Back in December, I started thinking about getting more serious about by woodworking hobby. Naturally that meant spending lots of money on cool, new tools, but it also meant that I needed somewhere to use and store those tools. The idea of a workstation for my trusty Rigid contractors saw was born. After some research and time on sketchup, I came up with a plan.
Now a couple of months later, the workstation has started to take shape. The boxes ended up being made mostly of pre-finished maple plywood with the edges banded. The top will be MDF covered with Formica. Here’s a progress report on making the sketch real.
The saw has already had the left table wing replaced with a Bench Dog router table, a great $300 addition. The stock fence system also replaced with a 48″ Vega Pro 50 fence system for $250 (in the future I will step all the way up and go with Delta / Beisemeyer for $500. The round rail flexes mush more than the rectangular tube. )
Started by building a base with 2 x 3/4″ ply and a frame.
Next put maple edge-banding on to dress it up. Quick finish for all edge-banding with aresol lacquer.
Built the first box (under the router) with some oopses using the router and a clamp-on guide, but nothing that will be visible when the drawers are in.
Finished the rest of the boxes without problems, then edge-banded and finished them.
Got the base finished and wheels on (I will have to replace the wheels I used with MUCH more heavy duty models. This thing is a beast!
And started screwing things together.
Box on the lift sits under the router table wing, saw next to it on the right.
Next attached the two boxes for drawers under the saw to the open end with slat wall to hang things.
Eventually got everything together and lined up. Ready for dust collection and electricity.
Power switches for the saw and router in the front.
220v 4 wire power to pull power for both 110v and 220v from one cord.
Big power cord!
110v and 220v switches for the router and saw.
Three dust collection ports in the back, one for the router, one for the saw, and a smaller one for the downdraft box.
Power and dust collection under the router.
Electricity all complete and trimmed out. 110v on the back for miscellaneous power tools and 220v for the compressor.
Started on the downdraft box next. 1/2″ MDF construction.
Four panels, one larger than the others to accommodate the pocket hole jig.
Complete. Next stop – a perfectly flat counter – MDF with P-lam veneer.
In January, I plan to start working on the next big woodworking project: taking my ten-year-old contractor table saw (which still rocks) and turning it into the heart of a new table saw workstation.
I started looking around for ideas of what it could be. I came across lots of cool features, but no examples of one plan that incorporated them all. So I started sketching, moved over to Sketchup, and came up with this:
The original saw lives within a collection of MDF boxes. Below the saw is a dust collection box. To the right is space for the saw table fence and the router table fence to live when now in use. There are eight drawers on the right.
This end includes an open box with slat board at the back to hang hoses, cords, and the like from pegs. The back side includes another eight drawers. and connections to the dust collection system.
The work top includes a downdraft table on the right for sanding small pieces, and a system of t-tracks for use as an assembly or finishing table using the Bench Dog system.
The last side includes eleven more drawers for tool storage, and a door below the router insert to adjust the router.
Stay tuned in January for photos!
In November of 2004 I bought a 1970s “Brady Bunch” house in original condition, took it back to the studs and rebuilt it. The house itself took fifteen months. The front and back yards took eight years. The side is still a work in progress…
The design process began with a conversation with an amazingly talented architect. From initial conceptual sketches, to the final blueprints was a few short weeks.
The demolition and building was documented in slideshow photo essays. To see each slide in the slideshows below, click on the arrows or click and slide.
Built in 1975, the house was a typical California ranch-style house, two bedrooms and two baths in 1,350 square feet.
Every element of the house was original, including the mature landscape
The original front door.
T-111 siding and volcanic rock wainscoting.
The narrow back yard faces north.
The east-facing side yard off the master bedroom
The interior was also typical of the period with sunken living room and shag carpet (also original.)
The yellow 1975 carpet turned out to be green shag in the closets. The wood wall and stone fireplace informed part of the new design.
Harvest gold was the 1070's color
The master bathroom,
The master bathroom.
Guest bathroom. Loved the padded toilet seat!
Framing and Windows
So the old rotten waood was gone,
and I replaced it with new. Nice new heating registers, too.
Not much wall to rebuild; it was all glass under a big header.
Look at all of the light they let in!
I bravely cut holes in the roof...
Now it just looks like lincoln logs on acid.
Well, it wasn't that hard.
And there was the refrig full of beer to look forward to.
It's almost straight!
Strong like bull (did you say chicken legs?)
Now, onward to the back of the hosue. No rotten wood here.
New sliding doors and a big picture window to go over the kitchen counter.
From the outside...
Sliding doors are in.
At least these openings were right in the master bedroom.
Electricity and Plumbing
This is what I started with; barely enough juice to run the saws.
I pulled lots and lots of new wire.
Up and over...
Back and forth...
Past the kitchen...
Ten halogen down-lights to wash the new wood wall.
Four over the kitchen island...
