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Pipe & Ply.

October 20, 2010


  1. Lena permalink
    October 20, 2010 9:40 am

    Very cool. Although I miss the bigger picture above the desk. Does it have a new place somewhere?
    By the way, maybe I will copy your desk. Right now I am struggling to decide between two desk ideas, both using things from my parents basement and one idea would be a ripp-off of your desk. But since I would only build it in the winter holidays I still have plenty of time to decide which way to go!

    • October 20, 2010 2:28 pm

      Do it! And send pictures! Yes, the old weaving thing is currently over my bed, but it’ll probably end up somewhere else. My poor art never gets a chance to settle in.

      • Lena permalink
        October 20, 2010 3:25 pm

        If I end up doing it I will of course send you lots of pictures.

  2. October 20, 2010 10:06 am

    Looks fabulous as per usual. Bravo, great job etc.

    Two questions.
    1. How did you drill the holes in the ply for the pipes to pass through without one side getting all splintery? Drill + hole saw bit, or did you have them done on a drill press? Everytime I try the drill+bit routine, the exit side of the bit gets all splintery and ruined.

    2. Where/how do you store all your big tools and stuff in a tiny Manhattan apartment? The full-sized level in this case, but you’ve also obviously got a tall ladder for painting stashed somewhere. I presume that your place, much like every other apartment I’ve ever entered in New York is pretty much bereft of any serious storage space. Do you just rent all your stuff?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    • October 20, 2010 2:41 pm

      1. Ugh, I didn’t, the paddle bit totally effed up my wood. I’ll amend the post to reflect that, I kind of forgot. My brother bought me this Dremel Trio tool that has this little round sander bit, so for most of the holes I ended up stopping just short of where the paddle would break through and make a mess and switch to the Dremel to just sand away that final little layer.

      2. Big tools, I wish! I wrote about it a little in this forgettable post, but that’s pretty much where all the tools are– in that drawer in my IKEA PAX wardrobe. The only big ones are my cordless drill and now this new Dremel tool, so they’re up on a shelf with the paints. I didn’t really need to for this project, but yes usually I rent stuff or have things cut for me!

  3. Tania permalink
    October 20, 2010 11:29 am

    I love the sides of yer wood. Very spunky.

  4. Niamhy permalink
    October 20, 2010 12:17 pm

    Amazebox! Love this. You are so brilliantly creative; you really should be making and selling some of the fabulous creations you’ve come up with. You’ve really inspired me to get DIYing. I’m always a bit reluctant and unsure of the quality of the end result, but this super slick shelving has really given me the nudge to get working on some projects! Thanks for sharing! A super fun entertaining read as always.. 3 parts fun 3 parts informnative..Thanks : )

  5. October 20, 2010 12:21 pm

    good call on the plywood, it looks great. i made a similar shelf after seeing it on brick house, except mine is floor to almost ceiling. i didn’t end up attaching it to the floor, i just put flanges on the bottom legs and gravity does the rest.

    • October 20, 2010 2:52 pm

      Oh damn, would you look at that! Love it! I’ll add it to the listy up top!

  6. October 20, 2010 12:36 pm

    Great job, this looks awesome. And perfect size.

  7. October 20, 2010 12:51 pm

    Love it! You’re just here to brag how great you are and to make me jealous of your handiness. I am 🙂 Absolutely.

  8. October 20, 2010 12:55 pm

    NIPPLES. Studfinders. NIPPLES!

    Okay, now I’m actually going to read your post.

  9. Haley permalink
    October 20, 2010 1:03 pm

    Were the scraps that you tried it on birch as well? If so, I’ve got no idea why they were goregeous and your shelves didn’t quite work out. If they weren’t birch, but were probably oak, then your problem is the lack of tanins in the birch. Ebonizing only works on wood with tanins in it, and the best results come from oak and some of the exotics. But! In the future if you want to ebonize non-tanic wood, you can buy quebracho bark powder and mix it up with some water and put that on first and then ebonize and the tanins in the bark powder solution will soak into the wood and you’ll get an awesome black color. You can get the bark powder from taxidermy supply places. I did it on some pine shelves I made for a friend and it worked great. I found out about the bark powder from a popular woodworking article. A lot of the projects in it are ugly, but there’s usually some good information on techniques and processes that I think are really interesting.

    Regardless of the fact that your shelves didn’t quite turn out the right color, they look great. I’m going to reface my horrifying vanity this weekend using your method. So excited for a slightly less hideous bathroom!

    • October 20, 2010 3:04 pm

      Woah, thanks! Ebonizing wood is cool. The scraps were from the same wood (I did keep the smaller pieces, about 2’x7″), but it just looked different! I can’t figure it out. It’s still definitely grey-ish (it doesn’t look like stain, more like weathered wood), just browner than I would have liked. I’m hoping that as the tung oil dries out a bit it’ll fade into greyer territory.

  10. Sarah permalink
    October 20, 2010 1:06 pm

    I love your bravery with just attacking projects. You are simply impressive!

