View Full Version : Barbie Tables - My Eldest Daughter's First Project

Jim Becker
01-14-2006, 12:09 PM
You may have noted the Barbie beds I showed pics of in the "Weekend Accomplishments" thread this past week. They were much appreciated and prompted Nastia (Anastasiya), the older girl, to request additional pieces. Of course, I said yes with the caveat that she was going to do the work. It was also an opportunity for some "bonding" time with her as she is closer to Alison and Alesya had a dentist appointment this morning. So...I fired up the shop heat after breakfast and after a little while we went out to work on the project.

The first step was explaining the shop rules. They are simple, but a little harder to impart in an unfamiliar language...translation isn't "exact", unfortunately. Safety glasses are required at all times. No touching any of the power tools. Papa will show you how to do something first...watch carefully...and they you get to do it. Strangely enough, she pretty much stuck to these rules which is nice because she is a bit rebellious and impatient.

Second, we had to work things out on paper first, at least a little. So I had her retrieve a Barbie to allow for measurements. I gave her the choice of a square table or a rounded one...of course, she chose the rounded version. :o . From there, we headed to the shop to get started.

First step...create an ellipse on the material for the table tops. (scrap 1/2" MDF) We used the "two nails and a piece of string" method which she thought was pretty kewel. I cut out the tops on the bandsaw and had her sand them smooth. (well, sorta smooth...) Next, I marked out the legs on some pieces of 3/4" poplar dowel and showed her how to use the hand saw. (I purposefully measured slightly long...) She did a good job despite the fact that I had no knowledge of the right words to say things like, "Don't press down...let the saw do the work."

I then "trued" up the legs on the table saw with my sled to insure that the tables would not rock. The last step before assembly was to drill some 3/4" recesses with a Forstner bit at the drill press. She was taken with the curly material ejected by the bit...it looks like macaroni... ;) I then showed her how to apply glue to the legs and insert them in the mortises...driving them home with a few taps of a small hammer.

On to finishing...after some more sanding, of course. The shellac was still on the workbench from the beds, so I had Nastia don some gloves, roll up her sleeves and get to work. Bottoms first and then two coats on the tops. Shellac is a good choice for this kind of thing 'cause it's easy and fast. Children really don't have a lot of patience to wait and this is a finish that works in that respect.

We did start to make some couches after the tables were set aside to dry, but the limit of attention span had been reached and exceeded. Once Alison and Alesya pulled in the driveway after the dentist and hair cut...work came to a screeching halt, hopefully to be resumed either later today, later this weekend or whenever.

Obligatory Pictures:
What every well-dressed woodworker wears...
Learning to saw
Sawing some legs
Surreptitiously trimming said legs square and all to the same length... ;)
Whacking the legs home

Jim Becker
01-14-2006, 12:12 PM
Some more pictures:

Getting started on the finishing
Moving right along...what a face!
Barbie approves...but is a bad girl for not wearing HER safety glasses!

Michael Ballent
01-14-2006, 12:45 PM
Very cool Jim!!! It certainly looks like she was enjoying the whole process, and think how cool it will be for her to know that she had a hand in Barbie furniture. My munchkin is still too small... for now :)

Bob Winkler
01-14-2006, 12:58 PM
Excellent post and pictures, Jim. Looks like fun was had by all-especially the proud papa.;)


Don Baer
01-14-2006, 12:59 PM
Good Job Papa, but where are Barbies safety glasses ?


tod evans
01-14-2006, 1:06 PM
way to go jim! the attention thing doesn`t get a whole lot better as they get older but it does improve. keep up the good work. tod

Jim Becker
01-14-2006, 1:20 PM
the attention thing doesn`t get a whole lot better as they get older but it does improve.

Yea...I know. At almost 49 I have the same problem... :o:p:D

Bob Noles
01-14-2006, 1:44 PM

That is just GREAT! There is no better way to spend time than you have shown here.

She is a doll.... yes Barbie too :)

btw.... were did you find those fashionable safety glasses for her?

Keith Starosta
01-14-2006, 2:12 PM
Very cool, Jim!

Jim Becker
01-14-2006, 2:21 PM
btw.... were did you find those fashionable safety glasses for her?
Lee Valley, I believe. They are designed for kids. I personally don't like wearing that type, but they are the best style for young folks because of the complete all-around protection. Unfortunately, they also are not great/comfortable with regular glasses...something she could benefit from wearing since her vision is very bad. I may need to go to a more open type as a compromise if she continues to be interested in doing this work because of that...seeing the cut line is somewhat important!

