I love building custom furniture. However, it’s rare that I get orders for custom builds. These bunk beds were built for Peach Creek Ranch, a wedding an event venue serving the area.
It’s no secret that I post videos to Youtube, but Youtube is also where I go to learn new skills and gather inspiration. Jay Bates is one of the Youtube Woodworkers I really enjoy following. His projects are well thought out, not overly complicated, and he uses materials that everyone reasonably has access to. I used his plans for my bunkbeds.
I modified his EXCELLENT plans to squeeze a double “L” shaped bunk bed into the space available. I was downright scarred about halfway through thinking that it wasn’t going to fit. (I forgot to allow for the posts, and the thickness of the baseboards, but with a few modifications it all fit). Dimensional lumber is cheap and easy to get. I spent an hour at Home Depot digging through the pile to find the best boards. Furniture built with 2x lumber seems “blocky” to me so I planed it all down to 1 1/4″ thick and ripped it a little narrower. 2×4’s and 2×6’s can be quite beautiful after 3 passes through a thickness planner. This made six bags full of shavings.
I tried to use my shop vac but ended up rigging a box and drop cloth up to catch all the shavings.
The ladder was very easy to make. I used my miter saw to cut some dados and then glued and screwed the rungs to the rails. It’s very strong.
This project was a lot of fun. And the couple I worked for are some great people. If you live in the Brazos Valley and would like custom furniture or built-ins made contact me.
I made this display shelf for a repeat customer who has purchase several of my projects. I used reclaimed southern yellow pine and used a vinegar/steel wool solution to age the wood.
For this project I purchased and used for the first time the KREG Shelf Pin Jig. It is a straight-forward and simple jig for small projects. If you drill shelf pins for a living then you’ll want something different. If you’re a DIY’er or a small-scale shop like me this is a great tool to have for occasional use.
The dimensions for this project are 4ft from the base to the top shelf. I staggered the sides 2-4 inches above that. It is 3ft wide and 12in deep. The center section is 18″ wide the two sides are around 8″ wide. I forget the exact measurements.
Now that I’m a full-time carpenter/small business owner I work primarily out of my truck. How you work, how organize your tools, and how you plan projects drastically changes when you go from a nice well thought out and organized shop to an F150. The biggest loss in this transition is a sturdy workbench. This is where the Multi-Purpose Slab comes in.
A Multi-Function Slab is a poor man’s version of the Festool MFT (or Festool Multi-Function Table). I made mine from a 3/4 Sheet of MDF and paired it with Dewalt/Stanley Metal Adjustable Height Saw Horses (these are great sawhorses). This combination takes up minimal real estate in the 5.5ft bed of my truck. I would love to take my Paulk Total Station to the jobsites, but it doesn’t fit in the bed of my truck. That’s the advantage of the Multi-function slab: it’s compact and lightweight enough to maneuver into small working locations. The Paulk workbenches don’t share that advantage.
Isn’t this “Multi-Function Slab” just a glorified plywood and sawhorse combo? Yes, yes it is. The advantage is that the Plywood/MDF is planned out and layed out to make work go smoother. That’s why you keep this instead of the typical use of scrap on sawhorses for a make shift work bench. What makes it better is that you think out how you’re going to use a work bench and put in clamp locations and dog holes so that it becomes a valuable tool.
I modified Steve Olson’s original design to work with inexpensive Bessey F clamp rather than the expensive Festool clamps. To do so I drilled a grid of 1 1/4 inch holes on 6 inch centers. I then had to create a rabbit on the underside for the clamps to pop into place. My Paulk Workbench is made from 1/2″ ply and I didn’t have a problem with the clamps on it, the thicker slab left more material to bind on. The various handles and clamp slots I made with a can of wipe on poly. The rectangular shape makes nice looking cutouts.
[A note about Festool: Just because I’m making a knock-off doesn’t mean that I think Festool tools are overpriced and not as good as the “fan-boys” claim nor do I think a professional needs the “top-of-the-line” tools to do quality work. If/when I can justify the cost of such premium tools then I may or may not invest in top-shelf equipment such as Festool.]
Cost wise the Festool MFT 3 is $665 from Amazon. Would I buy one? Maybe if I ever decide to invest in the Festool ecosystem. Now let’s add up the cost of making your own MFSlab.
$30 – 4ft x 8ft x 3/4in MDF sheet. Cut to 3ft x 5ft and a second 4ft rip is left to act as a shelf
$80 for a pair of good adjustable height saw horses. I can say enough good things about these Stanley/Dewalt Horses. They are very good.
That comes out to be $158 which is $507 less than the Festool MFT. Even if you factor in what your time is worth it’s still drastically cheaper. I painted mine to protect it. I try to bring it into the shop overnight so it doesn’t get rained on but if and when I need to replace it, it’s inexpensive to do and only took about an hour to make.
If you’re a carpenter of have extremely limited space this is a great tool to consider adding to your arsenal. If I was woodworking back in my college days this makes a great workbench store in an apartment or even under a bed.
My drillpress is not much to look at. I got it from a friend how was getting ready to move so for the price is was well worth it. It’s an 8″ Pro-source brand (I have no idea who made it, etc). Like every drillpress I’ve ever used the metal table is practically useless. So I went to YouTube for inspiration on how to build a drillpress table.
WOW! There are lot of videos! They range from simple to complex; many with T-tracks, dados, sliding fences, and hold downs. In my opinion the complex tables are slow to use and overly complicated, so I went the simple route.