27 February, 2014

Shop security, and wireless technology.

On one of the woodworking forums, a member recently posted up some concerns with workshop security having to deal with a trivial breach of automatic garage door openers, and the safety release mechanism that can be activated from the outside with a simple coat hanger.

This got me thinking about shop security. We all know we have a ton of money in our shops, even those of us, like me that bargain shop, and go with lower cost branded products. And we want to protect them from thieves as best we can.

That can include adding a security system, and MANY of those security systems are using wireless technology. Which brought the IT professional in me out and said WHOA NELLY! Wireless is NOT the way to go!

Have you ever been talking on your cell phone, or cordless home phone, and lost signal? What about your WiFi? Ever get any drops there?

If you have been anything more than an extremely casual user of these technologies, then you have experienced these problems.

Have you ever been using say a corded circular saw, and accidentally cut the cord? To paraphrase Dr. Phil, how'd that work for you?

The major types of electrical technology are broken down into wired, and wireless technologies. In communications, which includes something as simple as completing a circuit to turn something on, or breaking a circuit to turn it off, the wireless technology isn't as cutting edge as the marketing types would have you believe. Wireless communication technology can be summed up in one single word.


You remember radio right? A transmitter sends oscillations at a given frequency out of an antenna and in turn those oscillations are transmitted over the air, and picked up by an antenna and translated back to whatever useful data was put out there by a receiver, If the receiver and transmitter are combined into one unit they are called a Transciever. If you are old enough to remember before the common implementation of the cell phone, many of us had larger, simpler transcievers in our cars, they were called CB Radios...

Now continuing the stroll down memory lane back to early days of the internet, it actually goes back further than that, but most folks remember dialup internet, and the modem correct? A modem takes a digital stream of data, and modulates it for transmission over a voice line, and then demodulates it at the receiving end. Thus the word modem stood for MOdulate DEModulate.

Wireless digital technology simply take the century plus old technology of transcievers, and combine it with the multi decades old technology of MOdulate DEModulate transmission / reception of digital signals and combines them into a standardized format.

While we all love our mobile devices, and not having to string network cables all over the place, wireless, and for that matter, wired technologies have their security drawbacks.

Drawbacks to wireless security are:

  1. It is a trivial matter to breach the first layer of network data security, the physical layer, and access the data stream being sent, because it is being sent through the air, sniffers are common, and even modern cell phones can with a malicious program EASILY and quickly decrypt poorly encrypted data streams, giving the attacker easy, and full access to data YOU expect to be private. 
  2. It is an even more trivial matter to interfere with the proper transmission / reception of signals, metal, high iron content in the soil, noisy electric motors, whatever, and your signal fails... 
  3. Transceivers get hot, and fail. A LOT...
Drawbacks to wired security are:
  1. Trivial matter to break the physical layer connection, interrupting the system. Simply cut the communication wire. They are super easy to identify versus power carrying wires as they are MUCH lighter gauge, and typically marked on the jacket as communication cable.Exposed unprotected wires can be cut with a pair of scissors. Enclosing the wire in conduit, or even the steel flexibly conduit would prevent all but the most determined efforts, and by that time the attack efforts would be detected, and reported.
  2. Modular connections are vulnerable to corrosion when exposed to the elements for exterior sensors / cameras. Selection of truly "outdoor" rated sensors, cameras, or enclosures would provide ample protection, and insure long life of both the device, and the conection.
  3. Physically running the wiring. This is no joke, this can be hard work, and expensive to accomplish if you are not experienced and need to hire a professional. 
  4. If you rely on your cable internet, or DSL internet connection for your remote monitoring and alerting, it is trivial to knock out either of these services to your block from well outside of the visible area of your cameras, far away from your property.
A more comprehensive approach to security addressing as best as possible with residential grade equipment and services.
  1. Do you have windows in your shop? Make sure that those on the outside cannot see in.. 
  2. Insulate your doors, walls, ceiling etc... as tightly as you can, not only will it make the space MUCH more comfortable to work in, it will also reduce, or eliminate perceptible noise coming from your shop, avoiding alerting people to the fact here is a shop loaded with tools there.
  3. Keep the doors CLOSED. Again the idea here is to keep folks with thievery in mind from even guessing that you have anything of value stashed in there. They are far less likely to target what they can't see. 
  4. If your shop is a shop, and doesn't have to hold your wifes car, get rid of that automatic garage door opener. Those things are an invitation to trouble. Many of them have transmissions that are put out unencrypted, a simple radio sniffer hiding in the bushes can detect the signal code, and save it for the thieves later use. Get it GONE.
  5. Make certain that your doors, windows, and all associated hardware are in proper condition. If you have windows, the extra cost of impact resistant security window replacement might be worth installing, and might just bring you a homeowners insurance discount.
  6. Proper device selection. There are areas where wireless is really the only reasonable choice due to limitations of running cable, but where you can, use wired devices.
  7. Run at least Category 5e cable to any ports that need ethernet. Category 6 is only slightly higher in price with most installers, however some charge a premium for it. It is worthwhile to future proof your installation assuming it's not too expensive to do so...
  8. Any exterior exposed cable should be enclosed in a conduit to insure its security from humans, and even animals. This same conduit can carry the low power connection to the device, however do not use too small of a conduit. Any cable carrying power, and data should not be too close to the other as this can cause interference.
  9. Use a dedicated network for your devices. A good security hub should have a connection for your device switch, your internet connection, and your backup connection, more on that in a second...
  10. You should select a service that has both wired, and cellular monitoring / alerting capabilities. If the cell signal is interfered with the wired connection should work and vise versa, if BOTH are being interfered with, we are under a military style attack and the security of your possessions should be a secondary concern to the well being, security and safety of you and your family.
While I am pulling a blank on what else I am missing, chances are I am missing something here. Please feel free to post up comments letting people know your ideas on this subject. This is an important area that I don't think many people consider.

26 February, 2014

Chicago Electric #98194 12" Sliding Compund Miter Saw with laser guide long term review.

After having owned and used the Chicago Electrc #98194 12" Sliding Compound Miter saw for over 3 years, I felt qualified to offer up my review for your consideration.

These saws are now available only as new old stock (NOS), but more commonly on the used market. I have seen several of them on my local Craigslist recently with selling prices averaging about $75.00

I bought mine new, with a coupon, back around October 2010 I believe it was, to replace a 10" non slide Black and Decker Firestorm miter saw. After seeing the many negative things posted about Harbor Freight power tools, I was leery, but at the time, I needed more cutting capacity as my 10" non slide miter saw would NOT cross cut 12" boards, and I really don't like crosscutting log stock on the table saw. So I took a shot...

Right out of the box, it was as I expected from a Chinese import tool. Slathered in shipping protectant, but reasonably complete. I set it up at that time on my B&D miter saw stand, cleaned it up, and ran it through its paces. The first cut a problem became very obvious...

The first cut, and I wish I had taken and saved a photo of it, but the first cut, well it looked like somebody had hacked their way through the board with a rock. It was as rough as could possibly be, and very, I mean VERY unpretty...

I looked into the problem and found the carbide tips on the blade were brazed unevenly. Simply put this blade never should have left the factory... But that's okay, I know better than to use OE blades very long. I already had a Freud Diablo D1280X 12" 80 tooth blade designed for sliders and radial arm saws. On it went, and back to testing... I also moved the saw to a firmer bench, and had to extend the bench to accomodate for the length of the saw and its rails..
The saw mounted to the old workbench. 
That dust hood didn't work as well as I had hoped.

