Past Projects – How are they holding up?

2×4 Bar Stools

I’ve made quite a few projects for my own home over the past few years. Lets take a look and see how they are holding up. The first one on the list is my rectangular bar stools. The materials came from 2×4’s. I believe they are all douglas fir. The construction is all half lap joinery so they are solid and strong.

I made a couple of mistakes when building these. During final assembly I attached the front and back leg assemblies backwards on one of them. That means one stool has the long rail half laps facing in and the other has the long rail half laps facing out. Luckily, the dark stain masks that mistake and, like most other mistakes in our projects, I seriously doubt anyone would have noticed if I didn’t point it out. The other mistake I made was that I never properly removed the planer snipe on the top panel of one of them. These were made before I realized how easy it is to get rid of with a hand plane.

To see the video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i5qeM_K0Z4
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2014/09/how-to-make-a-half-lap-bar-stool-from-2x4s/

If memory serves me correctly the stain is Carrington by Rustoleum and covered with Target Coatings EM6000 water based lacquer. I initially thought the stain was too dark but it grew on me. I really like these two stools and because they were inexpensive and easy to make I don’t care about letting them get abused.

Horseshoe Theme Trash Can

Next up is my trash can. I made this before I started uploading to YouTube so I don’t have a video or an in-depth article, just an overview article. It’s made from 1×12 pine shelving material. Inside and out is finished with amber shellac and the outside is top-coated with Target Coatings EM6000 water based lacquer….I think. It was either that or regular Deft lacquer. It’s holding up just fine. No issues with this one which is odd considering I glued the lid supports directly to the panels on all four sides. These should cause wood movement issues but I’m guessing that the several layers of shellac and finish have really reduced wood movement due to restricting moisture changes in the wood.

Download the SketchUp file: https://jayscustomcreations.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Trash-Can.zip

For convenience, I added a drawer to the bottom of the can to store a roll of trash bags and a can of Lysol.

The lid lifts off and the bag wraps around the can.

One of the requirements for this one was to be able to hold pizza boxes with the lid shut.

The handle is a horseshoe which allows for a forearm or elbow to open the lid which is really handy when you have dirty hands from cooking. And of course the lid stays shut and keeps the trash out of sight.

Wide Bookcase

This is my most recent bookcase. These books are all my wife’s books. As you can tell I need to make another one already. It’s mostly plywood with solid wood for the faceframe, trim, and top piece. I brushed latex paint on it and that’s it. I knew better than to just leave it as latex but time got away from me and I never top coated it. Latex finished furniture will benefit a lot from a simple water based poly top coat. Latex by itself is too soft and items will stick to it. That’s what the case is with this one. The books don’t stick but everything on top sticks. Other than that it’s holding up just fine. The construction is solid. I’ll cover the projects on top of it next

To see the video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn5yElt-mBk
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2016/09/how-to-build-a-bookcase/

Two Drawer Dovetail Box

On top of the bookcase we keep my two drawer dovetail box. It’s walnut and hickory and finished with shellac. Everything is holding up just fine. Due to humidity expanding the drawers I did have to shave the drawer height slightly but I still have that piston fit where one drawer closing hard pops the second drawer open.

To see the video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W-9_P_ZRck
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2017/07/two-drawer-dovetail-box/

Decorative Clock

On the other side of the bookcase is where I keep my challenge clock. While in Wisconsin a couple of years ago I participated in a challenge build with Nick Ferry and April Wilkerson where we all had to share build a clock in the same space in a single day. This is what I came up with. It’s a turned piece of birdseye maple with walnut splines for 3, 6, 9, and 12 sitting on brass rod in a section of live edge spalted maple. What I like the most about this is the contrast in the refined clock piece and the rough and organic back piece. The back piece also kinda reminds me of the shape of Michigan without the thumb. I probably see Michigan in it because I’m from Michigan and saw the shape of the state so much growing up. The back piece was rushed due to time constraints so I didn’t even sand off the planer machine marks. But I have no desire to change it because it’s a reminder of the challenge build.

