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Woodworking and other real world projects

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I know we have at least a few woodworkers on the boards, so let's see what you're working on or have made! Woodworking, home improvement projects, 3D printing, really anything you're making in the real world goes in this thread. Shots of your shop, new tools, etc, are also fair game.

Here's a side table I finished recently. It's made out of walnut and maple.






And here's a jig I put together to more safely and accurately do pattern routing. This piece is part of the leg assembling I'm making for some more side tables. The extra blocks around the workpiece keep the router perfectly level, which reduces cutting errors. It also gives a more stable platform so I can take slower/more precise cuts. It's a lot safer than doing it on the table router too. Everything is stuck down with double-sided tape so it can be repurposed later.




Here are some stacks of wood that are acclimating for future projects. There's a forestry service nearby that has really good prices on hardwood. They have limited supply, but it's all local/sustainably harvested. Much of this wood likely came down in the derecho storm that hit Iowa this fall.


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  • Eric Chadwick
    That's a sweet end table. My latest project was fixing a wood bathroom door that was falling apart, laying a bunch of wood glue in the joints, and banging it heartily with a mallet. Nowhere near what you've got there, haha. But still, nice to finally fix a jammed door.

    What kind of joins are those on the sides?
  • EarthQuake
    That's a sweet end table. My latest project was fixing a wood bathroom door that was falling apart, laying a bunch of wood glue in the joints, and banging it heartily with a mallet. Nowhere near what you've got there, haha. But still, nice to finally fix a jammed door.

    What kind of joins are those on the sides?
    Thanks! The main box has miter joints, which aren't the strongest so I added some splines in as well. To make splines you cut a notch out, glue in a chunk of wood, and then trim it flush when the glue dries. The splines add strength and also just look neat. I made a jig to cut them with my router, and you can make a similar sort of sled to cut them on a table saw too.






  • Eric Chadwick
    Ben that's awesome. What do you finish the wood with, to reduce weathering? Is it just an oil based stain or with polyurethane?

    Some dead images I think. Starting after the first red window dtfANlD.png, they seem to use https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/ instead of imgur.
  • poopinmymouth
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    poopinmymouth polycounter lvl 16
    Fixed the images, thanks Eric

    And thanks!!! It's a spirit based stain and then a two part epoxy lacquer. I do one coat thinned with epoxy thinner to penetrate the wood as a base coat and that seals in the stain, then a second coat full strength which gives that glassy sheen and really protects the wood from the elements while showing that gorgeous grain.
  • R3D
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    R3D interpolator
    I'm looking into getting a small woodworking setup, is there a specific place you guys get the plans from? Picking up a mitre saw and a table saw sometime next month.
  • EarthQuake
    @poopinmymouth every time I see your progress shots I'm astounded at the scale. And then I see you hand-chiseling those big chamfers and talking about hand jointing those boards... I really need to figure out how to tune a plane. Ah well, I've got a jointer coming on Monday so I'll probably push off figuring out how to properly use my Stanley a bit longer. I am getting more confident with a chisel (and sharpening them too) though.
  • poopinmymouth
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    poopinmymouth polycounter lvl 16
    R3D said:
    I'm looking into getting a small woodworking setup, is there a specific place you guys get the plans from? Picking up a mitre saw and a table saw sometime next month.
    My advice for carpentry is the same as for 3D or anything else. You're most valuable resource is your enthusiasm. You need to pick a project you're excited about making, that will hold your interest until you're done. The tools become practically irrelevant. Start with some basic things tools, see if there is a tool library near you that you can borrow from, and then just start making things. As you think, "this would be easier with X-tool" go and get that tool. 

    I've been making wooden things for a while now, and I've seen some "what you should get" lists that have things on it I still don't own because I've never needed their application for the work I do, and sometimes the tools I've splurged on are things that other people don't bother with or have cheapies. You only need the tools that you will use and work with your methodology.  I love watching Grandpa Amu on youtube make elaborate creations using very basic tools. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClaEdLrmti779-tyovta8zw
  • Neox
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    Neox quad damage
    ben on polycount, nice to see you here! and that blue material on your character hmhm, nice flashbacks :D
  • EarthQuake
    @Justin Meisse nice! I want to fiddle with all the knobs

    @poopinmymouth - re:detailed work, thanks! I've got a buddy who makes toy trucks and things like that for his kid, lot's of small parts that need to be accurate enough to be mechanically sound, the smaller the scale gets the more nervous I get about it lol. 

