Mathieu’s DIY Experience

Mathieu was one of the first people to come to DIY Praha. He originally came to try to fix the chair and some old furniture. Just two months ago, Mathieu finished a table in the workshop that was inspired by a group of his favorite designers from Chicago. “I’ve never worked with wood. And I found that I really enjoy this” he says.

IMG_0680(My family) and I live right around the corner from DIY Praha, so when our baby’s high chair broke, I went there for help fixing it. I did not want to go running around in shops looking for a new one, so I figured that I could repair it myself. Although I failed to find the spare metal part to fix the chair, I was lucky to stumble upon DIY Praha during my search. After this finding, I came here several times to try to repair some old chairs and furniture. I had never worked with wood, but at DIY Praha I was able to sand, paint and furthermore replace broken pieces of the furniture.

       Where I come from in Paris, I had never heard of any space even similar to DIY Praha. People don’t often think about repairing their own furniture simply because they do not have space or equipment for the job.

       DIY Praha is a great place where you are able to make something with your own hands. I work in advertising and the things that I work on are after some time thrown away. Sometimes there are projects that are on air for two months and then they are just tossed in the trash; that’s it. Here you can build something you could touch and use for more than two months. I have found that I really enjoy this.

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       Nowadays, I regularly search for things to repair. I’ll be looking at a chair in my kitchen that isn’t even broken yet, but in the spirit of wonder I think to myself, “I could at least paint it.”

       I recently discovered a table on a designers website in Chicago that I really liked, but unfortunately the company did not sell outside the U.S. Since I was unable to purchase the table I thought, “Why not try to build it.”

         I had no idea how long this might take. Moreover, being that I have two kids and a lot of work, it was going to be hard to find a few hours or even half a day to put toward this project on a regular basis. Although production could have lasted a week, with my busy schedule it took me about three months, 60 hours total, to finish the table.

IMG_4406         Using a 3D program to model the table helped me a lot. The most difficult thing for me was cutting the parts of the table that would hold the magazines. When using the 3D programming, things seem simple, but when you are standing before the wooden board, you find yourself asking, “How can I do this?” If you are a few millimeters off, the pieces would not fit.

        Fortunately, Hank and Martin were always available to answer any questions I had. I discussed with them all the steps. “Now I do this, ok? What shall be the next step?”

     I glued the boards of the table with epoxy glue because it is known to fill gaps very well. When it dried, the glue came out of joints and became more visible which is why I decided to paint it white, to cover it. This being said, it was a pleasant surprise to find how well everything turned out. I look at this process as more of an adventure, I also learned a lot.

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My family is very pleased with the table. With some of the remaining wood pieces, I was able to build a small garage for toy cars that my older son, Adam, helped me paint.  

Eventually, I would like to make a bench and maybe even a wooden clothing rack in the shape of a tree in hopes that my children will stop throwing their clothes on the floor (and would enjoy hanging them on the tree instead). It’s great to be able to creatively think like that. Instead of going to the store and purchasing whatever thing is closest to what I want, I now have the ability to build myself exactly what I need.

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