Monday, November 7, 2016

What I've been up to lately...

For the last couple months I have been very busy.  I received a promotion (of sorts) at my actual job, and had been traveling a lot, attending shows for my company, and manning products that (mostly) I designed.

This particular event is for the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek, and I attended the conventions in New York and Las Vegas. I also had fun taking selfies on various sets, like 10 Forward from TNG...

...and the Transporter room from TOS.

I posed with people like Seven of Nine from Voyager...

...and took shots of other people, who were mixed up the Stars (both Wars and Trek).

With all my business, I haven't done the best job keeping my blog updated.  Plus, a lot of my projects - I've felt - weren't long or big enough for a whole entry on their own.  So this entry shows some projects I've been working on of late:

Rustic Office Corner Desks
I've created furniture for every room in my house.  As my skill increases, so does my desire to remake some of the furniture I've already made, only better or more to my liking.  This computer desk worked well, but I thought I could make something more my style.

So nice as all the clean lines and smooth surfaces of this desk were, I do love the rustic look.  So I bought some 2x4s and 2x6s and made this table.  The design is based off of Ana White's Farmhouse table build.

Then I made a second table to match the first.

For these tables I didn't use stain.  Instead I spray painted them with brown matte spray paint and sanded them when the paint dried.

These tables are a definite throw back to a lot of my original rustic furniture builds - a look that I very much enjoy.

After the 2 desks were completed I used some leftover wood to build a corner piece which also connected the 2 desks.

Now I have a rustic corner desk!

A day later I bought a few more pieces of wood and made a matching smaller table to hold my computer and printer.

But what did I do with that old computer desk?

I wound up taking it apart and using some of the wood to build this small bookshelf for my kitchen.  This bookshelf holds all of our cook books.  The rest of the scrap wood went onto other projects.

Small Book Shelves
In my office I also had this very large art desk I made a while back.

This desk was great, but sadly it wasn't used much for art.  It was mostly used for storage.  During my most recent renovation, I revised the top so that it opens from the front (rather than opening from the back and creating a angled surface for me to paint on).

During that renovation, I found that the table was incredibly heavy and quite cumbersome.  At 6-feet long it was also a little big for my drawing and painting needs, so this too was taken apart I saved the shelves on both sides, and cut them in half vertically.

Using the wood left over from the rest of the desk I added a top, back and trim to these shelvess, and now they are nice, smaller shelves.  The 2 pictured below eventually went to my mother's house and helped organize her office.

The other 2 wound up in my office to store stuff (sorry for all the clutter).

Closet Shelves
Recently I made a bunch of angled stools.

These are great, but honestly I do not need all of these stools.  But I did need extra storage space in our bedroom closet, so I used some of that leftover wood from the art table to make a shelf that fit on top of the stools and placed them on the existing closet shelves to create some more shelving.

It was a simple fix to my storage problem in the closet and all the extra stools hanging around my house.

Work Benches
Not long ago I sent my friend Brad some plans for making a work bench that closely resembled the kitchen Island I built.

Unlike my work benches, this new bench for my friend incorporated legs that were assembled to fit around both sides of each of the 4 corners.  It also had shelves that fitted inside the frame around it instead of being screwed to the frame.  This created a nice rim for each shelf.

During a recent trip to New York, I helped my friend Brad make his new work bench.  I didn't take pictures of his completed bench, but he has posted images of projects he's worked on that show the bench, and his projects.

Loving how his turned out, I revised my existing work benches to be similar.

While working on revising all my benches, I built a vise that connects to the end of my main workbench.

This vise uses 2 pipe clamps and it works surprisingly well.

Underneath the bench top I configured a bar that connects to the clamps so I can easily lock and unlock them.

Shortly afterward I built an extension to my main work bench, extending it by 2-feet...

...and incorporating a space for my shop vac.

My other work bench was made to be shorter so that my drill press and band saw would be at a good level for me to work with.

My prep table was revised and became my new miter saw table.

This table has more space to cut large pieces of wood... under each wing if the table I made little shelves.

In the pictures above and below you can see that the shelves house all my incense, which I like to use while working.  They also do a great job of deodorizing my workshop after using spray paints and wood stains. 

Behind the miter saw itself I created a box of sorts to catch most of the saw dust that flies out of the saw.  This is integral to keeping a cleaner workshop as the miter saw creates a LOT of saw dust.

The back and new fence/foot of this miter saw table is only temporary.  I plan on redesigning the whole table soon to incorporate a shop vac.

