Thursday, November 30, 2017

How to make a DIY belt sander benchtop station, plus a few jigs

This is a useful sanding station based on my portable belt sander. I also made jigs for chisel and gouge sharpening plus a special jig for making circles. I made this station out of birch plywood, melamine, spruce, dowels and basically whatever scrap pieces of wood I had laying around.

My Skil belt sander has those screw holes that happen to be 8mm size. So I used those and 8mm dowels to easily mount the sander on a melamine piece.

To transfer the exact location of the holes on the melamine, I used masking tape to trace a template and then transferred it on a piece of melamine I cut on the table saw. I then drilled holes on the melamine and glued the dowels in place. 

I then used my circular saw and a guide rail to cut a piece of birch plywood. I secured the melamine on the plywood using just screws. 

I then cut a couple of spruce pieces on the table saw. I glued them on the plywood. I used a few brad nails to secure them in place while glue up.

I then traced the belt sander’s sole and cut it out of a piece of spruce on the bandsaw. Now I used the sander for the first time to sand the piece. 

I then glued and nailed the sanding base on the structure. 

At this point you can clamp the jig on the bench and use it as a regular desktop sander. 

Using a scrap piece of spruce, I made a flat chisel sharpening jig. I glued a flat piece on the jig which pivots on a dowel. 

Then I made something similar for sharpening gouges. Only this time the gouge sit on a 90 degree angle so it can be rotated while sharpening!

Then I made a circle making jig. This is a flat plywood piece that is like an extruded dovetail pin. I made it on the table saw. That piece has a dowel that acts as the circle’s center. The piece slides through another piece with opposite 45 degree beveled sides. The whole piece is actually a sliding dovetail that sits on the sanding station with two dowels. A small screw secures the inner piece in place when you decide the radius of the circle you wanna make.

My jig was now ready and I hope you enjoy it! I think it will prove really useful in my shop!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Wooden Christmas ornament desktop lamp with LED strip

I made this Christmas scenery DIY lamp out of spruce, pine and warm LED strip. This project combines classical woodworking techniques, woodturning and even CNC typography carving. 

This project is actually my entry for the "Christmas ornament challenge 2017" more info here.

You can watch all the entries of the challenge here.

The lamp is actually a box with a Christmas scenery in it. I first cut the sides of the box to size on my table saw. For the cross cuts I used my sled!

I jointed the sides with lap joints. I cut the dado with a series of passes on the table saw, using a stop block on my cross cut sled. This joint provides plenty of glueing surface.

I then glued the sides together. To avoid using clamps I added a few brad nails.

In the front of the box I added a trim piece. This hides the joints and the LED strip. I cut the 45 degree miters on my miter box and glued and brad nailed them in place. I filed any gaps in the miters with glue and sanding dust.

To make the background of the scene I had to reduce the thickness of my material. I did that by passing it through my thickness planer. I then glued a few templates in place with spray adhesive and cut them out on the bandsaw. I sanded the pieces using my disc sander, the rotary tool and sanding blocks.

I then rounded over their edges with a spokeshave and a cylindrical file. This gives a more 3D look to the whole piece!

To carve out the typography I used my CNC machine. I also used the CNC to carve the smaller elements I could not cut on the bandsaw. To avoid using tabs on the finished piece I used double sided tape to secure the material on the CNC’s carving bed.

I sanded all the pieces using my random orbit sander and sanding blocks. 

I also glued four blocks in place to keep the background from moving around. I then glued and nailed the pieces of the background in place.

In my scenery there is also a snowman. I made him on the lathe from a scrap pine cylindrical piece. I first used the roughing gouge to turn the piece true. I then used a template to mark the positions of the basic shapes. Using a caliper and a straight chisel I established the basic measurements on my piece. I then used a spindle gouge to create the curved parts. I gave the final touches with a skew chisel. I sanded the piece from 100 grit to 280. I used a bamboo stick as a nose and two holes for eyes.

