Monthly Archives: October 2018

Building A Modern Oak and Metal Side Table with John Malecki

In this video I build a modern side table for my living room. Featuring A hand cut dovetail drawer, an awesome inset metal drawer pull, and continuous mitered edges.

I have been on a mission to upgrade my home as of recent. Probably because I no longer live alone, and I do have the skills to improve my home’s equity. With those improvements comes new furniture to go with it. So after making my Concrete Coffee Table I wanted to complement it in the room with some wood. So I came up with the design for this beautiful Modern Side Table.

If you want to see how I built it, check out the full video HERE! 

Building A piece of furniture like this is actually quite basic

  1. Break Down / Glue Up Panels
  2. Flatten & Miter Panels
  3. Cut the Joinery & Glue Up Carcass
  4. Create Drawer Front
  5. Hand Cut Drawer
  6. Cut & Assemble Base
  7. Sand, Finish, & Assemble


Break Down / Glue Up Panels

Breaking down the lumber is the same as any basic standard process. Rough cut, joint, and plane the material to thickness. From there glue up all 4 panels.


Flatten & Miter Panels

When the panels are out of glue up, you want to flatten and and prep these panels for final glue up. Using a hand plane, flatten each panel, and sand and scrape them. Cut one side miter to 45* and then set the table saw to cut the opposite side to make sure all panels are the same size.

Modern Side Table -3


Cut Joinery & Glue Up Carcass

I use a domino Xl to reinforce the miters. I do recommend reinforcing them with some sort of joinery, whether its a biscuit, domino, or spline. As the wood moves it will expand apart due to its size. I glue it up using a ratchet strap to get uniform clamping pressure.

Modern Side Table -5 Modern Side Table -6


Create Drawer Front

Cut the drawer front to size based on the inside distance from the glues up carcass. Cut the joinery for the inset pull. I used my Axiom CNC for this, but can easily be done with a router. Then shape your metal handle using basic metal working tools.

Modern Side Table -8


Hand Cut Drawer Box

Modern Side Table -11

Cut a drawer box to fit the chosen slides and sizing specifications you look for. I chose to cut mine by hand, and after 3 screw ups, got it right.


Cut & Assemble Base

Using flat bar, or cutting strips from plate like I did. Weld the base together and grind it flat and smooth. Prep it with your favorite primer and finish combo.


Sand, Finish, and Assemble

Modern Side Table -16 Modern Side Table -18Modern Side Table -17

Final sand the piece down to 220 Grit. I chose a simple and beautiful finish with Minwax Wipe On Poly. I love this finish for projects like this. Its highly durable and so easy to apply.

Sponsored by:

For more from John, check out his:


Refinishing 140-Year-Old Red Oak Floors with I Spy DIY

Let’s talk about the Barnhouse wood floors! A lot of you were following along with the process of refinishing the 140-year-old floors on Instagram stories, and gave me your feedback on finishing them, so thank you for your help! I am so happy that we ended up keeping them looking as close to the original as possible with Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish, and here is how we got here!

As soon as I saw the house, I knew that there were beautiful original floors under all the crud, and I was SUPER excited to be able to bring them back to life. We ended up hiring someone to sand them down because there was many years of build up. I am pretty sure you can rent a heavy duty sander from the hardware store, but we left that part to the professionals. After one round of sanding they patched any damaged areas, and then sanded it again. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the original Red Oak was after more than 140 years!! There are still some areas that are discolored, and imperfections, but it does not bother me. It adds to the character and charm of the old house.

Next was picking out a stain. The plan was to use a matte polyurethane, but when we tested a swatch it pulled out a lot of the orange in the Red Oak, which I really did not like. So I ran out and bought 7 new colors to test! I tried everything from white washing to a darker stain that pulled out the grain, and then I took it to a poll on Instagram. The stains from left to right are: Minwax Amber Pine, Water-Based Polycrylic, Birchbark, White Wash, Weathered Oak, Golden Oak, Grey Elm.

See what I picked after the break! 
All of them got votes, but I got a lot a feedback that I should use a Water-Based Satin Polycrylic because when it dried the wood floods would look the closest to how they looked freshly sanded, which I loved! I found Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish, a water-based professional formula that is super durable, and does not amber overtime, which was super important to me, because I do not want it looking to orange-y. I ended up going with a satin finish instead of a matte because it shows scratches and imperfections less, which I know is important for dog owners.

Applying it was simple!
First, Stir (don’t shake) Minwax® Ultimate Floor Finish
Apply a thin coat using a new synthetic pad applicator. Maintain a wet edge to avoid lap marks.
Allow the finish to dry at least two hours, but less than 24 hours. If this timing is followed, no sanding between coats is needed!
Apply a second coat and third coat following the steps above.

