Woodworking

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QuickLinks

Shopsmith Bad Axe Tool Works - A Veteran owned business. Repurposed, Recycled Wood Workshop
Jewelry Box Cars for Childrens' Hospital Lap Desk for Veterans Chair / Bed Desk for Veterans
Ramona Valley Presbyterian Church Pulpit Pens House Stool Baby Cradle
Elementary School Easel Merry Christmas Sucker Tree Kitchen Upgrade Christmas Tray-2013
Corner Cabinet(s) Plate Shelf Corner Shelf Lazy-Susan Tray
Entertainment Center Sudoku Puzzle Box Christmas Boxes-2014 Dog Paw Box
Pencil Box Yard Checkers Calendar Stand First Christmas Picture Frame
Childrens' Jigsaw Puzzles - February 19, 2016 Murphy Bed - June 28, 2016 Book Rack - August 9, 2016 Painting Racks - August 9, 2016
Childrens' Learning Blocks, September 10, 2016 Mailbox Rail, September 28, 2016 One Person Sandbag Filler, September 28, 2016 Wheeled Compressed Air Tote Bottle, September 28, 2016
Hongerig Geholpen Stand, November 30, 2016 Nativity Scene Stable, December 2, 2016 Chess / Checker, Backgammon / Ace-Deuce Bags, December 6, 2016 Magnetic Playing Board, April 21, 2017
Fidget Toy, May 13, 2017 Team Plaques, June 7, 2017 Jenni's Texas Plaque, June 8, 2017 Drawing / Activity Easel, November 5, 2017

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Shopsmith

Shopsmith Update November 20, 2016

AT THIS POINT IN TIME THIS IS AN EMOTIONAL ISSUE FOR ME BEYOND VALUE.

I own four Shopsmiths. I bought one, Shopsmith #1 in 510 configuration with plenty of accessories, new in 1992 at the San Diego County / Del Mar Fair. I still have the receipt. I was "recovering" from spending one year and one day in the Saudi Desert with Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield - the (failing) follow-on protective operation. The Shopsmith is a incredible machine if you learn how to use it and I have used it a lot. Since then I have upgraded my Shopsmith #1 to Mark 7 - the digital control / DVR motor and the 520 rails system. The Mark 7 upgrade was easy and it has operated many hours without a problem.

Along the way I purchased an old Shopsmith 500, Shopsmith #3, machine with a fair amount of accessories off of eBay primarily as a power stand really cheap. Since then I have upgraded this machine to the more powerful motor, the two bearing quill, the 510/520 carriage, and 520 tables and rails. It runs really nice.

I found another Shopsmith 510, Shopsmith #2, on eBay for pennies on the dollar with TONS of accessories. That Shopsmith has since been upgraded to the Mark 7 digital controls and DVR motor. Again, I did the self upgrade / installation.

A friend from Church had a Shopsmith 500 behind his shed under a canvas tarp for twenty plus years. "Donated" to me, Shopsmith #4, in pretty poor shape, it took about two weeks to get it apart, cleaned up, and operational. Still has a few issues but it runs nice. It could still use (upper) way tubes as these are a bit pitted from rust and exposure, and the headstock lock sticks so it probably needs new left and right wedge locks and a new headstock lock rod. Maybe some day in the future when I find the parts on eBay I will resolve those issues. Since then I have upgraded this Shopsmith to the more powerful motor, the two bearing quill, the 510/520 carriage, and 520 tables and rails. Now the Shopsmith lathe duplicator is on it, probably close to permanent installation as I really like to work with the lathe capability of the Shopsmith.

Shopsmith Original Text

I hear a lot of "stuff" about Shopsmiths from people that have never used one. I will make these statements - A Shopsmith is not a table saw, it is better in some aspects than a dedicated table saw, not as good in other aspects. A Shopsmith is not a horizontal boring machine, it is better in some aspects than a dedicated horizontal boring machine, not as good in other aspects. A Shopsmith is not a lathe, it is better than any single purpose lathe I have ever used. If you are a wood turner, buy a Shopsmith simply for that activity. It goes on like this through the many capabilities and options of the Shopsmith, better in many aspects, not as great in some. I have been working with wood since I can remember and I hate my Shopsmith so much that I own more than one and a lot of the accessories for them. Here is a key to a Shopsmith. READ THE BOOK, PRACTICE, and LEARN. This is a complex machine that will do wonders if you know how to use it. If you do not know how to use it a Shopsmith is a great sawdust generator and frustration builder. Then I will buy your megabucks investment for pennies on the dollar from an online resource. While I own dedicated tools, most of these projects were done 100% with the Shopsmiths. Few of them were completed without a Shopsmith playing some role.

My next power tool purchase is going to be that new Microsoft© Table Saw. When you make a bad cut, simply hit Control-Z on its control panel and the saw undoes your cut so you can try again.

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Bad Axe Tool Works

Hyper link to Bad Axe Tool Works

My Dad had a lot of quality tools that, as kids, we tore up. Never saw Dad get mad about his loss. One of the losses was a special set of open end wrenches designed to adjust the mechanical valve lifters on L-head six cylinder engines. They are very thin. We used them to take off and put on the wheels of our bikes. They were not designed for it and were ruined. I still have them. Certain tools have a lot of meaning to me. I have his Rock Island Vise and had to jury rig it to mount it, missing the special pivot bolt. Memories. Some are simply tools.

Bas, a former employer and excellent woodworker, sent me some information on Bad Axe Tool Works. Okay, I am a bit sensitive about names. NOT WHAT YOU MAY THINK. It is the geographic area, the Bad Axe River, of Wisconsin in which the company is located. Colonel Mark D. Harrell, United States Army, Retired, is the owner / president. I spent hours reading about saw construction and use on his homepage. I watched my Dad hand sharpen some of his saws after we ran them into nails and whatever else. He was good at it. Anyone who can explain saw construction and sharpening desires the Nobel Prize in Toolmanship. I tried hand sharpening a saw the local saw sharpener would not touch several years ago. It got better, it was not good when I got done.

So, I ended up with a Bad Axe saw and Bench Hook Set which I must thank the Colonel for. My first task with the set was the trim for the Murphy Bed project later on this page. I have always hated miters. Most people do not understand that a four-sided square or rectangle with 45 degree cut corners is eight angles working together. A little off on any one of the the angles or the length of any one piece of wood and the project is way out of alignment. The Murphy bed needed something to break up the 57" wide by 77" inch face of the drop-down section. It was going to be molding / trim.

God is Great. God is Good. God is Timely. I am thankful. The Bad Axe Saw and Bench Hook Set showed up. Sixty-four pieces of trim, with a 45 degree angle at both ends. The results were SUPER! While every meeting is not perfect - my lack of skill, the vast majority are superb. The angles match extremely well.

