This was one of the cheaper and more frustrating projects. Autumn forwarded me these instructions, and the project looked simple enough.
The challenges all rose from the concrete. I couldn’t get the first stool out of the bucket and had to hammer on the bucket until the cement started to crumble. I added about an inch too much to the second stool, so that it was top-heavy and convinced me it would tip over and crush someone’s foot
Taking the advice from another HomeMade Modern howto, I cut a bucket down to allow the stool legs to spread out further for more stability. This, however, made it harder to pull straight up out of the bucket and increased the likelihood of the dowel becoming a lever that would pry up a bit of concrete.
Since I was just pouring a little concrete out of the bag each time and not using it all at once, each stool has a slightly different ratio of gravel to cement. I tried to sand the edges of some of the voids near the sides or tops of the stools to prevent clothing from snagging on it, but this is just a Sisyphean task of sanding, having it crumble a little, exposing more cement edges, and then sanding again.
The concept is sound, but for it to be actually useful I need to invest in countertop-grade concrete and figure out a method of removing the stool from the bucket easily and safely.
Last Christmas I decided to do this project as a Secret Santa gift for a friend.
It was my first real soldering project and gave me an excuse to by a soldering iron station and feel like a hacker and/or terrorist as I assembled the capacitors, resistors and chips onto a breadboard.
It was another learning process, and the most challenging step was mounting the speaker since the front, which used to be the cigar box lid, was of the tongue and grove slide in variety, meaning I had to slide one hand in a half-inch gap to tighten bolts, cutting my hand on the solder in the process. And then a wire was loose, so I had to take it all apart, find the problem, and try again.
The end product has an Etsy-like charm, and audio quality was surprisingly decent, considering it’s mono and not stereo.
I’ve made a stereo version since, and the process went much faster and easier. So even with the the cost of materials and time, the experience, and the reception by the Santee, definitely made it worth it.