Patience and hard work paid of with my very own dream 3x1x1 bachelor pad. Double brick with a garden and shed. Small but with interesting spaces and a fresh renovation. I'm a minimal aesthetic but nature and wanted a wide open feel full of useful and comfortable nooks and crannies.
It's an overwhelming vision in my mind and I had to start somewhere. The shed was packed full of old tables and spiders. Overgrown, derelict and thinly constructed from misaligned slabs and sheet metal. It cost me a Saturday, a hard brush and a thick pair of gloves but I ended with a flush metal workbench, work table and mounted tool rack.
Part 2 - Prototype construction in the living room
By trade I'm a programmer so I'm a big believer in prototyping, reuse and the trinity of any projects; time + cost + scope = quality. I didn't have much time or money so to compensate I kept things very simple. My Grandpa showed me how to build useful cheap office tables with melamine tops and sides. Chance happened that I reclaimed a few small sheets from bulk rubbish but unfortunately, he is not around to ask how to make them soundly. I took up the flame regardless by building a small end table.
I cut the single sheet thrice with a hand saw and straight edge. Two sides of equal length with at a height 10cm below my chase sofa (to accommodate cushions). I joined with 4x metal 90 degree frame and screws so not to spoil the top. To finish I ironed on melamine edges and spray painted black. For rigidity I screwed in a side brace from 2x2cm pine. The over-engineered end table supports my weight as a step ladder and cost me $45. More importantly it taught me a few valuable lessons such as the importance of levelling and measuring accurately. You cannot mount, join or cut something flush and solid without bracing and precision. It also turns out that black primer spray paint won't adhesive to melamine but the paint chips give it a star field look which I kinda like.
Part 2 - Quality of life
My favourite build so far is featured in the above image. It's also my cheapest, easiest build. A thin edge table between my chase sofa and the half wall. I found a stunning piece of 1800 x 140 x 19 pine from Bunnings. Cut to 1.5 meters and screwed to non structural pine legs, it sits perfectly just below the arm rest for a nice little nook to rest my drink and nick nacks. I'll eventually paint it black and inset shelves in the front.
Part 3 - Permanent vs disassembly
The end table was a prototype for my office table. 2 x 1800 melamine sheets with one cut twice to 720 by the nice people at Bunnings. I added extra 20x20 pine supports around the sides and used a larger metal frame. It came together level and stable enough and can be disassembled with a few screws. The melamine will eventually contribute to shelving in the cupboard recesses and I'd like to build a proper corner table when I have the skills and time for it.
For stronger and more permanent constructions I'm starting to practice dowel joints with left overs and are considering investing in a compound mitre saw so I can make rabbets and tenors. I'm enjoying the work out with hand tools and have very limited space so I'll hold of until I've build a few boxes and reconsider when I graduate to tables and benches.
Part 3 - Garden detour
The reticulation out the front wasn't functional. Section by section I needed to start water pressure, dig up the point and use a joiner and cap. I found a section of PVC cracked by tree root. I cut it out bought a section to fit along with joins. Unfortunately I needed to improvise since the joins are designed to fix two lengths and don't fit over a section. The grittiest sandpaper was glued to a broom handle and viced as a makeshift drum sander that fit inside the join. I wore it down until it could slip over the PVC and repaired with PVC cleaner and glue. Finally with some temporary heads I had a functional retic.
I've got about 20 projects planned and I'll update this post as I work on them. I'm particularly looking forward to the piano room. This is all very new to me so I'm keen for any critique and advice. Thanks for reading.
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Thanks rattler!. I found I could wedge the cable table between the sofa and table firmly which is good enough for now. If I upgrade to a phone that does wireless charging I might recess a charge station. Another idea is once I've smart wired the house I'll install some light and air conditioner controls
Fantastic first post! Let me extend a very warm welcome to the Workshop community. We're rapt you could join us and share some of your work. We have loads of clever and creative members sharing helpful advice and inspiring projects every day, so we're sure you'll fit right in and we are really looking forward to reading more about your projects and plans.
Please let me know if you ever need a hand getting the most from the site or have any feedback about how we can make Workshop more useful to you.