Wednesday, September 14, 2016

DIY Corner Desk

I recently finished building a desk for my wife using construction 2x6 and 2x4.

4x 2x6 KD "whitewood"
2x 2x4 KD "whitewood"
4x 3/8 5" bolts
8x 3/8 washer
4x 3/8 nuts
1x Dark Walnut stain

The first thing I did was rip the rounded edges and plane all of the lumber to a consistent thickness.  Then I laid everything out and made sure it fit snugly, using a hand plane to clean up areas where everything didn't fit together snug, and proceeded to glue.  I only had 36" bar clamps (total width is 42) so I glued the large piece and then the short piece  (which will make the curve) separately and then glued them together last.

Once the glue dried I ripped the ends with a circular saw so that everything was perfectly flush, cut a notch from the back corner at 45' (to give a good place to mount the monitor arm) and then when we (friend pictured) drew an arc using a pencil taped to a dowel.
After cutting along the line with a Jig Saw and using a roundover bit on the router to clean up the edges:

Now it's time to build the legs.  The wife ordered Xs so I figured out the width and height, marked out a "grid" on my scrap plywood work surface and simply laid out the boards.  I then lines on the borards where they overlapped so I could cut out the channel for the half-lap joint.  I used the miter saw to cut out the half-lap, intentionally going a little less than half way through so that the boards would be a bit raised.

Repeat for the other leg, and then it was time to figure out how to attach the legs to the table top.  I decided to use cleats, which were tricky to install.  Becuase of my offset half-lap I assembled the legs and the cleats, THEN glued and screwed the cleats the table.  once the screws were down I removed the legs (this ensured I had perfect spacing for my legs), and then clamped everything down.

Once the glue dried I test fit everything and put it on the ground to make sure everything set square.  Unfortunately two legs were 1/8" too long so I flipped the table over, marked off the 1/8th" and used a belt sander to get the legs the right length.  Fortunately this desk is going on carpet so the bottom doesn't have to be absolutely perfect to sit on the floor.

To stain it I used a dark walnut stain.  I removed the legs from the top, stained them first, followed by stained the bottom, avoiding standing too close to the edges so that when I stained the top I wouldn't end up applying stain to a visible face twice.  Once it was dry I flipped the top and stained the top and edges, as well as the 1" of the bottom I left unstained previously.

Finally I applied 3 coats of polyurethane and brought it in the house.

I'd take an after picture but... she buried it in crap and I'm too lazy to clear it off.

The desk is a bit wobbly length wise, but very sturdy the other direction.  The mounting mechanism for the legs isn't very strong, I'd recommend coming up with a better solution.

DIY Wall Mount Projector Projection Screen

Earlier this year I bought a new projector and needed a screen for it.  I knew the length of my TV stand was 96" and I wanted my frame to be a tiny bit wider than that so using the 16:9 aspect ratio I knew my height would be 54", by using the Pythagorean theorem I would have an approximately 110" screen (before adding the border).  I found blackout cloth that was the right size and ordered it.

1x 66"x110" projector screen material 
1x roll of felt for the border
1x 1x6 (it was what I had in the garage) which I ripped in to pieces.

I started out by building the frame, a simple square.  I attached the corners and middle "stile" using a Kreg pocket hole kit.

In order to mount the frame to the wall and keep it snug I:
1) Using a router and a 3/8" rabbet bit and cut a lip on the front side of the top of the mount.
2) Because I didn't want a visible cleat on the bottom and I wanted the screen to be snug against the wall I attached a cleat near the bottom corners using pocket screws
3) To hold the top against the wall I cut and attached two long cleats to the wall, routing a matching rabbet, this time on the wall side of the cleat.  This makes sure it's nice and snug to the wall all the way across the top.
4) Then I cut two small cleats to put at the bottom of the screen, keeping the whole thing snug against the wall.

I test fit everything like this to make sure I was happy with the set up.

Once I had my dry-fit done it was time to stretch the material.  I don't remember whose process I followed but the gist of it was to start from the middle and work your way out, keeping tension on the screen with each staple like explained on this page.  It took me about an hour to work my way around.

Once I had the material stretched I cut the felt to length and stuck it to the screen, and hung it. 

Since I love Top Gun I always use it to test audio / video upgrades.  Here's the final product.  We've been using it for 6 months now and haven't had any issues.  Today I took it down and hung a 60 mile OTA antenna behind it  (you might notice the black cord coming out the bottom right corner of the screen).  I'll hit the exposed piece of cord with some house paint in a few weeks and it will blend right in.