I made a thing but not with code

I got into woodworking and general maker-y stuff shortly after my wife and I moved into our first house. Since then I have tackled decks, a big playset for my kids, a couple of desks because I kept messing with my own, and a bunch of other projects I wish I kept better track of.

That leads me to writing now since I finally got back into making things after a long break where work was way too busy.

So once again I made…a desk and some shelves. But this time it wasn’t for me! This was a private (but also taking up one whole wall of our living room) workspace for my wife. We decided on these sets of plans from Anna White for Ladder Shelves and a Ladder Desk. I tweaked the desk plans to be 36 inches wide instead of 31 inches but otherwise followed them just about exactly.

I really wasn’t sure if I would be able to pull the whole thing off considering I hadn’t been doing any major projects in a while and nothing so pretty and finished that someone else would be using. With that in mind I bought the cheapest whitewood 1x3s that Lowes had when I picked out the wood. The total for wood, nails, extra sandpaper and extra pocket hole screws was right around $150.

After looking over the big buy list and walking through the store a bit I definitely stood staring at a ladder shelf they had in the closet storage area for some minutes. But when I did the math a single ladder shelf would be $120 each and my wife still wouldn’t have a desk. So I got the wood and got to cutting.

I think I ended up starting everything on a Saturday and had everything cut and ready to sand some time Sunday. By Monday evening I was done sanding and ready to stain.

All of the shelf…shelves stacked on my work table after vacuuming an absurd amount of dust from everything

My wife picked out the stain and then I took a few lunches and evenings during the week to keep making progress.

The desk and two wide shelves for the center.

It wasn’t until Sunday that I was able to put together the desk against the wall. I did a single round of stain then lightly sanded a few spots where the grain got raised. For the desk I did two coats of polyurethane but the rest was a single coat with lite sanding at 220 and 320 in some spots.

Shelves in place aligned with the wall it will end up on.

One whole week later we finally had something to look at on the wall. Then it was only a matter of staining and sanding and coating everything else with the poly while trying to make sure the stain was matching. At least I had a good book to listen to.

You can see a couple of offcuts I used for testing out different finishes.

By that next weekend everything was finally done and put together. The one funky step was figuring out the angled cut for the legs and the part that touches the wall. The explanation that I came up with to actually get it done was make a 90 degree after making the 5 degree cut for both ends. I’m pretty sure that is exactly what the directions say from the plans but the wording gave me a few minutes of confusion.

It looks even better fully decorated but I have not taken a picture of that yet. I was happy and done at this point.

With all these words there is still so much of the process missing. I’ve learned so much from googling and watching others document their work and I have a running guilt meter for not returning the favor. This is step one in trying to give back.

I still have ongoing code projects and I’m definitely hooked on spending lots of time in the garage so I’m hoping to follow up with writing, video, and pictures as much as I can. Hopefully you enjoyed the read. If you have questions say hello and I’ll be glad to answer as best I can.