I was commissioned to make a pair of portable, transparent dry erase boards for FoxGuard Solutions in Christiansburg, VA. They were going to live in a corner of the office where there was limited natural light. This is why the dry erase boards needed to be transparent—to not block the one window where light was available. It was also important that the boards were mobile, so they were put onto casters. The space where the boards would reside was recently renovated so my design tried to accommodate how the room was remodeled in terms of space and colors.
The final size of the dry erase boards measures just under six-and-a-half feet long by two feet wide and just tall enough to easily go under standard door frames. They’re heavy, weighing about 100lbs each because they’re made from solid wood except for the steel casters and the acrylic.
The boards were made from quarter sawn cherry, quarter sawn red oak, plywood, and acrylic. Cherry was selected due to its reddish-orange hue to help it fit in with FoxGuard Solutions color scheme. The cherry was sourced locally from Ripplemead, Virginia. Red oak was chosen to complement the cherry, and to provide a lighter contrasting colored wood. Half-inch plywood was used to make up the bottom-half of the boards, which was stained a smoke blue-grey color. Thinner plywood was used to make the orange logos in the bottom-middle of each board. Quarter-inch acrylic was used for the actual writing surface of the boards. The boards were finished using light coats of tung oil to help keep the color as light as possible and to bring out some of the really awesome figuring and ray flecking in the cherry.
This project really lent itself to using traditional joinery techniques. These boards could pass through a metal detector if it wasn’t for the steel casters and the screws that attached the casters. Everything else is done using through tenons and half-blind tenons.
There were some challenges to this project. The cherry lumber I acquired had not been professionally cut, dried, or stored. It had a lot of rot and insect damage that needed to be cut out. Also, I really tried to help keep costs down by using thinner pieces of lumber and then laminating them together to get the thicker pieces needed for the legs, posts, and crossbeam. The amount of milling that went into the lumber for these pieces was more substantial than I had planned. The size and weight of the boards made them unwieldy to work with at times too, requiring two people to lay them down to work on them. Another thing I hadn’t considered going into the project was even though I was making two dry erase boards, they were double-sided so it was effectively like making the same thing four times over.
I’m glad to have these boards delivered, I think they look good and fit the space well. Now it’s time to be Santa’s little helper and make some things in time for Christmas!
I have just completed a build of a tall, five drawer dresser for a bedroom! The final dimensions are 37″x20″x52.5″. The dresser was made from 3/4 red oak plywood for the case and drawers, red oak edgebanding, solid red oak slats to divide the drawers, 2/4 birch plywood for the drawer bottoms, walnut harvested from a farm in Blacksburg, VA for the top and pedestal, and 16″ soft-close full-extension drawer slides. The drawer pulls came from Knobs ‘N Knockers in Lahaska, Pennsylvania–near where I grew up. The faces of the drawer fronts are veneered with walnut to show a continuous grain vertically between the five drawers. The case is finished with homemade chalk paint and dark wax to provide a clean, but vintage looking effect not fully captured in these photos.
My goals for this project–like all my projects–were to minimize the use of traditional fasteners, cover up mistakes well, draft the original design in SketchUp, be a good steward of materials, and to ask myself at every crossroads, “will this last 100 years?” I was lucky to be able to meet my goals for this build and come in under budget as well!
This isn’t to say that I didn’t learn some valuable lessons from this dresser build. If I were to do this project again, I would definitely do some things differently. Firstly, just because I could make the drawers to 1/64″ tolerance, I probably shouldn’t. This made it really tough to get the drawers to slide cleanly and evenly. Another thing, 3/4 material for drawer sides and faces is too thick. I think 2/4 sides and 1/4 bottoms would be sufficient. This would also reduce the weight and add a little more capacity to each drawer.
Following is a mostly complete chronological series of pictures of the build. Now to finish my next project, a pair of mobile six foot see-through dry erase boards I’m being commissioned to build!