Open storage laundry unit with hardwood top and melamine frame. Simple, functional, and long over due.
An embarrassing fact is I’ve been renovating our laundry for over 3 years now. I had all good intentions, but two kids managed to change my prioities many times over.
So anyway, part of this reno calls for a storage unit to take baskets, vacuum cleaner and also be a seat / bench for sorting clothes.
Once again Google Sketchup was my friend. This was a simple design so I probably could have just sketched this on paper, but I quite like to visualise the projects in 3D to help me work out proportions.
The build plan was to laminate up the bench top out of my old friend Tas oak using biscuit joints as I normally do. Then attach this to the frame, which would be made from very simple white malemine / laminated chipboard. Mind you shortly into the project I took a short cut and bought a pre laminated hardwood pannel I found for a good price. It had a few ugly nots and voids but was big enough that I could cut them off.
My new table saw got some decent action cutting the malemine boards to size first. No issues with chip out using my 40 tooth blade. The hardwood panel went through pretty well also, although the weight of the thing made it extremely tough to balance on the tiny table saw, and I had to jerry rig an out feed table (future project idea right there).
My main challenge with both was working with the 2.4m long boards in my roughly 3.5m long work area. If it wasn’t so stupidly cold at this time of year I might have set up outside, but then again that extra setup time probably would have slowed me down even more. I did most of this project in half hour blocks of time after I got home from work but before picking up the kids, so it makes it hard to do more than one or two things.
Once ripped to width, I again had to think creatively to cut to length as my table saw is just too small to attempt cross-cutting them. Instead I clamped on a guide piece of timber and used my cheap old circular saw. This worked ok but the cuts were not as square as I’d like, so created some gaps when it came to glue up time. Still fine, but I really should get a better saw.
White board cut to length and joints with biscuits once again. Although in hind sight I think screws would have been quite fine and much quicker.
The bench top was cut about 5mm oversize to create a small lip, and I ran my router around the edges with a small 1/4″ round over bit. All secured with some salvaged metal brackets from an old dinning table.
Finished sanded using just an orbital sander and a smidgen of hand sanding, then a good four coats of satin varnish. Seriously I see no problem with orbital sanders provided you step through the different grit papers, the end finish is fine for most projects. Perhaps if using super high gloss finish you might notice the little circular scratch marks, but not for a project like this.
Finally this project is finished and now looking happy in its new home. I have mixed feelings about this one as I don’t really like working with chipboard; the waste off cuts basically just end up as landfill (I usually burn my hardwood off cuts in the fireplace). But it is the material of choice for kitchens and laundries so I’ll have to get over it!