Sunday, July 30, 2006

Coffee Table Design

Once we had the ottomans built, we had to decide on a table design. E and I had talked about several but I had a real hard time picturing the one she liked most so I looked for drawing programs that would help. I stumbled on POV-Ray, a ray tracing program with which people can make some amazing images. I figured if people could make such incredibly realistic images, that I could pull off something representative of our table designs. Here are a couple of designs:

table design in POV-Raytable design in POV-Ray
Ottoman in POV-Ray

I don't remember but I think those may have been my designs which is why they are not as good as the final product. ;-) Of course, how could I possibly visualize the finished product without a simulated ottoman? Okay, at this point your thinking I have way too much time on my hands, which is not entirely untrue, but really it is not nearly as hard as it may look. I think I only spent a week or so working on POV-Ray, which is not bad considering I had never heard of it when I started.

Anyway, the final design is shown below with and without the ottomans. It was very helpful to have the 3D model of the table because not only did it help me see what E was talking about but it helped us tweak the design. Yes, believe it or not, it wasn't perfect from the start. For instance, I added the center piece so that it wouldn't just fall over. Also, we used the program to help us decide how thick the wood and aluminum rods should be. I'll talk about the construction and show you the finished project soon.

table design in POV-Raytable design in POV-Ray

Saturday, July 29, 2006


After a little distraction, it's time to get back to documenting my woodworking and home improvement projects. The one I'm going to start talking about today is the coffee table and ottomans that I built. Elizabeth had gotten this idea to build a glass-top coffee table with room for four ottomans to add more sitting room in our living room. She picked out the fabric she wanted to use early on but we hadn't settled on a table design. Since the ottomans were pretty much figured out and because I wanted to have them built before starting the table (for final dimensions), I went ahead and built the ottomans.


The boxes are made of 1x2 stock with 1/4" plywood sides and a 3/8" plywood top. I put this all together with brad nails, a hammer, and a nail set to countersink the nails. This wasn't too bad for the first box but after four, I really wished I had bought a nail gun. The legs are made from four pieces of 2x2 oak that I planed and glued to make a 3" leg. I then mitered angles and cut them to length to match our sofa legs (though smaller of course). These are fastened to the bottom with screws.


Once the boxes were done, E took over. She cut and glued the padding, sewed and stapled the covers, and covered and attached the buttons. These were a lot of work but I think the results were worth it. I'll talk about the table design and show the results later.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


I've updated the syndication for this page and for Elizabeth's ISU Blog. We are now using to provide additional feed services. I also added more options for subscribing in the sidebar. If you have already subscribed to the feeds on either of our sites, simply eliminate your previous link and use the new links provided in the sidebars of our blogs. Sorry for the trouble.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


I have updated Taylored Truth, including the blogs, to support switching stylesheets. If you are using a capable browser like Mozilla Firefox, you can switch the style through the menus. I have also added links in the sidebar (of pages that have sidebars) to allow the switching. This setting will affect all pages you view at Taylored Truth including future visits, but you must have cookies enabled. I am still working on the Photo Album so it may be a few days before it reflects the updates.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Taylored Truth Updates

So it has been a while since I have posted but I am not just sitting around. I've been out of town for a few days and now I am working on updates to the web page. I guess that counts as a project of sorts. Anyway, I have already made a few changes that you might have noticed, particularly to fonts. I am trying to improve the readability of the site. The next step is to allow readers to select alternate stylesheets. This is primarily to help the readers who struggle reading the white text on a dark background.

As far as reporting on my other projects, I am currently in the planning stages of building a desk for the kitchen (to go in the breakfast nook). I may be in the planning stages for a while though because it is a big project and not easy to design. Of course, E has already set out the overall look, I just have to figure out how to make it happen.

I plan on continuing to update the site with descriptions of already completed projects. Next on the list are the ottomans and coffee table.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Kitchen Makeover: Part I

The only part of the house that Elizabeth really didn't like when we moved in was the kitchen. With the greens and whites, it definitely had a country feel (see before pictures below) and if you haven't been able to figure it out yet, our style is more contemporary. Anyway, I agreed that we could overhaul the kitchen and E set out designing. However, while she was deciding on a design, a few things had to change as a temporary fix.

before picture of breakfast nookbefore picture of kitchen

The most obvious change we made was the paint color. We painted most of the room a reddish orange color and the wayne's coating white. However, the more subtle changes actually make a big impact when your in the room.

after picture of breakfast nookafter picture of kitchen
As you can see, we took down the blinds and whatever you call that window covering and just left the windows open. We will probably put something back up eventually, but it actually isn't bad with nothing. I also replaced the lights over the sink and the kitchen table with recessed lighting. This was actually kind of fun because I got to use the reciprocating saw to cut the larger holes. I even had to cut out the old light fixture over the sink because I couldn't get to that part of the attic to remove the old mounting hardware.

The last two changes are that we painted the fluorescent light fixture and changed the plastic inserts. The surround was a natural wood color and the inserts were the standard textured type. The white makes it stand out less and we used inserts with a square pattern that is more contemporary looking. Lastly, we replaced the wall plates with brushed metal plates.

This is how our kitchen looked for a while before E finalized her designs and we made the big changes. I'll have details on those soon.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Need a nap? Make a bed.

Well, this seems like an appropriate time to write about the bed that I built. I am supporting the STS-121 Shuttle flight by providing engineering and analysis support for my company's Laser Camera System which is being used for on-orbit inspection of the Space Shuttle. Unfortunately, my shift is from 2:30 am to 11:30 am, so I am pretty tired right now and could use a nice bed to lay down in...

This project was my first real woodworking project as well as part of my motivation to pick up the hobby. E and I knew we would need a new bed when we moved into the house and we had found some beds we liked but they were all extremely expensive dispite being quite simple in I said "I can make that" and a hobby was born. The bed is a pretty simple platform made from pine stock with stained oak on the finished surfaces. The pictures below show the platform and what it looks like with the bed made (it seems this picture was taken before the last board was attached so ignore the little gap).

picture of platform bed framepicture of (almost) complete platform bed
T-slot used to hide bed bolts
The basic form is pretty simple with 2x6 pine creating a frame including a middle beam for support and 1x4 pine used for the slats. The slats are held in place by slots routed in the ends of the boards and dowels embedded in the side pieces (there are some detail photos in the projects photo album). The thing that makes the project interesting is that I wanted to be able to take it apart but I didn't want exposed screws or bolts so I created T-slots (see right). By using these slots and embedding the nut in the footboard, I was able to hide the fasteners but maintain the ability to dismantle the bed in the future.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Painting: Part 2

By February 2005, we completed three more painting projects. The kitchen will be shown in a later post, but I will show the other two here. I'll start with the guest bedroom; we basically just wanted to add some more color. Have a look at the before and after below.guest bedroom picture before paintingguest bedroom picture after painting
The other painting job was in the front of the house. If you recall from my first post, the front of the house was pretty bland with gray paint in the entry along with the gray brick. Elizabeth and I tried to make it stand out a little by painting the entry white, the door red, and the trim black as you can see in the following two pictures.picture of house frontpicture of front entry
I think it turned out pretty good. I'm not sure we will leave the black trim forever and the door really needs to be replaced but I know E likes the red color for the door. Also, I really should replace that light fixture and the door hardware, but that is for another day.