Before I had begun unpacking my tools I wanted to put my phone in a safe, out of the way spot that would also be easy to access and would allow me to see notifications on the screen from pretty much anywhere in the shop. I needed a phone stand on top of my refrigerator.
The only tools I had easy access to at the time was my chop saw and some basic hand tools like screwdrivers and hammers. I had a very limited pile of scrap wood as well.
I’m almost embarrassed to show this I made a very rudimentary phone stand. Come to think of it, I had never made one before that day.
It’s been sitting on the fridge since that day more than a year and a half ago. While it’s ugly as sin it really was very functional. The stereo I have in the cabinet next to it is not BlueTooth compatible but does have a USB port and a 3.5 mm audio input jack so I can my phone charged while listening to good music. Pandora is my platform of choice for now.
Anyway, over this last weekend I decided it was time to retire this clunky old thing. I did not take any pictures of the process, it was pretty straightforward.
Finished with just some mineral oil and clear satin poly
When you are limited to a garage for a shop you have to get creative when it comes to floorspace. I combined my chop saw and planer into a flip-top cabinet.
I reduced the footprint of these tools to less than half of what they were as stand alone tools.
I’m also very happy with how the flip top came out considering I built it from my old router cabinet. I only had a basic idea as to how to engineer this when I started on it but flipping it over is smooth ad nearly effortless. Locking the platform in place is a little awkward but I can improve on that later.
Several months ago, in order to reduce the footprint of my tools, I decided to build a router table into my table saw.
I had a Skill 1820 2hp plunge router I rarely used since I had purchased my Porter cable router with dual bases (fixed and plunge).
I also had a scissor jack that I had bought more than a decade ago. It was still in its original unopened box. I’m not even sure now why I bought it in the first place but I figured it would work well as a lift mechanism for this project.
I hadn’t even really begun to unpack my tools when I felt the overwhelming need to make something. We were out shopping for containers to replace all of the rotting cardboard boxes my shop was packed up in when I came across this cheesy plastic coated aluminum coat tree:
I realized at that moment that I wanted a coat tree, but I wanted to make it myself. This one was maybe five feet tall and very wobbly. Still, I liked the style of the hooks (branches) and the fact that the top two sections were able to rotate. The ability to rotate was key because I knew I wanted to put it in a rather tight corner of a room.
I knew I could do much better than this and probably for less money. Goal 1: I wanted to make it it taller, at least six feet tall. Goal 2: I wanted more hooks (branches) which could be accomplished by making it taller but I wanted a lot more hooks so the branches would have to start lower on the tree and I would put them on all four sides rather than just two. Goal 3: Because their would be more branches it would need to be much sturdier with a more stable base.
TBH, I did roughly sketch out some ideas but really, beyond those goals, I didn’t have a plan as to how I was going to make this thing. I kind of just made it up as I went along. There is at least one major change I would make to the build process that I’m a little embarrassed that I didn’t think of in the first place but I’ll go into that later.
I decided to go with 3/4″ MDF and some 1/2″ metal rod for the trunk of the tree. MDF is heavy and is relatively easy to route out. After some rough calculations I realized I could get all three section out from a single 2’x4′ sheet of the stuff. I cut it into 2-1/4″ strips then laminated the three sections together.
This is where putting a little more thought into planning this build would have helped. I really should have laminated these section around the steel rod, rather than trying to drill holes for the rods.
It turned out that no matter how well I set up my drill press I was unable to drill the shafts for the rods straight enough to keep the section perfectly aligned.
Next I created some patterns for the branches/coat hooks. I wanted three different sizes and at least different two shapes for the two larger sizes. The smallest one, which was for hats would only work with a single hook.
Now on to the base. I was tempted to laminated a bunch of 2″ thick stuff to make a thick base around 12″-14″ in diameter but I didn’t think it fit with the overall design of the project. I also don’t like the round shape for a stand base they topple too easily. to be honest I’m not sure how I came up with the idea but I decided to make a base with double interlocking dado joints (a total of four joints) that fit snugly around the “trunk” of the coat tree.
I realized this wasn’t enough tho. I was pretty sure these cheap studs would twist and bow if I didn’t reinforce them.
I have been using it for several months now. I am really happy with how it turned out. Being able to rotate the top sections makes it really easy to access all of the hooks while it’s in a tight corner.
This is probably one of the cheapest non-tabletop band saws ever made, and it shows. I was never able to make straight cuts with it. Every time I used it I thought it was going to shake itself apart. Once we got moved into our new home and I had a chance to asses my tools, fresh out of long-term storage. This band saw was the first to get the full treatment.
I reviewed several YouTube videos where people far more familiar with the maintenance of band saws were overhauling these models with seriously respectable results. Better than out-of-the-box results. I took in all of their advice and had at it over a couple of weekends:
Once I got it all back together with a new blade I tuned it and 95% of the vibration was gone. I was even able to get a nickel to stand on edge on while turning it on and running it.