Friday, January 16, 2015

Slot Wall Tool Holders

  I know that I said I wasn't going to obsess about about organizing as one of my New Year's Resolutions.  However, since it is cold and windy outside my attention has turned to the inside of our house and the woodworking shop.  For the coming week I am away on holiday but hope to return with recharged batteries and high ambitions, and the ambitions sure as heck aren't going to be played out in the unheated garage or in the snow covered yard.

  One place that is going to get attention is our laundry room.


  Those shelves went up in April 2013 and are now filled to bursting.  It is time to cull and manage that space.

 Another area that can always use attention is my workshop. To that end I have a video to share that features a tool cabinet and a very good, and flexible storage method.

  A slot wall is very similar to a 'french cleat' type hanging system but by using aluminium strapping it can take up less space.  The cabinet design isn't really new, but I do like aluminium clips that he designed. 


* chaos is not a theory, it is the reality of my life.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Hands Free Bench Stop

  It is not often that I make something I see on the net exactly as it appears.  This time however I think I've made a version that is true to the video inspiration.

My stop uses a thirty six inch KREG Mini Track, upside down; 

    and a couple of pieces of broom handle drilled to receive long bolts.

  I ground the round heads of my bolts to slide into the track and used locking nuts on the other end to hold the dowels in position. My plan is to use this stop both in dog holes and clamped onto my bench, that is why I am okay with it being as long as it is.

  In this case I really wasn't anything that I felt needed to be modified to suit my situation so I just followed the Woodsmith Tip.  If you use hand planes a stop like this is very useful.

 cheers, Ian W

Six Hundred

  To the amazement of many, including me, this is my six hundredth blog entry for  Over the course of the previous five hundred ninety nine blogs I have talked about wood, tools, projects and showed wood related photos from Mexico, Spain, Sweden, the United States and Cuba. Writing the blog has connected me with wood workers and tool sellers from Canada, the United States, England and Sweden.  When I look at the listed audience I see that I have a bit of a following in the Czech Republic, which is just cool and crazy at the same time.

  It is my hope that I have shared ideas that were worth while and entertaining as well as educational and I look forward to carrying on for another 600 entries.

  Cheers, and Thank You
 Ian W


Monday, January 12, 2015

Cross Cut Jig

  Cutting down sheet plywood in a small shop always requires the use of a circular saw.  My shop doesn't have either the floor space or table saw big enough to cope with a 4 by 8 sheets of plywood.
  To make long cuts I use a straight edge or my KREG Rip Cut
Kreg KMA2675 Rip Cut Circular Saw Guide

   When I needed to make straight cross cuts I decided to use a home made jig.

 This jig has the crossbar extended to the left to provide clamping space.  My jig is 16 inches long, making it longer than typical commercial cross cut jigs or speed squares and more manageable than 48 inch straight edge. A jig like this is also much quicker to set up and use than a straight edge that has to be aligned and clamped at both ends.

   I haven't painted the jig red yet, but I will. Since I have two circular saws I decided to identify the saw and blade that match this jig. This way the correct jig/saw pair will end up at a work site together.

cheers, Ian

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Entertainment Centre

  Yesterday my friend David and I got going on a custom sized entertainment centre for his family room.  The reason it was being built rather than purchased is it has to fit a particular space,  instead of buying something pre-existing and being satisfied that it fit the space okay.  Our unit will fit the space exactly and the shelves will match up with the units on either side, making for a more comfortable visual result.  I will include a photo once the piece is installed.

  The reason that this began as a two person project is it began life as a full sheet of 3/4 plywood. A 4 by 8 sheet of plywood fills my shop's floor space almost completely and so I need extra help to move the sheet stock around to make it work at all.

the pieces cut out
  With fours hands , portable saw horses,  a circular saw with very good blade and a straight edge guide we got the two sides and three shelves cut out fairly quickly and easily.  An aside, your should really wear a dust mask when dealing with plywood. 

  The top shelf is a butt joint held together with pocket hole joinery.

 The shelves are set into the sides with dados.  I used my straight edge to cut the dados using my Bosch Colt and a 1/4 inch straight bit. The shelves were also glued and screwed.                                                                                        
  Since the piece is going to be stained very dark and the sides aren't going to be visible I inset the screw heads and used filler instead of wood plugs.  I also needed to use filler in the edge of the plywood, it had more voids than I expected.  The front of the unit will have raised panel type doors fitted in the near future and so the filler is adequate to the needs of the project. If the edges were going to be exposed I would have glued solid wood on. 

  Not having to break my back moving the plywood around and having a very good plan, (David's wife drew a very exact plan for us) made the job much easier than the last time I tried making furniture in my basement work shop. We don't usually admit this but...having someone else worry about the sanding and staining is nice too.

cheers, Ian W

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Phone, Tablet and Business Card Holders.

 I saw a YouTube video with a wood worker making smart phone stands out of 2 x 4 lumber from his scrap bin and thought 'I can do that'.  Naturally I did something inspired by,rather than exactly the same. 

white cedar
  I gathered and dried some wood last spring to turn on my lathe but it seemed a natural fit to use a couple of pieces for these projects.

black locust
Black Locust

card holder, left over from the tablet holder.

   To make the card holder I drilled through the piece of wood and glued a base on, while the other pieces are slots cut in the wood and cleaned out with a chisel and sand paper.

