Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring

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Blog series by retired_guru updated 06-06-2020 01:14 PM 123 parts 285524 reads 554 comments total

Part 1: Aches, pains and pallet wood, oh my!

09-18-2014 07:01 PM by retired_guru | 1 comment »

Following its recent successful creation, I opted to give Franken-Rack free rein to terrorize the domain. It was my hope that it would bring home the finest lumber in all the land. Instead, it brought me pallet and crate wood. Several times I have berated the misbegotten creation, but to no avail. It is obvious to me now that the creature enjoys domination over the rough, mistreated wood that will require hours of hacking and mutilation on my part to make use of its offerings. Franken-Rack wi...

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Part 2: Dollar Store Glue Applicators

09-21-2014 06:53 PM by retired_guru | 16 comments »

A short time ago I found a tip on the Web that I had to follow-up on. Rockler sells a silicone bristled glue applicator brush for $4.99: When the white/yellow glue dries on the bristles, it peels and flakes off with little resistance. Nice. Buy the brush once and you won’t have to replace it any time soon. This tip I found was even better. Your local dollar store sells silicone basters for the kitchen for a fifth of the price of Rockler’s offering. Here’s what I pi...

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Part 3: Makita Banana

09-22-2014 11:11 PM by retired_guru | 6 comments »

So, it finally occurred to me that I should be looking to Craigslist for used tool deals. It’s not like I didn’t know I should. Sometimes, it takes more twacks from the two-by-four. I live in a rural area, in the middle of nowhere, equidistant from anything important. It took a bit of search engine extortion to get listings for my fair little cow country. The best deal was a Makita Model 5008NBA 8-1/4” Circular Saw (less blade) for twenty-five bucks: No...

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Part 4: Thunked-up Skilsaw 3410-02 Fence Fix

09-23-2014 01:12 PM by retired_guru | 8 comments »

About a year ago, when I finally decided a hammer and chisel wasn’t enough to remodel the house, I drove on down to our local Lowe’s and plopped down my hard-earned (credit card) money on the counter for a Skilsaw model 3410-02 Contractor Table Saw. I forget the amount of damage done at the time—it can be considered a foregone conclusion that this was the beginning of a huge tab to come—but while it was a lot of bananas for me for the cheapest of the table saws offered...

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Part 5: Pennysaver Acquisition: Delta Belt/Disc Sander & Scroll Saw

10-02-2014 10:38 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

This past week I picked up a couple of older power tools that look to have great promise. The first is a Delta Model 31-460 Type 2 Belt/ Disc Sander. The other a Delta Model 40-530 Scroll Saw. I spend about an hour cleaning up and adjusting the sander. It runs well, but as you can see from the photos it needs some cleaning up in areas where surface rust has formed. The miter and ledge are in fine working over. The sanding belt needs to be replaced. From the v-shaped groove in the stop, I w...

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Part 6: Refinishing a Skilsaw 3410-02 Table Saw Top

10-04-2014 06:23 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

I have already blogged about the poor quality rip fence that came with this model table saw. The minor modifications I noted earlier have made the fence mostly accurate. Eventually, I will either add material to it to build it up in size and maybe make it dead-accurate or I’ll build my own. Yesterday, I posted a question in the forum about using a Gripper push block system on a textured surface. That generated a variety of comments. What I got out of it is that the rough, textured to...

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Part 7: Marble Pieces for Scary Sharp Sharpening & Cheap Trim Router Fix

10-08-2014 04:04 PM by retired_guru | 8 comments »

As I struggle to get my dungeon workshop together before the cold weather makes it impossible to work outdoors, I’m slowly finding inexpensive resources and coming across cheap fixes. I was in our local hardware box store yesterday to pick up some rope caulk for our 100-year-old windows—this is an annual event—and decided to see if I could get a granite floor tile for sanding chisels on. In our fair little ‘city’ it’s impossible to buy just one tile and no ...

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Part 8: The Dungeon: Before Construction of a Woodworking Shop

10-12-2014 02:45 PM by retired_guru | 12 comments »

Our house was built in 1900, as close as the public records will tell. I know many of you are living in homes quite a bit older, especially in the U.K. and Europe, that are in much better shape than ours. The difference is where this home was built and what for. At that time in our local history, Norwich was a sizable hub for railroad traffic. Down at the East end of our street is an embankment that once looked over an large train yard with an engine turn-circle/round house. Across the street...

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Part 9: Bench and Block Planes Purchase

10-14-2014 12:36 PM by retired_guru | 7 comments »

These days I can’t afford to splurge on many of the things I want, but I still do some impulsive shopping when the money allows for it and the urge is upon me. I had forgotten that yesterday was a holiday for some institutions in our area, in my case the credit union I have my business accounts with. Fortunately, behind and above the credit union lies our Lowe’s hardware center. Sure. Why not? I needed a metal speed square, anyway. I imagine that some of you shop much the same ...

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Part 10: Table Saw Base: The Saga Continues

10-17-2014 12:31 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

Yesterday started out wet, as was the day before it, but the temperature was high enough I could be comfortable outdoors in a short sleeve shirt. I decided to move a couple of portable benches upstairs on the enclosed back porch to see if I could get more done on the table saw base. At that point, all I had together was the base framing, which comprised of four 2” x 4” pieces half-lap joined, glued and screwed together. I decided on building the framing longitudinally because I w...

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Part 11: Making Shavings

10-18-2014 10:37 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

Earlier this afternoon I started out with the notion I would get as much of the superstructure for the table saw done as time would allow for. The bottom of the base (seen earlier) is made entirely out of new lumber, which wasn’t my intention from the onset. I was getting ready to make a trip out to our local Lowe’s for more 2” x 4”s when I decided to use the reclaimed lumber in the dungeon. After I found a couple of boards with straight edges long enough to cut to ...

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Part 12: Lowe's is Replacing the 9-3/4" x 2: Bench Plane

10-19-2014 05:23 PM by retired_guru | 1 comment »

A little while ago I decided to contact Lowe’s Customer Care about the damaged spring underneath the quick-release lever cap. If you didn’t see my previous blog entry about this, here is what it looked like when I first disassembled it shortly after purchase: I explained what I found and asked that they either replace the plane with a new one or just ship out to me a new level cap. The representative said a senior manager from the store I bought the plane from would call me...

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Part 13: Workshop Stalled, Back On Target

10-26-2014 07:40 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

Over a week ago I contacted Lowe’s for a replacement lever cap or swap for a new Kobalt No. 4 plane. They gave me the only new plane on the shelf, which I checked over at the service counter before leaving for home. Not only was the sheet metal spring for the lever in perfect shape and connected to the cap properly, the throat was better formed and the frog sat better to my eye. It just looked better overall. Before cleaning it up and putting it to use, I spent some time with the Kor...

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Part 14: Delta 36-510 Type II Motorized Bench Saw Refurb

10-28-2014 08:51 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

So last night I headed out to a rural homestead about 40 minutes away to look at a table saw selling for $25.00. It looked well used in the pictures supplied on Craigslist. My hope was that it wasn’t more beat than it looked. The Delta 36-510 Motorized Bench Saw ran fine, but it had been stored in a garage for a couple of years and it looked like it was pistol whipped into getting work done. Without question it was going to need a breakdown, cleaning and lubing before I could use it....

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Part 15: Down-n-Dirty Router Table Base Project

10-31-2014 12:42 AM by retired_guru | 3 comments »

In the process of converting the dungeon into a less-than-scary, useful workshop, I continue to come up with necessities that divert my attention while solving needs. For instance, since I can’t afford right now (and may not have the room for) a 6” jointer, the next best thing is to joint on a router table. Yes, I can do it on a table saw. The Skilsaw’s accuracy is still debatable. More important, I can’t use it until I can make room for it in the dungeon ,and I finish...