    I wonder if maybe, due to its position next to an it’s-supposed-to-be-more-cluttery desk area, the shelves would look better with just books and bookends on it. I think that’s probably what I would do, but then again, I’m too chicken and lazy to build Ace shelves.

  11. October 20, 2010 1:09 pm

    Incredible, you.

  12. October 20, 2010 1:57 pm

    Nice…and good for you not compromising on the wood you wanted…it looks great. I hope you’re still blogging when you’re my age so we can see the kick-ass house you’re going to build!

  13. October 20, 2010 2:39 pm

    pretty damn awesome

  14. Tenzin permalink
    October 20, 2010 3:01 pm

    Hmmm. So I sort of landed here from Door 16 late yesterday night (or early morning around 4 am). I bookmarked it to go through it, but had to run off to class today morning and I guess I kind of forgot. I started reading your blog and could not stop at all. Even for loo breaks. In an afternoon, I followed your journey from the dorm room to your fab apartment. I didn’t know whether to comment on the posts that I particularly liked or just to post a BIG HELLO.

    Anyways, I guess I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading your blog and lots of love from India.

    • October 20, 2010 3:14 pm

      Well thanks, HELLO back! If I ever make a Manhattan Nest trivia game, my money’s on you.

  15. Amanda Kay permalink
    October 20, 2010 3:11 pm

    Damn! Love this, love your blog, love you. If only all roomates were handy dandy cool cats like you!

  16. October 20, 2010 3:37 pm

    Nice work. Hope it was okay to re-post on my blog. Of course I gave you full credit.

  17. October 20, 2010 3:40 pm

    Love this! Great work.

    For future plywood projects, I have always found the guys who work at the Home Depot in Gowanus to be ready, willing and able to cut plywood for me — even when I want something absurd live twenty cuts. (I usually call first to make sure the saw is working — just in case.) Plus, they’re never given me a hard time about leaving the scraps behind. However, due to its location, you definitely want a car to make a visit. Oh, I’ve also had the Home Depot on Northern Blvd. make plywood cuts with no objections.

  18. October 20, 2010 6:05 pm

    LOVE it! So much cooler than the CB2 shelf you almost bought, which I secretly find quite ugly. Your shelf, however, is fantastic. And that little corner of the room is awesome! I like the sleek and simple style.

  19. Mom permalink
    October 20, 2010 7:38 pm

    OMG. You are the most incredible child ever. Love the creativity and your writing, as always, extremely well done and entertaining. Please explain the trust fund baby comment. Say what?

  20. October 20, 2010 7:49 pm

    Awesome as always

  21. October 20, 2010 8:58 pm

    I LOVE this! If I were brave, and if my walls weren’t paper thin with no existing studs (seriously, I’ve tried to find them and I think they ran away), I would totally try this! Kudos!

  22. judith b. permalink
    October 20, 2010 9:19 pm

    Pure genius! Love all those “trust baby” finishing details!

    Do you think this plumbing pipe idea could be adapted to making a shower rod for a shower open on three sides, with an extra support pipe affixed to the ceiling or to the next wall? I see two elbows and three flanges (the flat, round parts that screw into the wall, right?)just fine, but what kind of part could attach the support piece to the u shaped structure so that it holds up the horizontal part of the U, zat is la question! Whew – does that make ANY sense?

    Thanks if you can help -and thanks for sharing all that you do, even if you can’t…

    • October 20, 2010 9:27 pm

      It does make sense, I’m not really sure! I ALMOST made something exactly like what you’re describing for my bathroom, but I felt like the curtain rings would get caught going around the elbows on the corners, so I didn’t. I guess you could use a tee like 1/3 of the way down on the horizontal part and attach your vertical support there, then just accept that your shower curtain can only open that far? Does that make sense? I’ll keep thinking…

      • judith b. permalink
        October 22, 2010 8:58 am

        Thanks for thinking! You’re right…the elbows are going to cause trouble, unless I can find some that make a smooth curve! I would have to use smaller diameter and probably lighter-weight tubing anyway. What is supporting your already-curved shower rod, I wonder – that skinny bit??

      • October 22, 2010 6:38 pm

        Yeah, that tiny piece of rusted rebar is somehow attached to the ceiling, but all that’s been spackled over. The shower curtain doesn’t open past that point.

  23. Summer permalink
    October 21, 2010 12:29 am

    brilliant job on the bookshelf love, just a quick tip if you really don’t like prince go to nuthouse on 29th/3rd ave they’re 24/7 i believe and are really really chill

  24. October 21, 2010 2:53 am

    studfinder. ha.
    great post. Aside from being an awesome furniture builder, your writing rocks.

  25. October 21, 2010 4:38 am

    Wow, it’s amazing, I just love your version!

  26. October 21, 2010 4:48 am

    Brilliant! I have been googling pipe furniture lately because I want to make a desk with pipe legs, but not just boring straight ones. I’m not quite ready to figure it all out yet, but one day soon I’ll go sit on the floor at home depot. I have the top of an old ikea armoire to use for the top, I think the whole thing could be pretty cool or unspeakably lame. I’m hoping for the former.