To see the video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiloZxJjmJI
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2016/10/a-unique-wooden-clock/

Dining Table

My dining table is one of the most used projects I’ve ever made. My wife and I both grew up in houses where the family didn’t eat dinner together and often times ate on the couch in front of the television. We wanted to change that when we got together as we believe that meal time should be spent together as a family where we talk and actually interact as a family. So if both of us are home for a meal we eat together at the dining table. And to take that a step further, for the past 7 years of being married we have always played the board game Sorry while eating.

Back to the table… The table is primarily hickory with a few walnut accents. It’s sized to fit six adults. No chairs as we opted for two benches instead. I built this two years ago and we have never wished we built chairs instead of benches. It’s finished with water based polyurethane and I wish I would have used something else. Probably something oil based. The water based poly gives it more of a whiter/clear look where an oil based finish would have darkened it slightly and had a richer or slightly yellow or amber color, typical of oil based finishes. I was warned that using a water based poly would result in finish problems if water is left on the table for an extended amount of time and I’m just now feeling some areas where the finish has a slight alligator skin feel. It’s not to the point where it needs to be refinished but it’s definitely got me mindful of not leaving cups on the table anymore.

To see the table base video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiPwui9_M8I
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2016/04/how-to-build-a-dining-table/

The top is interesting on this table. It has wedged through mortise and tenon sprung breadboard ends which sounds like a mouthful but it makes sense when you break it down. I have a separate video and article on just the top as it was a bit in-depth on its own. The center field of the top turned out interesting as well. It’s made up of four boards with each board having white sap wood on one side of the board only. This allowed for me to orient the boards so that the sapwood edges only touched sapwood edges and the heartwood edges only touched heartwood edges or were the edges of the table. It makes the top have the appearance of two sapwood rivers flowing through the top. I really like how this top turned out.

To see the table top video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zT1CoGzn2g
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2016/03/wedged-through-mortise-and-tenon-sprung-breadboard-end/

Another favorite feature of the table is the front rail. I found a board that had a dark streak right on the sapwood to heartwood transition and knew I had to feature it on the table. I cut the board so that the dark streak is parallel with the board and centered. This is positioned in my house so that it is clearly visible when walking through the front door. You can see that there is also a small strip of walnut below each rail on the table and benches and also a band of walnut near the bottom of the table feet.

Krenov Inspired Coffee Table

This is my Krenov inspired coffee table. It’s a work in progress as I have yet to make the drawers for it. The top is mahogany and the base is ambrosia maple. The drawers will be ambrosia maple as well. The top looks like a solid panel of mahogany but I actually had to rip a 20” wide board down into three pieces, mill each piece square 4 sides, then glue it back together. The panel blended quite well and it’s extremely difficult to find the glue joints even when you’re a foot away from it. I’m quite pleased at how that turned out. The finish was a few coats of satin Arm-R-Seal. I still need to do a final coat and polish but I’ll save that for when the drawers are complete.

To see the video 1 without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZt9xS-WvEE
To see the video 2 without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHtUdqdyjl8
To see the video 3 without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsB2BeLll-w
To read the article for part 1 click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2018/04/krenov-inspired-coffee-table-part-1-case-construction/
To read the article for part 2 click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2018/05/krenov-inspired-coffee-table-part-2-its-all-about-the-base/
To read the article for part 3 click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2018/05/krenov-inspired-coffee-table-part-3-the-details-assembly-and-finish/

Chess Board Box

I previously kept my chess board box on my last coffee table. I don’t want to cover up the mahogany top on this table so for now the box lives inside the table. I don’t think the box will fit in the drawers when they are complete but time will tell. The chess board box is walnut and hickory. The box has a mitered corner construction with no reinforcements. The top slides out to one side and is disguised quite well when it’s closed. All of the miters are still nice and tight and I’m quite pleased with how it’s holding up. For a finish I used regular mineral oil. Mineral oil doesn’t offer much protection at all but I used it to pop the grain color while providing a feel that was as natural as possible. I knew it wasn’t a long-lasting finish and as it sits today it definitely needs another application of oil. You can see some dry spots on the walnut in the second image.

