Saturday, February 25, 2017

Shopping Basket Storage Table

Almost a year ago I created a blog entry to help my friend Brad (and any other viewer) create a simple bed frame made out of 2x4's.

You can see that posting by clicking here.

In that blog entry I listed a step-by-step process with pictures created to scale in SketchUp.  That entry also had a beginners guide to wood working tools - so if you're interested in starting out and making the project below, please look at the old entry for info.

Anyway, my friend Brad has a collection of shopping baskets, similar to the picture below.

 Since his workshop is small, and a little on the cluttered side (his workshop also doubles as a storage room) I figured I'd help him get organized by creating a storage table, and utilize all those shopping baskets.  He provided me the dimensions, and I created a shopping basket in Sketchup.

Having that basket model helped me make the storage table.

This table is 6-feet long, 20.5" wide and 34.25" tall and holds 10 baskets on each shelf and 5 baskets underneath for a total of 15 baskets (plus more if you put any on top).

To keep this project as inexpensive as possible, the frame is made up of 2x4 wood studs and the shelves are plywood (.25" and .75" thick).

(10) 2x4's are needed (at 8' length) and (3) 2x2's (also at 8' length).  The plywood are 4' x 8' sheets, however you can buy smaller pieces at the home center and tile them next to each other if you choose to.  There's a good amount of plywood left over after cutting - but I never mind having extra material hanging around for other projects.

Please read the entire plan before assembly. In all my images I color coded each piece. The pieces with the same color are all the same size.

Cut List for the 2x4s:
9 pieces at 33.5"
3 pieces at 69"
15 pieces at 14.5"
6 pieces at 10.5"

Cut List for 2x2s:
3 pieces at 69"

Cut List for .75" Plywood:
1 piece at 72" x 20.5"

Cut List for .25" Plywood
2 pieces at 69" x 17.5"

You'll also need some screws to hold this thing together.  For the last several months I have been using SPAX screws, which I buy at the Home Depot (#8 x 2-1/2 in).  These screws are strong, self-tapping (so you don't need to predrill holes) and they have a T-star head.  They also come with a T-star drilling bit in case you don't have one.

After cutting all the wood to size, you'll first want to make the legs.  Combine 2 of the wood pieces for the legs (33.5") to create an "L" shape, as seen below.  Screw them together and make 4 legs.  You'll have one 33.5" piece leftover which won't be made into an L shape.

Next it's onto making the sides - you'll take your 10.5" pieces (aprons) and drill pocket holes at each end.  This is the easiest way to connect the aprons to 2 sets of legs, like pictured below.  You'll need to made 2 of these side pieces.  Be sure that the space between each apron is the same for both sets of sides, otherwise your shelves will be slanted.  The image below has the distances between each apron.

With both sides done it's time to make the shelf supports.  To make sure the shelf supports are level, assemble them upside-down on a flat surface, like pictured below.  The purple slats (14.5" pieces) connect to the light blue 2x4 (69") and the dark blue 2x2 (also 69").  You can use either pocket holes or regular screws to attach the slats to the other pieces.  Since this image shows the shelf support upside-down, the light blue 2x4 is sticks out above the rest of the shelf.  When right side-up that piece sticks out below the rest of the shelf.  You'll need to make 3 of these shelf supports.

Once the 2 sides and 3 shelf supports are done, it's time to assemble it all.  This can easily be done using screws.  First attach the top, so it is flush with the top of both sides.  Doing this step upside-down might be easier.  Once the top is in place, attach the second shelf, making sure the top aligns flush with the top of the side apron (green pieces).  Then repeat the process for the third shelf.

The last remaining leg (that isn't L shaped) gets screwed to the middle of the back for additional support.

That wasn't too hard I hope.  Next insert the .25" plywood shelves.
This may be easier to do before assembling the sides to the shelf supports - especially if the plywood is one piece.

Then attach the .75" plywood top.

The last thing to do is start organizing all those shopping carts, and getting your basement/workshop/storage area clean and organized.

If my friend Brad (or anyone else) makes this, I would be happy to post pictures of it on here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Improving a Simple (Inexpensive) Tool Cart

So here is a short blog entry to help out anyone who might have a metal tool cabinet.  Below is a picture of a "Hyper Tough" tool cabinet I bought at Walmart recently on clearance for $50.

Despite it's price, this is actually a pretty decent little cart.  On the top of it is a MDF board which I mounted my pocket hole jig to.

On the side is a spot for me to stow a corded drill - which I use exclusively for drilling pocket holes.

Underneath the MDF board on the top are spaces which I filled with mostly pocket hole screws, drill bits, plugs and a few other things.

The 3 drawers holds a lot of stuff, but the metal bottoms of each drawer are smooth and all my tools move around when opening and closing.  Of course they do make drawer liners, but I found a cheaper alternative.

So I went to Harbor Freight and bought a pack of foam floor tiles.  They sell a pack of 4 for $9.99 and I used a 20% off coupon.

I then cut the mats to fit inside each drawer using a straight edge and a utility knife.

Then I popped each new liner into each drawer.

And that's it!  The foam keeps everything in place.  The bottom drawer holds my Plate Joiner, Reciprocating saw, blades, biscuits, and a few other things.

The middle drawer holds my multipurpose tool, angle grinder and their accessories.

And the top drawer holds all my wrenches, ratcheting tools and sharpening stones.

