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My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer #224: "The Project"

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 01-13-2011 03:06 PM 2490 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 223: Presentation Makes a Difference Part 224 of My Journey As A Scroll Saw Pattern Designer series Part 225: "The Project" part 2 »

There comes a time in every woodworkers life that they need to build something. This differs from the everyday projects that are inspired by art and creativity, because they are born out of necessity and functionality.

For those of you who have see my ‘shop’ and have read my blogs from the beginning, you know that I work out of a one bedroom place. It is quite small here, but it is peaceful and beautiful and I have learned to make it work for me. My shop consists of a corner in my kitchen where I keep my scrollsaw and drill press on a small cabinet filled with supplies. My wood is stacked neatly in my bedroom and in the cold winter days, I use my relatively large bathroom as a place to do some minor routing, as it is the easiest to clean when I am finished.

I know many of you think I am crazy and wouldn’t want to work in these conditions. But I can assure you, that I am extremely happy here. Necessity breeds invention and I have so far made it work well for me. I love my uncluttered lifestyle and my shop and work space is a good example of how living simply can work well for people. For the most part, the apartment is neat and clean and it only takes a small amount of discipline to tidy up after each step in order to minimize the clutter and mess. It is very clean and livable.

However, with the business growing somewhat and seeing some success, I find that there is more ‘stuff’ here than I have room to store. Our future plans include building a shop at my partner’s parents house which is about ten minutes away, but with things just beginning to grow, it is a slow process. That is fine however, because I feel I am quite a patient person. I want to grow slowly and think through each step and not plunge headstrong into bad decisions. Planning this venture is quite exciting in itself and adds to the excitement and anticipation of one day having a full fledged shop.

For now however, with the scale of projects we produce, the situation I am in is fine. For the rare time that we need larger space or tools, we have my friend Bernie to turn to and the use of his full shop. It allow us a day away and a change of scenery as well as a guaranteed nice lunch served by Ellen, his wife.

But as the business grows and we acquire more things, we realize that we have a need to find a better way to organize them. After living in a simple and uncluttered environment for a while, it is funny how quickly you get used to living that way. Everything has a place and when you run out of places to put things, it can really get under your skin. Such is my situation here.

As far as I could see it, we had two choices – move or find a storage solution. Since I love this place very much (it is clean, quiet, beautiful and the rent is very reasonable) right now I feel that moving is out of the question. I really don’t want to move again until perhaps I can afford my own home. So the answer was that we would have to figure out better storage.

What we came up with was what I call “The Project.”

In looking around our living room, we noticed that in one corner, we had a tremendous waste of space. The entire corner space was taken up by my printer stand which only held my printer and scanner. There was a large area above it that was blank wall space and totally useless.

From "The Project"

We decided to build a large cabinet to accommodate my computer and also our office equipment. In order to do this, we also decided to make a new cabinet for the TV so that it can be raised higher than the large sub speaker and then they can be moved closer, making more room for the cabinet. The smaller cabinet will hold my partner’s computer and also the amplifiers and our phone equipment and router and such, as it does now.

We decided that this will be more functional than aesthetic, although we don’t want it to be hideous. We wanted to stay on a small budget and for now just get the job done. In other words, this is not going to be a work or art, but hopefully it will look acceptable and clean and neat and one day when we have a house, we can use it in the shop as storage. (Dan Mosheim – you have absolutely NOTHING to worry about!)

I am sure that seeing this may make many of you cringe. Others may mock me. But we all have our priorities in our lives and my main objective here is to make something that is functional and will help keep us organized. I look at this project as a basic starting point (probably as basic as it gets!) and my main objective is to end up with a cabinet and a TV stand that are both (somewhat) square. I am sure that I will learn something in the process and in the end, I will have a good place to store everything.

My partner did all the drawings on the computer. He purchased the materials and took them to his dad’s to cut them to size. They then brought everything here for assembly.

