Making Something Gorgeous From Framing Lumber

Here at Hackaday, we typically cover things that blink, bleep, and occasionally they might even bloop. However, the name of the site is Hackaday. We’re about being clever, reusing things in new ways, and most importantly celebrating interesting projects. While not a traditional project that would grace the front page, we would argue that this nightstand made from framing lumber clearly belongs.

Framing lumber is infamous for being squirrely, weird, and heavily knotted. Most serious furniture makers avoid using the cheap stuff and opt for more expensive harder woods. Here in the US, the big box hardware stores carry cheap fast-grown soft pine that has significant amounts of warp and twist inherent in the wood. The process of getting it straight with right-angle corners is involved and even once it has been cut, the internal stresses inside the wood are released, rendering the board twisted and warped again over time. The timelapse process of planing, jointing, and cutting in the video has an almost therapeutic aspect to it. The results are two wonderful pieces of useful furniture that would look at home in most rooms.

The craftsmanship evident in the build is noteworthy but more impressive is the process of taking cheap and unfit materials and making something beautiful out of them. Perhaps if you’re inspired and decide to make your own nightstand this weekend, you can add some touch-sensitive electronics to it. Video after the break.

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Beautiful Touch-Sensitive Furniture


It’s taken over a year, but [tinkering techie] has finally completed his touch sensitive nightstand. At first glance, it looks like any normal piece of furniture. With the addition of an Arduino, some copper clad board, and a few LEDs, he’s turned it into a very elegant, electronic home furnishing.

The nightstand is built out of a few very nice pieces of mahogany. Underneath the top of the nightstand, three Kapton-covered copper clad boards are inset along the front and side edges. These capacitive sensing boards are connected to an Arduino Fio that reads the capacitance of these sensors and turns on a small LED under the drawer or the mains powered lamp.

The electronics are powered by a small USB charger with a battery backup all hidden underneath the top of the nightstand. Inside the drawer, a magnetic reed switch turns on an RGB LED whenever the drawer is opened.

While the nightstand itself is a wonderful piece of woodworking, we need to tip our hat for a remarkably seamless integration of fine furniture and electronics. The electronic furniture modifications we usually see are Ikea cruft, but this wonderful homemade nightstand should last decades or centuries.

Video of [techie] going over his build below

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