Adventures in Home Updates – Bonus Room

A number of years ago we experienced a 500 year flood event. There was widespread damage, particularly around the river and creeks. We escaped damage except for one spot – our bonus room.

This room is a converted carport. When it was done, they used that nasty dark paneling and put in a fireplace with an oversized hearth, again going for darker brick. They put in a side entry door and a sliding glass door to the back patio. There is a wide picture window into the living room, and two steps up into the dining room. The room is carpeted.

When the flood event happened, we got through fairly unscathed except for this room. Water came through under the sliding door and soaked the carpet in almost the entire room. They did not level the concrete, so it is unlevel with the tilt down toward the front of the house. So we had to remove the pad underneath and toss it, but were able to save the carpet. Until recently. Our cats have torn it up completely near the sliding door, and on the one carpeted step.

We did seal under the door after the flood, and have had no more issues that way. Fixing some drainage issues at the patio have also helped. But we are at the point where the carpet needs to be replaced with something else. New carpet, laminate floor, or treating the concrete. I don’t prefer the latter. I’m hoping for carpet, personally, because I don’t know how the slant and undulations of the concrete will impact installation of laminate. The only issue is that the side entry is our primary entry point, and that carpet has worn and been dirtied substantially. Carpet might have to wait closer to a listing date.

I pulled the carpet off the step and replaced it with a solid wood landing. The step base is solid concrete, so I think this is my best course of action. I went with pine for cost, and have stained it close. Not perfect, but close. Unknown if I will eventually replace with oak and try again. I had to buy two steps and splice a 2″ section on with Dominos to get the width right, or I would have gone with oak to begin with.

The paneling thankfully was painted before we moved in, and we started to paint one corner where we had set up a LEGO world. The entire room needs to be painted again, although I’d really like to replace the panelling with drywall. Not sure it is worth the effort though. Probably going to primer it white and leave it be.

We have repurposed the LEGO table into a school table for the time being. I need to build some entry/mudroom furniture for storage near the side door. Speaking of the side door, it needs to be replaced completely. It looks like it has been kicked in at some point, and it only has a regular lock, not a deadbolt. It also doesn’t seal fantastically. The storm door is also in need of repair at the bottom, as one screw has broken. The sliding glass door needs a screen, as it has never had one. I want to do some better storage for our game consoles for the TV attached to the hearth. Something simple would work, just keep the creep down and hide some cables.

So the three big things for this room are paint, carpet, and replace the side door. I think otherwise this room doesn’t require much for sale.

Adventures in Home Updates – Exterior

Aside from the kitchen, the exterior of the house is undergoing the biggest changes before a potential sale. Many issues, many plans, a lot of money. All things that absolutely have to be done though.

Our lot has a ton of old growth trees, and all of them drop leaves, branches, and nuts. As such, our gutters clog constantly. I’ve tried to add inserts, but they absolutely have not helped. Water will still flow over the edge of the gutter, and have damaged the fascia in places. I will have to replace the fascia and soffit around the entire house, and possibly the gutters. I have not gotten an estimate back for this yet, and it is likely that I will try to take this on myself in stages. If I do, the gutter will likely go back up after painting unless damaged.

The soffit that serves as the porch ceiling and carport ceiling will also have to be replaced. Damage from the gutters for the porch, and damage from an ongoing roof leak for the latter. Our roof was replaced a few years ago when the ants came, but there is a small leak somewhere around the chimney that comes through the carport ceiling in two spots. I’ll tear out the ceiling to trace the leak and either fix it myself or hire that out. When I rip the ceiling out, I will install flush mount lights for better visibility at night. The chimney cap is rusted and needs replacement.

Both our bathrooms need proper venting to the outside, so I will need to install vents on the roof. Haven’t decided if I will hire this out. There are a few holes in the siding from woodpeckers, I would like to fix this and do a repaint of all siding.

We replaced all our single pane wood windows with double-hung vinyl windows for better energy efficiency. The old windows had paint and trim issues which were resolved by replacing. Most of the paint issues on the sills were also corrected because the windows are thicker. There is some trim painting to be done.

