Project: Headboard

This was a fun project for me, and got me back to building custom furniture; something i’ve long enjoyed doing, but haven’t had any need for it lately.

My client came to me and presented a picture of a headboard she’d seen online, asking if I could build it (of course I can build it, I can build anything!), and I modestly said I believe I can, i’ll have to reverse-engineer it to make some plans.
She did some more looking around and found another headboard she liked more, and it came with plans (so I like it more, too!)!

Once we hashed out all the details, I got to work making some space in the shop for such a large piece. I made myself a nice work table, printed out and hung up the plans for easy viewing, and got my stuff set up just the way I like it.

My whiteboard is a wonderful tool in the shop!

Next step: materials. We went to the local supply house together as there were a couple of pieces I wanted her to pick out herself, gathered up all the goodies we’d need, and got it all back into the shop with little effort.

I got to work on the project by following the plans (I LOVE well-written plans!) and getting most of my cuts done. There were a couple left for later, but the bulk of the cuts are made in step 1 for this piece.
Once I had all my cut pieces, I got them laid out and assembled, then started putting them all together. Soon enough, I had the body of the headboard, then attached the legs on each side.

I spent some time working the piece with wood filler and sandpaper, getting it all smooth and ready for the test fit. It’s a beast to move, but we got it into the bedroom and in place enough to see that it would work great in the space, and mark where I needed to add the additional brace.

Once we got it back into the shop, I added the cross brace where I wanted to attach it to the existing bed frame, put some temporary feet on it, stood it up, and got to work smoothing it out so I could prime it.

Once I was happy with the sanding, filling, and priming, I finished it up with two coats of paint, and beheld my masterpiece:

Ok, so I was actually holding a beer, but I was looking at the headboard, sooo…. yeah.
Anyway, we took the feet off, wrestled it back inside, got it in place, bolted up, and slid up against the wall. I came back about an hour later to see what had become of the piece, and found this:

I’ve got some more custom pieces to build to go with this, and i’m looking forward to getting them started in the shop. I’ll be sure to add a post for those, too, so be sure to subscribe to the blog (or to my Facebook page) and keep your fingers away from the blade!

Order of Operations – Flipping

The typical Order of operations in New Construction are the same across most facets of building construction. The Order of Operations for other projects (which we’ll touch on later) will vary some, but let’s talk specifically about flipping houses.

When you’re flipping a house, the goal is to get in, get done, and get out with the least amount of time and money needed to get the house rented or sold. I’ve flipped several hundred houses, and in doing so I found that many people stress themselves far to much by getting into a big rush. If they would just stick with the order of operations, they could alleviate an awful lot of stress from the project.

Recon/Review
I always start with a simple review of whatever documents are available, and a walk-through of the house. I often times had an inspectors report that showed everything that was not up to code, which certainly made life a lot easier for me, but I also found things in my walk-through that needed to be address, either for safety, common sense, or my investors wishes.
If needed, i’ll get a landscaping crew to come out first and knock back the growth so I can see all the parts and pieces of the house; nothing like trying to see the exterior window conditions when you’re being attacked by thorny bushes after wading through three feet high grass!

Goals
Once i’ve completed my review, I set specific goals for this project, specific things that need to be addressed in a large scale. Notice I did not say ‘Planning’, I said ‘Goals’.
I will usually get a dumpster delivered, perhaps a porta-john or two, and other job-site necessities.
This is also where I lay some ideas down about where to store materials, and other parts of managing my overall job-site.

Demolition
This phase is all about getting all the old crap out of the house and out of the way. The goal is to get all the garbage out of the house and directly into a dumpster, anything that we need to keep out of the way and into some kind of storage.
Demolition is taken as far as needed to uncover all the problems.

Planning
Now that I can see all the parts and pieces I need to see, I can start planning my work. I’ll lay out my plans, select my materials, and start getting things ordered based on Lead and Need times.

Rough-In
This phase is where we get back to ‘real construction’, and closely match the normal order of ops for new building. Having removed ALL of the crap we want gone, we can now start from the bottom up.
This includes all Framing, Sub-Flooring, HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Low-Voltage, and get any inspections needed for work up to this point.

Double-Check
I always make a point of double-checking my rough-in work before I start closing things up; nothing worse than having to tear down freshly hung sheetrock so I can fix a little thing in the wall left behind!

Finish-PREP
An often overlooked step, I build in time to PREPARE for an awesome finish.
We make sure all the framing is level, plumb, and even for the material going on it, which usually means removing all the nails, screws, and junk left behind, as well as evening out some places by planing away some sections, or building up others with wood or cardboard strips.

Finish
With all of my rough-in done, it’s time to get the finish work happening. I’ll turn a sheetrock team loose and keep everyone out of their way until they’re done. Then i’ll get the rest of the people in there to finish all the parts and pieces!

Punch List
There’s always a few little things left to deal with at the end of the job, called a ‘Punch List’. I used to have a team of Handymen who I split between handling Punch Lists, Service Calls, and small jobs.

I’ll go over each of these in more detail, as well as the planning and logistics of jobsite and project management.

As always, stay tuned for more, and remember, why do it okay twice when you can do it great once?


Mindset

For all the various things I do, Mindset plays an important role. No matter what the task, project, or catastrophe is, I’ve got to have the right stuff in my head, my focus needs to be on the priorities, and my resolve needs to be n+1 where n= the difficulty of the thing(s) ahead.

No matter what you’re approaching, the size of the project, your skill level, or your drive, I encourage you to take a little time, go for a walk with yourself, and figure out what your mindset is. Ask yourself what you’ll do when things go wrong (they will), when expectations aren’t met (they won’t all be), or when something stupid happens (always does). Figure out ahead of time what your MINDSET will be; will you charge forward like a bull in a china shop, letting your anger drive you forward into failing faster? Will you take a step back, pause, and reconsider your position? Or will you run away, maybe coming back to fight another day?

Nothing worth having is easy, but not everything that’s easy isn’t worth having. 🙂