Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Best Woodworking Assets

Ok -- I'll rephrase my original posting which maliciously disappeared into the electronic void yesterday in a flurry of "don't talk religion" messages. The crux of my message was the value of a lifetime partner, and because I quoted scripture in relationship to how I believe my deity taught it should be done . . . people were very offended.

Get over yourselves.

Again, I'm going to reiterate the message but put it into succinct woodworking terms.

My wife and I are working on a multitude of projects, and now with spring here and warm weather, we're about to embark upon outside fixes and upgrades. One thing that I've learned over the years is the power of two people, either working together or working against one another. For a number of years I experienced the "against" part in a failed marriage. My garage became a refuge for me to escape and unfortunately a lot of things around the house didn't get done. Now fast forward to now.

I've been living in my house ten years now, and for the past 5+ or more, it's needed painting. It's in horrible condition now. I almost ended up in another job position a few years ago and was going to re-do the exterior, but in the midst of that I decided to not take the position . . .but I had already ripped down my shutters. You can only imagine what my house looked like then. There are a lot of other projects that have been on the back burner for a number of years.

Over a year ago I met a wonderful woman with Christ at the center of her life and we've been together ever since. I know I made a lot of mistakes over the years, and because of those learning experiences, it's made me into the man I am now. I am very thankful for that, and I'm very blessed that my wife enjoys spending time with me in the garage or wherever in the house working on things together. So far we've built many projects, painted several rooms, and now we're moving forward on the exterior things for spring/summer.

When we were working together on the latest wood project, the overhead cabinets in the garage, she came up with many good ideas -- as she had on the garbage can holder and other items. That's why I consider so many more things important other than what tools I have available. I've learned over the years, that if you put your mind to something, and you have support in doing what you believe in, you can generally accomplish far more than someone who has it all, yet has nothing. I'm still just learning at the ins and outs of woodworking, but I think I've learned enough making mistakes in other areas of my life that I can share . . . and if that offends anyone, then so be it.

“A man who doesn’t stand for something will fall for anything." - Peter Marshall

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Garage Overhead Cabinets - April 2009

You can read about the progress and completion of the cabinets here in this blog series.

Viola! Garage Cabinets.

(Triumphant sound of music in the background . . . . )

The garage cabinets are finally done. Last night we cut the 2×4 we used for the french cleat on the back of the cabinets and the rail on the wall. That was a kind of terrifying experience . . . getting that much board through the Shopsmith at a 30 degree angle. I had my feather board on and pushing sticks—all the safety measures I could think of. The operation made a ton of saw dust that blanketed us . . . because I forgot to turn on the dust collector and hook it up. Sigh Cleaning up the mess was not very pleasant either, as I absently grabbed the Shopvac to attack it and Peggy noted it looked like as much was going in was going right back (Cough / Hack) out.

As you can see, the white board will be very handy. I’m a big proponent of white boards . . . I’ve designed many computer programs, database diagrams, and systems all on white boards, so our garage/workshop area should be just as organized.

Yea! A place (soon) for everything, and hopefully everything in it’s place! I just had to stick a few things in it to give it a lived in appearance. ;-)

The cleat system was THE way to go . . . hanging the cabinets was just easy, in fact scary easy. Peggy was quite amazed at how well that went. I had my doubts at first . . . I started the concrete drilling for the fasteners and wasn’t for sure I’d ever get through it. I wasn’t using a hammer drill, just my old Black and Decker 3/8” drill. That old drill has been the best tool ever . . . I used it to drive screws in the back deck, and everything in between. It’s quite amazing how well it’s held up. All that we had to do was put a board on the bottom of the cabinet to space them out from the wall, and then just hung them up. Very slick.

It’s slowly coming together!

Re-arranging The Garage . . . Again

Well, next up on the new “to-do” list is going to be getting my cantankerous dust collector settled in to a new spot.