To see the video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzrB16_wUa4
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2016/11/making-a-custom-chess-board-box/

Blanket Chest

This is a pine pocket hole blanket chest. It’s the second of seven that I’ve made with the same pocket hole construction and design. The chest is simply four pocket hole face frames joined together at the corners. A plywood base panel is secured with pocket holes and four 1/4” plywood panels are attached from the inside to give it a frame and panel look. It is finished with amber shellac and top coated with polyurethane. You’re not supposed to put polyurethane over waxed shellac but this finish is holding up just fine with no signs of problems. This chest was built in 2009-ish and has been moved a few hundred miles between five (I think) living locations so it’s seen it’s fair share of abuse but it’s holding up very well. It’s full of seasonal decorations and as you can see we use it for a media console for our TV that only gets turned on about once a month.

I don’t have an article or video for this build but I do have a plan if you’re interested: https://jayscustomcreations.com/product/pocket-hole-blanket-chest/

Coat Rack

Right behind my front door is a mission style coat rack that I made. It’s a basic design that has some visual interest. If you haven’t noticed already, we have a western/horse theme with a lot of the items in our house. I added four horse head coat hooks to this one. This gets used daily as well. It’s finished with latex paint and is holding up just fine. The items on top are light enough that they don’t stick to the paint.

To see the video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teSL75D-rAg
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2015/12/mission-style-coat-rack/

Angled Half Lap Three Tier Shelf

This is an angled half lap three tier shelf. I made the half lap joints proud and chamfered them as I found out my wife really likes the look of proud joinery. It was originally intended to be used as a plant stand when bringing plants inside for the winter but my wife quickly adopted it for use as a side table near her reading chair. We both love how this piece turned out. It’s completely heart hickory and stained with American Walnut stain by Rustoleum. I found out on this piece how well hickory stains. It’s probably the most even color I’ve ever achieved by staining wood.

To see the video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkTZ-4_dYLs
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2017/09/angled-half-lap-three-tier-shelf/

Bunk Bed

The next few projects are in the guest room of our house and are entirely built from construction lumber I bought from my local Lowes. First up is my 2×4 and 2×6 bunk bed. It’s still solid as a rock and structurally holding up just fine. The rustic pine Briwax finish is holding up just fine as well. As you can see, I didn’t put much effort into making the wood super smooth before applying the wax. I was going for a “rough around the edges” feel for the bed and wanted it to be something easy that anyone of any still level can complete. It has turned into one of my most popular projects and I routinely get images from people who built their own.

To see the video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQiHX1KXSiU
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2014/11/build-a-bunk-bed/

2×10 Bookcase

After the bunk bed I made a set of 2×10 bookcases with stopped dado construction. These are heavy and holding up just fine. No issues with them other than they need to be secured to the wall if this room ever turns into a child’s room.

To see the video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TKri71F8Nw
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2015/07/easy-huge-2×10-stopped-dado-bookcases/

Knot Free Pine Chest Of Drawers

The chest of drawers was built from 2×10 material as well and I took the time to layout all of my pieces to avoid all knots in the wood. It’s a frame and panel construction finished with the same wax finish. It looks a lot better in person than what it does in these images as the color is more even. It has an old antique feel to it because of the wax. Zero problems with this piece. My wife uses it for her military uniforms.

To see the video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0X0jdENSbJs
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2015/08/knot-free-pine-chest-of-drawers/

Pine Blanket Chest

I also made a matching blanket chest out of the same 2×10 material and again made sure to eliminate all knots and defects from the project. The top has no hinges as it just lifts off. It’s positioned with four mortises on the bottom side of the top panel that connect to the legs which are proud of the sides. I forgot to mention it in the video but I have had to increase the size of the lid mortises due to the top panel moving slightly and not lining up with the legs. It’s holding up just fine and my wife uses it for some of her military gear that doesn’t get used often.