WIth the new blade isntalled, I found everything worked smoothly, although the head lock wasn't quite obvious at first, it became so after playing with the assembly a bit. Instructions typical of Harbor Freight were dreadful... So here goes. The head lift / lower lock on these saws is on the right hand side by the hinge, it is a black knob. Pull it out until the tips on the shaft barely clear the catches, rotate 90 degrees, and let it back in. The head should go up and down now...
Unlocked position, pins are horizontal.
Locked position, pins are vertical.

After about a year of use on pretty much every project, I noticed things getting out of square. I followed the procedure listed on the HF site (now gone sadly), but basically I took a known good large square, and set the head in the locked down position, set the table to zero degrees, and loosened the fence bolts enough to move the fence, Brought it all into square, lock the fence bolts back down, double and then triple check, and verify the 45 and 22.5 deg stops are still set right with drafting triangles, once done, make some test cuts on scrap to verify. No problem. For one week...

The following week the thing went out of square again. I pulled one of the bolts and found the problem. No thread locker. Dabbed thread locker on the bolts, went through the rigamarole again and tested again. Cuts good and accurate, still square to this day...

So the issues I have had with this saw thus far are...

#1. Laser tends to get gummed up with sawdust fast. Not really a problem though. I don't like using laser guides anyway...
#2. Several fasteners, fence, and hinge set screws etc... have worked their way loose. I found no thread locker on any of it. I put a dab of blue thread locker on and readjusted the saw and it has been perfect since.
#3. Dust collection has been, typical of miter saws, abysmal at best... I have made several updates lately that I blogged about yesterday that should help a LOT...
#4. Have I mentioned it's big? The measurement from the back of the saw, to the front of the saw base feet in the fully rearward position is 30", add another 10" for the parts out front including the table, and lock down knob. No it is NOT space efficient. However it IS using a common, proven, reliable slide design. While there are designs that put the rails facing forwards, allowing the saw to take up about a foot less depth, those saws start at about $600.00, and skyrocket in price from there. The budget won't permit for that much expense for one miter saw!
#5. I have some concerns the bushings the head assembly rides on the tubes with might be hard to replace if and when they go bad, however I have calipers, and a McMaster Carr online catalog available, I can rig something up!
#6. The rotating mechanism for the blade guard can get gunked up with sawdust (I mentioned like pretty much every other miter saw, dust collection from this is awful). Keep it clean, and occasionally lube it with some dry lube like Graphite powder and you should be fine.

If I were looking for one of these now, I wouldn't pay a penny over $75.00 for one. The newer model with a double beveling head can be had for $129.00 with the coupon. Not as cheap as $109.00, but I only have single bevel! I would also insist on a prime condition saw. Any blemishes, or signs of abuse, and the price drops, fast...

While there is some temptation to replace this saw with the newer double bevel model, I have yet to need the double bevel feature, and honestly, this saw works so well, and is dialed right in that I just don't want to mess with it. The bench I built is designed with this specific saw in mind. I would have to do yet another rebuild for gaining so little function.

The saw as it sits ready for use in late February 2014.

If you are on a tight budget, need a large slider and can live with the foibles of this saw, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one again, but being used with no warranty don't pay a penny over $75.00 for this thing!

So let's summarize.
The Good:

  1. Once set up, and locked down, the saw cuts very cleanly and very precisely.
  2. Durable. I use this saw on pretty much every project not involving band saw or lathe. 
  3. Reasonable noise level. 
  4. Fit and finish, while the castings and machining aren't perfect, this machine is far above par for the money paid, or even several times the price.
  5. The head lock is very secure, and once understood, very easy to operate.
  6. The dust port is close to a standard size, far closer than other miter saws I have used, to connect shop vac hoses to.
  7. Rail slide mechanism is smooth and accurate. 
  8. Calibration of this saw is easy to perform, although be prepared to donate a bit of scrap stock dialing it in.
  9. Once thread locker is used on the adjustment bolts, it holds settings well.

 The Bad:

  1. The original blade, at least on mine, was complete and utter garbage. Don't bother.
  2. Dust collection is terrible. The bag is completely worthless.
  3. The lack of thread locker from the factory makes this saw need readjustment far too soon!
On a 5 star rating scale, I would give this saw an overall rating of 3.5. Half a point docked for each the blade, the dust collection, and the thread locker issues. Once you get past those issues, and I do not want to minimize the facts of the issues. You MUST replace the blade. I was honestly scared for safety with the stocker, you MUST improve dust collection, or use it outdoors with the wind blowing away from you, and you MUST fix the thread locker problem to keep the saw accurate. But once those issues are addressed, the saw works out quite nicely. I have no regrets buying this saw, but am also very glad I didn't pay more than I did... 

25 February, 2014

Sliding Compound Miter Saw Dust Collection

Miter saw owners know the problem well, owners of sliders know the problem even more so...

Let's just come out and say it like it is. Miter saws, particularly sliding miter saws, spew dust everywhere,
and are a royal pain in the tail to collect from.

But it's not like we should stop trying right? I mean that dust is dangerous to our health, and of course the cleanliness of our shops,
the electric motors of our power tools etc...

So how exactly do you collect dust from a miter saw, and again, particularly a sliding miter saw?

Well you put a hood, where the dust will be, funnelling the dust using as little air space as possible, toward the dust collection ducting.

So some quick designing on mine I came up with what I hope and pray is an effective design. The hood itself is a simple open front box, with a curved back, to funnel dust toward the duct, as well as a curved cut out in the top to allow the head of the saw to move its full depth without hitting the hood in all positions.

I designed mine such that the hood opening is 16" tall, which just barely allows the hose to clear at full back retraction. I was using readily available shops crap 3/4" plywood to create the frame, and top. And I made some mistakes...

Mistake #1. Even though I was reading the measurements as I set up and made the cuts, I still made the side frames 16x16, Not 16x23. Likewise the top ended up being 48x18, not 48x23. What to do? Especially since I was in a hurry?

Not quite the depth I was going for... 
I measured 4x, and the board is still too short!

Answer is a simple, use the biscuit joiner and glue and just add extensions on to the assembly to bring the whole thing to a depth of 23 inches. This allows for ample clearance to the miter saw fence, even allowing for an add on fence with production stops.

Maybe I spent too much time watching Norm Abrams New Yankee
Workshop, but I LOVE my biscuit joiner!

Biscuits and glue, combined with my HF bar clamps get the job done!

I used thin, probably 1/8" tempered hardboard with one slick melamine coated white side as the back panel as it was easy to curve. Like the framing it was glued and screwed into place. I used fender washers to prevent tear out.

A bead of clear silicone adhesive caulk seals the curved panel to the top, and to the bench top. So air intrusion is kept to a minimum.

Extension pieces installed, somewhat sloppily because I didn't
spend the time setting up my biscuit joiner right, but it's solid!

Attachment to the miter saw bench is very simple using just plain plywood cutoffs and screws as mending plates. It is all quite solid and secure.

The dust hose from the back / top of the saw is sourced from a Hyde Dustless Drywall sander kit, and is adapted to the saw dust port via a couple of wraps of Gorilla tape, and then screwed into place using the OE screws from the saw. The hose and power cord are kept from snagging up with the operation by holding them to the tail of the saw in the stock location, by replacing the power cords clamp with plastic pipe strapping for both.
The black stuff on the end of the hose is the Gorilla Tape. 
Note the white plastic pipe strap from Lowes.
We just barely clear the hose this way!

The 4" hole, not being quite large enough for the thin wall S&D pipe used for ducting, was relieved just enough for the pipe using a high speed rotary tool.
Not officially a Dremel tool, but the same kind that Dremel is known for, but mine is a Black and Decker RTX multi speed unit.
I outfitted it with the large drum sander attachment, tightened it down a hair, and went to work on it... It didn't take a whole lot of effort.

