Monday, January 2, 2012

Hannah's New Bed

Nothing really fancy here. Hannah had a hand-me-down bed with some beat up drawers under the bed for storage of her voluminous stuff. Searched the web and found some DIY ideas and took it from there.
It’s just a series of bookcases really under and behind the head of the bed. To stretch my budget but not go bargain basement, I went with birch plywood and some clear pine for the face frames. Painted the outside as Hannah’s already got her heart set on decorating it. Danish Oil inside the cubbies to pretty them up.
I may have been “tinkering” with woodworking for a few years now, I’m still a greenhorn, and this project was a great learning experience. Biggest thing I learned (or maybe relearned…) is that time is not my friend. Getting “getitdoneitis” for any part of the process or the project as a whole, had me mis-measuring and generating alot of re-work. At least the pieces that were too small for this project will make some nice boxes and shelves for a french cleat shelving that will be going up in her room next.
But that may wait. The boys need a couple of things first – dressers, and some boxes for their Nerf arsenal.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Behind the curve

I wanted to post this last week, but things being what they are, I haven't felt like or even had enough minutes to stitch together to pull together even a few coherent sentences. So. What I have told myself, rather than try to post something even every other day, weekly sounded like an achievable goal. Uh huh. We'll see what Sunday evening brings. But enough of that, what was I up to last week in the garage shop.

I had set out a couple of weeks ago to make a better miter gage sled, a small cross cut sled, and another small sled for miter cuts. I had got thru the miter gage sled and cross gut sled and stopped there. I've learned that pushing and rushing are my two main enemies in the shop.

I big reason I wanted a sled thingy (ya, I'm real good with the jargon, right?) is that the stop I added sat far enough up off of the table so that with even 1/2 in wood it had precious little contact with the piece. But a chunk of 1/2 plywood and 1/4 in hardboard, and viola a much more stable sled/miter gage that I feel ALOT more comfortable working with.

Just a simple cross-cut sled. I've really enjoyed the boxes I made for Yule last year, and want do more of that, and this is just the right size for that. I could have made it bigger, and probably will make a larger one, but for now I think this'll do just fine. I had seen somewhere (Rockler I think...) some clear, adhesive backed tape measure tape where the hash marks and number were printed in red. If I can find that again, I think that would make a nice addition along the base of the sled on either side of the kerf. I'm thinking that will make placing stop blocks that much easier.

When my wife got me the Ryobi saw to replace my original one, she also got the accessory kit (for this and a sundry other reasons I feel like the luckiest guy. EVER!) and part of that is a router table. The fence parts that attach to the rip fence didn't work out so well for me so I fashioned another.

Just some scraps glued together and held to the fence with some clamps. I noticed that when cutting with this fence, the chips and such piled up behind the fence towards the front. As a test, I crammed the end of my shop vac hose back there and it did an ok job of keep up with the dust and chips. But a more stable mount was needed. So with another piece of scrap and some left over plexi (from one of wifey's projects) I fashioned a cover/hose holder/guard thingy.

A new hole saw set (something I'd been meaning to add to my arsenal when the need presented itself) and a couple of screws later, I have a pretty darn efficient dust collection for my itty bitty router table. I'm brewing a scheme to make my own table that's deeper but it's down on the shop goodies to do list for the moment.

So I finally got around to finishing off the last sled I wanted to make, the miter sled. Taking some lesson from the previous (don't put the tracks over the screws that hold the fences in place, and a better arrangement to make sure the sled is square to the tracks and blade) I got the that one pulled together from some more scraps left over from a cart I built for wifey (realized I hadn't bragged, er, posted on that one yet!! Will save that one for Lumberjocks :) ) Anyways, that one came together nicely too. Now I have a couple nice sleds that will help me make some nice square boxes.

Last but not least is a redo project. Back when I didn't know squat (now I may know that much) I had cut, butt jointed and screwed together a small counter box for my wife for the scents and oils she used in her soap making. Over time it icky on the bottom and needed to be remade. I had thought I could just recycle the old parts with better joinery, but the basic pine I used, even after 3 years was still really sticky.

So I decided to use it for some prototyping. I like the look of rabbet joints and thought to try that out. I like the look, it gave me nice solid glued joints, and I think just for some added strength and a nice look I'll add some dowels to the joints; something darker I'm thinking.

So the main pieces are cut, that define the basic shape. I got a bit ahead of myself when I glued up the bottom, back, and one side as I had wanted to cut a dado for the shelf. So now I think I'm going to go the dowel route with that by putting a couple of dowels in each side, cut some slots for them on the underside of the shelf. So a boo-boo leads to trying something new. Like it when that happens.

Well that's it for last week. Next post, maybe not so long winded as I'm working some templates for this year's Yule gifts. Not going as all out as I did previously, but combining some stuff I made with stuff purchased from other folks who make stuff. I like that idea.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

29 7/8 is not 30...

So the boys had pretty much made a mess of their bedroom door thru their antics, using it as punching bag when they got angry and generally being turds when it came to the door.

The outside was the better face, the back side had the top two squares beat in.
So I pulled it off of the hinges, drug it into to the garage and with an idea from a DYI mag started stripping it down so I could use it to map the hinge mortises from the old door to the new one.

Believe it or not, you cannot get two doors to lie face to face if one still has what's left of the doorknob still attached. Important tip that...

As I have a pretty nifty hinge mortise bit for my routers and an equally nifty trim router, I thought a quick little jig to cut the mortise on the door would make short work of this project. So I cut the first template out of 1/4 hardboard as that's pretty good stuff for templates and such right?

Well that would have been right IF the mortise on the door was deeper. Futz. On to jig two. This time out of some left over 1/2 in poplar. Mounted to a left over chunk of 1x2 oak this made a pretty sturdy and dependable jig. It made short work of the three hinge mortises, couldn't have been happier with that! But what's that sense of foreboding I have in the pit of my stomach then?

