Monday, May 30, 2016





I’m sorry, I’m just really excited. We haven’t had a dining table since we moved into this house in January, and so it’s been five months of eating on our laps, the coffee tables, the couch, and the floor. There were crumbs, there was awkward leaning over our food while sitting cross-legged on the sofa to be able to reach the coffee tables, and (my favorite) getting up after eating was the hugest pain in the ass. BUT NOT ANYMORE.

We used this method (sort of) to build this 94” beast of a table, with a couple of modifications detailed below. Are you ready? Let’s go!

  • Drill
  • Chamfer bit
  • Black oxide drill bits
  • Saw (probably best to use a miter saw but we don’t yet have one, and we only needed to make one cut so a jigsaw or circular saw will work as well)
  • Electric sander w/150 grit paper
  • Speed square
  • Painter’s tape
  • Wood/super glue
Yup. This is an IKEA hack. I would say that it’s because we’re creative and artsy or whatever, but it’s mostly because the thought of spending three hours at a Home Depot on a Saturday trying to pick out a bunch of the straightest 2x8s possible out of a giant stack of lumber makes me want to walk off a cliff. And considering that I weigh about as much as a 2x8 and Kurt’s back gives out when you look at it wrong, we opted for IKEA table tops. Our first table was made of two of them, so we just had to pick up two more, and at $20 each, it worked out okay.

Next was the under frame. While going through this tutorial, I was not a fan of the unfinished pine tables that they used. Yes, we could stain or paint them, but…could we use something else? Something more black like our souls? And honestly, I was determined to find something cheaper because of who my mother made me into as a person. #asianparentingskillsonpoint

And so? IKEA! Their TARENDO table, to be specific. In looking at it online, I found that it was made of steel! But for $40? I decided to do a little digging, and I was very, very thorough, even going so far as to research the steel manufacturer that IKEA uses and it turns out that it’s legit powder-coated steel capable of supporting a substantial amount of weight with zero wobble. We picked up two subframes for $19 each and then a 9 pack of 2x2s cut down to 36” because we needed the rest for other projects. 

Now, we started by assembling the tables and then sandwiching a 2x2 between two of the short side subframe pieces like so.

This photo was taken after we cut down the 2x2, but basically, we lined it up, marked it, and I cut it off with a jigsaw. Originally, we drilled the pilot holes through the steel subframe using black oxide drill bits, but then realized that that wasn’t exactly the best way to attach the table together and then I ended up remeasuring so that we could drill pilot holes through the 2x2 in order to sandwich it between the steel sides but if we did it again, I would’ve just clamped it and had Kurt drill it all through at once. What ended up happening was that it didn’t line up quite right (hence the clamps), and we were only able to drive two of the three intended screws through all three pieces, but Kurt tried to pull it apart afterwards and it didn’t budge one bit, so we’re not too worried.

I didn’t take a photo of this next part because sawdust and glue, but the TARENDO has these huge holes in the subframe where you’re supposed to screw from underneath (I think?) in order to attach the particleboard top to the frame. You can soooort of see one in between the two pieces of blue tape in the upper left hand corner in the previous photo. Since we didn’t buy a top, we decided that that was where we were going to attach the 2x2 under supports, which gave us three supports per table. Using glue, we attached long, slim pieces of scrap wood to the underside of the long sides of the frames after carefully drilling pilot holes that lined up with where the pre-existing holes in the subframe were. You can see the scrap pieces in this photo. 

The purpose of this was to give the screws that would attach the 2x2s to the subframe a place to dead-end into. We couldn’t find nuts that fit the threads of the screws that we bought, and we didn’t want any accidental stabbing incidents. We taped the scrap pieces in place so that they would dry where we wanted them to, and took a quick half an hour break with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt so that the glue would dry at least enough for us to continue.

Prior to that though, I’d run a 2x2 up to the table subframe in order to mark where the pre-drilled holes would line up with the supports. After our break, Kurt drilled the pilot holes and used the chamfer bit to drill a countersink so that later, the screw heads would be flush with the surface of the wood. We drilled one screw through each hole partway through and I took it back upstairs and set it against the table to see how our measurements checked out. Once we were sure it was going to fit, we headed back downstairs to drill the rest of the holes, which meant that I marked each post and Kurt drilled. I’m trying to convince him that we need another drill because I could’ve totally done the countersink after I was done measuring, but nooooo.

