Tag Archives: Plans

In a Van Down by the River!

A Hackaday article reminded me of a project I want to try some day and that is converting an old bus into a sweet RV.

Jake VonSlatt has a cool page showing how he did it and was the page that originally got me wanting to do the same conversion. Time and space to put any project like this have kept me from doing it, for now…

If you have attention issues like myself, here’s a video VonSlatt made, check it out:

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This Instructable leave out the whole “where to get a huge boat” detail…


This is a great step by step tutorial on how to convert a tug boat to a recreational vessel…

Okay, not so much step by step. In fact not at all.

But it’s a cool record of the transformation. Oh and this project is a wee bit past the average DIYer.

Just a smidge…

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The Mario Bros. would approve of this table.

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.

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DIY Farmhouse Bench Tutorial 55$ CAD

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.

leave it to Joy

DIY Farmhouse Bench Tutorial | leave it to Joy

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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Some DIY vidoes for home decor

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…

And this!

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The Quest, Part 1


I’m on a quest for the perfect welding table.

Since I lack the funds to go purchase one of the many high quality precision commercially produced systems out there I’ve already accepted the fact that my “perfect” welding table will be one made by my own hands and within my meager budget. But that’s what DIY is all about, right?

So obviously a key feature of what makes “perfect” for me in this context is it being financially attainable and after the usual holiday assault on my bank balance, I’m left only a few hundred dollars to spend on my “perfect” welding table. Considering you can easily spend thousands on a professional table, a few hundred is a paltry sum and would get me laughed at by most tool snobs.

Other key design features or points:

  • Big enough to build something… big. I’m thinking 4’x8′ but that isn’t written in stone.
  • Sturdy legs for stability and a sturdy surface so I can firmly clamp pieces to it to prevent heat distortion.
  • As perfectly flat and square as I can get it to make setting up projects easier and more precision.
  • Capable of being used with fixturing like clamps and stops. A precision grid system would be awesome and drastically speed up project layout.

With those features in mind I’m in the planning stages of my table and have searching the Google for ideas to rip off inspiration. I could try to mimic one of the commercial systems which would allow me to use their tooling packages but going that route requires some precise hole placement and a lot of room for costly error. I am currently waiting for a quote to do that part from a local waterjet facility. If the cost is reasonable the finished product will look something like this:

holes table

However, waterjet machines are amazingly complex so the owner/operator may have to charge more than I can afford because he/she has a family to feed and an expensive machine to pay for which leads me to plan B:

welding table slats

By using slats or several individual flat bars of steel with a gap in between, I can clamp a piece about anywhere on the table, however the lack of a precision grid system limits the amount of easy fixturing one can do. That makes me sad.

Regardless of which design I end up going with there is a lot to be said for building your own table. What you lack in funds can often be made up for in sweat and there’s the pride of knowing you did it yourself. Though I’m not a great wood worker, I really respect how the building of one’s own woodworking bench is almost a rite of passage within that community.

Anyway, stay tuned and watch me pull my hair out with this project!

Finally, here’s a little waterjet porn to illustrate how awesome these machines are:

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Anyone can buy their significant other flowers…

…but I made my lady a cool vintage industrial style cart for the kitchen.


MrsDIY and I love the look of vintage/antique industrial pieces and though we have a large kitchen, we have little counter space so after getting an idea of what she wanted, I set about planning to build a cart that would fit the role while looking like it was salvaged from an abandoned factory from the turn of the last century.

I used LibreCAD to make a simple plan and to help me figure out how much material I needed. The measurements are all in inches (Murican) and the plan was to use 2 inch x 1/8 inch angle iron because it looks heavy and chunky but wouldn’t weigh a ton. Our counters are 36-1/2 inches high so I designed the frame to take into account the thickness of the lumber (1-1/2 inches) as well as the height of the casters on bottom (3 inches).

kitchen cart

The project will need the following cuts made:

  • Six 48 inch pieces. (Mitered cut)
  • Four 32 inch pieces. (Square cut)
  • Six 20 inch pieces. (Mitered cut)

So I mathed and figured out I’d need 536 inches (roughly 45 feet) of angle iron which, through my supplier, wouldn’t be too bad cost wise. However, there’s a couple things to consider when you buy material for a project like this:

  • Mistakes happen. If you buy on the exact amount you need and you screw up a cut, you’ve got to take the time to get more material which is a huge pain.
  • Material comes in set lengths/sizes and however you cut the material from your set lengths may or may not come out in a way that evenly uses all your material. For example: you can’t get three 6 foot long pieces from two 10 foot pieces of lumber. Careful planning can help minimize this issue but I’m not always the most careful planner.

