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DIY Furniture – Patience is a Virtue November 9, 2011

Filed under: Furniture — admin @ 6:14 pm
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When it comes to making furniture, having patience will ensure perfection.


If you’ve wanted some new furniture, it would be a great idea to learn how to make it yourself. Making your own furniture can be such a great experience. At the end of the day, you’ll be proud of your hard work, and you’ll appreciate the furniture you’ve made even more than you would appreciate something you bought. You would be very proud to tell people that you made the furniture in your house. Saving money is always a great option, and making your own furniture can certainly help you do that, as well. The benefits to making your own furniture are endless, and you can start now using some of the information below.
Wood Tables

Wood Tables Image Courtesy of Flickr Member Nature Form Furniture

The first and most important thing to keep in mind when you make the decision to build your own furniture is to be confident. What often happens is people think they want to make their own furniture, and then they start doing it and quit. If you start making something, you may as well finish it. The things you build can become symbolic in your life. Think about Henry David Thoreau’s cabin that he built at Walden Pond? A lot of the joy he got from the cabin wasn’t from the cabin itself, but in the making of it, he learned a lot about himself. You can learn how much of a confident, self-assured person you are by making your own furniture. If you lack confidence in yourself, you’ll never be able to plunge into a new project and successfully complete it. Jump right in and do your best.

Once you have the right frame of mind to start a furniture-making project, you have to get the right materials. It’s much better to go to a place where you know you’ll have help. I would suggest going to Home Depot to get most of the things you need. The people there are beyond friendly, and you’ll get the top-quality materials at the best prices. They may even give you their own suggestions for your project. Make sure to have an exhaustive list of anything you could possibly need for your project. It will be a lot easier in the long run to have an organized list and to check each thing off as you buy it.

Once you’ve gotten mentally prepared and you’ve purchased the materials, it’s time to build. One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give any beginning builder is to take your time. It’s much better to get a good job done slowly than to try to go quickly and mess things up. Give yourself a certain amount of time every so many days. Whatever you get done within that time is what you get done. Don’t rush to do more. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you could end up ruining the entire project with mistakes. Make sure you follow the instructions exactly as they have been given to you. There’s no telling just how great of an experience building your own furniture will be for you until you try it.


Building Your Own, Ahhhhh, Rocking Chair! October 11, 2011

As a precursor to the article, I just want to add that I absolutely love a simplistic rocking chair and the whole idea of sitting on the porch, rocking away to the passersby. 
Porch Rocking Chair

Rocking Chair Image Courtesy of Flickr Member robinrkc

If you like woodworking and are looking for a project that your family can enjoy for years to come, you might want to consider building your own rocking chair. Your creation will not only become a functional addition to your home decor, but can evolve into family heirloom that will have future generations passing on stories about the chairs creator. If you plan on making a rocking chair your next wood shop project, here are some tips to help you on your way.Choose a Design

Depending on your skill level, you’ll want to choose a style that you feel comfortable with. If you’re an expert woodworker more intricate designs might be a breeze, but if you’re a novice you might want to try something more basic. Once you know what kind of design you’d like to build, you’ll have to decide whether you’re going to draw your own plans or obtain pre-planned blueprint.

Again, your skills come into play. If you’re a seasoned carpenter making your own plans may not be too intimidating, but for those less skilled it could be a daunting task. If you do decide to go with an original design, keep in mind that the more arc the rocker feet have, the more extreme the forward and backward motion. Chairs with intense arcs can dump small children off onto the floor or leave holes in the walls behind them. Having a design with slightly arced feet is most beneficial in placement and function.

Selecting Materials

You can use almost any wood for this type of project, but if you want the piece to last choosing a sturdy hardwood is best. Cherry, maple, alder, oak, walnut, or mahogany work great and withstand the test of time. Your wood choice also affects the selected finish. If you’re looking to stain the piece a dark color, steer clear of maple and oak. Maple tends to turn blotchy and oak leaves golden highlights that produce a less uniform finish.

The Needed Tools

Rocking chairs were built long before power tools existed, so they aren’t required, but they do make the job a lot easier. Here are some basic tools you’ll need.

• Miter saw or circular saw for cutting wood to length
• Table saw for rip cuts
• Drill with a counter-sink bit
• Power sander or an orbital sander for finishing
• A router for rounding the edges
• Quality wood clamps that won’t mar the wood
• T square
• Finish nailer


Once you have all the pieces cut, put them together beginning with the legs and seat, working your way toward the back, and finally to the rocker feet. Attach all pieces using both wood glue and either screws or finish nails. Make sure the metal fasteners are sunk into the wood far enough that you can use wood putty to fill the hole and create a seamless finish.

