Category Archives: PolyShades

A Next Level Coffee Table Addition

1. Hero

A few months ago, I made this coffee table for my son Eric. While he certainly was appreciative, he joked that it was too low for him. Eric, I should point out, is six-feet-four-inches tall. His coffee table is where he eats many of his meals and works on his laptop, so, yes, it does cause him to lean over uncomfortably.

2. CutsThe solution, I decided, was to make a simple television tray that Eric could set on top of his coffee table when he needed some extra height. I started by picking up an 18” x 36” pine panel and cutting off two 7” pieces to serve as the sides.

3. Supports

I then glued, and nailed, two strips of wood to the underside to attach and support each side.

HoleKnowing Eric would need a place for either pens or a beverage, I picked up a plastic cup holder, traced a circle, then cut it out.

4. Polyshades

For the sides, I selected Minwax® “Classic Black” Polyshades®, brushing on just one coat before setting them aside to dry.

5. Poly-U

I decided to keep the top natural, so I applied the first of two coats of Minwax® Fast-Drying Polyurethane.


When I was finished, I liked Eric’s coffee table tray so much, I decided to make a second one for our own coffee table. Now all it needs is a pizza sitting on it.

Be sure to check Minwax’s new “Made With Love. Finished With Minwax.” campaign currently going on. The theme is ‘Find. Finish. Love.,’ celebrating the thrill of finding real wood pieces – sometimes in the least expected places – and the joy of making them into something we love.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!


Get Organized with This Vinyl Storage Project

If you have somebody in your family who just can’t let go of their collection of vintage albums, you just might be able to help them keep their collection organized — and easier to enjoy!

In our house, I happen to be the vintage record collector, so I started by taking my measurements from my records and record player, then bought some of my favorite woods:  these wide, pre-glued pine panels.

Knowing how heavy record albums are, I glued and nailed shelf supports for two rows of records and the record player itself.

My favorite one-step stain and finish for wide, flat panels is Minwax® PolyShades®, as it adds just the right amount of color to the wood, plus a layer of polyurethane protection — all in one coat.

After the Polyshades had dried, I set each shelf on the supports, then glued and nailed them together. I always prefer to leave the clamps on overnight to give the glue enough time to bond the boards securely together.

The next morning I moved the record stand into the house, organized my records on the shelves, plugged in my record player, and enjoyed a trip back in time.

Until our next time together,

Thanks for stopping by!


A Quick Tip:  Rather than struggle to freehand draw an even curve, simply use one of the cans off your shelf to trace the perfect line on your project.

A Corner TV Stand Made to Fit

After growing tired of one of our televisions sitting on a wobbly metal cart, we went looking for a corner cabinet in a furniture store. As it turns out, we did not have many to choose from — and none that would fit our particular corner – so I decided to use some pre-glued pine panels from my local home improvement center to build my own.

After a light sanding with #180-grit sandpaper, I cut out my five pieces:  two rectangular sides, two triangular shelves, and a triangular top, shown back on my first photograph.

This was a perfect project for Minwax® PolyShades®, a one-step stain and finish. I wasn’t sure which color of Polyshades® would compliment both the pine boards and the rest of the room, so I tested three different colors on my scraps, then picked my favorite.

The Pecan version of Polyshades® gave me the exact color and finish that I wanted, adding just enough stain to the pine to give it some character, while still letting the grain show through.

Once each piece was dry, I assembled my corner cabinet in my garage, using finish nails to hold the shelves in place.

And now you can see the finished project. The Pecan color matched the recycled heart pine flooring, while remaining slightly lighter in color than the recycled pine wainscoting. This enables the corner cabinet to stand out against the slightly darker lower section of the two walls.

Got time for one more tip?

I cut narrow strips from one of my scrap boards to go across the back of each shelf to prevent any CDs, video tapes, and books from falling off the back.

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!



Coffee Table Top Makeover

My son Blake will be changing apartments soon, which prompted me to dig this oak coffee table out of our barn. Actually, I should say “partial” coffee table, I made this coffee table for an HGTV show more than a decade ago, but the green tile top had since been dropped and broken.

I started by cleaning off years of dirt and grime using Minwax® Wood Cabinet Cleaner. Later, I would mist it with a coat of Minwax® Clear Aerosol Lacquer to give the wood more protection and bring the earlier finish back to life.

For the new top I selected a piece of half-inch oak plywood, but rather than stain it a traditional brown, I decided instead to apply a coat of “Classic Black” Minwax® PolyShades®, a one-step stain and finish that still allows the grain of the wood to show.

The problem with plywood, however, is that the edges and end grain are unsightly, so I wanted to disguise them with a band of trim.

To disguise the rough, layered plywood edge, I took four pieces of 1” x 2” poplar and stained them with Minwax® Wood Finish™ in “Sedona Red” to also serve as a frame around the black top. I then glued and nailed them around the four sides.

With the new top now attached to the 15-year-old base, what had nearly been forgotten and discarded is now a sturdy, durable coffee table ready to withstand the use and abuse any medical student can dish out!

Until next time,

Thanks for stopping by!