Our yard had a ton of debris from those branches that fall, plus this weed-like tree that likes to spout up everywhere. I still have a bunch I have to clear up, probably with the help of a chipper or a dump run. Getting the backyard clear has been one of my hardest tasks due to just how much I have to do. There is still a section of the yard where a tree fell over the fence I am trying to work my way back to. I have not made as much progress as I’d like, because I can’t use power tools on the weekend due to work schedules.

The old shed will have to be torn down before a sale. The new shed should be a massive improvement to resale. That project, while on hiatus, is on track. I have wanted to extend the patio area ever since we moved in, but I am not sure that will be done by me. Too many other expenses in this time frame. I have started to address some drainage issues near the kitchen, though.

Adventures in Home Updates – The Kitchen

I thought for ease of archiving I would organize these by room or section. My other choice would be purely chronological.

So when this house was remodeled in 2000, they added on to the back of the house doubling the size of the kitchen, adding a bathroom, and doubling the size of the master bedroom. The original back wall is defined by a beam in the kitchen and bathroom. We think they reused the old cabinets in different locations, and to be frank they aren’t fantastic. I’ve long imagined building new ones, but I haven’t had the time or space to do so. The cabinet above the fridge is still in the same state since 2008, like I mentioned in the introduction. They are cheaply made, have subpar doors and fixed shelves. Yeah, I’ve been wanting to make new ones since I started woodworking.

The counters are standard particle board and laminate. The floors are tile, but the white grout was never sealed. There is a lack of storage that was addressed very early on with my first project – the pantry. Speaking of which, this will be painted white to match the cabinets soon.

One of the biggest issues though happened a couple years after we moved in. A roof leak developed, which caused the drywall at the beam to disintegrate and it had to be repaired. During which time, ants invaded this spot and it was a big mess. I repaired the drywall, but not well, and not evenly. I was not well versed in drywall mudding, so the transition points between new and old were very rough and noticeable.

Now several years later, I’ve made an investment in tools and time learning how to fix my mistakes. I re-mudded all the area along where the water came in and I didn’t do a great job, and did several sanded coats. I then repainted the entire kitchen (because the entire brand of paint we used is no longer produced, nor the color). I can see a couple more areas to go back with another light coat of mud and paint, now that the paint has highlighted them for me. I’ve made great progress here, and there is little to tell that this was ever a damaged area – just a bit more to do.

With new mud and new paint, it will be soon time to turn to the cabinets and floor, really the only two things left to be done in the kitchen. I will be modifying what remains of the cabinet above the fridge in some way to make it look like it was meant to be like it is. I removed it (mostly) to fit a taller fridge in when we moved in, but it’s very obvious that this was a bodge. I’m planning to fill in a little bit and perhaps turn it into wine bottle storage. The other thing I plan to do is make new doors and drawers to match what I did with the pantry, a simple Shaker style. This should tie the room together much better. Probably upgrade the drawer slides at the same time, as it wouldn’t be too big of a deal. The ones existing aren’t good. Then the doors and cabinets will get a fresh coat of gloss white paint along with the pantry. The trash/microwave stand will then get a coat of white paint to match and the butcher block top will be refinished.

The floor is the remaining task. It is a beige tile with what was originally a white grout, but they never sealed it. It has become stained almost everywhere, and getting it clean and a universal color is next on the list. I’ve found a good cleaner and a grout stain that I am in currently in process of using. The first section looks pretty good, but I do need a steadier hand when applying. I also need to do large chunks when my kids aren’t around, because it stays wet forever. The dark areas below are where the original grout is a bit cracked and I’ll have to redo entirely, not just cover up. It actually works pretty well.

This kitchen also did not have a vent hood when we moved in, and this was only rectified in the last couple of months. I tapped into the outlet behind the oven and routed power up to a recirculating hood with lighting. I ran new Romex through a stud and up the adjacent stud cavity. We did the glass tile several years ago, and the lines aren’t level because the cabinets aren’t either. I also had to fix the oven at the same time by replacing the spark control module, which was easy but not cheap.

We also had a situation with the kitchen drain having too much accumulated oil residue, and it had to be snaked a couple times, one time including re-running the pipes below the sink. This necessitated ripping out large portions of the wall to do so. That got reasonably fixed this year, I would have done better if I had better access.