The trash can with the separator is sitting on a platform (recycled out of an old boat step I made) and actually fits quite nicely. I’ve bungy-corded the whole thing together for now, but I don’t like how the inlet side works. My vision for this is to actually have a 90 degree out of the compressor that goes directly up through the middle of the trash can. It’s a bit weird to picture, but instead of using the separator lid, I’ll make my own lid with a spiral inducer there. That’s the thought at least. In the meantime, the garage will be shuffled and I’ll move the whole shebang over to where it will ultimately live.

Now with the new cabinets up I can work on getting things up and off my worksurfaces and stored adequately away. I need to go cabinet by cabinet through my existing storage and weed out bad/good, but in the meantime I can at least get work areas. This is getting feverishly close to pool opening season, mowing, season, and “where did our time go to” season on normal household stuff. My wife and I are active in our local church, host a couples care (small) group on marriage, and have many other things we help with. My biggest hope for getting things cleaned and organized is maximizing the time we have to work instead of my hunting down of what I left and where. :-)

I’ll post new pics as things come together. At least this blog post will hopefully not invoke such passion as it’s wood based. Hmm—wasn’t Jesus a carpenter? :-)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Almost There!

This weekend we almost got the new cabinets entirely done. We had quite a few learning experiences along the way, which I’m extremely thankful for since these are just garage cabinets. I’m not exactly making pieces of fine furniture here out of Cherry or Oak . . . but I’m definitely learning a lot along the way.

Here’s the first picture—the back on the cabinets. My daughter and I jumped in the truck and hit the local big box store for some Lauan plywood. (Ugh—am I destroying rain forests???)

One thing that I learned was to double check measurements—I laid the first sheet of the white dry erase marker board material out for the door and cut it – but realized that the 2nd piece was now too small . . . Grr. We decided to cut all the boards down to the smaller size. Had I measured, I would have split the panels in half and then had less gap in the middle . . . but oh well. I ran into a little snafu when attaching the material also.

I tried to glue the door and marker board together, but the panels were warped and the door surfaces weren’t 100% flat. Rather than attempt to glue the whole shebang together, I opted to get some screws and fasten them that way. We first thought of using the decorative kind with a cap, but when we looked, they didn’t have quite enough and at .78 cents per 3 pack, it was going to be a bit expensive. Instead I oped for #6 screws and some decorative washers, which I think turned out pretty nice in the end.

The last thing to worry about was the door hinges . . . and that’s another learning experience. I got the template out and drilled my first holes, but I didn’t pay attention to the directions. I had to go back and remove screws because I didn’t have them quite positioned where they need to be. I still need to fiddle with the doors on alignment, but I think I’ll do that when they are up on the wall and “settled”.

I had a little brain fart (if you will) on the use of the Shopsmith. I was preparing to rip a 2×4 at a 30 degree angle for the french cleat on the wall. I wrestled the blade/table combo for quite a while trying to figure out why I couldn’t get things to work exactly right on that. I finally realized that I needed to run the quill out from the body to get the table to tilt properly. (DUH!) That just goes as another little learning experience. My dad helped me align the table and fence for it when they were over last time. I got to peek at his thread drawers he’s building when I was over the other night.

It’s fun to see how we’re both learning new things in wood working—regardless of how long we’ve been doing it. I noticed a long forgotten scrap of wood in his shop—it had a couple of curves cut in it and I recognized those curves and held them up and we both remarked “that looks like a bed part”. Yep, it was a scrap piece of wood that my dad had started, or practiced doing the bed that he made me when I was a kid. I still have that headboard, it’s in one of my son’s rooms at our house. Someday I’d like to make my daughter a headboard like that too for her bunk bed.

My last “experience” of the weekend just came as I was leaving to take my daughter back home. My wife and I had a very full weekend together with her. We spent time with my parents, and the next night my sister and her fiance. My daughter got to spend time with her cousin (my sister’s daughter). I got to learn my dance routine for an upcoming father/daughter number at my daughter’s dance studio. (It’s going to be a lot of fun.) We also went to see her artwork at the district wide art fair and enjoyed a movie together on Sunday afternoon.