I have created my 90 degree bends within the cabinet, and just outside to go vertical up to the ceiling using 4 @ 45 degree elbows, and short pipe nipples glued together with clear silicone adhesive caulk. a pipe nipple with a blast gate was assembled using the same method, clear silicone adhesive caulk. I will attach screws as conservatively as possible. I am in no rush to get this done, I would rather rely wholly on the silicone and pipe straps to hold it in place. I now wait for the silicone caulk to dry before I install them.

I am short now on S&D fittings and pipe, needing  come this weekend though,  I should be able to get it finished up. I need 1 10' joint of 4" S&D, and 4 45 deg 4" elbows to complete this install.

Once this is done, now that I have the miter saw bench squareness issue, * ahem, * squared away as it were... I can move on to finishing up the drawers.

Items that are pending in my shop build / organization quueue.

#1. Above the mechanics toolbox shelving. I have a total depth of 32.25" from ceiling, to top of toolbox with lid open to work with.
The width I believe is 24", I need to re-measure that!.
I am planning on at least 2 shelves, 12" deep allowing for storage of things like automotove aerosols like carb cleaner, brake cleaner,
engine cleaner and the like...
#2. Finish the miter saw cabinet drawer build. These are VERY basic boxes.
The slides are simply the box bottoms extended out the sides riding in slots and lubed with bees wax to keep them slick.
#3. Put up all the woodworking finshes, strippers etc... in the proper cabinet.
#4. Migrate my table saw and router accessories from the tote on the shop floor to the drawers in the cabinet.
#5. Migrate selected handheld power tools back to miter saw cabinet off of workbench lower shelf.
#6. Take the riser block that extends the floor "step" in the garage, rip the excess off, clean floor, and install with Liquid Nails for projects. Paint.
#7. Complete drywall work on between doors wall. Small patch still needed, and sanding / remudding. I just don't want to do it.
#8. Finish installing insulation in remaining wall, and patching drywall. Paint.
#9. Replace attic extedning stairs, correcting the badly done framing with proper hangers etc...
#10. Paint.
#11. Move freezer from kitchen into shop.

24 February, 2014

A sign for the man cave...

During our weekend sojourn to take my lovely bride to the craft store to look for flower pots or something like that, I managed to stumble upon a couple of great creations that I think all guys should have... A Man Cave sign for the man cave / work shop...

What can I say? Any man who is made to sleep on a bed with its own skirt, really needs his own space. The pity is mine is an attached garage. If I was in a stand alone building, poker, Scotch, and Cigar nights would happen a lot more often...

23 February, 2014

Rust removal from woodworking tools using WD-40

I had heard about this before, but been very skeptical, however the tables on my Sunhill bench top jointer had been subjected to a sack of Miracle Grow potting soil without my knowledge, which had started rust going pretty quick. I had to do something...

First thing to do was grab the can of WD-40, a BUNCH of paper towels, rubbing alcohol, paste wax, and some 320 grit sandpaper.

Next place the jointer, unplugged, on the bench. This WILL make a mess, so I recommend placing newspaper down on your bench if you care about the finish of the bench...

Next swing the cutter head guard out of the way, in all processes be VERY careful of the cutter head, those blades are supposed to be sharp and can cause serious harm! with the guard swung away thoroughly spray down the tables.

Sunhill 6" bench top jointer with rust, and WD-40 on the tables.

Let the WD-40 soak in and do its thing for 15 minutes or so. It seems the longer the better. In my case I washed the car, then I came back into the shop to work on the jointer...

Once the stand time is done, get busy scrubbing with your fine grit sandpaper. Just use small circular motions. The rust will come off VERY quickly, at least the brown red stuff. The black discoloration takes more work. The WD-40 will turn into a sloppy rust colored mess VERY quickly. Work the entire surface until all the brown rust is off. Wipe the surface and any surfaces the slop got on off. In my case the housing had some WD40 rust slop on it I had to clean up...

Spray down the tables again, and using a clean piece of sandpaper, repeat gently swirling the rust away, including the black stains. And again wipe all surfaces as free as you can of the WD-40.

Using a clean paper towel, and rubbing alcohol, clean the WD40 thoroughly off of all surfaces. Still being careful of the cutter head blades!

Finally apply paste wax to the cast iron surfaces by dabbing a bit on a paper towel, applying in a circular motion over the entire surface until it gets a haze, then wipe the excess off with a clean paper towel. Your jointer should be ready to plug in and use now!

The process of rust removal should be very similar for any other cast iron table surfaces on your woodworking equipment. Keeping your equipment maintained makes it easier to use, more effective, durable and safer for you and others. A worthwhile investment in time and energy!

Not perfect, but pretty nice, slick, and protected!

21 February, 2014

Starting to correct my mistakes. And refilling the slots on my sets...

Again, not much shop time yesterday, actually only about 10 minutes. Probably take me longer to blog about it than I was in there, but I digress...

I had a couple of plywood cutoffs ready to go, so I did what anyone would do when the board is too short, and made it longer, or in this case wider...

I took my piece of junk Harbor Freight Quick Clamps and clamped the cutoffs into position, just into position for now, and then marked positions for biscuits on the top, and the cutoffs. Marking sides the cutoffs go to.

I then moved the cutoffs to the bench, set some bench dogs in place to keep the cutoffs from moving, set up my Ryobi biscuit joiner, and cut my slots, I then cut the slots in the top...

Now I know both Ryobi tools, and biscuit / plate joiners don't get a lot of love out there in the woodworking forums. A lot of guys have, well... ill will toward the humble biscuit joiner, but I really like using mine. It is simple, makes for a reasonable joint. Not perfect mind you, but where extreme strength is not absolutely necessary, it beats the tar out of the labor involved in settting up mortise and tenon joinery for sure!

Not that I am against M&T, but for me to set up to cut M&T joints, I had better have a LOT of joints to do... A biscuit joiner keeps me moving is all...

Once the slots were cut, I went ahead and applied more than sufficient amounts of glue. I do NOT want any chance for the joint to end up glue starved. I brushed glue all the way around the pockets, the mating surfaces, and the biscuits. I then assembled, verified alignment and got it in clamps.

I am considering extending the side frames for the hood using the same method. I REALLY want to make this as easy, and complete as possible...

Depending on schedules, particularly those of those important in my life, I may have an opportunity to work on extending the frame tonight. I will go ahead and free up the top and curved backing piece out, clean off the caulk and run my extension. Then it is a matter of trimming the extension pieces, mounting the top to the base, mounting and trimming a new, longer curved backing piece (1/8" hardboard, it flexes pretty well...), and then mount the whole thing to the bench.

You may notice the dust hose, yes it sticks up just proud of the top. I made the curved cutout sized such that the hose just barely clears with the saw in the rear most position, but also the top is sized such that it is low enough to minimize the amount of air volume to be cleared from to make it easier for my HF 2HP dust collector to do its job...

I have been working on the issues of getting the lumber wagon (our truck) working again. We managed to end up with a major transmission fluid leak that needs to get fixed before I tear up something expensive... Once it is all back together and working the way it is supposed to, I can head out to Lowes, or Home Depot, and get the few remaining components for the system. a couple of joints of 4" S&D pipe, some and a few 45 degree 4" connectors. I know too many bends, but I don't really have an option space wise, I have to do what I have to do in order to get to the collector...

