Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Shop Makeover Part II - Router table

After some thought I changed my mind on how to configure the three, small, rolling cabinets. I decided that having one dedicated to each tool would be better than having the out-feed support.  All of the tools have their work surface at the same height so that I can still use them as out-feed for one another, but I won't have to swap tools around which will be nice. 

All of the base cabinets are the same, but the router table cart has some added features dedicated to the router table top.

The router table top is a piece of maple glued onto a frame to keep it flat and raise it up to the proper height. 

I wired a paddle switch and an outlet into the door to the router compartment.  The switch I used was 6$ from Amazon.  I found that it fit through the opening of a large "decora" style outlet cover. A couple small screws through the plastic cover and it is quite secure. I like the paddle style switch for the router table as it is not possible to accidentally bump it on with a knee, but you can turn it off that way.  I sacrificed an extension cord for wiring the router table. This gives me plenty of length to plug it in anywhere in the shop and I used the female end of the cord to connect the router inside of the cabinet.  The outlet is also wired to the switch so that I can run the shop vac directly from the router table.

My old router table fence wasn't great and was too long.  I spent a bit more time constructing this one so it is more robust and taller.  I also added two, movable, secondary face plates that can be adjusted to match the size of the bit.

For the dust collection I cut down a universal adapter and screwed it to the back of the plenum on the fence. This provides a nice, secure, attachment for my shop vac hose. I am considering adding another port to the cabinet for either connecting the vacuum inlet or possibly the vacuum outlet which should pressurize the cabinet and force the chips up into the fence dust collection.

The lower portion of the cabinet has a deep drawer which works for holding all of the various router accessories that seem to keep finding their way into my shop.  I also added a floating bit holding tray.  

This was the last part of the shop remodel so I'm now onto building the doors for the laundry room access panels. More on that later.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Shop Makeover

With the laundry room wrapped up, except for a couple access panel doors, its been time to get the shop fixed up a bit.

This is pretty much how the shop has been set up for the last year or so. It has been working out well enough, but I wanted to improve the lighting and electrical as well as putting up a wall over the concrete so I can hang things more easily.  I also wanted to replace the large rolling bench/lumber cart with smaller rolling benches that will be easier to move around as needed.

First up was moving as much stuff out of the shop as I could and clearing in front of the wall so I could install the furring strips and OSB.  I ended up using 5/4 pressure treated decking for the furring strips.  I was able to rip each board into two pieces.  This was more cost effective than using 2x4s and kept the wall as close to the concrete as possible.  I decided to use 7/16 OSB mostly due to it low cost.  I considered use T1-11 plywood panels, but at 3x the cost it didn't make sense.

With the OSB hung and painted I moved the cabinets from the back wall onto the new wall, along with a couple additional cabinets that were removed from the laundry room.  

Next up was running the electrical.  There is a multi-wire branch circuit running to the garage so I decided to use two different colored outlets to keep track of which circuit they are tied too.  This should make it easier to avoid running the large power tools off of the same circuit as the lights.

Speaking of lights, I installed 4, 2 bulb T8 fixtures.  They are screwed directly to the ceiling with Tapcons. This allowed me to mount them evenly spaced across the width of the shop.  I went with fixtures that have diffusers to help even out the lighting as the ceiling is just under 8 ft.

The results are a significant improvement over the 3 T12 fixtures I had previously.

Moving on to getting things organized, I built a quick clamp rack.

And a 2x4 ft rolling cart which will house the compressor and either the planer or miter saw. The height of this cabinet is sized to work as an out-feed table for my table saw.  I built a small rolling cart for the table saw (Bosch portable) a couple years ago so it will be nice to have decent out-feed support.


I am in the process of building 3 of these smaller rolling cabinets.  The one on the right does not have a fixed top so I can swap out the miter saw and the planer.  Each of the other two cabinets are sized to work as in-feed/out-feed tables for either of the tools mounted to the middle cabinet.

I am still undecided as to wether I want to keep the large desk.  It is nice to have a large work surface and it is a good height for assembly.  The downside is that it is not mobile..at all. Now that I have internet in the shop I will probably do more design work in the shop so the desk will probably stay for at least the time being.

Just a few more things to wrap up and the shop will be back in action.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Laundry Room

Probably the worst room in the house has been the laundry room.  It is at the back of the house, in a space that at one point was outside of the house.  The floor was a very sloped concrete slab with nasty carpet glued to it and things were rather...piecemeal.


After tearing out the various mis-matched attempts to finish the room it was time to build something straight and square in the its place.

Everything was framed in, including the floor which was raised 2-6 inches to make it level.

The raised floor necessitated adding a step which protrudes out into the pantry room.

Once the drywall was up it started to feel like it was coming together.

Then we hung some cheap hickory cabinets. I felt bad about not making them myself, until I realized that it would have cost more for the materials I would have used than we paid for the cabinets.

The counter now wraps around the room.  T&G plywood was used for the counter base.

Tile was installed on the counter tops and floor.

I used Schuller Ditra for the underlayment.  The ease of cutting it with scissors made it well worth the added cost over cement board.

Lastly I installed the louvered door to close off the washer and dryer as well as all of the trim.  The stair bullnose is custom made from Oak to match the kitchen floor.  I used hickory for the counter edging.  All of the other trim in the room, and the door, are pine.  The HVLP system really came in handy for finishing that door.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Greene and Greene Wall Shelf - Part II

Finally getting around to putting together a post on the rest of this project.

The design is a mahogany case with oversized finger joints and two asymmetrical drawers with Ambrosia maple fronts.

The drawers have maple sides with through dovetails at the back and half blind at the front.

With the drawers it was time to consider finishing.

After a lot of reading I decided to finally go ahead and get an HVLP unit.  I got the Fuji Semi-Pro2 unit.

For drawer pulls I decided to go with a carved Ebony pull.

Finished and loaded up with our cookbooks.

In context with the whiskey cabinet to the left.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Drawing Furniture

Tonight's sketch is a low back, bar height chair.  I tried to capture the major steps in the process that I've been using.  This has changed dramatically in recent weeks and will surely continue to evolve.

Cherry with tiger maple back splat, and green upholstery because that's the only non-wood-tone color I have at the moment.

I start by ghosting in my perspective lines and the general outlines of the chair.  A 2 point perspective seems to work well for furniture.  Focusing more on getting the initial layout for the perspective right makes a big difference in the over feel of the final drawing.

Next I switch a softer pencil and start to darken the lines that I want to work with.

Next I will refine the outlines with a pen, in this case with sepia ink.

Outlines complete, note that I only lay in lines that delineate sharp transitions.  The seat cushion is only outlined with no lines for the soft edges.

Now I choose my color pallet. For each color I like to have at least three tones, highlight, mid-tone and shadow.  With the alcohol based markers it is possible to blend the three to get most tones in between as needed. 

Starting with the lightest marker in the set I block in that color and then start working on defining the mid tones.

Then the shadowed areas.  Within a given region there will be variations in tone and by creating as much contrast as possible, you can reinforce the shape of the piece.

With the frame filled in I tackle the back splat and seat.  Leaving some white space on the edges of the seat give the feeling a somewhat glossy surface.  The glossier it is, the more contrast there would be between the highlights and mid-tones on the seat surface.

Next I add in a shadow to help ground the chair. 

My final step is to go over the shadow edges with black ink and the highlight edges with white gel ink.  The white gel ink does a great job of making the seat pop as well. I also added some grain lines with the sepia ink pen.  This is particularly effective on larger expanses of wood. A little more contrast for the shadow and its done.