Cutting Board #9

Make #45

Another cutting board. This time using three different kinds of wood by adding cherry with the usual maple and walnut. I miscalculated this one and cut my strips to short. On top of that, I gave up some more wood than expected. I needed to do some extra jointing when some strips ended up bowing on me after cutting.

Anyway, the board is smaller than expected both in length and thickness. The design though is interesting. This cherry and maple don’t really contrast as much I’d like though. I’ll try again with a slightly different pattern and be sure to leave some extra wood.

Kids Artwork Box

Make #44

When we got married, we had a gift that came in a little 12×8 wooden box. My wife has been using this box to store our favorite artwork from the kids. It’s been overflowing and she requested I make a bigger one.

This is another miter box with splines. I originally set out to make the cover by resawing thin veneer, then laminating it to plywood. I had 1/8-inch plywood and two 1/8-inch pieces of wood. This would about match the 3/8-inch sides. That was the plan anyway. The resawing went well on the bandsaw and then I planed it all down to 1/8-inch on the drum sander. The issue was I didn’t measure right and came up short for a cover. The plan was to try gluing it together then cutting it open and add hinges. This sat in the corner for a couple months before I gave up and just made a new cover by gluing boards together and calling it good.

This was made using reclaimed barn wood from a nearby barn. The dealer had a pile of assorted hardwood and I picked out some boards that I assume is oak. I milled this down and cut out the best sections. Then I glued together boards to make the box sides.

I like the way the barn wood looks. I don’t like working with it though. There’s a lot more pine available, so I could probably be more picky on the boards, but it was a chore to mill these flat and then work around major defects. I don’t mind the nail holes and small splits, but rot and other defects not too much. The biggest issue though was this stuff is really hard on my blades. After a couple projects, I had to replace the blades on my jointer and planer. One tip I figured out is to clean up the wood before running it through machines. I tried using a belt sander to clean things up and flatten a bit. It made a heck of a mess even with dust collection. Not sure I’m in much of a hurry to do anything with the other boards I’ve got.

Anyway, I finished this up with a couple coats of Arm-R-Seal Semi-Gloss.

Box for Sharpening Gear

Make 43

I made a utility box to hold my various sharpening gear. I’ve got a bunch of stones/plates, guides, and accessories.

This is just plain pine from the big box store. I think I started with 1×10, jointed out the bows and twists, then milled it down to  3/8-inch. The bottom is 1/4-inch plywood set in a dado. The top is made from gluing two boards together and planing down to 1/4-inch. This was my second try on the cover. The first time the planer blew out a knot in the wood as I approached 1/4-inch. The second time I stopped around 1/2-inch – 3/8-inch and finished it off with the drum sander. My handle on the lid drifted on me when I glued it down, so it’s not centered.

I also added splines to the corners using my spine jig. I like this box construction method. It seems the easiest for me and I think the splines look neat, although they don’t really pop with the pine.

I finished it off with semi-gloss Arm-R-Seal. I used four coats because I expect there will be some water involved if everything doesn’t dry out. I think I prefer a satin finish.

Planer/Spindle Sander Cart

Make 42

I’ve been looking at a spindle sander for a while and I like this Ridgid model because it has an oscillating wide belt, in addition to the oscillating spindles. So, that makes for more versatile than a conventional spindle sander, plus part of the table adjusts for an angle, which seems only available on higher end machines. The problem was I wasn’t too sure where I wanted to put it in my shop.

I saw the design for this cart when I made the last cabinet and I liked the idea of a flipping cart. So, I dismantled my planer cart and built this in its place.

This is pretty slick. Everything rotates on a steel pipe and the corners have locks. Everything seems solid and it’s working well. There’s also a drawer on the bottom to hold sanding accessories and whatever else.

I’m thinking of making another for my miter saw and router table to combine those two carts.


Table Saw Cabinet

Make 41

I saw plans for this cabinet and liked the vertical slide doors. It was intended to fit under the table saw, but my saw doesn’t have enough space. This is OK since I didn’t like the idea of drawers opening in that direction. While a cabinet makes great use of otherwise dead space, I still lose space in front of the table for drawer clearance. So, I think I’d rather build shelves under the table so I don’t lose that valuable space long my wall. I still liked the design, so I just made it free standing and that also gave me a new surface for either tools or projects.

This is the first my first time building with pocket holes and also batching up drawers to fit a cabinet. I needed to get better at making the drawers square, but otherwise, things worked well. A couple of the drawers are a little crooked, so the faces don’t sit exactly right. The top drawer, in particular, is crooked. But they’re all functional and look respectable enough. Next time I’m going to use corner clamps and pay closer attention while also making it easier and faster.

The vertical drawers are pretty nifty. I have three mounts for saw blades figuring I’ll have three basic types of blades: Combo, ripping, and cross-cutting. I’ll probably keep a spare or two of each as I try different blades and replace dull blades. I also put in a mount for my dado blade, dado blade insert, and the dado blade brake. I also have a spot for some push sticks and riving knives. I made the mounts out of scrap plywood with 5/8-inch dowels. For the dado blades and insert, I traced and cut a mount on the bandsaw. Then glued and nailed them into place. I’m pretty happy with how these drawers turned out. I haven’t put much thought into what will go into the horizontal drawers, so they’ll fill up as time goes.

I still have some items hanging on the side of my saw. The miter gauge and blade wrenches are still hanging on the side, which works for me.

When it gets warmer, I think I’ll glue a mount to the side to hang my cross cut sled.


Cutting Board #8

Make 40

Another cutting board. This was another try of gluing strips of walnut and maple together and then gluing those strips together. Last time I did this didn’t work out so well, so giving it another go.

For the finger holder, I used a cove bit. Something a little different. I think I need a bigger bit because it doesn’t feel quite right, but it works.

