Tool Pegboard Reorganization

I’ve had a bunch of pegboards in my shop for over five years, and I’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t. I love that a lot of my tools are in direct view and can quickly be accessed. I didn’t love a few areas that I go to frequently though. The first wall I wanted to tackle looked like this.

The main problem was the hammers. They’d become crowded and it was a pain to pull one out when it was second or third in line. I moved all of the other tools up on the wall and lined up my hammers on the assembly table.

After taking measurements, I cut up oak pieces from my old kitchen light box. This storage shelf came together pretty quick and has room for even more hammers. Now I can quickly grab any hammer without disturbing the others.

Here’s the updated wall.

The next wall to the right was making poor use of space, especially since I don’t grab some of the saws very often. Take a look and see they were nearly occupying half of the wall. The files never worked well on those individual hooks either, which always pulled out of the wall.

By moving stuff around I was able to get several more saws, like my Japanese pull and coping, as well as other tools up on the wall.

Over to the right again was wools used primarily for measuring and alignment. In February of 2018 I made a shelf for the squares, which has taken up way too much space. I really liked the grooves in that shelf, but the squares weren’t secure enough. Here’s how the wall looked before I touched it.

I reorganized everything else first and then made a new shelf that was longer so I could add slots in each groove to drop one of each square’s legs down.

Huge improvement and look how much extra space I have for more tools! I need to get myself a nice set of chisels.

Last up was the pegboard on my bench.

I’d been using four of the pegboard holders made for screwdrivers here and don’t care for them; the holes are too big and the spacing is too wide. All you need is scrap plywood with holes drilled in it, which allows you to run two deep and have plenty of expansion room. I also made a holder to store the wood carving set that had been unopened in a box buried on the bench for years.

So much better. Now I can tackle the reorganization of my shop closet.

RasP.iO Breadboard Pi Bridge

The Breadboard Pi Bridge is a neat way to connect the Raspberry Pi to a breadboard for prototyping. I preordered this kit in March of 2019 from RasP.iO after I’d seen Alex Eames release some cool kits there before. It shipped less than two months later, but it took me until February of 2021 to assemble it. Then it sat on the shelf until now when I finally did the testing and put together the video.

The build was simple with only having to solder some headers to a circuit board. I look forward to using this when I make some projects based on Pis.

Stand for Bench Grinders

In early 2018 when I bought a band saw, I installed a bench grinder on the same cart and never liked how much vibration the grinder sent through the saw. I’d been been keeping my eye on Facebook Marketplace for a heavy grinder stand and found one about two years ago, along with a second grinder. It was finally time to clean things up and mount both grinders. I forgot to take a picture before disassembling things, but I did find a really small thumbnail from the Messenger chat that I zoomed in. You can kind of see how rusty things were.

I separated the parts and used a flap disc on an angle grinder and a brass wire wheel on a drill to clean up a lot of the rust.

Then the stand parts got a coat of rusty metal primer.

Then I cut a larger top plate from 3/4″ plywood and chamfered the edges. I drilled out mounting holes for both grinders and transferred those to new holes in the metal top plate. It all got two coats of black paint.

I cleaned up the grinder with a wire brush, but didn’t bother with a new paint job. I bought a new buffing wheel, mounting bolts, and some rubber feet (time will tell if they’re too small). I found some bolts in my bins that were the right size for tightening the stand’s top and bottom to the cylinder.

After the paint dried I installed clips and a hook for the power cords and assembled everything.

Workshop Dust Collection 2.0 Part 2

Over four years ago, I modded a Harbor Freight dust collector and closed the post by saying…

I’ll have to create some adapters for tools with dust ports smaller than 4″, though the hose kit did come with some for use with 2.5″ ports. Now that I have a system with enough power I can build something around the miter saw.

I think it was time to finally knock this off my todo list!

My table saw cart got dust collection built in, I set something up for the jointer, and my planer has an easy connection, but the rest of the major dust creation tools have been neglected far too long. Each machine needed a dedicated solution that was easy to connect to the main line or I wouldn’t bother to use any dust collection at all. I pulled out some hoses I picked up at estate sales years ago and bought couplers and connectors that would fit the main line.

The band saw was a quick solution by using a coupler and a reducer on the port at the back.

My sanding cart has three machines, four dust collection ports, and five places to sand. Three of those ports are the same size and after cutting away some excess plastic on a hose it was the perfect fit. I zip tied the hose to a bracket on the back of the station and routed the hose out to the bottom front. It’s easy to swap the small end of the hose from port to port. My spindle sander had a larger port, so I used a coupler and another old hose, feeding it under the drawers as well. I can easily connect the main line to either hose.

Some fittings on another hose got my new miter saw all set. Time will tell how well dust collection works here because miter saws are notoriously bad at it. I may have to build a shroud of some kind behind the blade.

The final hose got a fitting to work with my random orbital sander, track saw, and circular saw. It’ll remain a portable hose I pull out to use with those tools or for corner clean up around the shop.