The saw is a perfect fit for my hand. I have several miter boxes. Most are dust covered and abused. The Bad Axe Bench Hook Set is beautiful. Kind of hate to take a saw to it. So I used a sacrifice soft wood - paint stir sticks, to protect the Bad Axe saw and the Bench Hook Set. The cuts are true 45s and true 90s - another small project. The saw is smooth cutting through the clear pine. The handle is extremely comfortable. Due to the stupid auto accident I could only cut about four pieces before I had to take a break for a while. During the breaks I sat there thinking about Dad working with wood in our basement. Memories. The Bad Axe Saw and Bench Hook Set is phenomenal workmanship and quality. They brought back many memories and provided a greatly appreciated quality to my work. While I classify myself as a woodworker, I do not classify myself as a master woodworker.

Here is the Bad Axe Saw and Bench Hook Set. The sacrifice pieces are there. I really hate to mar this quality and presentation. Storage will be in my reading room / guest room. Not going to let something like this live in the workshop.

Bad Axe Saw and Bench Hook Set

These are eight pieces of trim meeting. These two are representative of all of the trim joints cut by hand with the Bad Axe Saw and Bench Hook Set. I will admit a few of these complex meetings are slightly less than perfect. However, those are VERY VERY nice. My skill level.

Murphy Bed Miters

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Repurposed / Recycled Wood

Dimensional lumber, those rectangular 2x4s, 1x6s, etc, come from round trees. Cutting square or rectangular lumber out of round timber does not consume the entire piece of timber, a cut tree. There are leftovers due to shape, size, quality, or other factors. These get sold cheap - not a lot of man-hours or equipment time involved - to secondary users. Some of the purchasers are the growers of plants headed to the U.S. These plants are low value products and the goal is to not significantly increase their value through packaging. So these growers purchase these leftovers cheap.

When the mill sells these leftovers they "repurposed" that wood to the the growers for some cost recovery. So I refer to these leftovers as "repurposed lumber." The growers make frames or racks, shown in the background of the photo and send their plants to the U.S. These frames (I will stick with "frames" from here on out.), may not be "standard shipping pallet" size of 40"x48." The frame in the picture is 40"x42"x24". Some frames may have a standardized shipping pallet as its base and may be 72" high.

Upon arrival the frames become leftovers for the commercial greenhouses. The commercial growers are going to ship their much larger product out in cardboard boxes. They want the seedling plants. So, trying to recover some of their costs, they usually sell these frames or racks for as little as $5 each regardless of size, condition, or contained wood. For that small fee, they will generally allow you to plug your extension cord into their power source so you can cut the frames into transportable pieces with your reciprocating saw. If you can transport assembled frames off their property without creating a hazard, maybe you have some bargaining power on price.

As a user of this wood you have no idea what you are going to get. I would make this general statement after several years of dealing with repurposed/recycled wood. 30% is going straight to the fireplace, 40% is going to be "standardized" with a planer and jointer into pieces with a thickness of approximately 1/2" and widths not exceeding 2 1/2" with lengths usually in the 36" range. 15% is going to be "standardized" into thicknesses of approximately 3/4" with widths not exceeding 2" and lengths of approximately 36". 10% is going to be standardized into 1 1/4" x 1 1/4" with lengths varying from 20" to 72". These pieces are coming from the corners. The remaining 5% comes from the bases and will "standardize" into 1 1/2" x 3 1/2" with lengths up to 40". The way I work with the corner pieces is to use a screwdriver and a hammer, split the "hanger on wood" with its grain. Then I place the corner piece in a heavy metal working vise held by those annoying spiral cut nails. Once mounted, I let one of my son-in-laws prove how strong they are, and pull the piece off leaving the nails in the jaws of the vise. Note: You have to inspect the nails to make sure none have broken off in the wood.

Note: The planters favor spiral cut nails so these frames stay together. And they do. Trying to knock them apart with a hammer will break and split the wood reducing your usable yield.

What you are going to get? You are going to get repurposed, recycled wood. It will be random thicknesses, random quality, and random species. Lose knots and knot holes will be common. It will have nails, usually spiral cut, "office staples," and poultry staples in it. You are going to get leftover mesh and cardboard. So each piece has to be inspected before running it through a planer, a jointer, or saw.

What can you make from it? Anything you want. A number of my projects are made from this wood or contain pieces of it. The boxes made for Christmas 2014 have some absolutely beautiful grain showing.

Repurposed, Recycled Wood

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Workshop

I love working with my hands and love working with wood or metal. In 2011 I finished a workshop project that gave me a 24' x 30' x 9' workshop. The workshop was a dream since 1987 when we moved in. The nine foot interior ceiling means I just need to lift the wood a bit higher to hit a light. The apron and the walk around walk are just very nice touch-up details.

Workshop

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Jewelry Box - 2012

One of the first projects in the workshop was a jewelry box for Joyce. I am lucky. Joyce is not a big fan of jewelry so this holds mementos of trips and events. By the plans and pictures in the magazine were neat so .... this is what I ended up with.

Jewelry Box

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Cars for Childrens' Hospital

I have been a member of the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association for years. They are obvious not picky about member skills or membership. One of their "privileges" is to supply the materials and then let you invest hours in completing the project. The item is then donated to places such as the Childrens' Hospital. I love their car kits and these are some of the twenty-four cars and trucks for a recent Christmas donation - 2012?

Wooden Cars

Wooden Cars

Wooden Cars

Wooden Cars

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Lap Desk for Veterans

Those on active duty and who have completed their service are both Veterans. I utilize the Naval Medical Center, San Diego "Balboa" and Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center La Jolla (San Diego) too much and generally do not enjoy what I see. I make two things to help out. The first is the lap desk. There is nothing complicated or hard about it. And it is very light being out of 1/4" plywood. Use it for crossword puzzles, write letters, put it on the carpet and build a Lincoln Log Cabin, put a computer on it, serve a meal on it by placing a damp paper towel on it, use your imagination. One of the "improvement" features was I started putting a slot in the ledge board to stop papers from sliding / curling off. I usually carry four or five in my car. I have seen them used as frisbees out of frustration. They work only once for that purpose and fly rather poorly.

Lap Desk

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Chair / Bed Desk for Veterans

The other item for Veterans is a special build item and I have only made a few. The chair desk is designed and fitted to a specific Service Member or Veteran. The width of the chair, the angle, etc. are all specific to that end user. While this prototype and measuring / fitting example has the drops cut off each end, the delivered product has drops on the ends so the chair desk will not slide left or right and then off the chair. And for the bedridden, the risers keep the chair / bed desk off the legs.

