Joe Abbott's Weblog

Letters home to mom

Check-in time–Day 1 on construction

Posted by joeabbott on December 20, 2013

I started building yesterday but my post from that day just went over the model again. Let’s take a look at what’s going on … with pictures.


Here’s the “corner” we’re going to fill: from the stereo cabinet to the chairs. A quick diversion …

The stereo cabinet is one of the oldest pieces of furniture we have. I think it was one of our earliest purchases. Been around forever. It’s a solid oak piece with few redeeming features and not in the style of something I’d buy now. But it’s been around long enough to be considered family. When we’re done with the bookshelves that will sit on the cabinet and move our stereo equipment there, we’ll likely break the stereo cabinet down and burn it or something. It’s part of the family but not a good part! <g>

Also, the pictures on the wall below were painted by Suzy. I love ‘em! The one on the right, the ocean scene, was something she did long ago … I think it was a school project; the one on the left is hard to make out from this angle but is a crumbling tower on a hillside … I’d asked her to paint that one. They’re awesome!

Let’s get back to the room.

The short wall behind the stereo cabinet is 24” deep; which is the depth of the cabinet we’re building. We’ll go out 12’, or 144”, which is somewhere beneath the first wooden chair. With that being the space the new furniture will need, I can easily just push a few things around and get to work without taking over very much space at all!

To make this work, I just tucked the stereo cabinet around the corner and I was ready! Well, I did have to push the comma-shaped couch out a bit and ended up moving the chairs, but for the most part, it was super easy to make space for this project.


I started by pulling off the baseboard. We’d recently had these hardwoods put in, so the baseboards had already been pulled off once … it was simply a matter of inserting a small crowbar and giving it a push: the boards popped off without any problems for the wall.

The air gun brads used to tack the baseboards on pulled out of the wall and rather than pulling the brad through the baseboard wood or trying to reverse it out, I just got a pair of wire snips and clipped off the brads at the base. Again, super easy.


Unfortunately, I wasn’t so lucky that the baseboard ended exactly where I needed it to for the project. By measuring carefully and pulling out a trusty fine-toothed back saw, I was able to gently pull the baseboard out far enough to saw the board in place! In the end I rapped the brads on the remaining baseboard back into place and it was good as newly installed! I will have to keep an eye on this when I’m finishing up to make sure that it ends in the right place and doesn’t look odd.

Creating the base

imageWith the house ready for the new addition, it was time to start! My first step was to create that sub structure to lift the cabinet. I found that I had unfortunately picked up 92 5/8” 2x4s, rather than 96” 2x4s! Grrr!

To be fair, 92 5/8” is a standard pre-cut size, unfortunately it was the stack of 2x4s in an unmarked bin directly next to a bin of 2x4s that were prominently posted as 96”. While it was irksome, it didn’t slow me down much just the same. What it meant was that instead of having a side created from a 96” and a 44 3/4” 2x4s, I’d have the cruddy 92 5/8” and a 48 1/8” 2×4. I just hate unexpected issues like this.

But, in a jiffy, I had the lumber cut-up and set in place for a dry fit.


On another home project we had a floating floor put in and they left us with some foam underlayment. This is usually used under snap-together flooring as a cushion, minor temperature barrier, and for a bit of soundproofing. As I had some left over, I used it here. The main benefit for this project is soundproofing: both for wood-on-wood squeaks and because the base would be a drum cavity and rumble a bit.  Likely unnecessary, but I had it left over and no other use for it.

The picture above is the finished base. I tacked this base into the wall at each stud with a single screw and toe-nailed (toe-screwed?) in at four places along the sections not against a wall. It seemed pretty secure.


The last thing I did in the day was to run downstairs, cut a piece of VG plywood length-wise and drop it in place. Then I cut the other half in half again (leaving a 2’x4’ section from the original 4’x’8’ panel), and dropped that in place. It’s not attached but here’s where we are now:image

I’ll go into detail in the next post about how I proceed, but I plan on using a plate joiner to insert biscuits at the seam between the two sub-bottom pieces and then to screw it down into the base structure. Before I do that, I’ll make sure to lay in the toe kick finish board around the base … just because it’ll be easier!


And that was day one! Not an adrenalin rush of activity, but solid progress and gives Suzy a reason to believe I’m serious about this project! <g>

Thanks for checking in … come back tomorrow and see how I’m doing!


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