Scrap Wood Challenge: A Scrappy Grape Arbor

Hi, all! It’s been a minute. We have taken a few weeks off blogging and social media influencing to figure out our crazy new lives and schedules amongst the covid crisis. We have missed you all dearly but we are glad to be back online.

As you know, my husband wanted me to get rid of the scrap wood pile in the garage. I told him you can’t just get rid of perfectly good wood…you must build something cool with it.

Enter my grape arbor. We knew we wanted to plant grapes next year, but I didn’t want a traditional low grape arbor. I wanted a tall arbor!

First, I dug holes and sunk four 4×4 posts. I then attached the posts with two 1×6 boards on each side (front, back and sides).

I then cut shorter pieces, just a little longer than the width of the sides. I attached them parallel on each side.

Then, I cut pieces for the top and cut them slightly wider than the top of the arbor.

I kept adding slats until I had it finished.

And I cannot wait until we have actual grapes growing from this thing!! Stay tuned!!

Intex Quick Set Pool Review

We had a Target version of an Intex family pool at the start of summer. It was 7 feet in diameter with a bench and it held 200 gallons of water. It was great.

Until we came outside one morning to find it leaking badly and partially deflated. I tried to patch it and make it last but to not avail.

Due to the quarantine, kiddie pools are hard to come by. I had heard good things about the Intex Easy Set pools and found a smaller sized model for a reasonable price.

I knew where I wanted the pool but the spot wasn’t level. I used our garden tiller to level up the spot.

I raked out the dirt so it would be level and I used stall mats to ensure the kids could hop out of the pool onto a dry, non muddy surface.

Set up is super easy. Take it out of the box and spread it out on a level surface. Inflate the top ring with a hand pump. If you’re using a filter, follow the directions and assemble and connect the filter. If you aren’t using a filter, insert the plugs into the holes.

Then, after you have put the plugs in the filter hose holes and made sure the drain is closed, begin filling your pool. As your pool fills, your sides will rise. Be careful not to overfill it.

Finally, when your pool is filled, enjoy it with your family!

There are a lot of things I like about this pool. If we had a little bit larger of a pool we would have gotten the pump and filter. This pool is only 294 gallons so we are doing fine with our chlorine dispenser and our pool vacuum. I like the fact that is durable and easy to set up- it also is really easy to clean.

If I were to reorder this, I’d get the eight foot instead of the six foot. I don’t really consider that a con, since that was my mistake and no fault of the pool. Even at six feet, the four of us can sit together comfortably.

In short, if you are looking for a small pool for you and your small children with low maintenance, look no further than an Intex Easy Set.

Enjoy and we will see you again tomorrow for a furniture re-do.

Repurpose and Remodel: Restoring a Handmade Porch Swing

My grandfather was an excellent carpenter. He and his brother built me many neat things over the years but my favorite is this porch swing.

It’s handmade, solid wood and heavy. In fact, it’s so heavy that in the 15 years since he built it for me, I’ve never had a place to hang it. It’s been in my mother’s basement for years.

As you can imagine, 15 years in a damp basement takes its toll. We had several rotten slats and a rusted chain. We were blessed the frame was still in good shape .

I promptly ordered the things I thought we would need and I got to work replacing the slats that were rotten or warped. I toyed with replacing all the slats but since some were in great shape, I decided against it.

I then gave the whole swing a good sanding with my orbital sander and removed the rusty chain.

I then put two coats of primer and one coat of paint on the swing and replaced the chain with a new one.

My mom got me this arbor for my birthday so I could hang the swing. It’s very pretty and very sturdy. And we know the song isn’t hanging straight- the arbor isn’t exactly level yet. We haven’t anchored the arbor yet because we are waiting to put down some pea gravel to deal with the mud. We also want to cut those bushes but there are birds nesting in them, so we want to wait until they leave.

I’m so excited to have this swing at my house- finally! I miss my grandpa so much so I am happy to be able to have this gift he personally made for me. It looks so pretty hanging from the arbor. It brightens up our yard quite well!!

I can’t wait to finish this area so I can show it to you!!

