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Project Time: The end results

May 9, 2011

So, it occurs to me that I never showed off the finished products of my and Jules’ building extravaganza, so I want to show you our beautifully stained benches, our table, and share some lessons learned from my first building experience.

So, here are the benches, which we stained with 1 coat of a bluish-grey color and a clear top coat:

We were pretty happy with how they turned out; and the color out of direct sunlight, which it will be in Jules’ dining room, was much darker (and much more forgiving to the mistakes and imperfections of our first time staining wood).

We also built the farmhouse table!  This process had some hiccups to it, but we had learned a lot from making the benches, so we were able to catch a lot of them before they became major issues.

The table has some imperfections to it, and some things that aren’t quite right, but we preferred to think of those things as “adding personality” rather than being actual problems.  We discovered that the boards that make up the top of the table were just slightly too wide, meaning that all of the pieces for the end aprons on the table were going to be slightly too short, but we made it work.  Whoever made up the idiom “measure twice, cut once” wasn’t joking.  Getting things cut at Lowe’s was a huge time saver for us, but it didn’t allow us to be as precise with the measurements as we could have been if we had done it ourselves one board at a time.

The table did not get stained while I was out there, because quite frankly, Jules and I were exhausted!

So, first lesson learned: Building things is tiring!  And sanding things by hand is even more tiring!  If D and I ever start making our own furniture, I am investing in a power sander!  Also, I will wear gloves when using wood stain– my cuticles are still tinged with grey.

The second lesson learned is to double and triple check all of your measurements.  And double and triple check that everything is square.  At one point, one of our boards was resting on the cord to the drill, thus not flush to the ground,  which I didn’t realize until after we had screwed it in place, making everything kind of wonkey and not square.

Third lesson learned: Build with a friend!  I know I could have never done this project by myself, as an extra set of hands was needed.  But Jules and I motivated each other through setbacks and issues, making the whole process much more fun.

Final lesson: Building was awesome!  I feel so much pride for the furniture that we built.  People at work asked me, “what did you do on your trip to California?” and I was able to just nonchalantly say, “Oh, I built some furniture… just a dining room table and two benches.  From scratch.”  It’s an awesome feeling.   Also, I can’t wait to see pictures of the finished table once Jules sands and stains it!

Have you tried your hand at building or would you consider trying to build your own furniture?

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