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Spring Cleaning the Workshop

March 16th, 2009 Comments off

spring-cleaning-workshop03 Spring is here and so the time to start doing projects around the house has come. In preparation to do projects for the summer I have tasked myself with getting my workshop cleaned up. As you can see from the picture to the right and below the workshop section of my garage had become a storage facility during the winter.

New Shelf

spring-cleaning-workshop07 Part of the cleanup project was to add an additional shelf above my wall-mounted workbench. In the process of doing that I noticed that a couple of the anchors for the existing shelf were starting to come out of the wall. I shored this up by adding a metal L-bracket connected to a stud. Looking back now I am not sure why I did not attach the shelf brackets to studs in the first place. I made up for it with the new shelf though by adding two additional brackets. I also made sure that all 6 brackets of the new shelf were attached to studs. That shelf should be fine for years to come although I might want to think about painting it.

The Workbenches

Another part of the project is to finish up my mobile (or movable) workbenches. I have had these guys for 3 years now and have never finished them because they were doing pretty good the way they were. I need more storage space though and there is plenty of space under them that is not being fully utilized right now. In addition to that one of the benches is pretty unstable and so needs a little rework to be as solid as the other bench.

spring-cleaning-workshop06My plans for the workbenches include taking the current tops of 5/8” plywood and cutting them down to use as a shelf at the bottom of the bench. From there I bought 3/4 MDF that I will use for the top. I really did not take care of the tops of benches before but I want to this time around so I will be sealing them with Polyurethane and will protect them from now on if I paint on them.

I will also be adding backs to the benches so that the items that I store in the bottom will not be easily accessible by the kids when they are in the garage. The kids love the garage and try to get into anything that they can while in there. The other thing that will do is make it look a little cleaner and organized.

The final thing that I am thinking of doing is to paint and/or stain the benches. I know they are benches and they are in the garage but it may be nice to see them finished. I think I could spend the whole spring working on the benches so I have to be careful so that I can actually get to some other projects.

My hope is that I can finish the cleanup/rebuild within the next few days and get to a couple of other projects that I have lined up. We’ll see how successful I am with that schedule ;-) .

Workbenches - before the rebuild/cleanup Workbenches - before the rebuild/cleanup - 2 The "garden section" and scrap wood The permentant bench and it's mess Kind of Clenaed up bench and new shelf Nice and clean benches and with one semi-finshed The cleaned up "garden section" and scrap wood Bench with the plywood back on it Bench with MDF top (Not attached yet) Usable storage under the workbench! Usable storage under the workbench 2! springcleaningworkshop06-thumb.jpg springcleaningworkshop06.jpg springcleaningworkshop07-thumb.jpg springcleaningworkshop07.jpg springcleaningworkshop03-thumb.jpg springcleaningworkshop03.jpg

I Was Finally Able to Use My Table Saw to Finish Stuff for Christmas

January 2nd, 2009 Comments off

I was finally able to get my table saw up and running. Not only that I bought a zero clearance insert and casters for it as well. On top of that I built a sled for it so that I could do some repeatable cuts while working on the stepping stools that I did for Christmas presents. It was so nice to finally have a real table saw.

The stepping stools came out pretty nice although I did not get them done in time for Christmas. They were built and glued but I did not get to priming them until after Christmas. At the time of writing this they still need to be sanded and to be touched up.

I also did not get the second batch of magazine racks done either. They are stained but I still need to put the Polyurethane on them. I did take the people that were getting them into the garage to show them what they would be getting “some day soon”. That day hasn’t come yet but I will try to get them done during this long weekend.

