Woodworking

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As promised, here are my first for sale grips. Get in on a piece of history with Serial number 0000000000000000001 (I left enough 0’s just in case this takes off!). Like usual, pictures can't really do them justice as the orange color is *deep*, something you really need 2 eyes to appreciate. They are for full sized 1911s and have a tough-as-nails gunstock finish on them that will endure for years to come. Only $45 + shipping.
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/26/2017 8:17:33 AM | Feedback (1)
I got a rather snotty comment today on a woodworker's forum regarding the pistol grips I was making. "I love CNC's it helps people believe they are skilled woodworkers" The condescension practically stained my monitor. My only reply was "Never made that claim" as the last thing I wanted to do was get in (yet another) pissing match with some keyboard jockey on the interweb tubes. However, it did rub me the wrong way as it's just another form of snobbery. It's like saying "I love compilers. It...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/24/2017 7:48:02 PM | Feedback (21)
You can build it! This past weekend, I spent a few hours running a test to see if I could model something like this Into this And I did! That’s a rough prototype. I only used a 1/16” flat down-cut bit which leaves a pretty rough surface. I had to hit it on the sander just to get rid of a lot of the wood shavings, but other than that this is what pops out of the machine in a single pass. Took about 40 minutes to rout, but the information gleaned was invaluable. First thing I learned is how...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/28/2017 8:39:29 AM | Feedback (23)
I did both… The deal was too good to pass up on the CNC router. The original owner was younger & simply couldn’t keep it running because the wiring never worked. I went to look at it and realized it simply needed the wiring redone and a few small, inexpensive parts. Still waiting on the parts, but all wiring is done. I can’t wait to get started. I have SO many ideas, like this one. As for the music equipment, the Mrs. agreed that it was for the church (I can’t use the stuff at home) so...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 3/7/2017 10:05:26 PM | Feedback (9)
As a Dave Ramsey acolyte, I have a rule – If I cannot pay cash for something, I do not buy it. Period. Like all rules there are times when they have to get bent or broken and I’m not so hard core that I’d tell my daughter “Sorry, you can’t have a life saving operation because we don’t have the cash for it”, but I am pretty adamant that I will not go into debt for basic wants. This system has actually increased my cash flow as my wife & I no longer impulse buy, thus we only buy things we...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/28/2017 12:00:22 PM | Feedback (11)
As you all (the 6 or 7 of you who still read me, that is) know, I’ve gotten into woodworking recently. It’s been something I’ve always wanted to do and now that I have a house with an actual workshop in the back, I’ve been able to fulfill that dream. Now that I have a lathe, I can turn objects and some of those happen to be pens. My girls & I made a few pens over the past few days and of course I showed them off on Twitter and Facebook. Then the orders started coming in. I wasn’t expecting...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 1/8/2017 7:39:04 PM | Feedback (9)
Yeah, that’s gone. Because this puppy followed me home last night That’s a Nova Comet II Midi Lathe. 12” swing, 16” bed extendable to 42” which means I can make everything from pens to baseball bats. A mid sized lathe in a mini sized footprint. Sucker is heavy at ~80# and absolutely the quietest power tool in the shop. Variable speed via a dial, plus 3 pulley combinations for extra speed / torque. I got it from Bowls for Good, a fantastic organization in St. Petersburg that gets returned &...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/21/2016 11:26:59 AM | Feedback (8)
Now that I have the bandsaw, there was little reason to not try to make some 1911 grips. The grips on both my Para and my Colt Delta Elite are wrap around plastic (the Para has a Crimson Trace), so I had to make some ‘guesses’ as to how things should work. I started off with some walnut, which I happen to have a few scale-sized blanks laying around. They ended up a bit thin as 1/4” is nominal, I ended up… under that. Still, for my very first attempt, this was a raging success! The chisel work...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 7/13/2016 4:18:47 PM | Feedback (17)
I might not blog that much any more which is sad because with my woodworking, I’ve had a lot to talk about. One thing I’m trying to do though is get tools. I’m purchasing a band saw probably on Friday because I seem to need it more than a drill press. Many times, a band saw would make short work of things I’ve been doing with a jigsaw by hand (and be less destructive since there’s support under the blade). Once I get the band saw, I’m thinking about making a few 1911 pistol grips for myself....