As we were heading out the door, I had a huge wave of angst over all the projects still waiting to be done . . . there is just so much work to be done on the house and everything else. It’s soon going to be lawn mowing and pool season . . . along with house repairs. There never seems to be enough time for everything and I was feeling kind of lost. When we were heading down the road I glanced back and saw my daughter reading her children’s Bible. At that moment I remembered what the most important things are . . . and it’s not all about what projects need done. God has me at work on some much bigger projects, and he’s teaching me all the time. Just like me fiddling with the Shopsmith, or aligning the hinges . . . he’s working on knocking off my rough edges and make me more efficient. I can’t expect to be perfect in everything I do with wood, or what I do spiritually, but the more I learn the more I can grow.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Whew, finally -- More Sawdust!

Well, Peggy and I finally were able to get a weekend time slot free with good weather to get outside and cut-up the plywood for the garage cabinets. I must admit, that I must have completely been out of my mind when I measured the side pieces. Peggy was looking at them and said they looked a bit tall . . . so I held them up above my workbench and was flabbergasted at the discrepancy. All my plans in Sketchup seemed to just have went out the window. Then when we were talking we realized that they certainly weren’t 2 foot tall—it was more like 3 foot tall! A little measurement taking and we realized that I had marked incorrectly the side pieces. DOH!

So, I cut all the side pieces off to the correct length and got the shelves cut out—all from one sheet of 4×8 crapwood . . . uh . . . I mean plywood. You can see the blazoned imprint right here . . . man, can we do NOTHING in this country anymore?

When we got done we were looking at the framing for the front of the cabinet face and decided maybe to just attach doors to the cabinet flush. Peggy had a great idea—to use dry erase marker board material for the door fronts to allow me to use them as a giant writing tablet.

I really appreciate Peggy so much. We spent all day working together on the shelves, and then about 8:30 PM, the day before the big Easter celebration we were having at our house . . . we discovered the garbage disposer had corroded through the side and was leaking profusely. We went and bought a new one when we got the dry erase material. We had it installed and ready to go by 11:30 PM . . . quite a feat . . . and leak free!

The next step will be finishing the doors and painting the cabinets. I’m so disgusted with the plywood quality . . . I really need to find a better source. I thought avoiding the big box stores (Lowes and Home Depot) would help, but the rinky dink lumber company (84 Lumber) had crap wood also. Grrr.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Somewhere . . . someday . . . somehow . . .

I guess spring fever must have hit, last weekend I spent some time changing the plugs in my truck . . . luckily a four banger with plenty of access. While I was out there I saw two eyesores beside my shed . . . testimonies to past “What was I thinking?” projects.

One was a boat step and the other was a boat . . .uh . . . air conditioner setup. The step worked, but since the boat moved and there was a plank to the dock, some people didn’t quite appreciate the movement of the two in concert. The air conditioner setup was a feeble attempt at building a “self contained room cooler” for use on the aforementioned boat. After experiencing numerous problems in cooling properly, I ditched that setup and went with my own “hatch air” setup and had a nice cool boat. (Lesson learned—someone engineers stuff for a living and you should go with your gut and follow them . . . not what someone else thinks could work.)

But I digress . . . (and sound bitter, which I’m well past) . . . and these two lumps of wood were still harboring memories and taking up space. I got busy with my drill and dismantled them both, but the frame for the boat step ended up being a perfect height to go above the motor on the “Super Sucker Dust Collector”. I grabbed some bungee cords and began a fastening fest to attach the wood frame to the platform for the dust collector. I put the garbage can with the cyclone separator on top of that and viola—a self contained solution. (Pics coming soon!)

