The Damaged Pinky

If you know me, then you know I don’t do woodworking for a living. I’m actually a sales rep for one of the largest building manufacturers in the country. I sell patio block, mulch, and concrete mix to Lowe’s and Home Depot’s in the Cincinnati, Dayton area. Unfortunately, I got hurt at work.

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Part of my job is to get my stores ready for spring by making patio hardscape displays on the shelves of the garden department. While in one of my Home Depot’s, I removed the old display and had to put a shelf in its place. In order to get the beam locked in place, I had to hammer it down so that the little nibs would lock in the hole properly. I got the right side of the beam hammered in place, when I was working on the left side. Being right-handed, I was using my left hand to hold the beam against the rack pushing it forward while swinging a 3 lb hammer with my right arm. Just as luck would have it, hammering across my body, I barely nicked my pinky finger with the end of the hammer. Had I not been swinging so hard, it would have just caused a blood blister, but because I was wailing at the beam with such force, the blow blew the tip of my pinky open. As soon as I felt it, I knew it wasn’t good, but I didn’t know how bad the cut was until I went to the bathroom to clean it up. Once there, I realized I had to go get stitches as I could I open up the top of my pinky finger.

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I traveled to a nearby hospital where they put five stitches in my finger. I also found out through x-rays that I broke my bone as well. I have to wear a splint for the next month. I always thought that if I ever cut one of my fingers open, it would be from a band saw blade,  chisel, or a knife. I never thought it would be from the brute force of a 3lb drilling hammer.

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The stitches came out last week and I should be fine in about a  month. I’ll need to keep the splint on my finger as the bone heals, but it’s not a big deal. The protrusion of the splint from the top of my finger keeps me from hitting my pinky on objects. I take off the bandage everyday and clean the wound. You can see how much my finger has swelled from the blow. I feel stupid for hitting my finger, but it was more of an accident than anything.

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Building a Shed Part VIII

Moving forward with the shed, I installed the large fifteen pane window on the right side of the shed. Being so big and heavy, I screwed some scrap siding boards to the corners so I could lay the window in the frame and shim around the window until it was plum and square.

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With the window secure, I used scrap siding for the inside of the window frame and nailed it to the 2 x 4 framing.

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I then started to build the window trim by taking away one piece of the scrap wood and replacing it with 4″ wide cedar. I nailed it to the siding with 15 gauge galvanized finish nails. The bottom and top of the trim over hang the sides by 1″ on each side, with the top angled at 10 degrees. I then nailed a piece of cedar to the top for a little added detail.

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Putting up the trim was one of the easiest parts of building the shed so far. The cuts were simple and straight forward. Home Depot even had 3 1/4″ wide cedar boards so that I didn’t have to rip  4″ boards down to wrap the corners properly.

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I nailed the trim around the two front windows very much the same way as the side window.

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The only difference is that I had to cut a notch on the side trim boards to fit around the window sill. I had a follower tell me on my last post that I need to add a drip edge to the bottom of the sill to prevent water from going inside the shed wall. I’ll do that soon by either cutting a shallow groove or a gluing bead of wood underneath the bottom.

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Here’s a quick shot of the side finished with the trim. It’s starting to really look like a shed now. I just have to install three  corbels around the roof line and a cedar trellis above the window. Stay tuned.

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I wanted to work on the door frame, so I took two of the 2 x 6’s that I used to make the scaffolding and ripped them on the table saw.

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I cut almost half way through the wood on the table saw and then finished up the cut on the band saw.

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After they were ripped, I planed them down to 3/8″ on the planer. I only need one of the shorter boards so the other one will provide heat to make S’mores.

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I attached the boards to the inside of the front door frame. The boards did two things. First, it cleaned up the edges with a full piece of wood, especially on the top. The second is it kept the top trim of the door level with the top trim of the windows because I used 3/8″ wood to make the window frames as well.

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The trim has been installed around the door frame with a similar top detail in the middle. Now it’s on to make the two front doors.

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Building a Shed Part V

After building my scaffolding off the front of the shed, I went back to applying the roof tarp. This time it went much easier. I bought a slap hammer and slapped staples all over the place once I hammered down some button caps at the top and bottom of the roll.

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Once the one side of the shed was tarped, I moved the scaffolding over to the other side. It took me all day to get the shed tarped, but I did it safely which is all that matters.

