Tag Archives: 52 Week Challenge

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.

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.


Dresser Velet

Make 35

I made this dresser organizer out of cherry. For the joints, I used the Porter Cable dovetail jig again, but I tried doing the mini version of the jig since it was a smaller project. This is a little tedious and was a challenge to cut dados in pins so small. I’ll probably stick with the full sized jig as long as size permits.

Anyway, this turned out well. I finished it with boiled linseed oil and furniture wax. It’s a nice looking finish with rich color and the wax gives the wood a little shine while keeping the grain texture.

Coaster Holders

Make 34

I made this holder for the coasters project. I made two actually, one for the coasters gift and second for my set.

I thought about a few different ways of doing this. I ended up doing contrasting maple and walnut pieces and jointed them a dovetail rabbet joint. To hold them together, I made pins made of walnut. The pins are mortised through the maple and go into the walnut. It should support the joint and looks nifty. I was going to do a dowel, but a little extra work for square pins.

End Grain Coasters #2

Make 33

I had a failed cutting board that I turned into coasters. I got a request to make a set for a Christmas present. So, here’s an intentional version of a same thing. Maple and walnut. The maple has a mineral stain running through it for some interesting character.

I got a little fancy with these and added a chamfer to the edges. The bottom has a piece of felt spray glued. I finished with three coats of wipe on poly.

Box #3 – Dovetails

Make 32

This is getting practice using the Porter Cable Dovetail jig. I got the bottom right this time around. I remembered and correctly did a partial dado on the router table. One side starts inside the tails and the other goes through the pins, which is concealed by the joint. I messed up the top though. I planned on doing a rabbet to set in a simple lid, but fogged out and went through to the ends. Also, the lid was a little messed up. I tried to join to pieces together and it didn’t work out quite as planned. Somewhere along the way I also managed to get mixed up on sides and I put a dado on the wrong end. It really pays to label and pay attention.

Anyway, I’m happy with the dovetails and got the hang of the jig, which was the goal. I may use this to store router parts, although I want to make a bit storage box. I just put wipe on poly as a finish.

Cyclone Dust Collector – Harbor Freight and Super Dusty Buddy

Make #31

For dust control, I’ve been using an old shop vac and Dust Deputy. It worked well enough, but then the vacuum died spectacularly. It stopped running with a column of thick smoke and then melted down. Rather than abusing another shop vacuum, I started looking for a dust collector.

I opted for the 2 HP model from Harbor Freight. It’s very popular and a good price that’s even better with a 20% off coupon. I also got the larger Super Dust Deputy since the little bucket version worked well for me. Using the conical cyclone, debris enters, swirls around, and drops to a collector rather than going through the blower motor into a collection bag. The primary purpose is to prevent solid chips/chunks, etc from hitting the motor’s impeller and causing damage. But it’s also extremely efficient at capturing anything that gets sucked up.

I’m not using the bagging system with Harbor Freight Kit. I’m simply venting outside. The advantage here is that only the finest dust will escape the Dust Deputy, but this fine dust is the most problematic. It’s the most dangerous to inhale, and it’s also the most difficult to filter. So, rather than building an expensive filtering system, I’m just going to just exhaust it outdoors. Once it snows, I’ll be able to see how much dust is being vented and whether I need to rethink it. So far, it’s working great.

The other advantages of this setup are it’s a small footprint. It’s vertical at less than 2-foot by 2-foot. The other advantage is there’s no filter to restrict airflow, so it should help increase power or at least help counter the restriction from the cyclone.

I opted to go for the newer 4-inch Super Dust Deputy. I was hesitant to buy a smaller unit than the larger cyclone with 5-inch connections. I was concerned if it would hurt power and not be as efficient. So far, it seems perfectly fine. It seems Oneida designed this version of the Super Cyclone for the popular Harbor Freight and similarly sized dust collectors. This is a turn-key system that includes a 15-gallon drum. The cyclone fits directly on the drum and doesn’t require a lid or cutout. It also includes a foam gasket to get a tight seal. The output is 4″, which is the typical for small to medium shop dust collection. It also includes a fitting/adapter out of the top for 4″.

For my setup, I made a wall mount with 2x4s. I then just set then fan blower so the input is facing the ground. I didn’t mount the blower anywhere. It’s heavy and the blower input sticks out so will keep it from sliding off. Once mounted, I used the Harbor Freight duct adapter and 5″ output hose. I cut a hole in the wall, installed a 5″ wall duct baffle, and connected it all with clamps. I also cut a short length of the 5″ hose and connected that to the lower input with a clamp. Then used a 4″ reducer. Then I attached a length of 4″ hose to the Super Dust Deputy.  Out of the Harbor Freight kit, I’m just using the blower, duct adapter, and hose.

This gives me a straight line for airflow with only a minimal curve on the output. I mounted the lower at a height that was convenient for me to reach the switch. I thought about sitting the drum on a cart  for convienent emptying and maybe steal a little extra shop storage space but didn’t I don’t have a clear path to wheel out the drum anyway. I also didn’t want to directly connect the blower to the Super Dust Buddy because I thought it might make it more difficult to empty the drum. I’m thinking about using some bungee cords to hold the Super Dust Buddy when emptying, but it seems light enough that the hose clamps can support it hanging.

Lastly, I need to work on connections. I intend to simply move the 4″ hose to machine to machine. My shop is small and only the table saw is stationary, so I don’t have fixed stations for duct work.

Dust Collector System
Dust Collector System
4" Super Dust Buddy
4″ Super Dust Buddy
Collected Dust
Collected Dust