    Yeah we have great access to hardwood here, living in a fairly rural area there's a lot of local sawmills and things like that. I can imagine everything being expensive if you need to import. When I was in Iceland a few years back I noticed the lack of trees, is this due to deforestation, or are there few native species that can handle the climate? Or both?

    Over the weekend I rebuild my slab flattening router jig and tested it out. This one slides a lot smoother than the last one, and works on a table (rather than the floor) which makes it 10x easier to use. Here's a test run with a walnut slab:




    Waiting for the epoxy to cure, then I'll take a final pass to flatten it off again. This will be a coffee table with some sort of mid-century modern style legs when it's done (still mocking that up).

  • poopinmymouth
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    poopinmymouth polycounter lvl 16
    Awesome stuff! I picked up woodworking to make a case for my eurorack system since they can be pretty expensive. Somehow I've spent more time building shop furniture than doing actual woodworking.



    This is awesome. What kind of plywood is that? looks fancy. 

    @Justin Meisse nice! I want to fiddle with all the knobs

    @poopinmymouth - re:detailed work, thanks! I've got a buddy who makes toy trucks and things like that for his kid, lot's of small parts that need to be accurate enough to be mechanically sound, the smaller the scale gets the more nervous I get about it lol. 

    Yeah we have great access to hardwood here, living in a fairly rural area there's a lot of local sawmills and things like that. I can imagine everything being expensive if you need to import. When I was in Iceland a few years back I noticed the lack of trees, is this due to deforestation, or are there few native species that can handle the climate? Or both?

    Over the weekend I rebuild my slab flattening router jig and tested it out. This one slides a lot smoother than the last one, and works on a table (rather than the floor) which makes it 10x easier to use. Here's a test run with a walnut slab:




    Waiting for the epoxy to cure, then I'll take a final pass to flatten it off again. This will be a coffee table with some sort of mid-century modern style legs when it's done (still mocking that up).

    I love custom jigs. This walnut slab looks awesome. How do you ensure the slab doesn't move when routing?
  • rollin
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    rollin polycounter
    You guys are insane.. 
    And Ben, when I saw the first images of the house I was like "well some stuff to do I guess" but when I reached the last images I was mind blown..
    Ca-Racy!

  • Lamont
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    Lamont polycounter lvl 12
    I think this will explain my absence. The past couple years I've been working on a house I bought 40 minutes away from central Osaka in the next prefecture at the base of a mountain.

    People in Japan usually don't like to buy old houses and fix them up because it's a pain to do so, but since I had nothing to do, I picked this project. The house is about 40 years old and one of the biggest things was: no tatami, more windows and 2.2m tall doorways to everything. Old Japanese homes have short doorways. Drives me nuts.

    So I decided to do a complete renovation of the house... I thought it would be a year... been two and some change!!


    So I got the house and a common thing is the people will leave the things they don't want.

    The bathtub had no running hot water. So for a few months we had to boil water.



    The kitchen is 1980's appropriate. 


    This is the door to the kitchen. My head can hit the lamp.


    This room is called "the smoking room" because the previous owner chain-smoked like mad.




  • Lamont
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    Lamont polycounter lvl 12
    Ok, so first thing was break everything. This wall was taken down to meet with new standards. A school girl was crushed by a similar wall after an earthquake in Osaka that year, so I took it down.



    My sons and I gutted the place down to the frame.




    I sourced all new windows from Yahoo Auctions. Double pane and 1/4 the cost. The colors don't match (some brown, some white, some black..) but that's OK for me.


     I would say the hardest thing was demolition of the bath and toilet.



    My youngest son on the jack hammer.



    Japanese hornets...



    This is the bathroom looking from across the kitchen.



    So much garbage we tossed.

  • Lamont
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    Lamont polycounter lvl 12
    Started framing up everything. Electrician, plumber and gas came out and did their parts.



    I put this in, the other windows were done by the contractor. The contractors only did gas, earthquake, window install room extension, electrical and plumbing. This was difficult.


