Box shelves


Nearly a year ago we moved to a new house, a decision that made my commute to work much shorter, but my sewing space a lot more cramped.  Instead of a small dedicated room, I have the end of the family room for my crafting space.  At least it is the end with the window!

Storage is the main issue.  If I need a lot of work space, I can take over the dining room table, but that doesn’t work for storing fabric, yarn, fiber, and all the millions of doohickeys and whatsits that I accumulate.  So things are scattered in various parts of the house, and too many of the smaller items build up in the work space and get in the way.

In an effort to improve the situation, I made box shelves.


It took a number of days.  Once I got the right wood (5″ wide hemlock boards) I went to L2’s house to get a refresher course on using a table saw.  I have a small, portable one – like most of my larger tools, it is the result of a visit by my brother.  He sees home improvements that can be made, always resulting in me owning tools that I may never use again.  (I have two jigsaws now, because I forgot I had the first one when he swung through town and needed one to work on a kitchen project for me.)


Then L2 taught me that there are corner clamps.  I’m a fan!  And we used her air compressor (though my brother had me get one of those too) to shoot very fine nails into the secured corners to create the boxes.


Out of two eight foot boards I got three boxes and a 4 inch left-over.  Once I was home again from my power tools seminar, I did the finishing work.  I needed to fill in a few spots – the wood putty was a bit dried out, but it worked OK – and sand.  Stain I had on hand, and I bought a small sample size of limeade colored paint for the inside.




They aren’t perfect.  I need to remember next time to put the nails on the tops and bottoms, not on the sides where they are going to show more.  I taped the edges when I was painting, but they still aren’t perfect, so I’ll need to go buy a razor blade to clean that up.  And I haven’t yet tried the keyhole fasteners for the back that I intend to use to hang them.  (Mostly because I can’t figure out where I put them.)  But the shelves match the picture I had in my head, so I’m happy with them.


I need to make one more, for symmetry, as they are going to hang in pairs on either side of the window, making space for button jars, thread spools, and other items that accumulate on top of the cutting and ironing surfaces.

Take the power tools away from me

When we moved into our current house almost two years ago, we needed additional storage, and a TV stand, so I bought an unfinished dresser.  Also, a coffee table and book cases, but those I finished long ago.  The dresser remains unstained, mostly because I can always come up with something else to do on nice days.

It also hasn’t had drawer knobs, because I didn’t like the originals and got rid of them and then never found what I wanted to replace them with.  And then a recent trip to IKEA resulted in just the right long bar pulls.

Dresser with new pulls

For some reason, probably having to do with Sweden and the metric system, the pulls were just slightly too short, by less than a quarter inch, to fit the pre-drilled holes.  No problem.  I could drill new holes.

Drilling new holes in the dresser

But it then it turned out that the screws were also too short, probably because these pulls were intended for thinner cupboard doors, and the longest screws of that size at the hardware store were still a little short.  And they didn’t have enough of them, probably to do with the metric system again according to the clerk, so we’d have to special order some.

The screws, both original and longer-but-still-too-short versions.
The screws, both original and longer-but-still-too-short versions.

Having waited a year and a half to get handles, suddenly waiting any longer was unbearable.  It dawned on me that I could use a very large drill bit to sink the screws in deeper, making them long enough.  What didn’t dawn on me is that I have few skills with drills, and my ability to judge the depth of a drilled hole while drilling upside down in a drawer at an awkward angle is pretty non-existent.

I ended up with too shallow holes, too deep holes, too wide holes, and weirdly warped holes. I had to find ways to make suddenly too long screws shorter so the handles would fasten tightly, which involved rubber bands and bits of buttons and the occasional nut when I could find one the right size. I had to keep changing between small and giant drill bits, got saw dust everywhere, and kept losing  screwdrivers until I had four of them underfoot. The insides of the dresser drawers are not pretty.

This was my most creative endeavor to make a screw fit after I accidently drilled all the way through the drawer with the giant drill bit.  All I had that would hold it was a pried off part of a button.
This was my most creative endeavor to make a screw fit after I accidently drilled all the way through the drawer with the giant drill bit. All I had that would hold it was a pried off part of a button.

But we have handles now!  And someday I will actually get the dresser stained.  And make a runner, because that beach towel is sort of embarrassing if I want to call myself a quilter.  And no one looks at the inside of drawers anyway, right?

Dresser drawer pulls

Meanwhile, since this is a fiber crafting blog, to keep me company my sister was embroidering trees and zombies.


Embroidered zombies