I colored the pieces with water based powder stain which I mixed in water. I used water based white stain for the white parts of the build. I sanded with 200grit sandpaper. I finished the outer box with two coats of water based clear satin varnish.

The snowman is secured in place with a countersinked screw that was from the base of the piece to the bottom of the snowman.

The typography elements are spaced from the background with bamboo sticks. I wanted my scene to have different levels and a more 3 dimensional look.

Using a forstner bit I opened up a whole for the cables. I then added the LED strip. I secured it in place with hot glue. I connected the power supply cables. 

I added four protective pads on the bottom of my piece. 

I secured the background in place with two screws. Just like we do in picture frames.

My little lamp was now ready. I really enjoyed this year’s Christmas ornament challenge! I hope you like my little project!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

How to make a segmented pen on the lathe

I made this pen out of walnut and maple. I used a pen turning mandrel and a slim style pen kit.

First of all I prepared the pen blanks. I rip cut a walnut and a maple piece on the table saw. I used the jointer to flatten one edge of each board and glued them together. 

I then squared the stock on the jointer again.

Using a stop block and a cross cut sled on the table saw, I cut the piece in smaller blocks of wood. 

I then glued those blocks perpendicular to each other to create a pattern. To hold them straight during the glue up I used two pieces of wood and clamps.

On the jointer again I squared my blank once again. I then marked the sizes of the blanks and cross cut them to size on the table saw.

I used a center finder and an owl to mark the center of each blank. I then drilled a hole in each blank on the drill press.

I sanded the brass tubes of the pen kit. This provides better bonding surface for the glue. I glued the brass tubes in the blanks, using super glue.

I then mounted a barrel trimmer on my drill. This bit cleans the inside of the tubes from excess glue and trims the blank flush with the length of the tubes.

I then mounted the pen turning mandrel on my chuck. I added the blanks and the bushings on the mandrel and secured everything in place. 

I did most of the turning using a roughing gouge. I then used a parting tool to establish my stop marks. I also used a regular straight chisel as a scrapper for the finishing pass.

I sanded the piece starting from 100 to 1000 grit. At 500 grit I wet sanded with mineral oil. I also used micro-mesh soft touch pads to wet sand until 12000 grit.

I then assembled the pen. Most people use special clamps for this. I just hammered everything in place with a mallet. I used a small wood piece and a towel to prevent my pen from damaging while hammering everything in place.

My pen was now ready and I am really happy with the way it came out!

Friday, November 10, 2017

How to make a cheap hanging workshop cabinet out of OSB

I made this cheap cabinet for my workshop out of OSB material. It is hanged on the wall with a french cleat system. 

I would really like to thank BMtools for sending the air compressor I use in the video.

The air compressor is this one:

I bought my OSB material cut roughly to the sizes I wanted. 

I started by making the frame of my cabinet. I used a corner clamp to help me hold the two sides in place, while I predrilled pilot holes, screwed and glued them together.

Using my circular saw and a guide rail I cut the front and back sides in size.

I then screwed the front and back in place. 

At this point I had a wooden box. I ripped cut the box in half on the table saw. Before the last two cuts I clamped two shims in place so that the already cut sides won’t interfere with the last cuts.

The front piece of the cabinet is actually two doors with shelves. So using my circular saw again and cut the front piece in half. To complete the doors I cut two piece of OSB on the table saw and screwed them in place.

I then used spray cans and scrap OSB pieces to act as spacers. I then predrilled and screwed the door shelves in place. I used the same technique to find the locations of the inner shelves also.

I also added a drawer in this cabinet. I made it using overlap rabbet joints. I made those using a stop block on my cross cut sled. With a few repeated cuts on the table saw I was ready to go. This is a simple joint with plenty of gluing surfaces. 

I then used my air compressor and a nail gun to hold the drawer sides in place, while the glue dried. 

I used the hole saw to open up a finger hole in the front of the drawer.