Even though I’m never more than a few steps away from the dust collector, having to go back and forth to turn it on and off was a nuisance. I’d seen several remote control solutions for $50-100, which always seemed like too much, so planned to build my own. Then a recent Amazon search came up with a $13 product so I bought one. It works great!

Feels good to finish this project. I’m looking forward to breathing less dust and not having to clean up as much.

Miter Saw Cart

I picked up a new Ryobi 10″ miter saw.

The used 12″ Delta had served me well, especially after all of the improvements I did:

Not having a blade guard always made me nervous and features of newer saws made me jealous. Things like a slider, positive angle stops, and a cut line are really nice to have. This new saw is beautiful and was definitely the right price!

Due to the sliding feature, I needed a lot more depth in my space to use the saw. I also knew I wanted a mobile cart because the stand from the other one always stayed where it was, which was often in the way. I had saved the two side cabinets from the bathroom vanity and still had a wide drawer from the kitchen desk I removed.

I combined the cabinets and added reinforcements all over to give more stability and connection points because the cabinet walls were so shitty. I made a base, replaced the toe kick, added casters, attached the drawer, and whipped up a little cubby.

The base of an old treadmill has been sitting in my basement, which was a decent piece of MDF. I removed the plastic and chopped it up to make the top of my stand.

The final thing to do was make a riser to the left of the saw for more support while making cuts. The cart turned out great and is so easy to move around.

I took the opportunity to clean the shop and do some rearranging. I moved the drill press out of the dusty area and pulled the band saw in. I also moved the jointer out since it doesn’t get used much and is an awkward size, so it was also in the way. It feels like I have a whole new shop and being able to move the miter saw around is going to be a huge improvement to my workflows.

Electric Toothbrush Shelf

With the counter of our new vanity not extending to the wall where the outlet is, we wanted a dedicated spot for our electric toothbrushes. I outlined the base of one charger and then made a rough model with cardboard and hot glue.

After a successful test fit with the brushes, I moved over to wood and used all scraps since it was getting painted.

It was a simple build, a lot of fun, and definitely a functional one.

Mtn Dew: Pitch Black

Mountain Dew has brought back Pitch Black and I’m not sure I ever had it. I couldn’t find a MtDewVirus review for it, so here we are. I was trying to figure out what this tasted like when B said “It tastes like a flat grape Crush.” She had it. It’s a shitty version of a grape pop, so it only gets a 4/10. I would not buy this.

A Full Bathroom Remodel

I’ve done a lot of home remodeling over the last three years and the guest bathroom was the final area needing an overhaul. Here are the standard before pictures.

This is Brandi’s main bathroom, so I had wanted to improve the shelving situation in the closet for over a year. A smaller vanity was going in, so storage space would be lost. With three feet of depth in the closet there was a lot of wasted area and room for improvement. I bought three pull out drawers (Amazon). The closet shelves are made from particle board, so instead of using the included screws for attachment I picked up bolts, washers, and nuts.

After an hour install and some organizing it was a huge improvement. We even have room on the top shelf for spare towels now.

Just like the other bathroom, there weren’t shut-off valves on the sink’s water lines, so I installed some. Next up was taking down trim and everything on the walls so the fun job of removing wallpaper could be done; it was more trouble than it had been anywhere else in the house. Had to pull out the vanity, lights, mirror, and toilet to complete the job. Of course the toilet valve wasn’t completing turning off, so I put a new valve in there as well. Scrubbing and washing the walls was an exhausting step of this project and we were glad when it was done!

The walls under the wallpaper were in rough shape and needed a lot of patch work. I brushed some primer on the areas where the drywall paper was torn off. It was a good time to freshen up the ceiling before installing anything new in the room, so I gave it a quick coat of paint. We did primer and paint on the register and trim around the window and two doors. Since the closet door was slatted I needed to use my paint sprayer. I used plastic sheeting to make a temporary spray booth in the basement.

Dad came down to help for a couple of days. We removed some drywall and chopped up the shower for removal with a reciprocating saw. It went very smooth, thanks to having watched Removing A Fiberglass Bath And Surround and following exactly what he did.

With the water to the house turned off, we cut the lines, made an access hole through the closet, and installed shut-off valves. It felt good to turn water to the house back on with the valves working as they should.

We brought in the shower pan for a test and it fit like a glove! We quickly decided we should pull flooring so the subfloor under the shower was closer to the level under the old vanity. It was a pain in the ass because there was linoleum with a layer of luan (attached with far too many staples) over an even older layer of linoleum. After digging through my rack of plywood I found some that was the correct thickness to bring the shower subfloor up with the rest of the room.

We started working on the drain, which needed to move over a bit from the old one. We bought parts to construct our own P-trap. There was still a lot of trimming PVC pieces, but we ended up with something that worked. Here’s what we had to work with and the cut-out piece of circle is where we had to get to.

