(30) The Colored Carpenter (sort of) Strikes Back

Keep in mind that this has been a project that has been months in the making... While I have been infinitely excited about getting it done the whole time, I am sometimes lazy and always busy with life. In such, I am only now completing the project. As it were, you will see mention of things that happened months ago over the course of this...

Since the last desk and a few months (well, now 3 years) following. I have been kicking around the idea of doing something new as far as my workstation. In the old house, it would surely have been a corner workstation, as I was sitting in a corner to the right-hand side of the room with no interference from the heating/cooling vents.
Since moving, however, I am working to my left and I do not have enough corner over here to be able to do a corner workstation, so my original plan was thus scrapped. Tears will be shed in its having been jettisoned.
[Phlip note - not really, but it was fun to type that]

Dicking around in my RSS feeds, I came across an article which discussed suspending bottle caps atop a table in resin. I discussed the idea of this with The Katie, except I already have enough casual reminders around me that I drink too much, so suspending beer bottle caps in a friggin coffee table would not be a good look on the off chance of company coming over, so THAT part of the plan was scrapped.
"Hmm... What else do I like a lot?" was the question I asked myself, as I looked at the little white Lego car sitting to the right of my keyboard on the desk, knocking it off several times. Keep in mind that this took place in early/mid-November, so I was still in the early not-quite-brainstorming stages of this process. To be totally honest, now looking back on this, I probably wasn't even thinking about going in on this in the manner that I have to this point as I type this (01/08/2009).

Fast forward to about a week or 2 before Christmas... I had in my mind what it was I wanted to do and a passing thought of how I would do it. I decided that I would be suspending LEGO PIECES in the resin! I had further decided that I would be assembling the desk start to finish with my own hands. Initially, I was going to go to Lowe's or Home Depot and get a piece of board measuring (or cut to) about 5ftx2.5ft or so, then paint it black, THEN adhere the Lego pieces to it, then pour the resin to suspend them. Pricing it out, we were at damn near $30+ for the board, then whatever paint and resin cost, neverminding the variable that is the Legos, some of which were already in my house and most would need to be acquired for the project. More on that in a while.
Fast forward again, now... The Katie and I went shopping on New Year's Day in Charlotte and Concord, one of the stops included a run through Ikea. Some items (side tables, lamps, etc...) we were specifically there for, while others (a damned Wok/Spatula, power strips, some other stuff I don't recall right now) were purely spur of the moment. Another "spur of the moment" decision was a VIKA AMON table top, fitting damn near to my desired dimensions at 29.5" by 59". Another selling point was the fact that it was already black and surely AT LEAST sturdy enough to serve as a table top, a fact sure to be strengthened by fortifying it with thick resin as well. The BEST selling point, though? $29.99!
We were faced with a logistics/shipping issue, though. I was in Charlotte/Concord to shop for us, as well as getting the new (to me) rims for the coupe from a forum member, and were driving my mom's Kia Optima, meaning we ONLY had room for 4 wheels/tires, some shopping bags and the stuff we'd already gotten at Ikea, not for a 5-foot table. Alternate plans would have to be made.
While in Concord Mills that day, I went to the Lego store conveniently placed across from the Nike Store and got the ever-useful 'Pick a Brick' bucket, where you pay $14.95 for a large cup (or small bucket, depending on how big your hands are) of random Lego pieces from the bins on the walls. This would prove perfect for what I was in need of, presenting me with an interesting, but still very random mix of pieces to place without breaking the bank like getting sets would be. Don't get me wrong, now, I DID get some sets as they went on sale to clear out for the new incoming Lego series sets, but not at full retail. I even copped a Snowman, knowing I wouldn't be assembling it for the intended purpose.
In the following days, I also combed Wal Mart, Target, KMart and Toys R Us for their Lego sets that didn't include many huge pieces and hoping to score some Mini-Figs as well... Not that I planned to have Lego men suspended in the top of my desk, but I thought it quite cool to have random pieces of them mixed in with all the other Lego bits throughout.

Once home, I hit up my brother to see if his friend would be up to allowing us to use her Nitro to run down and get the table top if I was willing to keep it in gas and perhaps throw a few bucks her way. She was willing to do it for just the gas.
I'd taken a Mental Health­­© day the following Tuesday, so once I handled a couple spots of business that morning, we were on our way. One bogus DWB stop (but no resulting tickets/arrests) later, we were in Charlotte in a hair over an hour and a half. In and out of Ikea in like 20-30 minutes, we stopped back by Concord Mills so my brother could case the Nike and Adidas stores, and I could poke in the Lego store once more. Good thing I did, since they had put some more of the old sets on the floor in a 'sale' pile, of which I copped 2 and that aforementioned Snowman.
Once back home, I set the table top upon 2 buckets in my middle room, sat on the floor and sorted through the pieces I would/wouldn't be using, setting the ones I would not be using (because of their size) aside to be given away when I am done.
With that said, I set about the task of cementing them to the top of the table. I dabbed the tip of the adhesive tube in random spots on the table, stuck my hand in the container of Lego pieces and placed them down, no real rhyme or reason, except to avoid using similar pieces too close to one another. My plan is to keep the pieces that will be suspended in 1/3" of resin or less if possible.

At this point, whenever I have a few minutes extra, damning what time of day it is, I sit on the floor next to the table and work on gluing Lego pieces down.

