Evolution of a Shop

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Blog series by Cory updated 12-06-2016 04:38 PM 47 parts 450981 reads 271 comments total

Part 1: One year on LJ, what a difference a year makes

01-13-2010 07:00 PM by Cory | 16 comments »

With my one year anniversary on Lumberjocks coming up in a few days, I thought I’d start my first ever blog. I can’t even believe it’s only been a year. When I joined a year ago I had quite a bit of experience with carpentry work and home improvement. I had no idea how little I actually knew about working with wood. One year later, I realize I have only scratched the surface of this hobby (my wife calls it an obsession) and I have a lot to learn. My shop, like my skil...

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Part 2: The Plan...

01-20-2010 10:48 PM by Cory | 9 comments »

With a project just about wrapped up, I’ve come up with a plan to organize and renovate my shop. My goal is to eliminate clutter and get everything in a drawer, hung up or stored high on the wall, or behind a cabinet. I had a tenant renovate an office space and they had some perfectly good cabinets that were being thrown out. I grabbed them and they’ll be a part of my renovation. I’m also grabbing a few solid core doors that were also being thrown out. TheyR...

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Part 3: Lumber rack, storage, new bench. The plan evolves, too.

01-28-2010 04:50 PM by Cory | 3 comments »

After going to the woodworking show in Indy and brainstorming with my wife, I decided against a large shelving unit made from 2×4’s and plywood. Instead, I installed a rail and upright system that will be much more flexible and attractive to the next person who owns my house. That system also didn’t need to be finished/painted, which allowed me to install it in one quick evening’s work. Here’s the before shot: Here’s the after: I took adva...

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Part 4: Miter saw/drill press bench almost complete

02-02-2010 05:16 PM by Cory | 5 comments »

I made some progress last night….I finished installing the cabinets that are the base for my CMS and my drill press. I also finished installing the countertop, which is a solid core door with a 1/4” hardboard top for a total thickness of 2”. The edges are wrapped in cherry. I thought about leaving out the hardboard, but I want to make sure that I can easily replace the top when it’s damaged or worn. On that same train of thought, I screwed on the edge banding as op...

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Part 5: Good news, bad news. Short night, long day.

02-03-2010 08:07 AM by Cory | 9 comments »

It’s almost 1:00am and I’m sitting down to tell a bunch of people I’ve never met about the progress I’ve made on a space they’ve never been in. How wierd/addicted am I with this???!!! As you can probably tell I’m a little loopy. We had a sprinkler go wet last night at 3:30am so I had a short night/long day. Anyway, I managed to finish up most of the items for the bench. I put up the french cleat and hung some cabinets. I also attached a little bit of...

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Part 6: Phase 1 complete....I think.

02-08-2010 12:00 AM by Cory | 6 comments »

I pretty well finished with phase 1 of my workshop renovation. I’ve added a bench for the miter saw and drill press and it also doubles the storage I had. The cabinet on top of the bench is a project for my grandparents that will go out as soon as I can find the time to put on a finish: Here you can see the storage area and the home for the planer, air compressor, and dust collector. The planer cart used to house my CMS. I rearranged my main bench area, too. This area ...

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Part 7: Some progress in the shop, though never enough.

03-04-2010 05:03 PM by Cory | 9 comments »

I haven’t had a lot of shop time in the last week or three, but I have been able to make some progress. I’ve got all the items that were all over the place stored at least temporarily. I’m going to take a break from moving things around until I’ve made a few projects and get a better feel for how my flow in the shop will be. Here’s how the shop looks as of yesterday: “main” bench area where I’m keeping most of my tools Moving to the...

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Part 8: HFDC Upgrade

03-06-2010 03:04 PM by Cory | 8 comments »

I have been wanting to get a trash can separator for my Harbor Freight dust collector since I bought it. I still don’t have the separator built, but I did make a great improvement to the unit, IMHO. I’m sure many of you have seen the stovepipe mod, or the Delta collector with room underneath the blower for a separator where the motor and the ring are in line. I wanted to try the same thing on the HFDC. The challenge is that the DC motor is really heavy and I wanted to keep th...

