About

Shop tour

Work Bench
Work Bench

I have shot a tour video of my one car garage shop and I hope you all enjoy it. Here is the link to that video https://www.youtube.com. If you do not like it and think I can do better  please drop me a note and let me know what you are thinking. If you like it then please subscribe and hit the like button for me on my You Tube channel page. These are the first few videos I have done and I hope to get better at this. I really enjoy doing them but I have run across a little snag as of late which has hampered my shooting of more videos. I have had a back surgery and it has pretty much stopped me from doing much at all. I am thinking that I would like to do more sketch up videos because I can do those sitting down. If you all would want something in particular just let me know and I will work on it for you. Thanks for stopping by and as always “If I can do it than so can you”! 

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Keurig K-45 K-cup Shelf with Drawer.

K-Cup
K-Cup

Hey everyone I have designed a simple K-Cup holder for a Kuerig K45 Coffee Machine and decided to share it with you. I have designed it in Sketch Up and have posted the pictures here in this post. If you would like the .skp file to use in Sketch Up on your machine just email and I will send it to you. I have just gotten one myself and love it because of the one cup at a time and the seemingly infinite number of flavors.  I used box joints for the top and a simple dado groove for the bottom of the actual box. The reason I did that is I saw no need to make box joints on all 4 corners when the bottom will not even be seen where it is placed on the counter but obviously it would be just as easy to add them to the bottom if you would like. So the basic dimensions allow for the Kuerig to sit on top and it has some extra space for a basket of other things you may want like sugar or spoons or you could even store a couple of cups if you would like.

The wood that I used was some very old redwood and will not use that again for such a purpose because of how dry it is and when I started I thought it would be much harder. It is actually a very soft wood and in some aspects difficult for me at least to get a tight fit on the joints. There is some real finesse and patience needed to work with this wood both of which I have a limited supply of! I picked up this wood awhile back when a friend was doing some remodeling of there home. This is actually siding from underneath the siding they were tearing off to change. A very unexpected and cool find. So I got the call and took a drive over but was beaten to the punch by another of there friends who had gotten there  just before me. Luckily enough I was able to dumpster dive and salvage a few good pieces. I wish I had 10 more pieces to make a table top because this stuff is a 80 years old I think and very beautiful. I am happy just to have the pieces that I do because I have heard that this is difficult wood to get a hold of these days.

So building this project I learned how to get better fitting box joints. I am on a quest to get better at doing small projects with different joinery all with hand tools to make my woodworking skills better. I think that by doing these projects with hand tools it is going to force me to slow down and take the time to really understand what I am doing and the reason that one uses a certain type of joinery over another. Plus I think it will increase my patience and help me to slow down. Something I have been striving to do because I have been realizing that most if not all of my mistakes are from rushing through these things and not taking the time to get it just right. I say to myself all the time that no one will notice or don’t worry about it just get it done!

K-Cup Top
K-Cup Top

So here are some details on how we would build this. People with the Sketch Up file can generate a cut list with the plug in “Cut List” available on the Sketch Up site. My first step was to get my wood prepared. I took some planks that were all different widths and milled them to the same thickness. These planks were 1″ x 8″ x 10′. I wanted the box to be 12 1/2″ x 13″ so the actual width allowed for some easy milling to size. This I did by running the planks through the table saw for each side lengthwise. This allowed for a nice straight cut parallel to each other. I then cut them close to length for all my needed pieces on my small table saw sled. Next we have to get the pieces the same thickness so we do that by putting them through the planner. (Just a note here on the planning.)  I could have run these through in one length first but I think it easier to get close to the actual size of all the pieces needed and then run them through. For me it is easier to handle the smaller lengths and I think it saves any unnecessary planning of wood that will not be used in the project and wear the blades unnecessarily. I do leave all the pieces an inch or two long in case there is any snipe. Snipe is basically any beginning or ending deeper planning marks caused by the entrance or exit of the board from the knives. No matter what you do sometimes this just happens. We then put the boards on the bench and make sure we have the amount needed and all the boards are the same thickness in case we did forget one! At this point I like to plan out my glue up and see which sides look best together. I take four pieces and glue 2 together for the top and two together for the bottom. I take all the rest of the pieces and dimension all of them at the table saw.  After the top and bottom plates are dry I dimension them as well. Now is the time to do your joinery. I chose box joints for the top with very large pins at that. The reasoning behind this is I wanted to do them by hand and need tons of practice so to put pins at half inch centers seemed like I was asking for trouble having to be more precise. I know I need more practice but I didn’t want to fail either by making it unnecessarily hard. You can of course center yours anyway you see fit. I believe that when the strength is not needed we can use aesthetic value as our guide or in my case practice!