Another snow storm is barreling down on the midwest . . . the last time one was forecasted I ran out and got the wood for my cabinet project. The wood is still in the garage . . . we’ve been busy every weekend since. I’m hoping that it does snow and we can curl up and make some sawdust. :-) I’ll let you know how it goes!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Lid Is On

Last night I rushed home to get the lid on the trash can holder. I was pretty anxious to move the box one step closer to done status. It’s still not done . . .need to add some trim and other things to make it look “purty” but I think it’s getting there. A master craftsman I’m not . . . but my mistakes are a learning experience. :-)

Yep . . that’s the trash can (with trash even) in it’s soon to be new home. I haven’t sanded the lid areas that I cut out, so everything is a bit rough . . . and you can see where my jointer blades had the nick. DOH! I gotta make a tool to change those, and then sharpen the offending ones. Hmm.

The door jam holder thingy was a throwback from my daughter’s early days . . . not wanting to have a door shut on tiny fingers. My wife grabbed it and fit it to at least keep the door from banging down and to make it easier to open. I’m going to put trim around the plywood edges there . . . or something. I don’t know what yet. It’s a work in progress . . . remember? I had a Bible reading this morning that reminded me of that very thing—last night I was pretty critical of my work. For some reason I expect “perfection” in my items, when I know I haven’t been doing this too long . . . so my skiils aren’t where they need to be yet. It goes back to the same thought on my spiritual life . . . I’m not perfect nor will I ever be, but I have to keep practicing and learning each and every day. Sometimes I just need that reminder . . . the trash can holder might be a good way to reinforce that for a while. That’s metaphorically so true in so many different ways. ;-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Super Sucker Completed

Whew! Last night I put the finishing touches on the new filter project for the dust collector.

The biggest challenge was the bag and getting that all together. I emptied the old bag and contents into a huge 55 gallon contractor style (2mil thickness) garbage bag. When I went to put the system back together I just grabbed that bag and put it back together. There was a metal band around the old top filter, so I used that on the plastic bag and tightened it up. I anxiously flipped the switch and poof—I had saw dust all over the place. Hmm.

Upon closer examination, the band clamp that I was using had a gap and right there it was letting the bag let things escape. I grabbed some cardboard to bridge the gap and re-tightened the clamp. I still wasn’t impressed by the holding power. It seemed like the bag and metal band against the collector wasn’t exactly making a super tight seal. I decided to use the cloth bag with the plastic trash sack in the interim . . .but that lead to discovery #1.

I took the plastic bag down and realized that my pristine air filter was now jammed up with wood dust/shavings. In my haste (and penny shavings) I had simply grabbed the garbage bag I already had out (full of dust) and viola . . . tons of the stuff all inside my new filter. Normally that shouldn’t happen quite like that since the separator should get a larger portion of that. I was quite disgusted. I banged the filter with the bag off and a large “foomp” of sawdust hit the floor. I cleaned up the mess and then went to put a new garbage bag on.

I must have been making some very grumpy sounds (ok—I KNOW I was) because my wife peeked in. I don’t know how exactly I would describe the way i was trying to get the bag combo on but it wouldn’t involve nice language. The plastic garbage bag was staying up (they are WAY too big . . . I need about a 32 gallon size) but the cloth bag was being very cantankerous to say the least. I’d get one side up, reach for the other and try to slither it up and then “shoomp” the other side would come off. I tried holding one side with my legs/knees while bringing the other side up with my arms . . .hugging it. Again . . not a pretty sight. I hope the neighbor’s didn’t peek in the window during that moment, because they might think that I was taking this new woodworking hobby a wee bit too far.

Peggy came in and offered assistance and we had the bag on in 30 seconds. An extra pair of hands was very handy to have! She and I agreed that it’s always better to just ask for a little help before you get in over your head. I flipped the switch again and this time I had a much better seal with cloth bag there also.