No photos of it here, but you can make out the end of the Ryobi SpeedLoad+ quick change drill bit set. Just like any other drill bit set, the small diameter bits are pone to breakage, unlike other bit sets, matching replacements are VERY difficult to find. Ryobi does not make these bits available a la carte, so you either buy a replacement set (which I did once) or find a different bit, which I did this time. Sadly the only hex shank bits I could find in the diameters I needed (3/32 and 1/8") were DeWalt (generally good) in the black oxide coated variety instead of the Titanium coating (bad, but not terrible trade off).

I mentioned I had previously bought a set just to get the replacement bit, in this case a 3/32" bit. Well I went ahead of bought replacements from Amazon, in both 3/32" and 1/8" for the bits that were broken. Knowing I break these frequently I bought a couple extras of each size. They work as well as the Ryobi originals, and fit in the quick change collet just fine. I don't know about long term durability, but then again, these particular sizes never last long enough with me to dull out... So I guess that won't be an issue...

I think my next step in my shop development should be an over the garage door storage shelf, at least temporarily, to house all my aerosol canned stuff. I need to move it all off of the base cabinet so that I can pull that apart, and re-glue it. I may end up keeping non wood shop related aerosols up on that shelf after the cabinet is back in place. I need easier access to my stuff. I have plenty of stamped steel shelf brackets, and more than enough 3/4" ply scrap to put together a shelf. Once in use, I suspect it will stay in use. I have shop light T12 bulbs in a case already on shelf brackets that can be moved to the attic allowing me to use that space for things like Aerokroil, carb cleaner and the like...

20 February, 2014

Design work to keep the shop clean, and protect my canoes...

I haven't managed to get much shop time in for the last several days due to work, and the gym. So the time I have been spending has been at the computer, doing some simple design work in Sketchup...

Now the design isn't 100% finished, but it's close enough to share. I am modifying a design I had seen someone else build online...

If you scroll back in time to my first iteration of my shop, you might recall the ever present canoe hanging from the ceiling. A 2004 Pelican 146-DLX to be specific. Now this boat is far from perfect, but with the webbed ash seats and thwart it is a LOT better than the Discovery 155 it replaced that had the cheap plastic seats break out the second time I put it in the water. Yeah so canoes and fat guys aren't a great mix...

Anyway, in order to free up shop space, the canoe had to go into the yard. I donated a pair of old 2x4 sawhorses for this purpose.

After that took place, my brother in law went through a divorce, was able to keep his canoe, but lost his place to keep it... Guess where it went?

So now I have a Pelican Excursion 146-DLX, and an Old Town unknown model, but the size is another 14' 6" plastic boat. The Old town is rigged for a sail. And I want to build a 15' cedar strip slow water touring canoe.  I need a way to store these things!

So googling "Canoe Rack Design" I came up with the following blog entry from a Canadian guy that built one, admittedly not using Pressure treated, but the design looked fair enough.

There are a couple of minor tweaks I would want to make, specifically the diagonal cross bar controls racking in only one direction, and if I were to build the rack 8' long, would require it be cut from a 16' 2x4 which would push the price of the build up higher than I want to go... Especially since I have pressure treated material to reclaim that needs a purpose...

I am designing mine to be 8' 3" wide x 72" tall x 45" deep. Aside from the upright diagonal braces my design is more or less done. 

As you can see I made mine a bit taller. I may adjust the final height, but for now this should work. I also added shorter diagonal braces on all 4 corners to keep it square. I have not decided yet, but I am leaning toward using an actual brace plate at the conrers to even further guarantee it stays in square.

I need to talk a friend that sews into doing me a huge favor, which is to sew giant zippered Tyvek protector bags for the boats. I have them covered with cheap Harbor Freight poly tarps, but those don't last but maybe a season or two, and they do nothing to protect the boats from critters... 

17 February, 2014

Finding design flaws in my miter saw dust hood.

First off, let me be the first to call myself an idiot... I did this to myself, I needed no help in my stupidity, this is 100% on me...

The idea for the hood is to come around to just short of the fence , which I simply fail to do, by about 4"

Not sure if it is obvious from the photos, but I made a HUGE measurement mistake... and kept going with it...

I did however manage to figure out a quick and dirty way to rig up a production stop... Yeah I still need to set up an auxiliary fence with some T track and stop blocks...

I did want a reasonably clean pass through for the power cord, to where it will be useful. Yeah I have to drag the cord to behind the mortiser, small price to pay for space efficiency!

I did notice in this project however, that the table heights between the mortiser and the miter saw weren't level, so I levelled them up, and verified with known straight edges.... Good thing I have those parts bins. The old washers from God only knows where sure came in handy! It's dead flat, and neither the miter saw, nor the mortiser interfere with the other... Assuming of course the mortiser fence is in the rear most position..

You may also notice that I absconded the hose from a "Hyde dustless drywall sander" as the entire sander kit is cheaper than any 1.25 inch shop vac hose I have found so far.. Might as well reuse what I have! (I never should have sold that old shop vac on Craigslist so cheap!). I will order a second one before I actually cut the hose to finish the install. I actually use this thing, and it IS helpful. Lord knows even with this so called Dust Free Drywall sander, there is still a considerable amount of dust, but 90+ percent reduction in dust is better than none!

On top of this work, I managed the following in the shop over the weekend.
  1. Hauled all the totes that don't belong, up into the attic. The giant pile of extension cords and adapters got into their own tote and jammed up into the attic next to the reindeer and that big fat elf that ticks me off every December 1...
  2. Organized, or at least tried to organize all of the automotive stuff into one place, lawn and garden into another etc... I have so much more to do...
  3. Swept, cleaned, blew off, and generally tidied the place up. Again, a bunch more to do!
  4. Took apart the existing arrangement and installed the riser for the band saw dust collection / blast gate... Now the band saw dust collection blast gate is within easy reach, no back strain trying to get down to where it is... 
  5. Cut and installed slats mounted between the spreaders of the workbench base. This has the unanticipated result of firming up the base and making this bench a LOT more pleasant to use. I would highly recommend anyone using the Get Started In Woodworking plan for the bench to add the base shelf, it REALLY helps!
  6. Moved all of the handheld power tools from the miter saw station, and into the lower section of the workbench.
  7. Came up with a materials list of what is needed to finish the dust hood / drop plumbing for the miter saw.
  8. cleaned up the old silicone caulk off of the spare blast gates, got them ready for reuse...
My next steps are to....
  1. Disassemble the miter saw dust hood, rebuild the side frames with ones that, well are sized right. 20" deep instead of 16. This was an embarassingly stupid mistake, but live and lear... 
  2. cut extensions for the top to bring it a fully 20" deep as well. I will attach these with biscuits
  3. Reassemble, including the replacement back panel. 20" should give me a couple of inches to set up an auxiliary fence to rig some stops onto... 
  4. Disassemble the miter saw bench, and reglue the thing. Insuring it is square. Add 2x6 corner blocks to keep it square, and glue / mounting blocks for levelers. Probably just going to use bolts and Tee nuts for levelers. Not sure yet...
  5. Install dust collection ducting through the inside of the miter saw station. Get everything plumbed through the side ready to make the turn up.
  6. Reinstall / level / insure squareness of miter saw / mortiser station.
  7. Complete the riser to the ceiling, and the across ceiling run for the dust collection, tie into the main trunk just before the turn down to the collector.
  8. Complete and install the accessory drawers for the miter saw station.
  9. Re-populate the base of the miter saw station..
  10. Create bit trays for the router bits, and blade dividers for the saw blades. Migrate all of my table saw/ router accessories from the nasty tote and into the drawers.

13 February, 2014

Little bit of shop time. Got the narrow wall drywalled, mostly, and sized up / dry fit the band saw dust collection riser.

