs
- – Uniqueness: you have a combination of needs that is unique enough that no one makes it
- – Fun: you like building things (we’ll include “get away from some task/person/thing I want to avoid” in this)
- – Nostalgia: you have some aged lumber that you’re dying to make use of
Many projects will touch on all of those motivations, and most will hit at least a couple of them. But even if “fun” is your top priority, you will want to consider at least a couple of the other factors when choosing projects.
A friend who shops in the “big and tall” section wanted to build a platform bed that he was absolutely certain would not be broken. He wanted simple construction with heavy lumber–as he put it, “a barbarian bed”. He also wanted 12″ of clearance under the side rails for storage.
We used 4×4’s and 2×8’s, and put it together with 8 large carriage bolts so it could be disassembled. No special tools are needed, but it does require a few challenging cuts, careful drilling, and countersinking long screws.
When caring for a friend’s Yorkie recently, I found myself setting up a box next to my bed to give him a step for jumping up on the bed (he still had hops, but one eye wasn’t so good, so he was afraid to try it when the room was dark). I wanted a small stair step that I could easily tuck under the bed during the day.
This step folds flat, needing only 6″ clearance to slide under the bed. It folds out, not on top of itself, so it’s almost 4′ long when folded flat, but that will still fit easily under a standard full size bed.
This daybed has a pull-out section to increase the width to a queen size or larger. The basic design is similar to the Hemnes brand daybed, but there are some notable differences.
This bed extends up to 33″ for a total width of 72″, which is wider than a queen, but not as wide as two twins. You could use it with a full size foam or futon mattress, or get a combination of a twin, and a “single” or “bunk” mattress that measures 30″ to 33″ in width.