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D.I.Y. plant stand

Having an Impact
Having an Impact


Spotted Gum panels and Jarrah used to build a plant stand complete with lights.




The project


Like probably most of us here who live in apartments, I've been growing a steadily larger plant collection. Having such a small place leaves very few places to store your plants where they'll get adequate lighting, so I've taken it upon myself to make a plant stand that sits to the side of my existing entertainment unit. That way some of the plants that I have growing in smaller pots can get more indirect light. I have an existing unit in my loungeroom and wanted it to match it in terms of height and dimensions, whilst fitting into a space that sits to the side of the unit. Now, it turns out that gap is around 410mm, and SpecRite just so happens to make FJ Panels in that size.  

So, one call to @hazesnow and it turns out she has some Spotted Gum panels in stock in her shed, as well as some lengths of Merbau that'd make for a great little side unit. So, huge shoutouts to mum for the timber for this project.


As is the norm for me, I am cutting most of these things by hand since both space and power tools are a premium for me. My trusty Zetsaw Kataba Saw and guide come in real handy for this normally but seeing as I had to cut panels and I have no room for a track saw, I improvised. Enter the saw rail. Literally just a piece of aluminum extrusion and a piece of Jarrah DAR clamped to a panel with quick-grip clamps, spaced exactly one saw-blade-width apart (the Zetsaw guide kit contains a spacer to dial in the guide that's the exact width of the saw blade) 


This made quick work of the SpecRite 405mm x 1800mm x 18mm Spotted gum panels, which would get trimmed into exact 405 x 405mm squares.




I then laminated these panels together using Gorilla wood glue and screwed them in the corners with pilot-drilled holes and Zenith 10g x 25mm screws. I initially had a go with another pair, however I, being a clumsy person at times, forgot to spread the glue before laminating the panels. That resulted in one of my glue-ups being completely ruined, with the centre splitting upwards, causing these butt-jointed panels to split apart. Don't worry, this isn't the first time you'll see splitting panels get in the way of this job. My stepdad's old Black and Decker WorkMate comes in really handy to clamp the centre down.


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 As for the corners, clearance holes were drilled for M8 x 1.0 bolts in the corners, spaced exactly in the centre (kind of) of a 42 x 42mm square. 

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So, there's a few things that happen to timber if you store it in a hot shed for an extended period of time. Sometimes, the wood can bow, twist or warp, leading to the wood sometimes becoming unusable. In this case, this is exactly what happened. These 42mm DAR Merbau strips had a solid 10mm bow from end to end, and one of them even had a few degrees of twist. So, I did a little reading as to how I can make these have less bow in them. Turns out, steaming timber is the only way to get it to straighten out. Now, I don't exactly have a timber steamer that can take a whole 1.9m length of Merbau, but I do have a spray bottle, some paper towel roll and some glad wrap. So, I got to work soaking paper towels with water and placing them on the concave side of the bow and clamping two bowed planks together with the concave sides facing inward, wrapped them in Glad Wrap and had them sit outside for a week. The end result? Well, i took out some of the bow, but not all of it, but it went down from about 10mm concavity to about 5mm, so that was at least workable, I could just simply put the shelves under tension. 


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These Taskmaster M8 Nut Inserts are pretty hard to come across these days, so when I saw that Harrisdale Bunnings had two packs in stock (just the amount I needed in fact) I snapped them up straight away. I used some Sika Techgrip to strengthen their bond seeing as these nutserts are going into end grain, and I used stepped pilot hole drilling to get them kind of centred.


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Being a sucker for punishment I decided to go with countersunk M8 bolts on the top to allow the screwheads to sit flush. I would then add an additional 10g x 60mm screw on the inside corner of these to further increase the strength of the joint. Let's just say this isn't going to spin itself apart anytime soon. The bows are pointed with the concave sides facing outwards and the convex sides facing inwards. You'll see why below. 