We did not step on it for the weekend, and then it was covered with paper while we were finishing up the renovation. Today we uncovered them again, and they look even better then I remember!

This post was made in partnership with Minwax® Products. Thank so much for supporting my amazing sponsors who make I SPY DIY possible! For more woodworking/wood staining inspiration head over to the Mixwax Facebook page and “LIKE’ them

Find more from I Spy DIY: 

Everything You Need to Know to Refinish Hardwood Floors with Bless’er House

A step-by-step tutorial for refinishing an existing hardwood floor, including a complete list of materials and tips for a seamless process.

This post is sponsored by Minwax.

Ever since we moved into this house last year, I couldn’t WAIT for when I could go all #demoday on this bedroom.

Rip down the valance, paint those greenish walls, pull out the ceiling fan, the whole nine yards.

But the one thing that excited me the most was ripping up this carpet just to see if my gut feeling was correct.  There HAD to be hardwood floors underneath, right?  I mean, that’s how all happily ever afters in home renovations start.

Robert pulled up a corner of the old carpet, and we held our breath just hoping and crossing our fingers.  Lo and behold, we. were. right!

The original hardwood floors were in fantastic shape, so Robert and I did cartwheels and victory booty dances to celebrate.  (Well, okay, we victory shimmied… because doing a cartwheel when you’re 7 months pregnant is not exactly a piece of cake.)

The number one priority once we started embarking on our nursery makeover journey was dealing with this floor.  And since we were knocking out this big job in my third trimester when I can’t do any hard labor or be around fumes, we knew we had to call in the pros for this one.

So if any of y’all are planning to go through the same hardwood refinishing process in the near future, I thought I’d share all of the details and materials we used to help yours go smoothly.

But first… Exhibit A.  The original state of our floors.

Those lovely black spots aren’t mold, if that’s what you’re thinking.  They’re just remnants from the old carpet pad.

Supplies Used:

We handed over the job to our contractor who ripped out the old carpet and pad to see the full scope of what we were dealing with.

The Steps:

  1. To remove the carpet, use the hammer and pry bar to remove the quarter round molding from your baseboard.  Then, pull up the carpet from the corners and cut sections with a utility knife as needed.

Make sure to wear safety glasses, a dust mask, and knee pads when necessary. It’s a good idea to turn off your HVAC unit, open windows, and seal off vents with plastic sheeting and painter’s tape to prevent dust from seeping into the rest of your house.

2. After you haul out the old carpet and pad, remove staples from the floor using the locking pliers.

3. Once all of the carpet and padding was hauled away and the staples were removed, our contractor sanded around the edges and corners of the floor first with 180 grit sandpaper to remove the existing stain where the large floor sander wouldn’t be able to reach.

4. Then remove the existing stain on the rest of the hardwoods using a large floor sander.  You can usually rent a floor sander for a day from your local hardware store, if you’re choosing to do the job yourself.

5. Once all of the sanding is finished, remove the sanding dust leftover on the floor using a shop vac and tack cloth.

6. Then stain!  Our contractor was able to match our existing refinished hardwood floors to Minwax Wood Finish Penetrating Stainin the color Provincial. (If you want a better idea for other stain color options, you can check out this postwhere we tested a few.)

Wear a respirator mask and knee pads for this task, and start in the far corner opposite from the door in the room.

Use a Purdy lambskin staining pad to work in sections by applying the stain and wiping away the excess, always in the direction of the wood grain.

Repeat the process all across the floor until you have worked your way out of the door (because nobody wants to stain Baby into a corner).

Let the stain dry on the floor for at least 24 hours (hot, humid conditions may take longer).

Here’s what our floor looked like just after the stain was applied:

7. When the floor is fully dry after staining, apply the sealer step.

Start again with the edges/corners of the floor by applying Minwax Super Fast Drying Polyurethane for Floors using a Purdy XL 2.5″ angled brush.  Make sure not to overwork the polyurethane.  Just brush it on in one smooth stroke at a time.

Once the edges and corners have sealer applied, start again in the far corner opposite from the door just like you did with the stain and roll on more polyurethane using a Purdy lambskin roller in a smooth, even coat.

We chose a satin sheen for ours.

Once the polyurethane is dry (after about 4 hours), apply one more coat in the same way.

Let the sealer dry for at least 24 hours before walking on it again, and even then make sure not to drag furniture and always wear just socks or covers over your shoes to avoid any damage before it cures.

8. For routinely cleaning the floors, we use Minwax Hardwood Floor Cleaner.  But wait at least a week after your floors have been sealed before using it.

Squirt it on and mop and you’re done.  I love that I don’t have to mess with a bucket and rags.