    This log is called a "hari". Japanese homes had this, kind of like a shinto thing. Gonna clean it off and leave it exposed. 



    Osha what?


    My oldest son doing some work.


  • EarthQuake
    @Lamont this is awesome to see, I know you've done a lot of work but I didn't realize how much you had to gut the place! Is that oak ply for the floor in the smoking room?

    @poopinmymouth the secret is hot glue. So when I take the first pass, I shim the board to get it roughly level and make sure it doesn't wobble at all when the router hits it, then I take a hot glue gun and put beads all around the slab, and also on the shims to keep them in place. Once one side is flat you can flip and use it as the reference surface, and hot glue all around it again. You need surprisingly little, just a little drop every 8-12 inches or so to keep it from moving. There's a stack of MDF under it too, I use more or less MDF to set the height, the router can only extend so much so if I take a lot off (I took a little over 1/2" off to flatten this boy) I have to raise it up a bit.



    Here's one side with the epoxy trimmed off and rough sanded to get the router marks out. Finally, I can start to see what the grain is going to look like. The little black marks here are black CA glue (super glue), this stuff is great for filling small imperfections and voids. I use clear CA on the lighter parts of the wood. You can put a little CA in and sand the nearby wood to form a paste, instant color-matched wood fill! There's an activator spray you can use to make it set up in just a few seconds too. Sure beats putting down more epoxy and waiting a couple days for it to cure.
  • EarthQuake
    A bit more sanding and some mineral spirits to see what the grain/color will look like. This is always a bit of a mystery but seeing it now I think this one will be really nice.
     
  • poopinmymouth
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    poopinmymouth polycounter lvl 16
    @EarthQuake
    that looks gorgeous!

    @Lamont
    wow, I thought I was doing a project, that's crazy! You did all the carpentry? did you take a class beforehand or have carpentry experience or just throw yourself at it? The microcement looks like it sucked, can't imagine.
  • Lamont
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    Lamont polycounter lvl 12
    @EarthQuake - You know, I have no clue what wood it was, I was looking mostly for the grain and the color it would turn after exposure to the sun. Also, where's that computer case ;)?

    @poopinmymouth - I just tossed myself headfirst. I did everything minus the walls in the shower room, and the new sink area for the bathroom. A lot of this is first time on this scale. But I think it kinda goes with everything, just do your best to plan and research. What kind of sucks is that I kind of treated this as a project I do on the computer: Oh, don't like that? Delete. Do it over. This is not good because the costs add up like a mother. The microcement did suck, but wasn't as backbreaking as the bathroom and toilet demo. I really dig you making all the window frames, which I am sure saved some money. The work you are doing is crazy kookoo loco, and it looks fantastic. The red really pops.

    The joinery work you and @EarthQuake are doing is off the charts. I wanna get into that when I start the kitchen counters.
  • Lamont
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    Lamont polycounter lvl 12
    @Joopson - Those are pretty awesome... now I wanna try this too... what do your tools look like?

    This weekend I am making a desk. Purchased a motorized standing desk two weeks ago.
  • Joopson
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    Joopson Polycount Sponsor
    Lamont said:
    @Joopson - Those are pretty awesome... now I wanna try this too... what do your tools look like?

    This weekend I am making a desk. Purchased a motorized standing desk two weeks ago.
    Any hatchet that's less than 3 lbs will work well for splitting small branches and roughing out shapes. Japan has a pretty good selection of suitable hatchets; then for a knife, the common one to use is the Morakniv 106, which you can get on amazon. For hollowing spoon bowls, there are many spoon knives to choose from, but again morakniv makes a great economical one. I use the morakniv 164.

    Tons of great videos on youtube, that admittedly make it look easy; it's a lot of fun, though never as easy as this guy (Barn The Spoon) makes it look:



    And a video on the established knife grips; knowing this helped me a lot. You don't just hold the knife the way you'd expect.




    Here are the steps I follow to make my little spreaders. There are other ways, but this is my way. These are quick and useful, so I have quite a few. I usually use fairly small logs, often branches that are around 3 inches thick. I split a bunch and put them in a plastic bag in the freezer, for when I feel like carving. Helps keep them moist and easy to carve.
    But any size of log can work, this same technique works for spatulas, if the log is big enough. I'd just recommend using more axe work, in that case.