 

I have added a pot rack to the smallest cabinet next to the stove, the only place my wife wanted them. I also added a shelf to hold some coffee paraphernalia. Once the door/drawer fronts are done and the drawer slides upgraded, the kitchen will be done.

Adventures in Home Updates

I mentioned some time back that we had recently been open to moving. For various reasons, it would be a good idea in the next couple of years as our current house continues to appreciate in value and our needs change. However, there are some legitimate issues with the house that need fixing, upgrading, or general attention. There are some things that have been neglected or put off, and I made a decision a couple of months ago that no matter if we moved or not, would have to be addressed. If we move, they were items that needed attention before listing. If we don’t, for some reason, they are things that needed attention for our continued enjoyment of the house and lifestyle. This, and future entries under this banner, will attempt to chronicle them in some way.

Our home was built in 1971, and underwent a renovation/add-on around 2000. We bought the house in late 2008, right before the housing crash happened. Six more months and we would have saved over ten thousand dollars in tax rebates and selling price, but location was the primary factor. Our first home, you look over a lot. And we did. Some of the history here will factor into decisions we are now having to make, which is why it is worth mentioning.

My first experience with the house, and woodworking, was removing a cabinet so that our fridge would fit. Being of a time that my tools consisted of a Ryobi 18v kit, I was not versed in the right way to do things. My concern was expedience, considering I didn’t bother to measure heights when we picked it out. I cut what I could and ripped out the rest, leaving a ragged edge on the section next to the wall and a fairly clean edge where the rest of the cabinets lined up. This is still like this to this day, and it will be the subject of a near-term fix of some sort. That will be addressed another day. There will be further little history lessons as I detail different fixes that I’ve done and that still need to be done.

This ran a bit long, so in the next part I’ll start in on what happened, what is done, and what is left to be done in the next couple of years.

 

The Sonny-Do List – 2017

Everyone is aware of the term “honey-do list.” It’s items that the spouse gives to accomplish things around the house, errands, etc. Well, I have what I like to call a “sonny-do list,” named because they are things I want myself and perhaps my son to accomplish. Since a lot of calendars include December in the following year, you have the title of this thread, and when it is being posted.

These things are home improvement items, in the same vein as what the last post was about. I have another list or two about woodworking, so if you want to check those out you are dismissed and check back soon.

On the list first is networking. I hope to get my internet situation sorted out later today (up: done), and I’ll be looking at 2017 to get things sorted out on a permanent basis. I plan on running Cat5e (what I already have on hand, and plenty for my needs) from my networking nook in the bedroom office to the living room entertainment center, and potentially to our kitchen computer. Really all it entails is running the line to each spot, drilling through the floor and bottom of the wall, the rest is easy. Just takes effort.  On a related note, I want to clean up my coax runs. They both go through the floor instead of the wall, and they need to be secured to the bottom of the floor joists along their runs.

I have some high and low voltage outlets to install. Our kitchen computer sits on the counter, and there’s a desk section that it could be mounted to the wall under the counter. Just needs an outlet, and a low-power junction that could run audio and video. Would make things much nicer out there, and that’s also where I would run ethernet if I can access that spot under the house. In fact, this could be a project I take care of sooner rather than later, because besides the actual outlet, I have everything else on hand. I ordered the VGA and 3.5mm plates several years ago. Today might be a day taking stock and seeing if anything is missing.

I also need to do basically the same thing for two of my TV locations. The bedroom HDTV is already up on the wall, and I need to figure out how things like the bluray player and Apple TV are going to be stowed for use. Perhaps a shelf under the TV attached to the wall? Could do a small floating shelf if my outlets are done correctly. The living room HDTV is still on the TV stand, but I want to do the prep work in getting it up on the wall, or its successor. I also have speaker connections that I would like to run in the wall, if I can figure out a way to access the other side of the living room. Eliminating speaker wire from being on the floor would be a nice addition to the list, but structure challenges might mean this doesn’t get accomplished.

