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Slowly but surely my wife has become a believer. She’s gone from eye rolling and snickering when I mention I want to build something, to showing me pictures of things she likes and asking me to build what she wants. To her credit, when someone who has no experience using power tools, let alone owns one, says they want to build a patio set instead of buying one, it’s bound to solicit some comical reactions. Over the last year or so, as I brought in project after project, after project, after project (sorry about all the saw dust in the garage honey, it wasn’t me I swear!) she has started “looking” for things to have done.
Our swamp cooler stand was definitely on the top of her list. Living in a desert climate, residential cooling is a huge desire for most. The only problem is we have an older home with no central heating or air, still running baseboard heat in the winter and a swamp cooler in the summer. On the plus side, because Nevada is so dry, swamp coolers can work wonders, and they do so much cheaper than AC. We’ve had a swamp cooler for many years, but it in the 7-8 months of the year when cooling is not needed we want access to window that the swamp cooler is. Our solution for the last 10-years or so has been a very large stand composed of a 2×4 base with some plywood for strength that I frustratingly move back and forth in the Summer and Fall (before you ask, I didn’t build it). It was never designed to move (technically I don’t think it was designed to last 10-years either, but you know…) and it’s an eye sore. As soon as Liz heard that I had completed most of my project list, I- not so subtly- was informed that we needed a new swamp cooler stand. “It’s ugly” she said, “and it doesn’t match the furniture in the backyard.”
I didn’t really care if it matched, and of course being the least exciting project of the century I was sure to jump on building it. I stalled for about as long as I could, which surprisingly was longer than I thought she’d let me, but I knew I needed to get it done (I’m a big believer in happy wife, happy life). I started looking around the web for some ideas on a swamp cooler stand. To my surprise all I could find were very basic 2×4 support plans, but nothing like what I wanted. Plus, our cooler sits very high off the ground (the swamp cooler sits about 6′ off the ground) as we have a basement which elevates the first floor an extra 3-4 feet. I looked everywhere and couldn’t find anything. So I went back to the drawing board, literally.
I pulled out some paper and began sketching a couple of ideas. I got some quick input from the wife (see happy wife, happy life above) and went outside to measure the existing stand. Aside from structural integrity (the existing stand had gotten rickety), I also knew that mobility was a necessary. As soon as I thought that, I had a childhood flashback: What about the old television carts they used to wheel in the classroom when I was a kid? Tell me that wasn’t the best school day ever when those bad boys rolled in? So, yeah, wheels were going to be added.
I came back inside with my measurements and my idea for wheels, and started drawing up some plans and calculated the costs- which at approximately $80, was much less than I was initially thinking. The next day I hit up Home Depot, and while the wife and kids were away, I started to play. I built the frame in a couple of hours, added the plywood and trim, sanded, stained, painted, antiqued and added some spar urethane over the weekend. This wasn’t really a terribly time consuming project. By the time I was done, this is what I had built. The best part? I used almost every power tool I had, even ripping a scrap 1×6 down to a 1×4 with my circular saw as I miscalculated the amount of 1x4s I needed and was too lazy to go get one. I’ll have the plans for this coming soon.