How to Cope Trim Tutorial

Have you ever coped trim?  Some of the trim in my new workshop needed to be cut to length due to my rearranging of some of the walls.  In the corners trim should be coped and not just cut at 45 degrees.

One side of your baseboard trim is cut straight, as I did here on the right side, going into the corner:

The left piece needs to be cut at a 45 degree angle with a mitre saw or a handsaw in a mitre box… I’m not sure how to explain this, but the trim edge that is cut leaves the bare unpainted mdf showing and is cut longer at the back:

Here is what the left piece looks like after being cut:

As you can see, the baseboard trim on the left will not fit against the right piece:

The next step is to cope the trim, which means to cut away the back edge, but not into the front.

I use a utility knife because this is mdf and not real wood.  If you have solid wood, you need to use a small coping saw and it’s a bit trickier to cut, but still doable.  With the mdf you can chip away at it.

The object is to take away all the side edging (that isn’t painted) so in effect you are taking away the back part of the trim and leaving the shaped front intact.

When you lay it flat you will see what still has to come off of the side and back edge:

This is what it will look like when the coping is finished and the piece is laying flat.  You will not see any of the bare edges:

As you slide it into place:

It will fit without any gaps:

I hope this helps some of you that may have thought that coping was too hard to do… you CAN do it!

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Bathroom Renovation – Part 6 – Reconstructing a Drawer Around Plumbing Tutorial

This is the tutorial on how to change a drawer to fit around plumbing when changing a commode or dresser to a vanity.  The Bathroom Renovation series starts here.
When choosing a piece of furniture that will become a vanity you need to check for two important things.  What is the height of your piece and what is the depth of it? The height you need will depend on your sink choice.  I am not a fan of vessel sinks.  Those are the type that sit on top of the counter and usually require a 3″ diameter hole cut into the top for plumbing.  I don’t like the distance between the top of the sink and the counter top, I prefer the sink to be closer to the top. If you go with a vessel sink, your dresser would need to be a bit shorter in height to allow for the height of the sink.
 Of course a regular type sink sits completely inset into the counter top, so that requires a much larger hole for the sink and a standard height for the dresser, similar to a store bought vanity.
The sink we found is half into the counter and half (about 3″) sits up above the counter top.  It was perfect for what we had in mind for our bathroom. Our commode has little wheels on it that add to the character, but could have been removed if we needed the sink to sit lower.
You also need the depth of your piece to fit the sink.  The diameter of our new sink was 18″ at the top and so it had to fit front to back on the commode and still allow an overhang for the top as well as a bit of room at the back.  It just fit exactly to the top without much room to spare.  
Your sink will come with a template of what size to cut the hole.  I used painters masking tape (after stripping and clear-coating the top) and marked the center, as well as the hole size, which was 13″, with pencil.
This was cut out with a jigsaw after making a large pilot hole with my drill.
Our plumbing came up through the floor.  It was ideal for this type of vanity, and may not be best for one that has all drawers because it would mean that each drawer would need to be altered. 
 Because we have one drawer and two doors, I just reconstructed the one drawer.  We fit the commode over the fittings that came up through the floor and I made a new plywood bottom for the vanity with cut outs where the cold and hot water and the drain pipe came up. This way the back of the vanity was not cut nor changed in any way.
Although my husband does not like plumbing, he is good at it and hooked up our new faucet and sink.
So this leaves us with a spot for the drawer to fit into.  You can see that the drawer will not run into any plumbing on each side after I push the one flexible water pipe in behind the drain.
This is the drawer from the top, it has dovetails where the front meets the sides and has grooves where the back fits into the sides.
From the bottom you can see that the drawer bottom fits into grooves around the front and sides of the drawer. (This is the proper way to construct a drawer, the drawer bottom is not screwed nor nailed onto the bottom of the sides, it fits into the sides with the grooves there and does not need any glue nor fasteners to hold it in place.)

