Monday, August 29, 2011

Real Woodworking

This is how it used to be done.  Check it out!,187

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Getting ready for fall!

It 's nearing the end of August and fall will be coming around the corner sooner than I want it to.  Fall is actually my favorite time of the year, but as I get older, I find that I like to hang on to summer just a bit longer than the Pacific Northwest allows. 

Some of the things that I like best about the fall are the cool mornings with the fog in the valleys and FIRE!  It takes wood to make fires and dry wood seems to burn much better than wet wood so...  I built a covered wood storage area off the back of the shop.  Actually off of the shed that was built off of the back of the shop. 

It was a simple project that took about two days total combined time.  It was actually spread out over about a week and a half because I got started and didn't get time to get back on it again for a bit. 

My main goal for it was to be just for firewood storage but, with home ownership, comes more accumulated items that need to be put somewhere, and this new "firewood" storage area was soon determined to house all of that other stuff.  Like roof trusses, because everybody has some of those lying around.  ;)

Here it is in all of its glory!

Where's Waldo in this picture?

Monday, August 22, 2011

More surface to put stuff...

...  I mean to work on.

I was able to get a work top on one of the benches today and to add some storage space to keep some organizers. 

First, I will show how I make my work benches.  They are really easy and work well on a finished wall or open framing.

I start with a simple frame for the top made from 2x material.  I use 2x4's for supporting bench top tools and I use 2x3's for actual work surfaces.  I think that even the 2x3's would work just as well for supporting tools as the 2x4's do.  If you decide to make some of your own, you can determine what suits your situation the best.

Here is a frame for a top.  I use two, 2.5" coarse thread screws at each butt joint.  That's it. 

This is an 8' section and I have a support every 2' for the top. I make them 21" deep. I will show you why down the page.

I make a level line at the height that I want the top at minus the thickness of the material used for the top.  I use plywood.  I have some 3/4", some 5/8" and some 1/2".  Again, you can choose what material and thickness you like.  I make all of my tool and work surfaces at 36".  That works well for me.

I use a temp support and a clamp to help hold the front of the frame work, like a leg, to get it level and screwed to the wall.  Make sure to screw into the studs. 

After the frame is secured to the wall and it is level in both directions, along the wall and coming out from the wall, I measure the length for each leg.  My floor is really rough and NOT level, so this is how I came up with building these like this and to keep even support on all of the legs.

 I secure each leg with three screws into each support and one from the front of the frame, for a total of 4 screws in each leg.  Having the legs like this is a bit of a weakness in this design, and some lateral bracing might be a good idea if the legs tend to get knocked around.  Benches with a lot of weight on them, like tools, stay planted pretty well and don't get knocked out of place as easily.

Now it's time for the top.

I use plywood.  For this top I used a 3/8" thick piece doubled over to make it 3/4" thick.  That is what I had on hand and I didn't want to go buy a new sheet.  I cut the top to 22.5" wide so there is a 1.5" overhang from the frame.  This is why I only make the frame 21" to begin with.  I like a ledge overhanging the frame so I can clamp to it if I need to.  I then take a 2x3 and cut out a rabbet that covers the edge of the ply and extends the clamp edge to about 2.5". 

Here is a picture of the end to try and explain better.

The rabbeted 2x3 is screwed along its length from the top and the bottom.  Glue would be a good idea here too, I didn't glue mine though.    I screw the top down to the frame along the edges and along the internal supports.  Now this thing gets really rigid and resists racking well. 

After the top is secured down, I like to add a hardboard top to finish it off some and help protect the plywood.  I used pin nails to hold the hardboard in place.  If the top gets too  beat up and needs replacing, all I have to do is pull the hardboard off, pull the pin nails and put a new piece on.  Simple.

In addition to my new work surface, I added some storage for some "suitcase" style parts organizers.  I made up a simple frame to support the "suitcases" and screwed them to the legs and the wall.

I plan on making some more just like this on the other end to hold 5 more.  These are really handy organizers and I like them a lot!