Chair Desk

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Ramona Valley Presbyterian Church Pulpit - 2012

On Palm Sunday 2012 one of the members of our Ramona Valley Presbyterian Church asked if I could look into repairing the Church's pulpit. We meet in a community center and the Pastor had been using the worn out and beat up podium. Upon delivery on the Monday before Easter when I saw what I had coming my way my response was "I can look at it." It was in something like four major pieces and seven minor pieces. This was not a repair, it was a rebuild. Joyce and I worked on it for probably forty plus hours and put something like seven coats of finish on it. We put it in the HHR Saturday evening before Easter. We put it in front of the congregation Easter Sunday for the first time in a while. Not bad. Whomever built it used some super woods in its construction.

RVPC Pulpit

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Pens

The Shopsmith is a super lathe in many aspects. You can change the speed as you go without a shutdown and restart and with smooth speed transition you get the EXACT speed you want. I love turning pen and pencil sets and we give a lot of them away for Christmas and special events. Here are some of the pen and pencils for Christmas 2012. I think I made something like 72 sets during the year of 2012.

Pen and Pencil Sets

Pen and Pencil Sets

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House Stool

Stools are always an issue. The right sized stool gets a lot of uses and I made a lot of these for our local senior citizens' center several years ago. We debated features with every prototype and I kept all the prototypes. One of the comments was they did not look very sturdy. So I jacked up my 4,400 pound 1969 Chevy C-10 pickup truck and put one under each tire. Several people pushed and pulled and nothing moved except the sweat on their foreheads. These stools move around the house and get some pretty heavy use. Here is one of the banged up and well used stools.

Stool

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Baby Cradle - 1978

In our move to Japan in the late 1970s on Navy orders I brought over limited power tools. That allowed me to complete numerous small projects. Then we found out we were going to be parents. My Brother-in-Law Brad, copied some plans he had found in a magazine and sent them on (before the Internet). Fortunately the MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation) organization has facilities to reduce boredom. I purchased some really beautiful Japanese Redwood and went to work using their big tools table saws, band saws, planers, jointers, whatever. Part of this design is the cradle flips over and using the pad from the cradle side, it becomes a bench. All three of our daughters came home to this cradle and it has been flipped into a bench many times and the girls loved it.

Right now, thirty-five years after it was made and after it has moved through more than ten duty stations and through more than fourteen houses this cradle is in our little bedroom awaiting a grandchild.

Baby Cradle-1978-Japan

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Elementary School Easel

Our children are long past the days of sitting at the dining room table and doodling on paper with crayons. One of our holdovers was a large roll of "printer's paper" used with some drawing boards long gone. Thinking that Joyce's elementary school could use the paper I went and talked to Chris, the principal. The conclusion was that the school could use a message easel in the entry way.

Okay, had the project vision and construction started. The final product is shown here. The roll of paper is on an axle holding it in position so it rolls easily but not too easily. There is a slot in the pen trough so the pens are in front of paper and the paper is always flat on the board. There is a take-up axle on the back near the top so the paper is always held in place. Placing the heavy roll low keeps the center of gravity down. And, there is a spacer between the legs to reduce the probability of creating a pinch point. This concept of feeding from bottom to top allows a continuous message or text to be written without tearing the paper AND, it can be reviewed in the order it was written.

Very stable and a lot of fun to build.

School Easel

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Merry Christmas Sucker Tree - 2013

First, before we start an argument, I believe in Christ and in Christmas. This is a "Merry Christmas .....Sucker Tree," not a "Merry Christmas Sucker ..... Tree." Rather than increasing some store's profits and the profits of some chinese (lower cased out of [lack of] respect) company, I make things for presents. I tell my Wife and Children that the greatest gift I can get for any reason / season is a list of what they want made in wood, metal, or just about anything else. I saw a version of this sucker tree in an office so I played with it. My Wife likes the red / green combination, I love the natural wood grain presentation. And with the natural wood grain you can make is a tree for all reasons / seasons by supplying different tree aprons or skirts.

All of these are made out of repurposed / recycled wood. They are designed to be laid flat in storage. The top and bottom branches are glued in place while the others rotate freely. This keeps the tree together.

Clue: If making this project, drill the sucker stem holes at an angle.

This is a great project for five year-olds so it is right at my skill level.

Merry Christmas Sucker Tree

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Kitchen Upgrade

When we purchased our house the contractor had built the kitchen with the "standard at the time" over stove top vent, electric stove top, and dual electric oven / microwave. The twin unit electric oven / microwave was an "apartment sized" unit about 26 1/2" wide. After a lot of use and service things started to die. So we toured numerous stores and saw a number of models. None fit our sizing needs or design desires. A commercial builder gave us an estimate that was a significant percentage of our annual income and an estimate of eight weeks to completion. So... pull out the tape measure, scratch paper, and brain. What we ended up with an over the stove microwave / convention oven with an integrated vent. The stove is dual fuel - propane gas range and electric convection oven. So cabinets came out, things got cut, things got reinstalled after adjustment and some stuff was totally new.

And it was less than a month's income and took about five total days.

The top left picture is the old arrangement for the stove top and vent. The top right picture is the new microwave / convection oven / vent that replaced some useless cabinets. The dual fuel stove replaced the electric stove top and several other cabinets.

Now the issue was, what do I do with the hole caused by the removal of the 26 1/2" wide microwave / electric oven unit? Following the plan we installed a "pantry." The shelves are approximately 12" wide and about 14" high between shelves resting on four full extension ball bearing drawer slides capable of holding A LOT OF WEIGHT. See the results in the bottom photo. The dowel rods keep everything on the shelves. To prevent problems the interior of the cabinet was finished / filled smooth to eliminate the possibility of a pull-out getting stuck in.

We gained a 4 1/2" deep, 27" wide, with a depth of over 28" drawer below the pull-outs. Great for splash guards and such. This drawer is also on full extension ball bearing slides.

The difference in the woodwork coloring from old to new is the result of totally refinishing the kitchen with MinWax Polyshade Golden Pecan the year before. A very durable finish that really brings out the beautiful grain of the red oak wood.

A side effect of this project was the original kitchen was totally electric. In our rural area electric outages are not totally uncommon. Now with the propane gas stove we can still cook.

We have had about eighteen power outages in 26 years, I just love cooking on gas. Our barbecue is about 20 feet from the kitchen and with a low at night of 30 degrees ABOVE zero as "COLD" for our area, we BBQ twelve months a year.

Kitchen Upgrade

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Christmas Tray - 2013

This tray was made for Joyce's Christmas 2013 present. The company I work for 7-4 gets a lot of product in frames made from mill cutoffs. The repurposed / recycled wood is whatever from South America, Central America, and Asia. I hate seeing it got to dump so I recovered a fair amount of it with some projects in mind. The Merry Christmas Sucker Trees are from this same wood.

This tray, two-liter bottle for size, is amazingly light in weight and has no nails or screws. Dowel pins are used throughout. The repurposed / recycled wood has some really beautiful grain which does not show well in the photo.

