Soon: Carpentry 101

I thought I am good at multitasking, but I’m not. When I thought I could draw my dreams through Sketchup and blog at the same time, it was actually hard. So for the past months since my last blog, I have actually been drawing and drawing…mostly about my dreams…from my bedroom to the house extension to tiny homes to doghouses…

But I am not just a dreamer; I am also a doer.  All these dreams I have drawn, I want them to be real.  At first I sketched three-dimensional models and computed the cost of building them. It was easy, but soon I realized I really do not like hard labor – especially sawing.  Yet I do not want to hire people to labor for me. I want to create my dreams myself.  Not only because it will mean something to me, but also because, hiring labor, such as carpenters and masons are expensive.  Not only will you pay them for working on your project, but you will also be forced to cook snacks and lunch for them. While it is not required, culturally, it is expected…so…no! I do not want to hire others to do my projects…

Now, what should I do since I really detest sawing lumber? I have done it several times before, and I really hate it.  I do not mind hammering nails. I do not mind using those planer or sand papers, I just don’t want to use hand saw. But a saw is one of the most essential carpentry tools in order to build my dreams…

Hmmm…power tools!!! I need to buy power tools!!!

But I am very amateur, and power tools are way expensive for my level. Besides, I need to learn to use them so it will not all result to waste….

Then it hit me…I need to study carpentry first. So a few months ago, I checked the website of TESDA.  I’ve known that the courses there are for some of the marginalized sector in the population.  I really do not like to categorize myself with that…pride and all.  Yet, TESDA seems to be the only institution that can offer basic carpentry at a minimal cost.  I know basic carpentry from my experience with the men in the family, so I really do not want to be spending a lot on something that seems “easy”.  All I wanted from it is learn how to use the power tools so I can proceed realizing my dreams.

So a few months ago, I decided it would be fun to register my name for a carpentry module in a local school.  I thought, I’ll just register for the sake of it but will not expect to receive some scholarship especially since I was honest about my educational attainment.

Weeks later, I received emails telling me to wait to be contacted.  Still I was not hoping much.  I was willing to shell out some amount for the tuition, but not so much. I was ready for it, actually.

Then last month, I received an SMS telling me that I am qualified for the TWSP scholarship.  It was exciting, but I was still skeptical because I find it impossible for them to grant me free tuition on this type of learning module.  Aside from that, the registrar of the school with whom I talked with over the phone was doubtful that I will be granted after I talked with her using my “authoritative” voice.  Yet I persisted!  I immediately went to the school and registered there. Luckily, I was assigned to a school just walking distance from where I live, and walking distance from where I work.  So I guess, it’s already a sign that the scholarship is meant to me.

2 days ago, they sent me another SMS reminding me of an orientation. What?!?! No interviews anymore? Weeeeeh!  I have actaully been preparing to be interviewed, already prepared to talk about my sob stories just to get accepted. But I don’t think I need them anymore…or hmmm…it’s still orientation….

So tomorrow, I will be going to the orientation for TESDA’s Carpentry module.  Apparently, the government is trying to up the construction sector of the nation.  Perhaps they are not really prejudice about some of the advantaged population in the society (which I like myself to be part of LOL).  And why would they? Those who actually have careers, are already professionals, they are actually those who have the motivation to work; they are more stimulated to better the nation than those population whose only primary goal is to put food on the table.

I am not being arrogant about this opportunity.  It just got me thinking since whenever I talk to people that I receive some sort of scholarship from the government, particularly Training for Work Scholarship Program, they think that I am corrupting the government since they program, they said, is actually for the poor people in the society.

But come to think of it. Poor people in this country, when they get the education needed for them to work, all they want is to go abroad.  They do not want to be part of the nation-building, except on sending dollars to the country.  But professionals, like the way I think, although I cannot say I am getting this training to find work, since I already have work, my plans are actually to contribute something to the economy.  I have no plans to go outside the country…I just want to build to eventually earn something and pay the required taxes.

Dang! I will just wait on what will happen with tomorrow’s orientation, then continue my piece…

For now, can’t wait to turn my two-dimensional designs to three-dimensional realities…weeeeh!


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Posted by on March 15, 2017 in carpentry, Education


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Another Dream Bed

As I keep on mind-calculating the bed I plan to have, I realized that it is quite expensive in relation to labor. That is, I’d rather buy a bed frame at the mall than build, since it entails having to learn the tools and, of course, needing to purchase all the “ingredients” to make a bed.  Carpentry isn’t like cooking where I already have the skills; all I need when the passion to cook is ignited are the ingredients, and tadaaah! you get the food.