 In order to have a drawer that will fit around the plumbing I needed to find exactly where the plumbing was.  I measured from the front of the cabinet to where the drain pipe came up through where the drawer would sit. I also measured the width of the drain pipe and added a little for extra movement.

Then the first step was to cut a slot into the drawer bottom.

My drawer was already coming un-glued so that helped me to be able to take off the front piece and slide the drawer into where it would sit in the vanity.
Here I show the drawer sitting back in place with the slot cut out.

The next step was to see where the slant of the sink came toward the front of the drawer. While it sat there I took a thin piece of card board and drew on the shape of the sink bottom. 
I then had to cut three pieces to reconstruct the sink.  (Actually since I don’t have a workshop, nor most of my tools, I had a kind neighbour cut these pieces for me)  The sides for the slot will be the same height as the outer sides of the drawer.  They have a dado (groove) cut into the bottom so that the drawer bottom will fit into them.  They also have a groove at the back so that the drawer back fits into them. And they have a rabbet at the front that the front piece is glued into (This might be more obvious in the photo after this one) 
The small front piece (which is cut from the leftover piece I cut out of the back of the drawer when making the slot cut) has a half circle cut out of it to fit under the sink.  If this were square across the top the drawer would not sit completely into the vanity.

Here are the pieces dry-fitted together, and the following photo is a close-up which, hopefully, will make my descriptions more clear.

I stained the new pieces to match the old and glued the front piece to sides as well as the sides to the two original back pieces and glued the front back on:
It fits! And this allows us to still use the drawer as there is a lot of room on both sides of the slot for the plumbing.

I hope this helps some of you who are converting a commode or dresser into a vanity.  Please don’t hesitate to ask questions if you have any!

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How to Make “EAT” Letters From Pallet Wood

There are “EAT” letters all over the internet, in blogs and for sale at decor sites.  I decided to use some pallet wood to make my own… very easy to do!
I had rough pallet wood that was 2 7/8″ wide that I felt would be a good width for letters. To determine what size my letters would be I simply laid down three of the pieces horizontally with some space between.  This helped me to see that with the slats being 2 7/8″ wide, the “E” should be 10 1/2″ high.  I then laid another piece vertically beside the horizontal pieces and figured out what width the “E” should be to look correct. The “E” is 8 1/2″ wide:

Of course all letters need to be the same height, but not necessarily the same width.  Because the “A” has it’s sides on an angle, the “A” (as in most fonts) will be wider than the “E”.  I set up some scrap slats to get a height of 10 1/2″ to match the “E” and came up with a visually pleasing width of 11″ wide for the “A”:

The “T” follows easily, also the same 10 1/2″ high, it looked best to me at 8 3/4″ wide:
I cut some thin MDF with my jigsaw, for backing for each letter. I made it about 1/2″ smaller all around each letter and then glued and pin nailed from the back:

I painted the letters edges only with white and then the fronts with turquoise.  I sanded over each letter to give a distressed look.

Very easy to make, only a few cuts and you could make any letters this way! A child’s name? Something for Christmas or a wedding… anything!

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Adding a Beam – Part 2

Last time I wrote about making a beam for the ceiling which you can read here and left it at this point:

My beam is made like this, with the bottom piece having tongues on each edge which sit in grooves in the side pieces. So the next thing I did was put grooves in all the side pieces and made rabbets on the bottom pieces, which left the tongues to go into the grooves.

The next job was to stain all the pieces:

I glued just one side piece to the bottom piece, this would allow me (actually my husband) to wire up the lights easier than trying to do it with a completed beam.

Here you can see that the beam is just an L shape for now with the front (side piece) off.  I screwed the back side piece into the 2 x 2s. This way the wiring is inside and cut to the proper lengths for each of the four pot lights.

