Shop Maintenance and Mayhem

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Blog entry by Jeremy Greiner posted 08-06-2012 05:17 AM 1646 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’ve been taking it easy lately due to my back, the pain medication makes me feel like I’m drunk and I’m pretty sure that is not a good thing when trying to use anything in the wood shop. My Dad helped me finish my lumber rack when he visited, who knows how long that would have taken if he hadn’t of helped me. A few days after my Dad visited my youngest sister stayed with me (she was staying with some cousins up in St. Augustine and I picked her up and had her at my house before she had to fly out).

She’s a great kid :) does way better than I did in school (I’m pretty sure she’s smarter than me already .. and she’s half my age). We spent a lot of time playing xbox and goofing off and I thought it would be cool if we made her a pen she could use in school.

I showed her how to use the tools and let her have a go at it. She learned pretty fast and she turned her first pen. I let her pick the wood (purple heart) and finish (friction polish).

Unfortunately I didn’t have the pen blank mounted fully centered in the pen mandrel so it’s not a centered properly but she likes it all the same. I’m pretty sure you get 10 extra credit points on any test you take with a pen you made yourself. If not, you totally should.

So the pen kits I have the brass bushing is larger than the pen mandrel and I find it difficult to center them when mounting it. I was having a really good day today back wise (one of the best days I’ve had actually) .. so I decided to try turning another pen and fix the centering issue. I used blue tape around the mandrel until the pen blank slide over it snuggly.

This worked pretty well, though next time I’ll apply tape in the center of the blank piece instead of 1 side because the other side was still slightly off center (but not too bad). The pen is made from walnut and finished with friction polish.

Last weekend after my sister went back home I was really up for some quality shop time and I decided to pick an easy utility project to work on. A small hanging shelf to hang over the cabinet I store all my varnish, paint, stains etc. I usually have a pile of stuff sitting on top of the cabinet which makes it difficult when I want to mix up some paint or varnish or whatever since the work surface is so cluttered. The other reason I wanted to do this was it was something I could paint and I wanted more practice hvlp painting after my issues painting the bench.

It’s made from 3/4’’ “cabinet grade” plywood from home depot. I like this plywood because it’s better quality than the BC pine plywood, but it’s not as expensive as birch or oak plywood. (It’s the same price as a sheet of MDF, but a lot lighter). I used pocket screws to assemble everything and since I was painting it I wanted to fill the pocket holes. I tried 2 methods using wood filler and using the dowel fillers that you can buy (already had some). The dowels get glued in and use a flush cut saw to cut them flush with the plywood (well close to flush). After that I used a chisel and sanding to smooth it out. The wood filler method is pretty easy, you fill the hole with wood filler let it dry completely and sand smooth.

The dowel method is more difficulty, and easier to screw things up. I had some chip out with the saw and everything just wasn’t as smooth as I’d like it.

So I ended up applying some wood filler over the doweled plugs anyways to keep it smooth. In the future, for projects that I’m painting and using pocket screws on, I will just use wood filler it’s slower (takes a long time for the wood filler to dry completely because you use a lot and it’s packed into the hole I let the project sit overnight) but it works better.

I used maple edge banding on all the forward facing edges of the plywood, I have a large roll of iron on maple edge banding and it seemed better than trying to use wood filler along all the edges to get a smooth paint edge.

I learned a hard lesson last Sunday though. I really wanted to finish the shelf so I wasn’t taking my pain meds and I just kept telling myself to power through it. Well by mid afternoon my head started hurting and it took the better part of the evening to get rid of that headache. I don’t think I did anything to make it worse, it’s just how things are going for me as the day goes on my back gets worse. I’m working things through with various drs no need to worry things are improving I just felt the need to share my story so that others don’t repeat my mistakes.

During the week I painted my shelf though all week it was like “Hey lets be sunny out” then an hour later “Ha thunder and overcast lets rain!” That’s pretty typical of Florida but it made me frustrated because I’d get a coat of paint on and then have to drag everything inside .. took me 3 days just to get the paint on the shelf when it should have just taken an afternoon. What do you guys do for HVLPing outside?

I was thinking about getting something like this that way if it does rain, the project would be fully protected. Just seems like a lot to set up, then take down every time I want to HVLP something, and I don’t think it’s something I’d want up all the time. Maybe I just need to be more patient and wait for a day that doesn’t have a chance for rain (do those days exist in florida?) or at least a very low chance.

Today I was feeling great and I was able to spend most of the day in the shop, I did a lot of maintenance tasks. Wiped down the cast iron surfaces, re-apply paste wax. Re-organizing some of the dust collection stuff and I also hung up the shelf.

I was going to go through the whole bandsaw tuneup thing that the guy from carter demo’s at shows (and on youtube: and I noticed that the bottom bearing that goes behind the blade has completely seized up.

Not only did it not spin, but I’m presuming the discoloration is from insane heat because the blade was riding against it without it spinning. there is also a worn spot on the bearing where it’s worn flat. This bearing is toast for sure I need to order a new one, but I think I’m going to replace my blade as well. I can’t imagine what horrible things have happened to the blade because of this bearing. I think I might treat myself to a 1/2’’ wood slicer from highland woodworking I don’t know yet.

One final note, my hammer jointer planer does not have smooth beds, it has a ridged bed. How do you wax this thing without getting lint or fuzz everywhere? I tried lint free paper towels those of course get destroyed by the ridges but I also picked up some actual cloth rags to use, and those too shed like crazy on these ridges? I want to protect the cast iron surfaces but I’m having a hard time because it just rips up any rag I try and use.


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

2 comments so far

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4737 days

#1 posted 08-07-2012 03:53 AM

Those pens came out sharp Jeremy.
I bet your sister thinks of you each time she uses it.
That was cool of you to show her how to turn a pen.
(And the “uniqueness” of it makes it special). lol
Great brother & sister time in the shop.
That shelf is really nice too.

Hope your back is feeling better.

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 3933 days

#2 posted 08-07-2012 05:01 AM

Thanks Eric,
It was a great time with her visit. I’m sure the doctors will get everything figured out eventually I just have to be patient, something I’m not very good at :)


-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer:

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