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Part 9: Mobile Carts...A Godsend in a small shop

05-12-2010 04:40 PM by Cory | 13 comments »

I still park a car in my shop, errr garage, so I have to be able to move things around. Mobile carts and workstations are essential for me. Here are a couple that I’ve built. They’re all works in progress and I’m continually changing them. Planer/Air Compressor Cart: This cart used to house my CMS, but I built a dedicated bench for it and freed up this cart. The planer sits on top and my compressor is in the bottom. I lined the inside of the compressor...

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Part 10: New fence for R4511

07-13-2010 06:23 PM by Cory | 11 comments »

I haven’t been terribly unhappy with the stock fence that came with my Ridgid R4511 table saw, but I did want to improve it. I followed several blogs and forum topics on replacing the front and rear rails, buying a new tube and using the stock fence, but I felt like that was a lot of work (and I’m feeling lazy lately). So, my lovely bride blessed me with a new fence as a gift for our 10 year anniversary. I love that woman. Here’s the shop fox fence from Grizzly mounted...

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Part 11: Outfeed table and bench vise

09-13-2010 04:44 PM by Cory | 4 comments »

I haven’t really been able to do much in the shop since my 4th of July table build with my in-laws. I got some time to make some improvements over the last week or so and made some good progress. My first project was to get a good outfeed table. I cobbled together a frame out of some 2×4s with simple glue and screw construction. I took an old solid core door and cut it down for the top, edge banded in pine with some left over stain thrown on. I also put on a replaceable hardbo...

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Part 12: Table Saw Accessory Cart

09-13-2010 05:26 PM by Cory | 3 comments »

I wanted to take advantage of the space under my table saw’s right side to create a place to keep blades, inserts, push sticks, etc. This is by no means a new idea, but thought it worthwhile to post. I built the entire cabinet out of 3/4” birch ply from Lowe’s using pockethole screws and glue. Drawer slides are full extension. The drawer fronts are wrapped in cherry. Finish is 2 coats of a BLO and mineral spirits mix. Now I’ve got all my table saw stuff right at ...

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Part 13: Tool board over workbench

09-14-2010 05:07 PM by Cory | 12 comments »

I’ve never really been a big fan of pegboard, but it’s incredibly functional and cheap. So, like most shops, mine has some pegboard in it. I really wanted to do something different, though, to hold my tools over my workbench. I was watching some old Wood Whisperer videos the other day and saw his french cleat system on a piece of plywood. Then, I was looking through this web site: and saw his french cleat system throughout his shop. IR...

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Part 14: 2 years on Lumberjocks

01-13-2011 07:29 PM by Cory | 3 comments »

I was just noticing that I’ve been an official LJ for 2 years now. Man. I’ve learned so much from all of you, so thank you. Thank you for all the great comments and advice. Thank you for the never ending supply of inspiration. Just, thank you. I also noticed that I haven’t posted a project in 122 days. Really? I’ve certainly been a busy boy over the last 122 days. I don’t have pictures of everything, but here’s some of what I’ve built: -...

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Part 15: Air compressor gets a new home

01-26-2011 05:55 PM by Cory | 3 comments »

I had some left over plywood from building a play kitchen for my kiddos and I was tired of looking at it in my shop. So, I killed two birds with one stone by building a new enclosure for my pancake style air compressor. I’ve wanted to get the compressor to the middle of my shop for a while to make it easier to use. Right now it lives under my planer and I don’t have my shop plumbed with air hose, so I wheel it out. That’s proven to be a pain, so I don’t use it that ...

