Home' Nonahood News : NONA 020116 Contents There are a number of commonly shared experi-
ences that stem from living in an area with so many
new residents. Like many others, my wife and I enjoyed
searching for “that perfect piece” to finish off furnish-
ing a room or outdoor area. Of course, for some pieces,
the hunt proves more difficult than others. Asking our
friends and neighbors about their favorite places to find
furniture helped, but we had an especially difficult time
finding an outdoor table that was a specific size and
style for our patio.
After several weeks of fruitless searching, I decided
that a great way to teach myself some new skills was to
fabricate the table myself. I had never built furniture be-
fore, but my clever theory was that since we were going
for a weathered, rustic aesthetic on our patio, any flaws
could simply be attributed to my artistic intent.
One of the first noticeable things in Lake Nona is the
massive amount of construction. In Laureate Park, there
is a steady stream of new homes and buildings going up.
Large construction dumpsters, a natural byproduct of
this process, are sprinkled around the area. Within these,
I noticed plenty of old pallets and excess 2x4 wood from
the framing of new homes. I liberated some of these from
their landfill-bound fate and found a surprising amount of
usable raw material.
With only the dimensions of my desired table in
mind, I checked out our local Facebook page for ideas
on construction methods and found an easy way to
make a wood frame table using a tool called a pocket
jig. During a quick trip to Home Depot, I ran into a
neighbor who is a skilled woodworker and had heard
that I was working on a project. I explained my goal
and he was happy to show me exactly what I needed
to get up and running with the pocket jig. Little inter-
actions like this are just one part of the great experi-
ence that comes with our community.
I sketched out a quick plan for the frame and deter-
mined the length I’d need to cut each 2x4 to end up at my
desired dimensions for the table. After a moment of regret
for my decision to sell my compound miter saw during the
move to Lake Nona, I borrowed one from a neighbor. I cut
the scrap 2x4s to their required lengths. Assembling the
frame using the pocket jig was surprisingly easy and led
to all sorts of ideas for other things to build in this fashion.
After the first day’s work, the frame was complete.
Now that the frame was done, some consideration
was needed on how to finish the piece. I decided that
the gnarled, weathered slats of the old pallets would
be perfect. Breaking the pallets down into usable
components proved to be the most difficult part of the
project. Care was needed to avoid cracking the wood
when prying the boards apart and dozens of nails had
to be removed. Once this process was complete, I used
these boards to create the sides and top of the table. I
added a “floor” to the inside of the table so it could func-
tion as a storage space for our outdoor furniture covers.
At this point, the structure of the table was complete and
I had spent less than $20 on screws and glue.
Putting the final touches on the table was relatively
easy. A quick coat of wood stain was applied to give the
table some color. Once that was dry, a final coat of sealer
was added to help protect it from the elements. Some in-
expensive plastic “feet” were hammered into the bottom
corners to keep the wood from resting on the ground,
and the table was complete!
Now that we’ve had some time to enjoy the ta-
ble, I am glad we couldn’t find the “perfect piece” in
a furniture store. It’s a fun conversation piece, and
we enjoy explaining how the table was “pulled from
the dumpsters of Laureate Park.” There is an inherent
satisfaction that can be found in the process of cre-
ating something functional. I won’t wax poetic, but I
feel that it fits within the spirit of the Lake Nona com-
munity to build something meaningful with nothing
but some raw materials and the help and knowledge
of our neighbors.
What do you want to make?
Have you ever met someone that has a fascinating talent? Maybe you have a
friend that is great at making cool things. Rhys Lynn will be highlighting tink-
erers, hobbies, and entertaining interests with frequency in a piece called
“Make Nona.” If you would like to share a pastime, or have a friend that is a
skilled crafter, please let us know!
25 FEBRUARY 2016
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