The Skinner Irrigation Co Hand Drilling Device

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I’m not sure how unusual tools find me, but another has landed on my lap. This time it was an odd-looking drill press. I spotted it in a local antique shop and knew it was some sort of drill press with its flywheel and depth handle, but it was a drill press like I had never seen before. I could tell it was for drilling through pipe because of the claw like clamping pads that could wrap around pipe after adjusting the bottom arm.

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I brought the drill press home and after cleaning it up, I clamped one of my bar clamps across my workbench and attached the press to one end of the pipe.

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After studying the press a little bit, it dawned on me that I actually clamped the drill press upside down. The arm clamps down on top of the pipe, then the user turns the flywheel while pulling up the depth adjustment arm drilling a hole.

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I realized it was upside down because of a small level on the bottom of the press which guides the user to place the tool level.

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Here’s another view of the press in its rightful state.

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Luckily, there was a maker’s plate on the back. The tool was made by The Skinner Irrigation Co in Troy, OH. I googled the company name and found they were a turn of the century company that specialized in laying irrigation systems. Apparently this tool was used to tap into pipes to attach some sort of nozzles in a direct line with each other. Also, on the plate there was a patent number 893667 so I googled that as well. I found out that the tool was patented July, 21, 1908. You can read about it here. http://www.freepatentsonline.com/0893667.pdf

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The bit that came with the tool looks like a broken threaded tap. You can see that the collar doesn’t have a chuck so this must be a very specialized tool to do one specific job.

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Who knows how many of these hand drilling devices were made, but I’m glad this one found me.

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Building a Shed Part XII

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While browsing through the Weaver Barn catalogue, Anita saw this cool looking arbor over a couple of doors. We decided that an arbor like this would look really nice over our side window.

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To begin construction on the arbor, I grabbed some scrap cedar I had from building the shed and made about 24 slats. The slats were about 1  3/4″ wide by 13″ long with a little 1″ arch at one end.

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Designing simply from a picture can be tough, so I grabbed a scrap piece of 6″ wide cedar, cut out a 4″ diameter arch and placed it around my corbel to see how to design the overall arbor.

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The distance between the corbels is 6′ with the overall length of the arbor being 87″. I originally planned 25 slats about 3 1/2″ apart, but Anita thought it was a little too many slats.

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We ended up deciding to use 21 slats 4″ apart. I wanted the slats to fit in place so I cut some dadoes in the wood to house the slats. Using  my dovetail saw, router plane, and rasps, I easily cut the dadoes in no time.

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I cut a small dado on each of the slats as well and test fitted the arbor together.

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Since the slats had a dado, I decided the corbels should have dadoes as well to keep everything in line.

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I also wanted the arbor to fit inside the corbels so I cut notches in both the front and back where the corbels would go.

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I fit everything back together and drilled the slats to fit on the front and back. I used stainless steel screws so that they wouldn’t stain the arbor like galvanized screws would.

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Dry fitting everything together the arbor started to come together nicely, so it was time to stain it.

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I stained the arbor the same Benjamin Moore Cedar Bark stain we used on the shed.

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However, after living with the color of the stain on the shed for a few weeks, we weren’t too happy with the color. So, after the first coat of Cedar Bark from Sherwin Williams, Anita mixed in a pint of Leather Saddle Brown with a touch of Fresh Brew stain from Benjamin Moore. Since all three stains were water based, they mixed together well.

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After I applied the new coat, the cedar took on a much warmer color. We were very pleased.

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Anita helped me install the arbor so I don’t have any pictures of it being installed as I wasn’t in the mood to tell her to hold onto the arbor while I stop and take some pictures. I started out measuring the length of the window frame and calculated how much on each end the corbels would need to be in order for the arbor to be in the middle of the window. The window frame was 67″ while the distance between the corbels was 72″. That left me with 2 1/2″ on each side of the window. I marked the spot and then decided how far above the window I wanted the arbor to be. Once I got that measurement, which was 2 1/2″ as well, I nailed the left corbel in place with 2 1/2″ galvanized pneumatic nails. Then, I placed the arbor on top of the corbel, leveled it, and then shot nails in the arbor itself, attaching it through the siding into the studs of the shed. I then screwed my stainless steel screws through my pocket holes attaching the arbor to the corbel to tighten everything up. Next, I took the right corbel and stuck it up into the recess of the arbor, nailed and screwed it up just as I did to the left one. Finally, I screwed and nailed the back side of the arbor to the shed.