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I went to Home Depot and bought seven packs of dimensional shingles and one pack of old style flat shingles. I used the flat shingles and laid the first row upside down and also up both sides of the roof with a 1/2″ hanging off the edge. I started on the back side of the shed because that is where the scaffolding was at the time, plus the fact that if I screwed up, it would be on the back.

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Laying the shingles was pretty straight forward. I started at the bottom laying over my upside down course. I hammered four 1 1/4″ roofing nails in each shingle making sure my shingles were staggered so that the seams of the second level didn’t run in line with the seam of the first.

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Every  few rows I would snap a chalk line to make sure my shingles were running straight.

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It took all day, but I finished shingling the roof. All I needed to do was the ridge vent.

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By this time I was so tired, I stayed focused on getting the job done and didn’t bother going inside, grabbing my cell phone to snap some pictures of laying the ridge vent. I finished up the roof by cutting through the top of the shingles with a utility knife, laying down the ridge vent, and shingling over top of it.

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This is the ridge vent from inside the shed. This will allow all the hot air inside the shed to  escape.

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The final shingle on the ridge vent was hammered down with 2″ roof nails and covered with roof cement.

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The next day, I went up the ladder to cut off the excess roofing shingles on the right side of the shed with my utility knife. Because I laid down my starter course first with the ordinary flat shingles that over hung 1/2″, it was easy to trim up the dimensional shingles flush to them.

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It’s all fun and games until the roof leaks. A few days later it started to rain. I went out to see how everything was holding up. Thankfully, there were no leaks and the water shed from the roof quite nice.

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Building a Shed Part IV

The day after we got the framing up, I was excited to get going on the roof. I knew I needed to put drip edge on the roof sheathing before the tar paper, but my wife, Anita, told me that I need to put the fascia boards on first.

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So, we went to Home Depot and picked up some 6″ wide cedar boards 10′ long and cut it to proper length. Since the roof was 16′ long, I had to scarf joint the boards in front with a 45 degree angle in case the boards shrink a little bit over time.

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I cut the side fascia at the same angle of the roof rafters and carefully fitted them together with tight joint at the top.

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After a few hours the fascia was up, so I started installing the drip edge. I watched a couple of YouTube videos to make sure I cut the drip edge properly so I could bend it at a 90 degree angle.

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The drip edge went up with ease. Now it was time for the tar paper. I grabbed the ladder and laid down the first row. I hammered down button caps about every foot on the bottom and about every three feet on the top.

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The first row was up and I started on the second row overlapping the first row about 4″. This is where the hell started. Because we built the rafters based on a 3, 4, 5 Pythagorean Theorem, the roof was at a 9 / 12 pitch. I couldn’t stand up on the roof because it was too steep nor could I manage to work on the second row off the ladder safely because of the slope of the yard. With all the trouble, I couldn’t tack down the second row without the tar paper getting ripples in it.

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Completely pissed that I couldn’t do it, I removed all the tar paper from the roof. We decided to shore up the shed framing by putting up part of the siding. This way when I’m on the roof, the shed wouldn’t be rocking and rolling back and forth.

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Since my shed wasn’t going to have a soffit, I cut notches in the first row of the siding to slide past the rafters.

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It took a bit of time, but I was happy with the outcome. Any gap would be filled in with caulk. I ended the weekend getting a lot done, but felt completely defeated by not being able to tar paper the roof. I spent the night in a bad mood because I had no idea how I was going to do it.

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The next morning I went to work, and while walking through a Lowes, I spotted a book in the magazine section called “Building Sheds” by the Taunton Press. I skimmed through the book when I saw a picture of a couple of guys installing a roof on a shed. When I saw how they were doing it I thought to myself “of course”! The guys built wooden scaffolding platform on one side of the shed framing. I rushed down to the lumber aisle and figured out how much it would cost for two 2 x 12’s, four 2 x 6’s and a couple of 2 x 4’s. It ended costing $45.00 for all the lumber and $20 for the book. I got home that day and immediately started to build the scaffolding.

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I shored up the platform with a couple of 2 x 4’s cut at a 45 degree angle on one end. I screwed 2 1/2″ and 3″ screws throughout the scaffolding so I could stand on it without fear of it caving in. Once I was done building it, I climbed up the ladder and stood on it. It was perfect! Now I could lay the tar paper on one side of the roof, break down the scaffolding, and build it again on the other side of the shed to do the other side of the roof. I was so happy I figured out how to do it safely.

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Building the Shed Part III

Remember this thing? Probably not. I started building this 10′ x 14′ shed late last year. I waited nearly two months for the deck boards to come in from Home Depot, but by the time they came in, it started to get cold for the year.

