Sunday, May 28, 2017

Adding a Window to my TuffShed

I really love the shed, but one issue I have is that it gets really hot in there when the sun's out, and it's difficult to get a cross breeze going.

That's my fault: I only ordered two windows and I had them put one on the front side next to the door, and one on the side next to that. The shed sits fairly close to a fence, so putting a window on that side wouldn't make much sense. So now I have two windows, but they're on adjacent walls and so there's a bit of a ventilation issue.

So I found a small window (14.5 inches wide) online. It was on sale and the whole thing, including shipping only cost $40.

So I get my stuff together and installed it this weekend!

I bought some trim that kind of matched what TuffShed uses for its window trim. It's got a LOT of texture/wood grain (it may be some kind of engineered material). Basically, I only looked at Home Depot, and just used a redwood board that was only smooth on one side.

I primed the board on Friday after work, so that I could paint it in the morning and cut the hole in the side while it dried. That part of the plan worked rather well. The placement of window is odd, but that's on purpose and luckily the chickens are the only ones who will ever really see it. I put it up as high as I could so that it would be out of the way and in less danger of getting hit by stuff on the workbench. I also mounted it upside down so that the opening was even higher. That way when I put a fan in front of it, it's even further away, and it'll be blowing hotter air out of the shed.

Cutting the hole was messy, but fairly straight forward. It's not perfect -- I really don't like jig saws! Luckily the window and trim and the studs on either side do a great job of hiding my work.

No real issues trimming it out, other than the boards not really sitting flush due to the window trim and the screws in it. But from a few steps away, it looks pretty good.

Next, I'll make a shelf to hold the fan (once I get a fan that is).

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Screw Box Tower

I used to keep various boxes of screws in the top drawer of an old cabinet/cart I got for free (along with some wood cutoffs). The cart is wobbly but it works ok. But I don't like having open the drawer and to get the screws out every time.

I figured it would be easier just to make a kind of shelf/box/caddy thing for them. So I whipped this up out of more scrap wood. I used the router table to cut the slots, but some of them weren't as straight as I'd like. I cut the slots across a single board and then cut that in half on the table saw so I could be sure the slots would line up.

And here it is in all its utile glory:

What I learned:

  • I need a better way to cut the slots
  • I made it too deep, so it was hard to pull the boxes out. I fixed that but putting a small spacer in the back of the cubbies
  • I made it too narrow the first time, had to go back and re-cut the dividers. Then I realized that I had cut the dividers in a very inefficient way, wasting quite a bit of scrap plywood
  • I didn't need the dado slots on the top and bottom
  • The end result is fairly sturdy and I left room on the top to attach the thing to the wall; however, I wonder if making it into a more portable caddy with a handle on the top would have been better. Maybe for version two...

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Soapstone Fun

A few months ago (was it really last fall?) I saw someone had posted a slab of soapstone on Craigslist for free. It had fallen over and broken into two pieces. You can see the trimmed edge of the broken piece in the bottom of that lower photo. That's after cutting off 11 1/4 inches.

The larger piece weighs well over 130 lbs and the smaller piece is probably 50-ish lbs.

I had read that you could cut soapstone with a diamond blade ($8.99) in a circular saw, so I figured I'd give it a try. We have a metal frame end table thing and I was going to make a wood top for it. It's about 11 1/2" by 29" -- and the smaller piece of the soapstone is 30 inches wide and the crack starts at 11 1/4, so we figured it was close enough.

I clamped a straight edge to the stone, put the 7" diamond blade in my ol' Craftsman 7 1/4" circular saw and went to town. It made a lot of dust (I wore a good mask and eye and ear protection for this one) but it seemed to cut ok. The saw kind of fought me but the end result was fine.

Then we took a closer look at the surface and saw quite a few shallow scratches. I figured I'd try out the sander and see if I couldn't smooth things out a bit.

The palm sander and a combination of 80 - 120 - 220 grit paper made quick work of it, and I spent < 20 minutes on the cutting and sanding. It came out much better than I expected and honestly, I'm hoping I can find something to use the rest of the soapstone on. Sanding with the palm sander really worked well. Finally, we applied a light coat of mineral oil and here it is: