DIY Dust Collector Chute for a Craftsman 351.233831 Planer

My Dad got an old Craftsman 351.233831 Planer (manual) from one of his friends for $75 after it stopped working.

When turning it on the motor would hum for a second and then the breaker (or power strip) would trip. He left the machine with me to fix. The motor shaft wouldn’t turn at all so I had to take a bunch of the machine apart (and cut the belt off) to get the motor out. I ended up using a screwdriver and hammer against the fan to free up the motor. It didn’t want to move, but slowly some hardened gunk broke up and the shaft was spinning. Since I had it in pieces I cleaned out the gear box and applied new grease to the gears.

That’s not what the title of this post is about. Since I had the machine I thought it would be nice to build some dust collection for it; these machines create one hell of a mess. Here’s a step by step of the dust collection build.










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Murdered Out!

I think it turned out pretty good and the paint is a nice touch. I might have to paint the one on my Delta dust collector.

After putting the new belt on and testing it out I noticed the feed rollers were in really bad shape so ordered a new set. The machine is an absolute beast, so I mounted it on one of the Harbor Freight stands, made a plywood base for the bottom, and put on some castors.

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I still need to figure out how to replace the feed rollers and will swap out some of the knives that are nicked up. Then it should be running like a brand new planer! It’s cool to see my Dad getting excited about a new hobby; he already has a bunch of pallets collected to tear apart.

DIY Overhead Camera Rig v2

Last year I made an overhead camera rigĀ and wasn’t in love with it. It was hard to adjust and unless I was doing a really close shot, the base of the rig was always in the video frame.

When I saw an old swing arm desk lamp at an estate sale I knew I could make something better. Here it is…

It was a very simple build…

Without the base, I’m already in love with how much extra space I have on the desk and how I can move the clamp all the way to the back of the desk with the arm against the wall.

Lamp Repair: Replace Touch Control with a Switch

My Mom’s bedroom lamp was malfunctioning so I told her to send it down with my Dad and I’d take a look at it.

The lamp uses a very common TA-306A touch control unit and the BT134 thyristor on the board often gets fried. I think this might have been my bedroom lamp when I lived with my parents 20 years ago, so there is no sense buying parts for it. I replaced the touch controls with a switch I salvaged from a different lamp.

Replace Fluorescent Tubes in a Light with LED Bulbs

A few months ago I helped my brother rewire some lights for his shop to use LED bulbs instead of flourescent tubes. I decided to do the same thing for my kitchen light, which had been flickering and didn’t always light up every tube.

Years ago, a friend rhetorically asked me, “Are you an electrician?” after I screwed up some wiring, which left us without heat on the coldest night of the winter. I’d say I’m the perfect man for this job. šŸ˜‰

Jokes aside, it is an extremely easy wiring task. Electrical stuff can be scary for a lot of people, so I figured I’d document my process. Fair warning… IĀ am not a professional and I’m not telling you how to do this. This is just an explanation of what I did. I’m also not a lawyer.

I did this at night, guided by some battery-powered LED lights, so the lighting in the photos isn’t very good.

First IĀ TURN OFF THE BREAKER connected to my light. Absolutely no shortcuts here. Then I took the tubes out and removed the fixture covers.

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Those black boxes are the ballasts, which limit the current in a circuit. To use LED bulbs those need to be bypassed. I cut all of the wires and removed them.

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Then I stripped the ends of every wire I had cut.

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In these particular fixtures, one side used 2 blue and 2 red wires and the other side used 2 yellow wires. The yellow side did use some short white wires to connect one tube to the other, but those white wires were not directly connected to the ballast.

This is the key step. All of the wires on one side of the fixture needed to be connected and then connected to either the black (hot) or white (neutral). It doesn’t matter which side goes to white and which goes to black, but it’s very important that everything on one side of the fixture goes together.

As you can see here I grouped by dark (blue and red to black) and light (yellow to white) colors. I screwed a wire nut on each bundle of wires. When I have 3 or more wires connected like this I gently pull on each wire to make sure nothing will come loose.

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Before I closed everything up, I flipped the breaker and made sure the light switch was on. Then I took one LED bulb and tested it in each spot to make sure everything worked. There’s nothing worse than having to take something apart after it’s been closed up. Everything worked great, so I wrapped each wire nut with electrical tape.

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For the final step I put the covers back on over the wiring and slipped in the LEDs.

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It made a huge difference in my kitchen. Here are some unedited before and after shots.

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The camera really shows how green the light was from the flourescent tubes.
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You can see how much more natural the wood looks.

What happened with that wiring mistake I made years ago? We got drunk andĀ survivedĀ a cold night. I woke up early the next morning determined to figure out what I had done wrong. I fixed the mistake and learned not to assume that speaker wire running through a basement ceiling was useless. I’m probably lucky the wires I cut were only used for thermostats instead of something with a higher voltage.