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Part 16: Compressor cabinet complete, and a homemade mallet

01-27-2011 05:19 PM by Cory | 4 comments »

I’m calling my compressor cabinet complete. That’s a lot of C’s. It’s in its new home under my outfeed table in the center of my shop. It’ll make using it much easier, especially with the new hose reel. I now can reach the entire shop (and my kids’ bikes and my truck tires) without moving the compressor. Here she is: And the back of the table, near my table saw, where I’ve got the hose hooked up. I was feeling the flow last night, s...

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Part 17: Christmas In January!

01-28-2011 10:11 PM by Cory | 6 comments »

I have had some money I got for Christmas burning a hole in pocket…...and last weekend I went to the Indianapolis woodworking show and spent some time at the Lee Valley booth. That’s both a great and dangerous combination! I have been wanting to try hand cut dovetails for a while and after speaking with John in their booth I ordered up a saw, marking gauge, and dovetail markers. I also ordered a low angle jack plane. Everything arrived today, exactly 7 days after I placed the ...

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Part 18: Rolling Clamp Cart

03-10-2011 05:56 PM by Cory | 10 comments »

I have recently spent quite a bit of time doing some glue ups for various projects. After walking back and forth across my small garage shop 300 times, I really wanted to build a rolling clamp cart to save me some steps and condense all my glue up supplies to one area. My rolling clamp cart is based on a Woodsmith version I saw on the web and a whole bunch of ideas gathered here and on other sites. I used the old metal base from my HFDC for the bottom and 1/2” plywood for the upper p...

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Part 19: 672 Pairs of Shoes=No woodworking

04-04-2011 08:15 PM by Cory | 6 comments »

My 7 year old daughter decided about a month ago to have a shoe drive to try and collect shoes for Soles 4 Souls. If you don’t know anything about the organization, they take shoes in any condition and donate them to needy children and families around the world. Soles 4 Souls is trying to raise 11 million pairs of shoes in 2011. Zoe came to me and my wife and said, “if each kid at my school gave a pair, I could raise 300 pairs of shoes for kids who don’t have any”. ...

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Part 20: Shooting Board

04-27-2011 04:32 PM by Cory | 2 comments »

I’ve got an upcoming project where I’ll need a shooting board, and I’ve always wanted to make one. So while waiting on some finish samples to dry last night, I jammed one out. It’s made from 3/4” and 1/2” baltic birch for the base and quarter sawn cherry for the fence. Overall size is 12” x 20”. Here are a few pictures: The fence is secured by a screw on one side and a t-bolt and star knob on the other. This makes it adjustable so I ...

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Part 21: Large Cross Cut Sled and Huge Lumber Rack

05-18-2011 04:45 PM by Cory | 2 comments »

For a while now I’ve been wanting to build a cross cut sled with more capacity that my current sled (about 15”). I finally found the inspiration to actually do it. I’m working on a table top and some panels that exceed my current sled, so I took a break from that project and jammed this out the other night: The base is 3/4” MDF, the front fence is 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” poplar, and the runner is purpleheart. I had all of the materials laying around the s...

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Part 22: A yard sale? C'mon, man!

07-14-2011 04:40 PM by Cory | 10 comments »

After finishing the dresser/changing table for my niece, I was excited to get started on a few more projects. Much to my dismay, here’s what I’ve been looking at in my shop: Not only that, but it’s been a little steamy in my un-conditioned garage: We got a break in the weather today, and the yard sale is Saturday. Hopefully I’ll be able to get in the shop and create some dust on Saturday evening. Thanks for looking. Cory

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Part 23: Clamp cart update

09-13-2011 03:15 PM by Cory | 7 comments »

I really didn’t need any new clamps (yeah right) but a guy was liquidating his cabinet shop and posted a Craig’s List ad. He had a bunch of the older style Bessey clamps and some F-style clamps. I offered $100 for everything and he took it. I came home with about 20 new clamps. I had to move around some of the clamps on my rolling clamp cart and make some new holders. Only took about a half hour and now my clamps are resting peacefully in their new home. Here are the p...