K-Cup Left Side
K-Cup Left Side
K-Cup Right Side
K-Cup Right Side

Let’s not forget our dado for the bottom of our sides at bottom plate. Simple grooves done at the table saw. Just use half the thickness of you wood as your guide and sneak up on it with a scrap piece and they will fit perfect! If you notice for the back panel there is also a dado need so the back is not seen from the side view. You can do this on the table saw for the top and bottom but the sides need to be done with and router plane as in my case. (the hand tool thing again) Or perfectly easy to do with a router. All you have to worry about is stopping just before the end and cleaning and squaring up that portion with a chisel. Now we need to go to the scroll saw with our 1/4″ plywood piece to cut out our letters. I used a piece of paper printed out from my computer and cut that out, not perfect just close, so I could spray glue it to the plywood for a template. If you do not have a scroll saw any hobby store sells pre made letters for very cheap and then it’s just a matter of painting and gluing them on when the project is finished. I glue and then pin it. At this point we can get to the glue up after some sanding that I like to do just to clean up any plane marks or table saw marks. I have a grooved table saw top so I frequently get some marking from it.

K-Cup Bottom
K-Cup Bottom
K-Cup Back
K-Cup Back
Drawer
Drawer

Now we just glue up an set it to dry and after it drys we do our finish sanding and actual finishing which I did some Watco oil.  I really like that finish and it turns out darkening the natural color just a bit which is what I wanted because this wood was already so dark. We glue and pin the painted letters on and we are done! Thanks for stopping by and as always “If I Can Do It So Can You!”

K-Cup Whole
K-Cup Whole

The Keurig is HERE!

K-cup drawer
K-cup drawer

Hey Everyone I have some great news for me! I have been wanting a Keurig coffee machine ever since I had done some remodeling at a M&M factory here in Chicago and they had a coffee machine that was to die for. I forget the brand of that actual one but it was the exact same style as the Keurig but on a commercial scale and the unit used pouches instead of k-cups. They had a whole station set up for the employees with every flavor known to man and the best part it was all free! Needless to say I was sad to finish that job not only for the free candy but as it had turned out the coffee as well. The free candy was a plus because everyday you were allowed a dip into the candy bin. It was “OK” to grab as big a hand full as you could and stuff it in your lunch pail. This just happened to be around Halloween that year and a lot of specialty candies were available. One thing I did like was that their factory was spotless and they took that very seriously. We had to go to a two hour class just to learn where we were allowed and what we had to do not to get the place dirty or dusty. Although this post is about the coffee the candy was a nice bonus and I just thought I would share that story with you.

Back to my new machine. Myself and my wife went to the store to get this baby and me being who I am wanted the biggest most belled and whistled one but my wife, the sensible one, talked me down so we bought the single cup K45 version. Perfect for us and since we had a Bed Bath and Beyond 20% off coupon and I had a $100.00 gift card from a previous birthday present we only actually paid $17.00! We even got an extra box of k-cups! I am sitting here this morning drinking a cup right now and man does it taste good! So I am very happy (so far) with this purchase I just hope it stays that way! Thanks for taking your time to read this and please sign up to the mailing list to get these in your inbox every time I post or just drop a note to let us know whats up! As always “If I Can Do It So Can You!”

Adobe Edge Animate is Easy!

I have been doing a lot in Edge Animate lately. It is another program to learn but if you are going to use Muse to build a site, in my opinion, you need to use Edge Animate to design the site up to the expectations of todays standards . There is a page experience people expect these days and Edge is an easy way to accomplish that. Once your animation is complete it has a simple process to import it into Muse. Adobe has great help and support pages that have everything you need to get started and more to learn these programs. From there it is easy to navigate to the Forums or more help resources for the particular project you want to create. I know that my page is a woodworking page but in these times a person that doesn’t have the extra cash lying around for a webmaster or developer can save a lot of money if they do it themselves. Being the type of woodworker I am it is just the right diversion for me when I can’t get into the shop or, God forbid, I just don’t want to. I will point out the obvious in that there is a cost associated with the way I have chosen but to me it is way worth it because of the end result. The cost of a full membership to Adobe Creative Cloud is $50 a month. I know that there is a lot of controversy out there among the pro’s about this new subscription base because now you do not actually own the software but to me it allows me the chance to give it a shot without investing a $1000 on the whole suite. I do understand that this will affect the people who do this for a living because it is available for the masses now and people can, like myself who have the time, instead of having a site just like everyone else can create their own unique, for good or bad, site without the cost of paying someone. I like that very much because I am DIY all the way. I know that this will not interest everyone but I have always had a passion for art. I was a Professional Photographer and semi-musician before my construction or woodworking days and have always been very interested in what the computer has to offer in the development of my artistic ideas. I love to draw but I am not very good at it and these programs allow me to create “Art” that I can be proud of.edge_animate_hero

