Hard to believe its December. Seems like yesterday the leaves began to fall, but with our first dusting of snow a week ago winter is definitely on the way. With this holiday weekend I finally found some time to work on some much needed woodshop projects. Nothing fancy to see here so there will be no play by play re-cap of the build process, but I figured I needed to get back into more routine blog updates.
I have been playing music chairs with all of my power tools and occasionally setting up temporary work benches on sawhorses outside to support my chop saw, and projects but no more. The lifting and moving of the tools was a huge pain, and since the boss want to use her stall of the garage this winter to park her car, I needed to build some mobile benches/tool stands.
I had plenty of plywood and 2x’s that could be re-purposed to shop fixtures, so after a quick trip to Lowe’s for some 3” casters, and a quick search on the web for some inspiration I was ready to make some saw dust.
The goal was a moveable assembly bench that could double as an out feed table for my table saw, followed by a stand for my chop saw.
The main objective here was to make a table that was 36” deep by 60” wide. The width happens to be pretty close to the width of my table saw. Another crucial dimension was the height of the table which needed to be equal to or slightly less than the top of the table saw. Other than that the table design is up for grabs.
I picked out some of the straighter 2×4’s and ripped them on the table saw so that they had square corners. The first saw set-up was for 3-1/4” width, ran all of the boards through, reset the saw for 3” width, flipped the boards so the square edge was on the fence and ran them through again. I then cut all the pieces to length on the chop saw. I had to do some math for the legs, subtracting out the casters, and the thickness of the table top, so I could hold the height dimension of my table saw top. With all the pieces cut to length I set up my stack dado head set. I cut a bunch of hap laps, and some 3/4” dadoes for the stretchers. with all the milling done all the joints are glued, clamped, and screwed. The overall dimensions for the 2x frame is approximately 29” wide by 48” long.
Next I cut one sheet of 3/4” particle board to 36” wide by 60” long and screwed it down to the 2x frame from above. Next I cut a second sheet of particle board oversize to 36-1/2” wide by 60-1/2” long and laid it on top of the first sheet of particle board making sure I had an overhang all the way around the first piece and screwed it down to the first sheet. I then broke out the router with a 1” flush cutting bit and cut went around the edge of the top. This router bit gave me a perfectly sized top layer of particle board that dimensionally matched the bottom layer of particle board.
I applied some contact cement to some left over plastic laminate I had and to the top of particle board table top and presto, an instantly slick table top surface. I left the laminate oversize and trimmed it flush with edge of the top with my router. A little bit of pine trim glued with biscuits, and nailed to the edge of the table and the top was nearly finished. The last thing I did was to ease the edge of the wood trim with a slight round over to help make sure and sheet goods I am pushing through the saw and onto the out feed table don’t hang up.
Chop Saw Stand:
The main objective with this project was to stop lugging this thing all around the garage to various work surfaces when I need to cut something. The cabinet construction here is basic as well. Basically a 2x frame that acts as a base for the casters. From this base I attached some 1/2” plywood that I had laying around for the sides and the back with 2x stretchers at the top-front and top-back of the box.
The dimensions for this box were dictated by my saw, so I decided on 24” deep by 30” wide for the top. The height was dictated by my out feed table, so once again I took the height of the table which is about 35” +/- and subtracted out the height of the saw (3”), the height of the top (1-3/4”), and the casters (3″-1/2”) to get the height of my box.
Once again, no frills, so a double layer of 3/4” particle board and one layer of some left over 1/4” birch plywood, assembled the same way as above using a router to trim each layer flush with previous layer. I center the chop saw and located it where I wanted it front to back and screwed that puppy down. From now on when I need to move this thing I will roll it into position…
Eventually, the out feed table will get a bench vise, and some much needed under table tool storage. The chop saw stand will get some pine trim, one top drawer and a bin for cut-offs / scrap wood. For now the shop mods are done, I have been asked to provide some wood frames for some canvas artwork and the boss is looking for a Quilting Platform for her sewing machine.
It’s been a busy fall and shaping up to be just as busy this winter. I did get out bird hunting just every weekend in October, which meant a lot of late night drives to Rangeley, Maine Friday after work, but it was worth it.