  • Lamont
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    Lamont polycounter lvl 12
    @Joopson - Thanks for the information and the step by step!! Looking through Amazon now and I'll give this a go sometime soon! I might carve into the hari in the rooms as well. This was very helpful :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKE2sdlysMY&ab_channel=jolt1
  • sacboi
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    sacboi polycount lvl 666
    'Chippy' (...aussie slang for carpenter) heaven!

    Now itching to pick up me chisels, too +1
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 16
    Dang, everyone takes such good photos.

    @poopinmymouth it's a higher quality cherry plywood from a home improvement store, there's actually way higher grade plywoods out there but you'd have to go to a lumber supply place. Check out Baltic Birch plywood, sooo many layers *drool*
  • EarthQuake
    Some WIP shots of a credenza I'm working on.





    Final result should look something like ^
  • Justin Meisse
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    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 16
    @Lamont I read Junji Ito's Cat Diary and he mentions, I'm paraphrasing here, "we don't typically buy used homes in Japan", how's that work? Do you get looked at like a weird westerner for remodling a "used" home?

    @EarthQuake that case is a beauty

    I mostly finished this a few days ago and the sun happened to be at the right angle for my crappy phone to take a good picture. I'm impatient so shellac and wax is my favorite finish.

    The black strip above the nut is a 3D printed pickup bobbin, I'm planning on installing some electronics so it can kind of play itself and interact with my synths. Here's an early test:

  • breakneck
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    breakneck polycounter lvl 13
    Long time no post Polycount. 
    Cool thread EQ. I do a bunch of wood working stuff - mostly furniture for our house and small projects for friends. I'll try to post a few here in the future. 

    Last year I learned how to make snowboards. First one was a bit busted, but my second attempt is solid and I was able to ride it this winter.

    I won't spam this thread with images. You can check out my progress posts via the snowboard builders Facebook group (It should be public).
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/snowboardbuilders/permalink/1294441147418423/
    ^ Lots of progress images of my first attempt
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/snowboardbuilders/permalink/1434819430047260/
    ^ My second board. Works great!

  • Lamont
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    Lamont polycounter lvl 12
    @Justin Meisse - Yeah people will buy a house, demolish it and build another in it's place. Some houses are far too gone in some cases and you're left with no choice but to demolish it. And a lot of people just have that "Pay someone else to do it" mentality, but there is a steady growing DIY culture growing. And people are starting to tackle larger and larger jobs. A lot of Western folks buy used houses and leave them as-is or remodel. They are really cheap. I went full on kookoo bananas...


  • Clark Coots
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    Clark Coots polycounter lvl 10
    While I wouldn't consider myself a woodworker by any stretch of the imagination, with the help of the internet and some tools I've been able to accomplish a thing or two. My pride and joy, DIY 8x12' 25 degree overhang climbing wall. Some construction shots and the final below!

    Framing pivoting up via a makeshift 5:1 pulley system using some climbing gear. As you pull there is a GriGri - an assisted braking belay device that will capture progress and hold the rope so you can go hands free if needed. I was under the frame deadlifting/squatting while my wife pulled out slack in the system.

    Partially erected shot

    Final angle of the wall with temporary bracing to try to keep it more square and stable until I could put in the horizontal studs, and the plywood ontop.

    Plywood going up using rope thats anchored using 2 belay devices the Grigri again and a normal ATC to capture progress as I pulled the rope from the back. Also have horizontal studs installed and additional support on the legs. Prior to putting the plywood up, I drilled holes and installed T-Nuts in the back of the 3 sheets which the climbing holds are mounted to via bolts and set screws to avoid any holds spinning while weighted.


    The final wall! Named Kilo's Crag (Kilo being my gamer tag for a loooong time). There's a fee app called Retro Flash where you can save boulder problems and have other people set problems for you. Currently have 75 different routes and still counting! Maybe in a year or two I'll mix up the holds and have a completely fresh setup!





  • Clark Coots
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    Clark Coots polycounter lvl 10
    Couple other DIY projects.

    The house we bought one of the shower doors was straight up missing a hinge bracket thing, couldn't find a replacement, so I measured, designed, 3d modeled, and had my brother 3d print a replacement. Printed part shown in black, now we have a working shower door!