Carpentry is something new to learn, although I have already been building castles in my mind for a very long time.  Moreover, when I went to the store to check out the power tools, they are quite heavy. Even the cheap Chinese-made tools are heavy to carry. How can I work on it when I don’t have the physique to start? Hmmm…exercise…exercise…

So anyways, while I was analyzing how to go about it…to reduce my expenses, that is…an idea hit me. Why not build from the old bed and start from it?

The old box (not bunk, as I like saying) bed that my father made for us is made of strong and resilient materials. They are not just your ordinary piece of plywood. Unfortunately, since we live in a meadow turned into a modern subdivision, the legs were feast upon by the termites. So, while the box where the mattress is fixed is still in good quality, the legs aren’t.

As I said, the problem with the box bed is it’s getting smaller. I cannot stretch and move freely with it anymore. Therefore, the reason why I have the urge to build a new bed.

So, a few days ago, before I started my lecture, an idea strike me. Since I did not carry my laptop that time, I picked up a piece of paper and drew an idea:


I thought I’ll convert my box bed into a bunk bed with storage.  Because the room is small, a bunk bed will be best.  My old box bed will be placed on top, and I will have my standard sized single bed as the base.  See, I thought the width of my bed is standard for single-size (36 inches), but it turns out, it is standard for children (30 inches) ha ha.

I was thinking of having a double-sized bed as the base, but that means it will be occupying a lot of spaces in the room, unless if the current fixtures are removed.  But considering that it might not happen, I’d go for a Singaporean standard single-size or 36 inches.  I drew a 36 inch line on the wall along the width of the two beds that I joined together, lied down and imagined how it feels to sleep on it. Hmm not bad at all…

So I went to the grocery store near our home that also sells mattresses. A 36-inch mattress is really comfortable. And I can imagine my aunt and uncle fitting in that size. Don’t ask me how they fit in he he…

But because the plywood available in the market is 4 ft in width, I might as well use that size.

So here’s the plan:

  1. Remove the legs of my old box bed.
  2. Build a 48 inch base bed. 36 inch will be utilized for the mattress, while the remaining 12 inch will be used for storage.
  3. Place the old box bed on top of the storage side.
  4. Convert the box into a storage, and position the mattress on top.

I think I am going to like this…


I thought a 4 inches height of bed frame will be very comfortable, so I made the height of the lower bed 10 inches only. Therefore, the height between the lower and upper bunk will be about 30 inches which is really fine until I realized that I still need to add a mattress. And I really want to have that 5 inches deep mattress. With less than 30 inches in between, I will always have a bruise and lump on my forehead before I sit down for breakfast.  I  will just change the height later though…

Since I will convert my old bed to storage, here’s the idea:


All I need to do is just hammer a frame on the sides and place a plywood on top. Later, I can store all my not-sure-if-it-should-be-thrown papers inside and my vision will be at peace. And if it fits, dump the old clothes for charity there too…  Interestingly, the frame is actually 6 inches in height, or roughly 7 cubic feet of storage space!!!

Here’s how it looks like once painted with what I think are fitting colors:


I really do not like to paint the whole bed frame. I imagine it varnished to natural colors. Besides, I love brown or its variants. And inasmuch as I do not like yellow, the color will really be warm during typhoon season. But I would really like to have a bold blue color when I wake up. Orange…well, it’s my sisters favorite, so I just added it so she will not be left out.

Also, I was planning to utilize the whole width of the 3/4 inch plywood (which is just Php800 in the store I visited yesterday) for the lower bed, but I really want to use  wooden slats, mainly for the reason that I can see what I stored below it or can check if it needs to be cleaned already he he…

So here’s how it will probably look like in the future (medium-term plan?):


With the necessary elements, this is how it should look like:


One thing good about this plan is I can start now by converting my box bed into a storage.  I can start slow, that is, by buying the 2 x 1 wood for the frame (about 3 pieces) and a 1/4 inch plywood.

Anyways, so I showed my plan to my mother. “What if you will fall from the top bunk?!?” “What if the top bed will break, we will have more hospital expenses?!?” “What if <this>?” “What if <that>?”

OMG!!! Ma, that is still the plan!!! I am not building it today, I am still dreaming about it. And WTF with all these dream-censoring?!?!?


