Lawsuit Update And The Shop Table

Let’s start today’s post with an update on the lawsuit situation.  If you haven’t yet read about the car accident and lawsuit, you might want to get caught up on the situation.  The lawsuit post was the single most popular post I’ve written yet, and garnered more comments than any other.  

I guess my misfortune is a very popular topic.


Lawsuit Update

We have some good news!  Our lawyer called on Wednesday with an update.  The driver of the Mercedes decided to settle rather than go to arbitration.  In the end the Mercedes owner settled for $31,000 on top of what she had already received from the insurance payout.  Her lawyer will take about 1/3 of this.

In the end, the Mercedes driver took home a little over $80,000 from the insurance payout, and the lawsuit settlement combined.  That should be enough to buy her a new Mercedes SUV.  

I can think of better things to do with $80k, but everyone has different priorities.  Right?

None of the money for the settlement (including legal fees) is coming out of my pocket.  It’s all handled by our insurance company.

Fortunately, our insurance rates won’t go up because of the lawsuit – other than the normal increase following the car accident (an 8% increase).

What a relief to be done with this lawsuit!  I tend to stress myself out over stuff, and having it “settled” feels like a weight off my shoulders.  I’ll sleep a little better tonight.

When you think about it, all parties are going to be happy this suit is over:  The Mercedes driver is happy because she gets money for her new SUV.  The lawyer is happy because he’s getting $10k out of the settlement, and we’re happy because this whole nasty business is done.  A win-win-win.  It almost sounds like a happy business transaction.

I’m very thankful the Mercedes driver had no idea what we were worth financially.  Stealth wealth ftw!

I also wanted to say “thank you” to everyone for the helpful comments regarding the lawsuit.  Many of you had great tips on insurance and lawsuits.  It’s awesome to have such a friendly and helpful community!

Now, on to my current project…


The Knockdown Shop Table

I’m one of those people that likes to build stuff.  I’ve always made things…even when I was a kid.  Now that I’ve achieved financial independence, I have more time to build solutions instead of buying them.  Frequently this ends up costing less too!

For my most recent project, I decided to build a knockdown shop table.  A knockdown shop table is one that can be assembled in a couple minutes, and taken apart in just as little time.

I decided I wanted a shop table that could roll outside, and fold up flat against the wall when the cars were in the garage.  It had to be cheap, quick to setup, hold heavy tools, and have wheels.  Here’s what I came up with:

 Shop Table   Shop Table  

The knobs are made from leftover plywood scraps and some 5/16th’s bolts.  They hold all the pieces tightly together.  There are no screws or nails holding the table together.  It’s surprisingly rigid too!

Shop Table KnobThe wheels are from used roller blades.  I deconstructed some from the thrift-store.  The wheels have bearings and are fantastic for moving heavy things.  By contrast, if I was to buy a caster wheel it would cost a minimum of $3 and they don’t roll terribly well.  

Shop Table Wheels

Once the table is taken apart, it only takes a few inches of horizontal space.  Here’s everything taken apart and stacked against the wall so I can drive the car into the garage.

Shop Table Apart


Why Build It?

The genesis of this project has to do with saving space; I don’t have a terribly large garage area for projects.

I’m also one of those crazy people that believes garages should be for storing cars, not excess consumer junk!  At night, the Tako family stores our cars in the garage.  This protects them against the elements, and theft (a common problem in our neighborhood).  Cars also last longer if you store them inside!  The only problem – this doesn’t leave much room for working on projects!

Working on projects in the garage is also messy.  If I’m sawing up wood in the garage it makes a terrible dusty mess; I don’t have room for a fancy dust collection system.  Instead, I prefer to do my cutting outside.  Rolling the tools outside is far easier than carrying them.


The Cost

Building this table cost me very little.  Most of the wood for the table was built from old garden shed scraps.  We tore down the garden shed a few years ago, and I salvaged the usable wood.  When free wood is available, I try to salvage it.

The tabletop is made from a Birch plywood – roughly a third of a sheet, or $19.

The wheels were salvaged from thrift-store roller blades.  At $0.62 per wheel, the total cost of the wheels was $2.48.  Miscellaneous nuts, bolts, and washers cost about $4.

Total project cost: $25.48

Salvaged Wood
Most wood I salvage. Here’s a bunch of 2×6’s I salvaged a few weeks ago. It was all free.

Why Building Is Better

I realize I could have just gone to the store and spent $130 to buy a folding table like this one (or other pre-built tables), but where’s the fun in that?

Consumers go out and buy solutions.  Financially independent people like myself can build solutions.  

Building something is a fantastic activity for humans to engage in, but most people never build anything.  They spend most of their free time watching TV while their bodies and minds rot away.  It’s a sad state of affairs.

Building something is a great way to stay active.  I get to think, learn, and practice different crafts.  In my own working career I never would have the opportunity to build something like this.  It’s also great fun, and nothing can replace that sense of accomplishment when a project is complete.


Knockdown Furniture

I confess…there were ulterior motives for building the shop table.  I wanted to experiment with knockdown furniture, and the shop table was practice for building some.

I like knockdown furniture, but it’s absolutely non-existent in any quality form today.  Notice I said “quality”.  Sure, I could go down to Ikea and buy some flat-pack furniture.  Technically that can be taken apart and re-assembled, but I wouldn’t call it “quality”.