posted by by Robb Allen @ 6/28/2016 10:46:51 AM | Feedback (13)
OK, I need help. To finish up my desk, I have to have some supports for the riser. I don't want to use regular metal pipes because I think the flanges are ugly, but for the life of me, I can't seem to find what's in my head. It's a simple 1" wide x 8" long tube in powder-coat black. On the top is a flat plate with screw holes to mount to the underside of the riser, on the bottom is a threaded hole to accommodate a threaded rod. I would drill holes through the desktop, place the rod through,...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 5/2/2016 7:45:26 PM | Feedback (14)
This weekend was crazy busy. First, the Mrs. & I decided we wanted a pallet wall in the art room / office. So, I did that. Air compressor died on me, so I was swinging a hammer all day Saturday. The end results are absolutely stunning.        That was Saturday. On Sunday, I hit the workshop to work on my desk some more. I trimmed the top down to 80" wide, squaring up both sides. I did a pretty decent job as it's 80" wherever you measure from, so yay team me. The top had...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 4/24/2016 9:19:43 PM | Feedback (6)
My first dovetails were a complete & utter disaster. Turns out, pine is horrible for practicing these things. The wood is so soft that trying to chisel out the waste ended up ripping it out rather than getting a clean line. I’m going to pick up a board or two of some cheap poplar as it’s harder & should be a bit easier to do this stuff with. I did build a 10° dovetail marking jig though that works pretty good. I also had to pick up 8 more clamps as my pipe clamps were too big for what...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 2/15/2016 11:08:18 AM | Feedback (9)
OK, I think I’ve finally got what I want nailed down. I need an editing desk for my music room, something that brings the monitors (both visual and speakers) up to eye & ear level while also giving me tons of room for a 49 key keyboard, plus slide-out computer keyboard. I was going to do 4 legs, but the Mrs. reminded me I need some storage for stuff that seems to collect, so on the left I designed a basic, boxy shelf. A non shaded version for a clearer vision Overall dimensions – 80” wide,...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/28/2015 9:02:42 PM | Feedback (12)
I finally got the storage bench & daughter’s bedside table done. From this to this and this To this Both of these projects were built using 3/4” birch plywood. The table had some birch veneer to the top edges so I could stain them, and the rest of the plywood edges were simply slathered in wood putty & sanded down. My next major project is building a desk for my music room, followed up by replacing the eyesore of a laundry table we have. These will be made with hardwoods rather...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/21/2015 10:07:46 AM | Feedback (15)
Why turn it into iPad, iPhone, and iPod holders, of course!
