Newbie project questions

Hi, I am planning to make a kid size table for my son's computer. I don't know how thick the table top or the legs should be to hold the 15" monitor, cpu and keyboard (24" x 36"). What kind of wood should I use if I want to stain, or if I want to paint it? Next project, I'd like to make some flower boxes. What kind of wood should I use for these? Doe sit need to be specially treated since it will get wet often? Next project, we are inheriting an old swing set from a neighbor. It's wood and the wood has become a gray color (like an old deck). How can I clean it and do I have to clean it before I stain it? Thanks much! Lisa
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In rec.woodworking snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Lisa) wrote:

Lisa, you don't say what kind of tools you have? You can get some very nice cabinet grade plywood like Birch or Oak. You can also buy nice pine boards, glued up in suitable widths for a computer desk. Any of these are suitable for staining. No sense buying something nice like oak plywood if you're going to paint it though. I'd suggest 1/2" minimum for a small computer desk but 3/4" if you can afford it.
Just for painting, you could also use MDF which comes in sheets like plywood. It is very smooth and easy to work with. Most of the large home centers will cut the plywood for you if you know your dimensions. This is a big help.
You might also consider buying a piece of formica counter top for this. I built a computer desk out of a counter top and 2 large (18") shelf brackets screwed into wall studs with lag screws. It worked great and gave you tons of leg room underneath. It had the appearance of being magically supported to the wall.

You'll want to use something like cedar or pressure treated pine. The cedar is much prettier. Cypress would work well also. You could use pine if you paint it well.

The best thing is to rent/borrow a pressure washer. It will make it look like new. There are things you can put on, scrub and hose off, (deck cleaner) but you really need the pressure to make it look great.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
For the desk you may also want to try MDO plywood. MDO is plywood that has resin impregnated paper on one or two sides (as you specify). This makes a superb base for painting, or you can order the MDO already "colored". MDO is typically used by sign companies, so you can look in the yellow pages and ask them where they get MDO ply from. FYI - neither Lowe's or Home Depot carry MDO. Actually, no one at either place even seems to know what it is..
(Lisa) wrote:

brackets
supported
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 17 Sep 2003 20:41:31 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Lisa) wrote:

How much equipment have you got to work with ? If you don't have a table saw, then think about paying your timber merchant a pittance to cut the sheets down for you. A biscuit jointer would be useful too - quickest way to assemble constructions like this, and there are some pretty cheap models around to get you started.
Sounds like you're going to be using sheetgoods; plywood or MDF.
Plywood looks like wood, but costs a bit more than the other sheets. Comes in many grades, with varying degrees of water resistance and surface quality. Best of all is birch plywood, which has more, thinner, veneers inside and is stonger.
MDF needs to be painted - too ugly otherwise. It's quite strong, but heavy and prone to bending if unsupported. Google for "The Sagulator" to find suggestions for what thickness to use.
I wouldn't use chipboard (particle board). It's the cheapest, but it's weak.
Most of these are available ready-veneered, if you want a wood finish.
If I were to make a computer desk in MDF, then I'd use 1/2" MDF for the cabinets that support the top. The top itself would be 3/4", or else 1/2" and with a narrow vertical apron to stiffen it along front and back.

You have a few options:
- Crude cheap softwood, lap joints and screws at the ends. Line with black polythene and a few pinholes at the bottom. Hide any ugliness with trailing foliage. Make them quickly and replace them in 5 years.
- Treated timber. This is the green-coloured "tanalised" stuff. I hate this stuff - it's cheap timber, with a technical fix applied. It's poisonous as anything (don't ever bonfire it) and might even affect some plants
- Good timber. If you find some timber that's rot resistant, it'll last longer than the treated stuff anyway. Resinous larch, eastern red cedar, sweet chestnut. They needn't be expensive either.
- Expensive hardwoods (teak). This is expensive and it really needs some developed skill to justify it. You'll maybe use a metal liner too. Nice, but I doubt if it' today's job.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.