Sunday, December 28, 2008

Project Life

Here's the second post of the week, and the one I'm most proud of.

I've spent the last week and a half all up in the projects.
But not in the rapper sense of the phrase.

I was unable to post last week because, from Saturday morning at 9 until Wednesday afternoon, if I wasn't sleeping or at work, I was working on crafting Christmas presents for Riley and Caroline.

My Dad and I built them activity tables with toys mounted on them.
These things are cool.

Each table has 5 toy stations.

Each station is a separate 15x15 wood square with a toy mounted to it. Each square bolts in from the bottom and each of the squares can be changed out, individually, for another toy without having to physically remove the toy that is screwed on to the square.

The idea was to make the tables very modular so that the tables can grow with the kids.
For that same reason, the legs easily unscrew and can be replaced with taller legs as the kids grow.

There is no metal hardware holding the table together, just glue and joints.

We found some really cool looking "butcher block" type wood for the toy mounting squares, and a really neat looking, knotted up piece of wood for Riley's table frame.

The edges and corners are all rounded and each table bears 5 coats of hand rubbed poly finish. (I am sore all over from putting that stuff on.)

The two tables are built in the same way, except that Riley's is a full rectangle, while Caroline's has a notch in the middle of one side to allow her to be surrounded on three sides by toys. Paul liked that idea, while we opted to go with a storage bin that hangs below for the legos and wood blocks.

Here are the pics:

Starting with a pile of lumber

Play Tables 2008 (1)


The tables forming up.

Play Tables 2008 (5)
Play Tables 2008 (13)
Play Tables 2008 (12)



Countersinking the anchors


Play Tables 2008 (28)



Routing the edges


Play Tables 2008 (31)
Play Tables 2008 (35)


Sanding & Finishing

Play Tables 2008 (54)
Play Tables 2008 (58)
Play Tables 2008 (46)
Play Tables 2008 (64)
Play Tables 2008 (63)


Mounting the toys

Play Tables 2008 (77)
Play Tables 2008 (84)


And the Finished Products

Paul Table Pics
Paul Table Pics (7)
Play Tables 2008 (94)
Paul Table Pics (5)
Paul Table Pics (9)
Week 39 (100)
Week 39 (102)


Like seeing a child off to college, I watched Saturday as Caroline's table was carted off to BR.

Week 39 (73)


It was hard work. Cold and dusty, but totally worth it.
Riley, Anna and Gabe will definitely get lots of use out of ours, and Paul said Caroline is already learning to move around hers.

Without pulling too many muscles patting myself on the back, I must say that these are two beautiful pieces of woodwork. Heirloom quality in my opinion.

Given the cost of materials, toys and labor (at my usual legal billing rate), I calculated that each of the tables is worth about $3,500 (I spent over 35 hours on them and my Dad spent another 18).


But finding a place for our table led us to another set of problems.

The only reasonable place is in the corner of the living room, next to the fireplace. But with a couple of kids just learning to crawl and walk, brick ledges and walls do not make the best play area borders. (I've got a nice scar on my forehead from a toddler run-in with a brick windowsill)

We weren't happy with the selection or price of the protective items sold in stores, so we got crafty and made our own.

So after spending about $50 on some plywood, mattress toppers and vinyl, our hearth and one chimney wall are covered in three inches of memory foam.

I did the woodwork, Joan did the covering.

Despite knowing nothing about upholstery, these things came out quite professional looking.

Week 39 (81)
Week 39 (84)
Week 39 (88)
Week 39 (92)

Week 39 (103)


That's it for the week. No more DIY projects for a while.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

WOW, that table came out great!!

Emily D'Elia said...

I'm amazed and wish I could be a kid in your house! Riley is a lucky little man!

Anonymous said...

Impressive!