I want to add one more external outlet at the very least, under the carport. This would allow me to easily run the vacuum cleaner that is there, plus run the air compressor if it gets wheeled down, or basically anything else. Battery tender comes to mind, or spot lights for detailing. Another outlet on the back would be good, however I run into issues with almost all of them being either on kitchen or bathroom circuits. There are a few outlets around the house where adding USB power would be nice.

Basically, the entire list up to this point involves running wire. However, there are some real big projects that I at least need to price out or start on as well. The entire house needs soffit and eave replacement. A project of this scope scares me, but perhaps it can be done in stages. The gutters either need to be replaced with leaf solutions, or have them installed. When they come down for the eave and soffit replacement, this would be an excellent time. As part of this, the eave that makes up the porch ceiling also needs to be replaced, and so does the carport ceiling. That last part would need to be done after the leak issue around the chimney gets resolved, because there is a slow but gradual leak when it rains heavily. I’m not sure the ceiling in the carport gets done in 2017, but it is possible. At that time I would run additional wiring to install additional lighting. Some LED smart pot lights might be a good choice. Something that could do geofencing, motion, and a timer.

The windows need to start being replaced, and unlike most scenarios I think we would work on the bedroom windows before we did street-facing ones. Just more practical, and a lower upfront cost. I need to install a new fan in our hall bath, and one in our master bath. Both need to be exhausted through the roof somehow. Cutting holes in my roof scares me a lot too. Speaking of the master bath, I need to run a spur HVAC line and install a vent.

Our hall bathroom needs a makeover, but I think that’s going to be something for a contractor to take care of. It’s a small space, and I could get the job done, but there is some cracking in the floor tile, and I don’t want that potential headache. The roof holes might be taken care of professionally as well, even though I think ultimately that is something I will do. Attic access is tough.

There are more things to do that involve woodworking as a more primary focus, but those are left for their own entries.

 

Housekeeping – Late 2016

Been awhile since I shared some projects I’ve taken care of around the house, and with the completion of a couple more I figured it was a good time. I’ve posted this in several categories, it will be interesting to see which side of the site this gets published to.

Our house is 45 years old now, built during a period that really isn’t well-known for great designs or longevity. Ours was remodeled and added-on to about 15 years ago, and the results are decidedly mixed. Not our fault, we moved in after, right about eight years ago. Some of the projects I’m just getting around to were noted on the inspection. What can I say, I’m a procrastinator.

I’ll start with the project I just completed. We have a whole house fan in our hallway, and it had two controls – one big monstrosity of a panel on the left here, and a manual timer on the right. Note, this picture was taken after I was done, so the missing button and dial were there before.

Well, the dial control is supposed to have a automatic shutoff, but the clockspring has been broken since probably we moved in. I can’t honestly remember. While I was at Lowe’s shopping for items for another project, I saw a digital timer that met my criteria. Many timers only go for as long as 60 minutes, but I wanted something more like eight hours. This one goes up to four, or there is pure manual control. That worked for me, and it was fairly cheap.

It turned out that the big control box was a thermostat, long since broken. The only thing relevant was the power button that reset the manual timer when needed. I pulled the dial timer and discovered only 14/2 wire, and I needed a neutral. On a hunch, I also pulled the thermostat and found that neutral I was looking for. If I put the timer where the thermostat was, I could eliminate the dial timer and junction box completely. It was fairly trivial to get the wiring correct, there were three 14/2 wiring runs coming into the double box. One was hot, one went to the fan, and the other ran inside the wall to the dial timer. It was only a matter of determining which run to assign the line/load to, and I guessed correctly. I put in an old work box where the old timer was, and a blank plate. Then I used a two gang plate and a blank insert in with the old thermometer space.

Speaking of a thermostat, shortly after we moved in I replaced the analog thermostat with a programmable one, a seven day unit. It had worked well for a long time, but with the addition of some home automation things (Phillips Hue, Amazon Echo), I wanted a smart thermostat. I had my eye on the Ecobee3 for a bit, and picked one up when it went on sale just before Black Friday. Again with the wiring, I didn’t have enough wiring in the wall (needed a common). However, Ecobee includes in their box a kit to convert five to four at the furnace. An extra hour or so (trip to store for some connectors), and I had it hooked up and running. It’s very nice to be able to see how the weather impacts our heating and cooling, and see just how much and how often the furnace or AC kicks on. It also comes with remote sensors, and you can see the temperatures in other rooms and identify hot or cool spots. After a month I’ll be able to see a detailed report, even more than I’m getting already.