Tips for Reducing Squeaks

Make sure each piece fits tightly together and that you rub the end of any spindles with talcum power before inserting in their countersunk holes. If you’ve used bolts, make sure they are tight and that any metal flex joints are oiled. If squeaking continues it may just be that the floor underneath the chair is not level, try moving it to a different location.

Kids and adults of all ages enjoy the soothing movement of rocking chairs and building one of your own can be a quite a fulfilling accomplishment. There is no better way to bring comfort to the future generations that will continue beyond your lifetime.


Outdoor Living Spaces on the Rise August 5, 2011

It used to be that out-door living spaces were only conducive to sunny California, and weather permitting homes.  However, a recent trend is on the rise, and back yards are being used more as “bonus room” than a place to play catch or have the dog run around.

Perfectly landscaped back yards, and expensive furniture  can be a lot of work.  Whether you are maintaining the lawns yourself or paying to have it done, it is quite an undertaking.  You also have to worry about the weather, when it rains you have to run home and bring all the cushions, and tables inside before they are destroyed by the rain.

There are however, plenty of benefits to having a space like this.  When you are having a backyard BBQ, or simply a quiet night with a glass of wine, they can be quite the relaxation room that you may be looking for.  If you can afford it space wise, there are ways of getting around the pricey costs of weather permitting furniture and creating a little oasis for those hot summer nights.

living space, backyard, furniture

Outdoor living space, Photo provided by Jeff Sandquist

Even if you don’t have the biggest yard to work with, you can still create a space for a little “me” time.  Try using bricks to separate a space and start out with a chair and some comfy but bright colored pillows.  Over time you can build up the spaces adding a table, and a couch, etc.  The trick is to make it look as comfortable as can be.

Another benefit to a back yard living space is having a cool place to go after a hot day.  If you don’t have air conditioning then you must enjoy being outside, because on those extremely hot days you won’t want to be stuck in a stuffy house.  Use your space as a place to cool off and enjoy the nice weather (hopefully) the summer has to offer.


A Quick Fact About Insulation and Ceiling Mount Heaters December 6, 2010

With the snow setting in and the cold temperatures making a much more permanent stay, we find ourselves cranking the heat up in order to stay cozy until spring rolls around. Owners of older homes find themselves at a serious disadvantage when heating their homes because they likely do not have proper insulation. Although the heat gets turned up, a lot of it is lost through cracks in the walls or through the floors, ceilings and/or windows (especially true for older windows that do not have a very good thermal coefficient). Tax rebates entice a lot of people to put in new windows and to insulate their homes thus promoting energy efficiency. However, there is definitely a right and wrong way to do it.

When installing insulation in attics, be sure to install baffles along the ceiling in order to allow air to flow between the insulation and roof. That will inhibit moisture from forming. Additionally, use insulation with a higher R rating to increase the amount of energy saved. R-30 is generally standard for a lot of applications, but in severely cold climates, r-45 provides even better thermal protection, especially in areas where the house may have cracks or vents allowing cold air to pass. If you apply two R-19’s on top of each other, the result is an thermal insulation ratings of R-38 and so on and so forth. Insulation should not be smashed down. It should fit comfortably within joists or between studs to provide the maximum thermal benefit.

Aside from insulating, a lot of people go a step further and install either wall or ceiling mount heaters and fan units, especially in the bathroom to take the chill out of the room throughout their early morning shower.

Ceiling Mount Heater/Fan/Light

Ceiling Mount Heater/Fan/Light

When upgrading to an electric ceiling mount fan unit in a bathroom there is a very common mistake that is made that can easily be avoided during the installation process, ultimately saving you a lot of headaches. It  involves the installation of uninsulated (standard) flexible ducting that allows the air in the bathroom to exit the house. (Pictured below).

Flexible Duct

Standard Flexible Duct

The standard ducting is relatively cheap but ultimately poses a problem for bathrooms that get steamy.  It is more of a problem when the ducting runs through a location where cold air is prominent (attics).In bathrooms that add the heater unit, the higher temperature only furthers the problem.  When the steam exits the bathroom and enters the duct, the difference in temperature between the inside of the duct and the air in the attic causes condensation to form.  The condensation then leaks onto your ceiling and ruins the drywall likely resulting in added repair costs. This problem can easily be avoided.

