Another Step Toward Project Completion...


Today I painted the rest of the craft work area and it really looks good.  Next up is the making of the storage cabinet doors and the wall-mounted shelves for additional storage.  We're in the home stretch!  I hope to have this all wrapped up by the end of this upcoming weekend.

Craftwork area painted and nearly done


Craftwork Area Project Nearing Completion...


Today I've nearly completed the wife's craftwork area work bench.  To start off, I installed the shelves in the under-table storage area.  The installation went very smoothly with support pegs located at all four corners of the shelf area.

Storage area with installed shelves

Once I was satisfied with the storage area shelving, I began anchoring the table top boards to the bench frame using 1¼" screws at each board corner.  The fit was remarkably good, even with the slight convex wall bow.

Work bench area with table top boards being bolted on

After I trimmed the right rear table top panel to accommodate the wall's slight bow, I added the ½" quarter round moulding along the edge and secured it to the frame using 1½" finishing nails.

Adding the trim to the back area where the boards meet the wall

And here's the craft area work bench in its nearly-completed state!

Work bench with all boards and moulding attached

All that's left for me to do is finish painting the exposed surfaces and make a couple of storage cabinet doors.  Then I'll start work on the wall-mounted shelves that'll be on the rightmost wall.  Not bad for a full weekend's work.

Nearly completed craftwork area


Further Progress on the Craftwork Area...


Today was a busy and productive day, but you wouldn't know it from these two photos.  Today I cut a dozen custom-fitted boards for the craft work table and under table storage area.  I also gave 7 of those boards two to three coats of paint.

What you see here is the work area frame with four of the table top boards laid on for test fit.  I'm pretty pleased with the initial fit, though I did determine that the walls aren't perfectly flat (each has a very slight convex bow), so I'm going to be picking up 24' of quarter round white moulding to accommodate the slight gaps along the tabletop edge and its mated wall.

Work area frame with table tops

I also put in place the framing for the under-table storage area.  This addition further strengthens the core frame of the table top and will provide 24 square feet of storage for all sorts of craft supplies that the wife uses.  I made a slight departure from the original design and increased the door openings by 2" at the top.  This only made sense with the 3 & 5/8" edge that I had to put above the storage area opening.

Tomorrow I expect to have the two shelves installed in this storage area and have all the table top sections affixed.  Time permitting, I'll also pick up the moulding and affix that to the table top as well.  And if I feel really ambitious, I'll see about painting all the unfinished surfaces tomorrow as well.

Under area storage space


Progress on the Wife's Craftwork Area...


I resumed work on the craft area work bench for the wife this morning and things have been progressing nicely.  Each corner of the support frame is reinforced with a metal right angle brace.  This may be over-engineering the frame, but the goal is to have this last for several years and take a lot of heavy use.  My view is that it's better that the design be tougher than it needs to be.

Wall mounted wood with first long support frame

After putting in the second long frame, I added perpendicular support struts as shown here.  These are also reinforced at the corners with right angle braces.

Long support frame with perpendicular supports

In order to make the end supports a little more aesthetically appealing, I cut two sections of MDF board at right angles witha 45° diagonal cut.  This gives much-needed structural support to the bench top while leaving a small side profile.

Diagonal support

This support structure is anchored to the wall with 2½" screws.  It's also connected to the wall brace with another 2½" screw and a right angle brace.

Reverse view of diagonal support

After installing both end supports, I affixed long boards from the support corners to the main frame body.  These boards will serve to support the table top that I'll be bolting on tomorrow morning.

Nearly completed frame


Building a Craft Area for the Wife


I've been so busy making things for my garage work area that it was something of a necessity that I make something for one of my wife's craftwork areas.  My wife has a love of sewing, scrapbooking, and semi-precious jewelry making.  Unfortunately, her work area has become too cramped and cluttered to do much of anything.

Cluttered craft area

Her work area has been entirely makeshift for the past several months.  This is evidenced by the odd collection of folding tables, a haberdasher's cabinet, a plastic bin drawer, carboard boxes, and a misfit end table.

Cluttered craft area

As can be seen here, this situation really isn't very workable.  It's time the missus had a crafting area she can really work with.

Cluttered craft area

So I've drawn up some diagrams for a wraparound work area with a built-in cabinet.  This layout will give her nearly 30 square feet of workspace, 24 square feet of storage, and 16 square feet in which she can move about.

Craft area design

I'm also going to build a two-part wall-mounted shelf that should give her easy access to the supplies she uses.  Each unit will follow this design with the option of adding a lift door to the front later on.

Craft cabinet design

After the wife and I emptied out the craft area of all her stuff, I got to work and cut up a number of 2"x2" pine boards in accordance with the design I drew up.

Cut 2x2 boards

First I mounted the back support brace, making sure it was perfectly level.  This wood brace is secured to the in-wall studs using 2½" screws.

