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. http://www.amazon.com/Feit-Electric-LED-Tubes-Fluorescent/dp/B00TSQVEWA/ref=sr_1_5?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1446497898&sr=1-5&keywords=led+shop+lighting+feit

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Reclaimed Lumber in the Cincy/Dayton Area


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If you’re in the need for some reclaimed lumber and live n the Cincinnati, Dayton area, there is a new place inside the Antiques Village Antique Mall in Centerville, OH that may have what you’re looking for. The booth is called Dayton Reclamation and Restoration Architectural Salvage and is in the back right of the antique mall.

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The booth is somewhat new as it’s only been open for a few months however, they do have a lot of reclaimed wood and architectural salvage like old doors and windows to choose from.

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They also have a couple of racks of dimensional reclaimed wood in the front. The pricing is not bad with some 2″ x 6″ x 48″ pieces only being $4.00 a board. I didn’t buy anything because I have too much on my plate right now and don’t have a need for reclaimed lumber, but it’s nice to know where I can get it when I need it.

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This picture stinks, but it shows some of the longer pieces they have in stock. I didn’t notice any chestnut in the rack so I’m sure the majority of the wood is either oak or poplar. I’m sure the longer they’re in business, they’ll add to their inventory.

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And so it Begins- The Shed Part 1


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I tore my old shed down one fall day and told myself that I would build a new one in the spring. That was seven years ago. Well, after seven years, I finally got my act together to build a new shed. One of the biggest issues in building it was how to build it level with a yard that is sloped downhill. I considered using deck blocks, but after watching a few YouTube videos, I decided to build a framed base.

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My wife, Anita, and I decided how big of a shed we wanted and where to put it in the yard. We opted for a 10′ x 14′ and laid it out in the yard with stakes and strings. I then used a line level to see how far off the ground the right side of the shed would be in the air. It’ll end up being about two feet in the air on the back right side which won’t look bad once we plant some shrubs around the shed.

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After we went to the home center to pick up the lumber. I cut and screwed the 2×6’s together into a 10′ x 14′ box. I measured corner to corner to make sure the box was square then attached boards on all four corners to keep it that way. I then grabbed some spray paint and sprayed the ground at the corners to show me where to dig my posts. After I dug the four holes 30″ deep, I stuck the 4×4’s in the ground and used clamps to hold the box to the posts. Then using a level, I leveled the box on all four sides, held it in place with clamps, then concreted the posts in place letting them dry over night.

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In the morning, I bolted the box in place with 3/8″ galvanized lag screws using four screws on each post. I then marked where my stringers would be and dug holes for two more posts in the middle of the shed so that the floor won’t sag.

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Attaching all the stringers and covering the base of the shed with 3″ deep of gravel stone with landscaping fabric underneath, the shed has a nice base. Now I need to go back to the home center to pick up more lumber.

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This is a drawing of the shed I designed. We already bought three old windows for the shed last year, so I incorporated them into the design. We’ll see how close the final shed will look to this drawing.

David Marks on Rough Cuts


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Watching TV this morning I ran across a Rough Cuts episode that featured David Marks. He was showing Tommy Mac how to make one his famous turned vessels with an applied chemical patina. I’ve been a big fan of David Marks ever since I first saw him on his TV show Woodworks which was on HGTV and DIY Network many years ago. In fact, it was the main reason I ordered cable when I first moved into my house. I watched¬† his show religiously for about six years until HGTV and DIY pulled his show off the air by not renewing another season. I always thought that if Woodworks was on PBS, it would probably be still on the air today.

Woodworks was an awesome woodworking show where David made some awe inspiring modern looking furniture. David did a lot with bent wood lamination which helped me figure out how to build the back on my Windsor chairs since I had no access to fresh green lumber and a wood steamer. One episode David showed how to make your own plywood which motivated me to buy a vacuum press. It seemed that there was nothing that he couldn’t make. While he did have some nice tools, it seemed that everything he made was within a modest woodworkers budget. However, I still long to own one his Multi-Routers.

When I saw David today, it made me wish he still has his TV show. Maybe some PBS station out in California where David is from will offer him his own show again. Lord knows we could use another one. You can watch the episode of David on Rough Cut here.


At one time you could watch old episodes of Woodworks online for free, but I haven’t been able to find the link. However, you can buy an entire season of his episodes on his website. If you’ve never heard of David Marks, or seen his work, I highly recommend you check him out.


Another Tool Auction


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If you follow my blog, then you know I have an addiction to going to tool auctions and buying a boatload of planes. Well, not much has changed over the years except this auction was online a couple of nights ago. Today I went to the house to pick up my winnings to see what I won in person. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the tools I bought.

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When looking on the lots, the auctioneer was very vague with their descriptions. They just grouped about ten to fifteen tools together and listed them as “Stanley Metal Planes”. One of the lots was nine Stanley Bed Rock planes with only four pictures of the total lot. I took a chance that they were in good shape so I placed my bid until I outbid all the other bidders. When I picked them up, I noticed that six of the nine were corrugated which put a big smile on my face.

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The other planes I ended up winning were a couple of Stanley circular planes. Theses planes work really well and come in handy when properly tuned.

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They had this Stanley No 77 Dowel Making machine as a “drill”. These machines are sweet to use. I only wish I could afford the extra heads they came with as they usually sell for over $100 a piece on eBay.

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I also picked up this Stanley No 150 miter box with a Cincinnati Steel Saw Co back saw. I’ve owned one of these for twenty years and work great cutting small moldings.

