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.