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Part 16: Elevation Control Knob and New Table Fit

11-02-2014 03:16 AM by retired_guru | 6 comments »

Shortly after I finished the router table base it occurred to me that this could be a multi-purpose base. I knew the melamine top wasn’t deep enough to accommodate the Skilsaw 3410-02 table saw, but the newly acquired Delta 35-510 had a smaller body that fit nicely with room to spare all around. The bolts you see sticking up from the melamine are for the router table. I was glad to see that they wouldn’t interfere with the table saw. I am a pack rat, holding onto anything t...

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Part 17: Over-Engineering and Laughing at Oneself

11-03-2014 04:16 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

Sometimes, I have to laugh at myself. For several days I have been contemplating the best way to add mobility to the Router Table Base I created, which now also acts as a Table Saw Base for the Delta 36-510. I’ve watched numerous YouTube videos showing all sorts of simple to ingeniously complex Lazy-Boy lever systems. For this project, ‘better’ translates to ‘cheap’, ‘using materials I already have’, and ‘taking the least amount of time to cr...

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Part 18: Zero Clearance Insert, Hard Wood Fence Rail, Chisel Sharpening

11-08-2014 11:42 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

My day started at 4:30 am, way too early for getting to bed shortly before midnight. I blame this flu I can’t get rid of and a lot of heavy dreaming. And yet, I had one of the most productive days in the past week. Most of the afternoon was spent sharpening chisels, mounting a wood fence rail and creating a zero-clearance insert for the Delta 36-510 Bench Saw. Here are some pics of what I accomplished. The ChiselsThe chisel sharpening took up a good portion of the day. It was my firs...

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Part 19: Delta Bench Saw Bearing Woes

11-09-2014 03:49 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

After all the time I have put into refurbishing this saw, after all the gross and fine adjustments made, at the end of it all the saw is unusable. How bad is it? A 90 degree miter cut of a 1/2” thick piece of hardwood only a few inches deep leaves at least one stepped kerf in cut and on both axis the cut is not square. You can smell wood burning and see the practically new blade struggle to get through the cut. A rip cut leaves sporadically located kerf marks along the cut edges on both...

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Part 20: Dust Collection Finally Up and Running!

11-13-2014 06:35 PM by retired_guru | 6 comments »

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a 2-1/2” universal port that I had hoped to use on the backside of the Delta 36-510 Bench Saw. With that beast being parked indefinitely due to a bad armature bearing, I can now use it for it’s original intent: a dust collection port for the yet-to-be-finished base for the Skilsaw 3410-02 that I started over a month ago. Along with the port I ordered a 10’ length of wire reinforced 2-1/2” dust collection hose. The hose was suppose to be ...

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Part 21: Dungeon Gets A Lumber Rack

11-21-2014 01:22 PM by retired_guru | 6 comments »

A couple of days ago I started on a wall-mounted lumber rack in the dungeon. At that time I had barely enough room to get around the Black and Decker Power Mate and various stuff laying around, including the destructed pallet wood I had in various piles on the floor. Here is what my workspace looked like while I was constructing the rack: Because of the limited space, I didn’t want to use the miter saw in this project. This past summer I bought a Stanley FatMa...

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Part 22: Upcycling Old Furniture for the Dungeon

12-03-2014 12:21 AM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

I have been making one heck of a mess in the dungeon, lately. Seriously. But it’s a necessary mess, because I am slowly upcycling two pieces of old, beat-up furniture that had been in the dungeon for well over a decade into workbenches that will never win a beauty contest, but will surely be stout workhorses until their final day. I can only show you the one I am working on right now. The other one needs a new top. That will have to wait until this one is finished and I can store all th...

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Part 23: Finished Bureau-Turned-Bench And Organizing

12-03-2014 09:29 PM by retired_guru | 6 comments »

This afternoon I finished up the bureau-turned-bench (sans door knobs I will put on tomorrow) and did some organizing after moving a large free standing shelf unit up against the old oil tank. Here is the new bench with band saw and drill press in place. I ran a generous wipe of lemon oil all over the dark veneer to try and bring some oil into the old wood. It darkened up nicely while the rag did a fair job of cleaning up grime and debris. I mounted a power strip on the wall behind the ...

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Part 24: Wall Mounted Floor Saving Workbench

12-05-2014 03:05 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

This is what I was thinking of to go up against the field stone walls around the dungeon walls. The tall back ends would have to be screwed (bolted?) to the overhead beams for support since there isn’t any way to actually attach to the field stone. Maybe I will need to add short, sturdy feet extending out onto the floor space for additional support. Thick mil. plastic sheets between the wood and wall would ...

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Part 25: The Ghost of Delta Present

12-05-2014 10:54 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

Okay, so I couldn’t leave it alone. Sue me. It all started when I brought down to the dungeon the multi-purpose base I originally made for the router table, then added mounts to for the Delta 36-510 table saw I bought used earlier this year. I decided with a little bit of room to move around down there I would once again see if the arbor bearing was really as bad I as had thought before. For testing I mounted a spare Skilsaw 10” 28T combination blade. I made no adjustments to t...

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Part 26: Hemlock woes

02-03-2015 05:43 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

I haven’t been posting much this year, mostly because I have been busy with other projects, but also because some of the cold spells we have had in Update New York have made working in a cold dungeon workshop unbearable when one is felling cold all the time. Fortunately, Spring isn’t too far away. I’ll get through this and soon be able to enjoy spending more time in the shop. The title of this blog entry comes from a correspondence earlier today with a trusted, experience...

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Part 27: Slice-n-Dice

02-09-2015 11:41 PM by retired_guru | 7 comments »

Last week I decided I couldn’t hold off any longer in transferring the wife to what used to be my computer business workshop. I have scaled down the business to be mostly remote access and Linux installations and service, and she really needed the space for her school work and seamstress work. Five days ago I was heavily into the tear-down of her office upstairs when I went for the paper cutter, on its side and wedged between a folding table leg and small cabinet. What I should have ...

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Part 28: Old Hand Tools Acquisition

02-10-2015 08:03 PM by retired_guru | 10 comments »

Over the weekend I setup an appointment with a computer client to review a Windows XP to Linux conversion, providing a much more powerful and newer machine than her tired old Dell. The street price for my services and machine was going to be around $250, depending on training time given. We got to talking about what I have been doing since the last we spoke (about 2 years). When I mentioned I was expanding into woodworking she told me about a stash of her grandfather’s hand tools she wo...

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Part 29: Vintage 8" Folding Handle Draw Knife Acquisition

02-14-2015 03:38 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

Yesterday’s lengthy (3 hour) appointment with my good friend and client yielded a surprised tip at the end of the session: Top - Bottom - I had shown interest in it when I first looked at her stash of vintage tools. I opted for my other choices mainly because I didn’t know if I would have cause to use this. At any rate, I’m happy to be its new owner and will clean this up and sharpen the blade for use. I would like to know who made this tool. The only marking I c...

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Part 30: Veritas Mk.II Honing Guide Arrived

02-17-2015 08:56 PM by retired_guru | 7 comments »

My ordered Veritas Mk.II Honing Guide arrived yesterday afternoon while I was out blowing snow hither and yonder. It arrived in a slightly larger box than the one from the manufacturer. I was surprised it got here so quickly. When I looked at the originating address on the shipping invoice and box it became clear why. Lee Valley Tools Ltd has a physical presence in New York State: Ogdensburg. The shipping was free. Check. It was cheaper to buy from Lee Valley directly than through one of t...

