Summer Begins! (2020)

The solstice has come and summer begins in the garden. I love watching the transition from the early Spring plants and flowers, with their vibrant greens and fresh new growth, over to the flowers and colors of Summer, brighter colors and yellow-green foliage.

Summer also brings the fruits and vegetables!

Spice Cabinet

This project has been a long time coming. I made the carcass for the cabinet back in April.

Everything came together nicely, but I was waiting on a new router table and router bits in order to make the fancy doors. So the carcass sat around my shop for over a month. When the router bits finally came, I cut the frame and panel of the doors in solid red oak.

They were a perfect fit. They looked wonderful. Unfortunately, I had to then wait for the hardware to arrive. So the cabinets sat again in my shop for a few weeks. Finally the soft-close hinges and the ceramic door pulls had arrived.

I used my new HVLP sprayer to paint the carcass and the doors. I then waited the required week before applying a protective outer layer of water-based polyurethane.

I attached the hinges and the doors looked great… unfortunately, I ran into a little snag. The hinges I had gotten are for framed cabinets (as part of the upcoming kitchen overhaul), therefore they didn’t sit quite right. If I had been paying better attention, I would have set the cup of the hinges a little deeper in the frame. Oh well…

It wasn’t anything a quick run down the tablesaw couldn’t fix. And Voila! doors that closed. I had to add another sanding and paint job to the new edges.

The cabinet looks great in the kitchen!

Closet Organizer and Sanding Station

Closet Organizer

Like many people, the bottom of my closet had slowly became a catch-all storage for various things I wasn’t ready to deal with at that moment. Over time, it had become a pile of junk. I decided to make a new closet organizer with shelves and bins.

The carcass was quite simple, made of some nice Baltic birch plywood. I added a toe-kick on the bottom to keep dust from working its way up into the cubbies. The back was 1/4″ cheap plywood sanded down and the top was another Baltic birch single bench top slab. I finished the piece with a couple coats of danish oil.

It was a very simple project, but quite necessary. It forced me to organize my closet and remove the clutter. Now each morning is brightened by the appealing lines of Baltic birch.

Sanding Station

Another small project was making quite a number of drawers for my sanding station. I added some red-oak trim that matches the simple handles. Now I finally have easy access to all my sanding equipment. The whole cart moves on casters out to the driveway, where all the excessive dust from the belt sander can blow out into the wind.

Desk Caddy & Garden Bench

Desk Caddy

One small side project was a small desk caddy for my office. It is a simple, three-drawer unit that sits on my desk and provides ample storage for notes, chocolate bars, and other nick-knacks that have been accumulating on my desk. Additionally, it has a nice top tray for storing my pocket items (wallet, phone, etc) when I’m home.

I ended up painting it to match the decor of the room.

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Garden Bench

I had a bunch of scrap pieces left over from the fence project. Mostly treated woods and cedar boards. The kind of pieces perfect for building an outdoor garden bench.

I threw together a basic frame using the scrap 4×4 posts using double-sided pocket-hole joinery. It is quite a sturdy beast.

Before I added anymore wood, and weight, I moved the bench where it was going to go on our patio. I then put some leftover OSB over the backside and layed out the cedar boards for the table top.

I painted the OSB white, still unsure what I was going to use for the back of the panel. I then remembered I had some old ship-lap panels we had found in our garage when we moved in. I cut those down and added them as a backsplash. I then used a few scraps of pallet wood to lay out the bottom shelves.

I used some old scraps of wood from shelves that had previously been in my garage for the top shelves. The purpose of the two top shelves was to hold trays of seedlings, with a bar over them to allow a cloth to cover them and protect them as the seedling grow.

I sanded the whole monster down and it was ready for use.

Router Table Deluxe

Like I had mentioned in a previous post, one of the new workshop upgrades was a new router table. The primary purpose of the new table is to allow me to use a new set of Art Deco rail & stile router bits to replace all our kitchen cabinet doors and drawers. I knew I’d need a good router table to pull that off and make reliable good cabinets.

