How to Build a Message Center
Taking a cue from classic window trim, Tom Silva and Kevin O’Connor dress up a chalkboard with molding from the home center
Although everyone these days seems to communicate electronically, there’s no denying the old-fashioned appeal of making a list, writing a message, or creating one-of-a-kind artwork with just a stick of chalk on a blackboard. It’s the favorite medium for restaurants to list their daily specials; maybe it’s time to follow suit in your kitchen.
Sadly, many message boards are minimal affairs without the necessary real estate for creative chalking. That’s not a problem for this message center, with its generous 21 ½-by-31 ¼-inch black chalkboard. Nor is there anything skimpy about the robust moldings that surround it; TOH general contractor Tom Silva modeled them to look like a window trimmed in classic Colonial Revival style. While the frame looks expensive, Tom and TOH host Kevin O’Connor built it with standard-dimension, solid-wood stock, which is readily available at home centers and lumberyards. Even better, there’s no need for rip cuts on a table saw or fancy joinery; everything goes together in a few hours with screws, glue, and nails.
Shown: Tom and Kevin show off the results of their work, complete with to-do list. The frame around the blackboard is made of poplar, an inexpensive hardwood that takes paint beautifully. A coat of primer and a couple of top coats are all that’s needed to finish this piece.