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Part 24: A couple of shop helpers

09-13-2011 03:28 PM by Cory | 5 comments »

I thought I’d post these two little shop helpers I recently made up. The first is something most have seen, but maybe a newbie can get some use out of it: A sandpaper cutter. I’m lazy, so I find myself using sandpaper longer than I should because cutting it to fit my sanding blocks is a bit of a pain. I got fed up with my own laziness and made this super simple sandpaper cutting jig: It’s simply a piece of plywood with a hacksaw blade. The blade is raised up off ...

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Part 25: Tool cabinet update

09-29-2011 03:11 PM by Cory | 4 comments »

I recently built a small tool cabinet for my shop. You can see more pics of it here: When Lee Valley had their free shipping offer last week, I decided to add a few toys: A new dovetail saw, a 38* blade for my low angle jack plane, a flush cut saw, and some skew chisels. Those additions required a few more holders for the tool cabinet. Here are some updated shots: Overall pic: Simple holder for additional plane blade: New dovetail and flush cut saws (very sophisticated hol...

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Part 26: My finest work ever. Period.

11-08-2011 03:44 PM by Cory | 3 comments »

I’ve been busy in the shop lately. I’ve built several tables and some other misc things for the house: floating top table from oak and walnut tea light holder from spalted maple But, none of that even compares to one of the best afternoons I’ve ever had in my shop. This project was handcrafted with the finest of care by me and my shop helper. It took hours to complete and is, in my humble opinion, my finest work ever: Jackson and I p...

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Part 27: New drum sander

01-30-2012 08:39 PM by Cory | 9 comments »

I’ve wanted a drum sander forever, but I just couldn’t justify a grand on a tool I wouldn’t use constantly. A few weeks before Christmas a buddy of mine said he had a 16-32 drum sander that he didn’t use and would cut me a good deal on it ($200). I pounced. After using it on quite a few different projects I can tell you it’s become a go-to tool in my shop. It would have been worth the $1,000. This drum sander is the older Performax model (before they ch...

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Part 28: New Cross Cut Sled

02-29-2012 02:57 PM by Cory | 5 comments »

There have been a few cross cut sleds posted recently and it motivated me to replace mine. The original was a little small and a little heavy. My max capacity was about 14”. I used maple and cherry for the fences, which looked nice, but weighed too much. A few other lessons learned gave way to Version 2.0: Overall size is 24” x 36”, quite a bit larger than my previous sled. Capacity on this sled is 21”. Base is 1/2” birch ply. The rear fence feature...

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Part 29: New bandsaw and drum sander modification

04-05-2012 08:06 PM by Cory | 4 comments »

Thanks to a terrific suggestion from Jeff (JL7), I ordered and installed a new lid for my drum sander. It’s got the 4” dust port. It required a little bit of surgery (plastic carved away with a dremel) but was pretty easy to make fit. Also, I finally added a bandsaw to my shop. I’ve used the heck out of it already. I can’t believe how useful it is. It’s a Shopfox, which I purchased locally. I’m wrapping up a few paying projects for friend...

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Part 30: New workbench

06-01-2012 03:39 PM by Cory | 8 comments »

I’ve been jonesing for a new bench for what seems like forever. One project after another has been getting in the way but I finally just said “now or never”. My dream bench is one like this: But, I didn’t have the budget or the time to build it, so I used all the materials I already had to come up with this: It’s about 64” long, 34” high, 24” wide. I used hard maple and some maple ply for the legs and stretchers. The legs a...

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Part 31: Bench update

07-19-2012 02:11 PM by Cory | 3 comments »

I’ve finished up my bench for now. I flattened the top, which took a lot more effort than I assumed, and added the end vise. I also drilled some dog holes and made my own dogs. The trim is jatoba or mahogany, I can’t remember which. I scored quite a bit of it from a door shop that was closing, so I used it. I think it’s a nice contrast. Only thing left is to add a bank of drawers underneath. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to get to that. Construction of...