I created a basic carcasses using what few resources I had around the shop. Sheet-goods have been hard to come by during the COVID pandemic, so I was forced to use some left-over OSB. I just followed Steve Ramsey’s advise, and put “the crappy side against the wall”. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the process of making the top panel.

I used an Infinity Tools router table inset put into a melamine table-top. I cut grooves for the miter slot and built a very fancy fence that allows adjust the width of the opening and has a T-track for feather-boards.

I am using a new Triton TRA001 router for the table, which the insert plate was specifically made for.

I set up some hoses for dust collection with a two-way port on the back to connect to my shop-vac.

Around the carcass, I used strips of red-oak to give it a nice appearance. There are two drawers for my router bits. One on the bottom for 1/4″ bits, and the top for 1/2″ bits.

I then added cabinet doors, using the same rail and stile bits I want to use for my kitchen cabinets. It was a nice test run. However, the red-oak proved to be a bit dense for the bits. Thankfully, the Triton router could handle it at a slow speed.

I covered it with a couple coats of Danish oil to give it a nice shine and bring out the color of the red oak.

I then added some new heavy-duty casters to help it lock better in place when in use.

Moon Gate

For our new fence, my wife and I had been talking about making an arch over the gate. We then discovered the moon gate and thought it would look neat to make a full circle that is both the arc over top and a cut in arch in the gate itself, forming a complete circle.

Making the gate was quite straight forward. I mad a square base frame using pocket-hole joinery.

I then created a large compass on my workbench to create the desired arc and radius of the circle.

For the upper arch, I then took some leftover cedar planks from the fence and put them on the arc and drew a line.

I then took a number of these drawn arcs and cut them out on my new bandsaw. I then used bits of treated 2×4 to link the arcs together to form a sturdy arc structure.

I then put all the arcs together to form the upper half of the circle, and ensured it had the proper diameter.

I then used my new half-circle and laid it over planks on the gate frame to mark where I needed to cut the planks to ensure a perfect bottom circle.

I then used my jigsaw to cut out along the line to create the gate’s circle.

Putting the two pieces together, created a perfect circle and moon gate for the entrance to our yard.

May Garden Update

The garden is in the midst of the Spring time bloom.

The acidic garden has all of its plants in place. We added a back row of acid-loving azaleas and hydrangeas. Then a row of blueberries, followed by a row of perennial flowers.

Workshop Upgrades

My new bandsaw has arrived and I felt the need to add a few more improvements to my workshop. There are three things on my agenda:

  1. Table Saw Storage
  2. Drill Press Table
  3. Router Table

Table Saw Storage

The first project was to add some support extension and additional storage for my table saw and its accessories. I added a support block connected to the side of my custom table saw cabinet.

With an even platform to build upon I was then able to add a cabinet.

It took some effort to get the table to sit just under the table of the saw. A few well-placed shims set it to the right height. I had a piece of some nice Baltic birch plywood that made a nice smooth top.

I then measured the inner area and set up some runners for drawers.

I call this project finished. I have a nice support for the side of my table saw to assist with cutting wider panels, and plenty of storage for all my push-blocks/sticks and accessories.

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Drill Press Table

The next project was to add a good support for my drill press. I wanted a reliable fence and built-in supports, because trying to clamp anything to the table was always a pain. Unfortunately, I didn’t capture much of this process, but you can see the end result.

This drill press table has a nice adjustable fence on a T-track, and two hold-down clamps on the same T-track. There is also an inset and replaceable 1/2″ plywood I can drill into without worry. Unseen in the photos, there are tight holding blocks that help lock this table onto the metallic drill press table.

Workshop Rearranged

I started putting together ideas for my router table, but before that I decided to rearrange my shop. I wanted the bandsaw to be more accessible and found lots of operations had become harder to perform. So I moved all my furniture out of the shop and rearranged them.

The biggest change here was swapping my tablesaw to the other side where I can easily make cuts and still be close to my assembly/workbench. The new bandsaw has been moved near the garage door. Since I don’t have good dust collection for it yet, it’s easy to let the dust fly out into the open air for now.

My dust collection system is now more mobile again and I can have it help clean up the shop again.

The electric cable will be replaced and duct-taped to the floor to avoid a serious safety issue.