Thursday, March 30, 2017

Paver Replacement

About 15 years ago I pulled a ton of weeds out of the side yard at the house, and then dug out a bunch of dirt, and then added way too much sand, all so that I could put in some pavers to widen the slim path that ran along the house from out side patio to the back yard.

They actually came out ok, considering how little I researched and how poorly I prepped the site/etc.

Over the years they had settled a bit and eventually some weeds began to grow up through the spaces. We tried hard to keep ahead of the weeds, and managed to keep it a mostly weed-free, mostly/kind of level area.

But then California had a severe, several year long drought and we noticed that the pavers had begun to shift. Some of them sank quite a bit, as much as 3 inches in places. What was happening?

Well, I went out and pulled some pavers up and discovered that the ground under that very thick layer of sand I put down had gotten so dry that it cracked up and began swallowing all the sand!

So I added some dirt in some of the worst spots and tried my best to keep the area safe until I could get around to fixing it.

That time finally came early this month.

I pulled up every paver, wiped them down with gloves to remove most of the sand, dirt, weeds, and moss. Then I stacked them neatly along the cement walkway.

Next I pulled back the sand and discovered that most of the cracks in the soil had magically healed themselves. Weird.

At this point, I _could_ have removed all the sand and tried to put down some kind of underlayment, or found a way to try to prevent that "disappearing sand" issue from happening in the future.

I could have done a lot of things.

But instead I made a board the perfect height for the pavers and used a big piece of PVC pipe I had to level the sand. I actually had to add more sand to get things up to the right height.

I set aside a whole day to level the sand and install the pavers but it ended up taking just 3 hours.

The end result is about as good as it was 15 years ago. If we get another 15 years out of it we'll be happy. I know it's not the right attitude, and I really should have done it "right" but at some point I just ran out of motivation (see my post about the funk below).

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Smaller Box

Way back in June I made this box with a sliding lid from Make Magazine (see way below for images/info). This weekend I was in a real funk -- hadn't even stepped foot in the shop in weeks, and had been over a month since I made anything.

But after listening to the most recent episode of the Reclaimed Audio podcast, I vowed to get out into the shop and out of my funk.

So I made a much smaller version of the same box. I used a bunch of scrap wood I had left over from other projects.

Overall, I was fairly pleased with it, though I should spend a lot more time sanding it to make it "cleaner" and the lid was slightly too loose.

I added a movable divide with some "dado" slots. That turned out to be ugly and kind of a waste of time. I thought of this kind of like a pencil box, and I figured you'd want a place to put your erasers and such, and keep them separate from the pencils. I don't know... I don't like the way it looks, but it functions just fine.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Fairy Lights

I saw this project at Darbin Orvar and thought my kids would like them, so I set to work to try to finish in time for christmas.

First things first, I went and bought a hunk of 4"x4" mahogany. I didn't really care what kind of wood (I just knew I wanted hardwood) and so basically I just picked what looked good from the small inventory at the local Woodcraft store.

Then I went to my buddy's house and borrowed his drill press. I bought a forstner bit specifically for this project.

In the end, the only tricky part was figuring out a way to get the recess large enough for the battery pack and not make it all jagged/etc. I used the router table to clean up the edges, but the deepest bit I had was not deep enough, so I hogged out more material with a spade bit. Maybe I should invest in some chisels...

On to some finishing... And then assembly.

The kids liked them, but I think I should have made it a bit easier to turn them off/on. The hole I drilled in the bottom cover is a bit too small.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Dresser Conversion

We go this old dresser from some friends of ours. They were getting rid of it as it had definitely seen some better days.

My plan was to convert it into a cabinet by removing the drawers and rails, then adding interior shelves. For the cabinet doors, I pulled the fronts off the drawers and attached them to some plywood.

I left the top row of drawers alone.

I ended up having to do a lot of fixing to the carcass before I could even get started and I'm having a really difficult time matching the stain. I've definitely found one of those skills I'll need to spend a lot of time on if I want to figure out. Matching stain...

Because this is going to be a home for the record player and records, I made sure the shelves were the right height for albums and then reattached the doors. Aside from the stain issue, it's all ready to go. (well, I have to re-attach the knob on the top right drawer, and the top left drawer will likely always have that chunk missing...)

Monday, August 22, 2016

Miscellaneous Projects

I've been plugging away, making little things out in the shedshop, having a blast. Nothing really noteworthy, just... "stuff"

 This box I threw together from scraps... It's almost square! :)

 Here I'm starting a shelf-thingy designed to hold finishing stuff, spray paint, wax, stain, etc. Finally got to use my pocket hole jig after I built the accessory box for it.

 Here's the frame with the back, and then below, you can see it in place (hanging via french cleat) with a few items in it.

I'm _almost_ ready to tackle the dresser conversion/project thing. More on that later...

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Cleats and Tool Storage

Not that I have an enormous collection of power tools, but each one I have came in a hand plastic carry case. Those are great -- when you need to carry the tools around.

But now that I'm doing most of my work in the shed, those plastic boxes get in the way and take up valuable space.

So I decided to make a "french cleat" storage rack and some shelf/boxes to attach to it, and use that to store my tools. I've made all of this from scraps, which kind of explains how rough they look.

The idea is that I can just put the tool and maybe some of its basic accessories in a custom sized box hanging from the cleat and just put the plastic carry case somewhere else (in case I need it) or even toss it.

Here's the one I built for the small router. It's not exactly beautiful, but it was fun to make and it does serve its purpose. I cut a hole in the center of the bottom of the shelf/box so that the router can fit even if there's a bit inserted.

So far I've built three of these, one for the router, the jig saw, and the sander. I'm thinking about making one for the drills and charger next.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Adirondack (Pt 2)

Here it is waiting patiently for paint:

And then here it is "in situ"

I love the color. I wanted something really bright, but we _almost_ went with a forest green.

Glad yellower heads prevailed.