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Brian

How to build a workbench

Back in high school, when I was a member of a black metal band playing the guitar, I never had the notion I would be even remotely interested in woodworking. Now, as a marketing manager, I like to unwind from the pressures of my job by putting in some woodworking on the side.

It has been fun, but the most challenging project I have had to work on was the DIY workbench for my DIY workshop.

The materials are pretty much what any woodworking project will need. I got some Douglas fir in different dimensions, along with LVL joists, which resemble huge pieces of plywood. My table saw had to be fitted with a fifty-tooth combination rip–crosscut blade.

I also worked with some medium density overlay panel for the shelf and back panel of the desk, but these are optional.

Other items that I got included washers, nuts, galvanized carriage bolts, 12 in all. I also needed six galvanized lag screws plus a 7-inch woodworking vise with bench dog and accessories, sandpaper, wood glue and some Danish oil finish.

 

The actual work started with cutting. To do this, I set the saw fence exactly three ⅛ inches to make the first ripping pass. Using a push stick was essential as I approached the end of the cut I was making. Each of the six pieces or LVL joists had to be given a rip pass.

I used the woodworking square plus a straightedge to ensure a flat and square ripped edge.

I had to reset the fence to 3 inches after shutting the saw off, then I took each of the six already ripped pieces, positioned the freshly-sawn edges against the saw fence and then fed the pieces through once more.

After getting six pieces of LVL, I had eliminated minor imperfections along with the factory edge.

 

After that, I ripped the remaining LVL pieces to widths of 3 inches. When you do this, make sure the freshly-sawn edges are placed against the table saw fence. You should pick the best fourteen pieces having 3-inch widths, carefully examining the face of each.

Any small bumps can be removed right where 2 pieces of veneer overlap. I fed each piece through a planer, and a benchtop model was best for this purpose. I executed an extremely light cut.

To complete the benchtop, I had to glue the pieces together using a foam paint roller and then clamped the pieces together with the rest of the benchtop pieces utilized as a reference plane and clamping block in one.

I had to align, clamp and bore holes on the benchtop. Once that work was done, I proceeded to make the base.

I started on this component by crosscutting two by 4 and four by four lumber using a stop block and a miter saw. The shortened sections had to get reduced in thicknesses by feeding them through a planer.

After that, I had the 2 x 4s at just one ⅜ by three ⅜ inches. The 4 x 4 became three ⅜ inches both ways.

Utilizing some scraps from the four by 4 to test the setup after installing a dado blade in the table saw, I cut the notches and dadoes in the bench legs. I clamped the legs, sanded and finally did finishing work on them.

 

I wish I could have taken pictures as I made the workbench, but I hadn’t thought I would be working on this blog either so forgive me for that ‘non-oversight oversight.’ I hope you can make your own workbench too.

 

 

Why protective equipment is important when you’re in your workshop

Unfortunately, many people believe that if they work in their own workshop, they should not worry about wearing safety equipment. Nothing could be further from the truth. Serious injuries can occur, especially when using power tools. No matter the scope of your DIY project, if it involves the use of tools that can cut, snap, or send sparks or sharp objects flying, you need adequate protective equipment.

 

 

Get a good pair of gloves

I start with gloves because when you are in your workshop, most of the things you do require the use of your hands and therefore, they must be protected. I will not go a lot into details since I want to focus most on the importance of achieving proper protection. If you are welding, get a pair of thick leather gloves so that accidental sparks flying won’t land on your naked skin, or burn through the thin material. Use chemically resistant gloves when manipulating chemicals and opt for heat-resistant models if your projects involve the use of high temperatures. The usual kind, made from thin material, serves to avoid abrasion.

 

Keep your hair and skin protected

A lot of problems can occur by being dressed inadequately or keeping longer hair too loose. If you are like me when I was young and wearing long hair as I was a hardcore black metal fan, you will need to tie your hair as proper as possible. Your clothes should not be loose, either. Rotating power tools can snatch a strand of hair or a piece of clothing in the blink of an eye, and you can end up with terrible injuries. Other things that can get caught in heavy machinery are jewelry and other accessories that are too loose. Dress accordingly when you are going to your workshop for some DIY project.

 

Safety shoes are essential

There are different types of safety shoes available. Do not mistake all the steel-toe boots as safety shoes since they may not meet the needed requirements. However, if you are not involved in heavy duty soldering projects, regular safety shoes may not be required. Be aware, though, of heavy objects falling on your toes, as you may end up injured quite easily this way.