I didn’t let my friend’s joke discourage me from trying. To this day I continue to learn.

Delta TP305 Planer Dust/Chip Collection

Back in early November I found this Delta TP305Ā planer for $100 on craigslist.

It was obvious the owner took care of his tools, he had just replaced the blades, and also had a set of new blades, so the price was a steal. It didn’t have any type of dust/chip collection though.

delta-planer-dust-chuteWhen Delta produced this planer, the dust collection attachment was an extra accessory. I decided to make my own because I don’t understand this design. Why would you want your hose hanging over the outfeed? Too much risk of the work piece getting jammed on the way out, which is extremely dangerous.

I found a neat idea on YouTube and went with a similar plan. Here is what the outfeed looks like normally.

I first cut some pieces to make the sides and bottom of a box.

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I screwed the right side together. Then I held it up against the planer to get the exact positioning before screwing in the left side. I wanted a snug fit.

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I cut and sanded a hole in the side for some PVC parts.

Grabbed a few scraps that would be used to hold the PVC in place.

Cut a hole in the thin piece, boxed in the male PVC part, and screw it all together.

Then I put a spacer under my in-progress box and adjusted the planer’s height. It was important to use a spacer for these next steps because I don’t want the bottom of the box to have any chance of jamming up the wood coming out of the planer. I gave it about 1/8″ of breathing room.

I cut a piece for the top. Then while putting pressure on the edge that makes contact with the planer dust chute I screwed this piece to the sides. At this point I was able to remove the spacer because the tight fit was able to hold the box in place.

I wanted to prevent the box from sagging or shifting down during use though. So I cut two little pieces.

Screwed them in from the bottom on each side. Ā Notice how the kind of grab on to some ledges of the planer. This is a simple way to prevent the bottom of the box from going any lower.

I drilled a hole in the top and through the metal chute. Combined with the tight fit and those blocks, now this thing can only shift up and away from the outfeed path.

The final step was to square up the back edges, cut a piece, and screw it in. There are no screws on the bottom of the back face because I used a scrap piece that wasn’t tall enough to have room for screws there. I did use some glue though.

Here you can see the clearance between the box and the outfeed I mentioned earlier.

Due to the materials I skipped using any wood glue except when I put the back face on. I did go back and hot glue all of the joints so it would be sealed for a better vacuum.

This was an easy build. The only modification to the planer was the screw hole and the whole unit can be removed by taking out that screw.

How well does it work though? You be the judge…

I Make Clock

I was always wondering what time it was when working in my shop. So I took apart an old clock I had in a closet. Used the hands, gears, and battery compartment to make this.

I didn’t occur to me it reads as a full sentence, “I make time” until after it was done.

Craftsman 113.232240 Jointer Dust/Chip Collection

It took a few weeks after restoring the Craftsman Jointer (model 113.232240)Ā to get going on a dust/chip collection upgrade, but now it’s done.Ā It’s not going to win any beauty awards, but it’s functional and works awesome. Not bad for making it up as I went.

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The previous owner had installed these two side panels and basically let everything fall to the bottom of the stand. Not sure how well it worked, but I knew I could do better.

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I figured I could build some type of chute that would fit up between the motor and the bottom of the machine.

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My first idea was to create some type of cardboard model that I could reference for building a real box. This was a terrible idea trying to work up under the machine and as soon as I took it out, it basically fell apart.

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Then I had an idea to cut up this popcorn tin and build the dust chute out of it.

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I’m still not sure how I managed to keep all my fingers or not even draw a single drop of blood; those edges get extremely jagged and sharp.

In the mean time I made a trip to Home Depot and found some PVC pieces that would work with my dust collection hose.

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The tin pieces worked ok, but I wasn’t confident in the duct tape holding up, especially as a means of keeping it connected to the stand. It was not a wasted effort though because I ended up using the pieces as you’ll see in the video.

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While working on this project, I realized I really enjoyed the engineering process and solving problems when I made a mistake. I didn’t include footage of the mistakes but there were some epic ones. At some point in the build I stopped checking the fit inside the stand, so when I put it in place I shouldn’t have been surprised that some of the lower parts were smacking into the motor. After fixing that problem, the box for the power switch was in the way, which is why I moved it to the other side of the stand. Finally I forgot the motor needed to be raised in order to get the belt back on and there was no room to spare. Luckily this last problem was the easiest to fix because the motor mount could be flipped over, getting me 3-4 inches of clearance. I picked a 6 inch longer belt at AutoZone.

I imagine you could build something similar for most jointers. If you come across this post and it helps you out, let me know.

Aluminum Branding Iron

If you watched the video about the bandsaw box, you may have noticed that I burned my initials in to the bottom of the box. I got the idea to leave my “stamp” on anything I make out of wood and of course a branding iron is the natural choice.