So now the only thing left is to move the dust collector back over to where it will ultimately live. I bought a garbage can to dedicate to the chip separator but it ended up being slightly too large. The lid ended up being the exact size of the lip of the can. I guess I’m off to the local hardware store to get a metal can to fix that problem once and for all. I’m going to build a platform right above the blower motor to reduce the footprint of the setup. Ideally I’d like to run an 90 degree fitting and pass it through the middle of a garbage can with 6” pipe for dust collection duties . . but that’s a project on the back burner. I’m planning on duct work down the center of the garage, but decided tha it will have to be beside the existing air return duct work.

Next up—the garage overhead cabinets!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Super Sucker Cleanup

Ok—I’m not going to argue the virtues of the dust collection in modern psychosis treatment . . . but my therapy session is all about cutting up wood. Hmm . . . I’m on the Lumberjocks site so I guess I’m in the right place. :-)

My first order of business was making sure I was properly protected. I was cutting the wood outside to boot on a nice windy day . . . that helped. Gotta love 70 degree days!

(I’m smiling under that dust mask!)

The first order of business was to make a decent way to cut a hole in my 3/4” MDF. I used a 1/4” bit and a nail in this little jig:

After a few passes at a time I had this circle cut out:

That will fit in my Grizzly dust collector just like so:

But the only problem with the new setup was—it stood at 78”. The garage door track and I-beam in the house are at 76”. This was going to be a small problem This is the photo AFTER I modified the height:

To change the height I chopped 3” out of the pipes that hold the dust seperator section:

And this is where I took it out of. I put the bracket down in the chop saw and then after cutting the pipe I welded it all back together and sprayed some paint back on it.

And while I was in a painting mood I also found some green paint that I sprayed on. I used a grey primer base and on the other side I primered it white . . . just because I had ran out of one color. The green ended up being pretty close when sprayed over the other color:

So here’s what the whole thing looks like now, with new clearance for the filter. The trash can was just sitting there when I removed the support pipes.

I still need to actually attach the ring to the dust collector. I driled holes around the perimeter of the top ring. I’ll screw the ring I made into place and caulk the gap. I can’t wait to try it out. My bolts holding it down are too short and not the right ones. I actually have some nice plastic wing nuts to attach the dust collector. My filter is also just temporary—as Wynn Environmental is sending another one. Mine actually was quite beat up in transit . . I suspect it was on the FedEx truck that crashed not far from my home town. :-)

So far so good . . . but I have an over abundance of stuff that needs to be put back up again! Hehehe . . .another day’s project.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Air Filter Arrived!

That’s a peek down the inside of the new Wynn Environmental filter - the 9E300BL one. I’m anxious to get some cutting done and get this puppy mounted on my Grizzly dust collector. Once I get it mounted and that, I’m going to move it over to a more permanent location and run one trunk of at least 6 inch pipe to the unit. The only problem with that is the PVC to “air pipe” sizing. It’s just frustrating to measure stuff and see the differences. I can get adapters for the 4 inch stuff very easily through my local Woodcraft store, but the 6 inch stuff might be a bit more difficult.

And . . . there’s always duct tape. :-)

I know there’s a moral in that story . . . . heheh!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bought Wood - Where Can I Buy Time?

(Found at

So last weekend we were forecasted to get a big snowstorm here in KC, and this time the forecasters really did know what they were talking about. I anticipated this and went out for a couple of sheets of 3/4 Baltic Birch plywood and two 8 foot 1×8’s. I figured that would give me the materials to keep working through the weekend, because I wouldn’t want my 2wd Dakota out and about in the snow. I got the wood, and aside from trying to stick my thumb in some falling sheets of plywood, all went according to plan.

The weekend didn’t quite go as planned. Peggy and I helped out with some members from our church with a young mother that needed moving at the last minute. The factor that my projects lack most right now is simply time to get things done. We’re constantly on the go or having things that are a part of our daily routines. Kids on one night (visitation) . . . church caregroup on another . . . Iron Man’s group (men’s caregroup) on another . . . helping with Peggy’s mother with shopping . . . going to my parents . . . kids every other weekend. Whew! It’s a wonder we know heads from tails some days.