Anyway. Here’s what it looked like after we got all the posts screwed on. 

In order to get everything properly aligned, Kurt decided to again put each screw in partway, and then I would line them up with the holes in the subframe. A dab of glue underneath ensured that these things weren’t going anywhere, and then Kurt came back through to screw them in all the way. At this point, the glue had definitely dried on the scrap pieces we’d glued underneath, but we kept the tape on just in case the downward force of the drilling was too much. I mean, we chose Gorilla Glue just to be safe, but you never know.

Then came the most difficult part: putting the table-top on. And honestly? It was surprisingly painless. I was expecting it to be much heavier, because in our earlier variations of the table, it had a copper pipe base glued on. Obviously without the copper base, it was much lighter, but my brain didn’t get that memo until after I’d put it on its new base.

Next came alignment. Because we attached all of the table tops to each other beforehand, we had to center the entire top onto the frame. I did some quick math and came up with this.

This isn’t exactly the best method, but in our opinion, if you’re working with materials that can’t be shaved down, like these IKEA table tops, well, it’ll do. I marked off the distances that the supports had to be offset in order to even things up, and Kurt was in charge of moving things ‘a little to the left. More. More. More. More. Shit, too much!’

Afterwards, I flopped under the table and marked where pilot holes needed to be drilled and Kurt marked off the drill with a bit of painter’s tape so that he wouldn’t poke through the table top completely, and then he scooted around underneath to drill pilot holes and countersink them.

Then driving the screws in…

Pulling the tape, and touching up with a bit of black paint to disguise the 2x2s, and…


We celebrated with drinks of the alcoholic variety and fries and chicken nuggets because of who we are as people. 

All in all, this build took us most of the day, and mostly because we took a lot of breaks so that we wouldn’t get cranky, and also because we felt that we needed to let glue dry. But if you were determined, I think that this is something that might only take a couple of hours. It doesn’t require a lot of power tools and the steel subframe is incredibly sturdy and cheap! We don’t eat by vigorously shaking the table to agitate our food or anything, but we shook the table just to check, and it didn’t budge at all. It proved itself when a certain someone decided he needed to eat a BBQ sandwich with a knife and fork. (Ahem, Kurt’s dad.)  But I mean, just working off the steel subframe, you could also make your own top using inexpensive 2x6s and then stain the top however you like. If you're feeling fancy, you could pour concrete and make a concrete top. You could even make the table longer (!!) or shorter depending on your needs and the space you have to work with. The possibilities truly are endless! 

As for a price breakdown, this table cost us around $140 total, including the boxes of screws that we bought and the paint, but excluding the tools. I think it was definitely time and money well-spent, considering that a table of these proportions from say, West Elm or Crate and Barrel would cost many times as much. And our relationship survived, so that's all we can really ask for. 

Next up, we're going to figure out what to do about a bench, but in the meantime, our spare room is getting outfitted with tons of record and book storage!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

over the weekend

Now that everything is safely tucked in the garage, I can finally share!

The full journey is up on Instagram, but man, these things are gorgeous, and the best part? The seller agreed to TWO for $100! There's a neat maker's mark in one of the drawers boasting that these credenzas were made by Kimball Office Furniture and a quick Google search turned up a couple of them on eBay for much more than we paid, so I'm glad I asked my dad to borrow his car and am satisfied with the results of our little road trip to Indy. 

Now the bigger question we paint them? Or keep them as is? Decisions, decisions...

Saturday, April 23, 2016

excitement is...

…a complete and total disregard for the phrase, counting your chickens before they hatch because you are so not cool and therefore cannot ‘play it cool’ if your life depended on it. Yes, I know that’s really vague, but I refuse to say anything more until the thing happens and everything is tucked away safely at home because so many things could go wrong between today and Sunday. Anxiety doesn’t get better with age, okay, it is not a fine scotch.

