Category Archives: Woodshop

This Totally Sucks

Har har.

This weekend I finished reorganizing the shop and got the new dust collector installed.  Three gated drops all kept at 4″ pipe.  Table saw, radial arm saw and a 3″ diameter vacuum flex hose at the end at the main workbench. One switch turns on the DC and then gives power to the table saw.  The top outlet gives power to the switch and bottom outlet. At first I was going to just leave the outlet in the dust collector room. But, although having a cord plug in and go into the wall looks sort of odd, I’m already glad I left another outlet available.  A hinged door makes emptying the DC bag easy.

I enclosed the table saw as much as I could.  This way the vacuum works optimally. The board on the side with the motor is easy to remove with wing nuts if I’m tilting the blade. It has enough flex to it to move the table saw to accommodate larger boards.  I’ve already added an extension cord to keep the cord out of the way a bit more.

Previously when I had the dust collector hooked up to the radial arm saw, the flew hose had to get down to 2″ in diameter to fit the dust chute. This severely limited the air movement of the dust collector.  I made sure this time to keep the diameter 4″ the whole way.

At $5.00 a piece new, I was glad the dust collector I bought came with 5 gates. Unfortunately they were all caulked and taped to other bits of flex hose and pipe that didn’t fit into what I was doing.   I was able to quickly sand off the old caulk on the gates to get a better seal.

Fun times!


Shop Reorganization

So far the project I’ve put the most time into is how the shop is set up. And the last few days have been no exception. Probably because it’s a relatively small space, and also because I keep buying or acquiring tools with a large enough footprint that I can’t just throw them in a drawer.  This reminds me, my new years resolution is to not buy any more tools until I make some seriously cool stuff with the tools I have.  (This also includes the making of tools, check out Matthias Wandel’s Pantorouter and the videos on that site. This guy is an engineer genius.)

Anyway, my dad came up last weekend to help me finish a small addition to the shop – a room for my dust collector.   It’s in the far left of this picture.   It was a bit of a chore since the entire building is not square or level or anything, and all of that sort of  folds in on itself in this weird corner.  I needed a new layout because of the dust collector, and because of a new cabinet with tons of drawers  that came from my grandpa.  My mom had the idea to switch the radial arm saw and the woodshelves.  This gave me an opportunity to paint the wall, and it means the pipes for the DC won’t have to running across the ceiling to the far end of the garage for the RAS  (you like how I say ‘opportunity to paint’ – Amber is very gracious to deal with this craziness.)  It may take a village to raise a child, but clearly it takes a family to raise a woodworker.

The planer cart is currently on hold. Not just because I still have to set up the ducts for the DC, but also because it fits nicely where there old vac used to go under the radial arm saw.  I’m sure at some point I’ll get very tiring of having to pick up this heavy planer and a cart will be born.  Maybe not one that goes under the table saw wing though.  I’ve found some good designs on converting that space into a router table.  Hmm..   New years resolutions are dumb.

New woodshop developments / Craigslist success

So about a week ago I saw a Delta dust collector on Craigslist.

Despite having a relatively small shop space, I felt like getting one was a (literally) healthy move on my part, plus it’s something I can grow into with new tool purchases, etc.  And, ideally, it would lead to less time sweeping, and therefore more time for projects.

So I went to go check it out. It was originally $175, and over the phone we agreed to $150.

Anyway, I went to this guys house, got talking, and we settled on $150 for the dust collector with assorted ducts, gates etc. I mentioned I only have a few tools, but eventually I’m sure I’ll have a greater need for the dust collector.  It seems he was definitely wrapping up doing stuff in his woodshop, and had moved on to some laser etching thing – which was very cool.  Anyway, next thing I know he’s talking about some other tools he never uses and just hasn’t put on Craigslist yet.

And low and behold he had a 12″ Grizzly planer and let’s it go for an additional $50. A  FAAAAARRR cry from the lower end $400 Dewalt I was eyeing at Lowes.

After the initial “oooos” and “ahhs” I had to figure out where exactly I’d be keeping these new tools, the dust collector was a little larger than I thought it would be.  After some measuring, and moving other large heavy things (although these without wheels) I got the dust collector all sorted out.  Ideally, next week I’m going to start working on some sort of  rolling planer storage that can be put away under a wing of my table saw.

This already has me looking into something like this video for a flip top one. And here are some pictures of another one I found.

Of course,  I also need to put the finish on these door and get them up over the 2nd window on the music side of the garage.

The bit of time I was in the shop this weekend was mostly me holding 4″ diameter pipe over my head and trying to secure it to the ceiling for the dust collector.

Good times.

Thanksgiving Weekend

Had pretty great six day weekend for the holiday!  I got to pull my cousin and niece around in a wagon, amongst other things.

