One of the final loose ends in my shop reorganization was finding a place for the stereo. It’s three stacked components, an old garage-sale find, but it works and allows me to plug in my iPod. The only suitable spot I could find was on top of my wall cabinets. I can j-u-s-t reach the volume control, but not the power switch. So I decided I needed an on/off switch that was easier to reach. Hmmm, how to do this creatively without spending any money? Digging through my junk drawer produced a switch and timer salvaged from an old coffee maker (see, I knew I’d find a use for it), and a female replacement plug for an electrical cord. The scrap bin yielded some mahogany. After milling the lumber to size, cutting box joints, and mounting the electronics, here’s what I had. Read more
I found time to sit at the computer Saturday and watch some of the excellent on-line video tutorials for Sketchup. By 1:30p, I’d been at it a couple of hours, and I was getting a little bleary. My wife and daughter were gone, so I lay down on the couch for a 20-minute “power nap“… and woke up two hours later! Very unusual for me, as I seldom even nap. Anyway, I’m much better versed in Sketchup now (and better rested), so time allowing, I’ll begin designing my TV stand this week.
There’s plenty of hyperbole about how “easy” Sketchup is to use. Just ask these guys.
They do amazing things with the software, but I should recognize that these guys have graphics backgrounds, art degrees, etc. and that I don’t. I should also recognize that learning any new software requires some learning time, no matter how often words like “intuitive” and “easy to use” get tossed about. So why did I expect to plunge right in, start clicking and dragging, and have my TV stand designed with scaled drawings in just a couple of evenings? The answer lies in the title of this post.
Despite some initial frustrations working with the software, I’ve managed to create a basic look for the stand that the wife and I like…
…but I’ll have to go back to square one and start drawing it correctly, with parts that fit as they should, so I can then output dimensioned plans.
I should make it clear, I’m not dissing Sketchup, just my ignorance in jumping in without first doing a little training. So in the days ahead, I’ll backpedal and put in my study time so that I can move ahead. Lesson learned (again): Take the time up front to save time and frustration later.
My 10-year-old daughter joined me in the shop Sunday. I wasn’t her first choice, though: she’d done her chores in the house, wasn’t in a TV-watching mood, and none of her friends were around to play. So she decided to see what kind of help Dad needed. Read more
Well, it’s finally complete! My step-back cabinet is finally done. First, here’s a shot of the drawer that had to be grooved to accommodate the over-thick drawer slides:
As you can see, I got the drawer fronts on and the pulls installed. Here’s the finished cabinet:
So far it’s swallowed a dovetail jig with three templates, two router kits and associated accessories, air nailers, various jigs, hardware and more. I haven’t devoted a lot of time to putting stuff where it works best, but at least it’s out of the boxes that were scattered all about.
Now I’m in the process of designing a TV stand. It’s my first real effort with Sketchup, so I work a bit, get stumped, poke around the on-line tutorials, then try some more. I’ll post some sketches in progress.
All six drawers for the cabinet were assembled over the last week. This was the smoothest drawer assembly process I can remember for any project I’ve done. Every joint together perfectly, every bottom slid in easily and fit snugly, every drawer was square. Then came time to fit the drawers into the carcase.
As you can see, there are five drawers in place. What about the sixth one? Turns out it needed some special attention. Read more
With just a few hours in the shop last weekend, I got a lot done. I needed to dial in the router bit depth before routing dovetails on the drawers for my shop cabinet. The jig’s template and stops were already positioned, so I loaded a couple of test pieces into the jig, and set the bit for what looked like a reasonable guess at the proper depth. You can probably imagine what the test joint looked like.
Well, you’d be wrong! It went together beautifully! I couldn’t believe it. Taking this as a good sign, I started routing drawer joints. I rout dovetails so infrequently I took note of some tips that I plan to file away with my jig for reference next time I get it out. Here they are:
➢ Lay out your drawer pieces and label the inside bottom edges. Use BL for Back Left, BR for Back Right, FR for Front Right, and FL for Front Left.
The last photos I posted of the step-back cabinet showed just the carcase. In just this last weekend, I’ve accomplished a lot. The inside of the door and bottom of the upper cabinet have laminate applied, and everything that needs painted, is. Except the false drawer fronts and pulls which haven’t been made yet. And that’s good, because I had just enough paint to cover the carcase.
Anyway, here’s the cabinet painted and in place.
I’ve already stashed my Tormek in its new home. Looks happy, doesn’t it?
Here’s a closeup of the lower carcase showing the cleats that will accept the drawer slides. I went kinda fancy here: that’s cherry plywood!
These started as 24”x8” pieces salvaged from an old project. (That’s why they’re stained.) They’d been laying around for several years, and there was just enough to cut up into cleats. Along with the material I used for the drawers, I’ve been able to consume a fair amount of scrap. (Note to wife: See, I told you it would come in handy!)
Speaking of drawers, here are some of the drawer parts, midday Saturday, waiting for final jointing and planing.
By Sunday evening, all the panels for the drawers were completed, except for cutting them to finished length. (Note to self: Buy more parallel jaw clamps. Then buy a few more.) Hopefully, I’ll peck away at that during weeknights, as well as cutting test joints. Then next Saturday, I should be able to get the drawers assembled, maybe even mounted! Dare I say it out loud? This may be done in a couple of weeks!
After that, I intend to deep-clean the shop (again), placing much of the debris into the new cabinet. Then I’ll get to work on the next item on the list: a TV stand for my new big-screen!
My wife is able to drive again, so I’m slowly relegating my role of Mr. Mom. That means some shop time! Over the last month, I’ve been in and out of the shop numerous times to grab a tool, a roll of tape, or something. The only problem is my bad habit of simply setting things on the nearest horizontal surface when done with it instead of putting it away. So I took a half-hour to refile a month’s accumulation, THEN got started on my cabinet again.
The backs have been installed, and door latches, too. Because my dovetail jig is part of the clutter that is still waiting for a home in the new cabinet, I decided I might as well put it to use and dovetail the drawers. It’s been a while since I’d used it, so I went through the drill of mounting the guide bushing in the router, adjusting the template and stops, and cutting some test joints. All that time made me wonder if it was worth it, but having seen our dovetail showdown, I figured the setup time would pay off.
Next, I refigured the height of the drawers to put a half-pin at the top and bottom. Then I started rough-cutting lumber for the drawers. I came across a stash of enough scrap to make a couple of drawers…so there will be a mix of poplar and oak drawer cases. (And probably one that mixes poplar and oak. Hey, it’s just a shop cabinet.)
After gluing up four panels for the widest drawers (10 15/16″), I’d come to a point where I had nothing much to do, and still plenty of time to do it in. (I wish I could get to that point more often.) So I decided I might as well paint the carcases.
Still to come is milling the rest of the drawer case parts, and then making a pile of sawdust by dovetailing them.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted anything about my shop reorganization. The reason is, there hasn’t been any progress. My wife had minor foot surgery recently and isn’t supposed to be walking around, so I’m doing the (read: “all”) household chores she can’t: laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, groceries, running daughter to dance, pick up daughter from dance, etc. It’s not quite as bad as “Mr. Mom” from Lonestar, but that song keeps running through my head the last month!
Later this week she’s likely to get the ok from the doc to resume “active duty”, and she’s as anxious to get back to her routine as I am. One thing’s for sure: I’ll no longer take for granted everything she does around the house.