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.

Another Maker in the House

I’m excited to say a second maker is emerging in the house. 🙂

In addition to helping with our 2021 Christmas ornament. Brandi wanted to make a few holiday decorations. First was an old sled that was her mom’s. She sanded off a pineapple and some wording, gave it a new paint job, and added some accessories. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of what it looked like before she started.

She also wanted some type of tall sign, so she grabbed a piece of twisted pallet wood from my scrap pile and sanded the rough edges. We found this barn red stain at Ollie’s Bargain Outlet for $4, which was perfect.

She wanted to paint the word “peace” on it and I’ve been looking for an excuse to buy a Cricut, so I made the purchase and we created custom stencils. I love the use of a tree for the letter A. After a little spray paint and some hinge clips we had ourselves a place for Christmas (and my birthday) cards.

DIY Desk Backer

Here it is, the final project I had planned for my new home office.

The idea for this actually started a year ago, when I rotated my desk in the old office.

The back of my desk is obviously meant to be up against a wall, so it’s not a finished look with the particle board and the big access holes. At the time, I was thinking I could create some type of artsy piece for the back using reclaimed pallet wood. I didn’t have any motivation to make anything over the winter though.

Fast forward to this year and moving my office to a newly redone room across the hall. With better lighting, the back of the desk stuck out even more.

My idea came back to me and inspired part of the plant stand. I acquired a bunch of reclaimed oak flooring from the 50s to use for both projects. Hopefully the following pictures tell a little bit of the story about how the idea went from my brain, to a 3D model/plan, and came to life.

It was probably the most complicated build I’ve done. Really happy with how it turned out!

Franken-treadmill

Last August I picked up a free treadmill and didn’t use it once because it had a major issue. When I’d get on it and crank up the speed, either the belt was slipping or the motor couldn’t handle the load. I never got around to troubleshooting the problem. A couple of weeks ago I saw another free treadmill which was able to fold up. That was another problem with the first treadmill; it took up way too much space in the garage.

So I picked up this second treadmill and gave it a quick test when I got it home. It worked just fine at speed, but the front end wanted to tip back. I found the manual online and noticed it was missing the support leg extensions and wheels. I grabbed a couple of 1.5″ posts from my scrap wood, hammered them in, and they fit perfectly.

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No more tipping over!

Last weekend I disassembled the first treadmill to salvage a bunch of parts, like the motor and speed controller. The support wheels were part of a framed piece, which I thought I could fit on to the treadmill I was keeping, so I saved them too.

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Today I cut a couple of spacer blocks, chopped the leg posts, drilled some holes, and voila! The bolts I used were also saved from the other treadmill. I love when a plan works out and especially when it involves upcycling parts.

I was a little worried the posts wouldn’t be able to handle the weight of the treadmill when propped up to wheel around, but it works great. I probably won’t move the treadmill around the garage often, but it’s nice that it’ll be easy to do with the wheels instead of having to pick it up or shuffle it across the floor.

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How many times will I use this treadmill in the next year though?

DIY Table Saw Cart

Following up on fixing my table saw crosscut sled, I decided it was time to build a new cart for the saw. The mobile base kit I used from Harbor Freight seemed like a good idea and worked ok in the beginning. Over time, the weight of the saw seemed to bend the base. With only two small swivel castors and the other two wheels being stationary, it became a real bitch to move around the shop, especially as I filled out the space with more tools.

I took a lot of inspiration from the Mobile Table Saw Cart by Woodworking for Mere Mortals. This is actually what pushed me to create the jig for the pocket hole jig, since I’d be using it a lot in this build.

The solid wood came from the cabinets I rebuilt, the plywood (except the one 3/4 piece) is from a truckload I got for free, the drawer is the same as the ones I upcycled for the sanding station, and I think I paid $10 for the casters at a garage sale.

Here are some planning measurements and sketches. Other than trying to keep the same height for my saw, the dimensions were based on the drawer.

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I took those and most of the plan from the mobile table saw cart I linked above to make a model in SketchUp. You can grab the plans off GitHub if you want them.

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Creating a model really helps me find measurement errors and think about the assembly order. The Cut List extension in SketchUp is a huge time saver too.

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Note that the cut list above isn’t the final one in case you want to make this. I made some modifications along the way. The Sketchup model should be pretty close to what I made though.