That materialized when, after turning around the middle hinge (they don't match up so well when they're backwards...), I realized what was bothering me. The door I bought is 30" wide and the door I was replacing was 29 7/8" wide. At that point it might have been a mile. Well FUTZ! I can't run it thru the planer (as appealing as that idea was...) and the table saw option (that came to me later) might have worked, but shaving off a blade's width from the "showing" edge of the door didn't sound like a good idea.

So I unpinned the hinges (As nice and symmetrical as the spread of normal hinges are, how the @#$!%^&!! do you get something under the bottom one to pop it out. Me, I'd make it look wonky so I could maintain it better.) and brought it back out to the garage and broke out my bench plane. Not a plane for hogging of huge amounts of wood, I settled in for some quality with with it as a peeled of one tight curl of wood after another. I measured as I went and when I finally got down just below 29 7/8, back to see if it fit. FUTZFUTZ. It's binding. Back to the garage.

By this time Tina came down to see what I was up to, and noticed that my planing was less than square, like WAY out of square. FUTZFUTZFUTZ. Ok, learn by doing I guess. Broke out the trusty combo square and checked regularly to make sure it squared up.

All done with that and a good thing too, my arms had just about had it. I wasn't keeping any real pressure on the plane and wasn't tracking straight either. Let's hope this is it.

Back in the room the door get hung again (for the last time today...) and YAY it does close!! But the handle and latch plate aren't in just yet. So I finish attaching the hinges (self centering drill bits are THE BOMB!!), and mount the handle and latch plate.

Well it does close. Not a nicely as I'd like. It's binding at the latch plate and that will mean some work with a chisel to make it fit the mortise better, and some touch up work with the block plane on the door wouldn't hurt either.

But for now it closes, and looks a whole lot better. Can't say as much for the shop tho...


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Life hinting I need to slow down

So once again I was stumbling about in the shop trying to do the simplest of tasks  - cut a square piece of wood. Actually a series of rectangles that would be the sides and ends of boxes I'm making from my mom and sister for Yule. And after ruining some nice quilted Maple I gave up for a bit and retreated to re-examine what the foof was going wrong.

What I knew was that I could easily rip wood to width easily enough and maintain parallel sides. It was the crosscuts that were giving me fits. The sliding miter table on my Ryobi saw is a pretty slick deal, but it's not the greatest for me for getting wood cut to the right length AND square. No matter how often or carefully I check that the miter gage is square to the blade I never get square cuts.

So for box making I'm going to get more familiar with bench hooks, hand planes, and back saws. That seems the best recipe for success tool-wise for me. Until then I have some after market add-ons for the saw and another miter gage I'm going to beef up to set up a cross cut sled. For smaller width pieces (and until I can afford a larger one) I tweaked the fence on the power miter saw, and it now cuts sweet cross-cuts.

But that was just half the solution. The other half has to do with this article, which is great by the way, describing how the instantness and anonymity of digital and web life today have, for me anyways, ruined the more methodical and thoughtful pace of life.

I see it mostly with the kids, and how I interact with them. I get short with them when they don't say "how high" on the way up when I say "jump!" I see it in their lack of patience with everything. If it doesn't happen yesterday, it taking toooo loooonnngggggg!!!

Work too. The pace there is killing me. I'm tired and sore just about every day of the week. But when I make a conscious effort to walk, talk, think slower, I come home feel better and in a better mood.

Circling back to woodworking now and the other half of my square solution. Slow down! It's not a race; there's no points given for finishing any step of any project quickly. I see it when I'm want to get something done (the Alpha in me that wants to get things done and be in control of the situation) and I start rushing. That's when things go caa-caa.

So along with adapting my tools and how I use them, taking my time, relaxing, and hey lookie there! I'm really enjoying what I'm doing! (it is a hobby you do for FUN dontchaknowdoofus) makes one hellova differences in what I do, how I do it, and what I get out of it in the end.

And it doesn't stop there. Like many other approaches to thorny situations, this one has applications in all aspects of my life. Doing anything and everything will be better and more enjoyable if I just take my time and RELAX!

And maybe, just maybe, it'll rub off on the kids, co-workers, anyone one around me and I'll actually have done something intangible that makes tangible differences in peoples lives.

That would be way cool!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Commuter Games

Game #7

 Here's the game: If you see one of these bumper stickers or license plate covers while on the road, change lanes to pass on the left to get a good look at the driver. Then answer this question:

Is this sarcasm or ....NOT! Obviously this can be more fun in a group or teams.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Rock on! A place for Tad to hang!!

A New Place for Teens in Downtown Port Orchard » Kitsap Sun

We've been racking our brains trying to find someplace for Tad to go and be with kids his age. The Boys and Girls Club has teen center, but it's way the hell and gone out in Belfair. This one is right downtown, just a stone's throw from the Library and waterfront.

View Larger Map

I like the fact that at PopUp there's no "in and out" privileges and that there's a Code of Conduct they need to read, agree to, and sign! Our hope is that once he starts hanging with kids his age he'll start acting more his age. Our fear is that once he starts hanging with kids his age, he'll start acting more his age. Life's like that. It's all about taking the good with the bad and finding that balance that makes us whole.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Signs, Symbols, and Us

So I'm a history geek, but I think it is cool to understand more of where things come from, beyond what we're formally taught.

This article, from Dubuque IA's Telegraph Herald, is really pretty good in this respect.

I like this part about wearing something new and how the birds would critique your choice :D

And if you want a belly laugh version of the whole Easter, Egg, Chocolate thing, check out Eddie Izzard's Dressed to Kill.