Planing Lumber

I filled three 39 gallon trash bags full of sawdust doing this.

Here’s a math problem I don’t want to do: what percentage of wood that I purchase actually ends up in the thing I’m making vs. the percentage that ends up as sawdust / firewood / scrap / trash / sits on my wood rack for decades doing nothing.

Shop Renovation – Tables and More Cabinets

My shop needed some organization.  I didn’t realize until now how hastily put together everything was.  I didn’t have any time to spend on the shop because I needed to get the house put together.  Now that the house is habitable and, dare I say, finished, it’s time to make some storage and organization out there.  I have so many homeless, orphan tools in boxes and I don’t even know where they are.  Several times I’ve bought a duplicate tool because I forgot I had it.  Well, now, maybe some places to put things so that they’re accessible, it’ll help.

As part of all this, I’m raising the heights of my side tables a bit, and to do that I’ll build some drawers to go on top of them.  I’ll get more storage space, and I’ll be able to use all the tables to support large pieces of wood when I’m cutting them.

It’s easy to install the drawer hardware if you do it before everything’s assembled.

Not sure if lasers make anything any easier, but it is more fun.

The drawers are pretty solid, and I made some partitions in front to help sort things out.  It’s a pain to do, but worth it in the end.

Now I’ve got a little Festool work station going on.  And when I put a piece of wood on that saw, it’s the same height as the tables over to the right, so I can cut large pieces and they’re fully supported.

A little paint along this wall made a big difference.

Every once in a while, I open an old cardboard box and find some torn up cardboard and a small pile of cat food.  A mouse was nesting in this box.  I think he was gathering cat food to have enough to survive a zombie apocalypse.

More cabinets went up over the router table.

Even more cabinets.  And no, I’m not done.  I still have about 22 square feet of wall space I can cover with more cabinets.

Yeah, I know, I get more excited about shop cabinets than most people do, or should.

Shop Renovation – Drawers and Cabinets

I’ve been badly in need of a new clamp rack.  Of course, I make the biggest, heaviest monster clamp rack that I can.  The top is 1″ thick solid oak and because I didn’t think that was strong enough I put some 1.5″ thick brackets underneath to reinforce them.

Unfortunately, no room for expansion. But that’s okay, there’s no room for another clamp rack in the shop.  Well, I’ll have a separate rack for small clamps.

So, I have this little side table along that back wall, you can see it here with the brackets underneath.  I’m reworking some storage and work surfaces in the shop and I wanted to raise that side table to the same height as the main bench.  I figured the best way to do that was to built some boxes on top of it.  And then I can make drawers!

So yeah, double plywood sheets for added strength, well bolted into the wall and reinforced by those brackets.  The drawers should be a nice size.

This will really help de-clutter the corner.  Of course, I’m just going to re-clutter it…

The drawers fit great.  I’ll put some oak drawer fronts on them at some point.

I partitioned one of the drawers, and now I’m wishing I did it to all of them.  It was a pain, but having little boxes to organize things is really nice.

Up next:  cabinets.

Big cabinets.  They’re going to go where that awful brown pegboard is now.  There will be under-cabinet lighting and doors that close and all sorts of fun stuff.  I like using pegboard for cabinet backs, especially for utility cabinets, as you can hang crap on that back wall if you need to.  Maximize your space.

No help whatsoever.


How I Make Posts

(Formerly titled “How Posts Are Made” but I have no Earthly idea what that is.  I don’t know how professional postmakers make their posts, and I don’t know what the correct postmaking techniques are or what the appropriate post-making tools are.  All I know is how I make posts.)


The only stock I had available was all milled to 3/4, so I had to join a bunch together to make that middle part.  See, I don’t even know what post parts are called.  Whatever that middle part is called, that’s what I made.  Oh, and I made some strips on the router, and they’ll go around the, um, the other post parts.  Whatever they’re called.


Laying out the joinery took some very careful planning.


This kind of joint is a lot stronger than just doing a simple mitered joint, and it fits together very squarely.  In fact, it’s hard to make it not square.  These will be for those things at the top and the bottom of the post.


Everything’s going together very nicely.


Just because there were a lot of pieces being glued, I used tape to hold them all together, then clamped them.  And then I remembered what happened the last time I left clamps on tape overnight (the glue from the tape pressed into the wood and made areas that didn’t take stain very well) so I had to remove all the clamps and take off the tape and put the clamps back on.  Live and learn, and forget, and re-learn.


It’s a clamp bonanza!  Not to mention a tripping hazard.


The top part thing (maybe it’s called the cap?) was a little more difficult than I wanted it to be.  Took a few tries to get it correct.  Plus, that wood’s just a bit too big for the saw, and there were cuts where the saw couldn’t cut all the way through.  The end result looks good, though.


In the end it all came together.  These are going on my stairs and they’ll support the handrail at the top and bottom.

secret compartment

There’s one block I didn’t glue on, and that’s so I could bolt it into place and affix it with a couple of pocket screws.  I’ve done this a couple times before on other projects, and it can get a little tricky to get them standing perfectly straight and tightly fitted to the floor.  I’ll have to be ready for anything.


Here’s our newest toy, something to keep us toasty warm when it gets cold out.  A pity I can’t use it in my shop, it would be lovely to have that kind of heat in there, but it’s an outdoor toy.

It’s a Great Day to Make Sawdust


It was a gray weekend outside.  Nothing but rain, and more rain, and when that was done, it rained again.  A nice day to get in the shop and make some sawdust.

puzzle pieces

All the pieces to make the kitchen cabinet extension are cut and ready to be put together.  Here they are posing for a picture.  Like a bunch of little jigsaw puzzle pieces.


These beams are going to hold the weight of a stone countertop, a portion of which will be cantilevered so we can put some stools there and have a new seating area.  I over-engineered them deliberately, wanting them to be very, very strong.


Oh yeah, that will be a strong joint.



I assembled the base cabinet upside down, it was a little easier that way since I had these support rails that had to stay nice and flat with the top of the cabinet.  In fact, I even made the joke “oh no, I glued it together upside down!”, acutely aware that no one else on Earth would get the humor but me.


And here it’s all fitted together.  So far this project is going very well.  I’ve screwed up very few things on it, and nothing I couldn’t fix, so I’m kind of anticipating some major catastrophe.


As much as I love Festool, it can be such a pain in the ass.  I have to find a bunch of scrap pieces of wood to support the piece I’m cutting, as well as other scrap to support the rail, and then I have to clamp down the rail, and sand-bag down the other side since a clamp won’t fit, and I have to cut it in three passes since it’s such an acute angle and the wood is so thick that it would bind and try to explode if I just made one pass.  And don’t even remind me about the stupid hose that keeps getting underfoot and trying to trip me.


But that’s what it takes to make brackets.  A nice bracket is a complicated piece of wood that takes about a dozen precision cuts.  When I have to make multiple brackets all the exact same shape, I make a template out of 1/4″ MDF so I can shape it and smooth it out on the router table.


I promised sawdust.  And sawdust there shall be.

all put together

Several hours later I finally have nice brackets made and installed, slender enough to not be an eyesore and sturdy enough to hold a crap-ton of weight.


Really happy with the way this project is coming along so far.  Well, I’m not happy with the pace, as this is taking forever and I still need to install hardware / make doors / make shelves / cut the back board / put on some trim pieces to conceal the plywood edges / find a way to carry this inside / hope it fits / install it / etc.  But the overall quality of the cabinet, I am very happy with.