My first try at a box I did 45-degree miter joints for the edges. For the next box, I want to try using box joints. I made this sled and jig to make these on the table saw. I also picked up a dado blade to cut these joints.
I made a little sled with two miter rails. The plan is to have different fences attached to the sled fence for different dado widths. I then made a small key to fit the dado slot as a placeholder. The first time I did this, I made the key too tall. Being that tall I had to cut deeper dados than I needed, so I redid the fence and key with a shallow dado.
This worked out pretty well on my test pieces. The set fence was held in place with a clamp, but I needed to reposition the clamp when I started the other board. I think it shifted a 1/8 of an inch or so. I’ve seen some similar jigs held together with a bolt rather than clamps. I’ll have to play around with it, but it’s close enough.
I’ve been working on cutting boards for learning projects, now I’m planning to do some boxes. Boxes seems a good way to try new joinery. Also, I can experiment with different ideas for tops and finishes. Plus get some more experience milling wood down to a little more precision.
My first box used 45-degree miter joints. I used the table saw to cut these. For the bottom, I cut a 3/8 dado into the sides using the router table. I then milled down a piece of wood to fit into the grove. I then cut some rabbets into the top of the sides so the lid could set in there. Finally, I glued a small piece of wood as a handle for the top. Then I a dry fit and sanded everything down.
I used pine 1×6 boards as something cheap to play with. When I feel confident, I’ll graduate up to hardwood. I finished the boards with a pre-stain treatment and a lighter stain. One issue is my glue-up leaked out, so next time I’ll tape things off to protect the wood.
Yet another cutting board. This one turned out pretty well although a perfect pattern is still elusive. I actually meant this to be a checkerboard but did an odd number of edge grain strips instead of even to get a pattern when cutting the end grain strips. But this works.
This is a smaller board I put together to try out the new drum sander. I made it with whatever milled boards I had left over. Still trying to get the patterns to line up. It was pretty close except for a couple. I’m starting to think it would be easier to just do a repeatable pattern.
I got frustrated enough with end grain boards to pick up a drum sander. These cutting boards are learning project and I’m planning to start building some boxes next. A drum sander would be handy in working with pieces too small for a thickness planer. So, I figured I’d have uses other than cutting boards as a justification for a new toy.
As with other large power tools, I made a mobile cart using similar designs.
I chose the small Jet 10-20. Not only is it one of the most affordable, but has a small footprint for my little shop. Although, the cart is bigger than it needs to be. I may repurpose this cart in the future for something else and make a cart a little smaller to save on space.
I’m still learning to use it. I keep tripping the motor overload, but I’m getting the hang of it. It seems running the belt fast and doing very small thickness adjustments works well. Slowing the best causes a lot of burning, so seems like this small sander just needs some patience. It’s not a huge time saver, but it requires little to no concentration, unlike the router sled.
With my next attempt at a cutting board, I’m trying to get better at lining up patterns. I still have room for improvement. Part of the issue I think is my table saw cutting is drifting on me a bit and strips are shifting around while gluing. This is also the first board where I milled rough sawn boards.
This is maple and walnut in a checkerboard pattern. The maple had a stain running down a section of the board. I didn’t really notice or pay much attention when I was first working on it. Then figured it looks a little different and kept on going. Reading, I thought it may be spalting. Asking around and doing more research, it appears to be mineral staining. Another thought was perhaps caused by the tree being tapped for maple syrup. Either way, it seems safe for food contact while spalted maple probably should be avoided.
I leveled this board using my router jig and it didn’t work out so well. I had a lot of marking from the bit and this board was larger than others so it was challenging with my setup. I decided to bite the bullet and get a drum sander after this doing this board. I tried to sand out the bit marks with the orbital sander with mixed results. Aggressive sanding left some dips in the board. End grain is very hard stuff!
So, I might take this back and sand again this time using the drum sander and see if I can level it out a little. I gave up on it because of what I thought was spalting, but now willing to put in some more time.
My workshop has an exterior door and a doorway going into the garage. When making dust, I open the outside door and car garage door for some ventilation. The doorway into the garage and the outside door and in-line, so the rest of the shop doesn’t seem to get a lot of air movement. A forced air exhaust vent at the other end of the shop seems a good idea.
The other thing I’ve been thinking about is I probably don’t want to have all the doors open when the weather turns cold. My thinking is that I may run the fan only when running saws, or perhaps just flip on the fan for a few minutes to clear out the air. There’s no heat in the workshop, but I’m thinking of installing some kind of electric heat. By just running the fan to suck out dust, I’m wondering if I’ll be able to take the edge of the cold in the workshop and momentarily run the fan to clear out the air. I plan to crack the garage door when running the fan in the winter.
I’ve also moved my shop vac dust collector over by this fan. I run a short hose from the blower port on the fan and shoot that out the fan. The idea is whatever isn’t captured by the Dusty Deputy and HEPA filter should go side.
Anyway, I got this 14-inch fan from Amazon. There are bigger fans, but they seemed excessive and not worth the price for my space. I didn’t get fussy installing it. I basically cut out a hole in the garage wall with a beat up jigsaw blade, then braced the fan with 2×4 boards against the joists. I wired then it up using an extension cord. Eventually, I’ll make it more permanent with a switch.
This seems to work pretty well. There’s noticeable less dust hanging in the air and even less eventually settling. I always wear a respirator when making dust, but I feel this fan clears the air enough to remove the mask when not running saws or sanders.
Small project to improve lighting. I’ve been using four CFL bulbs for my little workshop. I bought an LED array that’s in the form of tube bulbs. I’m trying to keep down the power usage for the shop just because everything is on a shared circuit. LED seemed a good solution for low power and quality of light. I installed one and liked it enough to add a second.
These worked out great. Hopefully, they prove to be durable. They offer 4800 lums of light at 5000k daylight temp and run at 64 watts. They make a big difference lighting up my work.
You can link them together, which is pretty convenient for installing multiple bulbs. Installation is pretty easy. Just u-shaped bracket, chain, and clips.