Christmas Tray

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Corner Cabinet(s)

Shortly after I retired from the Navy Joyce said she wanted a pair of corner cabinets for the dining room. This would "round out" the room by filling the corners. The end result was two matching corner cabinets, this is one of them. A lot of fun to build and figure out.

The back is at a 45 to each wall to "soften the corners." The top crown molding is set so things cannot slide off. There are a lot of dowel pins in this project.

If you did not figure it out we collect cups and mugs from our various trips. The plate shelf was another "Can I have a" request for some special day. I love those requests.

Corner Cabinet(s)

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Plate Shelf

Somewhere along the line we filled the corner cabinet shelves with our numerous souvenirs so the request from Joyce was a plate shelf. This is approximately thirty-eight feet of oak shelf that covers four of the five walls in the dining room. They are full with cups and mugs from all over the world as well as some special interest or subject mugs.

Plate Shelf

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Corner Shelf

As our daughters went off to college dorm furniture became an issue and moving FREQUENTLY became an event - AGAIN. Our oldest daughter wanted a shelf to fit into a small dorm room and this was the result. Even though it never actually made it into the dorm room.

To go with the shelf there is a matching desk. The construction of both dictated several things which included transport and assembly issues. Both the shelf and the desk assemble and knock-down without tools and both lay flat in transport. Through the use of angles and dowel pins the furniture is very stable. Both the desk and the shelf have moldings to preclude things rolling or spilling off the sides or back.

The desk ended up in a bedroom holding a 20-gallon fish tank. That is over approximately 160 pounds of water.

Corner Shelf

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Lazy-Susan / Tray - 2014

My oldest daughter's birthday was coming up and my wife made a suggestion based on some "service" needs during family get-togethers that she hosts at her house.

It was another issue of I was going to get to make something. I love those types of issues. I have a pile of repurposed / recycled wood. This tray is also a Lazy-Susan. The only metal in the tray is the turntable. The turntable is held to the base and the tray with wooden axle pegs. The corners are splined to retain shape and add strength, they are barely visible in the picture. The handles are dowel-pinned on with cross dowels for integrity.

Very light and very stable with a service area about 18" across and a wide base of almost 17". The finish is several coats of Indian Mahogany MinWax Polyshade and then a couple of coats of MinWax Gloss Polyurethane for depth.

Lazy-Susan Tray

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Entertainment Center - 2012 / 2013 /2014

I built our previous entertainment center while we were stationed in Kingsville, Texas in 1980. It was designed and built for the enormous and heavy electronic components of the time with the massive components of 2x6s and 2x8s as vertical components and 3/4" plywood as horizontal components. As designed, it sustained nine Navy moves two moves between the U.S. and Japan and three transcontinental U.S. moves without major incident.

At my 7-4 job I had the opportunity to get repurposed / recycled wood from pallets and frames which contained materials from all over the world. I cannot identify wood and actually do not care to. I select wood for beauty and use. I also had a lot of odd size leftover wood in the shop from other projects and those leftovers also got utilized in this project so no "prime wood" is utilized in the entertainment center. One drawer bottom is the assembly of seven pieces of wood while numerous others are constructed from six pieces. A couple are actually from only two pieces. Most of the drawer slides are Blum slides from an an earlier projector, also leftovers, so only a few drawer slides were purchased.

The only metal in the project is that associated with the drawer slides, drawer pull mounting screws, the furniture bolts holding the four modules together and hinges. The project consumed over thirty feet of dowel rods converted into 1 1/2" dowel pins and over 300 #20 biscuits as well as almost three quarts of glue.

The only materials bought for this project were some of the drawer slides, the furniture bolts, and the MinWax Pecan Gloss Polyshade.

This is the end result. Started as in December as a Valentine's Day gift in 2013, ended up closer to our forty-second wedding anniversary in June 2014.

Entertainment Center-2014

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Sudoku Puzzle Box - 2014

It is simply impossible for me to sit in a waiting room for an appointment of any kind. So I carry books or puzzles with me at all times, just in case. A couple of years ago Rockler Woodworking had Sudoku kits and a drill template for the board. I played with several different layouts and tries and then hit on this one.

The box is about 11 x 11 x 3 inches closed and about 22 x 11 x 1 1/2 inches open. The hinges, hasp, and handle allow it to be closed, locked, and carried with spacing allowing the number pegs to be placed anywhere on the board without interference. The pegs are just snug enough to remain in place during transport and just loose enough to be pulled out with ease. If you are following a Sudoku puzzle the "given" positions can have a black O-ring on them to indicate they are not movable. In the photo, the left side of the board is the playing area. The right side is the holding area. Each alternating strip starts with 1-9 numbers on it helping you solve the puzzle by placement.

The box itself is made from clear pine and the top and bottom are 1/4" clear pine plywood. This is my first project with veneer. It was interesting and an experience. The veneer was cut with a veneer saw using a steel square as a guide. With the veneer on top of the plywood the drill put a needle hole through the plywood. On the playing side, the cut pieces, light and dark, are close to perfect squares. On the holding side the strips were cut into almost perfect rectangles. Placement for gluing was not a problem.

Using wax paper and about fifty pounds of deadweight, I pressed the veneer surfaces until dry. Sanding was not a problem with fine sandpaper. Drilling was done before the boxes were assembled. For drilling the boards were covered with wide painter's tape to reduce tear outs. With 81 holes (9 x 9) on each board, drilling took several days due to a medical condition caused by a (NOT MY FAULT!) auto accident.

Once drilled assembly was pretty easy. Pins rather than nails or screws are used in all the corners. With the two halves assembled but not joined the pieces received four or five coats of Minwax Polyurethane with sanding to bring the grain down or to break the previous coat. Final assembly of installing the latch, hinges, and handles and it was done. Fun to use, fun to tote around the house. Not sure I would carry it into an office to solve a Sudoku while I was waiting so it is for home use.

Sudoku Puzzle Box

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Christmas Boxes - 2014

I love working in wood, I love working with my hands. I get repurposed / recycled wood from a former employer, a commercial greenhouse, for helping out with some issues as I can. I love the natural grain and variances in real wood. Because these are repurposed / recycled woods, so there are nail holes, knots, knot holes, and dents in some. Part of real life. The boxes are built to consume the most possible materials after planing and jointing the repurposed / recycled wood. So no two boxes are the same size. One end or side of the box has the internal ledge beveled so a press there will pop the lid up for opening. Some boxes have rabbeted corners, some have notched ("box joints"). The MinWax PolyShade really brings out the grains nicely.

Christmas Boxes - 2014

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Dog Paw Box - Christmas Present for 2014

My second daughter and her husband have five dogs. They decided they wanted to make a "Dog Paw Print" of each of their dogs as an item for their home. So ... off to work based on their desires. Each "cell" of the box is 5" x 5" x 2 3/4 inches. You can see the stringers across the box. These are there to hold the Plaster of Paris in the box.

