One Last Stand

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.

I actually chiselled those grooves out with an old flat head screwdriver.

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.

New Phone Stand
Made with Sapelle, an African Mahogany.
New Phone Stand
I can still plug in the audio jack and USB

Finished with just some mineral oil and clear satin poly

Phone Stands

These were intended to be Christmas gifts but life happened and I’m just now getting them done. They are travel phone stands they come apart easily to lay flat in your luggage.

It was quite a learning experience. I started these just a month after getting my first CNC machine.

The Prototype – No CNC

Prototype 2.0 w/CNC

Travel Phone Stands 3.0

Baby Yoda!
Last one!

I finally got them mailed out yesterday along with some Christmas ornaments I made. They should all get them tomorrow the 4th. Only a little overdue heh heh.

Merry Christmas everybody!

2-stage Shop Vac

I’ve had the parts to do this for a few months now. I had to empty the vac and clean the filter the other day so I figured, while I’m at it…

OK, all attachments attached!

FYI, that’s a Dustopper from Home Depot.


My workstation for the CNC machine has evolved a lot since I first got the machine put together a couple of weeks ago.
I’ll be building a hood around the back side of it, and a mount on the spindle mount for dust collection. I may even put a lazy Susan under the little shop vac to reduce any stress that might be placed on the spindle.

This is my first real project for the machine. Some small snowflake ornaments.

Flip-top Final

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.

Flip-top Planer/Chop Saw Cabinet

Now that I have my router built into my table saw I can re-purpose this old router cabinet I built more than fifteen years ago.

Old router cabinet
My old “Custom” router cabinet
Old router cabinet
Filled with dust and tools
Deconstruction and rebuild
Cabinet gutted and flip-top construction has begun
Deconstruction and rebuild
That’s the platform from my old standing desk
Deconstruction and rebuild
Deconstruction and rebuild
Deconstruction and rebuild
I took the handle off of the planer…
Deconstruction and rebuild
and hung it on the side with an allen wrench…
Deconstruction and rebuild
so I wouldn’t have to cut even more out of the side panel.
Deconstruction and rebuild
I found this hardware in a box of odds and ends parts
Deconstruction and rebuild
I’ll be capping off these sides with some scrap hardwood
Deconstruction and rebuild
Deconstruction and rebuild
Deconstruction and rebuild
Deconstruction and rebuild
Deconstruction and rebuild

It’s ugly, but it works, and it’s a lot more stable than I thought it would be despite the planer being much heavier than the chop saw.

Gap Cap1
I eventually got the gaps at the top capped off.
Gap Cap2

See the Flip-top Final post for more info and pix on this project…

Router Table Insert

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.

A Coat Tree

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:

Cheap/Expensive Coat Rack
Cheap but Expensive Coat Rack

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.

Ridgid Band Saw Rehab

The Ridgid BS14002

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.