So instead, let’s talk about house buying. We’ve got a little over a year left in this lease, and we’re starting to think about buying. Our plan is to lie to ourselves and budget to save for a down payment of a house that is significantly more than what we’re really willing to buy, so that when the time comes, we can look at our bank account and be pleasantly surprised (and maybe take a look at those supposedly out of budget places? You never know…) instead of staring blankly at the five dollars we have left at the end of the month to be split between the both of us. 

There is also the debate between buying a fixer upper in a nicer neighborhood, therefore being able to find something more in our budget yet not sacrificing safety for cheapness, or buying something more…move-in ready. We’re definitely looking for at least three bedrooms, because I want an office and Kurt’s smitten with the idea of having an actual proper guest room, and while we’ve grown to love our ensuite bathroom, it’s not a deal-breaker. The house we’re living in now is actually technically three stories, with the garage off the basement. I like the layout and the idea, because I can just work in the basement if it’s cold and still be able to access all of the tools that live in the garage. I’d also love a three-car garage. I think it’d be awesome to buy a brownstone or something. Not quite in the heart of Chicago but still close enough that we can call ourselves true Chicagoans, unlike the people that live in Rockford and still claim that that’s Chicago. Um. Not really. I also love the idea of a few bonus rooms, little nooks and closets that can be reworked into the main layout so that they shine and aren’t just…the scary unorganized hell that you shove all your winter coats in at the end of the season only to have to dig them out two days later because April in Chicago is literally the worst. 

But that’s all a ways down the road and so for now, I’ll just get into the more exciting part. Inspiration photos! I’ve been collecting images on my Pinterest for years now, way before Kurt and I even knew each other existed, because at one point I did have my heart set on majoring in architecture and design. I had this thought that an architect had to also have an amazing house or condo, because if you’re going to design for a living, well, you should probably live somewhere that doesn’t look like it’s been taken over by slovenly frat boys. And now, post-Kurt (or I guess, during?) my focus has shifted into a ‘Someday Home’ wish list.

(via georgiana design)
(via streets of georgetown)
Our bedroom right now has SO MUCH light despite the fact that it just has one window. I'd love to still have that when we buy. And the white painted brick? Ugh. We also have a walk-in closet, and I'd like to have another or even make another. It doesn't have to be huge, but a long and skinny layout would be able to accommodate something like that clothes display. Wall to wall dressers or even just one row of drawers and an exposed shelf would be awesome. And those floating shelves and the bar to hang clothes, and room up top for art or stuff like extra sheets and blankets and towels! 
(via sarah sherman samuel)
(via shelter interior design)
(via yellow brick home)
We're thinking that we're going to need two bathrooms. I love hexagons; they are the best shape. I have one tattooed on my back. But anyway, I like the look of tiny hexagons in the bathroom with subway or herringbone tile. One of the bathrooms can have just a stall shower, and I'd like to tile hexagons literally everywhere including the little raised bit that separates the shower from the bathroom. Or just top it with a stone slab. We could do a sliding glass door or just hang a curtain like the second photo. Also, can we talk about Kim and Scott's bathroom renovation? Number one blog crush right there; they are so talented.
(via cb2)
(via pinterest)
(via tumblr)
(via decoholic)
(via chris loves julia)
(via tumblr)
Kurt basically gets free reign on the kitchen (I Do Not cook; the fire department asked me not to) but I get some design choices. Tons of open shelving, a giant kitchen island, a big-ass dining table (with matching big-ass pendants), and drawers instead of base cabinets are some things that we agree on, but he wants either a six-burner stove or to just go for broke and get two stoves so then he can also have double ovens, and then a slab of temperature controlled marble (what even) and two sinks (one on the wall counter and one on the island), and the most powerful dishwasher known to man. I just want my big hexagon tiles and a wipeable backsplash, both with tiny grout lines, because the amount of crap that gets lodged in our ginormous grout lines when we even so much as breathe towards the kitchen is insane and drives me crazy. And maybe some decorative moulding on the cabinets? 
(via yellow brick home)
(via anthropologie)
(via gravity home)
(via home adore)
Other things that'll come later: office space, record storage, punchy rugs, art everywhere, cushy chairs, all the shelving for all the books, brick and stone walls, and maybe even a fireplace! Plus also a workshop for all of the projects that we're going to get ourselves into, because like hell we're going to be able to find a house like this in our price range, just ready for paint and rugs. I am also super eager to take on a bunch of these projects! Growing up, one of my uncles taught me the basics of woodworking (because how else do you get out of babysitting but to teach your eleven-year-old niece how to use saws) and ever since then, I've been itching to do those kinds of things on my own. We have some projects to tackle in this home, and those things will come with us to our new forever home, and the projects will allow us to learn and grow our skills. 