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Part 31: DIY Veritas Powered Sharpening System

02-19-2015 02:24 PM by retired_guru | 11 comments »

I have a Pro subscription to, which has come in handy many a time. In today’s suggestions email I found an Instructable on making your own powered sharpening system, designed similar to the Veritas unit costing about $400 USD. Being a tinkerer at heart, I thought it precious that the motor unit came from a bread maker: my wife has one just like the one used in the Instructable. We all know where that beast will be in its second life. Makendo’s Sharpening Syste...

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Part 32: Milling 30 Year Old Maple Firefoood

02-19-2015 07:41 PM by retired_guru | 10 comments »

My first video from the Dungeon Workshop. All but the last annotation went M.I.A. I also shouldn’t have allowed the editor to smoothen out the video. Did anyone besides myself get motion sickness from watching this? It sure sucks being a novice.

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Part 33: Soft-head Mallet

02-22-2015 03:46 AM by retired_guru | 3 comments »

Soft-head Mallet I just finished making a soft-head mallet for the dungeon workshop. It was formed from the unholy mating of hemlock (the head) and a 30 year seasoned beech branch (the handle). No electricity was used in making this mallet and nothing alive was killed in the process. Hopefully, this will keep the townspeople from paying me a visit with torches in hand. ‪#‎woodworking‬ ‪#‎woodmallets‬

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Part 34: "Hard Maple Rocks!" Headphones Rack - Mounted

03-11-2015 12:16 AM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

In the My Projects section I posted the completion of a rustic headphones rack for my ancient audio-technica AT-703 headphones. Since that post I added another coat of Danish oil and a final finish of The Original Formula Johnson Paste Wax. Here is what it looks like without the headphones: ...and with the headphones: And here is a view of the main workstation area of the office, showing the rack in place: This was a rewarding build, true to my scratch-building nature ...

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Part 35: DROID X Vehicle Dock to Tripod Mount Conversion

03-16-2015 11:32 PM by retired_guru | 10 comments »

I have started down the path of video creation for YouTube, mostly so I can participate in build challenges, but possibly in time as another revenue stream for the business. Presently, my video recording hardware is minimal at best, quite ancient if I include my old Panasonic VHS-C camcorder. I had hoped my 10 Megapixel Fujifilm S1500 would be able to handle my needs. It maxes out at 640×480 at 30 fps, which means 480p is about as good as it will get in YouTube. The best camera is in ...

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Part 36: Wine & Glasses Rack Finalized and Hung

03-19-2015 03:29 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

I finally got around to completing this prototype rack, one I started last fall—been a busy and troublesome winter so far. The wood used in this Wine & Glasses Rack is hemlock, the most commonly used pallet wood in my area. This a design I made up based on some others I have seen on the Web. Being a prototype, it has major and minor flaws, but I’m content with the premise behind the design and will make needed changes in the next build. The finish is Danish oil, medium waln...

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Part 37: Fruit & Veggie Bin

03-22-2015 03:17 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

I decided to rough sketch the fruit and veggie bin I plan on making for a corner of the kitchen. Currently we are using a two-bin round steel thingie that works, but is too small for our needs. This will be about twice the height and wider than the steel unit in place. Exact dimensions will be determined when I get around to drafting up plans. I have plenty of pallet wood and reclaimed lumber to make this with. The only change to the drawing I may still make is to replace the bottom bin sl...

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Part 38: Outdoor Temperature Sensor Reading Fix - Part I

03-22-2015 11:58 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

Yesterday I started on a project that will (fingers and toes crossed) solve a a simple problem with a device not working as hoped for. The device?The ACU>RITE indoor/ourdoors wifi temperature sensor and electronic gauge. The problem?We have been using it on the unheated back porch, and because of heat loss from the house into the porch area the outdoor readings are skewed by quite a bit. The answer?Make and mount a wooden hanger on the outside wall of the back porch; make and sus...

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Part 39: Outdoor ACU>RITE Digital Wireless Temperature Sensor Housing (Part 1)

03-24-2015 02:00 AM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

I posted in my previous blog entry the need to create a weather protected housing and mount for the ACU>RITE sensor, which will track outdoor ambient temperatures and transmit wirelessly to the indoor digital display. Previously we had it mounted on the enclosed porch inner wall. The temperature skew due to heat loss into the porch was tremendous, making the unit useless for our need. Because I didn’t go into the project with a clear idea of what it would end up looking like, as adju...

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Part 40: Outdoor ACU>RITE Digital Wireless Temperature Sensor Housing (Part 2)

03-24-2015 05:48 PM by retired_guru | 7 comments »

It was never my intent to make this build into an attractive build. Functional is the priority. It is the only reason for going through all this work for a $10.00 item. But it’s not unusual for my build ideas to become runaway trains, sometimes with no way to stop safely (enter the music of Jethro Tull’s Locomotive Breath.) My intent was to make this a 100% free pallet wood build. I have brand new pine boards and studs I could have used. With a change in design—swinging sens...

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Part 41: Outdoor ACU>RITE Digital Wireless Temperature Sensor Housing (Finale)

03-31-2015 10:57 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

Finally finished and mounted on the outside wall of the back enclosed porch. I neglected to get a completed assembly picture before mounting, so please check out the previous two parts in my blog for a complete overview. The final three pictures:- Insertion of the wireless sensor into the box. Note the wooden sensor pin. - The bottom vent plate installed. - Wall mount bracket drilled for mounting bolts and fender washers. How well is it working? It’s now in direc...

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Part 42: Beefing Up A HF Windsor-Style Workbench

04-19-2015 01:54 PM by retired_guru | 5 comments »

Keeping within the budget and guidelines of my frugal perspective, I opted to take a chance by purchasing a Harbor Freight Windsor-style Workbench last weekend. Over the past two days I have been working on its assembly and beefing it up to meet my needs in the dungeon workshop. I’m sure many serious woodworkers would frown upon my choice, even call me some unsavory things for choosing to go this route. I didn’t go this route because I thought it was an optimum or preferred cho...

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Part 43: Tool Tip - Simple Depth Gauge for Twist Bits

05-25-2015 11:53 AM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

Yesterday, while working on the stake sides for my Harbor Freight trailer, I found myself in a need for a depth gauge for the drill bits I was using. I didn’t think to bring out a roll of painter’s tape and I was too into my work to get one from the dungeon. A solution that worked well for me: use your marking pencil to draw a heavy line across one of the twist bit’s flukes. The line will be quite visible as the bit spins. _ I have been busy with building a trailer...

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Part 44: Franken-Rack gives life to Harbor Freight trailer

06-04-2015 09:52 PM by retired_guru | 5 comments »

Last year, my first LumberJocks project was the Franken-Rack, a huge wooden rack that mounted on the rook of my 2001 Chevy Blazer. The concept was sound. The construction sturdy and useful. Unfortunately, it was too heavy for the roof’s infrastructure to support, so off it went, late last year, to go through this past winter under heavy canvas cover. On April25th I made an excellent buy on a Harbor Freight (HF) 4’x8’ Folding Utility Trailer. Over the past month I have been w...

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Part 45: Harbor Freight Folding Utility Trailer Build

06-24-2015 03:34 PM by retired_guru | 16 comments »

I have been busy with multiple woodworking related and household projects this Spring, which is mainly why I haven’t been on Lumberjocks in that time. Previously I posted two small projects worth mentioning. I am currently working on a commission for a new neighbor. One project that consumed a month of my time was the building of the Harbor Freight 4’x8’ Folding Utility Trailer with a custom-made stake bed. I needed to be able to haul 4’x8’ sheet goods from th...