Our house did not have any external outlets until earlier this year. I installed one in the back of the house to run the lesser extension cord for the shop, and on Saturday I installed one on the front to run holiday decorations and what-not. This was the project I completed right before the fan timer. A much needed addition, and I have plans for at least one more in the carport for the vacuum and when I need to bring the compressor down.

I posted a few weeks ago on Instagram a picture of a networking board, a neat setup of my networking equipment on an easy to access board mounted to a wall. I got a new router, so it’s time to redo it. I got the new router up and running Friday night, but by Saturday morning the internet went out and hasn’t come back at the time I am writing this (Saturday night). When this gets posted, the internet will have been fixed.

Next up I think is some more wiring and general improvements. I want to add an outlet at our kitchen computer to mount it below the counter. Probably add a 3.5mm and VGA connections as well. I have a bit of that already on hand from when I thought I was going to do it several years ago. I’ll also start wiring for our bedroom TV wall mount, and future living room wall mount. Perhaps finally run some ethernet cable to the living room instead of using powerline.

That’s pretty much it for this time around. Might have a followup at some point next year when these other things get taken care of.

LEGOrganization, Part One

It feels so good to be woodworking again. I feel like I’m worth something again. I forget just how much I’ve shared about this project in the past, so I’ll go from scratch.

This project came about because of our expanding LEGO domain. We aren’t collectors or anything, but we do have quite a few sets. I have some from the late 80s and 90s that are currently in a bin needing spare parts. My youngest is now seven, and doesn’t destroy the sets quite like he used to. So, a few weeks ago I started thinking about getting the sets back together. To do that, I’d have to organize all the loose pieces and see if I had everything.

Of course, pieces get lost when they aren’t taken care of. So the last two weekends I did what I could sorting loose pieces and rebuilding the sets we had built over the past few years. Lots of the CITY line, some Elves and Friends. I still have quite a few pieces I can’t find, and a decent amount of pieces not spoken for.

We had one of those plastic drawer organizers that I moved from my bedroom closet, but it had partially collapsed, and was really no good for long-term sorting. I thought about doing some hardware inserts, but the front of the drawers are curved.

I found something suitable in the fishing section at Walmart. About $5.50 each, they are sectioned into four parts and able to be broken down a bit further. They aren’t perfect, but they had lids until I could get something built. I liked them so much I decided to incorporate them in the storage design.

 

I needed a drawer that was at least 14″ wide inside, and about 18″ deep. This would allow for two of these sorters in a drawer. So, I decided to largely wing it, skipping a lot of the design phase. The storage was predicated on a drawer dimension, so I decided to build the drawers first.

I grabbed a sheet of 3/4″, a sheet of 1/2″ and a sheet of 1/4″ ply from Lowe’s and loaded it up in the van. I bought a cheaper version of 1/4″, with markings on one side. No big deal to me, I’ll pocket the $20.

I thought about making the drawers with a different method than usual, going for a rabbet joint up front. Now, because I needed the width to be an absolute certainty, I did the drawers backwards to how you should really do them. I put the rabbet on the front, held with glue and brads. They may eventually come loose, but I’m hoping not.

I cut the sheet of 1/2″ ply in half, then cut about 3.25″ strips on the table saw. I then crosscut these at the miter saw, the sides at 22″, and the front and backs at 15″ I then used the dado on the saw for the first time and cut the rabbets to my marks on the front pieces. The rabbets are about 1/16″ too wide, and I’ll clean them up with a flush trim bit later. I then used the same dado setting to cut the slot for the drawer bottom. It is a perfect fit. I then trimmed up the rear strip to rest on top of the drawer bottom and fit between the rails.

The sides are attached with glue and brads, as noted. The bottom isn’t glued, and once I trim the panels up to be flush with the back panel, I’ll secure with a single screw. I’ve not done drawers like this before, but I like the technique. Next time I’ll probably do a rabbet dado on the back or something for extra strength. These drawers shouldn’t go through too much abuse.