All of the wood except the stringers is recycled, repurposed wood. The grain is beautiful. The corners are 1/4" box joints which are pinned with 1/8" dowels.

Dog Paw Box

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Pencil Box - 2015

I was playing with the box joint jig and ended up with four pieces that created an open cube about 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" x 3". So I put a floor in it and it ended up being a pencil box. It is headed off to my Wife's classroom.

Pencil Box

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Yard Checkers - 2015

Most guys give their wives flowers, jewelry, candy (not always a good idea), and manufactured cards for their birthdays. I give my Wife homemade cards and homemade presents. This is this year's present. I always wanted a "Yard Checkers Set." First, I am pretty good at checkers. (Who isn't?) Kids can play checkers rather well. Granddaughter? Checker games are usually a lot shorter than chess games. And (Lesson learned) twenty-four checkers store in a lot smaller space than thirty-two chessmen.

The pavers are 12" x 12". The checkers are all from 3/4" plywood and are 12" in diameter. Each checker has a 2" hole in the center for picking up and moving with a bent "weeder" stick. The checkers "nest" or interlock for making kings and storage with the cleats and the play is enough to work without getting sloppy. I finished the checkers with Gloss Black and Gloss Red. The wood is a mix of shop leftovers, some were bare, some had been stained, some had been clear coated, and all had been sanded for this project. When I picked up the finish coat paints I thought I had primer. Ooops. And the store is 14 miles away so..... Brush on. Three coats of each got the job done.

Today, November 2, 2015, while mourning the end of the National League's chances for a world series, the first Yard Checker Games were played.

Fun project. Number of construction issues learned but still estimate 60+ hours just for the checkers. Add hours for the board / patio if another one is made. The cabinet will be a winter project. (Like we have a severe winter in southern California.)

Yard Checkers

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Calendar Stand - December 25, 2015

As stated elsewhere, I tend not to do Christmas shopping for gifts, I tend to do shopping for tools I may need to make my gifts. For Christmas 2015 I decided to make Calendar Stands out of recycled, repurposed wood. These went to my Wife and two of my Daughters who all work in schools. My third Daughter's present is still in work due to physical issues.

The horizontal supports on the front are dadoed to hold the panels and the back has spaces for storing the panels for the months and the days of the week. The smaller number panels are stored in the top. With twelve months and seven days of the week I double-sided them so there are six for months and four for days of the weeks - I added "Holiday" to fill the last day of the week spot. There are twelve individual number, smaller, panels - two 1s, two 2s, and one for each of the rest of the numbers due to the 11th and 22nd of the month. I double-sided these with random numbers in case one or more "travel" along the way.

For the stencilled letters I tried an enamel paint and found it ran or bleed badly when covered with MinWax's Polyurethane in gloss. The acrylic paints from my Testor's model painting supplies worked well so I consumed a fair amount painting the panels. The only true annoyance was due to the auto accident in May 2013, I could only paint two or three large panels a day before my arm and hand started shaking to the point I could not paint within the stenciling lines. With sixty large panel sides and seventy-two smaller number panel sides, the lettering took a LONG time. The last coats of finish went on Christmas Eve. There was still a bleeding issue with the birch plywood which was the front of the stand with both the lettering paint and Sharpie ink. The solution here may be apply one coat of finish, buff sand it, then letter it and apply additional coats of finish with buff sanding between coats. The gold and silver kind of blended into some of the coloring of some of the woods so I used a Sharpie to outline those letters. On this particular calendar stand the back is two pieces of plywood, most likely red oak, joined with wood biscuits - repurposed / recycled wood.

Calendar Stand

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First Christmas Picture Frame - December 25, 2015

With our Granddauther's first Christmas there will be memories. Her Mom's (our Daughter) favorite wood is Purple Heart and I had some left over from another project so ... Purple Heart it was. The MinWax Polyurethane kind of took some of the beauty away from the frame in the photo. It is more evident when you see the frame in person.

The height is just over nine inches with a width of just over seven inches. The picture "window" is about three inches by three inches. There are several special photos from Christmas Day that are candidates for placement. Lillian and her dog Kidji probably lead the list. The back is drilled for pegs so it stands on a counter or hangs on a nail. FUN project.

The stenciling on this project was "INTERESTING." We found a "blotting" stencil at JoAnn's Fabrics and I followed the instructions. This process requires long wait times between adjacent letters and cleaning of the stencil after every letter. The key may be apply the first coat of finish first so bleeds and runs can be corrected.

Christmas Picture Frame

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Jigsaw Puzzles - February 19, 2016

I love working in wood, or metal, or dirt, or a lot of other things. I love making stuff for other people, particularly children in the hospital. As a child I spent a lot of time in the hospital and it was not a nice or friendly place. I am also trying to get the detailed coordination back into my hands after the auto accident which the only fault of mine was being there - rear-ended by someone changing the music on their smart phone and driven head-on into a police motorcycle. I was stopped to make a turn and they were both doing 55 MPH plus. More than 32 months and still fighting recovery.

These are the first jigsaw puzzles I have made in probably 50 years or more. The jigsaw on the Shopsmith is amazing for this. Using a spiral cut blade I can change the blade speed to just about anything to handle the changing densities of the woods. The kerf, saw cut is probably 1/32 of an inch so the fit is fairly tight. These are two layers of wood of various types laid at 90 degrees to each other and then glued together with exterior glue. The back side of the puzzles is (in my opinion) more beautiful than the front side.) The color paint is acrylic as enamel paint ran terribly with the MinWax Polyurethane Clear Coat.

All sides are sanded smooth after each coat until the coats no longer raised the grain so the pieces are pretty darn smooth.

If you have not figured it out, upper left and clockwise, a red apple, a kangaroo, a teddy bear, a female Asian elephant - no tusks - all African elephants have tusks, and a red head duck.

Puzzles from the front - 1

(What is worse than finding a worm in the apple you are eating? Finding half a worm in the apple you are eating!)

From the upper left corner, a little Scottie terrier of some kind. The cut lines do not show up, there are five pieces to this guy, some of the puzzle pieces in the process of being painted - two photos, a turtle, a yellow duck, and another teddy bear.

Puzzles from the front - 2

These are typical backsides of the puzzles. The wood is all recovered / repurposed. The variety is beautiful - to some of us.

Puzzles from the back

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Murphy Bed - June 28, 2016

As most of the Daughters moved out of the house guest spaces opened up and stood idle too long. Setting beds up, taking them down, storing them etc. got to be bothersome. So ... a Murphy Bed with a full sized mattress.