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Part 46: Sewing Thread Spools & Bobbins Rack: Fully Populated

07-13-2015 12:44 AM by retired_guru | 10 comments »

I posted the other day a completed project I made for the wife’s birthday. She has now populated the rack, so here is what it was designed to look like in use: Note that on some of the spools there is a bobbin containing the same thread. This was the key ingredient: she wanted to keep the bobbins with the spools providing the thread and color. I wasn’t surprised to see that she doubled up on bobbins for some of them. I asked her if she would want to do this before starting ...

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Part 47: The Dungeon Workshop: Progress Report & Walk-Through

07-15-2015 06:15 PM by retired_guru | 19 comments »

One of my greatest challenges in woodworking is not working wood. That isn’t meant to imply I have all the skills and knowledge, that I am an expert in woodworking. What I mean is that being one who works best when organized, being so disorganized and without working space handicaps me like you wouldn’t believe. While it would seem easy enough to just start putting things away and moving things here or there, the reality is that I don’t have enough places to store what I nee...

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Part 48: Portable Base for DeWALT Thickness Planer

07-18-2015 05:18 PM by retired_guru | 6 comments »

If you have been following my previous blog posts, you will recall that in creating an efficient and safe workshop in the dungeon, I’ve had to shift benches and equipment around as areas became ready. I’m at that point where I need to access the South side of the dungeon, and to do that I need to get the heavy thickness planer off its high perch and onto a portable base so I can use it/move it as needed. To that end, I just completed a simple, very sturdy rolling base and now have...

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Part 49: Workshop Build - Progress Report

08-10-2015 02:15 AM by retired_guru | 14 comments »

The past few weeks have been filled with side-tracks, accomplishments, frustrations and turmoil. Today I finally reached that point where I could expand into the area of the dungeon that used to be the bike shop. I removed the peg board from the field stone side. The right corner of the metal shelving was so rusty that some bolts fused with the shelves. I expected to discard both shelf units once I got into them. This door hasn’t been opened in over 25 years. The camera...

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Part 50: Hitachi C10FL Acquisition

08-12-2015 02:56 PM by retired_guru | 12 comments »

Last week I picked up a decent deal on a table saw that will be a marked improvement over the one I have in the dungeon workshop right now. It’s a Hitachi C10FL that a widow’s husband bought back in 2009. For those not familiar with the make and model, here is a manufacturer’s marketing image of the machine: The chassis and legs on my acquisition look almost like brand new. The cast iron top is in need of some TLC and the accessory rails need a good cleaning. When I f...

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Part 51: Raiders of the Lost Dungeon Workshop -- cont'd

08-13-2015 12:07 AM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

My sinuses are giving me grief for not wearing a respirator in the dungeon today. I did put one on later in the day, but you know how that goes. I would never last as a coal miner. At any rate, another boring update, as I plow through the minutiae in the hope of saving my pack-rat soul from wherever pack-rats go when they pass on. Then again, who’s to say there isn’t a pack-rat heaven? I finally got the bike (and some automotive) stuff sorted to trash, friend and keep-it boxes....

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Part 52: And then the table saw automagically appeared!

08-14-2015 05:59 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

When I last left you in the previous episode, Nelly couldn’t pay the rent and… Sorry, wrong blog. With the South dungeon space freed up some, and the parts to the table saw having come in, it was time to get the Hitachi C11FL out of the truck and into workshop. The same day I bought the saw I went to a Harbor Freight store and bought a hydraulic lift table. It was a pricey investment that I knew would be used again and again with the thickness planer later on. The ordered...

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Part 53: Hitachi C10FL Acquisition - Part 2

08-20-2015 11:30 AM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

A week has gone by since my previous post. In that time I have made some progress. Several days ago I figured out a way to get it into the dungeon. A couple of days ago I added back the steel base stand, moved the retractable casters to their correct location on the legs—the previous owner really didn’t know what he was doing in assembling and running this saw—and managed to gently tip it off the hydraulic table and onto its side, then lift it onto its legs…all by myse...

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Part 54: Hitachi C10FL Acquisition - Part 3 (Assembled)

08-21-2015 11:39 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

Assembly was finished late this afternoon. Tests showed I could achieve 90 degree accuracy between blade and table top, but from front to back of the blade in relation to the miter slots I was at least a sixteenth off in the back. Still some vibration after startup. Not having been run for a year has made some of the pivots a little stiff. As it was, I had to lube the angle pivots. A little more TLC. The manual doesn’t explain how to deal with blade to miter slot adjustment. A search on...

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Part 55: Seasoned Maple Boards

08-23-2015 11:07 PM by retired_guru | 9 comments »

A couple of weeks ago I picked up twelve 8’ 4” boards (various widths and somewhere around an inch-plus in thickness) for $2.00 USD each. The seller had 18 to sell and his advertisement said must buy all. It didn’t take long to see that some were rotted completely or enough that they wouldn’t ever be useful. The twelve I found would yield a good 80% or more, so I talked him into the price each for only twelve. I didn’t think that was a bad price. Here’s ...

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Part 56: Table Saw Adjustments and Miter Saw Station

08-28-2015 01:10 AM by retired_guru | 5 comments »

Just a quick update on several issues that have been forcing all of my attention. Hitachi C10FL Table Saw IssuesI mentioned earlier that the saw had been neglected for a while and so there was a lot of cleaning, adjusting and correcting to so. Tonight I managed to resolve some of the vibration and noise issues when running it. When I previously adjusted the blade direction to be parallel to the left miter slot, I didn’t pay attention to the back trunnion support’s relationship ...

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Part 57: HF Accu-Link V-Belt on Hitachi C10FL -- Wow!!

08-30-2015 03:50 PM by retired_guru | 6 comments »

Previously I blogged about the very noticeable vibration and wobbling noise when the recently acquired 2009 Hitachi C10FL table saw was operated. Fellow LJ COGoose recommended buy the Harbor Freight Accu-Link V-Belt to solve the problem. The wife and I were going to be in the Triple-Cities area where a Harbor Freight is located, so a stop was made to pick one up. The Accu-Link A-Link-5 belt comes in a 24” length. I needed about 9”, this left lots for future replacements. Here i...

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Part 58: Raiders of the Lost Dungeon - Part II

09-11-2015 12:12 AM by retired_guru | 5 comments »

In the prequel to this episode (Blog Entry #51: Raiders of the Lost Dungeon Workshop—cont’d), I pointed out a small (useless) room that was taking up valuable space in the dungeon. Either I tear it down and make that space useful, refurbish the room and use it, or work around it. I chose the last. If I had torn down the room I would have had no wall space to work with—the inside wall was the house’s field stone foundation. Using the room would mean taking down a most d...

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Part 59: Blanket Rack (Repurposed VHS Rack)

01-14-2016 10:29 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

Last year I started an on-again/off-again/on-again/etc. crusade to get rid of stuff in and around the house that was no longer needed, wanted or useful. I admit to being a pack-rat. I admit to being lazy (at times). But when my goat gets up, it won’t stop eating until there’s nothing left to eat. Not sure why that came out, but I am sure someone got the gist of it. For years we had our VHS tapes sitting on this oak rack. While we still have one combo player that will work with ...

