Not too long ago, I got a cryptic email from a work colleague. It read in part, “Take a look at this amateur drawing I did in 2 min. What do you think?”
The drawing was in an attached PowerPoint file. For a moment I wondered if I was being subject to a phishing scam. Or maybe this was a test of my email security practices? But after a thorough forensic analysis, I concluded the email was legit and opened the file. In it was an illustration of a tray with two sets of legs sticking down from it. My friend, it seemed, was asking me to make him a custom dining tray. I agreed and it turned out to be an engineering puzzle that was fun to solve.
Continue reading “Custom Project: Balcony Tray”
It’s been hard to find much time in the shop this summer thanks to other chores and projects that have commanded my attention. But when a friend asked if I could make him some shelves to order, I was eager to oblige.
Continue reading “Shelves, Made to Order”
As I’ve been working on more and more projects in my shop, I’ve become increasingly annoyed by the mess — not to mention the health hazards — caused by sawdust. It’s not like I’ve been letting machines just spew out dust willy nilly; I’ve been following the well-worn path of cheapniks everywhere by connecting a shop vacuum to my machines. But, shop vacuums really aren’t made for this purpose and it’s annoying (not to mention a tripping hazard) to move the vacuum to each machine as I work around the shop.
I guess you could say I had approached another one of those lines between adolescence and adulthood, like drinking amber liquids from cut-crystal glasses; hiring professional movers instead of begging friends for help; making beds after sleeping in them; preparing entire meals instead of opening a can of smoked oysters and a box of crackers. It was time, in other words, to be a man and install a central dust collection machine and permanent ductwork in my shop.
Continue reading “Duct, Duct, Goose”
A few months ago, I decided to make some outdoor games for when friends come over. I started with a simple oversized Jenga set using leftover 2x4s from the dog kennel demolition. And while folks do seem to love Jenga — especially when a falling tower has the potential to break a toe — I decided I needed to add a less destructive game to the mix. Cornhole to the rescue.
Continue reading “Cornhole in One”
As previously described, I’m incredibly lucky to have a large shop on our property in the form of a four-bay garage. However, being a four-bay garage, it sits as a rather large and imposing structure at the top of our driveway. It’s not exactly inviting.
In an attempt to rectify this, I decided what was needed were some wooden planters filled with colorful flowers. This would soften the brown and brick façade and also give me a relatively quick and easy weekend project to work on.
Continue reading “Softening the Hardscape”
A few weeks ago, I decided to update the appearance of our fireplace with whitewash. The results were great, but the change highlighted how deficient our mantle was. So on a recent Sunday, I decided to tackle the mantle and give the fireplace a proper finished look.
Continue reading “Fireplace Finishing Touches: Mantle Edition”
Making things is fun, but even more fun is making things with and for other people. Last year, my sister moved into a new house and in her basement, there was a perfect place for a big workbench. Too bad she didn’t have one — until recently.
Continue reading “Workbench for My Sister”
Most of my free time at the new house has been taken up with what you might call “property management” issues. Things like the garage “renovation,” the greenhouse, replacing the dishwasher, taking down some small outbuildings, or other similar projects. What I hadn’t done much of was a true woodworking project.
Continue reading “Back on Board”
Some projects are really complicated, requiring special tools, advanced joinery, multiple species of wood, skilled techniques, patience, expertise and time.
This is not one of those projects.
Continue reading “Easiest. Project. Ever.”
When I started to demolish the extraordinary well-built kennels in the garage, I assumed I’d throw everything into the trash dumpster. But I quickly realized that a significant portion of the debris was in the form perfectly usable pine 2x4s and 2x6s. Throwing them away would be a tremendous waste. And with wood prices being as high as they are, reusing the timber would not only be good for the environment, it’d be kind to my wallet.
Among the ways I could reuse the wood would be to build bench tops by laminating them together. I figured this would be a fairly simple weekend project. As usual, I was wrong.
Continue reading “From Trash to Table”