New Lumber Rack


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A couple of weeks ago I picked up a Port a Mate lumber rack on clearance for $20.00 at a local Lowe’s. Even though at the time, redoing my lumber area wasn’t top on my list, the price of the rack (originally $70) was too good to pass up.

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My lumber area was basically trashed and had been for several years. I’d clean it up every once in awhile, but it always ended up being a catch all for junk I had lying around. The shelves I used for storing lumber was made from 2×4’s I built from a plan I saw in Shop Notes years ago. They did the job for the most part, but it still wasn’t very organized for storing my lumber. My wife, Anita, was glad I bought the lumber rack because she was sick of looking at the mess.

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After Anita helped me clean up the area, I bought some Dry Lock mold inhibitor paint and we painted both the back and side walls. Then we painted white latex paint on top of it. I moved the cabinet that stored my finishes over closer to my work bench and moved the shelving rack from the back wall to the side. This gave me room to store a full sheet of plywood if I ever needed. I didn’t want the lumber rack to hang off my block wall because I was afraid the added weight may damage the foundation so, I notched out 2×4’s at the top and screwed them to the floor joists. I let the 2×4’s “hang” from the floor joist, then screwed one screw at the bottom of the grey block using plastic wall anchors. I then simply screwed the lumber rack onto the 2×4’s.

As you can see, I use the just-in-time inventory system when it comes to buying lumber. I really don’t have that much lumber to begin with as I buy what I need every time I build something. Any remaining wood is scrap that I can never throw away. The biggest piece of lumber I have is a slab of 2″ thick cherry I bought a couple of years ago during the Longest Yard Sale. I’ve had plans to build something with it, just haven’t yet. Maybe now I will since I can finally get to the board.


“Miraculous” Cure for MS


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I came across this article while reading the Drudge Report this morning. link  It’s from The Telegraph in UK where doctors used a new treatment where they implanted stem cells into people with multiple sclerosis. In both case, the patients made a full recovery even after being confined to a wheelchair. Even though MS and NMO are technically two different diseases, it’s encouraging to know that modern medicine is making great strides in helping people live normal productive lives the same as they did before they became sick. Hopefully someday I’ll no longer have to have chemo every five months to prevent an attack of NMO.

Restoring a Stanley No 10 Carriage Maker Rabbet Plane


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Several months ago I picked up a couple of Stanley No 10 Carriage Makers Rabbet Planes at a local auction. While one of them was in perfect untouched condition, the other one (in the back) was welded and painted black.

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I wanted to restore the plane and make it usable again so I took it all apart and soaked everything in a citric acid solution for a few hours. If you look closely, you can see the weld at the cheek.

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Even thought the weld was done fairly well, the planes sides were no longer straight. You can see the gap at the front of the bed between the ruler. Not the best situation for a plane that needs straight sides in order to cut a clean rabbet.

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Fortunately, because the plane cracked only on one side, the bed was still relatively flat when it was welded back. If the bed would have been out of whack, I may have resorted to the garbage can as it would have been too much work to fettle flat.

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I wanted the black removed from the sides as the previous owner painted the sides to cover up the weld. I spread some paint remover on it and let it sit for a few minutes before removing it with a putty knife.

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Here’s the close up of the weld. For the most part, it was done well.

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I needed the sides to be straight so I started to fettle them with sandpaper on a marble base. Rubbing the bed back in forth, I could see the high and low spots on each side.

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There was a lot of metal to remove, so I decided to take the bed to my stationary disc sander and carefully grind the bed using 80 grit sand paper.

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Using the disc sander saved a lot of time, but it scratched the hell out of the surface. I made sure I moved the bed back and forth so that I wouldn’t do more damage than good.

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After a few minutes of sanding, both sides were flat enough for my liking.

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Because the disc sander made a lot of scratches on the sides, I took the bed back to my marble base and used a variety of sand paper grits to remove as many scratches as I could.

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I then focused on the bed, fettling it flat. I used a variety of sand paper from 150-400 grit. I worked on it for a few minutes until I was satisfied with the results.

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Once the bed was done, I sharpened the blade using my Tormek sharpening wheel and water stones.

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Since I ground some of the thickness of the sides away, you can see where the blade protrudes farther out of the side than normal. I could grind away the sides of the blade, but I wanted to wait and see how it performs first. If I was able to cut a clean rabbet with the way it was, I would just leave it alone.

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Here she is after all the work has been done. It looks a lot better than the way I bought her, but I still needed to see if she works.

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After setting the blade to the right depth, I tried it out on a scrap piece of wood. It cut nice little shavings with ease and can now be put in my arsenal of planes for use. Even though I spent a good day tuning this plane up, it gives me great satisfaction resurrecting an old tool back to life. Plus it saved me a ton of money versus buying a new rabbet plane.

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Building the Shed Part II


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It’s been months since I updated about the shed I’ve been building. I originally broke ground on it back in September. I hadn’t done anything on it for weeks because my wife and I didn’t want the floor of the shed to be plywood. While looking at sheds that Weaver Barns make, we saw that they used a 2 x 8 tongue and groove pressure treated lumber flooring. We both loved it, so we searched around to see who carried it.