As you can see, the containers are a perfect fit. I’ll remove the tops at some point so I can just reach in. I only have three containers right now, but I’m not sure exactly how much more I’ll buy. I want to do some larger piece storage that won’t fit in the containers, and I’ll also have at least one drawer that is for instruction manuals.

I have three drawers basically ready to go. Tomorrow, I work on the cabinet. I hope. I have to put that sheet of 3/4″ somewhere, and I still have a ton of the other two I’ll have to do something with.

Build or Buy – The Media Bookcase – part three

With the design in order and validated, it comes to to weigh the options completely: build, or buy?

The Ikea Billiy Bookcase is $70 and can be picked up in about 90 minutes. Extra shelves are $10 each, and I would need probably two. That’s $96 with tax for everything I’d need to solve my media issue. Ninety minute trip, about the same again to build it leisurely. It’s already the finish that was requested.

To build it, I plugged all the calculations in to Cutlist. I could not build it out of one sheet of plywood. So I would need two sheets of ply, plus a rear 1/8″ sheet. Made out of paint-grade plywood, I’d be looking at between $90-$120 for that. I could get away with edge banding with the maple I have, or purchase melamine for another $15. Or 3/4″ poplar for around $20-$30 I’ve potentially spent $50-$70 more on materials before the build begins. Plus paint. Now the project has doubled in price. The project would take about 90 minutes to rent a truck, drop off and return. It would take a few days of multiple sessions to get it built. Plus another $20 to rent a truck.

I’ve got the tools, I’ve got the time. What doesn’t make sense is paying double for the privilege of making something. Not something as mundane as a bookcase. There are other things I would like to make, including for the shop, that I think would be a much better use of my resources. I’ll think it over for a bit, but I’m certainly leaning toward buy.

When deciding if something is worth building, this is a good decision process to go through. Look at all the options. Is it something that you would build no matter the price? Then by all means don’t settle for store-bought items. If cost is the primary factor, be honest with your estimates. If you need something now, then go buy it. Not everything has to be done from scratch.

Build or Buy – The Media Bookcase – part two

In the previous entry I laid out the overall measurements, which line up exactly with the Ikea Billy Bookcase – 80cmx202cmx28cm. Indeed, this bookcase would be built entirely in metric. These measurements are perfect for the space the bookcase would go.

Now, for details as to what the bookcase is for. This is going to hold a whole bunch of video games. I get to play games occasionally between work sessions, and my kids play a good deal. I can’t get my wife to play, because of motion sickness. Oh well. One might think of video games to just be one size like DVDs, but they come in all sorts of sizes. Here are the details, and I’ll hit on specific items I have.

Standard DVD size: 190mm*135mm, usually 14mm wide

This size format covers a wide variety of game systems:

  • Nintendo Gamecube, Wii, Wii U
  • Microsoft Xbox, Xbox 360
  • Sony Playstation 2

The Sega Dreamcast and Sony Playstation most often used the CD jewel case with dimensions of 125mm*142mm (oriented in the same manner as DVDs, with the title spine facing out and on a 90° rotation).

Now we get to the proprietary sizes. This is what makes the bookcase need a bit more custom, with the solution most likely being just additional shelves. I may fudge the width by a millimeter if it would allow an additional case to fit though.

  • Sony PSP – 168mm*99mm*14mm
  • Sony PS Vita – 135mm*105mm*12mm
  • Nintendo DS/3DS – 135mm*122mm*15mm/14mm respectively
  • Sega Saturn – 207mm*145mm*22mm

The Sony PS3, PS4 and Xbox One games all use the Bluray/HD-DVD case size of 172mm*135mm*14mm. Most of these sizes really do lend credence to doing the project in metric, as the imperial equivalents are all over the place. The only thing I would need to do is figure out how much additional room I care to have to retrieve the cases. I think I’d need a minimum of 15mm of room to get my index finger in and tilt the case to remove it when the shelf is full.