It's exciting. This life that Kurt and I have found together? It's unfurling, and it's amazing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

progress report

We’ve had quite the busy month at the house. Building and shopping and cleaning and kitty wrangling. The fastest IKEA trip in the history of ever was accomplished. A shop vac was purchased. Furniture was pushed and pulled around the spare room. IKEA furniture was assembled. The dining room table was finished. The entire upstairs was scrubbed down because a certain kitty is shedding (for spring? Groundbreaking).

Paint samples were bought, measurements were taken, and more equipment was bought. A small argument about sledgehammer + reciprocating saw versus maul was had, and I laughed inappropriately at an old man that was angry about his wife keeping him at the paint counter for half an hour. We researched circular saws and made enough food that we shouldn’t have to buy any for a few weeks. Our fridge and freezer look like a lost game of Tetris.

Big things are on the horizon. I have notes on my phone about every last measurement needed to get the office put together so then we can move on to the downstairs. We’re hoping (!!) to get everything sorted out by June, because that is when my company has free entry to the Museum of Science and Industry downtown so like hell we’re going to want to spend days off inside anymore. So exciting.

Be back soon!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

plans, part 2.

You guys.

I am wriggling with excitement.

I went shopping today.

Big upfront cost, but it'll last us a while. But what is all that? That, my friends, is just about everything that we need to do all the improvement projects we want to do with this house. And beyond. Record shelving for the office, tiny little record cabinet, dining bench, kitchen island (and finally cutting the slab of marble we've had sitting in the garage for months now!), coffee table, bar cabinet/credenza, behind the sofa table, rows of shelving for the basement workshop, workbench, and and and...damn, my dance card is hella full.

The only things I didn't buy today are the big saws and IKEA things. This morning, I was armed with a Harbor Freight coupon for a $135 12-inch double bevel sliding compound miter saw and I was vibrating with excitement at the prospect of lugging that baby home. On the way, I called my uncle to let him know about it because I'd thought that he'd been looking for a replacement, but it turns out, he was planning on gifting one to me and was being sneaky. So no miter saw today. I also didn't buy a table or a circular saw because they're not necessary right this second since we're planning on starting with the office and the base to our record shelves will be IKEA units. And I didn't buy the IKEA units because I was by myself today and am really small and really need to start deadlifting again.

So, the breakdown, because I love reading that kind of stuff on blogs.

  • Dewalt Black Oxide Drill Bits
  • Ryobi 4.8 Amp Variable Speed Orbital Jigsaw
  • Bosch T-Shank 5-Pack Jigsaw Blades
  • Skil Sheet Sander
  • Metal files
  • Sheet Metal screws
  • Wooster Short Angled Brush
  • Flat Black spray paint
  • Minwax Pre-Stain Conditioner
  • Minwax Polycrylic
  • Minwax Wood Stain (in Special Walnut and Jacobean)
  • Mineral Spirits
  • Drop cloths
  • 1 lb. of rags
  • BEHR Interior primer
  • Spackle
I also picked up three paint samples, two of which are basically the same color (yet so different!) and the last is actually completely different. We'll still need to buy a few more things, like safety equipment, a shop vac, a putty knife, sandpaper in varying grits, wood filler and glue, circular saw blades, and a Kreg Jig. Oh, and a circular saw. But all of the above came out to be $165! And again, most of this will be reused from project to project so it's not like we're going to have to run back to the hardware store and drop that much every time we do anything, so this is definitely money well spent. 