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Part 60: The Past Four Months

01-29-2016 06:55 PM by retired_guru | 5 comments »

Last autumn we decided to remodel the kitchen. One failed major appliance started the notion. It was a cascading effect and the main reason behind all the extra work and time consumed. We won’t do that again. At any rate, I have been busy acquiring new tools and accessories, most of them coming to me because of an unexpected windfall around the holidays. I’m hoping to express this in a way that doesn’t come across as gloating, bragging or ego-tripping. Right now, I can’...

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Part 61: Tuning a barely usable trimming plane

02-02-2016 06:21 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

A couple of years ago I bought a Kobalt 3-in Trimming Plane from our one-and-only box store. Since then I have come to learn how poorly made this is (and the other Kobalt planes are.) For me, money spent is money spent. And I’m always game for trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. I decided to tune this little sucker up and see what would come of it. You should have seen what this looked like before I got started. You would have had I thought to take a picture of it, ...

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Part 62: Tuning a Rabbet Plane

02-07-2016 07:33 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

Last year I acquired this rabbet plane from a computer client. I finally got around to honing the iron and tuning the setup. I ended up eyeballing the iron angle in a Veritas Mk II and came close enough that the new edge would work for this plane. It took a while to get the skew angle eyeballed and locked down. I put an ever-so-slight beveled on the corners. Wood plane are still a bit of mystery (black art!) to me. It took a lot of fiddling and guess work to figure out how to make the ...

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Part 63: Veritas Mk. II Honing Guide Review

02-18-2016 02:01 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

It’s been a year since I bought this. Here is a brief review of it, my impressions. This model has a straight brass roller on the bottom, so I have to used finger pressure to produce a slight bevel to the corners on plane irons. I haven’t checked Veritas (or Lee Valley) to see if I can swap it out for the recently seen cambered roller. If it turns out this can be done, I will purchase one and this issue will be resolved. The second complaint is a more severe one. The bev...

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Part 64: Workshop Update: Knocking the C10FL down a notch

04-06-2016 02:13 PM by retired_guru | 1 comment »

The Hitachi C10FL I bought off a widow last year has to be one of the best shop investments I have made. It needed a little work, mostly tuning up. Replacing the worn out v-belt with a HF link belt made this smooth running and relatively quiet. I’ve had it long enough to develop a short list of undesirables for this model. Some of the items on my complaint list are well known design shortcomings. Some are just what bothers me for their respective reasons, like the width of the aluminum ...

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Part 65: Early Birthday Gifts

04-07-2016 01:22 AM by retired_guru | 3 comments »

I mentioned to the wife the other day that I had some items in my Wish List from Amazon that she could pick something from for my birthday; anything would be a welcome addition to the workshop and be very much appreciated. Then, realizing some items on the list would be useless with out some others, and she wouldn’t know what those relationships would be, I told her I would make up a list for her of groups to pick from. I came up with three, any one of which would be complete and I woul...

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Part 66: Lathe Base - First Turning

04-09-2016 09:26 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

Finally got the contractor-saw-base-turned-lathe-base done today. There just isn’t the room in the dungeon workshop for two table saws. Eventually I will haul the Skilsaw onto the upstairs porch and hang it out of the way. Getting back to the base, I measured the height I needed to fit the formula I gleaned off the Web: that magic height the centers should be off the floor in relation to where your elbow is. I added the five inches to the top of the base and boards along the bottom of t...

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Part 67: The Practical Woodworker: vol 1 - 4

04-13-2016 01:55 AM by retired_guru | 8 comments »

My gift to myself arrived today, right on my birthday. Great timing. Now I have a lot of reading to do.

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Part 68: Lumber racks, and the mess that finally went away!

04-18-2016 02:08 AM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

I’ve mentioned to a few before, that putting things in their proper place in the Dungeon workshop is much like playing with one of those sliding puzzles, or more like a Rubik cube. It came down to this: I needed more lumber racks and I needed to sort out the questionable-to-down-right-bad-boards and get them out of the shop. My first task was to build a rack for sheet goods. The only place with enough space is the entryway into the dungeon. It’s full now with most all of the sh...

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Part 69: Working the shop and Paul Sellers' latest book!

04-26-2016 02:57 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

I keep forgetting to swing by here, visit and post what’s happening my way. Totally, my bad. Progress in the workshop is hit-or-miss, but overall I am gaining more than losing or staying stagnant. Real-life concerns keep interfering: don’t we woodworkers have a deity that we can call on to stop this unwanted intrusion into our workshop time? I am working on a few different projects. I’ll post pictures once I have finished them. Yesterday my copy of Paul SellersR...

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Part 70: Carpenter bees...begone!

05-17-2016 08:38 PM by retired_guru | 8 comments »

This year I decided I had had enough of ‘beeing buzzed’ by teritorial carpenter bees. I have made two traps so far. The first one shown here I hung near the discard wood pile, having noticed a lot of activity in that area this spring. It will have to be relocated once the wood pile is gone, as the trailer will be parked in the spot behind it. The design was found on Instructables. On the backside (not visible in the photo) is another slanted entrance hole located in the top thi...

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Part 71: Odds and Ends around The Dungeon

05-19-2016 09:40 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

Yesterday I took a small cutt-off of the oak I had leftover from making Laszlo’s food and water dish and made a round mallet head from it on the lathe. Then I took a strip of hard maple that had been milled from a quarter split of 30 year old firewood and made a handle from it, also on the lathe. The maple stock wasn’t square in cross-section, giving me a rectangular shaped grip. I used sandpaper to soften the edges and give the handle a more comfortable shape. Because the ...

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Part 72: Harbor Freight 4'x8' Folding Utility Trailer - One Year Anniversary Update

05-21-2016 12:41 PM by retired_guru | 5 comments »

I thought I would provide an anniversary update on the Harbor Freight trailer build from a year ago. Blog posts on the build are in my archive. Last year I used an Olympia brand deck sealer to protect the wood from the elements. Here is proof of how well the product works after a year outdoors. Not very good. Cracks in the wood were expected, being as it’s pine and that much of has been unprotected over time. The pressure treated plywood bedding received an additional two coat...

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Part 73: Tool Acquisition: Dad's saws and set

06-06-2016 03:01 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

My brothers and I are slowly wading through 50+ years worth of valuables and junk in my father’s home. Soon to be 88, he no longer can manage the house and is finding communal living among his peers not as bad as he thought. Most of my dad’s tools are cheap and uninteresting even with time on them. He does have several items that he obviously paid good money for and were worth keeping. The only item in the group picture that I really didn’t need was the Stanley “...

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Part 74: Dungeon Workshop: Update Summer 2016, ad nauseum

08-25-2016 07:33 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

So where have I been since June? Sick for over a month. Then dealing with Dad’s Estate Sale, which was a lot of work. And then playing catchup on projects that should have been started months before. I’m still running full speed to get caught up before the cold weather arrives. Not sure if I will make it. Earlier I had some projects in the works. As it turned out, they were all back-burnered or resolved without completion. I wasn’t upset. The dungeon needed to be organize...

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Part 75: Mark of the Shepperd's Hook!

09-09-2016 03:08 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

Makers, fixers and tinkers know that no matter the skill or level of prudence, injuries are inevitable. This happened a couple of days ago—no idea what caused this—and only realized when I started dripping blood onto a project. Now that it has scabbed over, I can’t help but noticed the shape of the injury. Me thinks someone is trying to tell me something.

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Part 76: The Dungeon Workshop - South Room Construction

09-22-2016 01:14 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

In my previous blog post I gave a tour of The Dungeon Workshop. Near the end was a picture of what I call the South Room (SR). From the picture you can see it has been a catch-all for what I don’t know what to do with. I vowed this year the crap would go, the tools would get sorted and put away, and raw materials placed where I could draw from when needed. Accumulation of tools, equipment and supplies have only added to the mess I started with. I need the space. I needed to be able to f...