So while last night's dinner was cooking (I popped a pizza in the oven...) and my lovely bride was sorting laundry (I get to help fold woo hoo!) I managed to squeeze a little shop time in for a couple more steps toward done. First things first, I finished sizing up the patches, installing the bracing behind the drywall, and then installing / mudding the patches for the drywall... At least above the AC ducts.

Yes that pink thing is an old blanket that I have wrapped around the hot side line. 

I should mention that once I got that drywall up, and happy, the drafts stopped completely. The shop is notably better off for it too!  My task once this coat dries is to work in this confined space and smooth the mud flat, tape, and re-mud, sand etc... The space below that visible duct is virutally bereft of dryall (Yeah I was looking for a reason to use a fancy word...), I will have to do some extra careful measuring to insure I get it all lined up right, and then get the drywall in place, taped, mudded, sanded and lastly, paint the wall segment, including the part above the doors... Yes the whole interior of the shop is going bright semi gloss white. I am actually tempted to, when I get the attic stairs redone, and the ceiling re-rocked, I am tempted to paint the ceiling semi gloss white instead of flat. And even the flooring... Yes I am on a kick. And yes I am enjoying the effect the bright white has on visibility...

After sufficient gobs of drywall mud were applied, and the box of mud was sealed back up, I moved on tot he next issue. I am unhappy with my dust collection routing I did the other day already. Specifically I put the blast gate for the band saw FAR too low to be actually useful. Now my DC is split into 2 runs, an upper, and a lower. My lower run is literally run along the floor, and this is where the band saw gets is port from. I didn't want to tear it all out without having a replacement prepped, so I did so with a surplus used blast gate, and some extra fittings I had laying in boxes not to mention cut off pipe...

I failed to take before photos of the blast gate, but it was NASTY. I had gobs and gobs of both clear silicone, and white latex caulk stuck to it. I had to razor knife shave most of it off, then use a wire wheel on my Dremel to get the rest of the gunk off so the pipes would fit, but they do very nicely!

I use caulk to seal up my dust collection duct work, and sadly found that my spare tubes of Alex Plus (cheap) latex caulk had spilt and are uusable, I need to get to the hardware store and buy a new tube so that I can finish the job up But for now, the joint you see is simply sealed with HVAC tape.  

Each joint in the system is through drilled and a 1/2" long screw is run through to secure the joint from separating or rotating. I did not do this on my first time installation of the system and caused myself problems this should solve.

I have an early day today, so maybe, just maybe I can get into the shop, and start shoving non shop totes and coolers into the attic, and start ripping the plywood for the framing on my miter saw dust hood. Tomorrow is, as I am married, a non shop day, I get to take my lovely bride out somewhere nice. Why do they put Valentine's day during the worst weather of the year? Galveston is nasty in February. Too cold to go stroll the gulf beaches! But I digress, this weekend I will pick up the 1/8" acrylic, and some 1" wood screws, a box of pocket screws as I have no clue where mine went, and I will try to get this hood done. Knowing my luck, the hood will be all nice and solid, and I will be living with the out of square, wobbly bench for the next 2 years before I get around to getting it done!

12 February, 2014

Pondering what to do with the wall space between the garage door rails?

So my shop has double overhead doors, with a small hunk o wall between the two. The lower portion of the wall is where the ducts for the Air Conditioner route to the outside are. The upper portion is pretty much empty space. And on top of that, it is REALLY close to the drill press...

I apologize for the poor, far away photo of the space, it was the only one I could find when the muse whacked me in the head... This is pre-insulation and pre-drywall stage. The drywall is getting put up in place now, and I am having some serious long thoughts on what do do here...

I am seriously considering firmly attaching a 3/4" plywood backer to the studs, so I can put a screw pretty much anywhere, and just set up some shelves to hold my drilling stuff. Bit sets, jigs etc... That would be a great use of the space!

Another idea, this one a bit more intriguing, would be to build a small cabinet to go into this space to enclose these items. That would give me the practice I need at making raised panel doors for sure!

The items I need to store are...W

#1. Ryobi 19 piece SpeedLoad bit set.
#2. DeWalt 29 point pilot point bit set.
#3. Irwin SpeedBor Max auger bit set.
#4. Irwin SpeedBor spade bit set.
#5. Grizzly H7694 31 piece master Forstner bit set.
#6. Woodstock Large Saw Toothed Forstner Bit set.
#7. Pull out tray loaded dimensions 6x5.5x6 with large forstners, loose spade bits, countersinks, drilling countersinks, plug cutters, and self centering drill bits.
#8. Quick release hex shank extensions.
#9. General Pocket Screw Jig. (Considering upgrading to a Harbor Freight pocket hole jig).
#10. General doweling jig. (Considering upgrading to a Harbor Freight pocket hole jig).

I know I have far too many projects, and one of my proposed projects is to build a cabinet to straddle the base of the drill press to do the job I mention above plus hold the drills, but let's be honest here. I want to get this done NOW. Or at least soon. Not at some point in the future. But I also want it to look good, and help me build the skills. I have the material if I want to build it out of hardwoods, I am considering grabbing some 1/2" cabinet grade ply and having at that with hardwood (Pecan) trim and door... 

So do I do this fast and ugly, slower, but attractive, or MUCH slower, and much roomier, and not quite as attractive... 

Ugh, so many projects, so little time!

Very little shop time, but got some things done...

Due to the garage door tracks and brackets, I have to basically patch my drywall around those. I am basically doing my best at it, and honestly, I wouldn't have been inspired if it wasn't for the breeze that made its way through, somehow, the caulked seams on the siding, and through the gap between the butted studs.

Nothing I can do there to insulate that beyond...

#1. Take leftover partial tube of Alex Plus caulk, and caulk that seam between the butted studs.
#2. Sheet rock over the whole shebang to at least stop the drafts...

So I got at least the big part done. I know it is less than ideal, but I am patching this wall segment back together a piece at a time. It will be a good thing to just be done with all of this work!

I have one small section up top between the brackets that needs to be patched and of course the area around the AC ducts. Then tape, mud, sand, second coat mud, sand, paint... I don't expect much from this wall segment to be honest with you...

I have the design for the miter saw hood done, and the 3/4" ply set aside and ready to go. I do need to get some 1/2" ply for the top.

Tonight, if I can get time in there, I am planning on finishing up getting the wallboard patches in place, taping done, and the first coat of mud, then if time permits shove the camping / hunting stuff into the attic.

11 February, 2014

Miter Saw dust hood...

As decreed by my lovely bride, my next shop project, after cleaning things up that is, is I am to build a proper dust hood, and make the appropriate connections for my compound sliding miter saw.

As you might recall from my 2014 shop tour blog post, I have a Chicago Electric (Harbor Freight) 12" single bevel sliding compound miter saw fitted with a Freud Diablo 80T blade designed for sliders...

The saw is mounted on the miter saw / mortiser bench. and if you haven't experienced miter saw dust spewing, you are missing out! It is a disaster in the shop...

For the time being, I have been connecting my shop vac / Thien cyclone rig to the port on the saw, if you look closely you can see the 1.25  to 2.5"adaper installed on the saw. I just pop the the 2.5" hose into the fitting, and saw away, that is if I remember...

My intent here is to...

#1. Get a hose that fits snugly over the 1.25" port. It is the same size as a shop vac, shouldn't be too hard to do. I might have to get ad adapter bushing to connect two males or something stupid like that to make it work.
#2. Pull the miter saw / mortiser cabinet apart again and fix the glue problem, making absolutely certain it is SQUARE and SOLID this time... The old bottle of Titebond II is about to get washed out and recycled.
#3. Build a 3 sided frame of 3/4" x 1.5" wide plywood strips using pocket screws to hold it together, and top it off with a 1/2" plywood panel, relieved for the full articulation of the saw head and hose movement. Use a piece of 1/8" acrylic to form the curved back panel.
#4. Install the duct work in the cabinet, running the 1.25" hose down into the 4" duct getting vacuum from there.
#5. Mount it all up, level it, and connect to the ducting system.