Since I am the painter, it was naturally my job to do the painting. It was quite the coincidence that the snow I have been wishing for all season arrived yesterday. There was no chance of me doing this outside. I instead, turned my bathroom into my painting studio. I began by painting the shelves (there are seven in all). I am a fairly neat painter, if I do say so myself, and things went extremely well. I had purchased a couple of plastic shower curtains from the dollar store and used them as drop cloths. I like them better than the filmy plastic that sticks to your feet like flypaper and slides all around. I taped one down to the floor and I was ready to go.

From "The Project"

The biggest problem I had was finding a place for them to dry. We already moved the kitchen table and chairs there so we could use the kitchen for building the beast. I found several boxes to use as pedestals to allow the shelves to dry.

From "The Project"

Another bonus of using the bedroom was that we were able to keep the three cats out of there. As any of you who have had cats know, whenever something is going on, they always want to get “involved”. You can imagine how stirred up they all were with all the excitement!

From "The Project"

The kitchen was used as the main assembly area. After a while, we had the frame together:

From "The Project"

Everything was square and looked good. We added the back and some additional bracing:

From "The Project"

And that is where it stands this morning. Today’s plans include installing the doors and also working on the TV stand. I am going to paint again, beginning with the final coat on the shelves.

I realize that this is not a project that is the caliber of many of the beautiful things here on LJ’s, but as I said, it is functional and basic and will serve us well. It certainly will be much better than the pre-made crap that we all see at the big box stores and I am sure we will learn many things in the process of building it.

You have to start somewhere. :D

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"



15 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2856 days


#1 posted 01-13-2011 03:32 PM

that’s quite the endevour but i can see how wonderful it is going to be for you!
I can’t wait to see it finished and in its new home.

(and oh yes, the cats have a way of being “right there” in the exact spot you don’t need them to be.)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7772 posts in 1616 days


#2 posted 01-13-2011 03:36 PM

Thanks, Deb!!! I hope today is a good day! :) I can’t believe that all the black paint dried without a ‘mishap’ from either me or the cats! That alone got me excited! :D

Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6664 posts in 2675 days


#3 posted 01-13-2011 03:45 PM

Hi Sheila;

Great use of space.

Should be very helpful.

Lee

-- by Lee A. Jesberger http://www.prowoodworkingtips.com http://www.ezee-feed.com

View Cozmo35's profile

Cozmo35

2198 posts in 1732 days


#4 posted 01-13-2011 03:50 PM

I always say,..”Do the best you can with what you’ve got!”

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View mahadevwood's profile

mahadevwood

408 posts in 1715 days


#5 posted 01-13-2011 04:24 PM

Great & very useful for minimum space

-- http://www.mahadevwood.com

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile

TopamaxSurvivor

14905 posts in 2372 days


#6 posted 01-13-2011 04:28 PM

Your dilemmas sort of remind me of 20 some years ago when I was choosing between “Grow & Go” or “kick back & work alone.” I took the easy way out, the latter and have no regrets. At the time my cash out of pocket expenses were running about $35k a month. The simple life is the better choice;-))

My wife insists on having a big empty living room. It is furnished with a little furniture, but I think we could put the space to much better use than leaving it sit empty ;-))

I hope the cats approve so you don’t have to rebuild. You know how cats are!! Nice of the cats to let you stay there with them.

I’m sure you will have a great space when you are done.

-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7109 posts in 1999 days


#7 posted 01-13-2011 06:33 PM

Rome was not built in a day and neither will your business…staying on a low budget is smart and as you said this will be used later for your shop supplies…but..here we go lol….i hope your at least making this cabinet out of some good plywood…please don’t tell me particle board..please…....i can handle plywood…but..your painting it…so…that will help…lol…i think its grand that your using the space you have and making it work….i do look forward to the day when you can move forward with the shop , that will be a dream come true for you and i want to see you happy with that..but it will happen when its ready…....paint away…and you should have at least one kitty paw print somewhere…maybe on the front doors…make it look like the door pull…lol…...