I’d set aside an old metal bracket with the original idea of writing my name and the year and then carving it in with a Dremel.

I quickly realized it was going to take forever with such hard metal, especially with so much detail. So I shifted gears with the plans of making a simple one with my initials and 18 for the year.

I stopped at Menards hoping to find some solid brass or aluminum. In the welding section the thickest piece of aluminum they had was a half-inch square in 3 foot long pieces. I grabbed one for about $12.

It was hard to write out the 4 characters (NM & 18) in such a small space, but I gave it a try.

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I screwed up when I chopped off 1/4 of the 8; it was just too small of an area for so many details. So I cut that chunk off and started over with just NM.

Turned out pretty good and it was easy without the letters having any round edges or inside spaces.

I found out heating with a blow torch sucks and got the idea to use my old soldering iron as the heating element. I had to do a ton of filing to get the stem down to size, but it snugly fits into the soldering iron, which is nice so I didn’t have to drill a hole for a bolt or set screw of some kind and I can still use this as a soldering iron as intended if I need to.

Instead of a branding iron should this be called a branding aluminum?

Walnut Bandsaw Box

My buddy Kevin told me about a local shop that sells woodworking tools, supplies, and wood so we took a ride out to Barn Door Lumber Company a few weeks ago. While looking through their scrap pile, this butcher block cutoff caught my eye. It was roughly 1.5 x 6 x 23 inches.

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I had bought a 10″ bandsaw (RIKON 10-305) not too long before and hadn’t used it yet.

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I thought it would be a fun project to chop up this piece on the table saw, glue it into a large block, and then create a bandsaw box. That’s when you create a box out of a block of wood by only making cuts with a bandsaw. Seemed like a good project to get my feet wet. My sister’s birthday was coming up so it would also make a good gift.

The first thing I did was square up the edge.

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Then I sliced 5 pieces. I’m still learning a lot and forgot to set a stop block on my sled, which would have helped with getting pieces that were exactly the same size. The order of operations and remembering little tricks like that are what I’m struggling with the most on this woodworking adventure.

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I glued each piece.

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Quickly realized I only needed glue on 4 pieces. I told myself the last two pieces would just get a really good bond. Then I clamped everything together.

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Of course I forgot to flip that last piece around so that 2 glued sides were facing each other. The glue side ended up facing out and I put 3 clamps in place before remembering. So I backed off the clamps and added a piece of parchment paper.

After squaring up an edge on the table saw I was ready for some work on the bandsaw. Or so I thought…

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After another trip to the table saw I finally had my block of wood. I was ready for the bandsaw!

I quickly found out the blade that came with the saw wasn’t up for the job because it couldn’t make the turns I wanted. I got everything cut but there were several mistakes. Learned a lot though and had fun with the project.

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Craftsman Jointer Restoration

When I saw this Craftsman Jointer (model 113.232240) for $100 I couldn’t pass it up. Most jointers I’ve seen in the $100-150 range are shit.

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The manual is dated 5/97, so it’s over 20 years old. My Internet searching suggests this model originally sold for around $600. The only original parts that appear to be missing are the side panels, blade gauge, and push block. I bought a couple of push blocks this summer at an estate sale, so I’m set there.

They don’t make many tools like this anymore. This thing is a beast of solid metal and weighs a ton. Here it is in my basement. It had some rust, but otherwise it was in good shape and the rolling base was built well.

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I went at the table and fence with a razor blade, which easily removes most of the surface rust. I sprayed everything with WD-40, let it soak, and then did another pass with the razor blade. I love that feeling when you start to see some shine.

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Then I cleaned up the stand and the base. The leveling feet in the stand were rusted and beat to shit, so I trashed them. Drilled holes in the base and properly attached it to the stand with bolts instead of tape like the previous owner.

I replaced the bolts on the belt guard which were rusted really bad. A little elbow grease and a brass brush cleaned up some of the rest on other bolts throughout the stand. I removed the screws for the switch and ran them over a brass wire wheel on the grinder. I also took apart a lot of the fence assembly one piece at a time and used the brass wire wheel to clean it all up.

To continue cleaning the tables and fence I had to order a brass wire brush set for the drill. Everywhere in the area sells the steel wire set, which eats at the metal too much.

Look how much of a difference a few seconds makes.

I went over both tables and the fence with the brass brush and followed up with a polishing wheel. Then I put it all back together and applied a coat of paste finishing wax to those surfaces. Look at that shine! I love that you can see the reflection of the blade guard.

I could see a few nicks in the knives and they had some rust. I’d rather start with a fresh set, especially sinceĀ they were only $17.

I’m going to add a dust/chip collection chute I can hook my hose up to, but that’ll be an upcoming project. Will wait until that’s completed to do final adjustments to the tables and knives since I’ll be removing the tool from the base several times.