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It really is short work when one stops and looks at it on the whole. I am also doing math on how much resin I SHOULD need to cover this thing up and trying to scout out the best available pricing for it as well. My mind has gone from drilling and screwing the top to the file cabinets to the more reasonable, yet permanent, solution of getting a tube or 2 of that industrial 2-ton epoxy, scuffing the top of the cabinets and bottom of the table with sand paper and adhering them that way. Only issue is that 29.5 inches deep, this thing might NEVER leave this house, even if I do. Oh well, because with the blood and sweat that goes into my projects, it would take an exorbitant amount of cash to part me with my work on one of these projects.

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(the beginnings...)

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(now we're getting somewhere)

All pieces glued to the table, I taped some heavy duty aluminum foil around the edges, creating about a 2" high wall around the table and moved out to the porch to prepare to pour the resin after mixing.

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And then I became a victim of gravity and what was apparently only a good plan on paper... The resin bulged out in the foil, so I had to move it to the floor to keep it contained, boxing it in against 2 walls and some flat items I had around until it had dried for a day or so, to contain it. Problem, though, is that I had a blowout and spilled a good amount of it.
All that being said, what WOULD have been enough resin to fully suspend everything wound up with me needing to get one more gallon kit and my sander from the closet in my old room at granny's house.

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(Damn, not deep enough)

With a better plan in place, I taped with the heavy-duty aluminum foil TAPE instead of heavy duty aluminum foil and tape, live and learn...
I ran out to the Lowe's for another gallon resin kit, set it on the heater vent to keep it soft and easy to mix (live and learn from last time), and neglected to actually mix and pour it for the remainder of the weekend. The Katie and I went to Katie's best friend's daughter's birthday, then to eat. Then we kinda killed time Saturday evening watching Voltron, then my nephew was Baptized on Sunday.
Now back to the project, we made a mad dash to the Lego store in Raleigh this time to get some more little pieces, mostly Lego studs, to fill the little jars I had gotten from Ikea, which would serve as the 'feet' for the monitor stand, which is a re-purposed chopping board from that same Ikea, painted black...
I STARTED to suspend some Lego pieces in it too, but eventually just changed my mind once costs started adding up.
Now I have the new plan in place, new resin poured and spend some time doing other shit, mostly writing and perhaps making sex as well, but that part was none of your business.
Back to life, I mixed the resin and hardener, then poured it and then set about my life to allow 3 days for THIS coat to cure, praying for the best this time around.
How'd it come out?

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Remove tape and prepare for more sanding...
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(note problem areas described above are on top and right-hand sides... Those were mostly sanded out in end product, but will be against the walls so as to not remind me of my phail)

Since it is now Monday the 25th of January, and my new computer is still sitting on The Katie's desk until Wil finishes reformatting hers, I am in no particular rush, instead I will be patient for the weekend. I will go ahead and finish that monitor stand, epoxying the jars shut, then affixing them to the bottom of the chopping board, which will sit the monitor up about 6" or so.
1 - Fill IKEA jars with random LEGO pieces:

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2 (not pictured) - Paint IKEA chopping board black

3 - Epoxy filled and adhered-shut jars to the BOTTOM of the chopping board:
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4 - Now you have a monitor stand

One issue I have now -- likely having a lot to do with the spill due to caused by my incorrect tape-off for the first round of epoxy -- is that not all of the pieces are UNDER the epoxy, some peek through. For instance, the Storm Trooper heads and a couple of taller pieces...

(camera seated atop desk to show what I mean)

I am not terribly worried about this, though. See, I will have my monitor seated on a stand with soft pads underneath it, my speakers have soft pads on them and EVERYTHING ELSE (CPU, etc) except for my modem and router will be seated on the floor or subject to some creative cable management below the desk itself...

The table top is 29.5" long, my computer case is 8" wide, I will need that amount of overhang to be on the left-hand side of the desk when I set it for adhesion...

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This thing will be deeper than most doors in a non-handicapped house should be. Let me move to another room.
Relocated to the living room (I don't EVER have company that shouldn't come to my house knowing that I might have some random-ass project going on).

Re-set the as-needed placement, place file cabinets against the wall at the proper widths, and place the top on them with adhesive in place.
Grab old wheels from their place and use them to hold things in place:

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(yes, it's a Vizio and the stereo IS wired to it... Playing porn on that setup scares off Jehova's Witnesses)

Now, I still need to paint what will be the back of the desk, and the 10" of overhang in the back will make for a rather easy cable management system, which will be a later blog in and of itself...

At this point, all that is left is some waiting for adhesives to dry, so I can dismantle the computer from peripherals and get some help moving the old desk to the bedroom until I decide what I will do with it.

2 x LEGO "Pick A Brick" buckets.
2 x Wal Mart 26" tall file cabinets
1 x IKEA VIKA AMON table top
2 x 1-gallon table-topper resin kit from Lowe's/Home Depot
Various adhesives
1 roll of foil-backed tape
Various sanding/scraping supplies
1 set IKEA multipurpose 3" jars
1 IKEA chopping board
1 medium-size jar of black paint
1 medium/large container of the thickest adhesive you can find.

Finished product?

With different planning, I could do this again and it would not take me near as long, make as big a mess or -- most importantly -- cost me near as much. As stated so many times through this, live and learn.
There is something to be said for being the first to try something a certain way and making your way to it as you go along. In all, doing this was very fun, and I have a sturdy surface to work on that will be resistant to staining, heat and that minor scratches can be buffed out of.
Hell, if I ever decide to, I could go another coat of resin and fill in above all those pieces that are poking through, but they're not bothering me right now.


Kousen Tora said…
That is pure awesomeness man.

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