Category Archives: Woodshop

Smoke Detectors for the Shop

This morning I installed smoke detectors in the shop, which are interconnected with detectors in the house. Years of procrastination preceded this action, and the procrastination was coupled with a lack of product knowledge.

The house is modern, and has wired, battery-backup interconnected detectors. If one alarm goes off, they all do. For the shop, I wanted the same. It wouldn’t do any good to have a smoke detector going off in the shop while I was sleeping in the house! I had thought that interconnection would be challenging, as I knew a that all the house detectors were on a single circuit, with a common communication conductor.

After doing the research, though,  I found that it is not complicated. I found battery operated detectors for the shop that can communicate via radio frequency with the detectors in the house. Thus they all become one interconnected system.

I ordered two Kidde RF-SM-DC detectors and one Kidde RF-SM-ACDC detector.  I installed the  RF-SM-ACDC  unit in the house, replacing one of the original interconnected detectors there.   For all three detectors, I simply set them up to communicate on the same radio channel.   The two RF-SM-DC units were mounted in the shop.   The new house unit connects the remote battery operated smoke detectors with the existing house system.














After years of procrastination, the issue was remedied in less than an hour with a screw driver and a set of instructions.   I’m impressed, and will sleep well tonight.



Woodwork Outside of a Piano!

The past few days, the woodshop has been put to work on a project that is not a piano!    In December we installed new hardwood flooring and planned that we would fabricate baseboard molding on our own.   I favored a lighter contrasting wood, and my creative wife suggested a laminated baseboard with a walnut detail.    I endorsed her idea despite the extra labor.   I’m going to like it!

Here’s the flooring as completed in December:   20151225_184524

Here’s the baseboard in process in the shop today:

2016-02-29 16.31.24

2016-02-29 16.22.27

It’s put together with poplar and walnut.   With exposure to light, the poplar will darken.   I’m looking forward to seeing it with some polyurethane finish.

2014 – The year of the deck

We’re gearing up for deck building this summer.   Sketchup has been invaluable as a design tool.  Notes:

  • Detached shade structure is sized for optimal shade through out the seasons
  • Shading material is planned to be cloth supported between the joists, with flexibility for rolling back
  • Shade structure is to be steel because of the large spans
  • Decking is to be hardwood for durability and beauty
  • Hot tub?  May be an item for 2015.

east july 21 3 pm

Outfeed table for tablesaw

I recently took the time to re-learn Sketchup. I’m still inefficient with it, but its capability for joining conceptual drawing with accurate scaling is awesome. I really love it! Though I’ve played with it a number of times in the past, I think it’s finally in my toolbox.

Here’s the outfeed table I spent time designing last night. The over-hang on the right provides clearance for dust collection piping on table saw. Still coming in the design:

  • router table inset
  • storage for router and tablesaw accessories

Outfeed table annotated

Garden Gate – 2013

When the neighbors built a white vinyl fence along the north property line a triangle of land was mostly fenced off and of little value for gardening.  When I built the shop, I thought that space would be good for storing trailers.   With the help of a fence along the property, I took the initiative to build a fence and gate.   Given how time gets away, I actually got a bid from a contractor to put in a white vinyl fence with a 10-foot gate.   When I saw the bid of $1500, I immediately re-thought the process.    I thought I could build something pretty nice for less money.   Given the price of high grade cedar, it wasn’t cheap but it wasn’t $1500.

Here’s the results of my efforts:
Garden Gate

Garden Gate


Key Leveling Blocks

I recently decided to upgrade from the crude key leveling blocks I had been using, and enjoyed making these blocks.

Key Leveling Block

Key Leveling Block

Key Leveling Block

Working with small pieces like this can be a wood working challenge.     Here’s the techniques I used:

I selected a a good long piece of stock (I used walnut) and milled it to 9mm X 25mm.  I cut a 4mm X 10 mm slot in each end of the stock with a vertical cut on the tablesaw.  With long stock and a tall fence this can be a comfortable, safe operation.  This could also be done nicely on the bandsaw.  While the stock was still long, I bored the countersinks for the nuts and the concentric through bores for the bolts at the drill press.   I bored the countersink slightly smaller than the cross dimension of the hex bolt, so that it could be tapped in for a snug fit.  I bored the through hole slightly smaller than the threads of the bolt, so that the wood block would act as a locking mechanism on the bolt.   After boring, I cross cut the ends of the long stock to form the 25mm X 30mm blocks.  Finally, I secured the nut in the block with a bit of super glue.  The bolt I used was a #8 machine screw.

The Stroke Sander

I bought the stroke sander several months ago from an out-of-business cabinet shop. This weekend when my daughter Erin came to town, we worked on a first class coffee table for her. It is built of 6/4 hardwood panels that we glued up. The largest of the panels is 28″X22″. The stroke sander worked great for creating a smooth, flat surface. Also, I was pleased with the effectiveness of dust collection for this inherently messy machine! The videos shows Erin sanding one of the cherry panels.