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This year, I’m all about building more and spending less. I’ve come to the conclusion that I buy things way too easily and that I could use that money for something else, like putting my kids through college. Our problem was that our kids were too big for cribs and had started escaping them, but they weren’t big enough to sleep in a larger bed. We started by going to Ikea and considering purchasing an accordion-like bed that cost about one hundred and fifty bucks.

The main issue was that we were about to move back in with my wife’s parents, so we desperately needed a bed that could accommodate our twins. However, it shouldn’t have been to big to use in such a small space. As usual, my wife was as skeptical as ever, and that’s because she has little to no confidence in me when it comes to building stuff. Nonetheless, I found that this kind of attitude was what motivated me even more.


We got two mattresses and I started planning for an L-shaped bed. I was lucky enough to come across a comprehensive article published on Popular Mechanics which helped me a lot with regard to the materials that I needed. Something that I noticed I was attracted to was the idea of using lumber that had already served its purpose here, on Earth. Besides, kids grow quickly so it wouldn’t have made any sense to purchase new wood coming from fresh cut trees. I’m all for reusable products.


Fortunately, I had the help of my father. Once I assembled the headboards, sideboards, and backboards, it got a bit trickier. I made loads of calculations, of course, and more than enough outlines. You don’t need tools that are too fancy to do this project, and that’s something I’ve learned from the Popular Mechanics article. Of course, if you have a router, a miter saw, or a drill press, you’d be better off especially as these tools are real investments that pay for themselves in the long run.

It’s important for you to understand that you can achieve everything that has gone through your mind as long as it is a bit realistic. Sometimes, you don’t even have to spend a lot of money. It’s far easier to go to a store and get an item you need right away, just like it’s simpler to go out and eat in a restaurant or some takeout instead of cooking at home. Like a home-cooked meal tends to taste a lot better than what you’d buy while you’re out and about, it goes the same for DIY projects. It’s far more rewarding to build a bed for your kids with your own hands instead of spending over one hundred and fifty dollars on a frame they might outgrow sooner than you’d think.



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I do love furniture. When the new year rolled in, I told myself, “Dylan, it’s about time you got off your butt and did something exciting for the year.” That said, I did get my butt off the Adirondack on the porch and did some respectable level of research on what woodworking projects would be worth doing this year.

Another Adirondack for the porch

I picked up this easy design from Popular Mechanics that, although loosely based on an Adirondack chair, offers greater simplicity in construction. The design requires just a couple of 1-inch by 10-inch by 10-foot pieces of lumber.

I won’t even need to blow my savings on a terribly expensive CNC machine. The design should take me a couple of hours this weekend. I shall be using my cordless drill and circular saw, thank goodness.

I have my rafter square plus some bar clamps and 48 pieces of 1.5-inch exterior-grade screws from the corner hardware store.

I will measure out the various parts of the chair like so: two 9.25 by 32 inches lumber for the seat back; two pieces of 9.25 by 20.25 inches lumber for the seat; a front stretcher using 5.5 by 21.75 inches lumber, beveled along on edge at 30 degrees.

For the back support, I will be cutting out 4-inch by 25.75-inch lumber, also beveled the same way as that for the front stretcher. For the two front legs, I need four ⅝ by 21.25 inches of wood. The two armrests each need to be made from 4 ⅝ by 28 inches of lumber.

The two rear legs each require four ⅝ by 32 inches lumber, while the two arm supports will use 3-inch by 11.5-inch lumber, tapered from 1.5 inches to 3 inches along their length.

The wood will be milled then assembled following the simplistic design. Yep, I will have another Adirondack chair in which my good friend would be sitting and sipping lemonade come summer.

A handmade chessboard

Since I intend to get my dosage of amazement from my friends with the least amount of work, I have decided to work on a simple chess and checker board so we can have one-on-one tournaments on the porch.

The perfect complement to my soon-to-be-made Adirondack chair, this wooden chessboard will need a table saw, which the neighborhood lumberyard has so I may just pay them another visit two weeks after I have finished my Adirondack chair.

I’m pretty sure they would accommodate my request to have the light, and dark wood I will be buying from them cut to make enough for four two by 20-inch strips with ¾-inch thickness for each color.

This project won’t need troublesome cutting and gluing together of 64 small pieces. I will only need those basic pieces above plus some wood glue, bar clamps, my orbital sander and framing square.