Tomorrow will be IKEA run and maybe another go at Home Depot to pick up some of the safety equipment like work gloves and dust masks. But mostly, cleaning so that we can start doing things without having to pause to move things. Because let me tell you, trying to flip a table that still has papers on it is not a good idea. Not...that I'm speaking from experience or anything. 

Be back soon!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

office plans

Alternatively, the great miter saw debate.

Kurt left to go to Florida, and I went out and bought a jigsaw. Not because he’d disapprove (quite the contrary) but because we didn’t realize we lived 15 minutes away from the airport and I needed to kill some time. I didn’t buy any blades for it because I wasn’t sure that we were gonna keep it/needed to do more research about which blades to buy. I eventually settled on this 5-pack that includes a nice mix of wood and metal blades for a good price. I had a few projects in mind when I bought it and this was the perfect variety pack for those projects.

Now…the next thing on our list was a big saw. I have both a table saw and a miter saw picked out and we won’t have the funds for either until next month but trust me, I will spend exactly that long debating the pros and cons of each. Never mind the fact that we’ll be buying whichever one that we don’t buy in a few months anyway, it’s just which one do I want first and since I get anxious about oh, basically everything, I have scheduled time to have anxiety attacks over buying a saw.

Welcome to Kurt’s life.

In order to push myself towards making a decision, we decided that our next project will be the office. When I told Kurt that I wanted to go back to school to get my engineering degree, he immediately abandoned all plans of making the second bedroom into a library and told me that I was free to do whatever I wanted with the space so that I could have somewhere to study (he’s a keeper). And so at first, I mentally planned out a space that was basically all desk and involved ripping apart the box shelves (IKEA’s 5x5 KALLAX) in order to make wall shelves. Kurt, ever the voice of reason, asked me where all the books would live and where would the futon live and where are we getting this magical desk? So we didn’t change anything and are left with how it’s looked since we moved in and just put things wherever.

Bonus kitty in the corner deciding that yes, it is dinnertime now that you have decided to take pictures.

We plan on buying two VITTSJO shelves to replace the KALLAX unit on the far wall and converting them into super strong, sturdy record book knick knack shelves using this method. I had sourced an adorable record cabinet for the record player to live on through Craigslist (for just $30!), but that fell through because we wouldn’t be able to get to it until Kurt gets back from Florida since it’s actually located just a couple of streets down from where he works and like hell I was about to drive three hours round trip for a $30 record cabinet. The gas alone would add…well, like $8 to the price, but also, I hate driving. Someone that does not hate driving or lives closer is able to get there sooner than we are, so tough luck for Kathy.

I sulked. But then I picked myself up and decided that I was going to build one instead.

Most of the record cabinets that I was looking at were basically boxes with legs. Yet so cute, because of their mid-century modern roots. So when I drew up my plans, I drew a box and put legs on it.

Now, record sleeves are around 12” square, and I plan on routing or notching out a groove on the front of the unit to allow for sliding doors, which means that I have to have an inch or two of clearance to install that. I also wanted the unit to be twice as long as it was tall, if not more so, depending on how much space we have left after we put two VITTSJO units up. Some quick research turned up IKEA's BESTA wall cabinet, which would probably fit width-wise, but with the way I want to lay out the room, the futon might be too close for cabinet doors that open regularly. 

In order to build the supports for the VITTSJO, we're planning on buying one sheet of 4x8 plywood and having it ripped down to 39½” x 14½” sections in the store. I drive a Civic Coupe and while the back seats fold down completely, shoving a whole 4x8 sheet of plywood in there is probably pushing it. Just a little. Kurt drives a VW Golf, which is better in terms of hauling things (we crammed the KALLAX in there in all of its flat-packed glory) but again, an entire sheet of plywood is probably pushing it.

One 4x8 sheet of plywood makes 6 support shelves. Since we want two shelving units, we plan on ripping the KALLAX apart in order to procure 4 more shelves, and that’ll give us the exact amount needed to replace the glass that comes with the VITTSJO. Which is frightening! Because that means I have no safety net, and for someone with anxiety problems, that’s like. Being in a glass case of emotion.

