Friday, January 13, 2012

A Napkin Caddy for Phil

Brian wanted to make a Christmas present for his dad with scrap wood from our "collection," so I found this idea on Pinterest. It's frustrating that the pin is from an old etsy post, and I can't even acknowledge the artist! ]: 

When it's nice outside, which is much of the year here in beautiful California, my in-laws often eat outside on their patio (and we join them as often as we can).

A napkin/utensil/salt/pepper caddy seemed like a perfect addition to those outdoor dinners. 

This is more Brian's craft project than mine, but since we're married, we share everything, right? Besides, I found it on Pinterest! And he doesn't have a blog. {:

Brian made some smart changes to the etsy inspiration.

First, there's a bottom so the napkins are held inside. The etsy one looks like it has no bottom, right?

The utensil jar moves freely, and holds the napkins down.

There's a notch for the salt and paper shakers, so they won't fall off (quite so easily).


We got the salt and pepper shakers from the dollar store, and the utensils (artfully mismatched) from Goodwill.

He painted it using a paint sample we got for our bedroom. So it's a flat interior wall paint. It's nearly white, but with a dash of brown. Then he sanded it until it looked awesomely worn.

Maybe I can get him to add a little technical info later.


Ok, here's Brian!

Well, to start, I drudged up some reclaimed 1x6 (pine?) that had pretty looking grain and no signs of paint, stains, or other harsh chemicals.  Having no specs from the inspiration project, I grabbed a napkin and took some measurements for dimensions and began making pencil marks on the wood.  I chose a top-down approach—not metaphorically see, but literally so if I messed up on the top, I would be throwing away less wood than if I had messed up on the bottom.  In retrospect, I would not have babied the wood so much. Granted, it was necessary to take off major gashes and existing contact paper (adhered by what looked like wood glue), but time was wasted trying to smooth out the finish when I would later attempt to scuff it up with varying degrees of sandpaper.

Back to business. I cut the top board two inches or so beyond the standard napkin size to give the napkins wiggle room plus the needed 3/4 inch that the 1x6 verticals would need to tie into. I preset 4 holes into the bottom of the top board and 2 to each of the adjoining vertical boards. I used a drill and the time tested technique of wrapping tape around the bit to measure depth. If one were fancy and had an actual shop, a drill press would have made quick work of this and the next step and the possibility of drilling through one's hand would be greatly reduced. With holes drilled, insert dowels with a heap of glue and clamp. Turns out, if you want to be a carpenter, you should invest in a whole mess of clamps.

Next day, drill holes in vertical boards and mark on bottom plank where you need to drill, then do so.  This could have been done the first day, but I wanted to make sure all angles were right, so I took them one at a time. Once the glue had dried I was able to use a hole cutter for the mason jar/flatware holder.  Then I used a Dremel to drill an inset for the S&P (I'm sure any router or hammer and chisel would work)  No, the inset is not to "hold" the salt and pepper, but simply an indication as to where to put the damn shakers.

Once assembled, I gave a rough sanding all over and then a sloppy, heavy painting to cover.  When I used clamps I also used cardboard and shims so as to not damage the wood, what a waste.  Dings and scratches add to the "antiquing" look and should not have been avoided.

After the paint dries, simply sand by hand as heavy or light as you want, and then you're done.  Oh, I also added some cabinet hardware -pulls- for handles.


Thanks Brian! What a good writer my husband is! And, turns out, we're both a little long-winded. But, hopefully, both entertaining.  (;

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