So much to do on it, and no time for the next few days. Just got to squeeze in some design fine details where I can and then get after it!

10 February, 2014

Busy weekend working on the table saw, wall, and dust collection ducting.

Actually the title gives most of this post away, but here goes nothing...

I managed to get a few more test cuts on the table saw done, and blew out the remainder of the sawdust from the saw cabinet. Once done I reattached the side of the cabinet, and spent a quick trip to Home Depot for some bolts and washers after I failed to locate the bolts to hold on the extension table top... I got everything leveled up and tightened down. It is all looking good so far. In all honesty, I need to re-do my extension table. The hardboard top is separating from the plywood base, and there are some embarassing measurement errors in there! But it works well enough for now, I might try to figure out how to inject glue into the hardboard gap and then hold it together with something heavy, I have lots of that in the shop!

Next was to go onto the dust collection...

I started off by running the drop from the ceiling to the separator. This connects the table saw blade guard and the overhead port for the workbench to the separator. I had a false start on the drywall anchors, but finally managed to get it in there. I need to patch the ceiling now, but there are a LOT of places I need to do that...

I followed that up with running the lower duct. This time I went ahead and simply laid it on the floor, and used risers to get to the tools. I brought the duct to the band saw first since it is first on the way, and then went behind the water purifier system, and poked out behind to split off to the table saw.

Yes that run crosses the floor, but it is worth it to me.. I know a potential trip hazard, but I am aware of it, and work around it... The duct runs over to the lower end of the workbench, and actually runs UNDER the bench. I ran it this way to allow me to put the bench closer to the saw to act as more secure out feed with less of a chance of stuff falling off either the bench, or the saw into the gap between.

The riser for the table saw is split to a 2.5" and a 4", the 4" stays 4" all the way to the belly pan of the table saw. 

The next riser going down the powered wall is the one for the lathe, I have hooked it up to a simple dust hood made from a 4" floor register outlet. It works, reasonably well... 

The last riser is run, but no flex duct is connected. This is to go to the drill press, I just ran out of the hose clamps. As you can see from the photo, I need to attach hanger strap to the wall / around the pipe to keep it steady... 

I have only to finish the build of the dust hood for the miter saw, which is likely the largest dust offender in the shop, and figure out how to run a duct for it. I am figuring it will have to go overhead, and down the wall behind the library cabinet... I will need some more 4" S&D pipe and fittings to make this happen. Thankfully I have a couple of extra blast gates!

If you zoom in on my pics, or have a sharp eye, you can see I have effectively used set screws at each joint. I used Alex Plus white latex caulk on all the joints, and then drilled guide holes for screws, ran the screws in, backed them out, then hacked the screws down to 3/8" - 1/2" long with my Dremel cut off wheel... I then re ran the screws into the holes. This way the screws keeping things steady don't interfere with the air flow causing turbulence, or snagging stringy stuff from the jointer or planer. 

A seemingly small, but significant item I completed this weekend was I blew in the expanding foam insulation into the the previously open wall cavity between the garage doors, and started by putting the drywall patch in place, and measuring up for replacement drywall...  I like how tightly it seals up the wall cavity. I am half tempted to spend the extra bucks and cut out effectively access panels in the existing drywall, spraying in expanding foam, and patching the drywall with the cut out panels... Probably not going to fit the budget though. Most likely will end up blown in cellulose insulation due to cost, and ease of installation.

I am so painfully close to done in here I can taste the non shop projects... I am anxious. And I bet my wife is. I have a strip & stain to do on my kitchen as well as bathroom cabinets. And some temporary hardwood thresholds to transition from stained concrete to tile flooring... 

All in all a productive weekend, but could have gotten so much more done.

So my follow on projects to this need to be... (not necessarily in this order)

  1. Finish fixing the sheet rock in the between the garage doors wall, smooth it out and paint it... 
  2. Clean, clean, clean. Put stuff up where it belongs. That makes life in the shop so much nicer.
  3. Put the totes of camping and hunting gear in the attic where it belongs. That includes the stray coolers.
  4. De-rust, and then wax the tables on the band saw and jointer.
  5. Finish the small shed / deck box design, build and get the lawn and garden stuff out of my shop!
  6. Clear the lumber rack from all resident items, cut the access holes, and blow in cellulose insulation, patch and paint drywall. Re-stock lumber rack.
  7. Disasemble the miter saw cabinet, and clean up the dadoes. Buy a pint of fresh glue, and glue that sucker back up, SQUARE. Using glue blocks and levelers, level this thing dead up.
  8. Finish design, build, and installation of miter saw dust hood, make plumbing connections.
  9. Finish building miter saw cabinet drawers, populate with planned table saw / router accessories. 
  10. Finish prepping and installing extension block for the step area of the garage floor to support the freezer and move the freezer in.

08 February, 2014

Some thoughts on faith, hope, health, and woodworking…

While the subject hasn’t come up here yet, I make no secret of my Christian faith. My faith in Christ is without a doubt the biggest single thing in my life, a central point as it were. I have like so many others along with me, gotten unfocused from time to time. Every time I have lost my focus, God does something, or brings someone into my life, or allows someone to leave my life  to bring my focus back where it belongs.  I have had the blessing recently to have someone interesting wander into my life and that has inspired me to not only be a better woodworker, but to keep my mind on the things of God…

My health has, for over a decade seen a steady decline, in no small part due to inactivity. You see in October 2000, I was involved in a traffic accident in Houston Texas. I was in the left lane on the North freeway when the brand spanking new, paper tags on it and everything Chevy pickup lost the drivers side front wheel in front of me… I stopped, as did the rest of traffic, when traffic cleared, I checked to see if I was okay to change lanes and go on, and I waited for the Camaro to pass, then seeing the lane behind clear, I changed lanes. The guy in the Camaro stopped suddenly and I stopped… And the guy in the 1985 Pontiac Parisienne flying over the overpass, well… didn’t.

Mind you, I was no skinny puppy at the time, but I was no fatty either. I was 6’ 0” and 230lbs of mostly muscle. Flat stomach and all. While I was working an IT job, I was very physically active, and had just gotten into IT less than 2 years before, my prior job in college was a very physical lumber yard job…

So all 230lbs and 6’ 0” of me being shoved forward HARD managed to snap the seat back the back wall of the cab of my truck, and the front wall of the bed of the truck. To put it bluntly, I had my feet on the pedals still, but from my shoulers up, I was laying in the bed of my truck. I had glass stuck in my head from the back window, and my back hurt like the dickens…

I didn’t want to get hauled to Ben Taub and end up dead before a doctor saw me, so I got a rental car, and went to Clear Lake Regional Medical Center. The doctors got the glass out and stitched up the scalp. X rayed my back, gave me some pain killers and sent me on my way…

I should have gotten a second opinion… I have had back problems ever since then, making it painful to work out, or even enjoy the outdoor activities that I love so much…

Mind you, I have tried to get workouts in there, and I try to get outdoors for things like camping, fishing, and hunting as often as I can, but honestly, I have let the health issues get in the way. And working out just wasn't happening...