The pot lights were then wired in place and could be checked to see that they worked properly before sealing up the beam:

The front side piece was then screwed in to the 2 x 2s at the top (after this photo was taken I painted the screws a brown that left them pretty much invisible):

and also glued and clamped along the bottom:

Here’s the finished dovetail, which I actually put more dark stain around so that the shape of the dovetail would show up better:



This turned out just as I pictured it in my head before I started, so I am pleased with it.  The pot lights are also on a dimmer switch and they give a nice ambience to the room.

Hopefully this tutorial can help someone else out who is wanting to do something similar.

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Adding a Beam to the Ceiling

Our basement needed new paint and flooring and a few minor renovations.  In our large “living room” or “rec room” I wanted to put up a beam with lights in it.  Here is what I was dealing with:
Ceiling right side

Ceiling left side

 My original plan was to put a wood beam up against the bulkhead (lower) portion that contains some ducting.  Because of the two vents in the ceiling, I realized that would be impossible without a lot of tearing out, so I decided to put the beam below the bulkhead instead.

The total length, just under 16′, was far too long to put one piece of wood, so there had to be joints in the beam.  Instead of just straight joints I realized I could highlight the joint and make it look like a dovetail, so I made two joints along the length of the beam like this.

The beam would be hollow and allow four pot lights to be put inside.  I decided to make it like this, with plywood sides and bottom, and 2×2’s to screw the box sides to.

I used basic plywood which I cut into strips.  I drew out a dovetail on the end of my side pieces and cut with a jigsaw.

I then laid the cut piece over another to cut the piece that the dovetail would fit into.

This is how they would look joined together:
I measured out to find where the holes needed to be for the pot lights and cut those out of my bottom pieces:

I screwed the 2×2 pieces to the ceiling after finding wood studs behind.  My husband set up the electrical wiring so that it came out where the end of the beam would be. You can see those wires hanging down at the bottom of this photo. This runs from two switch boxes, one at the bottom of the stairs and one at the opposite far end of the beam.

I’ll post the finished results next time, stay tuned! Here’s the link

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Building and Finishing a Step Stool – Part 1

I have been making a LOT of signs recently, but also have requests for furniture, which I enjoy making.  I had a customer ask if I could make a pine step stool for a visiting granddaughter.
Being a woodworker with tools to make furniture from scratch means that I can make parts to any size from rough wood.  I also am able to design pieces, so that I don’t need to buy plans.
The first thing I do with a request like this is to ask what the buyer had in mind, what size, what style, and what finish. Then I go online and search for samples and we narrow it down to a preferred piece, using a photo as inspiration.
So, we will need five pieces:
                 two sides, a brace, a step, and a top

This is the (right) side piece, with the two holes drilled on the inner face, for the brace.  The holes do not go through to the outside, this way no screws are used and therefore no screws show in the finished stool:

This is the back brace, which sits between the sides.  I glued two dowels on each end which will fit into holes drilled into the side pieces:
This is the step piece, for the bottom step.  It has holes drilled right through for four dowels, two on each side:
The top is the same size as the step piece and has the same holes drilled through.  This buyer wanted a handle cut into the top which I did with my drill press and jigsaw.  You can see how I did this here, when I made my storage boxes.
Now we have all the pieces, and we can assemble the stool.
The following photo shows the brace fitted against the inner (left) side piece.  The end of the brace and the dowels are glued to the side piece:

I use a long clamp to hold the brace in place while the glue dries on both sides:

Then I sit the top and step pieces on the sides and (after centering them there) I mark where holes need to be drilled in the top of the side pieces:

 The holes take dowels that are glued level with the top and step pieces and right into the sides:

In my next blog post I will show how I finished the first step stool.  Oh, I suppose I never said, but I made two of them. I often do this because then I can sell the one I was commissioned to make and keep one to sell later.

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The Serendipity House – A shaped sign tutorial

This post is a tutorial about a sign I made for Cindy who blogs at Cottage Instincts and sells her painted furniture at The Serendipity House .  I offered to make Cindy a sign, just because.
Cindy’s business has a really nice logo that she put together with an interestingly shaped graphic from The Graphics Fairy.  I thought it would look nice cut out of wood.
The first step was printing out her logo, which I got directly from her website and enlarged to about 22″ long. I printed it out in black and grey on two pieces of legal sized paper.