I ended up doing a lot of solo hunting with myself and the dog, which was a good thing. This season, her third in the woods, she really was able lock on to the scent of the birds. The amount of birds we came across was much less than I was accustomed to, but we still had enough flushes where I could spend some time watching the dog work. Watching a hunting dog work is really an amazing thing to watch. I have done limited training focusing on the basics and really just trying to get the dog on birds and into the woods. Most of her ability is from natural instinct that has been bread into the dog, but it seems that this year something scent related clicked. I spent a lot of time watching her learn this season and how she works so I can recognize when she is “birdy”, and help command her to “whoa” something which has been taught but forgotten in the thrill of the chase this year.
She is starting to get more confidence and is no longer underfoot as much. She has realized to find birds she needs to go where I tell her to go and circle back. This ranging and circling back was especially cool when she was on the scent of a bird. Her demeanor changed and she was excited as a cat enticed with some cat nip.
I did quite a bit of learning as well this year. First and foremost being to trust your dog! We were on our way back to the truck, and as we were walking a gravel tote road, I had the dog working the edge we did not hunt as we walked. At one point the dog broke off the side I wanted her to hunt and circled over to the side we had hunted. She kept working this edge a foot from the road and focused in on this loan clump of grass a couple feet tall. After what felt like a couple minutes of waiting I said, “come on dog, there is no bird in there!” Well she did not listen to me and sure enough as she pushed her nose into the center of this tiny lump of grass a woodcock took off. That bird had held so long, and so tight, in the most unexpected location, I couldn’t believe it. I had to hold my head in shame the rest of the weekend.
The weather was too good, but we did have some neat things to see and experience. This wall also the first time I had taken the family with me up North to enjoy the country.
Lucky for me the boys got to see some birds in the wild, and being prepped for the dinner table. I have never come across a grouse like this in the wild, where I had time to take a photo, but we did and the boys got to see it before it scurried off into the woods.
The boys also got to help clean and eat some woodcock the dog and came across that weekend. I am hopeful that I will have two young hunter’s to accompany me into the woods once they are ready.
We made a pit stop at Coos Canyon and where constantly on the lookout for wildlife.
With October now almost two weeks in the past we have spent a lot of time resting and getting ready for winter to arrive.
It’s funny how time just seems to disappear during the summer months, even with the longer days. I finally had a weekend to catch up on some wood working. I built two small 4’-0” wide T-frames for the raspberries, which despite not having many berries this year, have put up some serious canes that I would dare say are 6’-0” tall!
I also had time to disassemble one of my potato box frames and re-work it to fit on top of the asparagus bed. The bed I put my asparagus in was woefully shallow, and I have read that asparagus need to be buried deep, so this 2×12 box will add some much needed depth. The asparagus is tall! I have some that are close to 3’-0” high and all bushed or “ferned out…
With some of the chores out of the way I made room for the real task which was finishing the fabrication of the top shelf of the headboard, that I made and actually moved upstairs to the bedroom.
Due to the width and length of the top shelf and the real shoddy selection of pine at Lowe’s, I decided to build my top shelf with a hybrid design using some 1/2” plywood and a couple 1×4’s that I picked up a couple weeks ago. Now because the plywood is 1/2” thick and the trim is 3/4” thick I needed to gut a rabbet to accept the plywood. The shelf is 96” long by 11-7/8” wide which just gives me a solid 1/8” over hang on the bottom of the top shelf before the detailed edge begins.
The first step was to rip a groove that is about 3/4” of an inch high and just a smidge deeper than a 1/2” on the table saw. I learned the hard way when doing my Cornhole Boards that I would much rather have the 1/2” plywood sit a little lower that the 1x trim, because sanding the trim flush to the plywood would is so much easier! After I ran the front trim board that was 96” long through the saw, I followed up with the two side pieces which I left long at 12”.
Now it was time for the second cut on the table saw, which creates the nice rabbet pictured above. The idea is to set the saw up once and run all your pieces through before resetting the saw.
Moving outside, because it was such a beautiful morning, I clamped down my trim pieces in preparation for routing! As you can see in the photo above I have a simple round over bit that will create the profile that the boss wants!
I would make one pass where there were no clamps, stop, reset the clamps and finish the edge. Man I need to make a router table!
I flipped the stock over so you can get an idea of what we are doing. In the photo above the trim is oriented how it would sit on top of the headboard. The 1/2” plywood would then rest on top of the rabbet to the right, and the profile on the left would overhang the headboard edge.
With the trim milled, I simply cut the 45-degree miters, glued and clamped the joints and trimmed the 1/2” plywood to fit the top shelf. I left out a few steps to get to the picture above, but if you have been following along I don’t need to bore you with the details. I did slap on some wood filler and knock it down with some 15-grit sand paper before bringing it up stairs for a mock-up.