I intend to pick two species of wood with similar hardness levels. I’ve been thinking, something like mahogany and oak. Or perhaps the lighter wood should be maple. Tell me what you think people, I am open to suggestions.

A box joint

With my ever-growing collection of tools, I know I should build a box of some sort for quick storage of the machines. This project only requires 1-inch by 10-inch by 8-foot lumber. I think S4S oak should be okay.

I am also going to need scrap plywood and solid wood stock for the jig. The project will also require some carpenter’s yellow glue and a brush and a miter gauge. I should outfit my router with a ⅜-inch rabbeting bit if I am to work on this project.

I will also get some 24-inch clamps. Oh, and let me not forget, my chisel.

The list of materials is pretty short. I will need oak lumber for both the two end and two side pieces of the box. The plywood will be for the box bottom. I will be using a ¾-inch plywood measuring six by 12 by ¾ inches for the jig fence, plus ½ by ½ by 3 inches solid wood for the jig key.

The design needs careful layout. However, I’m sure it will be worth the effort.




When you visit furniture centers, you will notice that major pieces can set you back over $1000 at least. When the furniture becomes outdated, you basically throw all that money away in a few years’ time right? However, if you learn the DIY trade for making furniture, you are sure to save thousands of dollars on acquisitions that you may leave out as junk in several years. A piece of store-bought furniture can be imitated in design as long as you have the right woodworking tools and skills.

Start by putting together a collection of tools.

Building your own furniture will only require a few basic tools. Start with a quality power drill. Cordless models may be handy around the house but corded machines offer sustained power, which is something you will need when working on DIY projects. You also save precious time that is wasted on waiting for the battery to juice up.

To drill small holes without the fasteners or screws being visible outside, use a Kreg Jig kit. This type of tool allows you to cut out small holes into which the screws go to sit inside the wood so your work is exceptionally professional-looking.

I share my miter saw with my friend, who is also into DIY as well. This tool facilitates faster cutting of wood. He owns an electric sander that helps in finishing a project smoothly. Wood stains are no problem because you can make some by putting together vinegar and steel wool. If you prefer a more intense stain, use more wool. The mixture works well to give the wood an aged or weathered look. Test the color on a piece of scrap wood before applying the stain.


Get DIY inspiration from various sources.

I have been fortunate to have stumbled on a lot of DIY sites but my top favorites have always been Popular Mechanics and Pinterest. At Pinterest, there’s so much to look at. It is a valuable source for me of notable furniture projects and designs for DIYers. Popular Mechanics is more technical and provides specific measurements for the wood you need to get, the exact type it has to be, etc., so the novice woodworker doesn’t have to worry about botching things up with the wrong kinds of materials.


Devote time to carry out DIY projects.

I suggest inviting a friend over to work on identical projects. This was what I and my friend did, and it was a lot of fun. We shopped for the wood and other materials together and had the lumberyard cut the wood pieces to the necessary sizes, all identical. By working with a friend, it was more efficient because we helped each other in making the cuts and measuring.

We may have been a bit exhausted because of the heat and exertion but the excitement of building something out of a collection of various pieces was worth it. We had cold beers afterwards as we admired our creations. Imagine, we just spent a total of $130 for tables that sell for $500 or so at the furniture plaza? And that was just the first of many projects we have done together.

Soon, my friend and I hope to make furniture design and creation a business we could seriously sink our chops into. Yes, if you build it, they will come.

Since I have a genuine passion for cars as much as I enjoy creating things myself, my garage has pretty much become more than just space to park my car in. I have created furniture for my garden and the inside of the house, and they are pieces that I believe I can make good business on someday. However, that is still a long way away and I’ll be doing it with my friend.

Right now, he and I are pretty much still caught up in the novelty of the creative process but we are pretty excited to see where it can take us. We are still trawling through the many DIY sites to find good projects we can sink our teeth into and build with a solid commitment. At this stage, we’ve just been gathering as much information as possible on what tools we need to have in our own garages.


For holding things down securely

I for one believe that a good bench vise is a huge necessity. It will be useful for holding things in place securely, ensuring safety when working on a project. Without a bench vise or clamp, the workpiece could easily fly off from my grasp and hit anything around.

I certainly wouldn’t want to endanger myself by being in the way of a flying piece of wood that hasn’t been held down firmly to the workbench. A good bench vise works more effectively than just a third hand. It applies enough force to hold down an object to the benchtop, or to glue pieces of wood strongly together.


