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.

The Circuitous Fence

My woodworking was quickly veering into house construction chores as I saw ways to take my new skills into improving our environment. We had long talked about how we would build-up our front yard, with garden beds filled with flowering bushes, like azaleas, roses, and peonies.

One important component to this dream, was adding a circuitous fence to the front yard. As much as I like the seemingly communal aspect of an open front yard that stretches from neighbor-to-neighbor’s lawn, in practice very few people seem to spend a lot of time in their front yards. However, I’ve noticed that people with fences tend to spend more time in that space. I also like how a fence defines a territory and serves as the boundary to a space perceptually. This makes the space seem compartmentalized and visually bound to a designed purpose. For all these reasons, we knew a fence would be in our future.

I put my woodworking skills to the test and designed a fence that met my criterion. More on that later.

Fence posts are cemented into the ground, roughly 7 feet apart.

Here I practiced the overall design to ensure my plan looked as good as in real life.

You can see from the above photo that my plan featured three rails. Two to brace the pickets and a third to ensure a smooth top rail. The kind of rail you can set a drink on top of. I really like the smooth line this creates. I find that traditional picket fences and their spiky tops only look well when camouflaged behind plenty of foliage. I think a smooth line will look great juxtaposed in front of the flowery bushes that will someday rise behind them.

The rest of the rails are installed.

The pickets were easy to install. I made a homemade jig that allowed me to ensure perfect 1 5/8″ spacing between picket boards. Due to the slight differences in post-to-post distances, I had to make a few strips and thickened some middle boards to ensure the spacing was kept consistent.

The pickets are up and the tops of the posts are cut smooth.

Cutting the tops of the posts to the same height was not the easiest. I had to use a circular saw on two sides to clear the thick wood. Then I used my Japanese pull saw to smooth the cut flat.

The beveled top blocks add an interesting feature.

I then took my post cut-offs and beveled them to add a decorative feature to each post top. The fence was finished. Now I need to consider a gate design.

Fin.

Workshop Update & Spice Cabinet Start

The wonderful world of woodworking continues during #lockdown2020. I’ve been quite busy taking care of projects around the shop and generally getting ready for some new equipment. I’ve added two new tools to my shop, taking advantage of some of the Spring-time sales.

The first is a drum/belt sander and should help me smooth out various pieces. The second, and much more exciting tool, is a professional band-saw. I am really excited about the prospect of making precise curved cuts to both express new creative ideas and to recreate classic pieces.

Workshop Update

With these new toys coming, I though I’d show my current shop layout beforehand.

The 11′ x 22′ space is better organized than when I started.
The new drum/belt sander has been moved to the cart, and the drill press finds a new home on the BMW workbench.
This table saw and outfeed table are a perfect combo for long cuts. Additionally, the outfeed table doubles for assembly and general surface area.
This miter station makes precise cross-cuts a breeze. The above lumber storage rack is easily accessible by my homemade stool.
This workbench is the pride and joy of my workshop. It is perfectly calibrated for my height, which makes it the ideal companion for planing wood and general assembly. The two homemade, sturdy hickory-wood vises are easy to use as well.
This storage area has all the tools I need, just a quick reach away. Holding my radio, you can see my quick screw organizer drawers. These handy little drawers are great for carrying around to where the screws are needed.
Moving the drill press was always a pain, and the stand I made would often get caught on my uneven concrete floor. With the drill press on the sturdy workbench, it’s a lot easier to use, and it never has to move.

Spice Cabinet

I’ve been working on my last project for Steve Ramsey’s Weekend Woodworker course. It’s been quite awhile, but I didn’t really like the original design. I eventually settled on a modified version of the plans that is going to serve as a spice cabinet above our stove.

There is still a lot of work yet to do on this piece. However, I am waiting for a couple new tools to arrive to properly finish the doors. I am excited to see where this project goes.

Acid Garden

The 2020 garden season has begun. We are all under the stay-at-home guidelines for COVID-19, but that hasn’t stopped me from preparing our front yard for the new garden beds.

Our vision for the front yard has changed since I originally drew out the plans. We still plan on the northend sporting a blueberry and azalea patch, but most of the yard we intend to leave open and grassy for our new pup.

I did what I always do when preparing a bed. First, I double-dug the soil and flipped the sod to help fluff the compacted soil.

Next, I added a layer of garden compost and manure to help fertilize the soil. I then watered the area thoroughly to ensure it was soaked in. Then I covered the new bed with a thick layer of newspaper.

I did my best to preserve our large tulip garden from last year. We hope to extend those tulips all the way to the end of the garden bed.

I soaked the newspaper as I went to keep it from blowing away. Last, I covered the area with 2-inches of mulch.

Then I soaked the whole collection until sopping wet. And the new bed is ready.

