“Stool Pidgin” or “Take a Seat”

Chair FullI’ve got a pretty useless chair out in the shop now, it’s really only good for firewood. It looks like a chair for a small child… possibly one with dwarfism. Anyway, it’s not appropriate. Especially when I’m trying to do some honing of my paring tools (chisels, plane irons, ax heads) I need to turn the chair around and roost on the back of the thing to get any relief for my legs, and then I have to lean all the way forward like an owl to get near my bench. It’s maddening. So to that end, I’ve decided to design a quick-and-dirty chair, with some positioning for my feed (I like to owl, sometimes) and a back to feel more secure against. I wanted to use all the same board, something thing and easily worked, while keeping the cost of chair pretty cheap. I didn’t think I’d get it THIS Cheap, but it was a pleasant surprise! Continue reading


“Little Garbage Box of Horrors” or “A Lovely Project to Store Your Filth”

Garbage Box - 1Ever since my first post, when I highlighted the garbage box that my father and I made entirely out of scrap pallet board, I’ve been having questions about what it would take to build one of different dimensions.  Not a whole lot, but I’ve actually had one woman request a very small garbage box to be built for her, on a budget.

Built frugally, but not be cheap and worthless… I’ve got a reputation to build, you know! So I put my thinking cap on and came up with this little wonder: 10 cubic feet (~0.28 cubic meters) in volume, should be able to handle two very full household garbage bags. With weekly pick-up, it ought to be fine! Continue reading

“Adjustable, Wooden Scaffold” or “Safer, Stronger, Cheaper; Yours”

Scaffold - 1While pricing some of the offerings at Home Hardware, not a perfect site but gives me a fair ballpark for pricing in which Jim Randell’s store will price match for me, I was shocked and appalled by the price of scaffolding! Like… god damn-boy. Over $50.00 for for a 5′ (~1524mm) end, of which you’ll need two, then another $20 for the stabilizing scissor that connects them, and then more money for the platform, and more money for the adjustable fastener kits… good GOD! Okay, so to hell with that. I’ve decided to design my own, and for your viewing pleasure, I took the time to go the extra mile and really offer something comprehensive. It suites me fine, since I’ll use these plans when I build my own, and make editors notes at the bottom if I am forced to make any changes.

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“Climbing the Corporate Ladder” or “Necessity is the Mother of Invention”

LadderSo, I’ve been planning these shop lighting renovations, and putting a fabric ceiling up among my trusses as a stop-gap to me getting the proper lights, and insulated rigid roofing that I want. I realized that the aluminum ladder that I’ve got has definitely seen better days, and perhaps a major war… and I saw another ladder recently that gave me some inspiration. Continue reading

“Shop Illumination; Part Deux” or “LET THERE BE LIGHT!”

So I might have mentioned that in my father’s near infinite generosity, he is supplying me with some new toys, as a surprise.  He ended up spoiling the surprise when I told him my plans to buy some of what he was going to give me, so I guess I kind of ruined that one; but it’s the thought that counts.

At present, I am aware of him giving me a benchtop/contractors saw (people often call it a tablesaw, though those are slightly different, much larger devices), as well as 4 light fixtures, two units 4′ (~1219mm) long and two units 8′ (~2438mm) long, each with 2 bulbs. This will be a great addition to my existing collection/hodgepodge of lights, which consists of 1 double-fixture at 8′ (~2438mm), 2 quad-fixtures at 4′ (~1219mm) and two double-fixtures at 4′ (~1219mm). Two of these lights are laid-up on a shelf, not installed, and one of them requires a ballast to be replaced, and many of them are in rough shape. This is a workshop, not a museum, so hard-lookin’ hardware is not the end of the world for now. There are still holes in the walls that birds could fly into. I’m not too worried about my lights looking pretty, so long as they work. Continue reading

“Mission-in-Progress” or “My First Glue-up!”