So this is just a “catch my breath” type post. I think this weekend we’ll work on cutting up the wood for the cabinets and putting them together. Hopefully we can make a little progress on that . . . because my “cheap” plywood is working very quickly on becoming a bowl on it’s own. I slapped a couple of clamps on the sheets the other day to arrest their movement . . . but I fear it’s not long before they’ll be WAY outta shape. Yikes. I looked and they said “MADE IN CHINA” . . . go figure. Ooof. Read this article on cheap plywood . . . kinda gives me a shudder just thinking of it.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

What To Use?

Well, the weather forecast here is calling for snow this weekend. I’m anxious to have the garbage can holder done, but I want to keep right on going with projects. I’m contemplating loading up the truck tonight with some materials for the overhead cabinets—but I’m kind of wondering what I should build them out of. I’m leaning towards cheap and paintable—and light? I’m looking for some suggestions now so I can call around and get pricing information. A cheap particle wood cabinet just 24 inches in size was $75 at the local big box store . . . so I’d like to target all my wood for three cabinets worth in that range or a little more. (Each cabinet being 3 foot in size. According to my cut list I’m looking at 3 sheets of whatever I choose:

I know looking at it . . . I can probably squeeze it out of 2 sheets depending on how everything is cut. I’m going to use a french cleat system, so holding it up isn’t an issue . . . that’s why I’m doing three foot ones. Hmm. Any suggestions on materials?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Computer Desk - April 2007

I did this one in 2007 for my daughter’s fifth birthday. She picked out the color . . . couldn’t you tell? (And it was a Disney color, so that carried a premium . . LOL!) I designed it to make the best use of her small room and incorporated a feature I always wanted to do—a sunken monitor. The entire unit was made out of MDF and primed/painted. My only design flaws, was after getting the desk done, I swapped to a more powerful computer and it didn’t have the CD tray in the exact same place . . . so the hole didn’t work out right. Then the new place they moved to was arranged differently so the opening is now facing the wrong wall. And . . . (as if this wasn’t already funny enough) the monitor died on it . . . but it should allow for any 17” sized monitor . . I hope! The only thing that might be awkward is the shelf/monitor clearance. Of course new lower-cost LCD panels also have obsoleted this design—as I was trying to get it compact. (And now she has a laptop . . . go figure!)

Planning Makes Perfect

Ok—as I learned on the garbage can holder, I think I need a bit more planning on my next project. I’ve in the past at least drawn out some sketches and worked from that . . . which is what I did to a certain degree on the trash holder but I didn’t flesh out all the details until I was in (over my head) on the project. Norm Abram I’m not.

So on to the next thing which will be some overhead cabinets for in the garage. I’ve always wanted something above the workbench area, so I thought this would be a natural progression. I’m envisioning using making two or three of them and to get them on the wall I’ll use a french cleat. Man—I’m suddenly learning new terms in this wood working thing. Hehehe!

I’ve been tinkering more and more with Sketchup and I think I know enough to at least be dangerous. My dad has tried his hand at it and hasn’t quite got there yet . . . so I think I might need to impart some knowledge there too. (The blind leading the blind? LOL) Here’s what I have so far on my cabinet layout:

I tried running the thing through Cutlist 4.0 to see what I would need, but I have something off. It showed two bottoms out of a 4×8 sheet . . . and then kind of didn’t do the rest right. Hmm. I’ll have to play around with how I have my components/etc… configured to see where the disconnect is. I’m assuming that Cutlist will give me a good idea of what the waste should look like on a 4×8 sheet of MDF and how many sheets I’ll need. My daughter’s birthday is coming up soon and two years ago I built her a computer desk. This year I’m kicking around a headboard for her bunk bed. We’ll see how the garage cabinets go and see if I can slide in that project before her April 12th birthday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Learning Experiences