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Here are a couple of Stanley No 112 scraper planes. Another tool that you’re glad you own when you need it.

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A couple of Stanley No 10 Rabbet planes. The one in the back has been welded as that is a common repair for these when they break in two.

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I ended winning six pre-lateral Stanley bench planes. One of them has the wrong lever cap and a couple others have the wrong style of tote, but all have the proper blades which is good as usually these are found with an improper blade.

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Most of these tools will eventually be restored and sold in my eBay store. http://stores.ebay.com/mvflaim. The pre-lateral planes are too collectible to be restored. Just a light cleaning will do. The tools in the bottom photo are the tools I’ve been working on the past few weeks and will be listed for sale soon.

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Living with Devic’s Disease for the Past Three Years


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In Sept of 2012 I was diagnosed with Neuromyelitis Optica aka Devic’s Disease, after losing sensations in my legs and spending a few days in the hospital. NMO is a autoimmune disease similar to Multiple Sclerosis, however NMO is a completely different condition that needs to be treated differently than MS. If NMO goes untreated, one can lose their vision and the loss of their legs.

I remember sitting in the hospital three years ago with my wife when the nurse came in to hand me a few pamphlets about NMO. One of the pamphlets was about living with blindness. Since I went blind in my left eye earlier in the year, the thought of it returning and taking my entire vision scared the hell out of me. At the time, I felt like my whole life was over with all of my hopes and dreams crushed.¬† I thought I’d never be able to live a normal life and would end in a nursing home blind and in a wheel chair. I certainly didn’t need a nurse handing me a pamphlet about blindness to cheer me up. Fortunately, I had the love of my wife and family to keep my spirits up.

My wife and I left the hospital and decided to take it one day at a time. At times I think it was harder on her than it was on me. I never took time of work and continued to live my life as if I didn’t have a disease at all. I received proper treatment in the coming weeks with a dose of Rituxinab chemotherapy. Then every few months I would go to the hospital and sit in a bed while the IV was injecting the medicine into my body. It’s not any fun, but it beats the hell out of the alternative.

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During the early days when I was dealing with my disease, I rarely read or googled stories about NMO because everything I read were horror stories from people who have been diagnosed with it. My wife would tell me how they were in chronic pain or unable to walk around. I already felt bad enough and didn’t need to become more depressed about my future so, I just kept living my life as best as I could.

So three years later, how am I doing? Actually, I’m doing great! I feel well, I haven’t had any real serious attack since my initial attack three years ago, and my vision in my left eye has come back to almost where it was before I even had an attack. In fact, last year when I went to get my driver’s license, I had to get my eyes checked during the exam. I closed my right eye and read the lines with my left eye to where the examiner didn’t see anything wrong with my vision. With contacts, I have 20-10 vision in my right eye and 20-30 with my left. I absolutely feel that my vision in my left eye continues to get better.

You may think that the silver lining of my disease is that I take better care of my health where I watch what I eat and exercise more. Well, I do try to do those things, but the real silver lining is my golf game. My golf game has dramatically improved even though I only play nine holes a week. Since my legs always feel tight, it helps me keep my body still in my swing making me hit the ball really straight. I have improved so much over the past few years, it has taken about 6-8 strokes off my handicap. In fact this year alone, I have scored numerous birdies, and four eagles with one of them being a hole in one.

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This is the ball in the hole on the third hole of Stonelick Creek Golf Course in Batavia, OH in July of this year.

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Here is a shot of me in total shock on the tee box after I just shot the hole in one. I hit my eight iron about 160 yards to the pin. The ball hit about six feet from the pin and dropped in the cup. At first I didn’t know what happened to the ball, then my brother Steve told me in went in the hole. I kept searching around the green to see if I could see a ball, but I couldn’t. It was then I realized the improbable. A few days later, I calculated how long it would take me to get another hole in one my life with as much golf as I play (nine holes a week for 22 weeks) and it will be another 212 years before I get my next hole in one.

Also over the past three years, I’ve been available to help my wife with her business repairing furniture she buys and going to antique shows together. In many ways it has made us closer as we appreciate each others company more and not take each other for granted. We go to numerous antique shows during the year with one of the biggest in Springfield, OH. It’s a huge show with 3000 dealers and we’ll end up walking around for almost eight hours during the day. Many times she poops out before I do.

I write this post for one reason. I want anyone who has recently been diagnosed with NMO that happens to come across this blog from a google search to know that everything will be alright. There will be challenges from time to time and you may have to fight with your insurance company to pay for the treatment, but as long as you find a qualified doctor who specialize in NMO, your chances of living a normal productive life is very good. In fact, the last time I saw my doctor in Columbus, OH, she told me that she firmly believes that there will be a cure for NMO someday soon. I certainly hope so, but I’m not going to wait for a cure for me to start living life again. I simply haven’t stopped.

Revamped Dining Room Table and Chairs


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As promised, I decided to throw up some before and after pictures of the dining room table and chairs my wife and I have been working on for the past few months. As you can see, the $10 chairs Anita picked up at a thrift store weren’t that attractive, but she saw the potential in them.

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A little bit of chisel work, paint and new fabric brought them from the ’70’s into the new millennium. Anita picked out the fabric at IKEA in order to save some money so the chairs end up being super cheap.

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My farmhouse table I made twelve years ago was a massive beast, but it served it’s purpose. After replacing the top with 2×10’s and reducing the width of the table, it fit better in the room.

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In the end, the chairs and table look great with the decor of the room. I’m not sure if the Windsor chairs at the ends of the table will stay, but for now they provide extra seating for when we have company over (which is never).

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