Feb 252015
 

No Southern-fried Southern boy wants to be called a Yankee, but we share the characteristics of shrewdness and thrift.  Thus, each month we include a money-saving tip.  It’s OK if you call me “cheap.”

Search the Web for “wood storage” and you will be inundated with more articles and videos than you can digest in a lifetime.  Every woodworker has his own take on where and how to store materials for future use.  And, I believe that most will agree that the answer to our storage problem is, “put it somewhere that can’t be used for anything else.”

In my case, the majority of wood storage is between the front wall of our house and a wall that supports a porch above.

This wall was originally made of wood, but the studs were weakened by Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters, so I replaced it with a galvanized steel wall.

This wall was originally made of wood, but the studs were weakened by Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters, so I replaced it with a galvanized steel wall.

That space is too narrow for parking, so I made a rigid frame to support materials of all shapes and sizes.  One end is dedicated to sheet goods and, with an inexpensive layer of lauan as the foundation, I can add everything from full sheets to small scraps.

The plywood end of the storage area allows for full sheets down to small scraps, as well as room for expansion by simply adding cross members for additional layers

The plywood end of the storage area allows for full sheets down to small scraps, as well as room for expansion by simply adding cross members for additional layers

The other end is for solid wood and is organized by species, with the bulk of the space going to treated pine.

Because I handle all of our home’s maintenance, I keep plenty of treated lumber for outdoor use, as well as leftovers from previous projects.

Because I handle all of our home’s maintenance, I keep plenty of treated lumber for outdoor use, as well as leftovers from previous projects.

Lumber for a current project could be stored, but I usually keep it close at hand on sawhorses nearer to the work area.

Lumber for a current project could be stored, but I usually keep it close at hand on sawhorses nearer to the work area.

Under the house is the roughest of the rough; mostly construction lumber, cedar siding left over from our home’s original construction, posts and poles.

Having experienced, “Don’t I have (fill in the blank with a wood species and scrap size) somewhere?” many, many times, I try not to throw away any scrap I think might be usable.  Perhaps the best part of this storage system is that there is nearly zero monetary or space cost to this system.

The inspiration started with a tip I read online, suggesting the storage of dowels in PVC gutter downspouts attached to the underside of ceiling joists in the shop.  I was convinced this was the storage solution for me, and I got on a ladder, measuring for the lengths of downspouts I wanted to purchase when it hit me:  “I can store stuff up inside these wooden I-joists without sacrificing ceiling height and without buying anything.”

An overview of the parking side of our garage to orient you for the ceiling photos.

An overview of the parking side of our garage to orient you for the ceiling photos.

Here’s how I did it:  I already had little strips of treated lumber I use for stakes and a thousand other uses.  It was a simple matter to take an inside measurement of the space between joists to customize roughly 14″ pieces of the little stakes (the space between joists is not always equal) to fit tightly, where they act as supports for the scraps.  Close together for short scraps, far apart for longer pieces or even letting long lengths span several supports.  Each collection is organized from longer to shorter.

Short scraps are accommodated with supports close together.

Short scraps are accommodated with supports close together.

Long scraps not only need supports far apart, they need support in the middle to prevent warping.  Good organization helps.  Taking the time to sort from short to long pays off when you need a scrap of a certain length.

Long scraps not only need supports far apart, they need support in the middle to prevent warping. Good organization helps. Taking the time to sort from short to long pays off when you need a scrap of a certain length.

At first, when I had only a few rafters in use, it was easy to look up and see what kind of scrap was stored where.  Now, I have 20 rafter storage spaces, necessitating an identification system.   Initially, I used blue painter’s tape, but the lack of contrast between blue tape and black Magic Marker made reading difficult, especially against the glare of ceiling lights. Two-inch adhesive tape (enter the tiny bit of cost) solves the problem, with excellent contrast between black and white.

Like your grammar school teacher said, “Neatness counts.”  Take your time with lettering for a neater job and greater legibility.

Like your grammar school teacher said, “Neatness counts.” Take your time with lettering for a neater job and greater legibility.

I also use this free space for storing very long pipe clamps, garage door hurricane supports and anything else that will fit.

I also use this free space for storing very long pipe clamps, garage door hurricane supports, and anything else that will fit.

You’re not paying for “router pad,” are you?  If so, CLICK HERE to learn how to get all you want FREE!

You’re not paying for “router pads” are you? If so, CLICK HERE to learn how to get all you want for FREE!

Some very, very small scraps are still worth keeping, but they won’t easily fit into or onto conventional storage.  For that, 5-gallon buckets are the cat’s meow.