Once upon a time . . . in a far away land . . . no wait . . it wasn’t really that far. It was our basement actually. There was a place FILLED with books. (How does this relate to a garbage can holder? Read on.) The culmination of Peggy and I’s households made for a rather large collection of books. We’re both avid readers, as is our family, so we have volumes of books. We needed more shelving and the existing shelving that we had was not quite designed to be up to the task of holding books per se. They were particle board (using that term loosely) ones and already they were bowing under just the strain of the meager things we had in them. We decided that we’d build bookshelves for the basement.

My “new to me” Shopsmith was a bit intimidating so my wife and I began to think of projects that would allow us to learn the ins and outs of it’s operation and be useful also. I had envisioned a roll-out pantry for in our kitchen, but the sticking point was the trash can that currently resided there. We looked around and couldn’t quite come up with a good place for the trash can so the idea was hatched to make a holder as an extension of our kitchen peninsula. After purchasing some lumber and cutting things up, this is what we had:

From My Old Garage

About that same time we decided that perhaps the Christmas gifts project would be another good learning experience and the can holder went into limbo. Last night we started back in earnest on the garbage can holder to get it done, operational, and out of the garage. (See cleaning . . . . whew!)

Now my dad had brought me over the Kreg videos on Cabinetmaking and Trim Carpentry. Peggy and I watched the Trim Carpentry one and were thoroughly impressed. I thought “Hey, that’s pretty easy” and she reminded me that the individual had years of experience and a “cut/paste/rewind” for mistakes. I kind of scoffed and grabbed my Kreg tool and went to work. Oooooof.

My first experience with the tool was not the best . . . I had mitered a door for the front of the can holder and attempted to screw it together with the Kreg tool. The first part that was bad was I had used my son’s sliding compound saw . . . and realized AFTER the cuts how far out it was. It wasn’t cutting anything close to a 45 degree angle, or straight for that matter. I grabbed my square and got it back in shape . . . but the Kreg tool is not the ideal thing for end grain. After getting the door and panel put together I saw back and admired my work . . . no, let me re-phrase that . . . I was disheartened by my work. It wasn’t at all like I was hoping for. I tore the door frame apart and left the pieces for cull pile . . . destined to be sacrificial boards for in the future. (Which I learned about while working on that coaster project . . saves the tear out!)

I bravely decided that this time around (after watching the video) that I would be the “MASTER” of the Kreg tool. I don’t have the handy handheld clamp, so instead I use a threaded clamp. That’s kind of awkward. I carefully cut my board and drilled my holes. I screwed it together and realized the screws went right out the end of the other peice. DOH! I rummaged around in the Kreg starter kit box and found some shorter screws, but they were also slightly smaller and not happy in the holes. In disgust I tossed the tool aside, and screwed some drywall screws in the end. I had originally glued and nailed a board in place, but when I cut the board I measured the opening . . . not the actual size it was SUPPOSED to be. The boards were flared out and I had glued them in place just so . . . so last night I was fixing that mess with this Kreg tool adventure.

By now I was getting a little miffed at the tool. I decided to cut some trim boards for the sides of my cabinet. I didn’t have any side boards, so I took a 1×6 and ripped it to give me 2 1×3’s. I decided to put the rough edge through the jointer and clean all the sides up. It was kind of awkward on that also since my jointer blades have a small nick. I kept getting a little ridge on the boards. I got everything sorta close and decided to put the one board in place for across the bottom. Now it was too thick, so off to the jointer for it. At some point this board must have been on the floor and it picked up a little metal shaving—well guess what found it? Now I have TWO nicks in my blades. (Thankfully I have a brand new package of blades, but I figured I’d leave them off until I had all my “learning” experiences out of the way.) I dug the shaving out with my pocket knife and now was rewarded with a wonderful “quarter round” ridge on my planed boards. I move the fence back and forth and tried to work around the problem the best I could.

