Mini Convertible Picnic Table and Benches

My nieces have a bunch of American Girl dolls and play with them a lot. I thought it would be cool to make a picnic table for them as a Christmas gift. Then I remembered some convertible benches which joined to make a picnic table I’d seen a few years ago. I found a set of plans and made everything at 1/3 scale since the dolls are 18 inches tall. I asked each girl what color they wanted, not telling them what I was making. Sophie (7 on the 30th) picked purple and Kennedy (10) picked pink. I really love how these turned out and as a bonus they also work as desks. It was definitely one of the funnest projects I’ve done.

Bath Tub Tray/Caddy

My friend Casey asked if I could make his vision come to lift as a gift for his wife Maggie. Here’s his sketch.

He picked up a nice piece of maple, which I cut and glued up. I’d never made recessed cuts in wood before, so that was a fun challenge to tackle. I bought a piece of acrylic and made a large base for my palm router.

Then I made a 4″ circle template in some scrap plywood by cutting a large hole with a forstner bit, getting close to the line with the router, and finishing up on the oscillating spindle sander.

I attaching the template to the maple by using blue tape on each surface and then some CA glue with activator in between the taped surfaces. I used a flush trim bit with a top bearing in the router to copy the template. It was much easier than I expected.

To cut a slot for an iPad I clamped down some scrap wood to create a border for the palm router and it’s original base. I didn’t have the iPad so I cut thin plywood to a similar size for testing, while also making sure the slot would work for future iPad sizes.

I cut and attached runners, rounded all of the corners and edges, and gave everything a thorough sanding.

My work was done at this point, since Casey was taking care of the finish to match their bathroom cabinets. It turned out great and we had a happy recipient!

New Air Tools and More Storage

Yesterday I picked up a used 23 gauge pin nailer. I also used a mini die grinder for the first time, which had been sitting on a shelf in the package. Both tools needed places to live, so I made spots on my air tool wall.

I stopped at Harbor Freight and bought 3 sizes of pins for the new nailer. I also had some unopened boxes of various brad nails sitting around. I took the opportunity to reorganize my bins and more than doubled capacity. Seemed like a good place to move all of the regular nails too.

I love when everything in the workshop has a home.

2020 Home Screen – iPhone 12 Pro

Here’s the yearly share of my iPhone home screen.

The big change this year was moving Facebook and Twitter in to the Social group, creating an extra step, which has helped limit my usage. I think it’s time for a new wallpaper.

Check out previous screenshots from 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2010.

Hobby Room

This used to be my home office, before I created the new one.

I wanted to make it in to a hobby room, where I could organize all of my electronics stuff and any future projects. My woodworking shop is still obviously in the basement though.

Notice anything odd with the lighting? Yeah, one ceiling light and it was in the corner of the room. I’ll never understand that placement. Luckily the joists ran the correct direction (no attic above), so I was able to feed wire across the ceiling for a second light to the left of the window. It was time for the carpet to go as well and I liked the flooring I installed in my new office so much I went with the same stuff.

Look how much brighter it is when the lamp is off and it’s dark outside.

I still have to organize the closet and all of my electronics parts, but the room is already a lot more functional.

Gym Shelf Improvement

When I rearranged a bunch of stuff in my garage gym a free months ago I moved this shelf from an old spot.

It’s bugged me ever since because it was too close to the barbells and didn’t fit the new location. This morning a made a new shelf.

Much better!

Table Saw: Fence and Wings

It took me several more weeks to get to it, but the table saw upgrade I mentioned in my previous post is complete. I installed a new fence and built custom wings. These are huge improvements to the saw!

The road to get here was a bumpy one though. The fence is the 30″ 36-T30T3 made by Delta and it goes for $200. I ordered one from Amazon, which came banged up with holes in the box and missing parts. They sent a replacement and it was the same problem, so I returned both. Lowes sells the fence for the same price, so I ordered one and had it shipped to the store, hoping their delivery system would take better care of the box than UPS. It worked out and I received a complete box of parts.

I’m not going to go in to detail on the installation because it’s different depending on the type of saw you have and there are several YouTube videos and articles out there. My saw is a Craftsman 113.298032, which required some new mounting holes. Some people drilled in to the cast iron top, but I went the other way and drilled new holes in the fence rails, which I think is a much better way to go.

I made my wings using oak flooring for the sub frame (1 1/2″ tall) and 1/2″ laminate finished panels from Menards. Here are some pictures I took through the process.

The Playbook

Netflix’s five episode season 1 of The Playbook is good. Each episode is 30-35 minutes with a coach talking about their “Rules for Life.” All of the coaches were very different, as were their rules. By the end, I realized they shared a common and very important skill, which is understanding and working with people. It’s not an easy skill to excel at and these coaches are doing it at the highest levels of sport, with some of the best to play their games.

Add it to your list and watch.

New Table Saw Switch

Now that I’ve been in my workshop again, it’s time for some table saw upgrades I’ve been wanting to do. The bigger project I had planned for yesterday couldn’t happen because of part damaged during shipping, so I went with the easy one. Here’s the old switch on my saw.

It worked fine, but I wanted something cooler and safer, so I ordered one from Amazon for about $13. The hardest part was finding an electrical box to would work with the location where I wanted to install the switch. Then I built a simple scrap wood box around it and wired everything.

The START button is recessed and you really have to push it, so there is almost no chance of accidentally turning on the saw. The STOP paddle is a big target and at knee height, which will make it easy to turn off the saw without moving my eyes or hands if an operation becomes dangerous.