Digital Chum - Virtual fish guts and other nonsense

Thanksgiving Table

The dining room table all set for Thanksgiving dinner… seating twelve.

Thanksgiving Table

(Lori had to make the table cloth because we couldn’t find one long enough.)

The Dining Room Chairs

Back in August, I finished building our new dining room table. It fit quite nicely in the new dining room, but seemed to lack a certain something… like chairs. We had four chairs from our old dining room table, but that seemed wholly inadequate for a twelve foot long table. Most of the dining table chairs that we found in stores and on websites were at least $100 each, which isn’t all that bad if you only need a couple, but needing twelve chairs… not gonna happen.

Salvation Army ChairsA few months before, I’d seen a picture on Houzz.com (which I can’t seem to find again) that had a long table with chairs of various styles but the same color scheme. Lori and I both thought that would work, so  that began our search. She first found these six chairs at the Salvation Army store for $5.00. Not $5.00 each. $5.00 for all six. They were ugly, but were in not-too-terrible shape structurally.

The Under-CushionI set about fixing any wobbles and Lori ripped out the rest of the broken cane in the backs and un-upholstered the horribly-stained blue cushions. Underneath the blue fabric, she found… plastic-wrapped, mustard-yellow-striped fabric. Classic. No… what’s the opposite of classic?

We decided to go with a black and purple’ish theme for the chairs. The kitchen has some purple in it along with the coffee-colored cabinets and the base of the table is black, so those colors would tie everything in and should work fine.

We got some additional chairs from a friend who was getting rid of them (free!) and Lori set about getting them all painted black.

Painted Chairs Painted Chairs

She found some tie-on cushions for the spindle-back chairs and decided on two different fabrics for the Salvation Army chairs… one purple and cream for the regular chairs and one darker fabric with a mix of the proper colors for the chairs with arms. Like this…

Upholstered Chairs

So when all the painting, upholstering, and cushion-tying was done, this is what we ended up with… an eclectic style with the capacity to seat twelve people at the table with plenty of elbow room.

Dining Room Table with Chairs

Weekend shop work

Scroll saw on standIn my continuing effort to get my big tools organized and mobile, I worked on a rolling stand for my scroll saw. The scroll saw is a 1930’s Craftsman saw that belonged to my grandfather. The frame is made of cast iron and the entire thing weighs about 9,247 metric tons… so the stand needed to be pretty solid, especially if it was going to be mobile. I based it off these plans from Donald on his Fun With Woodworking YouTube channel, modifying it a bit to make it fit my scroll saw and adding casters to one end so I can move it around like a wheelbarrow. I still need to add a bottom shelf and some retractable handles to it it’s easier to manage, but it works pretty well.

Router TableThe other project that I’m working on is a router table. I got the table top finished and have almost gotten the clamping fence done. It’s currently designed to be portable so I can clamp it onto a workbench or sawhorses when I need to use it, but eventually, I’d like to mount the top onto a dedicated cabinet to give it a bit more functionality.

The top is a 3-layer laminate of 1/2″ plywood, 1/2″ MDF, and a 1/8″ layer of hardboard on top to give it a nice slippery surface. The fence is made of MDF with a hardboard face on it. I have some enhancements I plan on making to it eventually, but this gives me enough functionality for now, so after a few more “finishing touches,” I’ll be done with it for a bit.

Seth Meyers: How do you choose?

OMG Politics!

I have a self-imposed rule of not posting anything political or religous on Facebook. I have no such qualms on my blog, but since my political posts are few and far between, I’m putting the content of the post after the break so my home page is filled with things that are funner. Yes… “funner” is a word. Shut up.

(more…)

1/8 Effort

From my friend Drew…

Working Octopus

Getting organized…

After building the dining room table and the headboard for Megan’s bed, I realized that I was accumulating a bunch of tools that were getting more and more scattered about the garage. We still have a lot of stuff in the garage from our remodeling and we’re trying to get it all organized and moved to proper locations so we can actually park in the garage again before it gets cold out… so my tool and supply accumulation wasn’t moving us in the right direction.

