Have you heard of the Instagram Builder’s Challenge?
It’s a twice-a-year challenge put out by Desert Woodworks and partnering with: Lazy Guy DIY, Toolbox Divas, Glacier Built and Furniture by Pete – to challenge builders and DIYers to create, experiment, learn,
swear and potentially win prizes for their submission to the challenge.
I’ve wanted to participate for a year or so now, but never built up the nerve – I mean, who am I to enter a challenge with people who actually know what they’re doing?
Check out the challenge plans provided by Jen Woodhouse:
I can’t show all of the plans – Jen will be releasing those at a later date – but I think you can see that this is a substantial piece of furniture – and more than enough to have me
cower in fear shy away from the challenge altogether.
But then my Dad commented that he’d like a media console along the lines of one he’d seen online:
He didn’t ask me to build him one – in fact, he thought maybe I’d find a thrift store piece that I could refinish for him.
I decided that the stars had aligned for a reason and that his comment, timed perfectly with the challenge launch, and the fact that the two pieces were quite similar – was serendipitous and I’d better not go against whatever coincidence had made it happen.
So I went out with butterflies in my stomach and purchased the wood for my first ever DIY media console.
Home Depot very kindly made the first round of cuts so I could fit it all in my Jeep and by the end of the same afternoon I had a carcass:
or rather, I had carcass number 1, which had to be completely dismantled the following morning because it was all crooked.
Enter round #1 of swearing.
Here it is re-assembled and the drawer pieces cut and ready for assembly.
I’ve never built drawers before, so learning the importance of a 16th of an inch was also an educational experience.
The building plans called for a “dado bit” for my table saw, but I opted to create my own groove for the drawer bottom to tuck into by just running my boards through the saw multiple times:
Looked perfect! In fact, it looked perfect on all 4 of the three boards I was supposed to do it on. ($@#@&!)
Did you know that an 8th of an inch is even more important than a 16th of an inch?
Enter round #2 of swearing – I’m beginning to learn how to string a couple together now.
With the drawers finally assembled, the next step was to learn how to install drawer glides/slides.
I wrestled with one drawer for a couple of hours (the first hour with it in completely backwards) before I called my Step-Dad to come help me out.
I should tell you, my Step-Dad is a brilliant Dentist.
By the end of the afternoon we had both invoked the spirit of his mother and had the expletives down to an impressive and fluid stream. (She had 4 mischievous boys – so, while she didn’t swear often, when she did, it needed to have impact) God-damn-shit-son-of-a-bitch-on-wheels-jackass. (Miss you Gramma!)
But we got them in, and they actually slid in an out smoothly.
The DIY media console can’t hold water for all the holes we drilled in it, but the drawers will slide.
I have to pause here – not because this is a sponsored post – it isn’t – but because I was truly impressed by the Rockwell Vibrafree sander. It kicked my favourite baby DeWalt’s a$$ when it came to sanding down the plywood backing. It sanded twice as fast, the sandpaper lasted at least twice as long and with less vibration. Seriously – not sponsored – just impressed.
I won’t bore you with the step-by-step staining process, but I will tell you that I used Old Masters Gel Stain in a fruitwood finish that had been custom-tinted (C80908, BK 1.0, BB 0.25, WH 15 if you want the formula).
I’d never used gel stain before either – I was learning every single step of the way!
I’m going to put two photos right next to each other and I want you to scroll up and down a few times to see the difference:
The second photo was taken after I’d dry-brushed the DIY media console with some dark walnut stain. Just here and there to give the buffet some depth and interest.
Two coats of polyurethane on the body and 4 coats on the top and my IG Builder’s Challenge 4 is done and delivered!
Normally I’d say those ring drawer pulls look like nipple rings, but I think they are stunning on the cabinet (which has 11 nipples).
The centre row of the DIY media console was left open per the building plans and so that my Dad could house his cable box and modem. The bottom centre was left open for storing blankets, pillows etc.
I love the dry-brushing on the drawers – I’m so pleased with how they turned out!
I didn’t take photos of all the drawers, but I did want to provide proof that they did open and close.
I would never have chosen this stain – but I think it’s absolutely brilliant next to his honey-oak floors and olive-y green walls. I can’t imagine that any other colour would have worked.