They are Stanley brand and I bought them at Lowes.  They have removable trays inside that makes them easy to use and the whole case is portable, which is nice when I have to take the items with me away from the shop. 

One more thing about this new bench, it also serves as a support table for my miter saw. 

I will show later how my miter saw set up works.  I made it simple and it takes up less space than a dedicated miter saw station. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I caught the shop elves!

I had suspected shop elves, so I set up a camera to see if I could capture some on video. 

I caught them!

Here they are painting some supports that are getting ready for some work surface. I think that they did a great job!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Window Video

Here's a quick video of me putting in the salvaged window into my shop.

Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The shop saga continues!

I have about 85% of the walls covered and painted.  It sure has been nice to rearrange the layout some and to sort through "stuff".  I was able to get rid of the radial arm saw, some ladders and a TON of scrap wood. 

Now I have to build some work surfaces along part of a couple of walls and move things into their final places.  It already feels so much nicer to go out there with the bright walls and the shop seems to feel bigger too. 

Not too much longer after things are cleaned up, I hope to get a video tour of the shop to share with everyone.  I can't wait to get going on those wood projects that have been on hold while I took this rabbit trail on shop improvements.

N/E corner before

N/W corner before

 The before pictures aren't true before pictures.  There was a lot more mess in both of the corners and neither one of them were very accessible.

I don't like where my plywood storage is.  It should be by the overhead door, in the front, so I don't have to carry materials in through the shop and all the way to the back corner.  But the lumber had a tendency to spread to the floor and start to take over the pathway in from the overhead door.  It made the front of the shop really messy and unsafe.  It was too easy for me to just keep the pile growing by setting cutoffs and other things on the floor (it's was right next to the table saw).  Now if the pile grows, it will be in the back out of the walking and working path.  If too much gets left in front of the new location, it will block the sheet goods in and I won't be able to get them unless I clear the area.  Hopefully this will be a good motivator to keep the area clear!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Welcome to the green room!

It's more like a wall. 

Progress continues. 

I really like having my sanders and jointer on this wall.  It has a much more open feel and they are easier to get to.  Now I need to run some power to that wall.  I have on outlet at the far end of the wall and I used to have a power strip ran for some chargers, clock, drill press and the bandsaw.  Now the strip is on the opposite wall.  I need to pick another one up and get it going.  I still need to do a "real" rewire for the shop.  I hane that in the plan at some point.  It does get old running cords everywhere and hodge podging fixes in.  For now it works.


                                                                       OPPOSITE WALL

Friday, August 12, 2011

Rebuilding the infrastucture (and high tech automated storage solutions)

Moving forward and making progress. 

I have the one wall fully sheeted with OSB.  It not the prettiest of surfaces but it's a SHOP!  I am happy to have the framing covered and some paint on the walls.  I used some blue/gray paint that we had left from in the house to paint the wall after I had rolled primer on.  It is soooo much brighter now! 

I have decided that I am going to paint each wall a different color with left over paint.  I think that should make it a bit more whimsical and refreshing to be in there.  Much better than that old dingy wood that was exposed.  I am going to paint the south wall bright yellow.  Here is a peek...  put your sunglasses on!

You may be able to see that I have two work surfaces that will be on the wall.  I will have more at the back corner by the window that will be kid height.  I have a low work bench for the kids too.  I am planning on them having their own little workshop in there .  They like to come out and build things too.

Here is a shot of one of my helpers, Amy. 

Now on the the grand finale.....


Plastic Milk Crates!!!!   Functional and stylish.    

(in a low whisper) and the price was right too. $0

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Paint covers a multitude of sins.

Not really, love does.  But in building, paint covers a multitude of imperfections. 

I now have all of the OSB, that I had on hand, on the walls.  You can see that I didn't have enough to get to the other corner, but that will give me something to do later.  I had some primer left over and I thought to go ahead and see what the walls will look like with some white on them.  I'm not sure if it is better white or not.  I may paint it with a color, just for some pizazz and to mellow it out some.

