Projects By DIYers Like You

Check out these four amazing and inspiring projects by fellow hands-on homeowners.

Making a case for grilling
When the wood grilling utensils he had ordered for a friend’s wedding gift arrived in a flimsy plastic package, Club member Robert Mazzera of Spokane, Washington, set out to build a custom case to hold them. “I designed the box to have individual compartments for the different grilling tools,” he says. He crafted a decorative herringbone pattern for the lid out of walnut and ash and added chrome hinges and a latch. Robert finished the case and the grilling tools with several coats of teak oil. The project took about four weeks to complete — just in time for the wedding.

Modified student desk
Club member Ricardo Ybarra of Trenton, Texas, built this project for his granddaughter using the WORKSHOP article “Student’s Desk” from the October/November 2010 issue of HANDY. However, in true DIY fashion, he made modifications to suit his granddaughter’s needs and taste. Ricardo made the desk out of mesquite instead of the poplar and birch that the plans called for. He also used a 3/4-in. routed channel and wood screws rather than floating tenons and glue so that the desk can be disassembled into 10 pieces if his granddaughter decides to take it with her to college. Instead of painting the desk, Ricardo applied rosewood and golden pecan stain for a natural-wood look.

Fire engine-style fix-up
Club member Lee Taylor of Jeffersonville, Indiana, had the idea for this project in the back of his mind for some time before opportunity knocked. “I am a retired firefighter,” Lee says, “and after 36 years of service to the community, I continue to have an interest and concern for the people that serve to protect us.” When his neighbor offered an old golf cart for sale, Lee scooped it up and began putting his plan into action. The finished project, which reflects Lee’s admiration for firefighters, features a shiny new paint job, a pint-size ladder, a siren, a flashing light, new diamond-plate flooring, a storage area in back and much more.

Louvered pergola
This fantastically functional pergola stands over a patio base that cost Club member Robert Plewa of East Aurora, New York, only $250, as he purchased the materials at a “blemish sale.” But the most impressive aspect of the project is the handcrafted louvers that rotate as well as open and close to allow more or less sunlight into the patio space. Robert completed the pergola single-handedly: “I used a lot of ratchet straps and quick clamps as additional hands to keep the posts plumb and to help support the main headers and joists during construction,” he explains. It took him nearly two summers to complete, but he says the reward was well worth his time.