So with these factors in mind, I chose to purchase 50 feet from my supplier which gives me a little more than 10% extra (the normal waste/loss buffer added to project estimates). Also, my supplier only had 1-1/2 inch x 1/8 inch angle in stock in the amount I needed so I went with that and stuck with the same plan as it doesn’t really change any of the important dimensions.

And it was beautiful….


I decided to miter the ends on the frame portions and used a buddy’s metal cutting horizontal bandsaw to make the cuts. You could just as easily use an abrasive chop saw, reciprocating saw with a metal blade and a guide, or even a hack saw and some elbow grease. If none of those options sound great to you, your supplier may be able to make the cuts for you for a fee.


Cutting tips:

Any time you’re using a power saw, watch the blade for deflection or “snaking” which normally indicates you’re feeding it too fast. Band saws and abrasive saws are especially prone to this.

Once you cut the first piece of each dimension you can use it as a pattern for the others to speed things along but always use the same piece as a pattern each time so that if there is a slight length error that error doesn’t grow larger and larger with each successive piece.


When I was all done cutting the pieces, I checked to make sure the lengths were correct then used the saw again to cut about 1/4 inch off the very end off each mitered piece because they were going to be welded on the inside of the legs and the inside of angle iron isn’t square.


The next task was to take the 48 inch long pieces and the 20 inch long pieces and assemble 3 rectangles. I checked and rechecked the squareness before tack welding them, then squared them again if heat distortion caused any issues.

(We just won’t talk about my messy garage.)


The next step was to lay the legs (32 inch long pieces with square cuts) on the floor and start lining up the rectangles. Again, I set the pieces square then tack welded then double checked the squareness and made any adjustments as needed… with a hammer.

I used old weights to hold stuff in place while I welded them which totally counts as working out with weights.




Once all three rectangular frames were tacked in place on the bottom and I was happy with the dimensions, I flipped the whole thing over and repeated the same process, constantly checking for squareness.

After the frame was all done I went back through and welded the joints permanently.

In keeping with the industrial theme, I took four 3 inch long pieces and attached them to the bottom rectangular frame as outriggers for the casters. Once they were welded in place, I drilled them and welded a nut to the top side for the threaded caster. I threaded the caster through the hole then welded a nut to the top so the whole thing can be adjusted for height leveled. I also used a grinder to round off the ends and all the sharp corners.



Once the frame was assembled, I used a flap wheel disc on my angle grinder to clean up the edges and welds. I also knocked off any sharp corners since this cart was going to go in our kitchen and I have growing kids who aren’t always the most graceful.

I had some scrap material laying around so I added braces in the middle of each frame because I was having fun welding.


For the table and shelves, I went with cheap stud grade lumber to keep with that down and dirty, vintage industrial theme. Starting at the top, the shelves were made of:

  • Six 5 foot long 2x4s
  • Five 4 foot long 2x4s
  • Five 4 foot long 2x4s

After I cut the lumber to length, I laid them out and made sure they were all square then drilled and bolted them to the top section the frame. I drilled holes in the two lower shelves and and used screws inserted from the bottom for a clean look.


After it was all assembled, I sanded the lumber then used a terrifyingly awesome propane weed burner I bought to char the wood slightly to give it that old and rustic look.



The last thing left to do was cover it in clear coat to protect it and let it dry. MrsDIY absolutely loved it and it has taken a welcome place in our kitchen, adding some much needed work space.

I’d like to thank my son/work-buddy for helping me on this project too.


[After much prodding by friends and family, I’ve decided to hang a shingle and start a blog where I sell stuff like this cart, custom BBQ grills, etc. Check out Pig Iron Industrial Vintage for info on this cart as well as other fun stuff I have for sale. If you have something specific in mind, shoot me an email and we can see if I can make it happen for you. Thanks!]

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