For a split anxiety-filled second, I thought about just keeping the glass; it’s tempered glass with a maximum load of 66 lbs, but scrapped the idea pretty quickly once I walked into the room and saw Sage perched on top of a stack of books. She’s a pretty tiny cat, but she could very well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and I definitely don’t want her getting hurt because she wants to climb. So plywood and using the KALLAX for scrap wood it was.

And here lies the Great Miter Saw vs. Table Saw debate.

The KALLAX is made up of four long plywood boards and then a bunch of little squares that notch together through little wooden dowels. The holes where the dowels fit have to be patched and sanded, and then they have to be cut to be a length of 39½” and a depth of 14½” like the plywood. There are quite a few ways to go about this. Do we get a table saw and rip the boards long-ways to achieve the depth needed and then use the jigsaw to cut the length? Do we get a miter saw and cut the length and then use the jigsaw to make the long cut needed to shave the boards to 14½”? Do we abandon the idea completely and get a circular saw to rip the depth and then chop the boards? Do we get both saws and rip it down and use the miter to get the length?

I have used both and I am marginally more comfortable with a miter saw than a table saw, but I’ve used a band saw before too, which I feel is more dangerous than a table saw because there is so much more blade exposed. So it’s not even a simple, well I’m less comfortable with this one; I’m indifferent to the danger of both. Great.

For a while, I did think about leaving the KALLAX alone and just buying another sheet of plywood to take advantage of the fact that that’s able to be cut down in store, but KALLAX just doesn’t work with our space anymore. And yeah, we could probably try and sell it on Craigslist or something, but I have a bunch of other ideas that could make use of the leftover scrap wood from this project, and there is the risk of it not selling for a while, so we’d be stuck finding a place to keep it anyway. Plus, this is old money. Buying new plywood is spending new money. The KALLAX has already been bought, so it technically doesn’t add cost to this project. It’s not like we’re running out and buying a whole new shelving unit just to get the boards. That would be ridiculous. The VITTSJO, on the other hand…because it’s less wide of a unit (we don’t have to put one right next to the other, after all) and has a smaller footprint overall, it can be moved around most anywhere in our current home and any other home we choose.

Kurt and I are teaching ourselves about when it’s okay and necessary to let go of old things and buying what we need versus impulsively buying what we want. Partly because we’re broke, but mostly because we don’t want to have another situation like this where we impulsively bought something that was pretty specific to the space and now we can’t figure out what to do with it. Which is probably also why I’m agonizing so much over the table saw versus miter saw thing, but that’s one of those things where we will start needing both. If Kurt and I buy this house, we’ll want to renovate, and do as much of it ourselves as we can. I enjoy it, and it saves money, and we enjoy that.

So…miter saw? Or table saw?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

hit the ground running!

So you’ve started a blog. A lifestyle blog, because you have a conglomeration of things to share about and you want to cover your bases. You wrote an intro post. You told people what it is that you do. Now what?

You hit the ground running! …Metaphorically, that is. We don’t run. It even sounds exhausting.

And so…the dining table build. Oh, the dining table build. At this point, I have dubbed it the build from hell.

If I never have to cut pipe again it'll be too soon
It’s not surprising, let’s be honest here. We don’t have any power tools beyond a corded drill and I am the littlest engineer therefore it is incredibly difficult for me to lift things that easily weigh three or four times as much as I do. And this is our first huge build that isn’t IKEA furniture. But Kurt wanted a bigger dining room table and I thought about it and honestly, I love giant dining room tables. The ones that are so huge that sometimes you decide eff it all, we need a dining bench because who wants to buy and lug home twelve chairs.

But I digress. The plans that I drafted seemed simple enough. We had two moderately sized IKEA table tops and picked up two more. I sanded the edges to be glued a little to give the adhesive something to sink into and grab, and then used construction adhesive to glue one table top onto each end. We'd also bought a bunch of metal Simpson Strong-Tie straps and I drilled those into the tops with 3/4" screws and left the whole thing alone to dry.

We already had four legs but with the length of the table, there needed to be a sub-frame to prevent sagging. So then I wanted to see if we could build a table base out of copper pipe instead of shelling out the money to buy a huge table base because at that point, we might as well have bought the table. So I sketched out a plan, thinking that 3/4” type L copper pipe would be strong enough to support a 1.5” thick, 96” long table top on 4 pipe legs alone.