She kinda wants to go back out to the shop to work on the "couches", but I can't do that with both girls in tow...nothing for the younger to do and I can't watch her and help Nastia work at the same time.

Bob Weisner
01-14-2006, 3:33 PM
This might work for wearing over eyeglasses.


Mark Singer
01-14-2006, 3:51 PM
That is a tear jurker of a post! ,,,,,Just Wonderful! Enjoy every moment!

Jim Becker
01-14-2006, 6:18 PM
We ended up returning to the shop later in the day to complete the "sofas" (Divahn). Here are a couple of pics:

1) More shellac-ing...
2) A final word from the woodworker of the day...

Jim Becker
01-14-2006, 6:21 PM
This might work for wearing over eyeglasses.

I have plenty of those, Bob, but not in child's size. I need to find some because it's quite evident to me that she is going to need to wear her glasses to do any "real" work in the shop.

John Miliunas
01-14-2006, 6:40 PM
Say Jim, where's your matching furry collar apron or smock???? She's making you look bad, you know!:D Looks like a super time had by all! Truly the kind of stuff memories are made of!!! :) :cool:

Mark Stutz
01-14-2006, 7:15 PM
This thread and the pictures are just fantastic. I do sense however that were going to start seeing a little more Neander influence with the youngun's in the shop.:D :eek:

Karl Laustrup
01-14-2006, 7:22 PM
Jim, what a great post. Congrats. :)

Starting Nastia in woodworking can be only good for her. I'm sure her sister will follow as soon as she is old enough.

And they will learn from one of the best, both in style and technique as well as safety.


Art Mulder
01-14-2006, 7:23 PM
2) A final word from the woodworker of the day...

Keep that second photo, Jim. Label it, back it up, and make sure you know where it is... Someday, somewhere, you're going to want to pull it out. Maybe at her wedding. Maybe to show grandkids. Maybe just to hold it out as a threat... ;)

(who had his lovely sister to thank for putting up kid pictures of him in a dress at his wedding...)

Jason Tuinstra
01-14-2006, 7:37 PM
Way to go dad!!! Nothing like those bonding moments... which might actually take on a whole new meaning when glue is involved :D

lloyd morris
01-14-2006, 9:37 PM

Thanks for the wonderful post. She will always remember her shop time with you. You are a lucky man to have such a great daughter.


Corey Hallagan
01-14-2006, 10:00 PM
Very cool Jim. Looks like it was a great time in the shop! Now that child knows how to make faces!!


Ken Fitzgerald
01-14-2006, 10:06 PM
Go Dad and Daughter! Do keep the "all tongue" photo! I kept similar photos....it's fun to show such to their "prospective" spouses when they bring them home to meet Mom and Dad!

Jim Becker
01-14-2006, 10:16 PM
Folks, "tongue" photos are more of the rule rather than the exception with this girl, particularly when she's operating the camera on herself.

Thanks for the nice comments. It really was a good time, despite the fact that "I" didn't get to do much woodworking at all.

I do sense however that were going to start seeing a little more Neander influence with the youngun's in the shop

Well...we did try out the brad nailer for the "couches". Unfortunately, it was a bit too heavy for her. The pinner would have been better, but it doesn't have a safety nose and will shoot pins without being in contact with material. But yes, a bit more neander is certainly possible under these "conditions"... ;)

Dan Forman
01-14-2006, 11:52 PM
Some more pictures:

Moving right along...what a face!

I think this says it all.

Well, I tried to "quote" the middle pic in the second series, but it was not to be.


Jim Becker
01-15-2006, 9:29 AM
Well, I tried to "quote" the middle pic in the second series, but it was not to be.

Quoting pics only works if they are links to pictures on another site.

Thomas Prondzinski
01-15-2006, 9:39 AM

Pics are worth a thousand words,looks like a very great day for all.Congrats on a wonderful afternoon of memories.I'm sure many more to come.


Wes Bischel
01-15-2006, 9:57 AM

Great fun just reading your post, let alone living it! Surreptitiously cutting the legs to length reminded me of Zuzu's pedals from "It's a Wonderful Life".:D

As far as the safety glasses go, I picked up a pair at HD that fit over Sam's glasses without a problem - and we added the strap in back so they don't slip down.