After cutting it out and taping it together, I then found a nice solid piece of pine (oh dear, can’t remember the thickness, I think just under 1″) and drew the middle section accurately and a rough outline of the outer curvy parts.

I decided that this logo sign would look great if the middle section, with the wording, was raised up from the background.  I thought flat would be a bit, well, boring.

Now, this added much more work to my sign than a flat sign would be, but anyway, away I went with my small router.  Using a straight bit I began to take away wood from the outer edges, where all the fancy design is.

With a router, it’s best to work at this gradually, taking about 1/8″ depth off on the first pass:

Subsequent passes go deeper and deeper.  This is time consuming, but necessary:

Here you can see the right portion is deeper than the left:

This is a photo of the whole thing routed away.  Unfortunately I don’t really know how much I took off, and I’ve already sent the sign, so… I just took it down to where I thought it looked good:
Here’s a close-up where you can see the different heights. Again, the middle part was not touched: 

Now, if I had a good quality scroll saw, I would have used it, but since I don’t I was stuck using a jigsaw.  I drew the final outside shape on the BACK of the sign, being sure to line up properly where the design was on the front:

I cut on the back, since it was flat and the jigsaw could run on the even wood.  This is after turning it over to get a peek at how things were going:

Here’s the design all cut out, including holes where they appear in the original design:

I used a wood stain and stained darker on the outer portion than the middle:

Here’s a close-up: 

After the stain dried I used carbon paper to trace the lettering and birdie for the logo.  Then I hand painted it with standard craft paint.

So, this shows the website logo and below, the wood sign I made:

I hope Cindy likes it, she will be hanging it in her brand new home.

Can I make one for you with your logo?

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Making a Post to Hang One of my Signs

I often get orders from people who have either seen my work at Farmers’ Markets I go to, or see products for sale online at Kijiji.

I was contacted through email for an order for a sign with the family name on it, hanging from a post.  I also had to supply the post!

When I get an order like this I use email to send links to signs I’ve previously made and shown here at my blog, or photos of signs I haven’t yet posted.  This way the client can choose from many different styles, colours, sizes, and fonts and settle on something they feel is suitable for what they want.

This lovely lady chose a white sign with black lettering.  It is the same on both sides and will hang at the end of her driveway.

Now to make the post…

I purchased an 8 foot 4″x4″ pressure treated post and cut about 3′ off one end to use as the horizontal member.  The vertical piece and horizontal piece will lock together with 1/2 of the depth of the wood cut out of each piece. (This is called a half-lap joint) Here is the pencil marking of what will come out of the vertical piece.

I use my sliding compound mitre saw to work away at the post.  The saw can be set to only cut down to the width you want, so that it doesn’t cut right through the post.  In order to do that, you also need to set a scrap piece of wood between the piece you are cutting and the back fence.  You can see where I have clamped a 4 x 4 piece to keep my post the correct distance to give a straight level cut.

Here you can see the full notch cut out.  This is the same cut for both vertical and horizontal pieces.

Of course you need to be accurate with this in order for the pieces to fit tightly together. Here are the two notches cut out:

They are then fit together, fingers crossed…

Ta da!

I then drilled a hole in the center and used a large carriage bolt with a washer and nut on the back to hold the pieces together more firmly.

The sign then has eyes screwed into it and hooks into the crosspiece. This shows it at my house before delivery:

I also supplied a ground spike for the post to sit in, these are available at lumber or DIY type stores.  It is hammered into the ground using first a short scrap piece of 4 x 4, and then the post is fit into it and screws in the top of the spike box are tightened.

Here is the sign at the owner’s home:

Thanks to Sam for trusting in me to make just what she wanted for her family home.

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