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/16/2015 8:52:05 PM | Feedback (6)
My first end grain cutting board was a pretty good success. Thanks to Virgil of Virgil Guitars, I was able to borrow his drum sander. Had I not had that available, I’d still be sanding this puppy flat. Now that I have a routing table, I was able to put a round-over on the edges in literally seconds rather than the 30 minutes it used to take me trying to do it by clamping the board, routing an edge, unclamp, flip, rout, etc. I sanded with 120, then 220. I went up to 600 with my first board,...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 12/1/2015 8:10:07 AM | Feedback (3)
I can’t put all the cutting boards I’m working on online because some of them are gifts, but this particular one is for us so it’s safe. It’s also my first end-grain (butcher block) style board which has its own set of challenges. My original design turned out to be a bit more ambitious than my skill set would allow (you can see an illustration in this post). Trying to figure out how to get the inlay look was feasible, but I realized it was more than I could do as I ended up burning through...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/25/2015 9:39:48 AM | Feedback (5)
Oiled down the cutting board today and it is complete. Tomorrow, I have all day planned for the workshop. I have to get some screws to finish up construction of my bench, then fill in all the edges with wood putty & let dry. Then sand. And sand. And sand. I have 2 more frames to build for the barn doors (those take about 30 minutes each, nothing too big). I’m trying to decide on the panel construction though. The dowels don’t work the way I had hoped & I don’t own a biscuit cutter,...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/13/2015 9:46:01 PM | Feedback (7)
Last night my wife had most of the teachers from her preschool over to do one of those “Drink & Paint” parties where everyone gets sloshed & attempts to copy a painting. I took this wonderful opportunity to head out to the workshop & try my hand at building my first cutting board. I generally just heat up leftovers and eat at my desk for lunch, but yesterday I actually took off & headed over to the lumberyard to pick up 2 large chunks of walnut & hard maple to make a few...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/11/2015 10:00:52 AM | Feedback (10)
I picked up all the wood yesterday (my vw GTI can haul a lot more than it looks!). Today I started on the project. First I picked the best boards for their jobs. I got 25% more wood than I needed to make sure I had excess should any ugly knots or tears show up. There were 12 1"x10"x8' and 25 1"x4"x8', all in spruce. The frame will be on both sides of the door (hence the large quantities of 1x4) I started by laying out the 1x10s, then putting the 'frame' on it to get an idea of the crossbeam...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/8/2015 10:23:42 PM | Feedback (10)
The company I work for is expanding the office into another part of the building. Between the 2 sections, they want some barn doors. I am going to be the one building them. This is a great project for me. The construction of the doors isn’t beyond my meager skills nor does it require tooling that I do not own although part of the profits are going to purchase a nice thickness planer as well as a few things just to make life easier. I have to transport quite a bit of spruce lumber back to my...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 11/4/2015 12:43:55 PM | Feedback (9)
I haven't taken any pain meds in 3 days. Finger hurts, but is more annoying than ZOMGCUTITOFF!!!!! Looks nasty, but I'm able to change the dressing without wanting to puke. Friday I had a wound check & they had to rip off the bandages because they had fuse with the clots. There was so much pain. Later, the tip of my finger went numb. At this point, I'm chalking it up to a bit of nerve damage. Hopefully this will not be anything that will interfere with my guitar playing (once I'm able to...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/28/2015 12:51:59 PM | Feedback (7)
So, last night I was cleaning up some wood in the shop on the jointer when the wood slipped and my hand went into the blade. Not fun. I managed to turn off the jointer, the shop vac, the lights, lock up the shop, turn off the hose filling up the pool, locked the door, got Irelyn, locked up Pepper in her crate, & drive myself to the ER where I bled all over the place. I lucked out as it didn't hit the bone so they were able to sew the finger back together (cut is on the fingerprint side...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/23/2015 10:42:48 AM | Feedback (16)
Last night, I finished up the top for the ‘planter’ by the front door. It’s cheap aspen from Lowes. I routed the edges with a 1/4 round-over, sanded it several times with 120 & 220 grit, then applied Minwax pre-stain. Next came 2 coats of Minwax Red Mahogany stain, followed up by polyurethane, sanding, polyurethane, sanding, and polyurethane. The results are gorgeous. There is still a little work to do to properly secure it to the rock wall, but because I took a jigsaw to the back, it fits...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/16/2015 12:44:28 PM | Feedback (11)
Now that I’m all moved in to the new place, I get to enjoy the fruits of my labor and one of those fruits is a 364 square foot workshop in the back yard. Fully powered with steel roll up door & AC, this place is awesome. I’ve always wanted to get into woodworking, and now I’m actually beginning to do just that. The house we live in was built (like a tank) back in ‘76. It’s an amazing place on an acre, but some of it is pretty dated, so there’s a lot to do. Because I have a workshop, I’m...
posted by by Robb Allen @ 9/13/2015 10:21:18 PM | Feedback (9)

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