So Edge is a must-have tool for me in creating a web site. I know there are a lot of other ways to create these animations like Motion 5 by Apple or After Effects by Adobe but these are video files and are rather large causing a page to have slow load times. You can also create them with Java and other languages if you know how to write code but I do not so this does it for me. This is what Edge does it writes your animations in HTML/CSS and Java which keeps them very lightweight and fast to load. This does create limitations for me because if I did know how to code Edge would allow me to go in and enhance the code it writes to further it’s capabilities. Right now I have to rely on other peoples coding knowledge and copy and paste it for my purposes. I hope in the future that I will be able to do these kind of things myself.

Like I have mentioned earlier I am in the great position to take advantage of the extra time I have to learn these programs and I understand most probably won’t have this kind of time available. Most people however may have more experience with computer technology and will not need the amount of time that I do to get a handle on these. Like I say in every one of my articles If “I Can Do This So Can You!”

Must Have Tool!

Marking knife
Marking knife

Hey everybody I hope al is well. Like the title says I have decided that a marking knife is a must have tool in your arsenal. I am one of those types that want to buck the system and say stuff like— “You don’t need that crap just do it!” I am hear to eat those words and tell you that you really do need a marking knife. Especially if you want to be the least bit accurate. I didn’t want to go there really because it takes more time. The older I get the more I realize that my impatience is what is holding me back and stopping me from becoming a better woodworker. This is a great malady to have when you are in the construction trades where I made my living for 30 some odd years. There is a big misnomer that if you are in the trades, especially a union, that you sit on your ass and sleep all day. The media has really hurt us in that respect but in my experience that is not at all true. If you don’t get it done and done fast you are down the road. Now we all know there are exceptions to everything and if you know the right people then you do get some slack. I am ok with that because as an adult and a realist I know that this happens in every job on the face of the planet and if you think that is not true then you are fooling yourself. In the end it is who you know. WOW is that off track or what? Any who back to the marking knife! It is a must have tool because if accuracy is what you are after it is very hard to achieve that without one. How does a marking knife achieve that you ask?  The knife cuts the fibers and sets a line for your chisels to follow or your saw to follow. It sets a beginning for your slice. It also, for me, slows me down and makes me get the square out and strike a line where a lot of times I would just guess and draw a line real quick and this sets me up for failure in respect to alignment. So I broke down and went and got a knife from Crown Tools on Amazon and it works great. It has allowed me to realize I do not suck at woodworking I have just been going about it in the wrong way. When I first got the knife I thought the handle was way to short but as I started to use it I realized that is a benefit and if it was longer it would just get in the way. The knife is sharp and hefty even though it is small and feels really nice in your hand. If I was to guess I would say that this will last a long, long time. I think I may make a couple just to have a few more even though these are so cheap that it really isn’t worth the time to make one. I think it was around 13 bucks here in the US and if you are a prime member 2-day shipping is free. So to me well worth it. John at Ibuildit made a whitling knife and here’s New Chinky hand made tools a pretty cool site so if interested hit the links! I am always hesitant with stuff like this off the internet because it is a crap shoot on whether you get a piece of junk or not. I do read the reviews but it seems people just write them to write them and a lot of people do not even have the tool. That blows my mind. Why would you waste the time to review something if you don’t even have it or just as bad right when you get it and haven’t even used it yet. I do like the videos of the un-boxing but I wish people would use the tool. I like the ones where they unbox the tool then actually use it for a while so they can tell you if it is good or not. I don’t know how many times I have gotten a tool and at first it seems great but then upon further testing it falls apart or just doesn’t do what you need it to or they say it does.

What started all this is I have been trying to cut a set of dovetails a day to get better so I can make some drawers and boxes. I believe, for now, that you can’t get good tails by hand without one. The knife cuts the fibers so you can come back with a chisel and clean a groove for the saw to start in the right position. You also can use it for the same reason, to cut the fibers, when cutting plywood and stop all that tear out when you cross cut. I use a sled and tape when cutting plywood but there is always tear out. The tape and sled really helps a lot but the knife adds another layer of protection from tear out as well. So not just a one trick pony tool but even if it was that if you want to hand cut dovetails you need this tool in my opinion. I found this site in my search for how to cut dovetails. It is called Sawdust Making 101. It has a good page on different types of joints and how to cut and mark them. Very informative and helped me so maybe it will do the same for you.