The hardware kit is from Create-A-Bed through Rockler Woodworking and Hardware. The materials are high quality. In my opinion the cut sheet plots need some work. I provided my comments to Create-A-Bed and got no feedback. I did get very good responses to a couple of building technique questions over the phone. This project was in work from February 2016 until June 28, 2016. Kind of limited in working on some items due to the shoulder / arm issues. When working with 3/4" Birch plywood I needed help moving and cutting the pieces. During assembly kind of had to wait for help. Dropped one expensive sheet of Birch and did enough damage a replacement was needed. Lesson learned - get help.

While the cabinet is Birch, the trim is clear pine. The profiles on the drop section of the bed required 64 pieces of trim with 45 degree angles at each end - 128 miters! All hand cut. See the section on Bad Axe Tool Works - A Veteran owned business for this.

Having had issues moving and working with the pieces I expected the total assembly to be TOO HEAVY. Not so. The mattress is a bit light so it needs ballast. Deployment and stowage is easy. Kind of cool. Pillows cannot stay on the bed when stowed so they go to the top. Seems you cannot have everything.

Murphy Bed

Murphy Bed

Sixty-four pieces of trim with a 45 degree cut at each end. They came together VERY nicely. The Bad Axe Tool Works saw and Bad Axe Bench Hook Sets worked fantastic. Click the hyper link text to see the Bad Axe Tool Works items.

Murphy Bed Miters

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Book Rack - August 9, 2016

More repurposed wood work. For the three vertical pieces these are three layers of planed wood glued together. For the slider bars it is only two. The slider moves very nicely across the full range of the rack so books can be kept vertical.

This was a lot of work for the mortising machine. The end pieces are perpendicular to the surface while the slider is mortised at 3 degrees.

Book Rack

Book Rack

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Little Boxes - August 9, 2016

More repurposed wood projects. Little boxes to hold things are always needed. Pencils, pens, crayons, pins, drill bits, spices, whatever. I usually let wood pile up until it just needs to be consumed. These are the latest results. There are not nails or screws. Finger box joints with dowel pins all glued together. Then finished with one of several finished. These are done in Danish Oil and then finished in clear MinWax Polyurethane.

Little Boxes

Little Boxes

Little Boxes

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Painting Rack - August 9, 2016

Several people have asked about finishing small pieces like those for puzzles and how to hold them while drying. Here is what I did. I took scrap and and my pin gun and started zapping. The pins are so small they leave almost no detectable mark. And, if you want, you can slightly bend down the ones you do not need or want touching your work. For storage I simply flip two pieces facing each other and pile them up.

For larger, heavier pieces I use the painting pyramids available for woodworking shops and big box stores.

Painting Rack

Painting Rack

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Childrens' Learning Blocks, September 10, 2016

My Granddaughter is about eighteen months old so we need to start working on her Ph.D. (Piled higher and deeper.) These are about 1 1/4" cubes in a seven by seven matrix so there are (7 x 7 x 6) 294 faces. With upper and lower letters, punctuation marks, 0-9, math operatives, and spaces this should keep her busy for about fifteen minutes.

The blocks are given about three coats of MinWax Polyurethane with sandings between each coat to get them smooth. Then I use a stencil and start lettering outlines with a Sharpie. With a wide variety of craft paints the hand painting of the characters start. My VA and Navy medical team want me to work on hand-to-eye coordination and this is about as frustrating as I can get. The smooth finish allows mistakes to be wiped off very easily, I have a roll of paper towels next to my paints and I use a fair amount of them. All characters need at least two coats and some need three or four. After that is is another three or more coats of MinWax Polyurethane with sandings between each coat.

A long time ago I learned to hate end grain in crafts. Still fighting end grain.

The frame is intentionally slightly larger than the matrix so blocks can easily be moved. The object of the frame is to try to keep them from being lost.

Contrary to the letter blocks you buy at the store, you can make sentences and do math as well as build and pile them up. Most of the store sets are bare wood with letters on two or three sides and not enough options to do anything but learn the alphabet.

Childrens' Learning Blocks

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Mailbox Rail, September 28, 2016

We moved into this house, new, back in 1987. The mailbox rail at that time was showing some wear and tear and we mounted our mailbox to it. Several years ago it was really showing its age and I discussed with a few neighbors the big "cluster box" concept. The discussion ended quickly on a negative note.

Earlier this year the mailbox rail had deteriorated to the point that we were catching our mail when we opened the door. Here are a couple of before photographs.

The wood was rotten and split pretty bad. In the lower left corner you can see a temporary brace I put in to slow the progression to the ground. Appreciate that this is twenty-eight plus years of rain, sun, and wind in our desert climate so it lasted far longer than expected. Today, September 28, 2016, it was only 93 degrees for a high. About average.

Mailbox Rail Before #2

The line of twenty-eight mailboxes. You can see the numerous temporary braces I put in to stop the progression to the ground.

Mailbox Rail Before #1

Because they are mailboxes the post office has to be involved and approve any changes. Because the mailboxes are personal, private property, I had to get twenty-eight people to agree. Five trips to the post office, several phone conversations with postal inspectors, three mailings to non-responsive neighbors, and several walks of our 1/2 square mile neighborhood everything was in place. FINALLY.

Construction was modular for a thirty-two foot long top rail section with 2x6 supports all mounted on 4x6 verticals. All pressure treated lumber and galvanized hardware. No nails, all predrilled holes. All mailboxes are on new, pressure treated lumber base plates and mounted with lag screws from underneath.

The faces are within 1/4" of a left to right reference line. The gap between the second and third mailbox from right to left, a bit backwards, separates the mailboxes by streets. We have three street names on the rail. Some individuals took the opportunity to replace old mailboxes. I stencilled them - the "125" on the first mailbox is an example.

Four of us, Kirk, Matt, Jeff, and myself did the installation, any more would have been in the way. We started about 7:00 AM Saturday, September 24, 2016, and had most of the mailboxes in place for mail delivery by 1:30 PM that day. I finished the small details on Sunday such as painting over the hardware and construction hits. On Monday I smoothed the dirt from the holes and called the job complete.

Final cost was about $20 per person, times 28 people - $560.

Mailbox Rails AFTER replacement

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One Person Sandbag Filler, September 28, 2016

We live about thirty miles northeast of downtown San Diego, California about 1,600 feet above sea level. Our region is defined as desert and our annual, non-drought year rain fall is 9-11 inches. We are in our fifth consecutive year of drought conditions so our annual rain fall averages, which are updated on a yearly / ten-year average are coming down but I hold to the 100-year average of 9-11 inches. Having lived here 28 years now we have been in drought years 23. Hmmm. I think they need to rethink "drought years."

The area is basically decomposed granite, DG, which has no nutritional value at all, basically crushed rock which hard packs to the point that digging post holes is a task beyond most homeowners. The five, eighteen-inch-deep holes for the mailbox rail took over four hours with a power auger. If it is growing around here it is either planted in imported dirt and soil, then irrigated or a desert plant.