The profile is consistent with the other trim on the piece, slightly boring, but I think is works. Without the router table I was limited on what router bits that I had that I could use for a profile. I was playing this one cheap and not trying to buy a new tool to finish the project.
Some primer, paint, and some grommets, and I think we will be in business.
The First Coat:
With a color selected, and after some internet research we stayed away from the big box store paint and decided to try Benjamin Moore’s Regal Select water based latex paint in a semi-gloss finish. I believe this paint was close to $40.00 at our local Ace Hardware store, and it supposedly can be used without a primer. I was skeptical when I heard that statement, but figured that explains the price tag of twice as much as your box store paints. I was painting over two coats of Kilzs2 primer that I had knocked down with some 220 grit sand paper after the second coat dried. I blew off the entire headboard with compressed air, and hit it with a tack cloth before I was ready to lay the first coat of color on.
I had already removed the back panels where the built-in shelves were to allow for easier access to paint the inside. I also decided to experiment with using a foam brush instead of a 2” angle brush for the color. I also use a small foam roller for the larger surfaces.
The foam brush worked great and really helped to get the paint inside all of the nooks and crannies that this piece has. With the top cornice complete I jumped down to the built in shelves. In the photo below, you can see I removed the right side of the shelves as well as the bottom shelf which is designed to be removable after the headboard is re-assembled.
The one good thing about this headboard is that it was easy to paint. I am not sure if that is because of the paint or possibly because the majority of the surfaces were vertical. Painting the front was fairly easy, I just hit all the nooks in the raised panels and then hit the flat surfaces with the foam roller making sure to keep a wet edge I focused on one panel at a time and worked from right to left. The trim board I used to divide the top and bottom panels really helped to keep the painting areas to small manageable pieces. Once I completed a panel I made sure to back roll everything to eliminate any brush strokes and try to maintain a smooth uniform surface/texture. The small foam roller really was leaving a mostly flat surface with very little texture.
It wasn’t long before I had most of the headboard complete. This paint was phenomenal. I have made two other projects with painted finishes and neither brand of paint I used had the coverage or ease of application as this gallon of Regal Select paint by Benjamin Moore. To try out the primer aspect of the paint I figured I would roll the very bottom of the headboard on the front surface which I did not prime with Kilz primer to see if you really could use this paint without a primer. As you can see from the photos below the first coat went over the bare plywood with no issues and looked very similar to what I had primed earlier.
The Second Coat:
The first coat had already started to dry as I finished the piece, but I decided to let the first coat sit a day or so before second coating the headboard. Due to my hectic schedule at times the piece sat for a good couple days before I applied the second coat, but as I did for the first coat I started at the top, and worked my way from right to left as I painted the piece. This time I used my 2” angle brush so I could compare the foam brush versus the bristle brush. Surprisingly I actually preferred using the disposable foam brush, but pushed on with the bristle brush for the second coat. The coverage of this paint was great. I had never two coated raw wood and really had the paint stick like this paint was sticking.
Another new purchase for me with this project was these nifty little yellow painting pyramids. They are awesome at getting your work up off the surface you may be painting on and well worth the couple bucks for 10 of them.
With the second coat of paint complete, I left the headboard to dry for another couple of days.
I then came back and installed the removable pieces that make up the built-in shelving system at each end.
I ran out of fabrication space in the garage to finish the top, so when we move this up to the bedroom I can crank out the top of the headboard and complete this project.
Last weekend when we were camping at Bear Brook Campground we decided to drive to a nearby fire tower in Concord, NH and hike to the top of the hill and see the fire tower. After our great experience at Pitcher Mountain we had high expectations. The hike to the Oak Hill Fire Tower is one of several hikes on the New Hampshire Mountain Hiking Website’s hike for kids. I downloaded the PDF hiking map from the Town of Concord’s website and we were off to the parking area on Shaker Road. The parking area was good sized and the trail was well marked. When you download the trail map you can see there are endless loops on which to wander.
Since our mission was to get to the fire tower, we stuck to the Tower Trail. From the parking area to the tower suing the scale provided on the map is approximately 1.75 miles, one way. This was our longest hike for the kids. The trail was well marked and clear, but it had a bunch of rocks and exposed roots, which my youngest had some trouble with if he was not paying attention to where he was walking.
The tower trail is pretty boring, you are essentially walking through the woods and some swampy areas. The bugs were pretty thick so make sure you bring something with DEET in it! It was almost like the mosquitos hadn’t seen anything to feed on in months.
