How I Spent Five Hours at Home Depot


Confession: I know nothing about making furniture.

This is particularly funny/sad because my dad is a Master Cabinetmaker AND an engineer.

But I’m not going to let little details like utter ignorance and lack of tools hold me back.

My fabulously ambitious plan:

Craft Table Sketch || Jade and Fern

Fabulously Ambitious Plan meets Delightfully Crappy iPhone Photo.

I desperately need a space for crafting that doesn’t involve me hunched over the coffee table while Alan is trying to watch soccer. So I am building a bookshelf with a drop-leaf crafting table. It’s going to be amazing! If I can ever figure out how to actualize it. Apparently trying to support the weight of a 25lb sewing machine on a drop-leaf without any sort of wood-joining knowledge is not so easy.

So yesterday I took a trip to The Home Depot, carting along my measuring tape and the above notebook with its scribbled sketches highly technical design plan.

FIVE. HOURS. LATER. I emerged with a glazed deer-in-headlights expression and some supplies.

How could it have taken you so long? you wisely ask. Aren’t you a DIY expert?

Ahem. No. But DIY is all about the spirit of learning and improvisation and leaving expertise out of it! Right??

It turns out that when you don’t have any vocabulary for hardware (doohicky doesn’t count), aren’t really sure how to construct what you need in the first place, and failed those Spatial Reasoning Aptitude Tests in elementary school, you end up resorting to an ongoing game of Charades to explain yourself. Or at least, you do if you’re me.

On the plus side, I learned how to navigate the gargantuan labyrinth that is The Home Depot, developed an intimate knowledge of where exactly the right casters for the right project are, didn’t get trapped in the paint aisle (my usual downfall in hardware stores), and met half of the employees on duty. Thank you, Peter, Angel, Keon, Robert, and others, for all your help and patience while I used my notebook and phone as props to literally show you my crazy idea!

On the down side, I’m still not really sure how the support component of the table is going to come together.

Clearly it’s time to consult my dad.

Do any of you have advice for a wannabe furniture maker? What hilarity has ensued in realizing your grandiose DIY dreams?

Author: Marlene @ Idle Hands Awake

Maker, baker, cat momma, total nerd, perpetually covered in glitter/sawdust/paint. Blogging DIY and design for modern creatives.

8 comments on “How I Spent Five Hours at Home Depot”

  1. I am sorta in your same boat. My dad was a wood shop teacher. I know plenty about construction but have yet to learn enough about furniture making. I can tell you that you can do a lot with a table saw and a router!

      1. Well… This house looks like a fun project and it sounds like you have some resources. I love the progress posts, so keep on posting!

  2. This is so funny, you sound just like me in Home Depot. I’m excited to see how it all turns out.
    I’ve been wanting to build bookshelves for beside our fireplace. But I’m afraid of buying all that wood and messing it all up.

    1. I’m glad to know I’m not the only person acting things out while supply shopping! 🙂 I’ve gotten a little closer, just waiting for some parts I had to order online. I think the key is just to really have a plan before cutting or drilling. But I haven’t actually DONE it yet so we’ll see! Do you have a crummy shelf or access to some sort of scrap wood to practice on before committing to a purchase of new wood? Thanks for stopping by!

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