Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blank No More!

The slate is blank no more! Progress has been slow, but things are shaping up. As every little piece falls into place, the shop takes one small step towards finally being functional again. Small steps, but noticeable. Yes.

Here's what I accomplished last weekend - Clamp-O-Rama!

For the first time ever, my clamps (of which you can never have too many) are actually making me happy. They used to be a jumbled mess that made me crazy if I even looked at them, but no more.

The clamps on the lower rack are clamped on firmly, while those on the upper rack hang loosely, trapped behind a raised lip on the shelf edge.

Louis enjoys his newly relocated shop nest.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blank Slate

Back in August, in my post about the New Wood Rack, I outlined my plan for the Total Shop Overhaul:

Phase 1: New Wood Rack
Phase 2: Remove Old Wood Rack to make room for the wall
Phase 3: Partition Wall w/ door
Phase 4: Window Installation
Phase 5: Rearrange Shop

I'm happy to report that Phases 1 - 3 are complete and I will be jumping to Phase 5 as soon as I can! Wahoo! The Phase 4 window installation is probably going to have to wait a bit, but I think I can live with that.

The main thing is that the partition wall is complete (okay, the door isn't in yet, but again, I can live with that). It's open at the top to allow heat into the shop, and open at the bottom because - well shoot, okay it's not totally done yet. Actually, it will have some sort of venting at the bottom to allow cold air return - otherwise I'd be working in a deep freeze all winter. I'm not sure what my plan is for the bottom venting yet, so I just left room.

You might notice that I used cheap, and not very smooth plywood. Hopefully, that won't be as noticeable once things are in place, otherwise I will regret saving the money...

So now it is on to the fun part - rearranging/reclaiming the shop! Options, options!

The next step is making about 30 feet of French Cleat...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Frankenchest - An Argument for Painting Wood

Before I even get started on this post, I should point out that the majority of projects that leave my shop (and those that stay) are not painted. I really like the look of wood, either unfinished, or oiled/waxed. But sometimes paint is the finish of choice and here is a perfect example of why.

I finally finished dismantling the old wood rack. But what to do with the wood? I didn't want to store it and it didn't feel right just burning it in the wood stove - "Well, thanks for the years of yeoman's work old rack, now it's off to a fiery doom for you! Muwahahahaha!" And we did need some kind of firewood storage for on the front porch, so...

Enter the Frankenchest!

This was a down and dirty salvage build, so material wise nothing is particularly nice about this project. The 3/8" plywood is rough CDX salvaged from the old rack's shelves. The 2x4 internal frame also comes directly from the rack. The skirting is birch ply from the long gone CD shelves, and the 1x stock for the upper trim was pulled from the scrap pile. In short, the wood is a mismatched hodgepodge. However, the proportions are not bad - maybe even nice, which is why painting this monstrosity makes sense.

Paint unifies the design, hiding the wood's grain, texture (somewhat) and coloring, and thus allowing proportion to dominate the viewer's perception of the final product. This is, I believe, the reason Windsor chairs were traditionally painted. Of course, we're talking about a Frankenchest here, not some fine Windsor chair, so the results are not exactly the same, but I think you can see the difference:

Yeah, it would take more than paint to make this baby shine, but it does take it from rather hideous to "not too bad", which in my book definitely does "Give it more juice!" (NOT a woodworking related link, and jump to 8 minutes for the scene with the quote - spoiler alert if you haven't seen this movie yet...)

And yes, this is the second, huge, green chest I have built recently - I think I should be good for a couple of years at least. Although, a huge, blue chest might be nice...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Shop Update Part II

Well, after a small prescribed burn, I have at least one corner of the shop decent enough for some pictures.

First is the new wood rack doing its job quite nicely:

I didn't realize how much 6' stock I had picked up. This was mostly because the old rack couldn't handle 8' stock in an easy manner. Now that I have a much better rack, I can go back to buying longer, and thus more versatile, stock.

As I mentioned in a comment on the previous wood rack post, I added plywood "decking" to the second and third shelf to both increase the racking resistance (earthquakes) and allow for easier storage of shorts. Also, I added sliding trays under the bottom platform to handle even more shorts.

And here is the GGTC - Gigantic Green Tool Chest:

The body of the chest is made of 3/4" birch plywood that I found buried at the bottom of the old wood rack. I don't use plywood very often anymore, but this was leftover from my table saw days and much too nice to send to the landfill.

This is going in to my school shop to safely keep unsupervised hands away from sharp tools.

Now it's back to the shop overhaul - next up, the new wall!