If the fence seems surprising, check out that project here:
http://arboreantears.com/2020/04/26/the-circuitous-fence/

Live! at dB Studios

Check below for an inclusively exclusive live concert of Arborean Tears playing all the top hits in the comforts of a quarantined studio.

You can listen to all these hits using the playlist below, otherwise choose an individual song/video.
For two of these recordings the video failed, but the audio is intact.

Full Concert Playlist

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1) Introduction and One More Day

2) the Dreamer

3) Waiting on a Dream

WARNING: This video got corrupted and I lost most of the footage, but the audio was unharmed.

4) One More Night

5) Everyday a Dreamer Dies

6) Summertime Blues

WARNING: This video got corrupted and I lost most of the footage, but the audio was unharmed, but it does cut out at the end.

7) Born to Fly

8) Will You See Me to the End?

9) You’re the One for Me

10) Sunrise Over the Mountains

11) the Crow and Outro

Lockdown Woodworking: Plant Stands

Over the quarantine, I’ve been working on a trio of plant stands. The legs were made out of 2×4’s cut down to 1 1/2 inches square on two sides. The aprons and crossbars were made with premium pine. The top is high-quality baltic birch plywood with red oak hardwood trim around the edges. The half-lap joinery on the taller plant stands ensures strong construction as the legs are mostly glued to the top with a single pocket screw to help hold it into place. The two taller stands had the legs tapered on two sides to give them an elegant thin look. This project required extensive sanding to get the legs and sides to have a nice rounded look and feel. The finish was simply two coats of natural Danish oil. I’ll probably add a coat of polyurethane on the top to protect it from water.

One Song, Two Versions

You’re the One for Me [2020]  (Soul version)
When you found the one you’re supposed to be with, you just know. This song was written for the love of my life.
This was the second recording of this song. I slowed things down and tried to give the recording an intimate, personal feeling.

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You’re the One for Me [2020]  (Rock version)
This was the first version I recorded of this song. In my mind, the song had a very intimate, soul feeling. I think I was jacked up on caffiene when I recorded this, because the tempo ended up much faster. I like to think of this as the “live” version of the song.

Song: You’re the One for Me

You’re the One for Me [2020]  (Soul version)
When you found the one you’re supposed to be with, you just know. This song was written for the love of my life.
This was the second recording of this song. I slowed things down and tried to give the recording an intimate, personal feeling.

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You’re the One for Me [2020]  (Rock version)
This was the first version I recorded of this song. In my mind, the song had a very intimate, soul feeling. I think I was jacked up on caffiene when I recorded this, because the tempo ended up much faster. I like to think of this as the “live” version of the song.

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Check out more songs on my MUSIC page.

The Handmade Workbench

For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a new workbench. I needed something that supported hand-tool use, with supportive vises to keep pieces firm.

The Benchtop

The benchtop is composed of premium 2×4’s of pine wood. I trimmed off the curved sides and cut them down to 1 1/2″ x 3″ x 48″. I then glued up half of the boards length-wise to form a giant, thick plank. I did the same for the other half of the boards and eventually glued the two massive pieces together.

Flattening the Benchtop

The benchtop was now one solid mass of wood, but it was far from flat. There were many imperfections in the 2×4’s shapes that created a very uneven surface. A good benchtop should be perfectly flat to serve as a reference surface. I started planing the benchtop with my largest plane, my No.5 Sargent. This process took many hours as I constantly checked my progress with a straightedge. Eventually most of the rough spots were smoothed out and I finished the surface with my No.4 smoothing plane and sander.

Adding the Vises & Trim

I wanted two vises on the workbench, one on the front-left side, and another larger one on the right side. I cut the wooden vise grips out of hickory wood to add some character. For the benchtop’s trim, I used red oak. To make things a little extra fancy, I added dowels to the sides of the trim.

Frame Mortises and Tenons

Now that the benchtop was nearly complete, I needed to work on the leg frames. I decided to make a solid frame with 2×4’s with mortise and tenon joinery to ensure a sturdy construction. It took quite some time to cut out the 16x mortises, but eventually the pieces all came together smoothly and formed a snug fit.

Workbench Assemble!

With the frame sanded and smoothed, I was ready to attach the benchtop. I went with some pocket-hole screws to attach the benchtop to the frame. This would make it easier to remove if I ever needed to do so in the future. Now I had a solid workbench.

Bench Dogs

To get more use out of the workbench, I drilled some bench dog holes lined up with the vise grips. With matching holes in the vise grips, it allows dowels (bench dogs) to be inserted into the holes in order to hold a piece of wood firm using the vise. The homemade bench dogs still need some work, and the vise handles need to be made.

Vise Handles

I smoothed some chunks of red oak and attached them to dowel rods to create some quick and useful handles for my vises. The workbench is ready for use!

Finish-ed

I added some Danish Oil to all the surfaces to give it a nice sheen and finished look.