Then it was on to all of the plumbing for the water lines. This was a bit of a challenge, because the shower fixture instructions were weak on details. I picked up a lot of tips for working with PEX from How To Convert Old Copper To New Pex | Tub And Shower Plumbing. After temporarily installing a couple of caps, a pressure test showed a leak-free system.

After that it was finalizing the shower pan and getting the walls up. Cutting holes through the shower wall was nerve-racking!

I had to shim out the left wall which wasn’t plumb. Then it was time to dry fit the shower walls and get them attached. I got a nice tight fit on the back. I figured there was no way I would use all eight recommended tubes of the adhesive, but I did. Not sure how I would have completed that step without the Ryobi Caulk & Adhesive Gun, which worked awesome.

I cut pieces of 1/2″ greenboard and screwed them to the walls. We taped plastic over the window, closet, and door.

Then it was time for a lot of drywall work. This was after the first coat of mud.

Over 24 hours later the thickest parts of the mud still weren’t dry. Up to this point, the project had been full of mistakes and having to do a few things multiple times before getting them right. I really thought things might move along after getting that first coat of mudding done. Boy was I wrong!

Since I couldn’t do anything with the drywall yet, I made runs to the home stores for all of the trim and a new subfloor. The lowest layer of linoleum had that paper backing on it, which you can see in pictures above. I wanted it gone in order to have a more level surface for the new plank flooring. I actually spent about 30 minutes trying to remove some of the paper before I decided to do a new layer of subfloor over the top. That plan changed before I even picked up the new plywood though because a third layer would have given me different problems to deal with around the doors, toilet, and register. It took me forever to remove that layer of subfloor, and probably would have been a lot less work to get the paper off. Here are pictures when I got down to the single subfloor layer, my measurements, and with the new plywood (before being screwed down).

Taping the seams and the second and third applications of drywall mud were much harder than it looked on YouTube. I picked up a steel mud pan, which made things much easier and I was finally getting the hang of it with my fourth (because I’m a newb) and final coat. Then it was primer and two coats of paint, which went smooth. I brought the new subfloor back in and screwed it down.

At some point I took a piece of scrap plywood and made a door for the shut-off valve access. I used white gaffer’s tape over the edges of the wall so the cut drywall wouldn’t keep crumbling and making a mess. It got primer and paint when the brush was out for other things.

After painting the room it was time to install the shower doors and fixtures. I caulked everything as well.

Unfortunately the doors have a major flaw and the top rail sags a lot from the weight of the glass. This means it’s impossible to properly align the doors. I got it the best I could so they roll smooth and hopefully don’t leak. I called American Standard and found out they’ve redesigned the mounting brackets because of this problem. They’re sending me a set as soon as they get them in stock. 🤞

Lighting was a quick job. I also replaced an old outlet with a GFCI.

I went with a waterproof vinyl plank flooring that looks like tiles. I’ve done quite a few floors now, so this was easy.

Vanity and toilet went in. Mirror was hung. Doors went up.

I put up accessories and did all of the trim work, which needed three coats of paint, even after primer.

Here’s the final result.

Quite a transformation in just over three weeks! Check out the before and after comparisons.

This bathroom is so nice now! I was hoping Brandi got used to my bathroom after using it for a few weeks and would want to stay there. No such luck.

There have been a lot of home remodeling projects over the last few years and I’m finally done. They were all needed, but I’m glad they’re over. Time for some fun little projects I’ve had on the back-burner for too long.

Set Sound Output via AppleScript

When playing music I usually change my office MacBook’s sound output to a Sonos speaker, which is an AirPlay device. Sometimes the connection freezes and I have to reset output my default device and back to the office speaker. I wanted to automate both of these processes, so I found an AppleScript as a starting point. I modified it and created an Alfred Workflow with a keyword trigger. Here’s my version of the AppleScript. Feel free to modify it for your own use.

-- This script can be used to set/reset the sound output
-- Two devices because sometimes the AirPlay device loses connection
set myDevices to {"LG UltraFine Display Audio", "Office"}

tell application "System Settings"
	-- sometimes it is already open to Sound, which causes an error
	quit
	delay 0.3
	activate
	delay 0.3
	
	tell application "System Events"
		tell process "System Settings"
			set theWindow to first window
			delay 0.3
		end tell
		
		keystroke "Sound"
		delay 1
		
		tell application process "System Settings"
			tell radio button 1 of tab group 1 of group 2 of scroll area 1 of group 1 of group 2 of splitter group 1 of group 1 of window "Sound"
				click
			end tell
			
			delay 0.5
			
			set theRows to (every row of table 1 of scroll area 1 of group 2 of scroll area 1 of group 1 of group 2 of splitter group 1 of group 1 of window "Sound")
			
			repeat with myDevice in myDevices
				set device to myDevice as string
				repeat with aRow in theRows
					try
						if name of first item of static text of group 1 of UI element 1 of aRow is equal to device then
							set selected of aRow to true
							
							exit repeat
						end if
					on error
						display dialog "Error setting output sound to " & device
					end try
				end repeat
			end repeat
		end tell
	end tell
	
	quit
	
end tell