I know, you all thought I was going to wuss out and buy a ready made agility table. This would have been the wiser choice from both a time and money perspective. The possibility of losing one's fingers to the power saw certainly makes the DIY approach a false economy. But I kept looking at the photo of the table I was going to buy and thinking 'this is stupid, I can make that, it looks so easy, it'll be over $200 probably by the time I pay tax and delivery, I can so make this myself'. And I did! I'm not handy at all and I had no idea what I was doing but I did it and emerged with all my digits and limbs intact though my already rather small DIY ego took a beating from a sarcastic salemsman at Home Depot who had the nerve to laugh at me right to my face. I knew it would take longer than I guessed it would take but it ended up taking even longer than that, mostly because I had to practice with the saw and figure out what I was doing and how many trips to Home Depot did I make? But I really wanted to do it, more for my own sense of satisfaction than to save money which is a good thing because if you add up the cost of tools, materials and most significantly my time this is one helluva an expensive table. Cost of finally Doing It Myself-Priceless. I guess.
Here are some things I learned for future reference or for anyone else silly enough to undertake these shenanigans:
1. Protective eyewear and ear plugs people!
2. Clamps are your friend, but not too tight. Best to put a piece of scrap wood between the clamp and your 'work'. That's what the handy people call the thing you're cutting-'work'. See, I've got the jargon down already.
3. An mp3 player comes in handy for drowning out the screaming noisy rich brats in the swimming pool next door. Otherwise they will distract you and give you a headache and maybe you'll measure something wrong.
4. Keep a cell phone and a cooler handy just in case you have to call 911 and transport a severed digit.
5. Both hands on the saw at the same time. The Home Depot guy can sneer at you all he wants.
6. Getting laughed at by a Home Depot salesman is super fun.
7. It doesn't have to be perfect, we're talking toys for dogs here.
8. How is your math? See if you can figure out ways to minimize the amount of PVC pipe you waste using algebra and the quadratic formula. Calculus may be overdoing it, there's no need to show off. Bonus points if you can do all the calculations by hand because you're such a genuis and left all your calculators at work.
9. Your Border Collie may be smart but he makes a terrible assistant. Lock him in the house where he will stare out the window at you for hours in a most unsettling manner. Even more fun if you have 3 staring at once. You can pretend you're putting on a seminar.
10. PVC shavings make one helluva mess. Not sure how I'm going to get them out of my ski bindings. I had no idea there would be such a mess and by the time I did it was too late.
11. It will take 20 times longer than you think it will.
Now if only I can muster up some more DIY princess energy to paint over the horrible minty green walls in my living room that have been barfing me out for the past 10 years.