Not much I can add to this article over at Make Magazine on the basics of blacksmithing. Check it out!
My lovely wife found a couple vintage washboards at a second hand store and, based on something she saw on the Pinterbooktubespace, wanted me to make her a small table or lamp or some combination thereof. So, we made a trip to Home Depot and picked up some small brackets, a porcelain light fixture and plug, and a rough hewn cedar fence board.
I would have rather have salvaged a piece of barn scrap rather than buy a new board but my normal source for that kind of wood wasn’t available.
This post isn’t so much about the how-to to construct the little table because that was about as simple as it gets but is more about aging new wood to more closely match the old wood of the washboards. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos that suggested different chemicals and voodoo magic and decided to try this method instead which is to simply use baking soda and water.
I cut two roughly 12 inch pieces of the board and used a knife and sandpaper to smooth it and round corners and make it look worn and old. Wear and tear on something is rarely symmetrical so go crazy and embrace unevenness. I also just eyeballed the length of the boards because they shouldn’t match exactly in keeping with that repurposed look.
I deviated from the linked tutorial above a little and used way more baking soda than he called for. I basically made a paste of baking soda and water and slathered it all of the boards and let it set for about an hour while I attached brackets and wired the light fixture. I also wrapped the slathered boards in a wet towel to prevent the paste drying out.
And what happened next, will amaze you. Okay, maybe not amaze…
I rinsed the paste off with tap water and threw the boards in a 250 degree oven to dry them. The coloring caused by the reaction of the baking soda with the tannins in the wood was great. I would rather have let them sit a lot longer but I was working in a very compressed time frame, however, even with that issue the boards turned out awesome. There’s grey patina that is hard to see in the photographs that is just what I was looking for.
Here’s a before and after shot:
Here’s the board I artificially aged with the two washboards that are 40 or 50 years old. Like I said it could have used more soak time but still, I’m really happy with how well the baking soda worked.
After the boards were dry I screwed the whole thing together. I also used a piece of welding wire as a wire brace on each side for extra stability and to add some character.
My lovely wife was thrilled with how it turned out and it was a fun little single day project.
Here’s a pretty decent video on how to build a simple table using lumber and pipe. People are using pipe in a lot of DIY furniture products I think because it’s readily available at the big-box stores and is pretty easy to build with, yet still has the industrial look that is all the rage right now.
In my opinion the biggest downside of using threaded pipe from the stores is that you’re stuck with whatever dimensions and lengths they have on hand and if you’re trying to make something fit in a particular space, you may be out of luck if that space is an oddball dimension.
For example, what if you’re a young married couple who bought their first house that was built in the 1940’s and it had multiple additions done by someone who clearly had no idea what they were doing and not a damn thing in the house was square, level, or plumb and you spent more time trying to unf*ck what the previous owner did than you did making any actual improvements? And since nothing was square or level, what if any shelving you installed basically had to be custom fitted and some day you’re going to find the home inspector who was probably on the take and said the place was great and punch him square in the dick?
I mean “theoretically”.
Anyway, so what’s the solution? Use unthreaded pipe and socket weld fittings to build your project.
Here’s Jody from Welding Tips and Tricks building a chin up bar using unthreaded pipe and socket weld fittings. Though not quite as easy to use as threaded pipe, you have tons of flexibility and complete freedom to use whatever length of pipe you want. Also, these types of joints are incredibly strong. The only major downside is once it’s welded, it’s pretty much there forever so if you ever want to change it, it’s going to take some cutting.
Check out this cool table project! Because I like stuff looking old and worn I would beat it up with a chain and burn it with hot piece of steel to give it that look of a long life of use and abuse. Adam Savage talked about every dent telling a story and I agree.
Today I am going to talk you for a walk through all of my furniture building. It’s long over due and hopefully really helpful. Please send me any questions in the comments or through my contact form on my About page, I am happy to help. This tutorial is specifically for the bench, but its all the same. You can modify my instructions below and make the Farmhouse Coffee Table, Farmhouse Console Table, or even my masterpiece the Farmhouse Dining Table. I apologize if I’m not using the proper carpentry terms – remember I just started!
Here goes. First since we are buying lumber that is primarily used for framing we need to straighten out the edges. Otherwise we end up with curved corners butting against curved corners – its just not as clean and crisp. I do this first and I do every plank so that they…
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My lovely wife and I are turning a spare room into our personal pub/entertainment/bar space and are doing a rustic theme because we’re total hipsters. We’ve scored some old furniture at our local ReStore and are slowly but surely creating the space we want.
Here are a couple videos that interested me that I thought I’d share…
Here’s a link to a mostly animated version of a classic book on different mechanical movements. You’ll find some really neat solutions to power transmission problems dating back well into the steam age. I love stuff like this that helps demonstrate certain principles and helps a knucklehead like me wrap his head around how stuff works.
Come, nerd with me…
Continuing with my wife and I’s theme of cheap decor, we scored another stereo cabinet at Goodwill which we planned to paint and use for a media center. It had already been gutted and was a little beat up which we like to call “character”.
I started by doing some moderate sanding to give the paint something to adhere to. There were some little details we wanted to preserve and I found the corner of the sanding block was just the ticket for getting in there.
Here’s a comparison of the sanded versus unsanded surface.
I initially was going to paint the inside with flat black and bought the budget stuff for that job because what could go wrong with flat black, amiright? Yeah, that paint didn’t cover evenly at all, seemed too thin, and seemed to run out pretty quickly.
But that’s okay, I got the better stuff to do the outside. It cost way more per can and had a magical microspray nozzle! Wow! How could this go wrong?!?!?
I was not impressed with the Valspar paint at all. The microspray nozzle caused a really noticeable halo effect where you’d get an even coat in the center but any outer spray, which is normally very controllable and works to help make an even coat, turned into a shark skin texture. I prefer to make several lighter coats of paint to get a nice even finish and with this stuff that was really a challenge because of the halo effect. Also, the overspray turned to a dust all over the project.
My guess is the new whizbang nozzle does too good a job making a fine mist and the paint is drying too fast in the air before it hits and adheres to the surface of the project. I checked this website called “Google”, maybe you’ve heard of it, and a search found a few different websites where people complained about the exact same problems I had.
In short, I won’t be using the Valspar spraypaint again any time soon. I know my way around a rattlecan and had nothing but problems with this product. I can’t speak to the durability of the paint over time but I will say that in my experience a proper paint job in the first place goes a long way to ensuring a long lasting finish and this stuff made that very difficult.