Scrap Wood Challenge: Finishing the Adirondack Chairs and Tables

This page is not a building plan, or even a tutorial. Think of it as more like an “update.” Remember these chairs?

And do you remember these tables?

Technically only two of our chairs are scrap wood builds, as we actually purchased the lumber to build the other two. The tables are scrap wood builds as well.

I always knew once these chairs and tables were finished, I wanted to paint them a bright color. Since we have a gray house with black shutters, I envisioned a bright red or a navy blue. But before I painted them, I filled in the holes with wood filler, sanded the chairs with 40 grit sandpaper and an orbital sander, and I put two coats of primer.

I learned something while painting these chairs: if you’re painting something that is raw wood and has never been painted or stained, you will need to use a good primer first. I applied two coats of primer to my chairs and tables prior to painting them. You also only need about 45 minutes drying time between both coats.

I let the two coats of primer dry for about 24 hours, and then I applied the red. I just love this color. It’s Benjamin Moore outdoor paint and it’s called “million dollar red.”

I ended up applying two coats to each piece of furniture, and allowing 24 hours drying time between the coats.

Our cute little firepit area is far from finished, but I can’t help but love the way these tables and chairs turned out. The coolest thing is about the whole area is that we built the furniture ourselves. I can’t wait to show you the finished patio. Stay tuned!

Scrap lumber challenge: Ana’s Adirondack chairs

My husband and I are in the midst of cleaning out our garage. While most of the “clean up needs” are simply a matter of putting things away, my scrap wood pile is a pretty big issue.

Yikes. That’s a lot of scrap wood.

Maybe I should change my blog name to “Lumber freaking everywhere.” Seriously, my scrap wood pile has gotten a little out of hand. With the cost of lumber these days, you can’t throw it out or waste it. I decided instead I’d build something from the scrap wood instead. My dad and I did a lot of woodworking projects together, I always enjoyed it, and I really miss it. And since we are quarantined, it isn’t like I have tons of things to do.

I wanted some wooden adirondack chairs for our new firepit patio, but I didn’t want to pay for them. Also, a lot of wooden adirondack chairs are overpriced, not real wood, and not very sturdy. If you aren’t familiar with Ana White, you should be. She is a blogger in Alaska who does tons of woodwork projects. She also publishes very thorough plans with diagrams and pictures, step by step instructions, a shopping list and even a cut list so you will know how long to cut your boards. They’re also 100% free!! I flipped through her plan catalogue and found an adirondack chair plan I thought I could build.

Source: Ana White
Source: Ana White

See how easy she makes this? Her plans are phenomenal.

I happened to have enough scrap wood to build two chairs. I only needed to buy the screws. I quickly cut out all the pieces I’d need for two chairs.

Here are all the pieces for one chair.
  1. Begin by taking your front and back legs and attaching your stringer piece to them. I chose to attach the top of the stringer piece at 11 inches. This will be one side of your chair- two legs and a seat support.

2. Flip over your chair and attach your 2×2. This is your arm rest support. You will want this on the opposite side of your stringer piece.

3.Then, you will mirror this on the other side .

And now you have both sides of your chair base completed.

4. Join your two sides of your chair base together with a 2×4 stretcher piece.

It’s starting to look more like a chair!

5. Now you attach five chair slats to your seat support at 1/2 an inch apart.

6. Get yourself a really cute shop cat to follow you around and meow at you while you work. Actually, that step is optional.

Tommie Gray keeps an eye on things.

7. Build the back of your chair. Connect your back slats using two 2×4 bracers. I did mine at 1/4 inch apart.

8. Flip it over and secure the 1x4s to the 2×4 bracers using 2 inch wood screws.

9. Attach your back brace to your chair frame, and secure the chair back to the brace.

10. And finally, attach your arm rests to the chair.

Annie Sue likes the new chair. She thinks it’s hers.

And then you have a comfy adirondack chair, made from real, solid wood. Shop cat approved!

I ended up building two of these chairs from scrap wood, and purchasing lumber to build two more. I’ve now built four of these chairs altogether and one side table. I still need to fill in the holes with wood filler, sand them, paint them, and put them out by our fire pit.

I can’t wait to show you the finished product, and next week I will show you how I built the side table.