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Posted by on November 20, 2016 in SketchUp


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Metric vs English & an Education

My friends gave me coffee before the anticipated mass last Saturday, so I was up all night and slept at about 4AM Sunday. What did I do as soon as I sat down in front of the computer, stressed with the idea of my limited Sketchup trial subscription? This:


I re-sketched my dream bed because my first attempt was measurement-less. It was hard to imagine the possibilities of a planned reality if most of its part is not apt to what is in the real world. {{{Just made me recall this RT feature of the “Madman of the Cathedral“}}}

For instance, if I plan to insert baskets in the storage instead of making a drawer, is there a basket available in the market for that size?  Or, if the bed is in this particular size, will there be a mattress of that size or will I just be creating useless spaces?

So I worked on that drawing, with proper measurements now…for several hours… Why it took that long? Because I made use of the metric system! I used to laugh at America for still using the English system of measurement; while we, in the so-called 3rd-world, are already using the metric system. Since the available wood in the market are in inches, I attempted to convert all measurements to create a metricized bed. It was easy at first, but as I went to the details, I get confused. Like a 1/4 inch plywood is 0.625 cm. Should I make it 0.6 cm? or 0.5, which is easier to imagine?  Because I only depended on my memory, I sometimes use 0.5 cm on the other edge, while on the other edge, I use 0.6 cm. While in reality this 0.1 cm difference is not a big deal, the computer always reminds you that it is. And since I am a certified OC, I get anxious at the smallest bit of  discrepancy.  So I stopped and decided to go to my dreamland, with the concept of the bed fading as I enter the unconscious…

Noon time, wanting to control my newly-discovered addiction but cannot (it’s Sunday anyways and I already heard mass last night!), I propped up on my computer chair with a cup of black coffee and started fussing with my mouse.  Before that, I told my mother about my plan, but this time, I will plan in inches.

Since the available plywood comes in inches, and I would like to build something with less cutting, I decided to stop pretending to be a metric-advocate and get real. Besides, I can better imagine a persons height in inches or feet than in centimeter or meter. So if a person says he is 1.6 meters, I feel like he is talking about the size of his coffin. To imagine him, I have to compute his height against mine, take the difference and convert to inches. So if the difference between us, let’s say, is 0.1 meter or 10 centimeters, I still have to convert that to inches, or divide it by 2.5 to get the 4 inches difference.

This is also true with the length of the bed. I am an average Asian, so I am below 6 ft, which is about 183 centimeter. If I use 183 centimeter in the plan, that will be stressful to my brain every time I sketch, as what happened on Saturday night.  I have to consider that the plywood dimension in the market is 4 ft x 8 ft. If I use the English system, or 6 ft, I can simply imagine that I will just ask somebody to cut the length 2 ft less. Easy.

So here’s what I sketched that Sunday afternoon:


This was easier to draw since I was basing everything on the dimensions of the available plywood and other woods. And it’s much easier to imagine since the beds in my room were built using inches.

Using the other features of SketchUp, this is what I plan to have:



Atm, this is not yet done (just look at the crooked caster wheel he he).  I still have to decide whether to use a whole plywood to cover the top portion of the bed or to use slats. I want to use slats as it allows me to easily inspect the contents of the storage.

As I analyze how much I will be spending, and considering that there is high probability that I will be hiring somebody to help me out since I am a poor carpenter, I need to prepare a large sum of money…and this is not what I intended.

I want to DIY my own bed, not just because it would mean a lot to me, but also because I want to spend lesser. If I will ask for assistance, that means, I will add a budget for labor.

So I thought, my only problem actually is, I do not have power tools, which will make everything easier. Yes, my father left us with complete carpentry tools in his tool cabinet, but my muscles now are extremely lazy with too much exposure to sematary, errrr sedentary lifestyle. I need those fancy power tools and I am willing to purchase them since it means I can make so much more with it. I can even imagine myself building the dog houses, or the planned stairs for a 2nd storey, or my nephews’ beds.  But as I assess things further, I really do not know anything about basic carpentry.  What I have with me are just based on experience I receive from my late father, who used to head the carpentry department of a multinational corporation, and the intuition and desire to build on my own.

I need an education. Not really a serious education, but at least one that would teach me to carry those power tools.

Hmmm…a technical school!!! That’s right, I will try to enroll in a technical school for carpentry to understand the basics.

So what happened really is, I enrolled last Monday in the government’s technical/vocational school to take carpentry course.  I am hoping to receive a scholarship. But if not, I can try that technical school nearby that enrolls students to study to go abroad hmmm…

So while awaiting for their response to my application, I will keep on drawing, sketching, planning, until my SketchUp trial subscription ends…


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Posted by on November 15, 2016 in SketchUp


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