Due to the non-absorption property of DG, almost all of our rainfall, when it comes, runs downhill. In 2015 we received a fluke rainstorm during monsoon season and got more than 5" of rain in less than 36 hours. And we were still under 9" for the year.

Directing and controlling water is actually a BIG issue. An acre is 43,560 square feet and most of the lots in our area are basic acre lots. If we were to get one inch of rain, that is 3,630 cubic feet of water or 27,152.4 gallons of water weighing 226,179.5 pounds. And not much soaks in so it is moving. Fortunately, we usually get nice light rains and it moves nicely DOWNHILL. I live on the side of a hill and before my house floods my neighbor will be under twelve feet of water. July 2015 was not a nice, light rain.

However, sand bags are always around. Ever try to fill a sand bag? Someone holds it and gets dust and dirt thrown in their face while someone else shovels and smacks the holder's hands. Preparing for the winter rains, expecting another dry winter, I got tired of dirt face. So I made a one-man sand bag filler from scrap sitting around the house. Several sand bags were filled and it works GREAT!!!

There are three large clips at the bottom of the upside-down roof furnace flashing. The frame is old wood that was destined for neighbors' desert camp fires but never went. The height allows the bags to sit on the ground while the clips holds the top of the bags to the flashing without folding the material.

Two test bags worked great. If it works out, one person can attach the bag, then tie off the previously filled bag while the filler fills the new bag. Then the new bag will be full and ready for replacement.

What fun. I have unsuccessfully tried the Huck Finn / Tom Sawyer "paint the fence" tactic on people in the past.

FYI: One third of the El Ninos (Little Boys) which should be wet are dry and one third of the La Ninas (Little Girls) which should be dry are wet. This last fall / winter, 2015-2016, we were supposed to have a Super El Nino and get tons of water in Southern California. Northern California, Oregon, and Washington state got slammed and those of us in Southern California were left high and dry for the most part. El Ninos and La Ninas are based on Pacific Ocean temperatures just north of the equator. Warmer than average El Nino and expect water, cooler than average La Nina and expect dry weather.

One Person Sand Bag Filler

Some photos of our July 2015 fun are provided.

This swale is about eighteen inches wide and a foot deep. It is overflowing in a torrent.

July 2015 Ramona Rains #1

The swale at this point is still its eighteen inches wide and a foot deep. The water is six or more inches above the swale's sides and four or more feet wide just to the right of the telephone pole. This is fast moving water

July 2015 Ramona Rains #2

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Wheeled Compressed Air Tote Bottle, September 28, 2016

Air is pretty common unless you are somewhere like outer space, which is actually micro atmosphere not a vacuum, the top of Himalayas, or under water. However, when you need air in a tire it can be pretty rare too due to the compression factor.

We have a nice sized air compressor in the workshop and a 10-gallon tote bottle that tours the neighborhood for low tires and such. The other day one of the neighbors was throwing out his little horsepower, 10-gallon Craftsman air compressor as it did not work anymore. The data plate says manufactured in 1994, so it is not that old. Mine says manufactured in 1985 and it runs like a champ, and I take care of it. This little compressor had sat outside since 2000, the air filter was broken off, the pressure sensing valve assembly was full of bugs, and the tank had about two quarts of gunk in it. The plastic protective housing over the motor and compressor was broken, and the attached air hose was dry rotted.

Hoping to do something with it, I took it home and spent about four hours taking it apart, cleaning it up, and putting it back together again. It would pressurize to about 80 PSI vs. the target of 120, and just run. Both the intake and compression side of the reed valves were badly pitted and repair was out of the question. The cylinder walls were scored from unfiltered air and that dirt destroyed the piston ring. Parts check showed over $100 in parts for a compressor worth about $50 at this point.

So, Plan B. Took it all apart, wire brushed the tank, and the handle. Went through the Craftsman red with the Craftsman decals and found the original manufacturer's orange and his decals. Sand blasted the badly rusted axle bolts which would hardly let the wheels turn. Then purchased about $30 in new plumbing and started reassembly as a wheeled tote bottle. The tank is Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Burgundy spray paint. Why? Because I had the can in the shop. The handle is Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover 2x Gloss Black spray paint. Why? Because I had the can in the shop. Both are now empty.

With the platform for the compressor and motor annoying me I turned it into a tool tray just to cover it up. All with leftover wood from other projects or items.

The end result is a 10-gallon wheeled tote bottle that will hold 120 PSI air from the big compressor that you can walk down the street with like a puppy. Our other tote bottle does not have wheels and it fits in the trunk just fine.

So, success, invested about $30 and about eight hours to create a tote bottle I could have bought brand new for $40. That is DIY logic and economics.

Wheeled Compressed Air Tote Bottle

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Hongerig Geholpen Stand, November 30, 2016

My Daughter has "Hongerig Geholpen" (Hungry Aide in Dutch), a skeleton, in her classroom as a teaching aid. As a teacher of a state approved course she can purchase and possess human bones and organs for her class. High quality skeletons come with cheap bases and Hongerig's plastic base broke. So the problem got transferred to her husband and Dad. This base is about 24" in diameter with five 2 7/8" diameter full castering and an option to mount Hongerig in the center or slightly offset. The default is offset since Hongerig had an off center mass and this position increases stability. The wood is Birch plywood finished in MinWax Natural Cherry Polyshade.

Hongerig Geholpen Stand

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Nativity Scene Stable, December 2, 2016

One of my acquaintances from the Internet, who has been providing me a lot of information I need, needed a Nativity Scene Stable. So down to the workshop with the recycled / repurposed wood. It is approximately 9 1/2" wide and tall at the back, approximately 12" wide and tall at the front. It snaps together with color-coded locators so it lays flat when not in use. Slatted so it is not dark. Fun project.

Nativity Scene Stable

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Chess, Checker, Ace-Deuce and Backgammon Bags, December 6, 2016

This project has been in work since before Halloween 2016 and was finished today, Tuesday, December 06, 2016. Two will hopefully be delivered Friday, December 9, 2016, as complete. One will go to the Armed Services YMCA at the Naval Medical Center San Diego, one will go the VA Medical Center San Diego. I will take the third one in during my next operation at VA MC SD scheduled for early 2017 and leave it behind when I "check out."

These are chess / checker / backgammon / ace-deuce / (Acey-deucy if you search the Internet) sets. I talked to the VA Medical Center San Diego and U.S. Navy Medical Center San Diego and neither was "friendly" to kind of large rigid, wooden boards with drawers underneath them to hold the pieces. So, how about a reversal bag with a chess / checker layout on one side and a backgammon / ace-deuce layout on the other? Not a problem there.

