More people should try this. Suppose you have a beautiful scrap slab of butcher block counter top.

Now you need legs to convert the slab to a functional table.

You COULD buy or make some legs from the local lumberyard. Very expensive! Click link

OR you could use a little ingenuity to convert salvage legs from a discarded table
to fit the top you already have.

Flea markets, yard sales, thrift stores and (sadly) even the local dump overflow with
genuine factory grade hardwood legs from yesteryear which can be repurposed to make a
beautiful base for your new table top.

Here is one example in four easy steps:

Step #1

Funky beat up particle board table top attached to scuzzy factory table legs at the local thrift
shop. $40.00 out the door!

Step #2

Boy, did these legs clean up nicely! The finish surface underneath the gunk was almost
pristine. What a gem! Obviously they are the wrong width and length to fit the new table
top, so a few cuts and fill wood will complete the reattachment to their new home.

Step #3

Good to go! The new assembly is showroom shiny.

Step #4

A finish coat for the butcher block and this table fits perfectly with the kitchen decor!


Final update of all updates:



Update: My client finished the stain and varnish work in between his trips
abroad and work assignments at his job. The net result-not too bad! Ready for
the book collection!






Custom dimension birch plywood shelf units (8 feet tall) with poplar trim
delivered “flat pack” and assembled on site.

In an earlier episode of Handyman Blog a matched set of mid 20th century vintage Phillipine settees arrived at the International Headquarters in need of refurbished seat webbing.


Today a matched chair from the same set arrived for refurbishment as well.

While not as desperately in need of help, the new seat web makes the chair remarkably comfortable in a fashion absent from many contemporary chairs.





Today for the edification of the curious a vintage 1950’s Phillipine settee with some original rubber web seat straps and a few later replacement repair straps as well.

The client found some industrial strength polyester webbing and asked to have the whole business refurbished.

An interesting indoor project to keep me busy while storms howled outside.

Click on the image for high resolution

Handyman Built Custom Cabinet

Handyman Built Custom Cabinet



There was a time when it was possible to buy factory panel cabinet doors in a variety of sizes at the big box lumber store.  With these doors very basic, but stylish cabinets could be built from  a combination of cabinet grade plywood and said factory doors.

In this example the client had an odd size wall space of say, 34 3/4 inches. With two 16 x 24 cabinet doors and a plywood case sized to the aforementioned 34 3/4 inch space an inexpensive but attractive custom cabinet fit perfectly into the available space.

Handyman Built Footstool

Handyman Built Footstool


Another basic project assembled with ordinary handtools. 

The foot stool body was cut with a  7 1/4″ circular saw out of a pine 2×12 blank from an ellipse laid out with string and two nails.

The edges were dressed with a handheld router roundover bit and decorative grooves were cut with a plain 1/4 inch router square bottom slot bit.

The legs were purchased off the shelf complete with metal attachment brackets.



Long ago and far away as friend of the Bride and Occasional Drinking Buddy of the Groom I learned after year or so of marriage they were pregnant!

Mom, as we now called the Bride, was unhappy with the commercial baby cribs available on the market.  She determined in her baby’s crib little fingers and toes would not be squished by any overlarge space between mattress and railing; balusters would be closely spaced to prevent any other mishaps of the young child variety and the overall design would be almost Shaker Style basic with no dangerous ornamentation or moving parts.

So Dad, as we now called the Groom,  dutifully ran out and purchased some very expensive furniture grade plywood and #1 Clear and Better Yellow Pine 1×4 and a mattress of the quality fit for a newborn and suggested I commence to cutting and sawing everything to size and plan because the baby would arrive in just a few short months.

And so I did.  The railing balusters were individually fitted with dowels and glued together into a solid panel. The mattress was a precision friction fit on all four sides and supported by a 3/4 inch plywood foundation.

Best of all, Dad then carefully hand sanded all surfaces and junctions and put a couple or three or four layers of clearcoat (baby safe) varnish everywhere.

It was one of my few ventures into “real furniture”.  The bouncing baby girl who spent her earliest days in this carpenter built contraption is today a comely young twenty-something lass who lives deep in the heart of Texas.

Photo Courtesy Elvia Marsh

Photo Courtesy Elvia Marsh


Boy this took me back to my Seabee days. 

Rodney Marsh is a master musician, fluent in at least half a dozen musical instruments.

As such he works free form within a basic structure of  notes and tempos. So it was no surprise when he called me to help build his new shop on Person St he did it piece by piece, note by note, if you will, until he was satisfied with the result.

We started with a stack of plywood and a pile of lumber and commenced to cutting and sawing and nailing for two or three weeks before we came to finish.

And the outcome is as unified and organic as any of the jazz he plays.

 Which is how the Seabees did it back in the day- a box of tools, a stack of lumber and build whatever needs to get built.

Thanks for the memories Rodney.