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Dec 25

The Butcher, the Baker, the Furniture Maker!

Okay, so this post admittedly has nothing to do with butching or baking. It has everything to do with furniture making! (When I came up with the title, I thought the rhyme said “furniture maker.” It turns out that the rhyme actually says, “candlestick maker.” Whoops.)

When it comes to furniture, I’ve always been very practical and frugal. For most of my adult life, I’ve moved every 1-2 years, so my furniture was never intended to be anything more than practical. A couch is meant to sit on, nothing more, and nothing less, correct?

Well, incorrect, according to most people. Most people like nice furniture. And they pay a lot of money for it. Oh my. I get frightened when I see furniture prices.

Husband Saign and I like free furniture. Did you know that if you have a truck, free furniture is super easy to come by? It is! Other than our bed and a bedroom set that Husband Saign got prior to meeting me, all of our furniture has been free or purchased very cheaply off of craiglist.

And like I said, I really never cared about what the furniture looked like. As long as it served it’s purpose of being a place to sit, lay, or store objects, I was happy.

Until now.

Now that we’ve bought a house, I actually kind of care about what things look like. I’d like our house to look nice and inviting to guests. I’d like to be proud when people walk through our door.

So lately, I’ve been wanting nicer things.

Of course, there’s no way I want nice things enough to pay full price for them! Have you SEEN the price of new furniture? Whoo-ey!

This got me thinking. How can I get nice furniture that I actually like the look of, without paying an extortionate amount of money for it?

The answer? Make it myself!

So, I did. First, I discovered this wonderful lady named Ana White. She makes beautiful furniture and then posts her building plans online so that Average Joe you or I can make the beautiful furniture as well!

I decided to start with a small project. See, I sometimes start big projects and don’t finish them which makes me feel very wasteful and ashamed. Husband Saign told me that I could start with a small project, and as long as I finished it, I could move onto bigger and better things.

First up? An end table! I looked at Ana’s plans, and the size of the design that I liked didn’t really fit with our needs, so I modified the plan to the size that I wanted for our living room.

My modified building plans

My modified building plans

I also had this brilliant idea that I would save money and the world by using wood salvaged from a wood pallet for portions of my project.

Pulling the pallet apart, and taking out each nail turned out to be a TON of work. Also, lumber is relatively cheap, so all that work probably only saved me $2 or so. And finally, the pallet was still totally usable as a pallet, so even from an environmental perspective, I wasn’t doing any good. Lesson learned. Salvaging is AWESOME and kind to the environment…but it doesn’t always save a lot of money, and one really shouldn’t modify something in the name of enviromentally-friendliness that is already functioning just fine in its current form.

Like I said, lumber is cheap, so while we were shopping for lumber, I got really excited about the prospect of making beautiful furniture very inexpensively. The excitement died down when I got to the other aisles I needed to visit. I also needed wood glue, wood putty, stain, polyurethane, and screws. Did you know that screws are super pricey? I didn’t! I’m a carpenter’s kid, so when I was young, I’d go down to the basement and take whatever I needed to complete any project I had in mind. I had no idea that normal people pay good money for screws!

Anyway, the project cost me around $50 total, though many of the items (wood glue, stain, wood putty, and polyurethane) can be used for future projects. Unfortunately, those pricey screws cannot. They are now trapped within my new furniture creation. That being said, $50 for a solid wood piece of furniture is still a very good price. I do wonder if I could find an end table on craigslist for free that I’d like just as much, but I’ve decided to instead remember that this end table also comes with the ability for me to proudly say, “I made that!” when I have guests over. Maybe that makes the $50 worth it. Maybe…

So…without further ado, here’s the finished project:

The finished project

The finished project

There is certainly room for improvement, but I’m still proud of it and think that it generally turned out quite well. Next up for me is to make a matching coffee table!

What’s your opinion on furniture shopping? Are you okay with paying top dollar for something you love, or do you like to shop for a good deal? Have you ever tried to build your own furniture?

 

4 comments

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  1. Melissa @ Faster in Water

    Wow! I am super impressed! Yes, all my furniture has been hand me downs thus far and it is still working well :)

    1. runfundone

      Exactly. Hand-me-down furniture is super functional! :)

  2. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life

    That looks fantastic. I’m so impressed. My boyfriend is a carpenter so he’ll make some cool pieces from time to time. I need to see if he’ll make something for me :)

    1. runfundone

      Hey thanks! I really get a lot of enjoyment out of creating things. I bet that your BF will help you if you show some interest in making something yourself!

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