Once you hit the power line the trail makes a hard left turn and becomes steep as you make your way to the fire tower. We did see some blueberry bushes and the trail was a little muddy. When you reach the top there is the fire tower and a taller communications tower. There were some abandoned pieces of farm equipment and even a picnic table. The summit was an open grassy area completely surrounded by trees where the kids could run around and explore.
Unfortunately, there were no views to be had at all from the ground which was a big disappointment compared to our previous hike at Pitcher Mountain. The towers did provide a neat destination for the kids and there were some blackberry bushes over by the communication tower that had a handful of blackberries that were ripe for the picking.
On the way out about half way back to the parking area my youngest was pooped out. So I had a sleepy passenger for the rest of the way down the trail to the car. Luckily the trail was cut back enough that I could do this without having to worry about hitting him in the head with low branches.
The next hike in the 3 mile range I may have to bring the backpack he can ride in…
Nothing new and exciting on the headboard front. I did a second light coat of primer last night, and hit some remaining imperfections with wood filler. Later this afternoon I hope to sand the whole thing out and hit it with one last light coat of primer.
With any luck I will be ready for painting on Sunday. We have selected a gray color that should go well with the existing walls.
It is really starting to look like a nice piece of furniture.
1) Select an easy hike – something less than a mile round trip, with no vertical rock faces to climb, after all they are toddlers! A recent hike to Pitcher Mountain was perfect for us.
2) Make sure to choose a hike that has an interesting and exciting final destination – a fire tower, water fall, or a cave add to the excitement of plain old walking in the woods.
3) Proper footwear and clothing that is weather appropriate is a good place to start before heading to the trails.
4) Let them carry their own backpacks – this is huge and really reinforces the adventure aspect of the hike.
5) Allow them to choose their own snacks and drinks and have them pack them into their backpacks.
6) Let them pack up something cool and be sure to tell them how important it is that they are carrying that specific item – a pair of binoculars, a compass, or even a trail map you downloaded of the internet helps them feel important.
7) Pack a simple first aid kit, complete with Cars, or Looney Tunes Band-Aids and some Anti-itch ointment for any bug bites that develop on the car ride home.
8) At the trail head, a good kid friendly bug repellent and sunscreen will help keep the bugs and sun from ruining a good time.
9) Make a game of having them find and point out trail markers as you make your way up the trail.
10) Be sure to stop frequently to point out local flora and fauna – like wild blueberry or blackberry bushes.
11) At the summit, or exciting destination half way though your trip, stop for a picnic lunch or snack and admire the view.
12) Have fun, relax, and enjoy the moment!
Before the last heat wave we had decided to go on an easy hike that we had done a couple years ago with the boys. This would be our first hike with both of them walking, so I was looking for something easy that also had a cool destination at the end of the hike. Pitcher mountain has both! For those not familiar with Pitcher Mountain, it is located in Stoddard, NH, has an elevation of 2,153’ with a fire tower at the top of the trail. The hike is maybe all of a mile round trip and only has a 300’ elevation change, so it’s pretty easy.
We always head down the gated Woods Road to the left of the trail head. After a short distance you will encounter the sign below, which marks a trail up to the fire tower.
The trail is well worn and well marked with white blazes. The kids had a good time looking for and pointing the trail markers out as they occur both on the trees and on the rocks as you get towards the top of the trail.
As you get closer to the top the trail is crowded with blueberry bushes. Unfortunately we were a little too early for some of these tasty treats.
As you make your way through the blueberry bushes the fire tower starts to emerge.
The trail becomes a little rockier, and the kids enjoy scrambling up on the rocks as they continue to close in on the tower.
At the summit you have a great 360-degree view of the surrounding area, so bring some binoculars. Just make sure you know which end to look through…
The fire tower provides shade and a great conversation piece for the little ones.
There are plenty of places to pull up a seat and eat a quick picnic lunch.
On the way out we leave via the trail in the direction opposite of where we came. This trail has seen some new additions including a generator and a wider trail than what I remember from just a couple years ago. All in all a successful outing.
It’s been awhile since the last update, but it’s funny how easily we lose free time in the summer months. I finished permanently installing the raised panels into the headboard using the fancy panel clips below. I used new screws and attached the clips in new locations. Before tightening all of the clips down I went around to the front of the headboard to make sure the alignment of the raised panels jived with each other and the frame that they were set into. When everything was aligned properly I filled any obvious imperfections with wood filler, tightened down the clips and it was time to sand later that day!
