The next hobby

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 investing time & money into woodworking projects that I can handle, hopefully each one building on top of the previous one.

The first thing I had to do was repair a door that a panicked pooch decided to go through.

Our dog is part termite

Since the house is older, I wasn’t going to be able to match the molding on the outside, so I opted to simply grab a slab door and take my chances that I could hang it on the preexisting frame. The doors come 30” wide, but of course the frame is 29 3/4” so, using my workshop, guides, and my new circular saw, I cut it down. I then mortised out the hinge joints, and with a bit of planing to remove wood where it was rubbing, viola! A new door (plus the inner trim).

With that task done, it was only a few more weeks before the dog decided another door needed the same treatment…

I only screwed up 2 doors before I got one up (pro-tip – 2 50” aluminum guides will only clamp at the ends of an 80” door. If you don’t want the middle to move, use carpet tape to hold the center parts down!). The bottoms of all the doors have considerable space under them to allow airflow, so I cut off 3/4” off the bottom, just like I did with my daughter’s door.

Turns out, on this particular door only had 3/4” of solid wood at the bottom. After my cut, I was left with a nice, gaping hole. No problem, I salvaged the MDF from the original cut, trimmed off the veneer, slathered it with wood glue, clamped, and bingo! Like new!

I did all that with a screwdriver & pliers

Next up on the honey-do list – in the front of the house is a planter. We have rock walls (remember, 70’s house) and the planter too was rock. With hideous artificial weeds. The Mrs. wanted me to build a top & stain it instead, so that was the other part of this weekend. I grabbed some aspen wood, routed a nice edge, cut out slots for the molding on the wall, and stained it. I still have to polyurethane the hell out of it, but it’s looking good!

Pre stain Lotsa Stain
First coat wiped Ready for the cat to sit on

I’m trying to get decent tools for this work as I go. I did pick up a Porter Cable jointer to help with … uh… jointing.

Jointers work at times other than 4:20, you know.

I’m also going to need a thickness planer & a better table saw as mine is the Jennings of table saws. Using the jointer, I practiced putting two pieces of poplar together and I’ll be damned if it don’t look like a single piece of wood.


Once I get the top poly’d, I need to work on some way to mount it better than plain old gravity. And then the next task is creating a seating / storage bench for the pool entry. I did this in Sketchup to start figuring out what wood / cuts I’m going to need.

Have a seat.

Anywho. I’m planning on shooting steel this Saturday, so I haven’t given up on guns. I should have GoPro of that hopefully. It’s just that guns are such an integral part of my day-to-day life that they don’t even seem interesting to talk about much any more.

Hopefully I’ll keep all my fingers attached so I can continue to blog about my wood centered escapades. If anyone has any tips, hits, or free sheets of nice plywood, let me know!

posted by by Robb Allen @
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