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As you can see, I think we made a good decision darkening the cedar stain. The cedar looks richer and blends better with the gray paint.

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The Workshops of Biltmore

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Last week, my wife and I went to the Biltmore Estate again for the fourth or fifth time. If you’ve never been there, there’s a little village on the estate where you can visit a farm, workshops and the ever important winery. Every other time we’ve been to Biltmore, we spent too much time at the house and the winery that by the time we arrived at the village, the workshops were closed. This year we decided to see the village before we headed inside the winery.

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I took some quick shots of the blacksmith shop and the tools they use. After I took these pictures, the blacksmith came back and showed us how he made coat hooks with a rose on the top (sorry, no pic). It was late in the day, so all the anvil work was done, he was simply polishing them up on a wire wheel. Biltmore sells these coat hooks in their gift shop for $42.00 each, but they sell as soon as he’s done making them.

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If you’ve never used a blacksmith vise, you need to get one. I use on in my workshop and they are far superior than a table top machinist vise.

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Not sure of the weight, but it looks like a 300 lb anvil. He had a smaller one in his shop right next to this one.

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The overall working space of his shop was about 10′ x 15′

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Right next door to the blacksmith shop was the woodworking shop.

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Inside was a bunch of tools I’ve seen before except for this cool little foot powered mortise machine.

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The woodworker wasn’t around so I don’t know what his responsibilities are for Biltmore. He could just make things for the gift shop, or he may do some repair work around the estate.

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The majority of the tools were old, but he did use electricity. I couldn’t really see what was inside the tool chest on the right.

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By the looks of these planes, I question whether or not he uses them, or if they are there just for show. A little too much dust and cobwebs on them for my taste.

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A newer lathe sat in front of the older one. He spent his day making these turn of the century ball in the cup toys.

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If you ever get a chance to go to the Biltmore Estate, make sure you give yourself enough time to visit the village before you head into the winery and get drunk like we did. haha

Building a Shed Part XI

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We’ve been building this shed for over a year now. Between the cold of the winter and the heat of the summer, this has been the biggest project I have ever taken on. The past few weeks, we’ve been preparing the shed for paint.

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I sanded the body of the shed with 80 grit sand paper with my random orbital sander. This allowed me to take off the glaze from the mill when the wood was being processed.

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The doors and corbels were sanded to 150 grit because we were planning on staining these elements. I filled the nail holes with some outdoor wood putty as I wanted the doors to have a finished look without a bunch of nails holes in them.

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My wife, Anita, went to Ace Hardware and bought Aura paint and primer by Benjamin Moore. This paint isn’t cheap at $70 a gallon, but we wanted to make sure the shed had the best finish on it so we wouldn’t have to repaint it every other year.

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With two coats of primer on it, we let the shed sit for a few days before we applied the top coats.

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The body was painted with two coats of Galveston Gray.

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The shed was starting to look really nice. The top trim and the windows would be painted with Iron Mountain.

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We picked Cedar Bark stain from Sherwin Williams for the doors and corbels. The shed is nearly done, but I still need to make a trellis over the side window and build a small deck underneath the doors. Getting real close.

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Meet me at WIA

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This weekend, I’ll be volunteering at the Woodworking in America conference in Covington, Ky. I’m really looking forward to it as I haven’t attended the conference since the very first one in Berea, KY several years back. I have always gone to the Marketplace while it was in town to shop the vendors, but I could never afford to attend any of the seminars. This year the editor of Popular Woodworking magazine, Megan Fitzpatrick, asked me if I would like to volunteer for a day, so I jumped at the chance.