I really liked the assembly process for this build, which made it easy to square everything up. Makes a huge difference being able to move the saw around the shop better.

Of course I had to add one of the free Harbor Freight magnetic strips. Much better plate to store the tape measure and splitters than with magnets on the fence.

 

While I was at it, I attempted to seal up a bunch of gaps in the saw’s body with spray foam. What a mess! I also made covers for the front and back that’ll stay in place except when I need to make a bevel cut.

I ended painting them black to blend in. Hopefully these little things make a big difference with dust collection.

1994 Black & White TV

This five inch black and white TV from 1994 will make a fun upcycle project. I always wanted a portable TV when I was a kid, so I couldn’t pass this up for $6. A few ideas floating around my head are:

  • Portable retro gaming arcade
  • Monitor for security cameras
  • Picture box that rotates through images

Leave a comment if you have any ideas or have seen any neat projects using an old TV monitor.

Upcycle: Sanding Station

In the summer I snagged an old Craftsman workbench (model 706653800) for $30. I thought it would make a great sanding station for my workshop. Here is a before and after of just the table (near the end is a photo with my sanding machines attached). I’m really happy with how it turned out!

One of the first tasks was to make use of the right side. I started by cutting a couple of plywood panels and screwing them in.

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If you look back at the post where I took out a couple of walls to open up my workshop, you can see a unit with five drawers. When I dismantled it, I saved the drawers and slides. This was the perfect project to use a few.

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The drawers were too wide, deep, and tall, so I had to resize them in every dimension. Thankfully glue wasn’t used in the original assembly, so they were easy to break down.

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It felt like I measured and checked my calculations 10 times before cutting anything to size. I didn’t want to rush it and cut too much from any pieses, so I ook my time and the assembly went well. Putting the drawer slides in was tricky, but I made everything fit.

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I cut a plywood base and attached it to the frame. Then I screwed in some locking casters ($4/each at Harbor Freight). I drilled holes for the drawer handles before taking both sets of drawers out and removing all of the slides. After two coats of a glossy black on the body and base, I was finally able to move it to the basement and free up the space in my garage.

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I sanded the wood drawers, wire brushed the original drawers, and cleaned all of the drawer slides with Brakleen. The faces got two coats of glossy white and the handles were sprayed with metallic aluminum.

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I’m really glad I decided to paint everything. Having this and the lathe stand in more of a finished condition makes the shop feel much nicer. I might have to paint some of my previous shop projects.

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I gave the galvanized metal top a good scrubbing with a soft brush according to what I’d read and it was still in rough shape. So I used a wire brush and a wire wheel on a drill. It ate up the rust, but went through some of the galvanizing. I found a product made by Rust-oleum to resurface the metal that looked promising for less than $5.

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I did 3 good coats, screwed the metal back to the MDF, and attached it to the stand. Looked pretty sweet if you ask me!

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I gave the galvanizing a full week to cure. I’d read about people having mixed results with it scraping off.

My original plan was to make some kind of hinging platform for the larger belt/disc sander so I could flip it on the side to use the belt for edge sanding. It couldn’t come up with a layout to make it work though, especially making sure I still had access to all of the dust ports. This configuration should work just fine.

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From left to right:

  1. Craftsman 4×36″ belt and 6″ disc (Model 137.215360)
  2. Ryobi oscillating spindle (Model OSS500)
  3. Craftsman 1×30″ belt and 5″ disc (Model 137.215150)

I bought all three of these used and paid $25, $50, and $30. The smaller Craftsman sander was still sealed in its original box. If you buy the Harbor Freight versions of these three machines, the new prices are $70, $145, and $85 respectively or $56, $116, and $68 with 20% off coupons if you make separate trips to the store. I love buying used tools!

All of the power cords run along the back and then over to the right side where there is a power strip (free from Harbor Freight) and an extension cord ($9 at Harbor Freight) so I only have to deal with one plug.

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My shop feels infinitely more organized without the three sanding machines scattered across the floor. All that’s left now is to fill up the drawers with my hand sanders, sand paper, and accessories.

Reclaimed Wood

A few weeks ago I picked up this truckload of old wood someone was giving away.

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I pulled a lot of nails, cleaned up the wood, and cut it down to size. Turned out to be a nice stack, though I’m not sure what I’ll use it for yet. The right projects will speak to me at some point.

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