A few words on clothing

I have mentioned earlier that you should not wear loose clothes that can get caught in machinery. I advise against synthetic garments, especially when working with high temperatures. Natural fibers are the indicated choice and covering as much of your body as you can, including your hands and feet, is highly recommended.

Don’t forget to always read the words on the safety labels that come with each gear you intend to use. Protective equipment can help you only this much.

How to winterize your drafty windows

Even though this article could have been more helpful if I had started updating my blog back in October or November, perhaps it’ll be a useful resource for the future. Drafty windows are a pain and they have to be dealt with properly unless you like having issues with your sinuses, your breathing, in general, and with your respiratory health all throughout winter. There are several ways to deal with the problem and I’m going to tell you all about them.

Caulking is the first method that I myself have used in the past and have found to be rather efficient. You can start by cleaning the dust and dirt with the help of a scrub brush that you’ve dipped in soapy and warm water. You can either let the surfaces to dry on their own or use a cloth. Exterior-grade caulk needs to be utilized for this project as it can put up with the abuse of the elements. A 100% silicone sealant can prove to be quite efficient and can even remain flexible and in the right place for years and years to come. Plus, most of these sealants are rather budget-friendly so you won’t have to break your piggy bank if you choose this method.

 

Weatherstripping is another alternative and from what I have gathered, most people prefer five main styles; adhesive-backed foam, tubular rubber-gasket, spring V-seal, felt, and window insulation kits. Of all of these, I personally recommend window insulation kits. Like the sealants I was mentioning above, these kids aren’t necessarily expensive and the neat thing about them is that they come with a type of plastic that sticks to the window casing when you use a blow dryer to seal it. Nothing can be easier than that, in my opinion.

Another piece of advice that I would like to give you is that you should try to do your best at testing your windows once you believe that you’ve wrapped up the whole process. Winterizing your windows may appear a simple thing, but the fact of the matter is that you might accidentally leave a spot behind. It’s certainly difficult to deal with the situation once the cold weather has settled in so I recommend checking for any mistakes on the same day you’ve winterized your windows.

 

Dodging the drafts can be done with the doors in your home, as well. All you need to do is place a bath towel or any other material that you can do without at the door or right against it. Any type of fabric can be used for this, whether you decide to go for a tie or make some sort of a DIY snake that you might want to fill with kitty litter or sand.

 

 

 

Woodworking Projects for Every Rookie

 

Everyone who has ever thought about taking on woodworking should start with something easy. I believe there are plenty of rewards to reap from practicing the beautiful craftsmanship of woodworking, but if you do not want to lose motivation, the best advice is to start with a project that even a rookie can accomplish. Here are some ideas to try as a beginner.

Build your own lounger

What could be more relaxing than sitting in a backyard lounger with a refreshing drink in your hand? For this simple project, you will need a circular saw, a cordless drill, 48 1½ wood screws, bar clamps, a rafter square and two planks of weather resistant wood, like cheddar, each 10×10 inches. The desired thickness of the boards should be one inch.

The first step is to mill all the components. It is much simpler to break the entire process into steps so that you can be more efficient. This lounger requires multiple parts, so you will need to make sure not to miss one. You will need to mill two parts for the seatback, two for the seat, a front stretcher, a back support, two front legs, two rear legs, two armrests, and two arm supports.

Bringing everything together is done with screws. I suggest that the screw holes are done with a drill press becasuse it’s very easy. Such a power tool is cheaper than you think and if you search for the drill press reviews you can find affordable and good models. I will not go into deep details since I want to tell you about other projects rookies can create with much ease. 

Create your own custom-made checkerboard

This project is so simple and elegant that I have to recommend it. At first glance, you may think that creating 64 squares of wood for the checkerboard is a time-consuming process, but this is far from the truth. The magic happens because of a small trick that I will explain right away. Take two boards of light and dark wood, enough for creating two 20 inch stripes. The desired thickness is ¾ inches.

Cut the boards into 2 inch wide stripes. Make sure you have enough material for obtaining eight lines, four in each wood shade. Glue them together, by alternating light and dark shades. After the glue is dried, cut the stripes again, perpendicular to their original orientation. By now, you should easily see what we are planning to do.

It is time for some more gluing. Take one strip and glue it to the next, but flip the second one, so that squares of different colors end up in an alternate pattern. The last steps involve sanding the board and adding a border, for a finish, elegant look. Don’t forget to apply a finish, to protect the wood against wear and tear. Even a beginner can obtain a beautiful looking checkerboard in this manner, and you will love your results.