What’s great about having a Billy on-hand is that I can explicitly verify how many cases will fit on a single shelf. I can fit 51 regular size DVD/game cases on a single shelf without difficulty. That’s almost more capacity than I have on any single game system:

  • Saturn – 18
  • PSP – 21
  • Vita – 19
  • Dreamcast – 22
  • Playstation – 4 (two are four disc cases, which brings the total for comparison to more like 7)
  • PS2 – 22
  • PS3 – 31 (1 special edition wide case)
  • PS4 – 6
  • Xbox – 13
  • X360 – 51 (3 special edition wide
  • X1 – 10
  • DS/3DS –  31 combined
  • Gamecube – 5
  • Wii – 23
  • Wii U – 7

Now, right off the bat is the problem of the Xbox 360 games taking up more than one shelf. I could put the special editions on a separate shelf, or purge a couple. I have more games in storage that I’d like to give away, or can go back on the shelf if I can’t. Either way, I should allow for a little bit of room for growth. Growth for the newer consoles is a bit limited because of my buying habits (much more digital purchases).

The next thing to do is pair up similar case sizes as it makes sense.

  • Xbox 360 shelf – filled
  • PS3/PS4/X1 – filled
  • DS/3DS/Vita – filled
  • GC/Wii/Wii U – room for expansion
  • PS/DC – half shelf
  • Xbox/PS2 – room for expansion
  • Saturn and maybe PSP – room for expansion

So, at minimum, seven shelves are needed, one more than what comes with the Billy as standard. Extra shelves are $10 more each, plus you can add a top expansion if needed. I can then extrapolate those minimum shelf needs, along with the measurements for the shelf thickness and 32mm system, to see if it would all fit within the confines of the case measurement.

  • 19mm top shelf
  • 207mm Saturn case
  • 19mm shelf
  • 125mm jewel case
  • 19mm shelf
  • 135mm DS/Vita case
  • 19mm shelf
  • 172mm BD case
  • 19mm shelf
  • 190mm DVD case (eg Xbox/PS2 shelf)
  • 19mm shelf
  • 190mm DVD case (eg GC/Wii/WiiU shelf)
  • 19mm shelf
  • 190mm DVD case (eg 360 shelf)
  • 19mm bottom shelf
  • 75mm bottom shelf support

All of that adds up to 1436mm. Even adding the minimum 15mm gap above each used shelf, that’s 1541mm. As stated above, the Billy is 2020mm, a difference of nearly 500mm. That’s two or three more shelves that could be added if needed, or one large top shelf for other things, plus the top of the bookcase.

The next entry will follow shortly and explain what I think my decision is.

Build or Buy – The Media Bookcase – part one

I’m ignoring for a moment the Build or Buy decision tree/worksheet to put some figures down and help the decision process.

In the buy corner is the Ikea Billy Bookshelf. Yes, it is made from particle board. Yes, sometimes if you look at it wrong it will chip or break. That said, we have had some damn good luck with Ikea products no matter what they were made from. My last two computer desks are Ikea. All my office furniture in the bedroom is Ikea. Three out of the five dressers in this house, plus the TV stand, three bookcases and a few floating shelves all came from the Scandinavian peninsula. I’m hoping that after awhile, a lot of the furniture we use will eventually be built by me, to join the items in the kitchen and dining room. First on the list is probably going to be an entertainment center. But, that’s a different blog entry.

I really like the Billy bookcase. So, the thought of buying it is one I would be fine with, if I didn’t take pride in my woodworking and want to build it myself. So, with the thought of building it myself, I would lift a few ideas from the store version.

One such idea is the cutout on the bottom to clear baseboards. This is a simple idea that you might not appreciate until you see it. A lot easier to make full contact with the wall, and makes it easier to secure. Speaking of secure, I’ll lift the idea of an L-bracket at the top to keep it from tipping over. Since the bookcase will end up white like the store version, I would use 1/8″ white hardboard on the back. There would be one fixed shelf just like the Billy, and there would be a little toe kick/bottom shelf support at the front.

Did I mention that if I build this, it will be my first all-metric project?

I would copy the Billy dimensions of 80cm wide, 202cm tall, and 28cm deep. I may go shallower, because games don’t need as much depth as books, but it will depend on how easy it will be to use the LR32 on the sides.

In the next entry, I’ll detail what the game sizes are, how many shelves I think I’ll need and be able to fit, and any other details I can think of.