Build Project #4, and #5 – a Chair and an Office Accessory

I’ve been taking part of an online woodworking course called the Weekend Woodworker led by Steve Ramsey.  It has been great fun, and I’m learning how to do a ton of awesome things.

For my 4th and 5th projects of the year – one of them was part of the course, and one of them was not.

First up, a paper holder.  I know, it doesn’t sound awesome and amazing – but it taught me some great skills on the table saw, and even led to a “mini-project” where I learned how to make a pushstick designed by woodworker Matthias Wandel:

The paper holder took just a few small cuts on one 1×4 board, and a piece of plywood:

First up was learning to cut some rabbets on the boards:

I had to cut an opening in the front piece for being able to grab the papers out of the holder:

Then I had to put them all together:

Next I had to rip the sheet of plywood, which I did not enjoy.  I got it cut a bit too much and it didn’t fit exactly like I wanted it to, but that’s okay, it’s on the bottom.  I cut it out and then glued it in place:

After that dried up, I cut some decorative bevels into the top:

The last step was to make a paperweight – which consisted of just gluing up two boards together.  You’re supposed to add personalization to it, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

After I made this, I thought it was time to try something not part of the course – and we’ve been needing some barstools for our kitchen area.

This project was really more of a “let’s see if I can do it, and if I can, I’ll make a better one later” type of project.  I began with some 2x4s and cut them down to some lengths that would work well for the project:

This project, I was finally going to use pocket holes.  I don’t have an expensive “Kreg” jig, but rather I had purchased a pocket hole jig from Harbor Freight.

The only thing I don’t care for about the HF jig is that I can’t adjust the height of where the holes go in the board.  It ended up working out just fine for this project, but I can see where in the future it may restrict me from using them in all projects.

Pocket holes are supposed to “hide” the screw, and then you can go in and fill the holes later, or you can just leave them if you’d like.  Here’s the jig, and here’s how it works:

I am using the Kreg brand screws – they were a gift from my wife at Christmas.

After getting all the holes drilled, I started to piece things together:

After putting the braces in, and then putting on the seat boards, here’s what it looked like:

The chairs will fit perfectly in our kitchen/living room area under the kitchen counter.  However, they are a bit clunky – so I may go back to the drawing board and make something a bit less of a large footprint.

Regardless, even if we don’t use it in the kitchen area, I now have a great seat for my garage/workshop area.


Build Project #2 – Casual Table for Our Porch

We have a beautiful back porch that overlooks a small lake here in Tampa.  We have a hammock, 2 rocking chairs, and a glider that belonged to my grandparents in Nashville.  But the one thing we didn’t have was a table to sit next to those things while we were enjoying a beverage and the view.

So it was time to build a table.  I went to the local Lowes store to buy some simple pine boards.  This project was made out of 1x3s and 1x2s.

Now that I have my portable workbench, making cuts is so much easier with my miter saw.  Here are the boards (post cut) that I will be using in the project:

The table calls for a tapered edge on the bottom, so I had to take my miter saw and chop off some angles:

Assembly would prove to be a bit tricky.  Everyone hates it when the table you are using wobbles.  Steve Ramsey from Wood Working for Mere Mortals suggests setting up a system like this to make sure everything is flush and square:

Using wood glue, clamps, and screws, the legs were successfully made:

Now it was time to assemble the two sets of legs together.  This was a bit more challenging, but by using the same setup, I was able to get things put together:

Well, it is starting to look like a table:

Now it was time to put the slats on the table.  I had to put some support brackets to attach the bottom shelf.  It was tricky to space these out since I just eyeballed it instead of using any sort of spacers (the vice is being used as a weight across the board since I ran out of clamps):

After cutting off the edges to give the slats a beveled edge, it was time to put the top pieces on.  These were just put on with glue, no screws.  So I grabbed some extra boards to hold them down while being clamped:

Here’s the table with the assembly complete:

But I still had to finish it with some fun paint.  After some sanding, Kristen helped me pick out a nice red color that matched the porch decorations.  It was an outdoor Valspar Spray paint from Lowes.  Here’s the table, completely finished, sitting in between our two rocking chairs:

All in all, this was pretty simple to make.

Again, credit for the plans goes to Steve Ramsey and his Wood Working for Mere Mortals site.  This table was a lot of fun to build.  It matches our porch perfectly, and is fun, casual, simple, and will hold many a Diet Dr. Pepper on it in the future.


2018 Woodworking Projects – A Work Bench

Everyone needs a good hobby.  Never in a million years did I think I would ever enjoy building things with wood.  Sure, I loved using building blocks when I was a child (who am I kidding, I still love it…) but I never thought I’d be using nails and screws and saws to build things that matter.

Our garage is the site of what I hope to be many fun and exciting woodworking projects in the year 2018.  I started with cleaning out the garage from all the Christmas decorations and then spent some Christmas money I received on a few new tools that I’ve been wanting.

My first project of the year was something I really did need to build first in order to do any other projects in the future.  A workbench.  To be more specific, I built a mobile workbench that could roll out of the way when not in use, so our garage didn’t become too cluttered.  If you’re interested in how I built this, continue reading to see what I did, and how I did it.

To start – I want to recommend Steve Ramsey and his youtube channel Woodworking for Mere Mortals.  He does such a great job of teaching and explaining how to do things.  It almost seems like he’s in my garage with me giving me step by step instructions on how to do this.

I used a miter saw, drill, screws, wood glue, some 2x4s, and some leftover plywood.  Remember, I had the hurricane boards for my house.  Well, I kept all the ones for the windows around the house, but the back porch boards, we decided that they just took up too much room in the garage, and we don’t really need them since there’s really nothing on the back side of our house except a lake.