Well that in turn led to years of sedentary lifestyle. until I was prodded, very recently by a couple of major events. The first was the visit to the doctors office…

You see I have friends and family that have ended up diabetic due to weight issues, and I do NOT want to go there. But more importantly I endure a good deal of back and joint pain that is exacerbated by my excess weight. However the excersize that I need to do to lose this weight hurts too… And the weight I have packed on isn’t unsubstatial either… This has been an intolerable situation for quite some time now… But for some reason I have been putting up with it, not motivated enough, and lacking the faith in that area that God will see me through this.

I have recently been friended on one of my woodworking forums by a north Texas pastor that is a woodworker, and a cancer patient… And the stories he tells me have brought me no end of motivation. To know what he is going through with Chemo and all, and to see how he stays motivated, and endures what he has to go through with the amount of faith that he shows, it is truly inspiring. I am blessed to have this fellow cross my path.

I have been motivated to endure what I need to in order to get through those workouts, and get out to the shop and do what I can instead of putting it off. No more excuses, the tiem to knuckle down is now, I just need to stay focused on what really matters!

This blog entry is a long winded way of saying I think you should check out this guy’s blog series, “Woodworking For Therapy” on lumberjocks.com. Just maybe you will find that little extra bit of faith and motivation that has been eluding you!

My prayers are for Pastor Steve and his family as they go through his trials, and I hope and pray that I can stay as faithful and positive as he is. May I keep on track with the weight loss program and the workouts I have started. I have lost a good amount of weight so far, and I must admit some frustration as I have been perfectly good on the diet and workout yet I bumped up a tiny bit this week. But the jeans are fitting a little looser...

07 February, 2014

A concerning thought on U.S.A. made tools, or the lack thereof in manufacturing capacity.

As I look through my shop, I realize very little in the way of tools and equipment there is made in the U.S.A., mostly my older, pre 2000 stuff, and even some of that is China / Taiwan sourced. And it got me to thinking...

The Allies in World War 2 won the war in no small part due to American Industrial output. Simply stated, we were able to overwhelm the Axxis powers with tanks, guns, planes, bombs and whatnot to such an overwhelming degree...

Now fast forward 70 years.

Does the United States of America have the manufacturing capacity, and skill needed to win another large scale war like that? For example what would happen if China were to turn on the U.S.?

Just something to think about the next time you go out looking to buy that new tool. I know there are fewer and fewer U.S.A. made options, but wouldn't it be worth a few extra bucks to keep the jobs, and national security here?

Ryobi BT3100 table saw cutting out / bogging down BADLY during a cut. I found the cure!

At least for mine I should specify...

I have had intermittent problems with my Ryobi BT3100 dropping blade RPM, and nearly stalling for a while now. I spent some time troubleshooting the issue and here is what I found...

As many of you know, the OEM switch that One World Technologies supplied on the Ryobi BT3100 is prone to failure. This failure tends to be in the manner of failing closed, meaning the circuit stays on and the saw won't shut off until you unplug it. Mine was effectively losing power / shutting off, but perhaps my switch failed the other way?

The troubleshooting process went thusly.

#1. Bypass the switch by plugging the male stub directly into an extension cord, saw comes on and won't stop until unplugged. A VERY nerve racking experience by the way...
#2. Make my test cut. A piece of 3/4" Aracuo plywood about 18" long. Once the blade was fully surrounded by the workpiece, the saw bogged, I had to stop the feed rate until it picked back up...
#3. Turn off the side, remove the side panel and inspect all the wiring and connections between switch, side outlet thing, and saw motor. All looked good.
#4. I know I have newer brushes in there, and did not see dust in the brush bores when I installed them, so that wasn't an issue at that time, however I DID notice several of the vent slots were caked across with dust. I really didn't expect to get much out of it, but I figured it couldn't hurt, so I blew the motor casing out while installed on the saw, using my compressed air blow gun. The amount of dust that came flying out of the motor casing was downright scary. By the time the dust cloud from that operation dissipated I had recharged the compressor tank (29 gallons) twice. I am going to vac out the saw tonight and blow the case out again to get any stragglers...
#5. Re-test, this time with a different piece of ply scrap (I like my fingers.) This one about 14x12. Made 6 passes cutting 3/4" off per pass (yeah I had the guard off). No bogging. I then picked up a hunk of sort of square ish 1.5" pin oak (stormfall log, I was going to use it for a turning, but REALLY needed to test my saw with hardwood). The block was about 8" x 4" x1.5", and not nearly as impressive as it might sound, Again, no bogging, just the normal slowdown that happens when the motor goes from unloaded to loaded.

At this point I am completely satisfied the issue was the dust caking. I am a bit shocked at the amount of dust in my saw though. With VERY few exceptions, my saw has been operated at least by me, with the dust collection connected and running, seemingly capturing the dust well. I did however obtain this saw used. The prior owner, although the saw had been through a shop incident (fire) it did appear undamaged except for the fence, and that fence damage was seemingly limited to the handle. And I am pretty sure the original owner used dust collection on the saw since he is the one that fitted it with a belly pan and port.

I am wondering though, I necked the port on the belly pan down from the 4" the original owner had rigged, to a 2.5", so that I can split the 4" feed from the DC into the 2.5" belly pan and the 2.5" blade shroud. I am wondering if that was a mistake... Any thoughts? Should I have merely tee'd off the 2.5" to the shroud and kept the 4" all the way tot he belly pan? I might try that once I get dust collection ducting put back together. My Shark Guard upper port / blade guard is a 2.5" port and so I should be good to go for airflow down below. I am just concerned teeing off that 2.5" for the blade shroud will cause a drop in airflow to the belly pan, then again, that drop has to still provide more airflow than the 2.5" port can support..

06 February, 2014

Starting points. A look back at the workshop from February 2008.

So I ran across a post I made, my first shop tour as it was, on www.woodworkingtalk.com and I am shocked at how far I have come in the years since, especially when you consider all of the other time and financial constraints. All I can say is WOW this has changed quite a bit over the last few years!

For starters, My workbench was a simple Simpson Strong tie 2x4 and 3/4" sheathing grade plywood thing, with an ancient Ace Hardware 6" bench grinder, and an unknown MFG machinists vise that I still own, admittedly now cleaned up and painted a nice bright orange so it is easily visible... Storage was just wherever it ended up on the wall, and I had my canoe hanging from the shop ceiling because, well I needed it up off the floor!
None of this is the same now.
I still have the heater, parts bins, and Snap On clock though!
Just moved elsewhere...

My table saw back then, was a brand new Ryobi BTS21. I was stupid thinking this was the upgrade to the BT3100. While it was a very effective saw, and I did end up selling it to a friend for cheap money, he still uses it a LOT... But it isn't what I wanted... 
The BTS21 did feature a nice folding stand.
It was easy to set up and put to use!

The router table was a separate arrangement. A simple Wolfcraft table, actually the table and router were sold to the same friend. The router table, skil saw, Ryobi router, and Craftsman 6 piece bit set were actually the first woodworking tools I ever bought. I still have the Skil Saw. 

Router, and table set up to use.

The miter saw and stand I still have, but have it relegated to metal cutting duties and stashed away most of the time, is a Black and Decker Firestorm 10" non slider. It does cut VERY accurately, and has been reliable, however, it is a non slider, and it is made by Black and Decker, a company that has a now very tarnished name in the power tool space...

The miter saw and stand when new. They do work well.

My first feeble attempt at dust collection was a Shop Vac hangup model I bought from Lowes. The appeal here was the fact I could mount it on the wall space between the garage doors. Sadly with the puny 1.25" hose, actual air flow was hard to come by... I sold it on Craigslist. Honestly, If they sold one of these with a 2.5" hose, I would sell my Ridgid 12 gallon shop vac in a hot second...
While lacking in airflow,
the Shop Vac hangup IS space efficient!

