Monday, May 4, 2009

DIY Charging Station

Remember way back in mid-April when I was SOO excited about the charging station? Well, it's finally done. It wasn't particularly challenging, but after the first 2 days of excitement, we kinda got sick of it, so it slipped down the prioroty list. However, it's done and here's how we did it!

These instructions are fairly detailed, but if I ever want to do something like this again without the watchful eye of my husband, I need this dumbed down version to guide me.

You'll have to excuse the photography. My camera was being an idiot and not co-operating with me no matter what I tried.

First thing's first:
We planned how everything would fit together in order to ensure that it would all fit and that we'd only buy what we needed.

Then we took all 4 cords that would be plugged into the power bar in order to determine if they all plug in the same way, since some plug horizontally and some vertically. Fortunately all of ours plugged the same way, which made it much easier. Once they were lined up, we measured the highest one in order to determine (with a little clearance) how high the extension would need to be.

Store bought desk organizer
24" x 24" x 1/4" cedar sheet
scraps of wood (we used leftovers from our hardwood install)
16 gauge brad nailer (nail gun)
3/4 inch nails for nailer
wood glue

1. Glue a length of scrap wood along the bottom of the organizer (inside the rim). Using the brad nailer and 3/4" nails, secure the scraps in place, being careful to nail into the structure and not break into the actual compartments. These will serve as a secure spot to nail the extension and act as a brace for the whole thing. It should now look like there's a little platform that the organizer is sitting on.
2. Using a table saw, strip the cedar sheet to 3" wide. Repeat three more times so that you now have 4 sheets of 24"x3" pieces.

3. Using the circular saw, cut the sheets to size.

For our station, there was a rim along the bottom of the organizer which conveniently measured .5" (or twice the depth of our cedar sheets). This meant we could easily double up on the sheets for strength without having to MacGyver very much.

Because of this rim, we needed:
2 pieces measuring: 12" x 3" for the front of the station
2 pieces measuring: 12" x 3" for the back of the station
4 pieces measuring: 5" x 3" to account for 4 pieces thickness from the front & back.

One way to make sure that your pieces are exactly the same length is to stack them and cut several at once. We did this for the front & back pieces to ensure they'd all be the same and make attaching the side pieces much more straightforward.

4. Using glue and 3/4" nails, attach the first piece of sheet to the front of the organizer. You'll be nailing into the scrap piece you attached earlier. For this piece, you can use several nails since it'll be covered by that 2nd piece of sheet and cover any nail holes.

5. Using the same method, attach the back piece to the bottom brace.
6. Now the 2 sides.

7. Using the glue and 3/4" nails again, attach a large scrap of wood to the 4 inside corners you've just created, making sure to nail both the front and each side into the brace. This will allow the sides of the extension to attach securely together.

Now you should have a fairly secure structure where there's basically a 3" high box attached to the bottom of your desk organizer.

8. Using a good amount of glue and a few 3/4" nails along the edges, secure the 2nd sheet to all sides of the extension. Sand as necessary.

Once the basic structure was dry, hubs and I decided that using some of the scrap trim (cove) we had lying around might look really nice.

In order for the station to sit flush against a wall, we only installed it on the front and sides of the structure. So we cut the trim pieces to size using the circular saw, mitering the edges.
9. Using (surprise, surprise) more glue and more 3/4" nails, we attached the trim pieces along the bottom of the extension.

10. Then, using some silicone caulking, we ran beads along the edges of the base trim, filled in all the visible nail holes and filled in any other spots that needed it. Remember that paint will fill in some of the finer seams and holes too, so you don't need to go crazy with the caulk (insert hilarious inappropriate joke here).
Let this dry overnight & sand as needed.

Gather the power bar and all the power cords you'll be corralling in the charging station. For us, that's 3 cell phones with 3 separate power cords and 1 ipod charger.
11. Using a drill press, drill holes to allow for the power cords to come up into the station as well as for the power bar to leave the extension and plug into an outlet. Make sure that the holes you drill allow enough room for the power cords to actually pull through the hole to plug in your devices.
(Note: Unfortunately, the material of our desk organizer didn't bode well for clean or pretty cuts. So...hubs came up with the idea to leave the large holes so that the ends of the chargers could still fit through, but then create covers with a slit to put over the base of the 2 charging compartment. Voila! Problem solved (and it's actually better than it would have been otherwise!))12. Wipe down the whole thing to make sure there's no sawdust or anything to mess up the painting.

13. Paint. We used 1 coat of oil based primer to make sure that everything stuck where we wanted it to, no matter the different materials, and nothing would leak through the paint. Then we used a couple coats of acrylic paint and finished it off with a couple coats of water based polyurethane to make sure it would survive in the kitchen.

You could obviously finish this however you'd like, using different colours, patterns, even accents to spice it up. I was actually going to hodge podge some pretty paper on the inside, but by that point, I just wanted it done. Maybe I'll get to it sometime later. In the meantime, we wanted it to be pretty neutral and blend into the kitchen (It's antique white if you can't tell from the poor quality photo).
14. Fill 'er up and put it to good use. Then go have a drink and admire your handy work.

No comments:

Post a Comment