Many years ago my Wife and I had the idea that instead of buying gifts for each other for Christmas we would make them. The idea, of course, was that something we made would have much more meaning and would hopefully last a lifetime.
The first year went pretty good with me taking a pottery course and making her a few pie plates and she took the time to attempt to make me a wine rack. I was able to wrap mine and, well, she wrapped her's too but in a garbage bag of pieces and a thing that resembled a shoe rack of sorts... yikes. Hey... I'm not being mean... we still laugh about it today and the birdhouse is still kicking around the shop holding things.
On and off over the years we have tried to institute the same gift giving rule and it has been hit and miss. Last Christmas, 2016, she asked me to make her a hall coat tree. What is that you ask, well as my Father said its a Deacons Bench with a tall back that has a couple of cost hooks on it.
She knew I had been wanting to try to build a large project and this was her challenge. Normally that would not be a big deal... but with a Christmas deadline... this could be a hit or totally miss project. I agreed to give it a go and we both understood this might be her year to get that bag of miscellaneous wooden bits under the tree.
Like any of these projects, in this day in age, it started with the sharing of what felt like a thousand shared pins from Pinterest. Then possible designs being narrowed down based on the tools I had, the ones I could borrow and the ones I could talk her into letting me buy.
Knowing that starting from scratch would be a bit of a challenge I took to my go to place for DIY furniture plans - ana-white.com. If you have never heard of Ana White you just might want to have a look at her site. I won't get into why I like it so much, I'll save that for another post, but in short it's a haven for DIY dreamers that want to make something that looks good on the cheap.
As always my visit to her site was well rewarded. I found this set of plans that just might fit the build. This was a two part'er starting with plans for the top "hutch" and then plans for the bottom "box".
Before I got started I had to be sure the space and my Wife's idea of how it would look was on par. As with a lot of marriages there is one person that has a good sense of "space" and the other has not clue at all. She has no clue... and will admit it. I figured it would be a good idea to measure up what she felt would look right and then I could work with that.
Our space could fit a hall coat tree that measured 60" x 80" x 16". The plans were for something much smaller and would need to be enlarged. I would like to think that I could make those changes with confidence... but I know better... so I call up my Father and asked him out for coffee.
We made all of the necessary changes to the plans, purchased the material and I set off to make this thing a reality.
The build went pretty smooth and I only have one thing to say... the Kreg's Pocket Hole Jig I have is the best thing EVER!!! Made life so much easier and was a dream to use. If you have never used one I highly recommend getting one. Also I found that because I was using 1" (.75") thick wood it was better to hand turn in the screws rather then use the drill. Seemed when I used the drill I would slip the wood I was screwing into.
So in the end... 3 weekends (16 hours), 2 major miss cuts, 4" taller then I expected and a paint color change... this is what I had for my amazing Wife on Christmas day:
She/We are super happy with the finished piece and the best part is that it feels like it has always been here. I have a good feeling it will be in our Family for many years... what a great feeling!
Bit of a side note... I took the time to insure that the hutch part could be removed so we can get it out of the house if we ever move.
Can't wait to see what she wants for Christmas 2017...