Mini Decorative Crate

Doesn’t take much to make something cool out of some scrap oak. I used a mitre saw, super glue, 1/2″ pin nails, sandpaper, and spray paint.

Watch for another post this weekend to see why I made the crate.

Shop Blow Dryer

My newest tool isn’t one you’d usually think of for a workshop. When B was getting a new blow dryer for her bathroom I asked if I could have her old one. It was dark pink and caked with makeup, but I saw potential. After a simple disassembly, some cleaning, and a new paint job it’s new again.

A blow dryer is useful in a shop when you want to speed dry spray paint, make glue cure quicker, or even create an oven.

A Fireplace Insert

I hadn’t started a fire in my living room in over a decade.

It wasn’t an ordinary wood burning fireplace though. My house has a boiler and the previous homeowners had installed a heat recovery system, called Hydro Fyre, which fed the heat from the fireplace back through the boiler and out to the rest of the house. It sounds good in theory, but with the number of pipes running over the top of the fire, it seems like it was a chimney fire waiting to happen. Look at how loaded with soot everything was!

After they removed the old system and cleaned things out, a direct vent gas fireplace insert was installed. I got the Escape model with the black Firescreen front, made by Heat & Glo. The interior panels are a patented FireBrick technology, which produce up to 25% more radiant heat than a metal interior. Even on the lowest fan speed it really throws out the heat! A remote control makes it easy to change five flame heights, four fan speeds, and three levels of ember illumination. It’s a slick unit.

I love how it transformed the look of the entire room. Why did I wait so long to get this?

I’ll call this phase two of a living room remodel after getting Mitsubishi mini-splits last summer. Several more projects are planned whenever an item arrives, which is supposed to ship near the end of April.

A Mountain Dew Sign and Some History

Last week a Mountain Dew sign caught my eye while browsing. It had an odd character and a slogan that sounded familiar. I knew I had to get something like it for the walls in my shop. After some searching through FB Marketplace, eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and Google it didn’t take long to decide I wasn’t going to spend the kind of money it takes to get an original rusty Mountain Dew sign. I went back to the sign that sparked my interest and ordered it.

The colors, artwork, and being embossed are all quality. It’s a really fun sign that now lives on my shop wall.

This journey doesn’t stop there though. I thought the style of the art was familiar and it was. Back in 2015 I saw a different Mountain Dew sign while I was in Park City, Utah. I was pretty sure I’d heard/seen the slogan “It’ll tickle yore innards” as well and sure enough, it was used on a bottle of DEWshine I drank back in 2016. The same hillbilly character was appearing everywhere! His name is Willy, which makes a lot of sense when you learn Mountain Dew is actually slang for “moonshine.” (source) Here’s an early (original?) commercial.

Mountain Dew was invented in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1946 when Barney and Ally Hartman, of the Hartman Beverage Corporation, first debuted their new soft drink at a Gatlinburg convention. The drink’s trademark became official in 1953. Originally, Mountain Dew’s flavor was lemon-lime similar to 7-Up or Sprite and it was created by the Hartman brothers primarily as a mixer for hard liquor. In fact, the name “Mountain Dew” came about because the brothers joked that when mixed with liquor, the drink resembled a fine Tennessee moonshine.

…it was not until 1960 when Tri-City’s manager, Bill Bridgforth, changed the flavor to the citrus-lemonade flavor we know today, that the drink began to soar. As Bridgforth put it, “it took off like a cat hit on the tail with a hammer.”

source: “It’ll Tickle Yore Innards!”: A (Hillbilly) History of Mountain Dew

I’m so glad they changed the flavor.

Ya-hooo! Mountain Dew!

Wood Storage and Organization

My wood storage got out of control. Something had to change.

First I wanted to build a lumber rack on the opposite wall of the room. I remembered watching John Heisz make a simple one on YouTube, so I followed what he did almost exactly. I already had plywood strips the correct width, so I chopped ten to 30″ long. Then I whipped up a simple tapering jig on the bandsaw to make quick work of cutting 20 arms out of old wood.

I ran the arms through the planer and rounded them on my router table. I also rounded the plywood edges because they were rough. After a lot of repetitive gluing and screwing, the pieces were assembled.

I drilled holes and preloaded all 60 screws to make it easier to put them on the wall.

I stacked two at every other stud and loaded it up!

It’s so nice to see what I have and be able to easily access everything. I didn’t expect it to be so full already though!

Next, I wanted a rolling lumber cart for sheet goods, off-cuts, and scraps. Doing a Google image search was a bit overwhelming, but I found inspiration from several styles:

I drew up some ideas. Since I already had the lumber rack on the wall, I kept reminding myself I didn’t need space to store long boards. Originally I was set on incorporating an old drawer in my design (first picture below), but it was too limiting. Some of my design choices were dictated by only wanting to use materials I already had.

Instead of doing a final plan in SketchUp I decided to wing it, giving myself flexibility through the build. I took full advantage too by changing several things along the way.

I had bought The Auto-Jig from Armor Tool a week before, which I’ve had my eye on for quite some time. It’s worth every penny and saved a ton of time.

One morning I built the base and cut most of the plywood pieces. Then I assembled almost all of the complicated half before attaching it to the base. On day two, the second side was much easier to assemble. I used the router along with some sanding to round the sharp edges. I slapped some castors on to make it mobile. The last task was making the drawers, which I put together with a nail gun and glue.

Finally it was time to load up the cart and organize everything. Big surprise, it ended up very full!

Sorting through all of the wood was a good opportunity to purge and I ended up with a big pile for the trash.

I can actually use the room again!