Tool Cabinet
A while back I made this tool cabinet using reclaimed kitchen drawers.

I also made a cart for my miter saw which also used some of the reclaimed drawers.

The "wings" to this cart would fold up and down, but eventually the wood that the hinges connected to on one side cracked.

So I removed the miter saw and combined the 2 carts to become one bigger tool cart.  I restained and painted the new cart to look nicer.

I removed one of the shelves on the right side and added a door.  This created the perfect space for me to store my air compressor.

In addition, I removed the drill press from the cart I had made for it...

...and attached it to the new tool cabinet, making it even larger.

It's a funny looking cabinet (and shorter on the right side), but it was what I needed to better organize my tools and workshop.

This tool cabinet is heavy, but it has 12 casters to support the weight, and having most of my tools in one spot is great!

Router Table Revise
Recently I made some changes to my router table.  The most obvious change was that I painted the top green and the fence pink.

I also made a housing on the back of the fence with a hole that my shop vac hose fits into.  When routing the shop vac is always connected and on, making less of a mess.

For the wood chips that fall inside I created a simple tray that catches most of it.  Removing this tray and dumping the wood chips and saw dust is a lot faster that vacuuming it all up.

Painting the surfaces sealed up the MDF greatly and allowed me to fine-sand the whole thing and make it smoother.  The smooth surface makes it a whole lot easier to run material through.

Bathroom Cabinet
Remember that green paint I used on the router?  It was originally from this new bathroom cabinet build.  My girlfriend wanted a cabinet with a door.

This cabinet was made entirely from scrap wood.  The only thing bought was the paint.

As for the old bathroom cabinet - I hung it up in my workshop.

The hooks originally made for towels and the such now hold my screw clamps well, which is great since the screw clamps were always hard to store anywhere else in my workshop.  Having the clamps hold a wood block with a twine loop makes in nice and easy to hand the clamps somewhere out of the way.

For fun I threw together 3 lanterns made out of scrap wood, painted white and weathered.  I hoped they would fit some candles and/or mason jars we have, but they didn't.

I attached some hooks to our patio and hung 2 of the lanterns outside.

When the holidays come, I plan on wrapping some Christmas lights around them.

Halloween Decor
We already have a good amount of Halloween decorations for the inside and outside of our house, but I decided to make some wooden Jack o' Lanterns out of scrap plywood.

Wood is better than actual pumpkins this year.  This Indian summer we're having has been dreadful, and real pumpkins would not last long in this excessive heat.  So I made 4 pumpkins in all.  One sits next to our home made tomb stones.

The other 3 were attached to a post and sits in the front of our house.  There are lights wrapped around it, so at night it lights up.

My girlfriend's job decided to have a Harry Potter themed Halloween. So I made several print outs which I attached to Hard Board, cut out and sanded.

Obviously I really like the Tale of the 3 brothers from Deathly Hallows pt.1.

Then I made more hanging pictures of various Harry Potter stuff.

My favorite was this standing directional sign.

Table Saw Cart Revisions
The last project I'll post here involves some revisions to my nifty table saw cart.  It all started when I decided to try making a zero-clearance throat plate for my table saw.

My particular table saw, which I bought from Harbor Freight, does not really allow for home-made throat plates.

I eventually was able to make one out of scrap hardboard and some creativity.

And I have to say it works pretty well, especially at cutting wood to be very thin.

This particular piece was less than 1/64" thick!

My friend Brad recently got the same table saw (used) and needed a throat plate.  So I sent him the one I made and decided to make a newer top for my saw table.  

The top and new fence are made out of MDF.

Instead of being less than 2-feet wide/long, my new top is 4-feet by 2-feet.  

I also made a new jigs, including a 45-degree sled, a tenon jig and a straight cut sled, pictured.

Like my router table, I painted both the table top and fence and sanded both to make it very smooth.  The new fence is perfectly parallel to the saw blade and stays that way thanks to the T-Square shape of the fence itself.  There are no hokey jigs for locking the fence in place - I simply use 2 clamps.

Aside from all those builds, I have also finally purchased some newer tools, specifically from the Ryobi One+ line.

These tools are actually pretty awesome and their batteries can be used with other One+ tools.  At the moment I have a Circular Saw, Jig Saw, Nail Gun, Orbital and Mouse sanders, Small Vacuum, impact driver and a drill.

So that's it for now.  Hopefully I'll be getting more time to photograph each step in all my projects so I can share with all of you.
Thanks for reading!

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