Hello everybody! I was honored to appear on Episode 32 of the Reclaimed Audio Podcast, which will release Wednesday, June 15th. I had a great time with Phil, Tim, and Lutes and I hope to talk to them again soon.
As I said during the show, my name isn’t the easiest thing to spell, so here’s where you can find my work:
I am a freelance writer for Make: Magazine. I write about makers doing unique and inspiring work. I love doing this, because it allows me to use a skill I developed over my entire career to highlight people doing great things on a platform that reaches millions of people.
I have a YouTube channel where I make videos about trying to make efficient use of a small workshop space. I’m working out of a one car garage (hence the channel name), so I want people to know that you can do great stuff without a huge workspace. Some sample videos you might enjoy include the walnut and steel workshop stool, the clear storage drawers, the etched steel sign, and the Maker Faire Bay Area 2016 wrap-up.
Thanks so much!
My latest project video, Steel and Walnut Modern Shop Stool, is out now! You can see it by clicking the image above, which will take you right to my YouTube channel.
I am completely done shooting the project video. I have imported all of the footage and matched up audio and video, and I’d say I’m about 80% through my rough cut. I estimate that I need about 3 solid hours of editing before the video will be ready to publish, which I should be able to get done tonight.
In the meantime, here’s the second in my series of Shop Journals. I am enjoying these videos as a less formal alternative to my usual. They also give me more practice talking to the camera without getting nervous or stumbling over my words, which should translate into better, more frequent videos overall.
Thanks again for watching and I hope you enjoy the video. Work safe!
I expected to have a project video for you today, but my mallet had other plans. However, such is my devotion to you, my fans, that I have instead created this short update video so you can see what’s going on around the shop. I hope you enjoy it!
Work safe (safer than me!),
This week’s project isn’t complicated. It isn’t even that exciting. It is, however, an example of using woodworking to solve problems, which is why I started doing it in the first place. Continue reading
I hope you’re all having a great holiday. I’m sure you’re all recovering from a New Year’s celebration of some kind. I could lie and say that I’m doing the same, but I’ve spent the whole week down in the workshop, so I’m exhausted for entirely different reasons. Continue reading
This was a good week.
Monday and Tuesday were spent editing my Tape Dispenser video. This is the first video I’ve ever worked on, so in addition to the normal video editing work, I’m also learning the software as I go.
The rest of the week, I did very little cutting wood and a whole lot of sweeping sawdust.
I’ve been living with a sub-optimal layout in my garage for a long time now. At first, this was because I had to wheel everything up against the wall at the end of the day. Then it was because the garage was dirty, or full, or I had something big on the assembly table, or whatever. Editing that first video, the thing I kept noticing was how dirty the shop was. Scraps everywhere. Sawdust on everything. No system, no storage. Just a disaster.
After pushing the publish button on that first video, I took the natural break as an opportunity to roll all of my equipment out into the driveway, pick up the broom, and finally clear the place out.
With that done (or at least mostly done), I could start to put everything back. But since I’d taken all of that time to move everything, I might as well put things back in a better layout than before.
If I knew Sketchup, this would be a good time to use it. I don’t, though. Luckily, I had a stack of graph paper handy and I know how to use a knife.
My main complaint with the old layout is pretty obvious: there’s a major choke point in the middle. The shop vac and dust collector were on a cart behind the table saw, and it got in the way all the time. The table saw had no outfeed support, and long workpieces would hit the band saw. Ick.
For the new shop, I wanted to streamline things. I would move the table saw up to the front of the shop near the garage door. The assembly table would serve as outfeed support, and a shelf underneath would take the shop-vac and dust collector, eliminating the extra cart and giving me more floor space. Suddenly, my tiny garage started to feel a lot larger.
There’s still a lot to do, and a lot of stuff that isn’t in those drawings (mostly cardboard boxes, sheet goods, and equipment for my day job that I have nowhere else to put), but it’s a start. I’ll have a video out when I’m done.
The tape dispenser video was my first project for YouTube.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
This tape dispenser was patterned off of a white plastic model that my wife had in her office. We got it from an office supply store. It’s perfectly functional, but a little boring. I had a scrap of 8/4 walnut that I thought would be perfect for a project of this size.
HOW I DID IT
Since I was working from an existing object, the first thing I did was make a template. I keep a stack of graph paper in the shop, so I used a sheet of that and traced around the existing tape dispenser with a mechanical pencil. After cutting the walnut to length, I attached the template with spray adhesive and cut it out on the bandsaw. In the video, you see me cover the wood in masking tape; this is because it’s a lot easier to remove masking tape than spray glue. The tape keeps the wood from getting gummy.
To make the well in the center, I needed to saw off both sides on the table saw, cut the profile of the center piece on the bandsaw, and then glue the sides back on. As it turned out, the 8/4 walnut was actually a touch too narrow, so I ended up laminating in some 1/4 maple that I cut on the table saw. I could have done it on the bandsaw, too, but I would have needed to change blades and I like the cut quality from the table saw. That does come at the expense of a thicker kerf, but that’s okay.
The spool is cut from maple, while the axle is a 1/4″ walnut dowel that I made with a shop-made dowel maker. For the cutter, I took a section of cutter from a box of aluminum foil. That worked great.
WHAT I LEARNED
If I were going to make this project again, I would glue up the laminated blank first, then cut the template. This would save a few steps, as I would only have to cut the template shape once. Instead, I had to cut it three times. That’s obvious in hindsight, but when I started the project I thought the 8/4 block would be thick enough without adding any more material.
I would also wait until the end to cut the side bevels. Square sides would make it much easier to resaw the block before cutting the central well. I managed, but I felt silly for making the mistake.
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think down in the comments, and stay tuned for my next project.