Cutting a Cove With a Table Saw

I needed to fit a piece of wood up against the seam of a cylinder I created by rolling a sheet of polycarbonate. Remembered seeing of video of someone cutting coves with a table saw, so I found some simple instructions.

I didn’t need to be very precise for my use so wasn’t concerned with my guides having a little wiggle room. Worked great for what I needed. I love learning new stuff! New skill in the toolbox.

Upgrading a Used Table Saw – Part 1

I found a used Craftsman table saw (model 113.298032) on Craig’s List last weekend. Most of the saws I’d been watching had significant rust and this one was in good shape, so I paid $125. I have a lot of ideas to improve the functionality of this saw and utilize it for the space in my workshop, so this will be the first in a series of posts.

Original image from the Craig’s List ad.

The power cord had exposed wire and a bunch of places wrapped in electrical tape. I paid $5 for a 10 foot extension cord from Harbor Freight, cut off the end I didn’t need, and wired it into the switch.

The belt had a little nick in it, which you can see on the right side of the picture. Probably would have been fine, but I wanted to replace it. After reading a tip, I went to Auto Zone and they easily matched up the belt with something in stock ($10).

The metal on the bottom of the stand was bent all over the place, making the casters virtually useless. It was like trying to push the saw down a bumpy dirt road. Harbor Freight sells an awesome mobile base kit, which was about $32 after a 20% off coupon. All of the reviews said it works better than the name brand kits which cost twice as much or more.

You have to supply your own wood for the frame, so I bought four 2x2x42″ exterior deck balusters, for $0.97 each. The instructions call for 1 1/4″ square material, but if you know lumber measurements, the 2×2″ is way off. The fit was snug and took some convincing with a rubber mallet, but these pieces worked great.

Rolls around nice and smooth now. Easy to lock in place too.

Future upgrades will include dust collection, fence customizations, a guide sled(s), a router table, and zero clearance inserts.

Read about more upgrades in part 2.

2 Kinds of People: Calendar Week

The site 2 Kinds of People is one of my favorites. While doing some calendar work recently I thought of my own example, though I don’t have the design skills to come up with beautiful graphics.

There are people who use a Sunday to Saturday calendar week.


Then there are those of us who put the weekend at the end where it’s supposed to be.


Which kind of person are you?

Resurrect a “Dead” Power Tool Battery

Ever had a “dead” power tool battery that wouldn’t charge? It may not have been dead-dead. Some chargers have a safety feature that prevents trying to charge a battery completely out of juice. I was able to bring a Craftsman power tool battery back from the dead using a trick I found in the comments on a YouTube video. Sometimes it pays to read the comments.

This battery was part of a used Craftsman cordless tool set I practically stole. The set was a battery charger, small circular saw, reciprocating saw, nice case for those 3, drill/driver, nailer/stapler, and 2 batteries. Everything is in excellent condition and I only paid $30! The original sticker price on the box for the nailer alone was $80.

Link Dump – 2017/09/25

Designing a Speaker in SketchUp

I’m going to build a bluetooth speaker for my garage gym using an old set of computer speakers. I thought it would be good to plan it out in a 3D model first, so I learned how to use SketchUp by following their great video tutorials. As I’ve learned new tricks and thought of different ideas there have been several design iterations.

Version 1

This first attempt was a very rough idea using paper-thin walls or basically one solid piece, depending on how you want to think of it.

Version 2

I was thinking I could build the box out of 1/4″ material. I set the thickness of the walls, properly created each side of the box as a separate piece, and separated the lids.

Version 3

I realized using 1/4″ material wouldn’t give me much room to drive screws into, so I increased to 1/2″. I added speaker mounting holes and the lids were given holes where screws will hold the pieces together. The holes in the middle front section will be where LEDs and buttons go. The square hole in the back wall (which will probably be changed to a small circle and maybe moved to a side) is for the power cord.


Version 4

I realized if the lids were sitting on the top and bottom of the sides, you’d be able to see the ugly edges if I use something like plywood. So I increased the height of the walls and shrunk the lids to fit inside. There is a row of screw holes all the way around the top and bottom of the side walls, which will attach everything to the lids. I forgot about the on/off switch, so I added another hole on the front.

This is the first time I’ve attempted any 3D modeling and it’s been a lot of fun. Before I start working with wood, I’ll probably create a cardboard model to make sure the components fit inside. The dimensions are roughly 4.25″ deep, 9.5″ wide, and 5″ high.

All of the SketchUp files are in a bluetooth-speaker-design repo on GitHub if you want to use any of them.

Head over to Making a Bluetooth Speaker to see how the build turned out.

How To Cut A Picture Frame To Size Easily

Under the box lid of a Sears Craftsman 45° miter cut-n-clamp set, which was produced in the 1960s.

X + 2Y - 0.5 = L

  1. Measure the width of the picture. (X in inches)
  2. Measure the width of the molding. (Y in inches)
  3. 3 Add twice the molding width (2Y) to the picture size (X) then subtract 0.5.
  4. This will give you the length to cut your molding. (L in inches)

Then you can do the same thing for the opposite dimension if your picture isn’t a square.

Don’t Take My Phone

I spent all of last week with about 540 Automatticians. For an introvert like me it’s a challenging and exhausting week. When meeting new people each day we often repeat the same conversations.

How is your week going?

What team are you on?

How long have you been working here?

It’s all a bit awkward (but good) for me, being someone who doesn’t enjoy small talk.

These conversations and interactions may not have been the hardest part of the week though. We tried something new at this year’s Grand Meetup, called Homeroom. Each person in the company was split off into a group of about 25 people we met with for an hour on 4 of the days. At the beginning of each hour, the leads in the room had us place our phones in a drawer or box so we could focus on the group and getting to know people.

Andy said, “It feels like someone cut off my arm.”

I think I’m pretty good at not constantly pulling out my phone in social situations, but not having the option gave me an uneasy feeling.