I’ve decided to get a few “shop projects” taken care of before I begin my next build – because it’s gonna be a big one (or, should I say, several big ones).
My previous blog was about the details of my crosscut sled I had to build for my table saw. Before I would have said that this was one of my most valuable shop jigs – but that may have now changed. panel sled This was probably one of the simplest shop jigs I’ve ever made – and after using it a little, I believe it might be the most useful. Partly because it is just so light and simple. Most of my jigs are stored under my new outfeed/assembly table. And even thought they are well within reach – weight, size, and ease of use can be a factor.
Believe it or not I’ve never built on of these. I guess I never thought I had the need for it. But, having the time and seeing the potential for it, I slapped one together. This too was a simple project – but once done, I found myself using it quite often (again, light, quick, and easy).
A few years ago I installed French cleat system to a couple of my garage/shop walls. I don’t really have much wall space to deal with – even though it is a 3-car garage it seems much of the wall space is taken up with windows, doors, garage doors or something else. The beauty of the French cleat system is that I can easily re-arrange it to suit my needs – and it seems I do that a lot – and I can custom build whatever I want to hang from it (clamp rack, cordless drill caddy, shelves, hooks, etc.). The sandpaper/sander station was, like most other shop builds, constructed with scrap wood. Some might look at my shop projects and wonder why I use such “nice” wood (oak or maple) – the answer is simple – that is what I have lying around collecting dust and getting in the way. I also had a piece of peg board lying around that I had pulled off the wall some time ago. I’m not a big peg board person – I gave it a try for a while but replaced it with the French cleat system previously mentioned. I finished it up by putting the French cleat components on the back – and hung it on the wall. frustration I ran into some issue when cutting dados across the face grain of the oak plywood I was using (see photo below). I have found red oak to be very susceptible to splintering and tear out. Crosscutting seemed to amplify the problem – which lead me to some frustration AND some experimentation (it’s a shop project after all – I can afford some imperfection and experimentation).
In the end I ended up using a lot of blue painters tape and making an initial scoring cut and a final depth cut for each dado – and that was a lot of dados. If this had been a “nice” project – I’d had been VERY frustrated.