Monday, May 30, 2016

Scrap Wood

I found a use for some of the scrap wood I recently picked up for free: a small lumber rack/shelf.

This was a very easy one, and I'm sure I could have made it about 20 different ways, and several of those would likely be better, but here's what I ended up with:

It's not much to look at, but it'll do the job. Next, I'm hoping to make a toolbox...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Puttering Around...

I've been doing small things out in the shedshop recently, just kind of getting used to the space and the idea of it being there all the time. I organized my very small collection of clamps...

I made two jigs. First was a "door board" for cuts up to four feet long with the circular saw. Next on my list was a cross cut sled for my crappy table saw.

I realized that my table saw is just not very "true" and in fact, there is no way to get the blade to a true vertical 90 degrees. I used a digital angle finder and the closest I could get the blade was 1 degree off of 90.

Anyway, the cross cut sled makes using the table saw safer and should result in slightly more accurate and repeatable cuts. Of course, it's me making this thing, so let's just say I don't have super high expectations... :)

First step is to cut some runners:

I stacked a few coins in the slots to raise the runners up high enough to glue them to the sled. Once I had that done, I was ready to add the front and back fences.

Or, I _would_ have been ready, but somehow the runners went from a PERFECT fit to a very sloppy fit after I glued them in place. I was very frustrated at this point because I had spent so much time being very careful to make such perfect cuts.

I ripped one of the runners off and replaced it with a store-bought aluminum track made just for this purpose. Once I attached that to the sled, the thing fit perfectly and I was back in business. I coated the back of the sled with paste wax to help it glide. I'm sure it won't last long, but I love the smell and feel of paste wax.

Finally, I installed the front fence and made a partial cut through the base of the sled. I used a square to get the rear fence, the important one!, as square to the blade as possible. I triple checked it as best I could, screwed it in place and then cut some test pieces. I did this thing where you cut a piece of wood 5 times, rotating the cut side to the fence after each cut. Then, you save the off cut from the 5th cut and measure both ends of it. Divide that distance by 4 and that's how much off of perfectly square your fence is. (It's called "the 5 cut method" and I did a terrible job of explaining it)

Anyway, despite all of my careful measuring, I'm still off by .0125 inches. Well, that's what I'm "guessing" as I don't have any digital calipers. Could be more than that, could be a 64th of an inch.

Still, I suppose it will be good enough for now, as I think the fence is straighter than the blade itself.  :)

Here it is hanging on the wall:

That redwood 2x4 screwed to the rear fence is there to remind me to NOT put my fingers there. I may have made the sled a bit too large, but only time will tell.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Reclaimed Wood Trellis

Part 2 of the adirondack chair will have to wait as I don't have the paint yet (but I've sanded and primed it already).

In the meantime, we did do a little mini-project over the weekend that I thought I'd share.

We built this trellis from scratch, using some old broken fence boards. I ran them through the table saw and managed to get a few long 1"x1" strips of redwood. The outer face was really worn and the wood itself was splitting from age and sun damage/neglect. We had salvaged a few of them when we had to replace some of the fence earlier. I used a few of the boards as bottom shelves in the raised bench/boxes (in the background of this picture).

Anyway, it felt really good to find a way to salvage some more of the wood rather than just let it rot away. The whole thing took less than 30 minutes, and that includes digging out the board and setting up the saw, then cutting some to length and then attaching them to the fence. Hopefully that star jasmine will take off,. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Adirondack (Pt 1)

I tried making an adirondack chair about a year ago. It was a dismal failure, but I vowed I'd try again.

I found some plans for a much sturdier chair online and set about making it in the new shedshop.

This one is made from basic 2x4s and 1x4s and doesn't require special tools or anything. Here it is, sans armrests:

It is very sturdy and taking my time with the cuts has really paid off. I decided to use the router on some of the rough edges.

Next up: prime and paint...

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Making... Miter Saw Station

It's been a few weeks since we installed the shed, and I've been busy!

First things first, I wanted a miter saw station. I've noticed that my better work comes when I can really see the cuts I'm making and lately I've been making most of my cuts on the ground. That's been leading to sloppy measurements/cuts.

So I looked at a lot of pictures of miter saw stations, benches, etc. And I watched quite a few videos. One idea is to make a small rolling cabinet with "wings" that fold up on the right and left sides to support the work piece. Mount the saw on top of that and you can roll it out of the way when you're not using it.

And I very nearly went with something like that. But in the end, I decided to make an 8 foot bench with a spot for the saw and lots of storage underneath. The bonus is that I can use it as a regular old bench too.

Here's what it looks like:

It's on wheels so I can move it around.

I'm very happy with how it came out, considering that I designed it to fit in the space I have and to use standard materials. It's difficult for me to haul around full sheets of plywood so I just bought quarter sheets and designed the structure around that. I put a 1/4" sheet of melamine on top since I had it sitting in the garage for 5 years.

One issue is that while the shelf for the saw can be moved up/down if necessary, it can't be widened without taking apart most of the right side of the bench. So, if I ever do need to get another saw, I may run into issues.

I'm happy to say that I've used it quite a bit so far and it's worked just fine.

Next time? First project!