Friday, August 2, 2013

Megha's Planter Bench

One of my very good friends came to visit the Bay Area a few weeks ago. I probably owe a large portion of my blog's popularity to her, because she forwards my posts to just about everyone she knows (and she's a very well-connected lady). 

Megha had talked about wanting to learn to use power tools, and I mentioned a while ago that during her next visit she should stay over at our house and let me help her build something. We had talked about building something small like a simple box planter, but when she ended up driving her own car up to visit, we got a little more ambitious. 

Like myself, Megha has been getting into gardening (as much as she can on her LA balcony). Unfortunately she doesn't have a lot of areas that take advantage of the sun due to the shade of her solid balcony wall. She had been talking about building a raised planter bench to put her vegetables on, and finally she did!

We only had an evening and a bit of morning to complete this project, so I kept the design pretty simple. The frame was to be constructed of redwood 2x4s and the shelves out of 1x3s and 1x4s.

We came back from a shopping trip at Lowe's around 8:30pm, so I tasked Boyfriend with making us some dinner while we retreated to my garage workshop. Role reversal, I love it. 

Megha quickly learned how to use the miter saw to cut down our stock. She also finally learned how a pocket hole works when I taught her how to use a Kreg Jig for wood joinery (she doesn't actually read my blog tutorials, just looks at the pictures, lol).

As with all DIY projects, we ran into a few hiccups and had to do some small design changes, but Megha rolled with it like a champ.

And because of the compressed schedule we were under, she gave my drill the most intense workout of its life. Between drilling holes and screwing screws, I think we went through about 7 or 8 battery changes. The Makita 10V is a fantastic drill, but clearly not meant for rigorous sessions like this.

Megha also got to use the orbital sander to smooth things out a little before painting.

Once everything was assembled, we primed and painted the base and used a clear semi-gloss polyurethane on the shelves.

At this point it was around 3am so we agreed that painting sucks and we didn't need a 2nd coat. We called it quits and went to bed. Megha was driving out in the morning, so she needed to get some rest.

After a breakfast of swiss chard and onion quiche (from my garden!), we assembled the whole thing by drilling holes from below and inserting screws to keep the shelves in place. This way, no screws would be visible from the top.

And here it is!

I'm super proud of Megha for her willingness to learn and for being kind of awesome in the workshop!

And LOL, we had a sweat-inducing moment where the table wasn't going to fit in the car despite our measurements (damn you Mazda 3 and your unnecessary trunk curves), but we managed to barely squeeze it in with an inch or two to spare. Off to LA you go, little guy!

SO if any of my friends are reading this and want to learn how to build stuff with me and my limited knowledge/tools, my garage doors are open! 


  1. I'd LOVE to attempt to make a coffee table... ? :) What do you think?

  2. Looks good! Building is so empowering.