So, Foam Mats are easy and inexpensive drawer liners.  One day (once I have a more organized workshop) I plan on buying more foam mats and cutting out spaces for specific tools - much like people do with Kaizen Foam.  But Foam floor mats are much, much less expensive.

Next I want to switch out those cheap plastic casters.  

Only 2 of them swivel 360 degrees, which makes it a bit difficult to move around.

I removed them and then cut a piece of MDF I had to fit the bottom of the cart. Then I screwed the MDF to the cart from the inside.   In addition to having a surface that I can easily mount casters to, the MDF adds more rigidity to the thin metal bottom of the cart.

Next I added 4 casters I had that I knew were of good quality.  All 4 rotate 360 degrees.

Then I put the drawers back in and moved it around easily.  The front 2 casters lock in case I need it to be stationary.

It's a dirty little tool cabinet, but it works great and I love it.  So for those of you who do not have the money to buy one of those very expensive tool cabinets from the big box stores, something like this is a great alternative.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

DIY Book Binding 2

Not too long ago I decided to bind some more books, like the ones I made a while back.

If you want to see my original blog entry about DIY book binding, click here.   The 3 above took me a few hours to make, but I wanted to make a real nice one for my fiancee for Valentines day.  So I looked through my wood bin and found a sheet of 1/4" plywood I could use for the cover.

Next I drew out the shapes of the cover...

...and cut them to size on my table saw.

Since this plywood was rather rough, I first sanded it with medium grit sandpaper with my wired sander.

Then I sanded with fine sandpaper on my cordless sander.  The cordless sander is good for finishing, but doesn't have the speed or power to remove more material faster like my corded sander.

For the edges I used some very fine sandpaper.  I didn't want to use a power sander and accidentally tear out some wood.

I also cut out a spine, but decided not to use it.

Next I used my 3-hole-punch to, well, punch 3 holes in a piece of printer paper.  At the moment I didn't have any loose leaf paper to use.

I then drew the holes onto the pieces of wood.

The binding for this book will go through the front and back cover.

Next I found a drill bit size that fits the hole (15/16").

I set up the fence on my drill press so I can simply place the wood against it, and drill the holes away.  Each time the hole will be the same distance from the edge.

Then I sanded around the holes to make them smooth.

For this book I wanted to have a cool looking cover.  My fiancee loves the Deathly Hallows from Harry Potter, so I found this real cool design online.

I decided to give this image a border and print it out.

I then flipped the paper over and used a piece of charcoal to color the back.

Then I flipped it over and taped it to the front cover of the book.  

The charcoal acts like carbon paper.  All I need to do is trace out the design...

...and remove the paper.

To fill in the shapes I decided to use my rarely-used wood burning kit.

This thing is the same thing as a soldering iron, with different tips to choose from.  I plugged it in and let it get hot.

While it was warming up I decided to use my stencils to draw in my fiancee's name underneath the design.

Then I began burning the wood.

I first traced the outlines.

Then I filled them in.

Burning everything took about an hour, and it looked awesome.

I specifically wrote "looked" awesome, because I then made a mistake.  I decided to stain the wood, and the stain I used was a little too dark.

You can hardly see the burned design.

I tried adding more stain to darken the design...

...but it didn't do much.

So when the stain dried I used some black acrylic paint to fill in the areas that were burned in.

If I can't make the design stand out by making it darker, then I'll make it lighter.  I used some silver Rub n' Buff to bring out the design.

This actually worked nicely since the Rub n' Buff was applied lightly and caught a lot of the texture of the burned areas.  Once the silver had dried I coated both covers with matte clear coat.  First the outsides...

...then the insides.

While that dried I went out and bought some binder rings, and some loose leaf paper - both lined paper and graph paper.

Once the clear coat dried I sanded the covers with super fine sandpaper and cleaned them off.

Next I began assembling the book with loose leaf paper and binder clips.

And it's together!

Looks pretty good...

...but I couldn't fit as much paper as I thought I could.

Because of the size of the binder clips and the thickness of the wood, I could only fit in maybe 50 sheets at most.

So after some thought I came up with something else...

...and that was to use jute (or twine) as the binders.

I cut 3 pieces...

...and weaved them between the covers and a larger stack of paper.

Then I simply tied the jute into knots.

And that worked like a charm!

One book done!  But I felt like making a few more.

So I found some other material to use.  A few sheets of 1/4" MDF.

I cut the MDF to size on the table saw.  I was able to cut 6 pieces which is enough to make 3 more books.

Then I repeated the same process from before.

Drilling holes...


...and cleaning.

  Since I'm not sure how MDF will work with a wood burner I decided to go a different route.  I assembled the 3 books with paper and the binder clips.

For the covers I simply decided to design them in Photoshop, print them out and attach them to the MDF using spray mount.  So I took them all apart and brought the covers and print outs into my workshop.  The first book had a Game of Thrones design - another favorite of my fiancee's.

The second book (for me) incorporated Darth Vader on the front and Stormtroopers on the back.

The third was just a random design.

Once the paper was stuck onto the boards I used my sander to begin roughing up the edges.  This is a look I enjoy and have done it many times to create a vintage, aged look.

Once they were all sanded and cleaned I reassembled all the books.

These 3 books were a lot easier to make.  But they are still very cool looking.

In 2 days I made 7 books!

The 2 above will be for my fiancee for Valentines day.  I hope she likes them!