    And kudos too, for dealing with chatty man and unwilling wood cutters. I hate it when people get on my nerves.

  27. Harlem Coltrane permalink
    October 21, 2010 2:01 pm

    WOWZERS!! Blink, blink Daniel. You are a superstar. My only regret is that you are not my husband…sigh! No seriously, you should definitely study Interior Design, not only do you have the flare, you are a super DIY designer. Many peeps only hope to have your design style and know how after they have graduated. Seriously think of going to Parsons or something you would do very well, and it seems like you really enjoy!

  28. October 21, 2010 5:32 pm

    Dude. It is the best version so far.

    Great job.

    I’m going to have to try that vinegar trick…

  29. October 22, 2010 7:43 am

    I need to make one of these! Love it!

  30. Nicole permalink
    October 22, 2010 9:53 pm

    I need a stud finder. I went to hang a curtain rod when I first moved in and… it just… came out of the drywall… ON THE SIDE OF THE WINDOW how can there not be a stud there? I know nothing of construction but I feel like… there should be wood. Alongside the window.

    Every time you post a new project I look around my house glumly and turns the lights off.

    • October 24, 2010 4:40 am

      You WOULD think there would be studs there, but who knows! Since curtains aren’t too heavy, you could probably get away with some good drywall anchors as well if you want your curtain rod brackets in specific spots. They should be able to give you the right thing at your local hardware store!

      Oh, I pretty much only show the good stuff. It gives a skewed impression, you should see the sorry state of the living room.

  31. AnnW permalink
    October 23, 2010 6:23 am

    If you like pipe furniture, JunkArchitect at or at Junk Market Style has invented the most beautiful plumbing pipe dining table. It is really a beautiful table, it is hard to see what it is made of. Look for it. Daniel, you never fail to surprise me. Your vanity project: does that mean that you can turn all 70’s Mediterranean furniture into shaker by adding boards to the front or drawers?

  32. October 23, 2010 10:33 pm

    I think your shelf is MUCH more amazing that the one you almost bought. I’m going to redo my bathroom and think this might make a fabulous shelf in that room.

  33. October 24, 2010 4:53 am

    Awesome! What’s the deal with employees at hardware stores being jerks? I don’t get that…you’re providing a service, folks! I get it too though, cuz I’m a chick and it’s supposed to be out of my territory. It’s good that you’re able to shrug it off and stick to your guns about what you want though.

    Love your apartment-you’ve done some amazing work!

  34. October 24, 2010 12:57 pm

    Amazing as always.

  35. October 25, 2010 10:24 am

    Wonderful, wonderful job. You are one talented dude. You have almost pushed me to the point where I will consider tackling my own DIY shelving project. A few more re-reads of this post and I might get there.

  36. November 2, 2010 2:17 pm

    This is so incredibly awesome and makes me curse my home for having concrete walls. Next place we live, I am so implementing one of these!!

  37. chelsea permalink
    November 2, 2010 2:26 pm

    this really is amazing. And makes me curse having concrete walls that I can’t screw into. Your execution is great and I can’t wait to tackle something like this in my next home!!

  38. susan permalink
    November 2, 2010 3:52 pm

    Just wondering where you got the picture of the fisherman.
    My grandmother had the exact same thing – I always thought she had made it.
    She passed away last year and sadly I am in the UK and have no idea what my sister did with all of her things.

    Love the room BTW.

    • November 2, 2010 5:30 pm

      I bought it in a Regina, Saskatchewan thrift store for a few bucks! It has the following written on the frame: “No 0640 Copyright 1977 National Paragon Corp.” I looked into it once, it looks like this company used make needlepoint kits, kind of like a paint-by-numbers, but for needlepoints. Maybe one of them will turn up on Ebay sometime?

      • susan permalink
        November 3, 2010 9:36 am

        Thank you! I assumed it was a kit, but wasn’t sure.
        It just hit me when I saw it on your shelves. I always loved how kitsch it was.

  39. Ann permalink
    November 2, 2010 9:11 pm

    To Susan: if you put in a permanent search to ebay for something like: needlework, fisherman, paragon kit, or something similar, you might find an unworked piece of cloth. These Paragon kits were very, very prevalent in the 60’s and 70’s. I’ll bet that you will find one within a year. If you just get the unworked kit, try it yourself, it is not difficult. Daniel: only needlecrafts with equally spaced holes are called needlepoint. These are worked so that the canvas is completely covered with yarn. What you have now and had in your Canadian apartment looks to be crewel.If you can stick a toothpick under the threads of the design, it is probably crewel. Crewel is an embroidery on a rougher type, more lineny type cloth with thicker, yarn like threads. Regular embroidery is done with two to four colored threads on a plain cloth usually preprinted with a schematic. I think this is what the fisherman is.

    • susan permalink
      November 3, 2010 9:37 am

      Thank you Ann 🙂

    • susan permalink
      November 3, 2010 9:47 am

      I’ve just done an eBay usa search and turned up two. Looks like I’ll have a project for the winter.

  40. November 5, 2010 3:32 pm

    still loving it so much I had to add to my post faves this week:


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