Growing Pains & the Project that Took Off

I LOVE trying new things! Especially with building. As a generally positive person, I see a new technique and immediately think, “I could definitely do that!” but sometimes that gets me way in over my head…

Arches and curved lines are very popular right now. I have seen so many DIY’s where people are trying to bend wood through various techniques. The one that I wanted to try was kerf bending, a technique where you cut slits or kerfs not quite all the way through the wood so that it bends into a curve. Next I had to decide what type of piece I was going to make with this technique.

In true spontaneous project fashion, building a tv console was not in my original list of 2021 projects that I had mapped out at the start of the year, but it was a perfect canvas for a wood bend. We had a wobbly open shelf that held our tv, record player, DVDs & Blu Rays, and Dylan’s video game consoles for years, so it deserved to be updated.

Mid Century Modern furniture has always been very cool & inspiring to me. I have wanted to incorporate some pieces into my space, but of course build them, not buy them. I looked online for inspiration and found a gorgeous console for $1,400 and knew I could make something for less that would be more personal.

I built a middle frame quickly, watched a few YouTube videos, and decided to start trying to bend wood. I carefully cut some slits in some scrap wood using my table saw, and I got a perfect curve. I was surprised, delighted, and decided to jump right in with my nice, big pieces of plywood. Of course it was way harder to handle, and one of the joys with kerf bending is that your wood can crack super easily, because you leave a very thin margin for error. I tried bending that piece of plywood every day for a week. I’d watch more instructional videos, and read more posts, and each time it either wouldn’t bend or it would crack. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong. I got so frustrated and was about to give up and give it straight corners.

Now I’m also very stubborn, so I walked away from working on this project for a week, but spent that week trying to figure it out in my head, to the point where it wasn’t bringing me any joy. I should’ve been done with this project by now. I had friends & family waiting on a beautiful reveal. I wasn’t celebrating the progress. I wasn’t appreciating me, and the love I had already poured into this project.

I decided to post a progress picture, of what at the time seemed to me like a pile of garbage. The funny thing about social media, is that you don’t see that stage too often. When you’re building things from the ground up with your own hands though, it takes time. I think it’s important to celebrate & normalize that progress just as much as that much awaited beautiful reveal. It was in this moment that I decided to pivot.

I still wanted rounded corners, but I was willing to put kerf bending on hold for now while I grow as a wood worker. I found an oak product called pole wrap that I used to create some round corners and fun texture for my piece, and attached that to a round face frame that I made with my jigsaw. At this point progress seemed to be flying, and there were still a few hurdles with installing concealed hinges, using a paint sprayer for the first time, and moving this gigantic piece. The difference was my attitude, and looking at each new step that I completed as beautiful progress, and part of the process.

Growth takes time friends. Building can be hard, and painful, and sometimes you want to throw it all away. Just try letting others in on the progress sometime though. I guarantee it’ll help you see a lot more beauty that you realize is there.

The console quickly turned into my most popular and loved project, thanks to all of you. Though I adore the finished product, I am most proud of the lessons this build taught me.

Published by Bonitabyrachel

I'm Rachel! An avid DIYer, crafter, & maker. I love diving in and trying new things. I live in Indiana with my husband Dylan & our sweet dog Hoss. When I'm not building, you can find me caring for my plants, cooking a yummy meal, or painting some watercolors. Thanks for joining my DIY journey!

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