How To

My bed frame comes to life in France

You may remember my post on the sturdy king-size bed frame a while back? It’s inspired many people to build their own frames at home, saving $$$, avoiding the purchase of cheaply made furniture and learning about carpentry in the process.

This time, Jérôme Tirolien from France wrote to thank me for the article and he also sent  pictures, which he graciously agreed to let me post here:

“I want to tell you THANK YOU for your article ‘Making the custom bed frame’. I based on it to build mine. In March 2011 I asked which size of beam you used.
So for now I almost finished it. I have to build the drawers. In attached files, some pics.”

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How To, Video Log

The cat house – part 9

More than two years after publishing parts 1-8, here’s the final installment in this series, which recaps the features of the cat house I’ve designed and built and describes some improvements that I’ve made to my original design, after testing it through two winters.

We now have four cats (Sasha, Zuzu, Tira and Bubu), as opposed to the original two kittens (Mitzi and Trixie) which you saw in the other videos. Mitzi and Trixie now live with my grandmother in Maramures.

So, what improvements have I made?

  • Installed shingles on the roof
  • Built an upper level so the cats can really stretch out while they’re inside
  • Re-did the wall through which the cats enter the house
  • Drilled some aeration holes in the walls
  • Removed a pet door which I’d installed at the entrance, for the same reason I drilled the aeration holes, which is to introduce enough air flow in the house and eliminate the moisture that used to gather on the inside walls
  • Built an add-on lobby which creates an ante-room on the porch and becomes useful during cold weather

Hope you enjoy this final video and it inspires you to build a nice cat house or dog house for your pets!

Here are the other eight videos in the series:

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How To

Custom-built bathroom shelves

This summer, I built a few custom shelves for our bathroom, and only now got around to writing about them.

There’s a certain quality, a character, to objects made by hand, that you just won’t find in mass-produced items. There’s also the fact that if you make something yourself, to the exact measurements of the place where you want to put it, you won’t be able to find a better fit anywhere else, no matter how many stores you visit. And there’s also the little matter of money — chances are, it’ll cost more to buy it than it will to make it yourself.

In my case, I already had the wood lying around from other projects, and I had the tools and other materials as well, so all I needed was some time. I’d estimate the total time used up for this project at around 10-12 hours, spread over several days.

There’s a quick video you can watch, where I talk about how I made the shelves. It’s going to be useful if you want to undertake this project yourself.

I hope this (along with some of my other projects) helps inspire you to create something instead of buying it. There’s nothing wrong with buying something that’s well-made, but most of the stuff you find in stores today is made in a third-world country, with third-world standards, out of cheap materials, and will likely break in a few months. That’s not good enough for me, and I hope it’s not good enough for you, either.

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How To

Making the custom bed frame

Last summer, I made a custom king size bed frame for our bedroom, out of solid wood. I held off on writing about it until now, nine months later, because I wanted to make sure the end result was solid and worth writing about. We’ve been sleeping on it ever since, and there’s nothing wrong with it, so yes, I can heartily recommend it.

I was fed up with the laminates and particle board garbage they call furniture these days, and I wanted to build something that would last, out of a quality, sustainable material like wood. I chose pine, because it was softer and easier for me to work with. Although I’ve also built a custom cat house for our three cats, I’m no expert carpenter. I just like to work with wood. It’s a wonderful material.

Continue reading

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The cat house – part 8

This is part eight of a personal carpentry project whose stages were recorded on video: building a cat house for our two kittens. Here are the other parts:

In this post, you’ll see the finished cat house, hear a bit more about the thinking behind the project, and find out my final opinion about what I’ve built. At this point, the cat house is pretty much complete, although a couple of small touches — like a frame around the window and a rubber door at the entrance — still need to be done. This means there will be a part 9 at some point in the near future, likely within the next 1-2 months.

As mentioned in the videos and in one of the first parts, the cat house was built using both leftover and reclaimed wood and thermal insulation. Pretty much everything I used in its construction I already had lying around my yard from ongoing renovations to our home. The only things I bought specifically for it were the two casters, the asphalt roof tiles, and the wood screws, which added up to a cost of 100 RON or about $33.

See this video on blip.tv, SmugMug or YouTube.

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The cat house – part 7

This is part seven of a personal carpentry project whose stages were recorded on video: building a cat house for our two kittens. Here are the other parts:

In this video, I’ve already completed all of the carpentry work and the cat house is assembled. It’s also been stained and it’s about to be treated with wood wax. Lots of details about what’s been done and what’s about to be done are offered in the video, such as what I’m going to do about the entrance and how the roof has been mounted and how it seals against heat loss.

See this video on blip.tv, SmugMug or YouTube.

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The cat house – part 6

This is part six of a personal carpentry project whose stages were recorded on video: building a cat house for our two kittens. Here are the other parts:

In this video, you can see the three layers of insulation in the side walls: the 2 cm boards at the exterior, the polystyrene layer, and the 1 cm boards nailed over the polystyrene and secured to the 2cm exterior boards with wood screws. Most of the interior joints have already been caulked. Next up is finishing the interior, then sanding and treating the exterior.

See this video on blip.tv, SmugMug and YouTube.

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The cat house – part 5

This is part five of a personal carpentry project whose stages were recorded on video: building a cat house for our two kittens. Here are the other parts:

In this video, you can see the almost-finished bottom, where the 3 cm thermal insulation has been laid against the bottom part of the floor and secured to it by wooden planks and wood screws. The bottom beams (the ones belonging to the frame) have already been treated with base (against mildew and rot), and the interior has also been treated with base at this point. The bottom still needs to be caulked properly at the edges of the thermal insulation, then stained and treated with wood wax/varnish.

See this video on blip.tv, SmugMug or YouTube.

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The cat house – part 4

This is part four of a personal carpentry project whose stages were recorded on video: building a cat house for our two kittens. Here are the other parts:

In this video, you can see the finished exterior, with the 2 cm wood planks cut to size and nailed in place. The floor is also completed. You’ll see the wood has stains and other marks on it, since it’s left over from the renovation job. By the time the cat house is completed, all of that is going to be sanded away and any holes or dents are going to be repaired with wood filler.

See this video on blip.tv, SmugMug or YouTube.

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The cat house – part 3

This is part three of a personal carpentry project whose stages were recorded on video: building a cat house for our two kittens. Here are the other parts:

In this video, I show the finished frame and talk about the next steps in the project. You’ll have to excuse me as you watch the video, because there are two places where I can’t remember the English words for what I wanted to say. Living in a foreign country and speaking another language all day long has one obvious downside — I tend to forget some English lexicon, and I don’t like it. Fortunately, these are just momentary lapses. When I sit at my laptop and write, I have no problems (yet).

See this video on blip.tv, SmugMug or YouTube.

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