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I’ll be working in one room Friday Sept, 16th doing camera work for the closeups of the presenters so that people in the back of the room can see what is going on. The presenters I’ll be helping are Alf Sharp at 8:30-10:30, for his seminar on “A Simplified French Polish”. Then from 11:00-1:00 with Zachary Dillinger, on “Make and Use a Raamtang”. Finally from 1:30-3:30 with Freddy Roman, on “Federal Embellishment – Inlay, Stringing, Sand and Shading”. I’m really excited about it because these are seminars I would have picked anyway. Now I get a really good seat. Haha.

I’m not sure who I’ll see on Saturday and Sunday, but I’m sure I’ll visit one of Roy Underhill’s classes on Saturday. Roy has been my woodworking hero since 1984 when I was eleven years old. If you are going, stop me and say hello. I’ll have a name badge on. Plus, it would be awesome to meet some of the people who follow my blog.

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Making a Harvest Display Table

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A few months ago, I built a Harvest Table for my wife to use in her booth to sell some of her antiques. You can read the blog post here. She still has that table, but she asked me to build another one for another booth she has. I went to a local antique store that sells reclaimed wood and bought a 4″ square posts and three pieces of barn wood siding. I have a picture of the wood on instagram. Unfortunately, I deleted the original photo from my phone before I uploaded it to photobucket to share here.

I started this harvest table in much the same way as the first one, turning the legs on the lathe. The major difference is that this table was turned with reclaimed birch instead of douglas fir 4×4’s that I bought at Lowe’s. Turning reclaimed lumber is probably not the smartest thing to do since you never know what the integrity of the wood is as it may snap off while on the lathe injuring you, but I thought I’d take my chances.

A couple of the pieces I wanted to turn had some nails stick stuck in the wood. I grabbed a chisel and hammer and I dug into the wood to extract all nails I could find. There were a couple of nails that were too deep to grab, so I carefully turned the leg, stopping every few strokes making sure I wasn’t near the top of the nail.

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While a couple of the posts had nails holes in them, the other two had old worm holes. I turned each leg the same and in the end, they were full of character. You can see the final four turned legs here.

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With the legs turned, I focused my attention on the top. I took the three slabs of barn wood siding and brought them together to determine how wide the top of the table could be. The boards were only 3/4″ thick and I wanted the top to be thicker, so I took some scrap OSB boards I had laying around from when I was building my shed and built a substrate for the boards.

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I glued and screwed the OSB to the siding gluing in the middle of the boards and screwing on the ends. The siding is so old that I figure the expansion and contraction of the wood would be very minimal. Even if they did crack, it would just add more character to the top of the table.

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I added some pine edging to cover up the OSB substrate underneath the top boards. Cutting the corners is where my miter trimmer comes in handy. I love that thing!

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Flipping the top back over, I figured out where the legs should go. I kept the design simple by using a scrap pieces of edging that were 1 3/8″ wide and making them gauges to show me where the legs should go. Easy P-easy.

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Next was to make the frame of table. I grabbed a 2×12 and milled it to 3/4″ thick by 5″ wide pieces and cut them to fit between the legs.

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I then channeled my inner Scott Phillips of The American Woodshop and used my Kreg Pocket Hole Jig and screwed the frame to the top. I was trying to build this table as quick and as easy as possible. I wasn’t trying to win a woodworking contest with this table.

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I still needed to attach the legs to the frame so I drilled a pilot hole in the legs and screwed in 3/8″ hanger bolts.

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I then simply drilled a hole in the corner brackets, fed the bolt through the hole, and tightened it in place with a nut. As the nut tightened to the corner bracket, it drove the leg tight to both sides of the frame. Attaching the legs this way makes it possible to take them off and carry it out of my basement shop.

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Flipping it back over, the table was built. Super simple and super fun. I posted this picture on instagram and it has been my most liked picture, ever!

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The final picture is the table with an antique stain applied to it. I’m happy with the way it turned out and so is my wife.

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World’s Longest Yard Sale 2016

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Last weekend my wife, Anita, and I got back from the World’s Longest Yard Sale. We started on Thursday and drove to US-127 in Florence, Ky around 9:00am and drove all the way down to Frankfort, KY. We ended up in Frankfort at 8:00pm stopping at nearly every yard sale on the way. Once we got to Frankfort, we hopped on I-64 to South I-75 and headed to our hotel room in Chattanooga, TN.