From this point, I pretty much consider my start. I have bought, sold, and even given away various tools and fixtures over the years since this stage in my shop development. I have learned what I like, and what I don't care for. And I am reaching the point of shopvana... I am very blessed to have the facility I have, and the friends that I have that have helped me along the way... Thank you God for blessing me with this, and show me how to bless others through this gift!

04 February, 2014

Glue joint starvation and cabinets going out of square.

As seen previously in this blog, I built a workstation for my sliding miter saw, and mortiser. The design is set up so that the mortiser and miter saw tables act as outfeed supports for each other, and when set correctly outfeed from neither will contact the freezer door when closed. (No the freezer is not moved into the shop yet, although that is coming soon, and will be covered here. I need to get some PT lumber, mill it to dimension and liquid nails it to the concrete floor to create an extension for the stepped lip for the freezer to set on... But I digress back to the miter saw worksation!

I noted probably about 2 weeks ago while I was hustling up in the remodel that the cabinet, well looked funny. I checked things out with my drywall square and sure enough, the front corners were well out of square. But why?

Well, upon investigation by pulling the screws from the top on the left side, I was able to easily separate the joint. Glue starvation! Dang...

There are some design adjustments I want to do to this cabinet so that I can incorporate levelers to compensate for my unlevel / uneven floor, so this is going to be looked at as an opportunity. At this point the following changes are going to be made.

#1. Pull the miter saw cabinet section apart. Cut 1.5" from the overall height, Clean up the dadoes etc...
#2. Re-glue and screw this thing together, being generous with the glue. Who cares about squeeze out? I want strong joints not starved for glue!
#3. Install 3/4" leveler blocks to the corners, and install heavy duty levelers using thread inserts.
#4. Size up, cut and install a cross brace spanning from side to side across the front to be installed just below the drawers. 3/4" ply x whatever the width is (Don't recall off hand) x 1.5" tall. This is merely to keep the sides from bowing out over time.
#5. Build, and plumb the miter saw dust hood, connect to the dust collection network.

I have other more pressing shop, and non shop projects at this point, but this is NOT going to fix itself, so it is on the to do list.

My next shop, but yet not really shop project is going to be...

#1. Source up a PT 2x6. Cut it into 48" long segments and let it acclimate to the shop. Sadly I should have done this a year ago. This will be milled to make a total of 48" x 5" x 2.5" extension block to extend the riser lip of the garage floor. This will be attached to the floor using Liquid Nails for Construction, and allowed to cure. Once done this will be painted with gray epoxy paint, and the freezer finally moved into position.

And on the cleanup front, I have 2 full, large totes, and a 160qt ice chest that need to be cleaned up, and thrown up into the attic with the rest of my camping / hunting gear. I will be going over my 4x4, camping, fishing, hunting, etc... outdoors things at my other blog, http://wildersport-outdoors.blogspot.com I haven't posted over there in far too long, and it is high time I got busy with that one too!

02 February, 2014

Ladders hung, shelving installed, paint done, and look at what I found while cleaning!

So as you saw from my post yesterday, I managed to get the 6' ladder hung up out of the way so today it was time to drag the 10' ladder into the shop and hang it up so that it is finally out of the living room. I am done with it in there for at least 6 months...

Due to the cross braces getting in the way of the very top of the ladder, it actually takes a bit of work to get the thing onto the hooks, but it goes. I might add a chunk of 2x4 block to lower the front so that it will be easier to mount the ladder, but for now, it is there, and secure, just gotta sueeze it up there!
I didn't expect to hit the shop light,
but it just barely clears,
bumping a bit when you take it up and down.

I painted both wall segments I have been busy smoothing, and have gotten the shelving put into place, as well as the wall mounted plastic bins. I also moved around my hammers / mallets so that I only had one per peg hook to reduce stress on the peg board. Hasn't been an issue yet, just being proactive...

Overall I think it is coming together very nicely... It also gave me an opportunity to get my spraying equipment as well as sanding stuff in a location where it is easier to reach. All good stuff!

I also took the opportunity to pick the Ridgid sander up off the floor and put it on the tool stacker. I unfortunately was 1/2" shy of having enough room to get it to go in with the belt on, so I had to take that part off to make it all fit. But at least it fits...
All in all it's coming together...

And after a considerable amount of cleaning, I managed to find a few more tools under the mess, albeit some major HUGE tools, but they are finally accessible. Yes I am talking about the workbench and the table saw...
I KNEW there was a workbench there somewhere!
Yes the extension table is sitting loose. 
I took the bolts out for some unkown reason and am still looking for them!

I used the blow gun to blow it all off (which is why the air hose is just strewn on the floor!), I might have some work to do to the table saw. I think I have a switch or motor problem. It acts like it wants to shut off at odd moments... Good thing I have spares of both!

The last bits of work done in the shop today was to clean off the miter saw / mortiser bench, as well as finishing cutting the access holes for the spray in foam insulation for the narrow wall segment between the garage doors. I am now ready to spray and then close that wall back up! Cleaning the miter saw / mortisingt station took some doing as I have been using it without much in the way of dust collection, and it has been building up, a LOT... However I do have it clean now...
The miter saw bench is clean. If only it was square!
I have to tear it back down and re-glue it. I am thinking
the plywood sucked up all the glue and starved the joints.

The mortiser section of the cab is
completely square and hasn't racked. 

Next steps are to hook the dust collection back up, clean off the miter saw station and figure out dust collection for it, do the between doors wall, and move a certain freezer in... One piece at a time though! It will get done, just takes time...

01 February, 2014

Not much shop time, and a failed idea...

I had a little bit of shop time today, not a whole lot, but some.... In the meager moments I spent there I got some useful things done, and I discovered what I thought was going to be a good idea turn into a what was I thinking moment...

The not glamorous but productive time I spent was finishing the sanding to the drywall and caulking the gap between door trim and wallboard.Once the caulk sets up I should be ready to finish painting those two areas, and be done with that...

The failure, and it was a good idea at the time, was to use a Bicycle hanger hoist to pull my 6' ladder up to the ceiling and hang it tight. This was an utter, and complete failure. It hangs there, about 6" from the sheet rock, with the hooks dangling by the rails for the door. It was a good idea, but I failed to take into account the length of pulleys and hooks...
Not tight enough to the drywall. 

So I took a suggestion from a fellow member of Lumberjocks and utilized a simple pulley and eye bolt system using on hand materials, and whacked this thing together in literally 5 minutes. I simply pulley the top into place, run the rope across the bottom, fish it through the eye bolt pull it tight and tie it off to the ladder...
Not the most elegant solution, but it should work!

Tomorrow I have paint on the walls that have recently been worked, and insulation in the between garage doors wall to install. The insulation is going to be spray in expanding foam. That stuff takes 24 hours to cure, so I won't be able to even think about starting with the drywall until Monday after work... A little bit of remaining cleanup, organizing totes, reinstalling dust collection ducting and making the connections and I am DONE... At least with this phase of the remodel.

My next phase will involve taking the miter saw bench apart, fixing some design flaws, and using a LOT more glue in reassembly. And build the dust hood, finish up the drawers. And lastly pull everything off the non powered wall, patch the drywall, cut the holes for blow in insulation and do just that, blow in the insulation, patch, paint, re-hang what needs to be hung, and God willing put the non shop stuff in a yet to be built shed...

Once the DC ducting is back up, I should be able to start working non shop projects. While I have a lot of shop projects to do mind you, I NEED to get some house projects done. God willing I will be able to master building raised panel doors and drawer fronts, because my kitchen needs a face lift!