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Fast forward six months, I decided to get off my duff and start building the shed again. I went back to Home Depot and bought a bunch of 2 x 4’s and a few 2 x 6’s and framed out the walls.

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My wife bought a nice old sixteen pane window for the shed a couple of years ago and we decided to place it on the side of the shed. I measured it and framed it out making sure there was a little gap on all sides so it would be easy to install.

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The front of the shed will have two more old windows with big double doors in the middle. I laid the window in the frame to see where I wanted the header. We decided that all the windows and the tops of the doors will be placed at the same height.

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My buddy Dave came over in the morning one Saturday so that we could raise the walls and build the rafters for the roof. The four walls went up with ease and everything was plum and square. Good measuring on my part I guess.

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After we installed the top plate to the wall, we played around with angles for the roof until decided to use the 3′, 4′, 5′ Pythagorean theorem method. We cut a test rafter to see how it looked and cut out the birds mouth so that the rafter would fit on the walls nicely. I wanted the rafters to hang over the walls about one foot.

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Cutting the angles for the rafters was easy since there was a 31.62 degree measurement on my sliding compound miter saw. We cut all the wood and made seven rafters in about an hour.

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Since the the total length of the roof was 16′ long, we ended up making another rafter that sat in the middle of the shed so that the OSB plywood would have something to nail to at the end.

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I trimmed the OSB plywood to the proper size on the second row so that I would have about a 2″ gap at the top for a ridge vent. We got a boatload done in one day and I was happy I finally started to build the shed again.

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Revamping a Dining Table

About twelve years ago I built a dining table from the plans out of Woodsmith magazine. While it served it’s purpose, it wasn’t exactly the nicest thing in the house. I made the top out of a piece of low-grade oak plywood that I bought at Home Depot. Not only that, but the table was huge being 44″ wide. My wife Anita asked if I could make a new one, or at least make a new top that was more in style. We decided that making a new top out of southern yellow pine and try weathering it making it look aged.

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The easy part was buying four 2 x 10’s, ripping them 9″ wide by six feet long and gluing them together. After they were glued, I planed the tops of the boards straight removing all the mill marks in the process.

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After the top was planed and sanded with 150 grit sandpaper, Anita applied mixture of steel wool and apple cider vinegar onto the boards to tone down the yellowness of the southern yellow pine.

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We thought it would be a good idea to stain the top while it was already on the table. I removed the original top of the table and flipped over the base onto the new top to decide how much I would need to cut the sides down.

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After messing around with the legs for a few minutes, I decide that the sides should be 24″ wide.

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I cut the sides to 24″ and rerouted the dado on both boards for the corner brackets. I then used pocket screws to re-attach the sides to the legs.

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Using metal corner brackets, I simply attached the top to the base. The new top made the table look more like a farm table.

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Anita then stained the table with Special Walnut, then Classic Gray stain from Minwax.

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Once dry, she applied hemp oil and gave the top a good waxing. She then painted the base with grey chalk paint. When done, it looked like a completely different table.

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A close up the table you can see how the southern yellow pine took on a deep rich tone. You can also see how the original black paint shows through the grey paint after Anita sanded the base a little bit. This has been one of those projects we should have done years ago.

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Repairing a Drawer Bottom

Earlier this week, my wife won a chest of drawers from an online auction. Sure enough when we get it home and examine the piece, we discovered there was significant water damage to the chest that the auction company failed to mention (what a surprise!). In fact, one of the drawers was so bad that the bottom plywood was peeling away. She asked me if I could fix it, so I went to Home Depot and bought a piece of 1/4″ X 24″ X 48″ underlayment plywood for about $5.00.

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The first thing I did to the drawer was carefully pop off the glue blocks from the under side with a paring chisel as I was planning on reusing them.

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I then carefully popped off the drawer runner being careful not to damage it. Fortunately, it wasn’t glued to the drawer bottom making it easy to clean up.

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Then with a dead blow hammer, I gently popped off the sides of the drawers hoping not to damage the dovetail joints.

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After cutting the new piece of plywood to size, I saw that the new drawer bottom was a little thicker than the original, so I widened all the grooves to the drawer with my table saw.

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Once all the grooves were widened, I dry fitted the drawer back together making sure everything fitted properly.

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I then glued the drawer back together including the support blocks back on the bottom.

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After about a half an hours worth of work, the drawer was back in business and nicely fitted back in the piece.

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