The next day, we hopped back on US 127 in Chattanooga and headed north. There are tons of yard sales in Tennessee, however a lot of the stops where there were multiple tents were mainly antique dealers selling their stuff. If we wanted to find a real yard sale, we stopped on the side of the road where there were only one or two people selling. That’s where we could find the deals.

We went every day from Thursday through Sunday and we found some good deals along the way. I would have to say that this year’s sale was a little bit thinner than years pasts. I’m not sure if the oppressive heat had anything to do with it, but there were a few stops in Kentucky that we were looking forward to stopping at only to find that no one was set up this year. Nevertheless, I still found some good deals and was happy with my haul.

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I bought a handful of bench planes, but I did pick up this little unusual rabbet plane in an antique store in Kentucky. I’ve never seen a rabbet plane like this before, and I haven’t found a maker’s name on it, but I may find out more about when I clean it up.

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It appears to be production made as it’s made from cast iron. I’ll have to look in my Martin J Donnelly tool catalogs to see if one is in there.

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If anyone knows who made this, leave me a comment. I’d love to know more about it.

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Another nice find was this Stanley No 37 Jenny’s Plane. I’ve owned a couple of these in the past and they are considered one of the most collectible transitional Stanley planes (apparently, all the other ones are only worth being burned).

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I bought a few lanterns for my booth in an antique mall. I cleaned the glass up with soap and water and they look pretty good. The one in front is a Dietz and the black ones are from Lamplight Farms. I’ll sell them for $20-$35 a piece.

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By far the coolest thing I bought wasn’t a tool at all. It was a bankers chair from the Colonial Chair Company. Anita was looking at some ironstone at a ladies yard sale when she had this chair on top of her trailer. The more I looked at it, the more I liked it. I thought it was a cool industrial looking chair with a leather back and metal mechanisms made from cast iron. I offered $30 for the chair and she agreed, so I took it back to the van eager to google the name to see what I just bought.

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The back of the chair was riveted and even had lumbar support on the bottom. All the mechanisms worked which helped me decide that I needed to own the chair.

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It still had the original label underneath the seat which is how I knew who made it.

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I googled the Colonial Chair Company and only found a couple of references to them on the internet. According to this website, they were only in operation from 1915 -1916 which I find very hard to believe considering the size of their factory.

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Another clue to the age of the chair was the company property tag underneath the seat. It was stamped The Sabin Robbins Paper Co. A quick internet search told me that they were a full service converter company that specialized in purchasing, warehousing, converting and distributing job lot and over run paper. The company was founded in 1884 in Mansfield, OH.  How this chair wound up on this lady’s trailer in Kentucky is anyone’s guess, But I would say she had a family member who used to work there.

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I cleaned up the chair with some fine steel wool and the antique oil I make. The leather back has some cracks from age. I’m not sure if I should try to fix them or just leave them be. The chair is probably over a hundred years old, but is still very comfortable to sit in. It’s so nice, we’ll be keeping it for sure.

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Building a Shed Part X

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The same weekend it was too hot to work on the shed, was the same weekend I built the corbels. I sell to 26 Lowe’s and 14 Home Depot’s in the Cincinnati-Dayton area, and in all those stores, only one of them carried cedar 2 x 4’s. So, I’m lucky to be building these corbels out of cedar instead of douglas fir. I glued two cedar 2 x 4’s together to give me a post 3″ thick. I then cut the posts to 25″, 25″ and 46″.

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I sized the 25″ long posts to two 12″ lengths. I then built a sled for my table saw so I could cut one of the ends to a 45 degree chamfer. The stop on the sled made sure all the cuts were the same on each side.

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Flipping the post over with each cut, I quickly made the soft point for the front of the corbels.

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I made eight of these pieces. Two of the eight, I will save for a trellis that I will build over the side window.

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I then took the 46″ long pieces and cut them to 12″ long with 45 degree cuts on each end.

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I got lucky with my first post as I was able to avoid a large knot in the middle.