UntitledSo this pirates chest toy box… The poor woman made the quote request for an aquarium back in December ’13, made a downpayment for the product in Febrary, knowing I’d be at-sea until the fall. No sweat, right? Wrong. She contacts me some time in May or June and asks me if she can change her order from this really cool ice-cube-tray betafish breeding tank thinger ( I was really excited to build it ) and wanted a pirate themed toy box for her 4 year old buccaneer. No problem, right? Wrong. I offered it to her for the price of her half-down-payment for the complicated aquarium, in the spirit of her being my FIRST customer, and her paying so early, which actually got me through my training for my job, but that’s another story. We figured out this little toybox, and I had it all planned out. Was a pain in my ass for some of the compound angles, but it’s all part of the challenge. So I began work on it, finally this week, and boy have I got a story to tell.

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“Widdershins Rescue Shelter” or “Inter-Organizational Humanitarian Partnership”

Small Shelter 3Not too long ago, I was approached by one of the organizers of the Silver Linings Cat Rescue with a request to design them cat shelters. After some collaboration, it was decided that this plan would suit them best. The box measures 4′ (~1219mm) long by 2′ (~610mm) wide by 2′ (~610mm) high. There are only 4 sheets required for the whole job. This plan involves a 3/4″ (~19mm) of ply for the outside shell, 2″ (~51mm) thick rigid insulation for the middle layer, and 1/4″ (~6mm) for the inside layer. 3/4″ (~19mm) might be a little heavy for you, but shaving (half) that difference off all four sides isn’t complicated mathematics. This shell is easily modified to involve pressure treated wooden feet, ramps, swinging doggy (or kitty!) doors, even a light bulb with mason-jar shade to keep it heated when it’s near people’s homes. There is a lot of potential to do some really good work here. Hell, if your animal LOVES it outside, put one of these in for your dog or cat! I’m sure they’d appreciate it.

Anyway, onto how it’s built, eh? Continue reading

“Solar Soda Can Furnace” or “FREE Solar Heat System YOU Can Build!

We’re not talkin’ photovoltaic panels for power, though they’re pretty sweet, too. I’m talking about a MUCH simpler system, this one is based on the principle of “Black things heat up in sunlight”. Direct is better than indirect, but that’s the beauty of this system… it scales. You’re not getting enough heat on chilly overcast days? Build MORE of these systems! Play with the pitch-angle, rig up some kind of stepper motor to angle the panel WITH the sun as it traverses the sky. There are many ways to make the system BETTER, but my goal is to make it SIMPLER. I take a page from Isaac Azimov’s book (giggle at my own pun), he rewrote hundreds of textbooks on science in an attempt to simplify the language. I’m not of HIS caliber, but I do my best to make the fundamental woodworking projects a little easier to swallow; so to speak (editors note: Do NOT Swallow woodworking). I want to make it as simple as I can so everyone can grasp the fundamentals, then the exploration is up to you. Sorry for the rant, onto SOLAR HEATING! Continue reading

“Wall-Mounted Dog Food Dispenser” or “Simplifying Doggy Duties”

So, I have been meaning to write an article on this, but after experiencing April Wilkerson’s job, I honestly couldn’t think of a reasonable way to improve upon it. Adding bells and whistles, transparent panels and gadgets makes it look more like a Rube Goldberg Machine than anything that’s meant to do a simple job, simply. This is an elegant solution to a typically dirty, dusty job, and the use of French Cleats (my favorite!!) makes detaching from the wall for cleaning a walk in the ….. dog park.

This very simple machine is as functionally simple as it gets, the article that she wrote surrounding it can be found here, or by clicking on the picture to the left (like ALL my pics, unless I made them myself, it is linked back to it’s source… not so much to drive my dear audience away from my site, but to avoid plagiarism scandals). Based upon her articles and videos, she’s a real sweetie, and I just couldn’t bare to improve on such a lovely device. Please, let us revel in it’s construction, and again, please visit her blog and her youtube channel for more awesome offerings!