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Part 77: Resurrecting a Coffin Smoother - Part I

09-29-2016 02:02 AM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

My Dad acquired a beat-up coffin smoother a long time ago. Either he abused it or got it from someone who had. At some point he decided it wasn’t worth much, stuck it in a cubbyhole in his basement, and there is sat for several decades. I came along this past summer and figured I would try to make it useful again. I posted the following picture here before. This gives you a ‘Beginning’ picture of the project I’m taking on. I needed to seal up the blown out frac...

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Part 78: Resurrecting a Coffin Smoother - Part II

09-30-2016 03:10 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

The glued fractures appear to be holding up well. Since the fractures weren’t smooth and the sole wasn’t flat—with major gouges between the mouth and toe—I decided to take some course grit to the outside and flatten the sole. The sole is flat and the gouges are gone. Progressing through the grits should make this look, feel and work better once finished. The wedge is shot. A replacement will have to be made. The trouble area is really betwee...

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Part 79: The Dungeon Workshop - South Room Construction - Part II

10-15-2016 04:07 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

The South Room will never make it in an issue of Better Homes and Gardens. For what I need, it’s coming along better than expected. I’m not done with the space. The East (left side) and South walls are damp, even wet, all year round, so I doubt I will ever stud up a wall. I also doubt the gold colored steel cabinet will stay there. For now it keeps me from bumping my ribs or head against the capped off gas line service coming out of the wall. You can see the capped end to t...

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Part 80: The Dungeon Workshop - Clamp Rack

10-15-2016 04:22 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

“Winning the war one battle at a time.” I’ve pretty much put on hold any woodworking projects until the dungeon workshop is organized to the point where everything is put away and I have at least a gambler’s chance of finding things when I need them. With Christmas two and a half months away, it’s imperative that I get to that point as soon as possible. I’ve found over the summer that studding up ‘false walls’ over field stone was a go...

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Part 81: The Dungeon Workshop - Reclaimed West Stone Wall Section

10-21-2016 03:07 AM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

I needed more wall space to get hand and power tools organized and out in the open, so I decided to work over the small patch of stone wall between the benches on the West side of the shop. Here is what the area looked like before conversion: The finished conversion: The most important criteria was that nothing hanging or sitting on the shelves would be struck by hands, shoulders or hips while walking past the wall. I frequently rely upon the AC-powered B&D electric drill, es...

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Part 82: Hand Plane Till

10-23-2016 01:31 AM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

Earlier today I made a down-and-dirty hand plane till. Yesterday I hung the Stanley No. 5 and 6 on individual racks—lift up and pull out. Now it looks like I didn’t have many. I guess not, but they sure took up a lot of bench top space before. Do I buy more planes and added on for them, or do I use the free space on the left for something else? Nah. You can never have too many hand planes. :)

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Part 83: The Dungeon Workshop - Scroll Saw Table

11-02-2016 07:39 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

The last shop bench or table to be made is now complete. I had set aside to the left of the refurbished Blue Hawk router table enough space for a narrow table. Construction started this past Saturday. I wanted it to be simple in design, using reclaimed lumber I had laying around on the premises. I also wanted it to be a generic design, just in case this old scroll saw of mine turns out to be a bad investment. This meant allowing ample leg room under the table from the ends as well as from ...

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Part 84: Harbor Freight's DrillMaster 2 HP Fixed Base Router Fix

11-22-2016 11:08 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

Last year I picked up the DrillMaster #68341 Fixed Base Router at a Harbor Freight store. With the workshop in such disarray at the time, it got put away and forgotten. Months later I found it and checked it out. Like many have complained, the machining of the aluminum router body is dramatically undersized in comparison to the fixed base. When the clamp on the base is engaged, the router is pushed off center. Too much time had passed since I bought it, and on a $60.00 USD item I won̵...

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Part 85: Joiners Mallet

11-23-2016 12:03 AM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

I’ve been wanting a larger mallet for chisel work, but until now didn’t have a large enough piece of hardwood. The head is oak, part of a pallet runner I acquired in the summer. The handle was make from a section of an old, discarded TruValue snow shovel handle; probably ash. I mounted the handle in my lathe and reduced the section that will fit into the 1” hole made in the head. The faces have a 2 degree rake toward the handle. Some subtle work was done on the rest of t...

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Part 86: Repair Broken Handle on Antique Rolling Pin

11-29-2016 12:46 AM by retired_guru | 6 comments »

Some time this century the wife asked me to repair the broken handle on her grandmother’s hand-me-down rolling pin. In an effort to get caught up on the ‘Honey-Do’ list (and win some brownie points), I made this one of today’s projects. Here is the rolling pin with the broken shaft on the left. The end button has been sawed off, to be attached to the new shaft. The new shaft is at the bottom right. This was a standard 5/8” hardwood dowel that had to...

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Part 87: Refurbing an old Delta 40-530 Scroll Saw

11-29-2016 07:03 PM by retired_guru | 7 comments »

The other day I finally got around to refurbing an old Delta 40-530 single-speed scroll saw I bought a few years back. It has been sitting in my dungeon workshop all that time, gathering sawdust, dungeon dust, and more than a fair share of new rust over the old. Here’s what it looked like before disassembly: There is surface rust over all of the table top and blade guide hardware. The blower hose has hardened to the point where it’s no longer flexible enough to allow the up...

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Part 88: Moving the Furniture...Again, or: Down to One Table Saw and Making it Count

11-30-2016 01:09 AM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

Had an interesting day in the dungeon workshop. You may recall that I have two table saws. I went into the shop this morning with the intention of making a cross-cut sled for the Skilsaw contractor saw, only to find that the miter slots weren’t parallel to each other. Saw is now only good for carpentry, like ripping boards outdoor. Argh. So I pulled the saw off the shop made base. Parked it on top of the freezer. Disassembled the base for the Torx head deck screws, caster wheels and fou...

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Part 89: Breathing is Optional on a Good Day in the Dungeon

12-01-2016 01:37 PM by retired_guru | 8 comments »

Note to self: “Wear the mask! Wear the mask! Wear the mask!” Yes, a blatant rip-off of the scene in the movie Armageddon, when the amateur stargazer screams at his wife Betty to “Get the book! Get the book! Get the book!” I spent quite a few hours in the dungeon workshop yesterday without a mask on. I went to bed with a dry, rasped throat and woke up with the same, plus sinus congestion and a mild headache from the pressure. Popping some meds and wearing a mask t...

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Part 90: Thickness Planer Cart Build

12-04-2016 01:10 AM by retired_guru | 5 comments »

In at least one of my previous posts you will find the DeWALT 734 thickness planer sitting atop a smaller bench in the background. This was a major step up (no pun intended!) from the floor dolly it was sitting on. But it had two drawbacks that I couldn’t accent any longer. The first is I had to turn it at angle in relation to the bench top every time I wanted to use it, so the outfeed wouldn’t hit the band saw. The bench’s proximity to other benches and equipment limited th...

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Part 91: Current Project: Heavy Duty Plant Stand

12-08-2016 04:17 PM by retired_guru | 8 comments »

This will be a gift to the wife, as she has been asking for some time that I make a low-level floor stand for her large plants. As I have been building this I’ve come to the conclusion I would like to make more of these, in various wood species, designs and heights to sell starting next year. I don’t know that I would reproduce this one design again. This was ‘ad hoc’ based on what scrap reclaimed 2×4s I had in the shop. Not that using this material would be b...