    These are nice little desk accessories that anyone can make. I used a hand saw, a hand drill, wood rasp, chisels and sand paper to make these items.  For the finish I used three coats of spray varnish.  Maybe cut up your Christmas tree and make some things?

cheers, ianw

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Wire Holder

  In every shop there is a selection of tools and accessories whose purpose is to repair something that has fallen off, come loose or is warn out and needs to replaced, soon, but not right now 'cause I'm in the middle of something else.  Those tools include clamps, tape, long screws and occasionally a big hammer. Usually included with this group of last ditch helpers is wire. A while ago I bought a small roll of fixing stuff wire.

  I don't know the gauge of the wire, and I don't care.  This wire is green, but it needn't be.  It was cheap and I threw it into my shopping bag remembering the last time I needed to wire something together I had to raid the junk drawer in the kitchen and twist multiple twist ties together.  I hate having to do that, partly because it involves climbing up stairs from my shop and because it adds yet another step to a 'quick' little fix it job.  'Quick' fix it jobs are almost never quick, and usually half fixed, at best.

 The other day I grabbed this wire and I thought of my Father who had a coil of general shop wire in his shop. His wire was not wrapped around a stick like my green wire.  My green wire has too many kinks and corners.  My Father's wire was wrapped around a thing similar to this:

so that it unwrapped smoothly and easily.

  His wire holder was inspired by a 'fishing stick'.  Ice fishermen in the old days in Northern Ontario wrapped their fishing line around a stick like this and carried it in to the lake and jigged for trout and pickerel. (this is in the ancient times before snow machines, when skis and snow shoes were how you got about in the bush)  Usually the sticks were about a foot long so that the fisherman would be able to accurately know how much line he had out.

  I remember my father had a couple of 'fishing sticks' that he had carved. As well as his wire holding stick. I don't know where the fishing sticks are now, probably handed on to my more vigorous and outdoorsy cousins. If they ice fish old school then they deserve the sticks. For that matter I don't know where the wire holder is either. 

  So here is a quickie homage to 'fishing sticks' and that coil of wire in my Father's shop. Now my repair wire has  no kinks and is easy to find in the bottom of the tool box.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Why I love having a wood working shop and why I keep scraps of wood.

  I know that there are many people that have resolved to clean up and organize for the new year.  I regularly resolve to get organized, and just as regularly fail to do so.  However, there are times when I just get cranky and have to sort out the crap.                                                                                                             
  A while ago, spring I think, we bought a unit from Ikea in which these fabric box fit. The boxes were intended for sweaters or linens or the like, we are using the boxes for office type stuff so the deep boxes are not that useful.

   My first stop gap solution was to make some inner boxes from heavily modified card board boxes.  The card board boxes showed the concept to be valid, but soon the lower box collapsed, the upper level tipped and the box was filled with loose pens, note books, and other miscellaneous junk. 
   My first impulse was to throw everything in the trash, luckily my second impulse was to think about a less violent and terminal solution.

re-enforced  cardboard top box
with wooden handle.
    The reasonable solution was go down stairs to the work shop and make a decent box to fit into the bottom of the green Ikea box.

  There is absolutely nothing special about this box, except it fits into the bottom half of the Ikea box perfectly and suits the purpose exactly. I even drilled two finger holes into the sides so that  it would be easier to lift this box out in the future.  I used left over plywood for the sides and a very splintery piece of old drawer bottom for the bottom of the box. 

  Since this box is totally hidden from sight I didn't finish it, though I did sand its edges.  There are lots of ways to do this type of project but I am leaning toward 'Old School' carpentry when I have a project like this.  'Old School",  hammer, glue and nails, no air nailer, or impact driver or pocket hole, or dowel or tenon or dovetails.  I have decided that it is fully appropriate to nail the wood together and get on to the next project.  

  If I have a New Year's Resolution, it is to use my time wisely, by allotting a given task an appropriate the amount of energy and resources. 

cheers, ianw 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

  Happy New Year everyone, I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas holiday with family and friends, I certainly did.

 I stopped making New Year's Resolutions years ago, I guess that year my resolution was to be honest with myself.  It would be nice to loss some weight, nicer to get my sugar under control more and especially nice to have lots of time to work/play in my shop.  This year I will try to keep things cleaner and try and make more and different things.  I also plan to deliver extra tools to the ReStore so that they can find a wood worker that needs them 
All Cube Chessmen awaiting sanding and stain.
  This afternoon after watching the Rose Parade I went down stairs and began work on a quickie project based on an idea from Woodworking for Mere Mortals. A while ago I bought a clear out bag of pre-cut hardwood blocks.  I didn't know what I would use them for but I knew that the time would come.  The set of chessmen in the photo are made from 3/4 and 1 inch hardwood blocks. I glued the pieces today and tomorrow I will give the a quick sand and the stain one half of the blocks dark. ( I have some very dark walnut stain that I'll leave the blocks to soak in for a while.

  I saw this video today while catching up on various posts from various wood working sites.  Over the last few days we have had family with kids and cats filling the house up and taking me away from my computer.  I have three grand children that are the apple orchards of my eye, there is nothing on the world wide web that can compete with grand children.  I will catch up with email and video over the next few days.

  I have shown this video before.  I just admire the man's work and hope you do too.

cheers, ianw