Our older daughter is in 2nd grade now and has been asking me to build her a desk to do her homework on. I started the project a few weeks ago and finally finished its assembly today. Here are a few images of the build in progress and then the final results.
The original sketch was done in 3D Studio Max. We found a few references of desks that she liked and then I took some liberties putting something together. She helped make some decisions along the way, but this is what we came up with:
And cutting begins… Organizing various pieces:
I love using pocket holes to build face frames. They’re efficient and end up creating a really strong joint:
The two sets of carcasses for the drawers:
One of the drawers:
For the drawer faces I used a 1/2″ roundover bit to route the edges:
Drawers coming together. I’m using a single guide below each drawer that has a C bracket to help it slide. They sit on that and the face frame rails. I used flat thumbtacks at either corner of the rails so the drawers slide a bit smoother.
Both sets are complete:
The top of the desk is made of 4 1×5 planks that I edge joined using pocket hole screws and glue. This was the first time I’ve attempted to edge join boards.
Lots of sanding to get rid of those high spots:
I don’t have many pictures of the hutch construction so here’s a detail of one of the small drawers and then the completed unit:
And finally the completed desk assembly. The plan is to stain the desk top, and paint the rest of it an off-white. The drawer knobs will be stained to match the top.
A couple weekends ago I decided to swap out the front shocks on my truck with a brand new set. The existing shocks have 140k miles on them so I would think they’re probably due for replacement. I’m replacing mine with a set of Bilsteins that match the original equipment. Here’s the step by step…
Jack up the front of the vehicle. I placed my jack stands underneath each of the control arms.
As you can see… this shock absorber has seen better days. I sprayed a bit of WD-40 on the lower mounting bolt and let it sit there for a few minutes to help it come loose. I did the same thing with the upper mounts.
I first removed the locking nut that holds down the upper insulator. It’s a tight squeeze, but you can access it from the wheel well by pushing back the hard plastic inner liner of the well just a bit.
The end of the top stem is notched so that you can hold it with a pair of Vise-Grips while you loosen the nut with another wrench.
Next you have to remove the mounting bolt at the lower control arm. It helps if you turn your wheels a bit in the opposite direction to give you more room to work. Here I had to use both the Vise-Grip and an adjustable wrench since the bolt is a lot larger than any of the wrench sizes I have.
The new shocks pretty much follow the reverse procedure. I followed Bilstein’s instructions in terms of the order in which to place the various insulators and washers on the stem. Then, I installed the shock absorber by first inserting the stem into the hole at the top of the frame, and then pushing it into position at the bottom bracket.
This next part gets a little tricky… You have use some upward pressure on the shock to align the bottom mounting holes with the bracket on the control arm. I had to use a flathead screwdriver to give me some leverage to push the shock up and insert the lower bolt at the same time.
Once you have that bolt in there, double check that you have the stem and insulator properly aligned in the hole at the top of the frame.
Tighten up your bottom bolt, and following the instructions, place the upper insulator, washer, and locking nut back onto the stem. After installing the shocks, I made sure they both had about 1 5/8″ of stem visible from the top of the locking nut.
Assembly time… I started with the side table first:
Then moved onto the chair… The plans call for starting with the seat assembly, attaching the lower back rail first and squaring everything up, then adding one of the front slats, and filling in from there. Attaching the front legs was a bit tricky because you have to get them positioned just right in order for the seat to be properly angled. After that I moved to the back, attaching the back legs and the top back rail. Back slats were next, followed up by the arms.
Everything was put together with 2″ deck screws that I pre-drilled and countersunk – though on a couple places of the chair I still had some issue with the wood splitting. A little water resistant Gorilla Glue and a couple clamps should do the trick…
And the finished product… The seat curve feels just right and the angle of the back slats is perfect. I’m also loving the seat height – it’s a little lower than your typical lawn chair. I’m definitely going to be making a another one to create a pair. Something tells me these are going to get a lot of use…