Had two days in Ormond for family time.   Everything is going swimmingly there.  Dinner with some extended family, and dessert with many more of them.  Pictures are up here.  I took some video of our time down there, and have been messing around with it in my new video editing program.  Pretty exciting.   Not sure if I should post that online or just email a link to family members…

Friday back up in Jacksonville meant shopping.  Walking into any store on Black Friday was a first for Amber and I.   I’ve never bought a TV before either.  So that’s two new things.  I realized about two months that if I’m going to sit in front of something at least 30 minutes a day it might as well be a fairly awesome something.

The rest of that day was spent setting up the TV (ok, ok, so we bought this Wifi/DVD/BlueRay thing to stream netflix to our TV as well). And setting up the bed that Amber’s parents gifted to us (Thanks again!).

My self imposed penance for such purchases began the next day.  Earlier in November I spent some time recaulking, scraping and painting our wooden window frames – I’d rather do that now, then have to replace them altogether in a few years.  So now, riddled with consumer guilt, I decided I should wash the windows.   The largest problem being that the windows, sash and plastic parts had never been cleaned.  Cleaning the actual window was an afterthought to the rest of the project.  Amber felt inclined too I guess, and a wonderous 4 hours was had.

As far as weekend woodworking goes I mostly finished up another set of frame and panel doors – much better than my first attempt.  I also  built an ‘already-coming-in-handy’  adjustable table / fence for my drill press, and worked up a bench dog system for workbench.  Try not to faint with excitement.

Although I might be too late, I planted the garden too. A few different types of lettuce, some radishes and some bok choy.

I also saw the new Harry Potter. I think I’m the only person in my department at the library who isn’t head over heels into it.  I DO however wonder what she’ll do from here.  Write a whole new type of series? Continue to write from within the Harry Potter world?    Stop writing altogether and take up knitting?  I wonder what’s it like to sort of feel like you can’t even fill your own shoes?


I picked up my blades from Franks Industrial sharpening this morning.  All cleaned, trued up and sharpened.  It’s only a few blocks from my house too. $27 total.  Cheaper than buying one new blade of the same quality.

I didn’t want to bother them too much and be snapping a bunch of photos, but the actual shop inside is awesome.  Various machines washing and running blades back and forth. It looks like then do a lot of mail order blades.  I saw a few that were easily 25″ to 30″, I’m assuming from sawmills.  Anyway, a neat local business.

Frame and Panel

Last Sunday I made up these frames for some frame and panel doors. I’m making them to go on the inside of the garage windows.  To help keep band practices from bothering neighbors, and mostly to just help keep the garage more secure.  Plus, it’s good practice.

The wood for the panels (not pictured) has been joined with tongue and groove joints. Next I need to make the raised panels, glue it all together and frame the windows to hang the shutters.


I cut the four panels for the doors. Cutting the raised panel definetly helped me figure out I needed to buy a new blade.  It also prompted me to find out there is a industrial blade sharpening place five blocks from my house.  So now two of my older blades are getting sharpened and cleaned.

Some of the  panels had a slight warp here and there, so the actual raised part isn’t a true rectangle – the edge lines waver slightly.

New stuff!

So, fairly simultaneously, I finished painting and installing the cabinets for the laundry room of our house and got a new camera.

The cabinets are from my parents house.  I wrote about that a while back.  The countertop is by a guy I met at the Riverside Arts Markets. He has a commercial woodshop that I went to see on my lunch break one day. It was awesome. And after pricing countertops at Lowes, or even pricing a sheet of formica laminate, I realized it’s be cheaper to have this guy do it.   Especially because I wasn’t to savvy on inviting me messing up a perfectly good $150 piece of formica, only to spend another $150 to try again.

We still haven’t installed the sink. We’re getting a different one with one large tub, instead of two separate ones.

Anyway, the picture above is with the old camera.  Here is one with the new camera. Ironically, it may actually look a little grainy since I had it set to take huge pictures.

Although the real difference is fairly obvious. Well, one of two things are happening.  My new camera turns dogs into bones –  or turns dogs into cats.

Here is the other new cabinet. I still haven’t built a permanent top for it.

And the new cabinet with the new camera…

Again, I’m not quite sure what’s going on, but the lack of dog is pervasive.  It should be noted that I haven’t seen Hannah since the taking of this picture.

I recently read about the first digital camera ever developed.  December of 1975.  And here I thought when I got a Commodore 64 I was this advanced computing prodigious child.

The camera stored the images on a cassette tape! The fact that I “store” LPs on cassette tapes to listen to in my car is archaic to most.  I don’t know what’s more neo-luddistic – having a bunch of records, or having a tape deck in your vehicle.