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Part 32: Outfeed Table

07-19-2012 02:19 PM by Cory | 1 comment »

This started out as another workbench, but got modified into an outfeed table. The base is a variation of a bench plan in FWW. I didn’t add the lower stretcher on one side so that I could slide my air compressor and parts cabinet underneath easily. The construction was pretty simple. Base is oak with walnut pegs. The top is an MDF door blank that is 1 1/2” thick. It’s wrapped in mahogany and then laminated. I used adjustable feet so that it’s exactly level with ...

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Part 33: Bandsaw dust collection

07-22-2012 08:17 PM by Cory | 9 comments »

My Shop Fox bandsaw has a dust port at the bottom of the lower wheel. It does a decent job of getting the dust that stays in the cabinet, but like most bandsaws mine sends a lot of dust under the table. I had a few dust collection parts laying around and decided to try and add some dust collection just below the blade. Here’s what I came up with: Overall shot Detail of 2 1/2” port under the table I epoxied a couple of rare earth magnets to the dust port. It rests on p...

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Part 34: A flip, a turn, a stack, and a twist

10-22-2012 05:33 PM by Cory | 4 comments »

I wrapped up a productive few shop sessions recently. The flip: the ever-present flip top cart for my planer and OSS. The turn: I rotated the base of my drill press after reading the tip in Wood magazine. Great idea! I’ve now got more cross cut capacity on my CMS. The stack: another pair of nesting sawhorses that stacks neatly with my other set. This time lower: 24” off the ground. They’re great for assembly and also act like a saw bench. Made from poplar...

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Part 35: Quick drill press table fence upgrade

01-23-2013 03:39 PM by Cory | 3 comments »

I have a Woodpeckers drill press table and fence. Overall it’s a great set up. My only complaint is the way the fence attached to the t-track in the table. It uses small brass knurled knobs. They look pretty, but are hard to get tight enough to hold the fence firmly in place. I had been meaning to replace them for quite a while. After my fence slipped while drilling some mortises I got motivated to find a better solution. I dug through my jig parts and found these cam clamps. ...

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Part 36: A few shop upgrades

03-12-2013 01:55 PM by Cory | 4 comments »

While I’m between major projects, I had a chance over the weekend to make a few upgrades to the shop. The first is on my drill press. I was drilling mortises in a tall work piece and my old “tall” fence just wasn’t performing like I needed. So, I whipped this up: It’s two layers of 3/4” MDF with a couple of slots for t-bolts. I created a rabbet on the bottom for dust to accumulate. Finish is two coats of shellac. Next is a t-track in my out...

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Part 37: The End Of An Era

07-01-2013 05:21 PM by Cory | 4 comments »

My wife and I recently decided to move so that our kids could go to a better school district. Our house was only on the market for a few weeks before we accepted an offer. That part was great, but it means that I’ll be without a shop for the next three months while our new house is being built. So, it was with some sadness that I packed up all my tools, rented a box truck with a lift gate and emptied the shop. The before:

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Part 38: Starting Over, Kind Of

02-26-2014 04:34 PM by Cory | 7 comments »

We moved back in October of last year into a house with a larger garage which meant I got a little more shop space. That was great, but with all of the household projects, renovations, and life in general, I didn’t really get to set up my shop how I wanted. I did add a 100 amp sub panel and numerous dedicated outlets before moving in but I basically just threw everything in the shop quickly so I could start working. Now, I’m ticking off the household projects and working on the...

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Part 39: Square and ruler storage

03-17-2014 02:37 PM by Cory | 6 comments »

I’ve been trying to organize my shop and condense some of the contents of drawers and cabinets. Here’s a poor man’s version of Kaizen foam to keep squares and rulers from sliding around…..12” square cork sheets. I used one that was left over from a school project for my daughter. I traced the items with a sharpie and used a razor knife to cut them out. The small drawer slides back and forth on plywood strips inside of another drawer allowing me to effectively...