For turning and fastening

It is vital in woodworking to tighten bolts in a careful manner according to project or material specifications. This is where a quality torque wrench comes handy. Torque wrenches are to be handled with care and recalibrated as needed. A torque wrench is an avid garage worker’s choice for serious mechanical work such as tightening wheel lugs.

I also bought a socket and driver set, which is essential for the kit of any self-respecting DIYer. My set comes with a full range of imperial and metric sockets as well as three-quarter-inch and quarter-inch drivers. I am sure my socket and driver set can handle all but the most unusual sizes of bolts.

A screwdriver set is essential for handling three types of screws when working on a project and they include: Phillips, flathead and Torx. I got an entire set from my favorite online seller because there’s no telling when a six-pointed screw is called for in a project and it’s always better to have a tool on hand and not need it than to have no tool on hand and actually need it. I chose a set with drivers that have short and long handles.

A drill press

As versatile as it is powerful, a drill press enables effortless hole drilling while guaranteeing precision. A drill press should have a beveling worktable because not all workpieces are flat and straight. The motor should be robust enough to power the machine to deliver multiple spin speeds. This will enable drilling into various types of material from wood, metal, plastic, ceramic and more.

I chose a benchtop drill press instead of a freestanding or mini-drill model because it offers enough support to handle a variety of projects without eating up too much space. The ½-inch chuck capacity accommodates a variety of drill bit sizes. Onboard chuck key storage prevents the key from getting misplaced. I can add sanding and mortising attachments for versatile functionality.

You may have some other tools in mind to suit your garage workshop needs. Do let me know what your choice of tools are so we can learn from each other.




I am heavily interested in furniture. I may be a guy, but my passion for good household furniture has me collecting old and new issues of Popular Mechanics, from which I can pick up great ideas on woodworking and things like that. However, I know that a nice looking house doesn’t have to be cluttered with plenty of items that eat up a significant amount of floor space.

As long as one’s basic furniture needs are provided, that should be enough. However, to make sure I can update my furniture at home, I have my own DIY shop where I can create replacement pieces as needed. To optimize any living space, these are the things we can do.


Create zones that trick the eye to think how expansive and also versatile the areas are.

You and I have living spaces that we do plenty in. We sleep, eat, work, relax, and entertain other people right where we live. Even if we have to maximize space and make each area flow into the other in an innovative manner, there has to be a set boundary where each task can be done comfortably and well.

Subtle demarcations such as mats, chairs, display cases, etc., can help set the areas for specific tasks without spilling out into other areas in a disorganized manner. Even if we only have a pad type of living space, we can set an area for the bedroom using a curtained, canopied or tented bed.

A built-in banquette or window seating can serve as a small area for entertaining guests. See-through furnishings, floor-to-ceiling curtains and strategic placement of mirrors can dramatically expand a living space. Choosing furniture pieces that switch-hit in functionality is smart.

For instance, a table can be used for dining as well as for working. Deep sofas or couches and daybeds can be used as beds for guests. With a storage ottoman, you can have a means to store valuables, as well as something that doubles as a small table or extra seating. Nesting tables can be put away to expand the area, as can folding tables and chairs.

Wireless technology makes it easy to reposition objects and lighting in the living space without worrying about access to outlets. Furniture with casters make it easy to change a room’s layout every now and then.


Decorative elements and furnishings should offer maximum levels of functionality without eating up plenty of space.

This way, you can have two smaller coffee tables instead of just a large one so there’s more space to move around in. Two smaller tables are definitely easier to move as well when rearranging items. Otherwise, you can opt to use bigger furniture but only a few in number. However, more pieces can also make the room look larger than it is. Decide on which setup works for you.


Make your living space look soothing to the eyes while having a customized look.

An even-toned room is soothing to the eyes and can fool the mind into relaxing in a seemingly larger space. Furniture, storage nooks and built-ins should be according to your needs while delivering optimal functionality. Cabinets and bookcases can be extended all the way to the ceiling to maximize the space between the ceiling of the room and the top of furniture.

Solid doors replaced with glass offer a bigger-looking space. Larger windows and torn down walls expand the living space and make each area flow easily into the other. Don’t try to overfill every countertop or open space with something. Too much clutter tires out the mind as well as the eyes. The hallways in a small living space can be played up with artwork hung salon-style.



Here are some simple steps to help you make a safe and comfortable crib.