Season 2 of the #igbuilderschallenge ended, about a month ago, and guess who was announced as the winner…LITTLE OL’ ME!! Yep! I am still in awe! I won a bunch of tools from the various sponsors: Ryobi, Spax, Bessey, Osborne Wood Products Inc., Fast Cap, and Rev Mark. See..!
Let me take you through a roadmap of my journey through this challenge. It was about mid to late September and I was scrolling through Instagram one day. I noticed that one of the new woodworking related accounts I’d just started following (@woodgraingirls) advertising about the upcoming season 2 of the #igbuilderschallenge. At this point, I had taken a couple of weeks break from building anything new because I had gotten frustrated with trying to install my pantry barn door that’s taking me forever to figure out and finish (DIY post on that coming one of these days 😒) . So, until I’d finished that, new projects were on hold. I’m so glad I’d seen that post. I used it as an excuse to get back into “the shop” after my almost 3 week hiatus at this point and gain some more knowledge about my beloved hobby. And plus, 3 of my favorite woodworker were judging, Whitney and Ashley from @shanty2chic and Clint Harp (@clintharpofficial), owner of Harp Design Co., who’s Joanna Gaines’ from “Fixer Upper” go to woodworker. I’ve been following all of their journies for over a year now, and their stories are all my #1 inspiration. So, without hesitation, I emailed the hosts to join the challenge, which started in mid-October.
For those that don’t know, the #igbuilderschallenge is a building/woodworking contest on Instagram. Each participant signs up by emailing the host indicating you are interested in participating. When the sign up window ends, each participant is then emailed the same secret plans. The contestants then have a specified amount of time to finish the build and post their submission in picture form on their Instagram accounts with the hashtag #igbuilderschallenge. The beauty of this challenge is that although the participant gets the same plans to build from, each entry is a representation of the submitter because the challenge encourages you to modify the plans within reason, add details, hardware etc. to your liking. But, the judges must be able to tell that you built your piece using the plans that were given.
Ok, back to my story. I was excited because this was my first dining table. I knew I needed to make it stand out. I decided I’d do that with the table top and the hardware. I “sketched” these on the back of some scrap paper I had in the garage before I got started.
The 6 outer boards were according to the plan. The 2 inner boards were replaced with my chevron-type design. This design was a stretch for me because it would be my first time cutting geometric shapes out of wood. But, I was up for the challenge. It’s why I signed up…to push my limits.
I won’t bore you with the how-to. Shanty2Chic got me covered on that. So, if you’d like to take a stab at building your own (without the chevron detail) , here are the plans from Shanty2Chic.
And without further ado, take a trip with me, through progress pictures, of my first #igbuilderschallenge, dining table, and chevron detail on a piece of furniture!
The base and legs were assembled according to the plans.
Working on the table top. I didn’t have a table saw to rip the curved edges from my boards like the plans suggested, so I used my Ryobi hand planer to take 1/8th of an inch off each side of the 2x6s to remove the curved edges. Ripping the curved edges off of framing lumber used for a table top ensures that you won’t have “crumb catcher” spaces between your boards.
Now onto the chevron inlay .This was my first time doing this kind of detail, so I was literally learning as I went along. I just cut two rows of diamond shaped/parallelogram boards for the middle, both sides/ends at a 45 degree angle. The 2 end pieces on each side, I only cut one 45 degree angle and left the ends of the boards square. The two middle pieces are just triangles. All of the cuts were “cut as you go” pieces. These were a challenge and I got pretty frustrated at times. My husband had to step in a couple of times to calm me down and talk me off the ledge lol.
Then it was time to pocket hole and screw all of my boards in place. I used my Kreg jig K5 to put in 1 1/2 inch pockets holes and used 2 1/2 inch pocket screws to secure the boards together. The chevron pieces all have pocket holes for screws that will connect to at least one other chevron piece and an adjacent straight board. I removed the staples and tape for the middle inlay as I went along to be sure I didn’t mix up the pieces.
Now on on to the stain. I stained the outer 6 boards and the breadboards on the ends with 1 coat of Miniwax’s special walnut first. Then, 1 coat of Miniwax’s weathered oak on top of that. As you can see above, the chevron detail blends in with the tabletop. But, I wanted it to stand out. So, I stained the inlay chevron detail pieces with different colors and combinations of stains. I used Miniwax’s special walnut, weathered oak, classic gray, ebony or a combination of 2 or more. I really had no strategy for the chevron detail staining. I just applied the stain and played with each individual shape until I was satisfied.
And these are the pictures with the finished product that won me the 1st place grand prize spot! I painted the base with a white paint we had laying around the house. It’s just a basic white we use to touch up our base boards. It’s by Valspar.
The straight industrial accents pieces are Simpson Strongtie building “accessories” that can be found near the lumber at The Home Depot. The nuts and bolts accents are bolts and washers that I got from the nuts and bolts section at The Home Depot as well. Make sure to get the bolts with the pointed end, not the flat end, so that you can screw them into the wood.
I played with corner braces on the ends as well, but opted not to submit the pictures that included them. These are 4 in corner braces by Everbilt, also from The Home Depot. I like it either way though.
My three favorite woodworkers (who were the judges) recognized my hard work!!! I was beyond floored! Let me know if you have any additional questions that I didn’t answer, need clarification on a thing etc. I’d be more than happy to help!