First back brace board affixed to wall

Then I attached the perpendicular brace on the left adjacent wall, again using 2½" screws to secure the brace to the in-wall studs.  The level is used again to assure that the second brace is also parallel to the floor.

Second brace affixed to left wall

Finally I secured the wood brace to the right wall and called it a day.  I'll pick up with this again in the morning and am hopeful I'll make a lot of headway then.

Third brace affixed to right wall


Water Heater Construction Finished!


Finally!  After many hours of working on this beast, the water heater cabinet is finished at last!  I've finished attaching all drywall panels and have applied drywall mud and drywall tape where the panels meet.

Water heater cabinet

As a novice in working with metal, I'm reasonably pleased with the outcome of this project.  It was difficult and required some re-engineering from the original design, but it turned out very solid.

Water heater cabinet

I was originally going to skip painting this cabinet, but I've learned that the drywall will darken over time and I'd rather that the unit blend in well with the rest of the garage interior.  I'll be painting this a flat eggshell white in a few days.

Water heater cabinet

So, with little delay, I painted the cabinet a basic flat white.  Not bad for an evening's work.

Water heater cabinet painted


Progress on the Water Heater Cabinet


Time marches on and work continues on the water heater cabinet.  I've now mounted two drywall panels to the metal frame and things have come together quite nicely.  First I cut, fitted and affixed the left wall panel as shown here.

Water heater cabinet with first drywall panel affixed

Then I cut the right drywall panel to size.  Once that was done, I cut out the vent holes by holding the vent grill to the drywall; scoring the vent interior edges with a nail, drilling four pilot holes, then cutting out the vent hole using a jig saw. After that, I drilled two small holes for #8-10 1" screw anchors with which I affixed the 6"x14" vents.

Second drywall panel fitted with vent

Bolting the drywall to the frame was a bit of a maneuvering trick, but was nonetheless accomplished just minutes later.  The high vent's uppermost edge is 14" from the top and the low vent's bottom edge is 18" from the floor.  This arrangement allows for optimal air flow for this unit.  Next I'll fashion the drywall segments for the front and then it's on to applying the drywall mud and drywall tape.

Second drywall panel affixed to frame


Continuing Work on the Water Heater Cabinet


Work continues on the water heater cabinet.  This weekend I picked up a 80"x30" folding louvered door for the front.  It's a nice fit, but it was a bit difficult working it into the metal frame.  Metal is a forgiving medium, but it is uncompromising to say the least.  I've found that for every addition I've made, I've had to undo at least two previous steps just to proceed one step further.  This is more an issue of my novice status with metal, I'm sure.

Cabinet frame with louvered door

Anyway, the folding door went in quite nicely and I'm very pleased with its smooth function.  This should serve well for many years to come.

Cabinet frame with louvered door open

I've made one significant departure from my original design with the addition of a screen frame that goes all the way to the ceiling.  I originally intended to make a screen lid, but realized into the project that the lid would just be a problematic to maintain with any dust that settled on it.  This new wraparound screen solves that problem and also makes the unit just seem more "complete" since it now mates to both the wall and ceiling.

Cabinet frame with screen frame attached

With the frame in place, I cut up the aluminum screen to fit and mounted it with little trouble.  The next step will be cutting and mounting the gypsum drywall.

Cabine frame with screen attached


Slow but Steady Progress...


I've been sidetracked with a lot of little projects lately, and progress on my larger projects have slowed down as a result.  Finally, after several weeks of delays, I've been able to resume work on the water heater cabinet.  In doing this, I essentially constructed the entire frame horizontally as shown here.

Water heater cabinet frame

The cabinet is 8' tall, but the longest metal brace sold at the local Home Depot was just 6' in length.  To work around this, I cut four 4' braces into 2' sections and braced the pieces together using ¼" hex bolts.  This arrangement lengthened the 6' sections by 2' and joined each section together with a 2' section of brace reinforcement secured by six ¼" hex bolts.

Straight brace

Once the 8' sections were completed, the corners were reinforced with diagonal braces.

Diagonal brace

Right angle brace reinforcements were used for the adjacent corners.

Right angle brace

Then I partially disassembled the frame so I could fit it around the water and gas pipes that lead into and away from the water heater.  Then I anchored the frame to the wall using 2" wood screws.  Everything is rock solid and ready for the fire-rated gypsum drywall.

Water heater cabinet frame

Once I mounted the water heater cabinet frame to the wall, I spent some time applying a few coats of water sealer on the boards around the sink area of the work bench.  After a few hours, the wood was reasonably protected against moisture in the working area.  It isn't anything that I'd submerge on a regular basis, but it'll certainly hold up to everyday sink usage for the next several years.

Waterproofed area of work bench