Happy with this one. Next time I’m going to try doing something similar, but use three kinds of wood.


Electrical Upgrade

Make 39

I finished a needed shop electrical upgrade. I was running everything off of a single 15 amp circuit that was shared with a weird assortment of outlets/lights in the house. Not only did the breaker trip, but tools seemed underpowered. The bandsaw labored and would make the lights flicker while the table saw seemed to take a bit to get up to speed and recover under load. To make the dust collector go, I brought in a 12-3 extension cord for more power.

I had an electrician bring in a 20-amp, 240-volt subpanel to the garage and workshop. I then wired a 20 amp circuit dedicated to machines and hand tools. Then I ran a second 20 amp circuit for the dust collector and exhaust fan.  For the machines and tools, I wired four outlets around the shop and no longer need any extension cords. For lights, I’ll just keep them on the existing circuit.

I also had the electrician add a couple 20 amp 240 outlets. On one outlet I installed a 4000-watt heater. I hope to eventually put an 8-inch jointer on the other outlet.

With the upgrade, I can now run my dust collector, heater, and any machine at once with plenty of amps to spare. I don’t have enough power to run a 15 amp 240 machine like an 8-inch jointer with the heater and dust collector, but I can handle turning off the heater to use the jointer.

So, I now have enough power to run the shop, 240v electric for a jointer upgrade, better shop heat, and better organization with no more extension cords and plug/unplug stuff.

Clamp Storage

Make 38

I sort of slapped this together to wrangle my clamps. This storage system was inspired by Jay Bates’ clamp system.

I’ve got some shop reorganizing planned and dealing with my clamps is kind of a pre-requisite. Clamps piled in the corner take up a surprisingly large amount of space. This organizer sits on corner wall not utilized, so it’s not only saving space and organizing but new found space, which is the best kind of space in a small shop.

I didn’t spend too much time laying things out because I’m sure I’m not set on my clamps. Since I don’t know how my clamp will look like in the future, I just designed it to hold the clamps I have and figured room for 2-4 more clamps of each kind. I’m sure this won’t be my last clamp storage solution, so I didn’t put a lot of time into it. The brackets aren’t square, there’s a bunch of glue drip, and a few brads missed their mark coming through the back side of the board. I even managed to get one of the mounts backward.

I made this with 3/4 plywood backing board and my brackets are 1/2-inch plywood. I went with 1/2-inch because I didn’t have enough 3/4-inch ply in the shop. Hopefully, it holds up with the smaller glue surface.

I cut the brackets 12.5″ x 13″, then cut them in half at a 45-degree angle. For the smaller clamps, I trimmed the brackets down a few inches so the 6-inch clamps could hang within the brackets. Based on the size of the clamps, this tried to maximize my glue surface for mounting and the horizontal space for stacking up clamps. I have my longest clamps on the ends, then in the middle top I have my shorter and middle lower mid-sized. Ideally, I’d like the shortest clamps on the bottom for easier reaching, but I’d saved a lot of space by allowing the longer clamps hang off the bottom of the board. I compromised by hanging the organizer a little lower for easier reaching.

In the original plans, the top of the brackets were cut at a slight angle from front to back. The idea is to keep any clamps from falling off the front of the bracket. For mine, I mounted two 2/4 boards across the wall studs, then screwed the board to those mounts. My bottom board is a bit thicker than the top, so the whole board sits at a slight angle from bottom to top. That’s not as elegant, but it’s a simpler solution. I also have this mounted behind a door, but I don’t really use that door. I still can open the door, but not all the way. I can still though open it far enough to exit and get some fresh air in the summer. Generally, though I keep my workbench there so that it’s not dead space.

I’m happy with it, although it looks a little ugly. I’m really happy to have all my clamps in one spot, organized, and out of the way.

Miter Spline Jig

Make 36

I made one box using simple miter joints wanted to try doing miter joints with splines. The idea is miter joints glue end grain to end grain, which is a relatively weak joint. The joint can be strengthened by cutting small cross-cuts through the joint and filling it in with a piece of wood. This introduces additional glue surface against long grain and edge grain. I also think it looks neat and decorative. You can mix in contrasting wood or simply the same wood. You can also make the different sizes and angles.

To do this, I made a jig to run a 90-degree joint across the table saw blade. You can use any size blade you wish, whether thin kerf or a dado stack. This will safely move a workpiece across the table saw and also allow for repeatable cuts. I found this design on Sketup 3D Warehouse. I liked it because it’s versatile and  I’ve also been wanting to mess with t-track. Two holder pieces are secured via knobs dial and move the width of the jig. You can lock it down and keep the workpiece between the holders secure.

To cut the splines, I cut off a narrow 3/16 or so strip of wood, then cut into small pieces. For such a narrow piece, I cut off my piece on the left of the blade from a larger board rather than trying to run a such a narrow strip against the saw fence. Rockler makes a nifty jig for this task, although you could do it with a feather board.

I had assembled the box using tape and then pulled it tight with a strap clamp. After the glue dried, I kept the tape in place and that seems to help keep the spline glue off of the box surface. Then I use a flexible flush saw to trim flush with the box. Easiest next step for me seems to just sand it down flat, but I’m messed around with chisels and a block plane too.

The tricky part is getting the saw depth right. You want to go as deep as you can without cutting through into the inside of the box. The box in the picture below is only 1/4 inch thick. Seems a good idea to do 3/8 sides. You may also want to use a flat-top blade to make a flat cut, but I just used by ATB, which creates a little V. ATB seemed to work fine.

I have two example below, Both are using the standard kerf blade. One is a bigger box with 3/8-inch sides. The finished picture below is a 1/4-inch box that’s trimmed, sanded, and complete.