Phase 1 of 2, Bungalow Window Box at last! | Week 26 | #52wonderfilledweeks

Week 26. WEEK 26!! We're halfway through our 52 week challenge, and what better way to celebrate than to show off our latest project in a two part series! I am so freaking giddy about this project. Phase one turned out great and as soon as we're done with our little heat wave here in Chicago I'll get chomping on phase deux! So are you ready for it? Drumroll...take a peak at our new..........

We own a 1920's Chicago Bungalow.  When we first moved in years ago we were obsessed with maintaining a sense of the period with the home.  I researched the old window boxes and discovered that they went by the way side long ago. You can read about the history of the Chicago Bungalow and the forgotten window boxes HERE.  I then started to brainstorm ways to replace the missing box and had planned to reproduce it with concrete...years went by and I never had the time or will to actually make it happen.  Then last summer when walking the kids to the park I saw some of my neighbors had beautiful flower box plantings, specifically I fell in love with the color and drape of "sweet potato" vines and I knew I had to follow thru on the window box this summer. 

This spring Super ripped out some old shelving in our old coal cellar (though we call it the root cellar) and we knew it would be perfect to make a wooden window box from.  It's old growth lumber, aged, dried and FREE! So after much posturing I got to work drafting up the plans.  

I knew we wanted to use this project as a way to test out the new Kreg tools I had bought Super for his birthday last year so I had to think a little bit more about how I wanted to connect the wood since we would be using a pocket hole jig.  The jig allows you to drill holes at an angle, forming a strong joint between pieces and countersinking the screw head.  This was the perfect project to test it out on since it's a piece that is outside and away from close scrutiny. We watched a bunch of YouTube videos and then got to work.  

I drafted the plan based on the the wood we were going to be reusing.  I knew we had a maximum length of 90" for our base and that would allow for about a 5" overhang on each side of the concrete corbels.  I drew up the plans and as soon as the kids were in bed we got to cutting down our pieces.  

The existing concrete corbels.

Plans all drawn up and ready to get started.

The first new tool we got to dig into was the Kreg Rip-Cut. This handy tool lets you rip (cut boards lengthwise - or with the grain) perfectly. 

There's a little set up involved but having ripped boards with just a skill saw this took a lot of the guess work and sweat out of the procedure.  Basically you attach your skill to the Rip-Cut, set the width you'd like to cut and run the blue guide against the side of the piece you're cutting AS you're cutting and viola!

Super did all the ripping...I have found that my hands are almost too small to work the Skill saw comfortably.  I literally can't hold the safety and the power button at the same time.  Add in that I am fairly short so bending over the boards also make things difficult I thought it best to let Super handle it. 

One thing I COULD do was drill our pocket holes, thanks to our new Kreg Jig System...this thing is the sh*t. 

Very little set up for this, though we took sometime to make sure we were doing things in the correct order.  Basically you clamp your wood piece in as shown above, set the drill depth on the jig and make sure the stop collar on the drill bit also is correct for the pocket hole and hardware you will be using.  Drilling the holes was probably the easiest thing we did.  

Based on the research I did we put holes every 6"-8".  In the end Super thought it was overkill but I didn't mind.  We got extra practice and honestly, we decided to use the Kreg screws that we came in our kit which are zinc coated and not the "blue" outdoor coated screws.  We decided to risk it because if we had to rebuild this it probably wouldn't happen for several years.  

Using a right angle clamp to hold our pieces together while we attach the screws.

Note to self, next time cut on the grass or move the rug.  I thought vacuuming this
was the easier wasn't.
The only issue we had was that on about half the screws we drove them in a touch too far and they poked thru.  I had to go and back those out a bit so no one would get hurt on them, otherwise this system was the bees knees.  I think in the future we are going to move the stop collar on the drill bit down so it doesn't go as deep.

Three sides done, one more to go!

I opted to fill the holes on the outer sides of the box and the four on the inside so the dirt and water wouldn't get to it.

I left the bazillion pocket holes on the bottom alone because if you're close enough to see them you're on private property and the cops are probably on their way, lol!

I was so excited to see this come together, I almost wept....for real! Walking it out to dry fit it out front was so exciting.  We had discussed adding trim to the front and sides but once in place we thought that it was perfect as is. 


I love how it turned out but it's not done yet! Next week we will finish up the box with some sanding, sealing and paint AND add a really cool DIY irrigation system so watering those plants in that amazing window box will be easier! Trust me you'll want to see the finished product! But until then lets just look at it once more time ;)

*happy sigh*


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