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i’m back with more info on the study transformation.

so to refresh our memories:  this was the vision.  but how to go about the implementation?

ross and i did some research runs at home depot and lowe’s, thinking that the top surface of the desk could just be a slab of wood that we stained and installed.  but a piece of these dimensions (10ft x 2ft) just didn’t exist.  and after a long talk with the countertop department at home depot, a slab of butcher block would set us back as much $1200.  SO not in the budget.

back to the drawing board.

enter the wonderful world of ikea.  their butcher block countertops were gloriously cheaper and fit right into our budget.  the only setback was that their longest slab was 96 inches and we needed ~119.  meaning we’d have to buy two slabs and then cut each into two equal halves.  not a huge problem, it just required some creativity to join and then support the middle seam.  more on that solution in a later post.

the second challenge involved finding two end supports that had to meet a lot of criteria:

– sturdy enough to hold the weight of the butcher block + whatever other officey items it would be required to hold

– tall enough to clear the radiator once the butcher block was laid across the top

– short enough to fit right under the windowsill ledge

– double as storage to make up for the two desks we’d be giving up

– $100 or less for both

– and attractive would be a nice bonus as well

we scoured sites like overstock, amazon, and the clearance sections of many websites, but nothing fit all of our criteria.  eventually we decided that to get exactly what we wanted we’d have to make them ourselves.  um, easier said than done.

enter the lifesaving woodworking skills of family friend, danny, and his bumbling apprentice ross.  i’ll let ross take over the story from here:


right you are, dear wife.  a bumbling blithering buffoon of a woodworker.  jk jk, i do have much to learn.  such as how to type in all lower case.  we’ll see how that works out.  well as you can see below, novice meets professional with a lifetime of experience and one heckuva lotta toys.  danny was a tremendous help and can’t be thanked enough.

when i arrived that saturday morning, he had already completed one shelf, which turned out to be a very good thing since we came close but didn’t quite finish the other while i was there.  we got right to work though, starting with measuring and cutting the pieces we’d need.  danny let me do as much cutting as i wanted, offering suggestions and help when i needed it (and ps – want his table saw.  need his table saw).

this shelf was somewhat challenging in that we were including two drawers in the top half but then different sized “cubby” spaces on the bottom half, whereas there was a file drawer in the other shelf.  we ran into a few roadblocks that simply took some improvisation and a trip to lowe’s.

above you can see things being held in place until we were ready to secure it all with screws.  by the way, the majority of these shelves are made up of cabinet-grade plywood with a nice smooth outer finish.

above I’m putting some screws in.  danny’s main drill broke during this process, so we resorted to old faithful… cord and all.  danny was incredibly patient with me the entire time and clearly knew his stuff.  i learned several new woodworking tricks that i hope to use in the future.

above danny is using a dremel tool to add some decorative-ness.  it turned out beautifully and very professional-looking.

and here’s the almost-finished product!  we were working on the right one in this photo.  all it needed was the drawers, so danny finished that up for us and sent them to us via jennifer’s parents.  all-in-all a very fun and educational experience!  can’t say that i’d be comfortable making those myself at this point, but as bill murray put it in what about bob, “baby steps.”