Have you ever actually tried to move Ikea furniture or take it apart and re-assemble?  Frankly, it falls apart.  Ikea furniture isn’t designed to be moved or taken apart – It won’t stand up to the abuse because of the poor materials.  I’ve talked about my distaste for poor quality consumer products before – this is another bad example.

Typical flat-pack furniture is made from particle board (or MDF) with extremely thin veneers.  Particle board is made to be cheap, not strong.  It’s mainly made from wood chips, sawdust, and some pretty toxic glues.  It won’t take much abuse.  Nor will it stand up to being moved or taken apart frequently.

So why does practically all furniture sold in the U.S. use particle board?  

It’s really cheap…and looks pretty decent.  Ikea and other furniture manufacturers turn out particle board furniture in giant robotic factories, giving them incredible economies of scale. When the average consumer compares the price of particle board furniture to solid wood furniture, they’ll pick the particle board every time.  

Real wood furniture is expensive, and the labor to build it is very expensive.  Heck, even something made with real plywood is expensive these days.  Consumers have been trained to like cheap furniture.

Cheap furniture isn’t always a bad thing though.  When you’re young and getting started in life, this kind of furniture can get you started at a very low cost.  Unfortunately that also feeds the disposable-consumer mentality.  Should we really be filling our landfills with cheap particleboard furniture that gets replaced every 5 years?  It’s a sad state of affairs.  

If furniture was designed to last longer, couldn’t we let the trees grow larger?

Rather than give in to this consumer mentality, I decided I was going to try my hand at building some knockdown furniture.  It’s going to be done with my limited set of tools.

Maybe I’ll succeed, or maybe I’ll fail….either way you’ll get to find out!


[Image Credit: Flickr]

17 thoughts on “Lawsuit Update And The Shop Table

  • April 29, 2016 at 3:50 PM

    Happy to hear that worked out alright. I had to go back and read your original post because I had missed it. Such a shame there are so many lawsuits these days; I’m glad you didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket.

    Your shop table looks nice. It’s great to frugally build something that’s practical. Looking forward to see how your knockdown furniture turns out.

    I know it was in the initial post, but what a great reminder of why stealth wealth is so important.
    We’ve only been blogging the past couple of months, but don’t plan to ever relinquish our anonymity.

  • April 29, 2016 at 8:48 PM

    Just caught up with the car lawsuit article. Amazing that this happens. I can not remember something like this happening to me or one of my friends here in Belgium. Good that it is all over now.

    The table is a nice piece of DIY. The wheels are a nice touch.

  • April 30, 2016 at 2:40 AM

    I am with Amber Tree on this one. I have never heard of a similar type of lawsuit in Europe. If we have an accident we get the insurance pay-out and that is it. It must have been really stressful for you and Mrs Tako, so I am glad it’s over in such a positive way. Hurray for stealth wealth 🙂

    • April 30, 2016 at 7:52 AM

      Yes, we’re very glad it’s done. It would appear can get sued for anything in the States, and in my experience that’s largely true.

  • April 30, 2016 at 11:05 AM

    Dang…. $80,000. Not bad! But I guess from her perspective… she’s just getting back a car she spent $75K and not making any money or getting back any of her time from the accident right?

    Glad the lawsuit is behind you guys. Everybody slow down and look all directions!


  • April 30, 2016 at 1:31 PM

    Glad to hear it all worked out ok, understand these things can be stressful.
    Love the table. Unfortunately I’m still in the camp of having too much stuff in our garage to fit our car but agree with you.

  • April 30, 2016 at 4:08 PM

    Thank goodness that nonsense is behind you.

    DIY projects can be a lot of fun, especially when you start repurposing stuff and being creative – Love the rollerblade wheels, very clever.

    Most of the furniture in our homes is solid wood, mid century modern pieces made to last in the 1950’s and 1960’s. We’ve got tons of Lane Acclaim stuff, a couple neat Kroehler sofas, a Jens Risom chair that I found at the Restore for $35 (but could probably fetch $1000). Way better than the stuff they sell at IKEA or Ashley’s (we have some of that too), and in most cases, cost quite a bit less.


  • April 30, 2016 at 5:01 PM

    Glad it is done.
    Love the rollerblade wheels, those work great on luggage bags and anything that rolls. I never though of going to a thrift store to get them, maybe I’ll visit there when I need project materials.

    • April 30, 2016 at 7:10 PM

      The thrift store sells them way cheaper than I could find them anywhere else.

  • May 1, 2016 at 3:18 AM

    Congrats on the quick resolution on the lawsuit, glad its over! Time to move on (pun intended), which you seem to have done rather efficient with your new carpentry skills. Nice work.

  • May 1, 2016 at 9:32 PM

    Must feel great to have this behind you finally! Congrats.

    It’s nice that you have time to build things. It’s always fulfilling to create something from raw materials and see the finished end product. Very cool!

  • May 2, 2016 at 6:04 AM

    Glad everything is settled with the lawsuit! I’ve also never seen a knockdown table like that – it’s pretty neat.

  • May 2, 2016 at 11:53 AM

    Whew, nice to hear they settled out of court.
    Nice table! I’m thinking about taking some wood working classes when we have more space. Can’t do much at the moment because we live in a condo. I heard there is a nice collective work space so I might go check that out.

  • May 3, 2016 at 2:13 AM

    Congrats on getting through the lawsuit, I bet it feels like a huge weight off your shoulder. To be fair, she’s lucky she lives in America for that to happen.



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