The entire refinishing job took about 4 days to complete from start to finish.  (If you’re a local to the Charlotte area, we used The Hardwood Giant Co, and they were awesome.)

It’s definitely not a quick, simple job, but walking into this room to see this gorgeous floor gleaming in its newly refinished beauty was totally worth every bit of it.

Now that this nursery floor is finished, we still have Robert’s office left as the only carpeted room in the house.  And I’m betting my bottom dollar there are hardwoods hiding underneath just begging to see the light of day too.

Since I won’t be pregnant when we give that space a big makeover, I’m really tempted to do that one ourselves.

But it was a great lesson to see how the pros handle it this time around.


DIY Wall Cabinets with 5 Storage Options

By: Brad Rodriguez

I’ve needed to upgrade my shop cabinets for awhile now, and I wanted something with lots of storage.  These DIY wall cabinets with five storage options was the solution I came up with.  With this system you can build custom DIY shop cabinets to fit your specific needs.  You can even add the door storage options to existing wall cabinets you already have installed!

I love the way these storage cabinets turned out, and the Polycrylic from Minwax really protects and seals my cabinets.  Thanks to Minwax for sponsoring this build!

How to Build DIY Wall Cabinets with 5 Storage Options

Before we get started, make sure to follow me on YouTubeFacebook and Instagram to keep up with all my latest builds!

Here is what you’ll need for the project:


DIY Wall Cabinet PlansClick Here For Plans

How to Build DIY Wall Cabinets

  1. Breakdown Plywood Parts
  2. Prep Dividers and Adjustable Shelves
  3. Assemble Cabinet Frames
  4. Build Shelves and Door Racks
  5. Assemble and Attach Door Rack
  6. Build an Prep Doors
  7. Apply Finish and Install Cabinets

I’ve had cheap particle board cabinets in my shop for years, and they were great…until this happened.  Yeah, the right one literally fell apart from the weight and dropped down 2 inches. So I threw a wood peg leg on it decided it was time to upgrade my cabinet game and started these DIY wall cabinets.

The old shop cabinets are made from ½” particle board and knockdown hardware with no back.  I wanted the new cabinets to be heavy duty and able to hold a ton of weight, so I’m using ¾” Baltic Birch Plywood for the carcass and I’ll have a full ½” back to tie it all together.

1. Breakdown Plywood Parts for Wall Cabinets

I started by breaking down the plywood into the right widths for the frame of the wall cabinets.  Labeling your parts is a great way to keep them organized.  There’s nothing worse than realizing you drilled into or cut down the wrong piece because you grabbed the wrong one.

The tops, bottoms and sides are the same for both cabinets and I cut them to width using my crosscut sled and a stop block on my fence.

Shop Organization

2. Prep Shop Cabinets for Dividers and Adjustable Shelves

One of the storage options for the DIY wall cabinets is to make flexible cubby storage with removable dividers.  I’ve found the easiest way to cut the slots for the dividers is to cut slots in a larger piece then cut it into two perfectly matching pieces.

DIY Shop Organization

The slots are sized for ¼” plywood and I made the cuts in two passes using a test piece to get exactly the right fit for my plywood.

When I was finished I ripped the piece down to a bottom and center shelf for cabinet B.  And the slots will line up just right at assembly.

Before assembly the sides need a few more steps done.  I’m attaching the ½” back into a recessed rabbet on the sides.  I switched over to my dado blade to make the rabbet cut, but this could also be made in two passes with a regular blade or with a router bit.

I used a test cut here to make sure my setup gave a good fit.  Then I made the rabbet cut on the inside back edge of each side.

Several of the storage options come from a variety of different shelves in the cabinets.  Drilling the shelf pin holes now before assembly is much easier than after it’s together.  I used my shelf pin jig to drill holes on all of the appropriate pieces for the adjustable shelves.

For the center divider I made holes on one side then drilled straight through that hole to make the holes for the other side.

3. Assemble DIY Wall Cabinets Frames

The bottoms and tops are joined into the sides to keep a clean exterior for the cabinet.  I used 1-¼” pocket screws and a corner clamp to hold things tight while I secured the bottom to the side.

I finished up the frame assembly for cabinet A attaching the top to the side then putting the remaining side on and securing everything with screws.  The key during assembly is to make sure all the front faces are flush and the corners are square.

The center divider for cabinet A went in next.  The divider was held in place flush with the back with a long clamp.  Then I predrilled through the top and bottom and secured the divider in place with 1-¼” screws checking for square as I went.

Cabinet B is assembled much the same way as cabinet A.  The only difference is having the center shelf instead of the center divider.  I used wooden spacers to get consistent spacing between the bottom and center shelf and attached everything together with pocket screws.