Hindsight is 20/20, and honestly, I should’ve realized after I originally built the base and flipped it over that it wasn’t gonna hold anything.

Still, we went forward, and put the top onto the base. It stood! We cheered! We trudged forward and used construction adhesive to glue the top to the base! We let the whole thing dry for two days before putting anything on it!

Snapchat commentary completely necessary.
And then I bumped into it with my hip and the whole thing wobbled.


Back to the drawing board it was. I played with the idea of making an H-shaped support that spanned the length of the table, but Kurt wanted to comfortably fit ten people with four on each side and one on each end, so the support would’ve gotten in the way of people being able to fit their legs under the table. So then I devised this.

It seemed like it would work! (Spoiler alert, it did not.) Kurt’s work schedule was starting to pick up so I called up one of my friends to come help and we flipped the table again in about 15 minutes because again, littlest engineer here. I legitimately thought that one of us was going to be injured and we were going to have to explain awkwardly to the paramedics how it happened.

But we survived! The table stood!

And then I reached out and poked it and the entire thing swerved.

Ugh. At this point we called it quits, threw a bunch of boxes that were sitting on the floor on top of the table, and went upstairs to unpack the office and re-assemble all the IKEA furniture that made it over from the apartment.

That was what, a month ago now? Almost. And still the table sat, mocking me. Every time we breathed wrong near it, the damn thing seemed to shiver and threaten to collapse in on itself. Every time I threw a pen on top of it, sick of writing checks and mailing out bills, the top seemed to wobble dangerously.

I’m an engineer, dammit! I told myself. How can a table defeat my engineering prowess?

So then a couple days ago, Kurt and I crawled under the table and laid there, staring up on the copper base and bickering about the best way to proceed. I told you we should’ve just welded angle supports to the legs, Kurt said. We’d have to cut through the pipe to do that and we don’t have the right drill bit for that, I shot back. Kurt was convinced that we could weld it as-is until I pointed out that there is barely a point of tangency to work with since you’d really be welding a straight edge to a curved edge. Plus, neither of us are licensed to weld and while a) I have welded at work before with minimal crying and screaming, and b) you can run out to your local Ace Hardware and buy a welding torch, it just…seems like a great way to accidentally set the house on fire, or give myself an anxiety attack.

(There’s no such thing as the welding police, for god’s sake, Kathy. Thanks, Kurt.)

I fully admit it, I was stumped. Partly because we’ve just passed the beginning of the month and money is tight since rent is due on the 1st and then some of Kurt’s heftier bills are due within the first two weeks, so we couldn’t exactly just run out and get a welding torch, a drill bit to cut through copper, and a drill that could hold the correctly sized drill bit. Plus, it’s cold out and I do not work out in the garage when it’s cold. I’m high maintenance like that.

And then I stumbled upon this tutorial by Pneumatic Addict. She uses angle irons and welds them together to make a sub-frame so that she can put a suuuper long wood top on hairpin legs without the whole thing sagging or being super thick! But...see above. We’re (I'm) not super comfortable with welding at home. And then I found this, from HomeMade-Modern. He uses angle irons to keep his 2by10s straight. Interesting.

What if we combined the two? Made a sub-frame, but instead of mitering the edges and welding them together, we miter them a little and screw them straight into the table tops. And then repurpose the copper to make this super thick, chunky base so that the table doesn’t wobble? Maybe. Could probably pull out all the metal straps and save those for something else at that rate.

Kurt told me to think on it and let him know what I decide. Honestly, if this doesn’t work, we may just wait a week or two and then order hairpin legs and mount them on there because I am sick and tired of not having a sturdy dining room table. So much so that Kurt and I shoved it against a wall yesterday to keep it from wobbling every time we walked by it.
A sane person probably would’ve given up weeks ago and took it apart and lived with the smaller dining table. We are obviously not sane people. We are stubborn, determined people that refuse to be defeated by a table.

Plus...Kurt tempted me with food. Like. Think of all the food I can make and fit on this size of table! Sigh. The man knows his audience, what can I say.