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Part 92: Temporarily Out of Commission!

10-24-2017 04:53 PM by retired_guru | 14 comments »

Just when I was gearing up to start up production for this quarter and next year, I go and do a really stupid thing. A few days ago I was in the bed of a Ford F-250 pickup, helping to get a 6’ x 8’ cap onto the box. I was so focused on the work I neglected to let the common sense alarm ring, so it would warm me of impending stupidness. I went to jump down onto the ground, but instead of climbing over the tall box side, I jumped off the top of it. Probably a good five feet abov...

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Part 93: Getting Back On The (Saw)Horse

11-04-2018 02:01 PM by retired_guru | 6 comments »

October of 2017, while helping a couple mount a truck cap I was getting rid of onto the box of their Ford F-250, I decided toward the end that I could fly. Well, more like thought I was Bruce Lee. I remember still, within a second after jumping off the side of the box, that the ground was coming toward me way too fast and that I was going to hit the ground way harder than I anticipated. This wasn’t the first time Gravity and I didn’t see eye-to-eye. This time, payback was a bitch....

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Part 94: Have the way notifications work here changed?

11-11-2018 04:44 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

Coming back from my hiatus away from here, I have noticed that I am not receiving notifications of comments on my previously made posts. I’ll try and address what I find as I go. Thanks.

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Part 95: Prototyping a Christmas Gift

11-20-2018 09:22 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

When the project I am working on is relatively small and the plans or concept thought up has never been tried before, I like to make the first build a prototype. There are several good reasons for taking the extra time and materials. In the case of the promised food and water bowl holders for my youngest daughter’s two dogs, making up a prototype has given up valuable ‘intel’. Plus, she lives at the other end of the state, so with Thanksgiving Day coming up and a meet up...

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Part 96: Progress: Raised Dog Bowl Holders

12-12-2018 11:17 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

I promised my youngest daughter for Christmas raised dog bowl holders for her two dogs. These are based on plans from Build Something. I posted in an earlier blog entry the prototype I built using vinyl-laminated chipboard and pine studs for the legs. You can see it in the picture, in front of the unfinished units. You may notice the two new units are longer and wider (an inch both ways) than the prototype, which was designed for a smaller bowl than I am going to use. Originally, I was...

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Part 97: Progress: Raised Dog Bowl Holders & Minecraft CircleGuideKit Review

12-15-2018 01:48 AM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

Yesterday I decided to pick up a commercial circle cutting jig over making one for the full size router. The one I built a few years ago to work with a trim router would have had to be modified for this build, and the trim router would have been woefully under-powered for a 3/4” depth cut through hardwood plywood. I’m glad I did. The results and ease of use (once I figured out which router’s base would best fit the universal plate in the kit) justified the cost, in my opinio...

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Part 98: Best Edge Banding Around!

12-16-2018 08:01 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

Before heading out to the Big Box Store, I checked to see if they had the 3/4” wide red oak edge banding I needed to finish the daughter’s two dog bowl holders. Look what I found: Yep. You read the description right: 3/4” thick, 6” wide, 25’ long. Heh. Here we wrap our oak planks into rolls. ;)

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Part 99: Child's Tool Box & Tea Light Sets

12-18-2018 04:10 PM by retired_guru | 6 comments »

Finally making some progress on the gift building. The neighbor’s two year old is into tools, so I made for him a child’s size carpenter’s tool box. The sides and bottom are red oak, the ends hard maple, and the handle and pins out of poplar dowels. The tea light sets are going out to friends and family. The pines bases were cut from the staves of a large cable spool. While the holders will accept tea light candles, for safety sake I am using their LED counterpart. ...

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Part 100: Progress: Raised Dog Bowl Holders - The Field Test

12-27-2018 01:49 AM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

Laszlo and Louis are enjoying their new raised dog bowl holders, courtesy of yours truly. Louis (on the right) is food territorial, but offers no problems when served a welcomed drink along side his smaller buddy. I was glad to see that Laszlo found the stand to be at a comfortable height for his shorter stature. Both dogs are still pups, by the way. I’m also glad to see the water beads on the gloss poly finish. Should be easy food clean-up, too.

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Part 101: Hibernation

01-30-2019 02:23 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

Going beardless didn’t last long. I need to do a selfie sometime soon, as my glasses are different and I’m a bit grayer, too. For now, I’ll bless you all with an old picture of my grizzled mug. I’ve spent very little time this month in the Dungeon Workshop. It shows. What a mess I’ve left from the last time I tried to organize and clean up from the previous mess made making Christmas gifts. It’s normal for me to take the winters off from building anythin...

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Part 102: The Future in the Fast Lane

06-19-2019 08:50 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

It’s been a while since I last logged in. I’ve been busy dealing with a life running on its own mindset—no batteries needed, and definitely with no input or a ‘by your leave’ from me. Not all that unusual, I guess. Still, not what I signed on for. I’ll highlight the important bits. Recently, my father passed on. He had been predeceased by Mom six years earlier. No longer needed to manage his health care and needs, the wife and I made the decision to move across the state to be close to our...

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Part 103: Making Progress: Breathe...

07-01-2019 12:13 AM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

A couple of weeks ago I said good-bye to my Hitachi C10FL hybrid contractor saw. It had served me well, but a move in the near future makes it opportune to sell it now, replacing it with a lighter, portable jobsite saw. I’ve had the DeWalt DWE7491RS for a couple of weeks . Just a little more tweaking before I will fire it up for the first time. Touch and feel has me impressed, and I’m enjoying the portability, being able to move it out of the way and park it wherever the latest fr...

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Part 104: The Ultimate Space-Saving Dust Cyclone Separator Cart

07-18-2019 01:28 AM by retired_guru | 9 comments »

The Dungeon Workshop continues to be a war zone, but progress is being had, albeit s-l-o-w-l-y. This evening I finished one of two identical dust control builds, based on this YouTube video: The Ultimate Space-Saving Dust Cyclone Separator Cart | Dustopper & Ridgid Vac Cart I liked the space-saving design of John’s design. Floor space is at a premium and I need a portable system, one at each end of the workshop. This is what the first unit looks lik...

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Part 105: Scrappy Solution

07-21-2019 07:10 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

I found a simple solution in the ongoing reorganization of the Dungeon Workshop. The challenge in finding the home for benchtop tools is when the unit has multiple angles of usage. A combination disc and belt sander is a good example. So is the WorkSharp WS3000. Besides the front approach, rotating the tool 90 degrees to the left and to the right gives better or needed access to wide blade honing and see-through free-hand honing, respectively. The research I’ve been doing on a rotating ...

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Part 106: Flip-Top Tool Cart - Down-n-Dirty

08-07-2019 11:14 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

Another episode in the ongoing effort to organize the dungeon workshop, which is driven by the need to have every tool, screw, nut, and bolt, in its appropriate place for when I have to pack it all up next year for the big move. In this episode: the completion of a down-n-dirty flip-top tool cart. My DeWalt thickness planer has always been too heavy for me to lift onto and off a bench top, so I made a couple of years ago a mobile cart for it. Unfortunately, the cart’s narrow trac and...

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Part 107: Recovery Update

02-19-2020 03:02 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

I’m happy to tell you that 2-1/2 years after my serious accident, my right foot has healed to the point where I am at about 90 percent of pre-accident physical abilities. Balance has been improving, albeit subtly, gradually to the point that I only would notice if I stop to look back and compare what I can do now to what I was able to in the recent past. I can tell that I have lost quite a bit of muscle mass, especially in my legs. Once Spring brings days of dry roads and warm temperatu...