This bucket holds all of my very small cedar scraps and stores neatly out of the way.

This bucket holds all of my very small cedar scraps and stores neatly out of the way.

Then, there’s the wild card scrap storage:  drawers salvaged from old refrigerators.  The vertical standards can be used to hang the drawers in their original fashion, or you can improvise by fashioning wooden runners to support the drawer edges.

While this storage does hang down below ceiling height, I chose an area where it didn’t matter.  Also, if it ever presents a problem, it’s a simple matter to take it down.

While this storage does hang down below ceiling height, I chose an area where it didn’t matter. Also, if it ever presents a problem, it’s a simple matter to take it down.

In my wife’s tile studio I used refrigerator shelves for storing some really heavy pieces.  They are up to the job.

In my wife’s tile studio I used refrigerator shelves for storing some really heavy pieces. They are up to the job.

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home. Questions and comments on woodworking may be sent to DrRandolph@MyPetsDoctor.com. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

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Feb 242015
 

Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist, not a professional, someone who loves woodworking, just like you do. I have found some better ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop and look forward to sharing those with you each month, as well as hearing your problem-solving ideas.

I can’t take credit for this tip but it’s too good not to share.  Sadly, I’m not clever enough to have thought of it.

I’ve faced this very situation before and the best I could come up with was to let my hole saw wobble around on the board until it “caught.”

The origin of the tip is Danny Lipford’s TV show, Today’s Homeowner.  Danny and his crew are based in Mobile, Alabama.  If you don’t know the show, you still might have heard Danny’s distinctive voice on commercials for “Glue Dots.”  Each Today’s Homeowner  show features a segment by Joe Truini called Simple Solutions.  And, almost every week I watch Joe’s tip and wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

I have a hole in this plywood deck, but the new tubing that needs to go through it is bigger than the old one.  How can I make the hole bigger without making a huge mess?  (For demonstration purposes I drilled the hole in the top plywood first.

I have a hole in this plywood deck, but the new tubing that needs to go through it is bigger than the old one. How can I make the hole bigger without making a huge mess? (For demonstration purposes I drilled the hole in the top plywood first.

Joe says if you have a hole in a board or piece of plywood that you need to be larger, rather than “booger up” the board using my technique, or take a jig saw to the hole to enlarge it, start by attaching a piece of plywood to the original board with the too-small hole. You can attach it with screws if the screw holes won’t show, or use double-stick carpet tape.  If the exact location of the hole doesn’t matter you can just approximate the center of the original hole, drill a pilot hole, change to the hole saw, and start drilling.  The guide bit on your hole saw will lead the hole saw into your attached plywood and straight through both pieces.

If, on the other hand, your hole has to be exactly concentric with the original hole, you have two options:  Option One, you can outline the old hole’s circumference onto the new plywood with a pencil or marking knife, separate the two boards, and then find the center of the marked hole on the plywood and drill the pilot hole.  Option Two is a little harder but potentially more accurate. Attach the two boards to each other, then find the center of the original hole.  The first technique may introduce error because you may not get the intact plywood back onto the target in exactly the same position it was in when you marked the circle.  If you’re dealing with a fixed stand, as I am in the accompanying photos, you need to lie on your back to mark the circle and find the center, then drill a tiny pilot hole from underneath (make sure you are wearing proper eye protection since the accompanying drill-bit shavings will be falling onto you).  Next, from the top, use the pilot hole you just drilled to guide your hole saw through both pieces.  This same technique will work if you use a spade bit to enlarge an existing hole.

Almost there!  In no time the hole saw is through the plywood and into the decking with a nice, neat new hole!

Almost there! In no time the hole saw is through the plywood and into the decking with a nice, neat new hole!

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home. Questions and comments on woodworking may be sent to DrRandolph@MyPetsDoctor.com. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

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Feb 192015
 
Turning Inspiration Into Your Own Design

My 7-year-old daughter has an art supply collection to rival most craft stores.  She decided to use these supplies to make me something for my birthday.  That morning she came into my office and asked if she could borrow one of my furniture books to get some ideas.  I gave her Great Designs from Fine [...]

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Feb 182015
 
The Highland Woodturner, Issue No. 47, February 2015

This month’s issue of The Highland Woodturner has some great woodturning project ideas, tips, and brand new products! Our February issue includes: Grinder Bushings: Curtis shares his recent project idea of turning custom bushings out of plastic for his grinder. Turning a Bangle Bar: Ray Bissonette shares his project idea of turning a wooden jewelry [...]

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