Insulated Flexible Duct

Insulated Flexible Duct

When adding an exhaust fan (especially one with an optional heater unit) insulated ducting should be implemented to inhibit condensation from forming.  Insulated ducting is still relatively cheap and will provide a crucial benefit to your bathroom remodeling project.  That way you can truly relax in your cozy bathroom with the piece of mind that your install was done properly.


Electric Fireplace To Get You Through Those Cold Winter Months September 30, 2010

If you happen to live in an area where you certainly get your fair share of  the winter season, there may not be a better piece of furniture than an electric fireplace that brings both warmth and elegance to a living space.  Electric fireplaces vary in size, style, heat output and price.  However, some basic electric fireplaces that offer a reasonable amount of heat with just the right amount of style can be found for under a couple hundred dollars.

Electric Fireplace

Warmth and Elegance

Choosing what design to purchase will be your toughest decision.  However, it is pretty easy to get a halfway decent idea of what could work and what wouldn’t.  If the room is small and basic in design you don’t want to get an over the top electric fireplace that would overpower the other items in the room.  The model shown above might fit nicely.  However, if your room is large and very modern then perhaps something a little more unique that becomes the centerpiece of the room would be okay.  The model shown below is something that would fit specifically with the other decor in the room.

Modern, Centerpiece

Unique Modern Look

Regardless of which unit you choose, you should be sure to check the energy consumption and the heat output of the model.  While electric fireplaces are cleaner than conventional fire places, you don’t want to run your electric bill through the roof.  So you should consider something that isn’t overkill for your application so if you do want/need to use it a lot you don’t wind up going broke.  Before buying an electric fireplace, determine the size of the room you want to place it, the number of windows, how well the room is insulated and how many doors/entryways there are leading into the room and run them by a specialist where you are purchasing the unit.  Their expert advice can help you determine what type of heat output would be required to adequately warm your desired room.


Picking The Right Hammock Isn’t Always A Relaxing Experience August 23, 2010

Filed under: Furniture — admin @ 3:26 pm
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Ah, summertime it’s hard to not think of rest, relaxation, long days, warm nights, and lots of time to lie around to do nothing (if you’re so lucky to do so). The season also means taking out the dusty old hammock and letting the summer wind rock you to sleep while you lie in arguably one of the most comfortable pieces of furniture ever created. Plus, nothing says summertime (and all the rest of those things) more than a comfortable hammock. However, if you don’t already have a hammock, finding the right one can be anything but a relaxing experience.

Comfortable Hammock Furniture

Hammock Furniture

When shopping or looking for a new hammock it’s best to consider some questions before making the purchase, such as who is going to use the hammock? If you have a big family then it’s best to purchase a reliable and sturdy one that is bound to be able to support everyone just in case of a full get together one sunny summer afternoon. It’s also important to consider you’re climate. If you live in an area that has a harsh winter it may be best to purchase a hammock that can easily be put away. Finally, figure out how much space you have and purchase accordingly.

Now, this all can sound like a hassle for something that’s as simple as a hammock, but it’s important to remember that the right hammock makes all the difference when it comes to relaxing and taking it easy over the warm and lazy summer.


A Good Ceiling Fan Makes For One Cool Room June 24, 2010

The summer season can be a blistering one especially without any sort of air conditioning to protect you from the summer heat. Centralized air and air conditioners do serve their purposes of keeping any home cool and comfortable but it’s important for a house (even one that has AC) to have a ceiling fan. Not just any ceiling fan mind you, but one that keeps everyone the right temperature and also fits into the aesthetics of the room. It’s true that many would never consider ceiling fans to be an important piece of furniture but when it comes to air conditioning and having the right look for a room, the right ceiling fan makes as much of a difference as any couch, table, or any other piece of furniture.

When considering a ceiling fan it’s important to take into account three things: style, airflow, and installation. When it comes to style, ask yourself what kind of room am I putting this fan in? If it’s a living room or den then going above and beyond with an expensive fan (one with a nice wood finish or a state of the art steel one) may stick out too much. However, if you’re putting one in a nice room, chances are you want it to look as nice as the room you’re putting it in.

Airflow is obviously important or you wouldn’t even be getting a fan to begin with. A slower less airflow type of fan is more for climates in which it gets warm but not hot. If you live someplace that is scorching hot you’ll want to think about a fan that pumps out air at a rapid speed.

Finally, installation is important to think about when buying a fan. If you get a fan that’s too difficult to install you might have to find someone who can put it together for you (which at times can be very hard to find), so get one that you can put together on your own so that you can get your fan up and running.

Ceiling fans may seem like nothing more than just cheaper air conditioners but the right one can make for one cool room.