So here’s where I started – a few boards, a Diet Dr. Pepper, and some determination.

One of the really great things about using the Steve Ramsey videos – he taught me how to use my Mitre saw a lot more efficiently and correctly.  Here, I have it set up on top of one of my new toys I bought for Christmas – a Ridgid Table Saw (insert Tool Man grunt sounds here…).

There’s a reason why I decided to build this mobile workbench, and the fact that I have my miter saw on top of a table saw box is one of them.  But the other reason is this:

I have nowhere to do my work.  Here you see me setting up shop on top of my Hillsborough County garbage can.  Not a lot of space, great height, though!  This is why I need a workbench.

To assemble the legs, I took some 2x4s and glued them together, then put some screws through them.

I spread the glue out, clamped them together, and then put some screws through them.  I have to stop here and brag about one of the really cool Christmas gifts I received this year – a magnetic wristband.  It makes work so much easier and is not very bulky at all.

I made 4 sets of legs, and it was time to move on to the next part:

The next part was to start cutting up the pieces that would be used for shelving and surfaces.  I have to admit, I was not looking forward to this.  Back when I built Josie’s loft bed, I had purchased a Black and Decker circular saw that was battery operated.  I thought it would make things a lot easier.  I bought Black and Decker because I already had an investment in the Black and Decker family, and I have 4 of their 20-volt batteries.

What I discovered, sadly, was that the Black and Decker battery powered circular saw was simply not a good tool.  It cuts slow, loses power quickly, and would often stop and bind up due to lack of power.  So I went and bought me a new corded circular saw – a Ryobi, with laser guidance.  It made a HUGE difference.  I know there are better, more powerful saws out there, but for $40 – you can’t go wrong.

I set my discarded hurricane boards up in my Rockwell JawHorse, which I still think is one of the best investments you can make.

A few minutes later, I had made all my cuts needed for shelving and surfaces:

Next, I started to build the frame for the bench:

I used the top of another plywood sheet in my Rockwell JawHorse for a workstation to make it easier for me to do the work.

Then, I had to start putting in the plywood cuts.  This is where I realized I had made a mistake.  I custom cut the legs to be a bit taller since I’m 6’2″ tall, but I didn’t adjust my plywood cuts for the dividers and end pieces.  So I got a bit creative and put some bottom brackets in to raise the height of the dividers:

The last part of this was to put the top piece on for my work surface and put the wheels on it.

Listen, a workbench isn’t made to be “pretty.”  It’s made to be used, abused, worked on, and create art.

Here’s my final workbench, complete with some tools on it, and in its storage space tucked out of the way till the next project:

Here’s to many more projects in the future!!

Link to Steve Ramsey’s Youtube channel: STEVE RAMSEY WOOD WORKING FOR MERE MORTALS

Link to Magnetic Wrist Band: MAGNETIC WRISTBAND

Link to Rockwell JawHorse:  JAWHORSE (look around, and be patient, I got mine for much less than advertised here when it was on sale.)



















A Few New DIY Projects

So recently, I started trying to do some woodworking projects around the home.  I successfully made a loft bed for my daughter, and I made some floating shelves for our bathroom.

I had some wood leftover from the bed that I made.  I wanted to do something with it, and decided that i would make something for my daughter’s American Girl dolls.  She loves playing with them, putting them to bed, etc., so I figured this would be a great thing to do.  I didn’t do a step by step on this one – however – here’s the final product: (shout out to Kristen for sewing Josie some mattresses and blankets for the dolls, too!)

I also have been in a real bind about garage storage.  We’re not one of those families that throws everything in the garage.  We like that space to be usable instead of just a giant hot storage room.  Plus, I want to do more projects for around the house.

When we moved in to our house, the person who owned the house left behind a ton of what looked like scrap plywood.  Us being new to Florida homeownership, we had no idea what it was.  Finally the previous homeowner told us that it was custom made boards to go over the windows in case of a hurricane.  Problem is, it takes up so much space.  Second problem is that many of these boards are starting to warp and fall apart.  I moved them all to this wall, and used some bungees to get them as close to the wall as possible.  Still, they take up a ton of room.  (No, i’m not sure why they were painted.)

The plywood that had been cut out for windows in case of a storm. These take up about 18 inches of space from the wall, and the front part go from floor to ceiling. They run almost the entire length of the garage, too.

I decided that I wanted to try to find a use for them – since there is no where else to store them.  As I looked around the garage, I decided that I could use some of the wood to make some shelving for this part of the garage.

Blank wall that needed some storage.

Our garage is already on the small side.  It’s a “double” garage, but there’s no way we’d ever fit two cars in it.  So storage is a great idea.  This spot had nothing on it, so I figured it was time to be creative.

I started by grabbing one of the sheets of plywood.  It’s 3/4″ plywood, but like I stated, parts of it are warping and breaking apart.  After I found a good piece, I laid some boards on the floor, and grabbed my circular saw, and measured out what I wanted.  It was going to be about a 42″ x 42″ open cabinet.

Here’s where I learned a few things:  circular saws are a great tool, but they’re not the best for making accurate, long cuts.  After all was said and done – I ended up using some extra 2×6 boards to reinforce it.  It’s easy to mount things on the wall in the garage since it’s all cinder block walls.  I don’t have to find the studs, I just have to make sure I avoid any electrical wires!

Here’s the finished product:

Now I have a place to put my power tools, and some other odds and ends as need be.  Nothing fancy, works great.  I did all of this with just a miter saw and a circular saw — but i’m really starting to wish I had a table saw…