I will still need to caulk the joints and sand them lightly to try and blend them together.  Hopefully it will give the wall a more uniform look. 

Now for some woodworking talk. 

I have a question for you.  How many projects do you have going currently?  Ones that you are working on, not ones that were forgotten about and set aside. 

I currently have two actual wood projects.   One is a rifle stock and the other is a pulpit.  The stock is black walnut and the pulpit is beech.  Both are really fine woods to work with and I will be happy to get started on them again soon....  as soon as I get the shop put back in order. 

I have other projects that have been lost and forgotten over time. Most of them I hope to get finished someday.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

State of the Union (Shop) address

If you have read the previous post about my new window, you may have noticed that I started to put some OSB on the walls.  I made the executive decision to go ahead and continue to install the OSB down the east wall of my shop. 


That brings us to todays post...

The shop is a disaster.  I had my miter saw and RAS tables on that wall and horizontal wood storage on the high part of the wall.  There is some sheet goods storage to the right of the camera, that you can't see.  Taking it down is easy.  Finding a place to put it isn't so easy.  Fortunately I have a carport that I can store the items under and not have to worry so much about the weather.  (I am in Washington State=rain) 

                                                           Current state of the shop

I did however, make some progress.  I was able to get one piece of OSB on the wall!  Slow and steady wins the race!

                                                                   One more on

I hope to post some videos in the future to share with everyone.  Hope to see you there.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The eyes are the window to the soul.

Just like the eyes that let light into the body, the window lets light into the shop.

My shop is a "work in progress".  Today I decided that I would take the time to install a window that I salvaged from a friend last year.  This spot had a window in it originally but when I put a concrete footing under the exterior walls last year, I removed it.  It was in really poor shape, it had gaps and cracked glass...  not worth the keeping.  I covered the opening and hoped to put some glass back in there at some point.  When I came across the window that my friend was going to dump, I snatched it up and stored it until the right time.  Today was just that sort of time.

My shop is nothing fancy, it is 50-60 years old and not really built to last this long.  Ideally I would have liked to tear it down and start over, but it takes money to do that, something that I don't have extra wheelbarrels full of, so I make do with what I have. 

The end result isn't something that you would see published in FineHomebuilding, but it is a HUGE improvement to what was there originally and what I had patched up. 

Here it is before and after some time and effort.  Much improved...  I think.


Now all I need is some caulk and paint!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Why The crooked nail?

Why the blog name, "The Crooked Nail"?

Answer:  Just because.  Really it was, what I thought, the coolest name that I could come up with and that was still available to be used as a blog title.  After I thought about it for a while, I thought that the title was a good one and decsribed my projects very accurately. 

I usually make at least one mistake during the process and usually have at least one head scratcher in there too.  I usually measure twice and end up cutting twice.  And sometimes there is a mstake that turns out to be a blessing in disguise and ends up working out better than the original plan or idea. 

So all that being said, I think that "The Crooked Nail" is a good description of the process of woodworking and projects that I do.  The nice part about a crooked nail is that I can always pull it out and go at it again with a new one that will get into some good wood, nice and straight!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Welcome to the Crooked Nail

Well... where to start?

This is the first woodworking post in my new blog.  Pretty exciting, I know.

I will start off with a little background of my woodworking education and experience.

First, education. I HAVE NONE! I am pretty much self taught with a lot of help from woodworking magazine subscriptions, and surfing the web. Maybe you are in the same boat and that is how you ended up here, at this page. Enough of that.

Second is experience. I have some that had been sporadic over the past 11 years. I have only had a "real" shop for about the past year. I have had woodworking "space" for the previous 10. Having a family, a job, and owning an 81 year old home on a shy 2 acres takes up most of the time. Whatever crumbs of time are leftover are spent in the shop pretending to build things from wood.

What I hope to do in this page, is share what I like to do. I will try and keep it loosely related to woodworking in some form or another... or maybe not.

I hope that you will enjoy the journey along with me.