What I Learned

These were some really cool projects that brought several really good lessons with them. Here are some of those lessons:

  • The grit of the sandpaper that you use determines how much stain the wood will absorb.
    I found this out by sanding the first set of magazine racks with 220 grit. They did not seems to want to take the stain. Then on the second batch I sand just a few blemish areas with 100 and the stain did not want to take in those areas. Next time if I sand one spot I sand the whole thing with 100 grit.
  • My paint sprayer has adjustments for the paint and air flow and I should adjust them before painting my pieces.
    I used oil base primer to seal the stepping stools which was really thick paint. It coated the stools with a texture because I had too much paint and air coming out. Half way through I started messing with the knobs on the back and was able to get nice even texture-free coats on some test pieces. Oh well, that is what sanding blocks are for.
  • Start building Christmas presents before December 1st.
    I had not planned to build Christmas presents this year but then I saw the magazine rack idea on the Wood Whisperer and thought “Hey, I can do that”. Sure I was able to do it but not in the quantity and time frame that was needed. Next year I am starting in August ;-) .
  • Keep things in perspective, this is supposed to be fun and I am just starting out.
    This is probably the most important lesson. There was a point a few days before Christmas that I was exhausted and tired of rushing to get these things done. It was not fun anymore and that is not how it should be. Therefore I took a couple of nights off from it which is why they were not done for Christmas. I don’t regret it as I needed to take a step back. Also, I was rushing too much and that always leads to accidents which I did not want.

All in all it was a good Christmas season and I loved being able to make something by hand for folks. For those that did get their magazine racks before Christmas they loved them and I am sure the other folks will like theirs when they get them.

After all the dust settles it looks like I will be moving on to a gadget station for me and a head board for our room. I can’t wait!

Zero Clearance Insert Casters Table Saw Sled Table Saw Sled Table Saw Sled Two Step Stepping Stoll - Primed Stepping Stool - Front Stepping Stool - Side All Four Stools Together

Coming Down to the Last Minute in Finishing Christmas Presents

December 18th, 2008 Comments off

A couple weeks ago I came across the Wood Whisperers article about simple magazine racks as Christmas presents. I initially made a couple out of Pine to test out but planed the wood to thin so it easily warped. I then bought enough Rd Oak to make 4 which came out alright. These 4 are stained but still need the Polyurethane added to them. This past Sunday I picked up 4 more pieces of Red Oak and busted out 4 more in a night. These guys still need stain and Poly.

I also pick up some 5/8″ MDF in order to make some stepping stools as presents as well. These have yet to be cut, glued, and primed but they are at the bottom of the list as they do not need to be shipped. I should be able to build all 4 of the step stools that I ant in an evening as well. 

The issue that I am facing is that it has been literally freezing the last fee days – day and night. I don’t believe the stain and Poly work to well in the lower temperatures and I don’t either. today it started to warm up a little but not enough. Tomorrow is supposed to be better but I have plans in the evening (Christmas stuff for the kids). It seems that I really underestimated the weather and the amount of work involved in getting Christmas presents done.

Hopefully I can get the staining/priming/Poly done this weekend in order to get them shipped on Monday.

Progress On My Daughter’s Two Step Stepping Stool

November 10th, 2008 Comments off
Two Step Stepping Stool - Angle View

Two Step Stepping Stool - Angle View

This weekend I got to spend some time in the garage and was able to assemble and prime my daughter’s 2 step stepping stool. The stool is made of 5/8″ MDF that I had left over from a 4′ x 8′ sheet that I had bought to make some shelves for under our stairs. The piece that I made this from was 16″ x 48″ and I still had some MDF left.

Generally MDF would not be the ideal type of wood for this project due to the fact that there is a good chance that the steps are going to get wet. While MDF is pretty strong and rigid water is its chief enemy. I am combating this by putting several coats of Kilz Oil based primer in order to seal it. I am hoping that the primer plus the paint that I will put on it will be protection enough for it. It is a stepping stool after all.

I hope to have it painted an finished some time this week.

Here are some photos before I put the primer on it.

Two Step Stepping Stool - Front View Two Step Stepping Stool - Side View Two Step Stepping Stool - Back View Two Step Stepping Stool - Bottom View Two Step Stepping Stool - Angle View