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.
My first Kickstarter project, the DIY Sit-Stand desk, did not reach the funding goal. At some point I will work on a new prototype, but until then I was looking for a new project that might allow me to raise the funds for some new tools.
Sit-Stand desks, that allow a person to easily raise and lower their workstation to accommodate either sitting or standing while working, are becoming very popular. Since they generally require either electric motors, gas pistons, or some other complicated mechanism, they are all fairly expensive.
I attempted to build my own desk using common parts, like screen door springs to provide some lift. It works, but not very well. It isn’t suitable for posting as a DIY plan in the current form.
I have some ideas on how to improve it, but it is going to require some experimenting, by building a couple more desks.
I’m also fascinated with the concept of crowdsourcing, using something like Kickstarter.com. So I started a project on Kickstarter to fund the purchase of some lumber, supplies, and a few new saw blades, all in the name of refining a DIY plan to a point that just about anyone can build it. Also, I wanted to get a feel for how Kickstarter works.
You can see and contribute to the project at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1498116571/sit-stand-desk-prototype-for-diy-plans.
Once the project is complete, and all rewards have been delivered to all of the sponsors, the final plans will be posted on this site for free. Sponsoring the plan will get you the advance copies of the plan, along with all of my photos and changes as the project progresses. I will also keep open communication to all the sponsors if they want to offer suggestions.
As part of the project, I’m also offering a DIY kit with all of the small hardware. If that proves popular, I’ll make it available on this site. If everything goes smoothly, I should have everything complete and the plans available to everyone by the end of this year.
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.