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View grizzman's profile

grizzman

7109 posts in 1999 days


#8 posted 01-13-2011 06:33 PM

Rome was not built in a day and neither will your business…staying on a low budget is smart and as you said this will be used later for your shop supplies…but..here we go lol….i hope your at least making this cabinet out of some good plywood…please don’t tell me particle board..please…....i can handle plywood…but..your painting it…so…that will help…lol…i think its grand that your using the space you have and making it work….i do look forward to the day when you can move forward with the shop , that will be a dream come true for you and i want to see you happy with that..but it will happen when its ready…....paint away…and you should have at least one kitty paw print somewhere…maybe on the front doors…make it look like the door pull…lol…...

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1811 days


#9 posted 01-13-2011 11:29 PM

I surdently wood not mock you for the space
I still remember living in a small (tiny) apartment and it seems to me
that int hose days I got a h…lot more build (R/c planes) than I do now
in a big house always something on the honey to do DIY list

its a shame I didn´t remember to store an article from a DIY something
where a young couple had buy a new small apartment and instead of contacting
a carpenter like every body ells does they contacted a shipwright to make the
big makeover in the apartment , they thought a shipwright is normaly working
in small places and seems to be cable of building every possiple thing in small boats
so its feeling like being in a big summerhouse
I realy thought it was a funny idea , but after I did see the pictures and readed the article
I didn´t want to move from the chair a few hours
you wont believe what he had done to that small apartment for them
Hint ….WAAAAUUUUOOOW
a small apartment don´t nessery feels like a little space

one place you maybee not have thought about to use
is making a shelf 20 – 30 cm from the ceiling around on all the walls

take care :-)
Dennis

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2856 days


#10 posted 01-14-2011 12:14 AM

that is brilliant – a shipwright..

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1811 days


#11 posted 01-14-2011 12:29 AM

yes Deppie a shipwright …LOL
that day I realy discovered they are cable of thinking out of the box in the box
nomatter what shape it has

Dennis

View BertFlores58's profile

BertFlores58

1646 posts in 1618 days


#12 posted 01-14-2011 12:37 AM

Deb, that’s what I gonna say… the ship uses almost all spaces in a cabin. The underside of the bed used as drawers. The back of the closet where the washing basin is fixed, was hinged and when you open that, you can find the plumbing all in flexible hoses plus a storage room. Most of the fixtures are built in using screws. But there is one limitation… it is not allowed to use the upper spaces if there is no stable foundation due to swell and pitching.

Sheila, that is a very good idea that you have. That will clear your mind too. It is really nice to work if the workspace is also clean and will not annoy you during work. Take photo before and after… sometimes it is nice to see the changes. Our house was remodelled but I failed to take photo and most of the relatives are trying to figure out where and what was there previously.

Good housekeeping!

-- Bert

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2856 days


#13 posted 01-14-2011 12:50 AM

when we first bought a tent trailer (many years ago when I was a young one) I was amazed at all the storage locations. Nothing was wasted.

Scrollgirl must be very good at using all the little spaces in her apartment to keep things so organized

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View tdv's profile

tdv

1119 posts in 1766 days


#14 posted 01-14-2011 02:07 AM

Sheila that’s a bit of a departure from the scrollsaw but nevertheless looking good I know the finished project will be spot on because you have high standards. Can’t wait to see it done. By the way the size of that cabinet & given your adaptability to working in small places it would probably make a workshop LOL
Best as always
Trevor

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

7772 posts in 1616 days


#15 posted 01-14-2011 02:42 AM

Just checking in . . . .

I haven’t answered my email today because I was working on “it”. :) Just finished washing up and cleaning up for the night. We had a good day today and tomorrow will be the home stretch. I promise a full report on tomorrow’s blog.

Thank you for all the words of encouragement. It is quite a step away from the delicate fretwork I am used to doing. I will certainly have more pictures of the finished pieces and the storage. I am pretty good at using my space and I agree with Dennis about using every square inch of space. I love my little place here and It is a beautiful and comfortable place to live and work.

You guys are all great! You’re a wonderful cheering section and great friends! :) I can’t wait to show you the results.

Have a great night everyone!

Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

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