So off topic a bit I think this may open my eyes to some other things that I have been bucking. The thing that comes to mind first and foremost is sharpening plane blades. I am under the opinion you do not have to go through all these grits and that up to 1000 grit at the very most is all you need. I have recently run across some cherry that is really nice and figured. Problem with that is the grain changes all the time and is very hard to get a smooth cut without any tear out. So I tried going a little further with sharpening and that worked pretty good. Maybe there is something there for me to look at and slow down with. Who knows maybe I should take up meditation or something. So Thanks for reading and like always “If I can do it so can YOU!”

Awesome Fast Cap Camera!

I have been looking for a good shop camera and I think I have found it! I have used the Go Pro and if you watch the linked video he even names them and tells you the differences between the two. I know that he is a salesman for his products but he does hit the nail on the head when he touts the features of the Fast Cam versus the Go pro. I have not used the Fats Cam so do not know if what he states is actually how the camera works but I have used the Go Pro and do know the draw backs that he talks about. That is why I eventually sold the Go Pro it just didn’t work for me. The clincher was the actual footage and the major fish eye in my garage. When outside with the Go Pro it is much less noticeable but inside with all the straight lines you can really tell. The tight shots are horrendous. Go Pro now has a better camera and like he says the video the upgrades are all extra as well as the better camera with less fisheye.  I am going to try to get enough cake together to try this one or hopefully someone else has had the camera for awhile and can let em know if this has a good quality picture without all that fisheye! 

Best Ever IPad Case V.2!

Ipad_Holder
Ipad_Holder

Hey Everyone! I think this is the Best wooden iPad case I have designed yet! This time I went back to trusty old Sketch Up to do the design and make sure all the bugs I ran into in the previous versions didn’t crop up here. I think I have fell upon the best one so far. The key words are “So Far”. Who knows maybe in a few days or months I will have a design that I like much better or with the help of some of you and your ideas we can refine this thing to be the best ever! For a wooden case I think the foremost thing on my mind is the weight. and then a very close second would be the strength. Really, either of those can be interchangeable. Obviously you want it strong so your rather large investment into a luxury item is safe. Equally as important is the weight of the holder with the iPad in it because you will be holding it for possibly long periods of time and you don’t want it to be heavy. Next that brings up how comfortable it is to hold. I am talking not only breaking the corners but also bringing it down to a very fine and smooth finish. Next we want to make sure we don’t scratch the thing sliding it in and out and that is what the felt is for. If you look at the top and  took it off you would see that it is held on by magnets. The magnets will be glued into the top piece and screws will be inserted into the case itself for the magnets to grab. I’ve made a cavity at the bottom to redirect the sound towards me and with the last version I found out it needed some softness so that area will be lined with felt. That will absorb the tinny sound and deepen it up a bit. The redirection of the sound actually makes it sound much louder and I was pleasantly surprised. There is a hole for the main function button and one for the camera. I decided not to worry about the volume controls because that can be controlled on screen and the top power button can be accessed by just puling off the top. This may turn out to be a little inconvenient, I shall see. I added the most important measurements to the drawings you see here but if you would like just email me and I will send you the .skp file so you can change it if you would like. It may be nice to have a starting point to then manipulate to your own design. I know this is very simple but sometimes it is nice to have most things done for you already it might save you some time. So let me know what you think and as always “If I can do it So Can YOU!”

Ipad_Holder
Ipad_Holder

Ipad Holder

Ipad Holder
Ipad Holder

I have been making versions of an iPad holder. I have totally finished none of them so far! As for the pics remember this is  the first mock up so there are plenty of imperfections. In a mock up I am not so worried about mistakes with the router going to deep or things like that. This was a good chance to practice free hand techniques with my Colt size router that I normally always use with a straight edge or template. I have made three attempts at this and have still not come up with a design that I am comfortable with. My thinking on this is that I want it to be light but made out of wood and I want to have an area for the speakers to be redirected from facing down to forward. The first version is the best so far but the subsequent two are terrible. I am wondering to myself how I got so far off the mark when the first one was so close! The first one is picture here and the speaker redirection was very simple. Just a cavity and then holes drilled to let the sound escape. It works surprisingly well.  One mistake that I have made through this whole process is that I have been just winging it. I should have at least did a simple sketch an being the fan I am of Sketch Up I should have started there. I know the troubles I am having with the last iteration of the holder would have been noticed if I drew it first there in 3D. So thats what I am going to do! Wish me Luck!

Ipad Holder
Ipad Holder