I duct taped my orbital sander’s dust port to my shop-vac and was ready for the fun began. My goal was to knock the shine off of any previously finished woodwork and provide a quick sanding of any new wood on the headboard so I used 100-grit sanding discs and sanded with the grain to get the result below.
Everything was easily sanded even the side shelving units. The 100-grit made quick work of any imperfections. With everything sanded I hit the head board with a tack cloth and we were ready for what I am hoping is the first of two coats of primer. Depending on the coverage I may be able to fill any remaining imperfections brought out by the priming and then knock down any raised grain with some 150-grit sandpaper prior to applying the second coat of primer.
When building this project I remembered how hard it was painting the inside of the Stratton Bed I built so I designed these shelves with a back panel that is removable. This allowed me to easily get into the shelves to make sure I could paint and the cracks, and panels with ease!
Back panel removed below.
The primer I used was a gallon of Kilz2 Water-based Latex Primer Sealer, that we had laying around unopened. This was my first time using this primer, on my previous projects we used the Glidden Gripper with the green label and I was running low on the Gripper, and wanted to prime something so I figured the Kilz2 was worth a shot. With one coat of primer on it was ready to dry. It was nice to see the headboard start to take shape in one color. From the photos below you can still see where the recycled wood is a darker shade of white, but the first coat seemed to stick well. Originally, I was thinking two coats, but I may opt for 3 light coats, so I can have a nice consistent white to apply the color on.
A close up of the crown molding profile that I used. There is still one more piece of woodworking that I need to complete at this point which the top shelf. The top shelf will be a 3/4” thick, and I am still kicking around how I want to build it, where it will be wider than 12” and longer than 8’-0”. Currently I am leaning towards a 1×4 front and sides with a decorative edge on the finished side and a rabbet on the inside to accept a piece of plywood.
Another side view with the upper shelving unit painted out (back panel removed for painting).
A side view showing the bottom panel below the shelving unit (back panel removed for painting).
I made some significant progress last night and this morning. The last component to build is the support for the crown molding at the top of the head board. As with my former posts on this project I started with a simple ladder frame to get the desired height. The main purpose of all these frames is to break the entire headboard into manageable pieces that can be carried up stairs easily. The basic frame below assembled and ready to go.
I bolted the ladder frame to the top of the headboard and noticed I did not take into account that I wanted the crown molding to drop down over the raised panels so I had to add a couple filler strips as seen below. These furring strips will bump the back of the crown out a 3/4”, or the depth of the raised panel frame.
With the furring in place it’s time to tackle the crown and it’s miter cuts. No magic here, just slow going, clamping, checking fit and tweaking with the saw, chisel or file to get the fit tight. This material is salvaged door casing and it was pretty beat up on the face, which is while I will be filling the scars with wood dough and painting the trim. The back side of the trim was also pretty hacked up and presented some interesting challenges and a little more work to get the miters to align. Basically during the original install of this trim, they modified the back of the trim, just as I am doing now, to get it to fit.
Another close-up of the miter joint glued and ready for finish nails. I had to switch to 2-1/2” finish nails and crank the pressure on the compressor to get the nails to sink just right on this hardwood trim.
Ready for the next piece of trim along the front. I didn’t have any casing long enough to span the length of the headboard, so I decided to break the trim about 1/2 way and put a miter in to help conceal the joint. As luck would have it, none of the other door casings lined up really well with this piece of casing so I had to use a bigger filler joint than I had wanted as well as perform some serious profile sanding to get the two pieces to line up well.
The image below is not the clearest but you get the idea. I left a 1/16” gap, loaded it with filler and then chiseled and sanded to get the profiles to line up. Normally this would bum me out, but since this is going to painted I can live with this minor woodworking imperfection that will be covered by paint.
With the trim complete and some wood filler drying I turned my attention to trimming our the sides. The sides are no frills with butt joints so they went together quick. I started at the top and worked my way down doing one side at a time.
Trimming out the horizontals below, pretty boring.
Below one side completely trimmed out, rinse and repeat on the other side.
I just had to throw a couple raised panels in the headboard to see how they look. Before I put them in, I went ahead and sanded everything with some 15—grit sandpaper. Its not looking pretty yet with the sanding and filler, but once I get a coat of primer on it I thing it will start to clean up.
Some side view below.
Up next sanding, drilling some holes in the case, and installing the top shelf.