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I have a friend who works for Universal Forest Products (UFP), so I asked him if he knew anything about it. He told me it’s called V Groove Decking, and that he could get it for me since Lowe’s nor Home Depot carried it in stock. Well, after waiting a couple of weeks, I knew that was a dead end. Anita found that Menard’s carried it in stock, but the boards were 20 feet long and about $30 a board. We really didn’t feel like driving 20 miles to Menard’s to pick them up so I went to Home Depot down the street and asked how much it would be to special order from them. The price was a lot cheaper, but it would take three weeks to get them delivered to the store. I wasn’t in a real rush so I went ahead and ordered them.

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Well, three weeks turned into six as I found out that UFP doesn’t manufacture the boards, only treats them. They were waiting for the manufacture to make the boards which caused the delay. What really sucked was that Cincinnati had mild weather during that time and there were many weekends where the temperature rose to 70 degrees. All I could do was stand in my dining room looking back at the frame wishing my boards were in.

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I finally got the board in early December, dragged them out to the base and laid them out to see how much overhang I had on each side. Luckily I ordered the right amount of boards as I had only a couple of inches overhand on each side.The boards were 16 feet long so I had a foot of overhang on each of the long sides.

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The best part was that the floor was completely level on all four sides with the floor laid down.

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I took my time and went through the boards to find the straightest board and screwed them to the base crown up so that they were as straight as possible. I screwed three screws per joist which totaled over 600 screws used to attach all the deck boards.

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The last boards were the most warped so I grabbed a couple of 6 foot long pipe clamps and squeezed the boards to the rest of the decking and screwed them down.

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Once all the boards were attached, I trimmed off the excess with a circular saw and flush cut them with a router bit. Thankfully Christmas Eve was warm as I was working on the shed in only a t-shirt.

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Hopefully we’ll have a mild winter as the next part is to start framing the walls. I work outside during the winter building displays for my day job, so as long as the temperature is over freezing, I’ll be fine. I just doubt I’ll be able to get any of my friends to help me.

Stretching a Board


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I’m in the process of building a new cabinet for our bathroom to hold towels and toiletries. I work on it in between work and building my shed. Because I work on it only when I have the time, it opens up the opportunity for brain farts to happen. Last Monday, I went back into the shop to start making the top of the cabinet and grabbed a board of maple, looked at the 31 1/4″ measurement I had written down on a scrap piece of wood on my bench, and cut the board into 32″ segments. As soon as I cut the board, I realized my error. The top of the cabinet is 33 1/2″ long. The 31 1/4″ measurement is the width of the 1/4″ back for the cabinet. I didn’t measure twice and cut once like Norm Abram would always tell me to do. After spewing a few cuss words, I had to decide what to do next. I had two options. I could either go back to the lumber yard and buy a new board for $15.00, or somehow make these boards work. So, I decided to “stretch” these boards.

Stretching a board is often a gag placed on an apprentice in a cabinet shop.  One of the veteran cabinet makers will ask the newbie to go get the Board Stretcher. The newbie will look around the shop and then ask other cabinet makers where the board stretcher is. After a couple of minutes, everyone in the shop will turn around and laugh at the apprentice making him feel like a dumb ass. I know this story first hand.

However, you can legitimately stretch a board if you know the trick. There are a couple of criteria that makes board stretching possible. One, the board you’re stretching has to be wider than the final width you need . The second, is the grain of the board should not be pronounced highlighting the fact that the board has been cut and re-glued. This cabinet will be painted white, so I wasn’t concerned about the grain. And, the width of the three boards together is 16″ while the top only needs to be 13 3/4″ wide, so I was good to go.

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The first step in stretching a board is slicing it diagonal down it’s length on a band saw. Try to make sure the cut is as straight as possible so you don’t lose more of the board’s width than necessary.

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Next, plane the diagnoal edge straight with a jointer plane to get a nice tight seam where the two halves are glued back together.

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Bring the two diagonal halves together and slide them so that the length of the new board is where you need it. Since my top is 33 1/2″, I glued the board 34″ long. I’m sure there’s a mathematical formula that can determine how much width of board you lose for every inch you lengthen it but, I haven’t taken trigonometry in twenty years, so unfortunately, I can’t help you with that.

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After the glue dries, you’ll have a little triangular shaped area you’ll need to remove with a hand plane. After you plane that area away, joint the whole edge straight with the jointer plane, and rip the other side straight on the table saw.

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After I stretched all three boards and trimmed them square, I edge glued all three pieces together. This board is now 34″ long x 15″ wide.

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Here’s the board after it was sized to the final dimension of the top of the cabinet and sanded to 220 grit sand paper. This top will work perfectly fine and no one will ever know I screwed up.