Four over the dining table with boxes for two hanging lights...
And six ovedr the kitchen counter.
I even put eight in the lightwells to refelct down.
Four each over the double master bath sinks.
A view from above.
Large conduit to the media center in case technology changes.
It pops out in the attic in case you need to pull new cabes through.
Speaker wire, TV cable, network cable... it all runs over the cieling.
Eventually the wires were all pulled...
And all roads lead to Rome. This is a new 200Amp service panel.
Fancy fans for the shower (hot showers to your heart's content).
Located remotely so there's no sound to disturb your shower.
All new plumbing too (I didn't do this part).
But Dave did a rock-start job.
Waiting for the new toilet.
Time to start building the shower.
A cricket so that it drains rights starts with the proper slope.
I bet that you didn't know what a cricket was before this; I didn't.
But I do now, and I used lots of glue.
The support wall for the double sink in the master bath.
I put plugs here, too.
The utilities for hte kitchen island are ready.
Insulation and Sheetrock
Insulation and sheetrock first.
Then a brick wall from floor to cieling.
It set overovernight...
Then the new fake rock was applied.
It was real fake rock.
The insulation really made the place start to feel like a house again.
My friend, Memo and I did the whole house in two days.
The fancy plastic facing eliminated the itching and keeps moisture out.
The new tub arrives.
GWB or sheetrock is even better than insulation to make a guy feel at home.
The cieling is hard! especially by yourself.
Did I use too many screws?
But eventually everything gets done.
Even the hallway.
The licing room was last. The lightwells were a pain.
Over the kitchen.
Over the living room.
Even the garage got a face-lift.
The tapers work magic with the 30 year old walls.
A good week's work.
Level five surface in the lightewells
Greenboard with tape only in the tile areas
and Dan and Alfonso had earned their keep for a long time.
The painters masked the openings and used a sprayer to apply the paint.
The exterior was to be four different colors.
Four men did the work in four days, incuding prep time.
They were real pros!
They even cleaned everything up!
And covered all of my many mistakes.
Inside took longer. There are six colors inside and lots of spackling.
But they got the job done.
Lots of color!
Once the wall was paneled, the place started to take shape.
And mustard in the second bath.
I did ask for green, right?
Lots of anil holes to fill in the trim.
The trim is actually an extension of the door jambs.
The walls around the tub have been floated, too. Now the tile can go on.
Oh my God, it's really orange!
The kitchen splash ready for tile.
Hmm... might need sun glasses in the kitchen.
Alright, mabe not too bad. The grout will help.
First step for the double shower is the waterproof liner. No leaks!
The walls are ready to be floated.
Perfectly flat and square.
This heating mat will go under the tile.
The heating mat all glued down... oops, it's under the sink! Oh well...
Warm toes, even in the, um, water closet.
All floated and ready for tile.
The shower looks nice...
So does the floor!
The grout really brightens everything up.
Notice the difference.
Hmm... sure is bright.
The toys came on the first truck-load. Now we can have microwave popcorn.
Where am I going to put all of this shit?
The end of day one for the cabinetmakers.
But all's well that ends well.
Plumbing fixtures come next.
and maybe roast chicken.
Waiting for the shower surround, too. At least the toilet works.
First step was to lay a vynal slip-sheet and moisture barrier.
Glue it down tight!
Moving right along...
It's starting to look like home.
We used the expensive glue, too.
Half way through the floor, I decided to indulge in a fire.
The last day of flooring.
A pom-set to choose carpet fibers. I went with brown...
Ready for another fire.
Time to start on the shoji screens in the master suite.
The frames look good - very minimal.
The sinks don't look bad either. Will this project EVER be done?
Finally I get to take a shower.
and, um, use the water closet. Now for furniture, lights and art.
The Finished Home
I had some redwood 2x and 1x left from the deck project, so I made a nice potting table. I added a sink to use to wash the dirt off of vegetables after harvest, too. Drew the table in Sketchup. Not too much to say to add to the photo essay. Email with questions.
Cut the wood to length.
First glue-up for the right side with a shelf for my potting soil container.
All butt joints were made with pocket screws using a Kreg pocket hole jig.
Right side frame done
Left side frame.
Planks on and sanded and sink in.
Finish applied. Ready to go to the garden.
I saw this project on a website and, egged on by Patrick, decided to give it a try. By far the hardest part is making the cut-outs on the box. The $75 job turned into $200 as I invested in a Dremmel tool, vice, etc.
I printed full scale templates onto adhesive paper, then adhered them to the acrylic boxes. What followed was a series of trips back to the Container Store to buy more boxes. I finally got reasonably close.
I ordered the parts on-line and they arrived a couple of days later. I soldered terminal connectors on everything, and used color-coded wire to keep everything straight.
Then I organized all the parts for the three ICs I was making.
Things came together slowly.
But eventually they came together.