I was also tired of building things on a couple sawhorses and a piece of plywood.

So I thought it was time to build an actual workbench for the garage. I based my design mostly off this plan on Instructables but used a different table top and put it on casters so I could move it around, since I plan to leave this one in the garage and build another woodworking bench for my wood shop when that gets completed.

So here’s the final product…

Rolling Garage Workbench

In addition to the workbench, I needed a place to store all the clamps I’d accumulated, too. I had more than a dozen long clamps that I’d used for the dining room table glue-up and I think at least 457,336 assorted other clamps… most of which were on the floor or on assorted horizontal surfaces. So… time to build a clamp rack. This design came from a Google image search and was a mish-mash of various ideas. The whole thing is on casters so I can easily move it around as needed.

Rolling Clamp Rack

I also added a shelf in the middle and put a “towel bar” of sorts for hanging spring clamps and smaller clamps. I’m going to put a couple hooks on it for hanging miscellaneous stuff.

Rolling Clamp Rack Shelf

I still have a bit more organizing to do, but I’m on the way. We’re running through the last of our “get it done before winter” projects, too, so we’ll be able to move things out of the way soon and free up a couple parking bays.

Another headboard!

This time, Lori made the headboard for the queen-sized bed in one of the guest bedrooms, which we call “The Apathy Room” for reasons that will not be covered here. Lori had a style in mind from the get-go, a couple old curtains that we weren’t going to use again, and a desire to make something that was not absurdly heavy (since we had to eventually carry it upstairs).

She decided to use 2″ insulating foam board from Lowes as the main structural piece, so she used a hot knife to cut the curved shape. Then she took the curtains in question and sewed them together to form one big piece of cloth, making sure to get the seam to line up perfectly with the lines on the curtains. She also glued some boards to the back of the foam so that we’d have something to attach to the bed frame and so she’d have somewhere to staple the fabric when she was doing the upholstering.

Here’s what it looks like from the front and back…

Apathy room headboard front Apathy room headboard back

After getting it all set up and finishing up the room just in time for my Mother-in-law to come visit, here’s the final product!

Apathy Room

(I think this is a good time to note that we still have no headboard on our bed in our bedroom.)

Megan’s Swoopy Headboard

Swoopy headboard drawing

My excruciatingly detailed technical drawing of the headboard

Megan’s bed had no headboard. I could not abide this tale of woe, so I set about designing and building a headboard for her. I sketched out my design idea on the back of an envelope and showed it to her for approval, which she gave to me immediately, much to my surprise.

After getting official approval, I measured the bed frame and then drew my design on graph paper in order to work out the measurements. The plan was to have a three-layer headboard with enough space between layers to put an LED rope light a few inches below the edge for a cool lighting effect.

Swoopy headboard constructionI used 1/2″ sanded plywood and a lot of 1×3 lumber. I cut out the “swoop” parts using a jigsaw and got the curves mostly smooth. Each layer was separated by a number of the 1×3 boards, glued and nailed into place with small finishing nails (mostly to keep them in place until the glue dried). I made sure that the top parts wouldn’t have any gaps between layers so if something dropped down between them, it wouldn’t go to the bottom and be irretrievable. I also didn’t want to provide an awesome home for spiders, dead flies, or mischievous dust bunnies.

I framed the edges (and the base) with a few nicer-quality 1×4 boards and finished the edges of the plywood with some DAP DryDex, sanding it all until it was smooth enough to paint. Here’s the final product before and during painting. Lori did the painting. We seem to have worked out a good team system where I build the stuff and she applies the finish.

Swoopy headboard before and during painting

After it was painted (and dried for a couple days just to be safe), I took it up to Megan’s room and attached it to her bed frame, installed the LED rope light, and hooked it up to an Amazon Echo-controlled outlet, so all she has to say is “Alexa, turn on my headboard” and the lights come on. I think it turned out pretty well.

Swoopy headboard

Joss Whedon’s “Get out the Vote” PSA…

Funny, yet serious…

“Just a shit ton of famous people” Ha!