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The woodworking Gods were with me that day as I was able to avoid another large knot on the other post.

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I wanted a 45 degree chamfer on the bottom of the back of the corbels, so I moved the stop over on my sled and reattached it in the proper place.

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Using exterior wood glue, 3″ deck screws and 1 1/2″ long, 1/4″ crown galvanized staples, I fastened the hell out of the corbels as I built them.

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Eight corbels are all the same. I took the best two corbels and set them aside for the trellis as it will be stained and not painted.

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When it cooled down, I fitted the corbels into the soffit. I used a level to accurately scribe where I needed to cut and then used my Fein Multi-Master to cut away the wood.

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As luck would have it, the width of my level was pretty much the correct location of where I needed to cut. I attached the corbels to the trim of the shed with 1 1/2″ long 15 gauge pneumatic nails.

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After a few minutes of work, one side of the shed was done.

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The shed is getting really close to being complete. We just need to build a platform in the front for a step, build and attach the trellis over the side window, build shelving inside, paint/stain the shed, add landscaping, and possibly add electric. Shit, we’re not that close after all. HAHA.

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Building a Shed Part IX

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I’ve been as motivated to work while it’s 100 degrees as I was when it was 30 degrees, so the shed has been sitting the past few weeks acclimating to the sun. The good news is that it has given me time to work in my nice cool basement workshop building the doors and corbels. I bought ten more 8′ long 8″ wide siding and slid five of them together to figure out how much to cut off the end boards to make a nice centered door.

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After figuring how much to trim off the end boards, I clamped them together and stapled 4″ cedar trim across the top and bottom. I used 1/4″ crown galvanized staples 1 1/2″ long.

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I attached the sides and center rail the same way. I used a liberal amount of Titebond III exterior glue to help hold everything together.

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I flipped the door over and did the same thing on the other side. I left the door over hang the inside trim about 2″ so that the bottom of the door would be flush with the bottom of the siding. I attached one board on the back at the diagonal to strengthen the door.

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I built the other door exactly the same way with the only difference being the diagonal board was going the other way.

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After the weather cooled down a bit, I took the doors out to the shed to see how they fit. In a perfect world they would fit perfectly, however I don’t live in a perfect world and I’ve never built anything perfectly. So, I had to trim the doors down to size about 1/4″ and shave down one end about 1/8″ less than the top.

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After fiddling around with the doors, they fit well enough for me to be happy. I used large hand screw clamps and clamped the inside of the doors to the frame opening. I then attached three hinges per door while they were clamped.

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After they were hung, they stuck a little bit at the top. I grabbed my block plane and shaved away the tops of the doors so that they would open and close freely.

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Installing the locking handle was a breeze. A simple hole drilled through the door allowed the stem to pass through. I then attached the inside handle with a set screw.

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I needed the left door to stay put while the right door was locked, so I drilled a 5/8″ hole through the floor and used two-part epoxy to glue a small piece of 1/2″ copper pipe inside the hole.

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I then attached the door hardware to the left door so that the bar would fit nicely in the hole.

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I did the same thing for the top of the door except I used a 1/4″ copper coupler instead of a 1/2″ pipe.

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I trimmed out the inside of the door the same way I did with the windows. I took a 2 x 6 and ripped into three pieces that were 3/8″ thick by 2″ wide and attached them with finish nails.

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I’m happy with the way the doors turned out. Now on to the corbels.

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Fine Woodworking’s New Old Look

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I received the latest issue of Fine Woodworking today and noticed a familiar layout to its front cover. It reminded me of when I first started subscribing back in the ’90’s.

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The editor’s column stated that they released this special issue to subscribers after receiving feedback that a lot of them miss the old days of Fine Woodworking. The newsstand version will look more like their current issues with the front cover with a full color photo.

I skimmed the articles in the magazine and my favorite so far is Steve Latta’s reclaiming an old window’s glass pane for a new cabinet, however, the other articles look good as well.

I just recently started to subscribe back to Fine Woodworking after a seven-year absence. I’m glad they’re trying to  revamp the magazine back to where it was. Now if they would just bring back their woodworking forum Knots.