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Part 108: Benchtop Moxon Vice

02-19-2020 04:48 PM by retired_guru | 9 comments »

My latest addition is a portable benchtop Moxon vice, something I’ve had in my mind to do for some time. I based this build on Jay Bate’s Sliding Moxon design. Several changes were made to accommodate my needs and workspace limitations. Mine is several inches shorter, a half inch taller, uses 3/4” pipe and clamp fittings, and some other variations or changes made to improve upon his original design. Here are some of the mods I made and realizations after having bu...

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Part 109: Using Drill Press Clamps in Workbench Dog Holes

02-26-2020 01:02 PM by retired_guru | 9 comments »

A while ago I was at a Harbor Freight store picking up some 6” F-clamps when I came across their Pittsburgh 9” Drill Press Locking Clamps. An idea came to mind, so I picked up two at the price of $8.99 each. Sure enough, when I got home and tried them out in the dog holes on my Harbor Freight Windsor workbench, they fit perfectly. I’ve recently drilled out the dog holes to the standard 3/4” size, and they still work just as well. Obviously, the threaded ends aren...

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Part 110: Variable Thickness Anti-Racking Gadget

02-26-2020 01:29 PM by retired_guru | 8 comments »

I probably already posted this find a long time back. For those who are not inclined to sift through a hundred or more blog entries to find out, here it is again. It’s a cheap, very useful tip, and I think worth mentioning (~ again). —————- The end vice on my Harbor Freight Windsor workbench racks whenever I clamp a board off center in the jaws. I found (I can’t remember where) this easy to make gadget that works perfectly at eliminating rac...

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Part 111: 3 Dollar Saws

02-29-2020 12:21 AM by retired_guru | 8 comments »

The other day I answered a Pennysaver ad for a bunch of hand saws selling for $3.00 each. He told me over the phone he had over 30 of them for sale. When I got there he apologized for the wrong count: 67 saws! Many had warped, bent and/or dented plates, especially along the teeth, and were quite rusty, with a few exceptions. I found two rip saws and a back saw that had flat plates and spine, respectively. Since taking this picture, I’ve run all three saws through pine lumber. I w...

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Part 112: Simple, Efficient Wall Rack for Hand Wood Screws

02-29-2020 02:14 AM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

I finished building and mounting this evening a rack to hold my hand wood screws. Of the designs I found on the Web, and in the mags I own, the horizontal beam configuration was the most storage efficient for the space it has to occupy. I’m now completely out of wall space to mount anything on. Of course, we all know that no good turn goes without its appropriate rewards, right? “Hun, I need to buy more hand wood screws…”

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Part 113: Kicking Excuses to the Curb

03-29-2020 01:04 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

It’s been a month since my last post, and unlike previous lengthy periods between posts, this time it’s because of diligent effort to re-organize the dungeon workshop. As of this writing, I’m close to 90% complete, that being really ‘almost done’, to where I can say all my tools, supplies, and equipment, are put away with some hope of finding everything when needed. The North room off the main workspace makes up the bulk of that 10 percent when I get there. Fortunately, it’s an area tha...

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Part 114: Polypropylene Router Table Runners

04-03-2020 01:10 AM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

Recently I purchased a Rockler Box Joint Jig with the intent on using it in either of the two router tables in my workshop. The newer Ryobi has standard 3/4” W x 3/8” D slots, but the older entry-level Blue Hawk (commonly sold at Lowe’s) table has 5/8” wide slots. The Rockler jig comes with runners to fit only the standard size slot. So I knew going into this purchase I would be making new runners, and if it worked, out of polypropylene strips I had cut from new cutting boar...

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Part 115: Match-Making: Ryobi Benchtop Router Table & HF 2 HP Fixed-Base Router

04-04-2020 07:38 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

A while back I acquired a Harbor Freight 2 HP single-speed fixed-base router and a variable-speed control. Yesterday I decided to see if the Ryobi face plate would mate with the HP router. Because the screws that came with the table were either too long or too short, I had to make a trip to Lowe’s for the M5-.80×12 mm screws needed. All they had were 16 mm. I didn’t want to delay this project with an online order, so I added the HF base and used some longer screws that cam...

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Part 116: Lumber and Cut-Offs Reorganization

04-08-2020 08:37 PM by retired_guru | 6 comments »

Since my father passed on last summer, I’ve been cleaning out, clearing out, and reorganizing the dungeon workshop. I’ve made shop cabinets, added drawers to benches, made some carts, sorted fasteners and supplies. As I have mentioned already, it has been like playing with a Rubik cube, a sliding puzzle, where I’ve had to shuffle stuff around to make progress in any one area of the shop. I’ve accomplished a lot—my wife keeps telling me I have—and I do feel ...

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Part 117: Working "Clean"

04-11-2020 04:57 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

My previous post was about the complete re-organization of lumber and cut-offs in and around my dungeon workshop. I call it a ‘dungeon’ because of the several issues I have with it, and the compromises or extra lengths I have to go through to equal what many of my peers take for granted in their own workshops. My workshop is the basement of my 120 year old home, poorly constructed (in my opinion), showing its age more than it should. There isn’t a flat spot of concrete fl...

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Part 119: Powertec USA - USPS Settled, Sort of

04-25-2020 02:05 PM by retired_guru | 7 comments »

I received adequate correspondence and expedient crediting to find no need to keep the original post on record. I’m still annoyed that neither Powertec or the USPS are accepting blame in this matter. I’ll leave it at that.

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Part 120: Dungeon Workshop Walkaround Tour - Spring 2020

04-28-2020 03:30 PM by retired_guru | 0 comments »

I promised Shawn ( @shawnSK ) pictures of the workshop, once the reorganization was complete enough to get back to building projects. I’m not quite there, as you will see in this post, but close enough that I decided I wanted to do it, as an earmark for when I look back at where I’ve been and what’s been done over time. I moan and groan a lot about the limitations I deal with in this workshop, but for the amount of time I spend in it, and how far I have come along in deal...

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Part 121: Creamer and Sugar Bowl Carrier - Build Progress

04-30-2020 12:27 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

With the workshop mostly reorganized, I’ve started to get at projects already started and on my To-Do list. A simple project I had been putting off was a small carrier for our Nortake creamer and sugar bowl set. The design is similar to the one used in the salt and pepper mill carrier I made a few years back. The design incorporates two different size boards glue together to give the top ledge look, which also simplifies the build process by using a hole in the top board to create a ...

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Part 122: Candy Jar Rack - Prototyping

05-06-2020 11:22 PM by retired_guru | 4 comments »

We have four Anchor-Hocking Candy Jars that we use for snacks. I found a set of plans for a country style countertop rack designed to hold two jars, but the dimensions are not for the particular jars we have, and they are assuming six-sided jars, which ours are not. When I come across a need to modify plans, I will sometimes build a prototype to get a visual on what the plans want and how that differs from what I need. I use crapwood, like this salvaged particle board, once part of depart...

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Part 123: Refurbing the Harbor Freight Folding Trailer - Pre-Blog Inquiry

06-06-2020 01:14 PM by retired_guru | 2 comments »

This week or next I will begin the process of refurbishing a Harbor Freight folding trailer I purchase several years back. Original Build Before Removing Wood and Electrical All the wood I added on to make a staked side trailer has been removed, as well as the electrical wiring and lights. Before I can add the new wiring and lights I need to remove surface rust in some areas, spot prime and paint once cleaned up. Once the electrical is installed and working properly I will add new pr...

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