To see the video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrUb2WgVr34
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2015/09/tongue-and-groove-blanket-chest/

Mortise & Tenon Sofa Table

This is a beat up pine sofa table. Right before shooting this video I moved this table into this room and accidentally placed it with the back facing out. I didn’t catch it until this video was edited. You’re looking at the ugly side of the table as those two knots on the top panel should be against the wall. Oh well. The rest of the table is indeed ugly as well. This table used to be in our living room as the dumping ground for keys, hats, and anything else in our pockets right when we entered the house. A candle was melted on it and the legs got some abuse from moping the floor. I made the table to demonstrate how to make mortise and tenon joinery so structurally it’s perfect. But the wax finish has captured so much dirt and damage from simply not being cared for.

To see the video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU8eVyqTVEs
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2015/11/mortise-and-tenon-table/

Window Frame Picture Frame

I received these three canvas prints as a gift several years ago. I liked the image and thought it would be nice to live in a place where that was the view out of a window. That thought gave me the idea to make a fake window to go around the prints. It kinda matched the décor in our last apartment but it’s just too out-of-place in our current house. I’m not sure what I’ll do with this piece. Maybe just take the canvas prints out and hang them alone. The frame is holding up just fine though.

To see video 1 without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SxbNgW4RLo
To see video 2 without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCBMLIgAWWA

Window Cornice

This is a simple window cornice I made several years ago. It has basic glue and brad nail construction. Zero problems other than the fact that my wife wanted one for every window in our house. We have too many windows so this one ended up being the only one I made.

To see the video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57bNYhxXjGg
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2014/11/easy-diy-window-cornice/

Pocket Hole Bookcase

Here’s the first bookcase I made my wife. And, of course, it’s overflowing with books. It’s 1×12 pine shelving material assembled with pocket holes and stained with early american Minwax stain. The stain job is ugly and I should have used a pre-stain conditioner. It’s top-coated with lacquer. Structurally it’s solid but one side panel does have a crack running down it. I think this is because the wood was too wet when I built it.

To see the video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPuWKSbUoIA
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2013/06/pocket-hole-bookcase/

Picture Frame

Above the dresser is a “fancy” picture frame I made in 2013. This was a learning experience for me as the joints are a keyed miter. The frame design itself has a routed profile inside and outside and a piece of dental moulding in the middle. The wood doesn’t match and the corners of the dental moulding doesn’t line up. It’s ugly, but its my first picture frame so it’s not going anywhere.

To see video 1 without leaving this page click here: http://www.youtube.com/embed/5cZJxVghcmw
To see video 2 without leaving this page click here: http://www.youtube.com/embed/jCqoKhBjOkE
To see video 3 without leaving this page click here: http://www.youtube.com/embed/Wz97EEuPHAg

Jewelry Cabinet

The final piece on this tour is a jewelry cabinet that my wife made in 2015. It’s a Shanty-2-Chic design. Basic construction with pocket holes, wood glue, and brad nails. It’s finished with early american Minwax stain and top-coated with polycrylic. It lives in our bathroom which is a high humidity environment. The door has bowed in slightly at the top and bottom but it still functions as it should. It’s one of those things that if not pointed out it would go unnoticed. It has cup hooks for neclases, posts for bracelets, and plastic mesh for earrings. My wife uses it daily and loves it.

Original plans: http://www.shanty-2-chic.com/2014/02/jewelry-organizer-diy.html
To see the video without leaving this page click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqqRDJEgXRg
To read the article click here: https://jayscustomcreations.com/2015/01/my-wife-made-a-jewelry-organizer-cabinet/

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3 COMMENTS

  1. My son just sat and watched every one of these videos while I was marking up the wood for the bunk beds.

    He asked me to marry you so you could come teach him all this and he could work with you in your workshop. Had to point out to him that you said many times you were married. He was sad. I told him we’d learn together when we could have our own shop.

    Have a carpenter coming over today to help finish these… I wanted to do it all myself but I want it done by tomorrow more.

  2. Jay, Love your ability to teach in everyday language and common sense approach to projectslll I am pretty good at following plans to build things, but I suck at finishing!!!
    I am working on a small table for my son to store his guitar amp on. It is a simple build with one shelf, four legs and a top. The top and shelf will be out of Walnut and the legs out of Ash. What kind of “durable” finish do you recommend that will stand up to sliding a small amp across it as it is moved from top to shelf and back again??? Oil? Poly, water or oil based?
    Anxious for your reply!

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