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Part 40: Plywood Cutting Table

04-24-2014 02:17 PM by Cory | 6 comments »

I’ve been making a lot of built in cabinetry for our new house over the last few months, which has meant dealing with a lot of sheet goods. My old grid of 1×4s had taken a beating and finally gave in to all the abuse. So, I needed to make a new plywood cutting table. This one is made with half-lapped 1×4s, just like the last one. It measures 4’ x 8’ so it fully supports a sheet of ply. I also reinforced the spots where the grid connects to my sawhorses. ...

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Part 41: New Outfeed table and shop cart

02-24-2015 04:13 PM by Cory | 5 comments »

Even though I haven’t posted in a while, I’ve been busy. I’ve had a lot of built-in projects around the house and a few furniture pieces, too. Between those projects, I try to take some time to work on the shop. Here’s my new outfeed table, which is still a work in progress: It’s still got the top from my old table, which is undersized. I plan on making a new top when time allows. This table takes better advantage of the space I’ve got around the...

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Part 42: Outfeed Table Progress

03-02-2015 12:22 PM by Cory | 2 comments »

I was able to get a few more things completed on my outfeed table: I cut out the handle area on the dividers, which makes it much easier to grab them. I also glued a small block on the back so the bins don’t slide all the way to the rear of the opening. The top three slots are a little more narrow than the rest, so I turned them into drawers. I’m keeping sanding supplies in there since this is where 99% of the sanding I do takes place. I also built drawers where I w...

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Part 43: Drill press cart part 1

04-14-2015 03:03 PM by Cory | 7 comments »

I wanted to build a new cart that took better advantage of the space underneath my benchtop drill press. The one I had been using was a scavenged find. It looks like there are a 5 drawers, but it’s actually 3. They’re made from 3/4” material, they’re narrow and deep, and don’t have full extension slides, so they don’t function well for small parts. The one I built is a little lower, wider, and has full extension slides so I can get to everything in the...

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Part 44: Drill press cart part 2

04-15-2015 03:06 PM by Cory | 2 comments »

I was able to finish up the drill press cart last night. Built another drawer, added drawer fronts and pulls, and a seal coat of dewaxed shellac. The bottom drawer is totally empty right now, but I’m sure I’ll find something to put in it. On to the next project, an MFT type top for my shop cart. More on that soon. Thanks for looking. Cory

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Part 45: Outfeed and assembly table done

05-13-2015 07:16 PM by Cory | 4 comments »

I finished up the work on my outfeed and assembly table last night. I really just needed to build the top, so I glued together three layers of 3/4” MDF, banded it with maple, then laminated with white formica. The bridge between my table saw and the table is floating so it can be moved. It’s big, heavy, and dead flat. Exactly what I was after. The parts bins have been filled up and that’s been really nice too. I can easily grab whatever part/screw/washer/etc ...

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Part 46: Festool CT26 and Dust Deputy

01-07-2016 04:49 PM by Cory | 4 comments »

I’ve been drinking the green kool aid for a while now and I recently added a dust deputy to the CT26. The vac works exceptionally well and is a great part of the whole Festool ecosystem. This was kind of slapped together with leftover 1/2” and 3/4” plywood. It mounts to the vac where a systainer would go and locks in place. I added a holder for a sander and a hook for the hose. The top shelf holds my router or track saw. Thanks for looking Cory

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Part 47: Getting back at it....Quick Festool organization

12-06-2016 04:38 PM by Cory | 1 comment »

In my world there are two seasons: Golf and woodworking. Since it’s dark at 5:00 and too cold for the links, it’s officially woodworking season. I’ve been slowly getting back at it with a couple of projects here and there. This small project keeps my systainers organized so I can get to each one individually. Now I don’t have to undo the whole stack to get to one in the middle. Super quick and simple construction. Now I can get to finishing 15 cutting boar...

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