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And here it is. To get these shelves in I had to first cut out a 42 x 42mm cutout on each corner to make clearance for the uprights. I then had to basically knock them in with a hammer to position because of the fact that I had put the convex sides of the bows facing inwards. That allowed me to essentially square and level off the shelves and secure them on the outside faces with more 10g x 60mm screws in countersunk pilot holes. I ended up splitting a shelf, but that's nothing that once again, Gorilla glue can't fix. 


So, what's next? Well, because of my earlier mishap with the first attempt at gluing up the panels, I need more Spotted Gum shelving. I Intend on painting the uprights black, due to the fact that the shelf screw hardware is exposed and well, I kind of don't want it to be seen. That, and it'll match the unit. I know I'll have to sand it down quite a bit first before I paint/stain it, But it'll go with the remainder of the unit and in all honesty, it means I don't have to use such an aggressively dark stain to begin with to get that nice, dark colour. I also intend on painting and filling the screw hardware to hide it. 

Also, there's some additional cutting and trimming that I'll need to do to get the shelving "level" with the front of the unit.


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So, remember a while back when I made my Aircon cover? Well, I had some leftover slats from that project, which I cut town to 325mm lengths and added them as structural cross braces to further square up the shelving. I used a Kreg jig to drill pocket holes in the rear of the planks and affixed them with Gorilla glue. I'll be mounting the light conduit to these. 


So, for another addition, I found that Bunnings stocks these wonderful puck lights that fit right into these cabinets. These are a set of Mirabella Genio puck lights. I intend on setting these to blue-violet during the day, and at night-time, they'll switch to warm white. I just have to cut out one more shelf and get around to staining them 


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Next up, it's time to figure out how to recess the connection module and the control module into the frame itself. 


For the control module, I used a 25mm spade bit to round out the cutout at either end and drilled them down to a common depth of about 10mm. I drilled a third hole in the middle, and then chiseled the edges to straighten them up and form a pill shape using a 12mm butt chisel.  I then drilled a pair of 16mm through holes using a spade bit to allow the upper and lower lines to go through the timber. 


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For the connection module, which is to be mounted on the rear, I cut five lines, approximately 10mm apart using my Japanese Saw, between the rear sides of the 16mm through holes. I then chiselled these out with the same butt chisel from the side to cut a slot into the wood. In addition to that, I cut along the tangents of the circles to give space for the curves in the module. This took some additional shaping but I managed to get it to work. 


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The end result? The modules sit neatly together in the rear right upright, allowing for easy access and re-pairing if in the event that the device doesn't work. 


Now, unfortunately this location means that I also had to cut and extend the wires of the top and bottom light pucks. Not to worry, because the middle two wires had excessive cable. I shortened the middle two lines and soldered extensions on to the upper and lower lines. These lights run at a relatively low DC voltage (like most LED Strips do) and came marked in different patterns to allow me to realign the right cables to the right lines on the connectors. All that I needed to do was to re-pair the colours, twist, solder, heat shrink, done. 


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 The first coat of paint is down. I used three Porter's Aniseed sample pots to coat the entirety of the frame. I need to add some Tesa tape to cover the wires at the back of the pucks, as well as to replace some of the duct tape I used at the rear to temporarily hold in the wires with cable clips. I've also got to clear coat the whole frame with some satin spray clearcoat to make the colour more durable. 


I changed the arrangement of the feet slightly by adding some low-line feet, as well as adding a couple of M8 washers underneath the nuts that hold the lower part of the frame to the base. 


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Kind of a Big Deal

Good afternoon @oheyitsbeano 

:surprised: I think you are selling your skillset far to short! That is a nice piece of work!

The exactness that you have shown is impressive, and the "steaming" workaround :smile: Yeah thats just left me "ohhhhhh" and will be keeping that in mind just in case!


The title picture I glanced over as I thought it was all one unit lol Not an add on that you did! 


Cabinet envy is a thing!



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