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Here’s a close up shot of the board. If you look closely, you can see the diagonal glue lines that pass through the grain. However, it still looks really nice even if the grain of the board would be shown in the piece of furniture.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Corradi Gold Rasp Handles


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Last year I bought a couple of Italian made Corradi Gold Rasps direct from Italy; a 6″ round and a 10″ cabinet rasp. While I absolutely loved using them, they were painful to use without a proper handle. The tip of the tang would dig into the palm of my hand causing great pain. Corradi sells handles for their rasps, but I figured I could make my own easily enough.

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I use these rasps to shape and make new pieces of wood for the top of my rosewood plane totes. Their small size makes it nice to work into the tight curves of the handle and the small hole for the threaded rod. At a 6 cut, they are aggressive enough to make quick work of removing the wood, but with their advanced stitching, they don’t leave big tool marks on the wood’s surface. In the photo below, there is a small black line near the top of the tote that distinguishes the original Brazilian rosewood and the new piece of cocobolo. I use cocobolo because Brazilian rosewood is nearly impossible to get nowadays and cocobolo is in the same species of wood. While the color of the woods are not an exact match, they’re good enough to make the tote look nice again.

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I started making the handle with a scrap piece of apple about 12″ long and chucked it into my lathe.

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Then, using a template handle I had when I bought an old knife sharpener, I used my parting tool and calipers to mark and measure the details of the handle.

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After everything was turned to my satisfaction, I took some of my lathe shavings and burnished the wood to a nice sheen.

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In order for the handle to fit in the tang of the rasp securely, I drilled a small pilot hole as plum as possible down the center of the handle. The drill bit was the size of the very tip of the tang of the rasp so it would fit tight when driven into the handle.

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Next, I took my blow torch and carefully heated the tip of the rasp so I could burn into the handle. It took a couple of tries as I didn’t want to burn it in all at once. On the second burn, the rasp seated nicely into the handle and I was unable to pull it out.

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The final touch was to simply apply a couple coats of oil on the handles. These handles were extremely simple to make. In fact, it took less that 30 minutes to make both. Why I didn’t make them last year when I originally bought the rasps I have no idea.

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Updated Tool Cabinet


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I built this cabinet nearly fifteen years ago and every few years I end up updating the tools that go inside it. It’s been about three years since I updated it, so I decided it was time for a change.

As you can see in the photo below, at one time I loved MicroPlane rasps. I stuck everyone I owned onto the left door. While they are nice rasps to use, I decided to delegate them to a nearby drawer instead. The Stanley short box handsaw had to go as well. I never used it, so it was pointless to have it take up so much valuable space.

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This is how the cabinet looks today. Over the years I’ve been learning a lot more about hand saws, so my collection of usable hand saws that I have restored has grown. I knew I wanted to incorporate them into the cabinet somehow which is one of the main reasons I decided to redesign the tool cabinet.

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Hanging on the top of the left door, I have a E C Atkins rip saw that I made a new handle for it out of cherry, and a short Superior panel crosscut saw. In the middle is my original Lie-Nielsen dovetail saw I bought twenty years ago. Below it is another dovetail saw and two Disston back saws, one filed to saw rip and the other filed for crosscut.

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I stuck my hammer on the right side by my Stanley No 8 jointer plane. By the hammer, I hung a couple of bevels and a Nobex square. Underneath the screwdrivers on the right door is where I hung more measuring tools. Since I’ve updated this cabinet numerous times over the years, if you look closely, you can see where the oak veneer has been torn off the plywood substrate. To conceal the damage, I stained the entire inside of the cabinet with Nutmeg Gel Stain. Thank God I didn’t make this thing out of African Mahogany as I have no qualms about damaging oak plywood.

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The left side of the cabinet is where I stock a lot of my spokeshaves and Stanley No 66 Beader. I’d like to build a little rack for all my blades for my beader, but that will be another project for another day.

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The middle of the cabinet was left untouched as there’s really no room to do any changes. Maybe the next time I update my tool cabinet, I’ll make room for all my Festool accessories. haha

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LED Shop Lighting


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My wife and I were shopping at Costco this afternoon when we ran across these LED shop light bulbs. On the box it said that all that was needed is to simply replace these bulbs with your current shop bulbs. I was intrigued because I always thought you would have to replace the baluster as well, not just the bulb when switching over to LED lighting.

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The energy savings using LED over fluorescent is incredible along with the fact that LED light bulbs last a long time. The box said they’ll last 45 years and use 47% less energy.

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I stuck them up, and sure enough they worked. Not only did they work, they lit up my workbench like I have never seen before. The difference between these LED bulbs and regular fluorescent is like night and day. It was like direct sunlight was lighting my bench.

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It’s really tough to show you how much brighter these bulbs are in a photo so I took a shot of a molding plane under my fluorescent bulbs and then another under these LED bulbs.

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You can see how much lighter and crisper the plane’s body is in the photo here. I can’t wait to see how the pictures of my tools I list on eBay will look under these bulbs. It should help my customers see better details of the tools I sell. Now I’ll have to go back to Costco and pick up seven more boxes to replace the rest of my shop lights. At $37.00 a box, these things aren’t cheap, but they should help me save money on my electric bill.

I thought these were expensive until I saw them on Amazon for $61.00 a pack.

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