Finally I decided . . . the rest can be touched up with the sander . . . let’s screw some boards together. I grabbed my venerable Kreg tool again and made some holes. I screwed first board together and promptly split out the side of my freshly jointed boards. ARGH! I was determined to figure out the tool, so I adjusted it a bit further back and drilled more holes . . . . again far too shallow. I adjusted it forward and drilled again and finally had success. The board looks like swiss cheese, but I was at least able to make a good tight joint. I flipped the board around and did the same on the other side, but instead of 6 holes I was able to reduce it to 4 holes on that side. (The initial two wrong ones plus the new right ones.) I put my triumpant frame peice (minus the last part to close the gap) aside.

From My Old Garage

At this point I was feeling a little on the frazzled and disappointed side. I kind of looked like a wood worker, but alas my skills were certainly lacking. Clothes in this case don’t necessarily make the man. :-)

From My Old Garage

I decided to screw the wheels onto the cabinet to at least see how well that would work. I got them on and took the cabinet upstairs to see how everything was going to work out.

From My Old Garage

Now again—this is “TRUE CONFESSIONS” time. I could BS you and say that it was all planned and everything works out, but as you know from reading my “master carpentry” skills above, nothing is quite that easy. I rolled the cabinet up to the place and wasn’t exactly happy with it’s feeling. The wood on the one side makes it slightly tipsy—a bit heavier there. I had recessed the wheels too making sure to avoid the sides and keep the casters turing/rolling properly. I was looking at it and thinking “ugh . . it doesn’t have the door on, it doesn’t have the lid . . . it’s not going to work right. I was thinking it was sticking too far out with a lid on top, and Peggy agreed it would look a bit out there. I was sitting there thinking about it when a voice in my head whispered “turn it around.”

From My Old Garage
From My Old Garage
From My Old Garage

Ok—so suddenly my “great garbage can caper” was suddenly looking like a very slick project. By turning it 180 degrees suddenly the CABINET becomes the door. I can simply roll it out slightly to change the bag. The wheels were originally to be able to move the cabinet to wherever you needed it, but now they act in a dual purpose. The space down below is for storing garbage can bags. I will make a frame for the top and lid, and it will be done. I have some trim pieces for the side to hide the plywood edges. Peggy thought that was a very great idea . . . no doors, no hardware hanging out to snag you. It was like the perfect solution.

So I’ve learned quite a bit along the way here. The first thing is that my projects from the past were generally a lot better when I carefully drew them out and planned everything from the get go. I didn’t do that on this project . . . I figured how hard would it be to build a box around a trash can. Originally I had a double hinged door setup that was going to allow the top to fold back and then the side to fold out (on chains) to let the trash can be changed. That changed to a door setup, with the top door for the trash can and the bottom a drawer for the bags. Then it was going to be a double door when I realized they don’t make drawer slides that short. Then it went to a single door. It’s been quilte a process . . . now we’re at no door (backed up the cabinet) and just the lid on top. Whew! Next time I’ll begin with the end in mind so to speak. (I know . . Steven Covey stuff!)

I’ve also learned that sometimes the pro’s make things look so easy. I’ve watched a lot of videos and perused a lot of books and websites and it all looks very straight forward. It was like that with the thought of collecting the dust. The hoses are very stiff and the plastic adapters on the Shopsmith are very strained with the octopus setup on there. You can see the hoses from purgatory setup here on the jointer.

From My Old Garage
From My Old Garage

I’m learning—it’s a slow process but my wife is a very great cheerleader for me. She was just having the discussion with one of my sons the other day on learning things and things taking time. I didn’t exactly heed that advice but I’m not completely unteachable. I’ll take my mangled wood and continue soldiering on while learning the skills I need to make better projects in the future.

From My Old Garage