I then gave the whole piece a quick sanding with my random orbit sander and a sanding block.

I used the air compressor and a blowgun to blow the dust away.

The doors are attached on the cabinet with piano hinges. I cut the hinges to size with my angle grinder. I hold them in place with masking tape and then screwed them securely in place.

I made a simple latch on the table saw and some scrap OSB pieces.

I glued the latch in place, I used again my nail gun to hold the pieces in place, while the glue dried.

I nailed and glued in place a spacer piece on the back of the cabinet. 

I tilted the blade of my table saw at 45 degrees and ripped cut an OSB piece to act as a french cleat.

I screwed and glued one piece of the french cleat on the back of the cabinet.

I then used a spirit level and a few nails to mark the places for the upats on the wall. I made a simple depth guide on my drill with some tape. I drilled the holes on the wall and hammered the upats in place.

I then screwed the other half of the french cleat on the wall.

I hanged the cabinet in the wall.

I then used strength rubber luggage ropes to act as stoppers for the door shelves. I first shortened them with a pair of scissors and zip ties. I then secured them in place on metal rings which were screwed on the sides of the doors. 

My cabinet was now ready. It came out really nice. It was easy and cheap to make!

Friday, November 3, 2017

How to make a 3 string electric guitar from a cheap tennis racket

I made this guitar from the cheapest racket I found, a single coil pickup from my old stratocaster and a few pieces of spruce.

First of all I  unwrapped the handle of the racket. I used an exact knife and the heat gun clean up the handle.

I then cut the piece for the neck. It is “T” shape which I cut on the table saw. I then trimmed it to size with my cross cut sled. I also shaped it a little bit using the bandsaw and a chisel.

I sized a piece of spruce on the thickness planer to make the headstock. I then cut a slot on it on the table saw. This is the way the neck is jointed with the headstock. I then used the bandsaw and the disc sander, to finish the shaping of the headstock. I drilled the tuning peg holes on the drill press and glued the headstock on the neck.

I then cut the support piece for the bridge, on the bandsaw. Using forester bits, I made room for the output jack and the volume pot.

I shaped the neck a little bit, using a rasp then a file and then sandpaper.

The neck is jointed to the racket body with brass screws. I drilled the holes on the aluminum racket and pilot holes for the screws. I did the same thing for the bridge support.

I mounted the pickup using zip ties. Using a wiring diagram I soldered all the electronics. I also used heat shrinking tubes to hide a few of the soldered joints.

With a hacksaw I cut a scrap metal piece to size to act as my bridge. I completed the bridge by glueing the metal part with two wooden ones using two part epoxy.

I measured the scale of my guitar, from nut to bridge and it came out 565mm.

Using a saw and a file I opened up a groove for the nut. I cut the bone to size on the bandsaw and shaped it with a sanding block. I used an online fret calculator to locate the fret positions. After I marked the positions with a pencil I used a block of wood as ruler to start the cut with my fret saw. I then removed the block and finished the fret slots.

I glued dowels to act as fret position indicators. I used my flush trim saw to cut them flush. I then sanded over the whole fretboard.

At this point I want to thank my friend Sakis Alitsios from Art Street 52 for the fret wire he gave me. I then cut the wire to size and pushed it in place with my vise. To secure the frets in place, I added a drop of super glue to the sides of each fret. Using my rotary tool and a cutting disc I trimmed the frets flush and then finished the job with a sanding block.

Using my wood burner I added dots on the sides of the fretboard to act as fret position indicators.

I then installed the tuning pegs, added the string guides and drilled holes the ends of the strings.

Using a V file I opened up the string slots on the nut and bridge.

I masked the frets with blue masking tape. I marked the high spots with a sharpie. I then used a long sanding block to level all the frets. Using my rotary tool and a polishing bit with polishing compound I polished all the frets. I finished polishing with steel wool.

At this point my guitar was ready, I hope you liked it too!