    Never done any tiling work, but got and installed my wife a backsplash as a birthday/mothers day gift.



  • Firebert
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    Firebert polycounter lvl 12
    To everyone in this thread, you are all incredibly talented in so many facets of all that life has to offer.  Thank you for starting this thread and sharing more of your creativity with this community.  My mind is absolutely melted by all of your skill and dedication to create such beautiful work.  Truly inspiring stuff in here and I can't wait to see more. 
  • MiloKalita
  • pior
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    pior godlike master sticky
    @Neox, @AlecMoody : would you mind explaining what gear and material are needed to get started with this kind of metal welding work ? That's something I've been curious about for a while and I'd love to get started. Which kind of metal is being used, what does one need to get started with welding, and so on.

  • Neox
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    Neox quad damage
    pior said:
    @Neox, @AlecMoody : would you mind explaining what gear and material are needed to get started with this kind of metal welding work ? That's something I've been curious about for a while and I'd love to get started. Which kind of metal is being used, what does one need to get started with welding, and so on.

    ha not welded at all. its basicallym like... hm lego! maybe not even, more like playmobil.

    there are vendors who sell cut aluminium pipes to the lengths you want and give you connector pieces for all the kinds of connections you can imagine.

    so i basically just checked for the measurements, then modelled it all in 3d and knew which pieces which lengths and which connectors i needed. I somehow missed 4 connectors in my counting, so i bought new ones in a seperate batch, making those very very pricey :x

    if you managed to use the wrong connector on the wrong cornerm cool that thing down, doing it in winter and minus degrees outside help. otherwise taking it apart is really really annoying :D


    damn they now even supply hidden connectors!
  • AlecMoody
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    AlecMoody ngon master
    @pior
    My tools are pretty basic. I use a mig welder (esab rebel 215) to do the actual welding. Cutting tools are generally a horizontal bandsaw (harbor freight 4x6 saw), and then angle grinders with cutoff wheels. Also on the angle grinders flap discs and occasionally I use a grinding stone. I also have a 12" disc sander with metal grinding abrasive on it. The other important tools for me are many types of clamps and also I have a small welding + fixture table. I have other hand tools as well but the bandsaw and disc sander do most of the work and I use the grinders for smaller stuff.
  • pior
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    pior godlike master sticky
    @Neox Oh, *these* ! Haha OK I see, that sure took me off-guard :D With a bit of enamel paint these should look pretty much invisible, nice ...

    @AlecMoody All good to know. Will probably poke around to see what's available to use at the local workshops, as I certainly don't have a bandsaw at my disposal at this time :) Fun stuff.

  • AlecMoody
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    AlecMoody ngon master
    For cutting steel tubes (or angle stock, flat bar, etc) a horizontal bandsaw is the thing you want. Also sometimes called a drop saw. The harbor freight one I have took some dialing in to get it to cut dead straight but now I can make super tight miters that have no twist or gaps.  I used to use a metal cutting chop saw but they don't get as precise, the abrasive kinds make a mess (I avoid a abrasives whenever possible) and the cold cut style shoot sharp chips all over the shop.
  • EarthQuake
    Lot's of cool stuff in here!

    @Justin Meisse that's very cool, I have the urge to build a guitar, even though I don't know how to play one and know nothing about the acoustic qualities of their design... I still want to build one lol

    @breakneck the progress shots for that board are really cool! It's very neat how that is constructed

    @MiloKalita I would love to see more about this. Is it steam bent? Do you have progress shots?

    @AlecMoody jeez that metalwork is awesome, stop messing about you're going to be the reason I buy a whole new set of expensive tools. And then probably burn the house down when my dumb ass tries to weld.

    @pior I didn't know that was a thing! Very cool, metalwork that even a noob like me could pick up.

  • SnowInChina
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    SnowInChina greentooth
    looking pretty good EQ
  • MiloKalita
     I would love to see more about this. Is it steam bent? Do you have progress shots?
    @EarthQuake Sadly we didn't think of taking pictures while renovating this chair.
    The process was removing the net and some old planks first, then adding the new straighter ones with nails.
    We also removed and sanded any hazard sticking out at the end, sorry if it was unclear.
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