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?
firstname.lastname@example.org (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.
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..
On 17 Sep 2003 20:41:31 -0700, email@example.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
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
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.
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