Then I measured the shop cabinets and cut the backs to size from ½” plywood.  The backs sit in the recessed rabbet on the sides but fully overlap the top and bottom.  I laid down a bead of glue all around the perimeter then secured the back onto the cabinets with brad nails on the sides and 1-¼” screws into the top and bottom.

4. Build DIY Wall Cabinet Shelves and Door Racks

All the shelves in cabinet A are made from ½” plywood.  I ripped a few strips to width on the table saw then cut them down to length based on my cut list.  Check out my detailed plans that have a full cut list, parts list and step by step instructions.

The right side shelves will just hold cans, but the left side of the cabinet will hold spray cans.  I used a small strip of ½” ply as a lip to tilt the cans towards the back.  Then  I laid out 5 marks on the strip and made a small notch on the back side of the spacer strips with a chamfer bit in my router.  This was just enough to hold the cans in place and keep them from rolling.

Then I glued and nailed the strips to the shelves and moved onto the shelves and inserts for cabinet B.

The top of this cabinet gets a full length shelf.  I used ¾” plywood for this one to prevent sagging since it runs the width of the cabinet.  This is a basic but great storage option for your wall cabinet.

For the lower cubbies I cut down ¼” plywood into a series of small panels that I’ll slide into place later.

5. Assemble and Attach Cabinet Door Racks

If you’re not ready to build shop cabinets yet these door racks could be a great way to add some storage to your current setup.  The racks are made from ½” plywood that I cut a to size per my cut list to make four different size racks and holders.

To give the door racks a little refinement I laid out a curve on the top corners of the sides using a small section of PVC pipe to trace a nice radius.  After that I taped each pair of sides together and cut the majority of the corner off at the bandsaw.

Then I went over to the spindle sander and sanded down to my line.  This can easily be done with a jigsaw and hand sander as well.

I started off making the racks for tall items using a right angle block clamped down to the bench I attached the sides and fronts with a 23 gauge pin nailer and glue.

The final two door racks are a series of small shelves with lips.  I switched over to my 18 gauge brad nailer and just held the parts in place.  The brad nails held together way better. I was trying to hide the holes better with the 23 gauge nailer, but it just isn’t beefy enough.

You could also use screws obviously, but this is a quick and easy method and the wood glue along should be plenty strong to hold it all together when dry.

6. Build and Prep Doors for the DIY Wall Cabinets

The last thing I needed before final assembly was the doors for the wall cabinets.  I cut the doors from ¾” plywood and used a large sheet to get continuous grain between them.  I laid out the locations for the hinges on both the doors and cabinet bodies.

I’m using full overlay European door hinges.  Using my concealed hinge jig I drilled holes for the hinge cups on the doors at the marks I’d made earlier and drilled two small pilot holes for the screws.  The hinges fit right in the holes and stay out of the way.

To hold up to the extra weight of the door racks and contents I’m using three hinges per door.

On the shop cabinet side I used a template from the hinge packaging to lay out for the mounting plates.  I marked the locations and drilled pilot holes for installation later.

7. Apply Finish and Install DIY Wall Cabinets

To give the DIY wall cabinets some protection I’m using Polycrylic from Minwax, the sponsor of today’s project.  It’s a water based durable protective finish that goes on easy with a foam brush and dries quickly.

I’ve been using this finish on all my shop cabinetry and I love the low VOCs and easy cleanup.  And I personally like the water based look vs the yellow look of oil on a light wood like birch, I think it looks more modern and less like pine.

In between coats I use a small section of craft paper or a brown paper bag to smooth the surface.  When the paper picks up this white dust you know the finish is dry and ready for another coat. Using the paper bag after the final coat also knocks down any dust nibs for a smooth finish.

I installed the door hardware then mounted all the door racks to the doors with small right angle brackets.

The first wall cabinet here will hold all my finishes including the fresh supplies Minwax hooked me up with.  It can hold 9 quart cans and 20 spray cans on the shelves with room for taller items at the bottom. The large door rack holds 16 pint cans or mason jars and the other door holds caulk and small items.

DIY Wall Cabinets Shop StorageDIY Spray Paint Can Storage

The other shop cabinet holds a lot of my finishing supplies and the cubbies are great for storing stuff that wants to go everywhere like rags and chip brushes.  And having a spot on the door for my nitrile gloves is sweet for grab and go usage when using stains, epoxy or finish.

If you’re looking for more DIY Shop Storage Solutions head over to the Shop Projects section of my site where I have tons of different shop storage plans available.

DIY Wall Cabinet Plans

Minwax provided me with product and/or monetary compensation as a sponsor of this build.  All opinions are my own and are not filtered by the sponsor.


Affiliate links are used on this page.  See my disclosure page for info on affiliate programs.

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