Two of the bags are 18" x 24" while the other is about 20" square. All are sewn patchwork type squares and triangles. For the chess / checker boards that means sewing 32 red squares on blue denim. For the backgammon / ace-deuce boards that means sewing 12 light triangles and 12 dark triangles. Then the zippers are sewn in followed by sewing the panels into sealable bags. I intentionally used contrasting thread for color (and because it was what I had in the sewing kit). All patches are sewn on with zig-zag stitches for texture and to seal down the edges.

Sitting on the carpeted floor the bag boards did not lay real flat but they do on the table. The chessmen are turned out of reused / recycled / repurposed wood utilizing the lathe capability of my Shopsmiths. Once I started I realized I could not do many thank you auto accident and the solution was the lathe duplicator which provides a table for the cutting tool to rest on so I do not have to support it.

Accents such as the gash on the rooks and bishops were done on the band saw. The knights were free-hand cut on the band saw. All the dark chessmen have red accents or dots on the tops while all light chessmen have blue dots. The kings are accented with gold while the queens are accented with silver in their "crowns." With the use of several calipers the result is no two men are exactly the same while the pawns are closest to being the same. There is an extra pawn and an extra piece, a dunderhead, which is basically a base and staff which can be titled any piece for each color with each set since we know there will be pieces lost.

There are 16 checkers / backgammon / ace-deuce pieces of each color. Twelve of each color are needed for checkers and fifteen of each color are needed for backgammon / ace-deuce so I have provided one extra because we know there will be losses. Each black one has a red squiggle while each red one has a blue squiggle to provide visual distinction on the board. The red and black checker pieces are Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Ultra Cover Multi-Purpose Gloss Brush-On Paint which is soap and water clean-up. The chessmen are finished with Brand X Polyshade and Polyurethane.

A local teachers store has large, 3/4" cube dice, and I will pick those up on my trip to the ophthalmologist on Friday, December 9, 2016. Maybe I will try making some out of leftover wood.

Chess, Checker, Ace-Deuce and Backgammon Bags

Chess, Checker, Ace-Deuce and Backgammon Bags

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Magnetic Playing Board, April 21, 2017

Another Granddaughter project.

She has magnetic letters, numbers, figures, and gears. Who would have thought that some design engineer would invent stainless steel appliances and generate a need for magnetic boards outside the kitchen? Granddaughter comes over here and spends a lot of time moving magnets around our appliances and then gets frustrated at her house when they do not stick to their appliances.

The base metal is leftover 24 gauge steel measuring 24" x 24". I applied several coats of Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze to both sides of the sheet. Then masked for spraying with Rust-Oleum Gloss Red, Gloss Blue, and Gloss Silver the sides to create the backgammon / ace-deuce side and the checker / chess side. There are three taping sessions due to the colors and just under two full rolls of painter's tape was consumed.

The frame is wood recovered from the bed foundation that had no purpose in life after the Murphy bed was put in place. It is finished with four coats of MinWax Poly-Shade Gloss Pecan leftovers from other projects.

The checkers are cut from 1" dowel rods and brush painted with several coats of Rust-Oleum Gloss Red and Gloss Black with an arts paint "squiggle" to make them more visually distinct.

The chessmen are turned from repurposed wood from the commercial greenhouse then finished with MinWax Birch or Pecan Polyshade. Since it does raise the grain, there are four coats on them. The kings have gold "lids" while the queens have silver "lids" to help distinguish them apart. All have a colored dot on their tops or strokes to better identify them. They will also be pieces for a game box I am building. I tried the gears and got them all to work.

Magnetic Playing Board

Magnetic Playing Board

Magnetic Playing Board

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Fidget Toy, May 13, 2017

The neighborhood kids have the fidget toys. They are in the classrooms of my Wife's grammar school AND IN MY COLLEGE CLASSROOM. They are annoying to some of us. The neighbor dropped one and it broke. It will not glue or heat weld. So pull out the wood working tools and have fun. The result actually works pretty darn well. I expect it to break the first time it hits the ground. However, it was fun making it.

Fidget Toy, May 13, 2017

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Team Plaques, June 7, 2017

One of the neighborhood kids wanted to make a Father's Day present with the repurposed wood and he had an idea. We modified it a bit to make it possible. His has been in work for three weeks and if we are lucky it will be ready for Father's Day 2025.

I liked the idea we ended up with and decided to make some for the Family. The wood was jointed to make one side flat and then planed to standardize the thickness. Off to the table saw to make them rectangular. Once glued together the cleats are made and a dado blade is used to they are nested. The letters are outlined with a stencil since the wood is just over a quarter inch thick. The symbols are outlined and the rest is painted free hand - and it shows. The lettering and symbols are in acrylic arts paints and the plaques are finished in Rust-Oleum Gloss Varathane.

Joyce is a big Chicago White Sox fan. They gave her tickets for perfect attendance while in grammar school. Her Father was in their farm system before being called up for WWII. We are both from the south side of Chicago and never lived more than five miles apart before we met. This is her Chicago White Sox plaque. It is about 29" wide.

Chicago White Sox

I am a Chicago Cubs fan. Not a big baseball fan or sports fan. The Cubs had better commercials and that was cool.

Chicago Cubs

Our oldest Daughter was born in Japan during our first tour there. She has not spent a lot of time in Chicago but she is a big Chicago Bears fan.

Chicago Bears

Our youngest Daughter was born in Japan on our second tour there. San Diego became our "hometown" about the time she started school. Her favorite teams include the San Diego Padres.

San Diego Padres

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Jenni's Texas Plaque, June 8, 2017

Our second Daughter is bred and born in Texas and it shows. Therefore ....

Jenni's Texas Plaque

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Drawing / Activity Easel, November 5, 2017

Our Granddaughter is growing up. A process that progresses every day. Amazing to watch. I want her to be one of the smartest, most educated kids around. So I provide her with a lot of toys and stuff that have mental growth issues "under" them. This is the latest piece of material. The easel is double-sided. Both working areas have trays for items.

The easel does fold up a bit, not completely flat. There are spaces between the legs to reduce the pinch points. The working surfaces adjust up in height at 3" increments so as she grows the working surfaces can be easily raised. There are "retention chains" near the top so the legs will not split on a sleek surface.

The front side is a drawing easel in which the paper is a continuous roll from bottom to top so it is logically progressive. It rolls from one roll onto a take-up roll.

Drawing / Activity Easel-Drawing

The backside is actually two slide in panels, both have two "active" sides. One panel is a chalkboard on one side and a dry-wipe board on the other. The other slide in panel is a magnetic checker / chess board on one side and a magnetic backgammon / ace/deuce board on the other other. The one that is not in use is stored on the inside of the easel. In the earlier photo the magnetic board is stored and the chalkboard is in use.

Drawing / Activity Easel-Activities

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