Bridging the Gap

I still have renovations to complete at my shop, but thankfully most are minor.

I had this gap between the floor in the retail shop (the lighter coloured laminated not the bottom of the photo below) and the floor in the kitchen area, where I paint my projects. (Which reminds me that I haven’t shown the kitchen on my blog)
Instead of buying a metal or wood piece to fit, I made one myself out of a scrap piece of poplar. I guess this is officially called a threshold.
Because there is a difference between the floor heights, I needed to clean out part of one long edge. I used my table saw with dado blades set up. I usually start by taking out just about half of what needs to go and then try putting the piece in place to see how much more to take out. This probably doesn’t make sense to read, but if you see the photo of the finished strip, I hope it becomes more clear.
floor filler 
The narrower part on the left will go over the darker laminate and cover the holes and worn marks, the thicker portion will cover the ends of the newer retail floor. I put a few coats of a clear acrylic polyurethane on it.
Since the threshold is so thin, I decided to glue it down, something I may regret doing if I want to change the kitchen floor. In that case I’ll have to make a new piece because I will most likely have to break it to remove it.
Of course, my door would no longer close and I had to remove it and trim a little off the bottom. At some point this door had already been cut, and I just used an exacto knife (box cutter) to trim off less than 1/8″.
Well now I don’t have dust and wood shavings gathering in the space between the two floors, it looks much neater.
floor threshold  
Now on to more creative endeavours!
Julie Rose  

Wall Mounted Bins DIY

I’ve been spending time in my workshop opening boxes and putting away tools and supplies.  In 2010 I made wall mounted bins for my nails, screws, knobs and parts.  I wrote a blog post for a woodworking site where I post occasionally which explains the making of the bins.  Here is that post copied from there, sorry about the small font size, I could not get it to enlarge.
I found a plan in a magazine full of shop storage and tool cabinets published by Woodsmith/Shop Notes and so I decided to make my own bins.
Unfortunately I felt like one of Santa’s elves with the assembly line of parts. It seemed to take forever to make all the bins!
The plan called for sides of the bins to be made out of hardboard. At the lumber store I saw some that was pre-finished one side with white (melamine?) covering that was only a few cents more than the plain stuff.  I went with that because I figured the outsides of the bins could be white and look nice against my white walls of the (old) shop.
I would make as many bins as I could using the hardboard for the sides which were 7 3/4” for the large bins and 3 3/4” for the smaller ones. I found I could get 19 small bins and 12 large ones out of my hardboard piece.
The side pieces came from strips of hardboard ripped the length of the bins. Then I used my mitre saw to angle the pieces.

cutting the sides

For some reason I thought I was getting two mirror images for each side of one bin, but I really was getting two of the same piece. This would not matter if I had not bought the one-side finished hardboard. But, by the time I realized that I wasn’t getting a left and a right, I had cut half of them.  So I ended up with some of the larger bins sides with the inside finished white. Not the original plan! After removing my palm from my forehead I figured I would have to paint the outsides of the ones I had cut wrong. Crap.
sides cut
The next step was to cut the bottoms and backs out of 1/2” plywood. The backs for the large and small bins are the same size, the bottoms are (of course) larger on the larger bins.
back and bottom pieces
The fronts were cut from 3/4” pine, again the larger bins had larger (taller) fronts.
front pieces started
Next a rabbet was cut on the sides of the fronts. This would accept the hardboard sides, so was the width of the hardboard. Another rabbet was cut on the bottom of the front to accept the bottom 1/2” plywood. 
A dovetail bit was used to make a slot for holding a label, on the fronts of each bin. (The L shaped piece of wood, below, is just a jig to help push the front pieces through the router)
front slot

This is what I ended up with for the fronts

closeup of front piece
All pieces were sanded and then it was time for assembly. The back plywood sits on top of the bottom piece, the front sits with the rabbet over the bottom plywood. Then the side goes on over that. I used glue as well as small nails to assemble these.

assembling the parts

I had 31 of these to assemble, which took much longer than I thought it would. Please remind me in the future not to make 31 of anything.

bins bins bins

The bins hang from rails that are 1 1/2” x 1 1/2” with a rabbet in the bottom back edge to hold the bins. I made four rails at 36” long. (Plus I made a bottom rail without a rabbet)


Each rail is screwed into the wall at the joists, with 4 5/8” between them, this is important because the bins actually sit on the rail below and hook into the rail above.

I had them at my previous shop and removed the rails and boxed up the bins when we moved over a year ago.

Here they are in my new shop

I’ll show more photos of the rest of my tools in their new homes in my next blog post.

I was featured for this post at DIY Vintage Chic!

DIY Vintage Chic

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Retail Space Walls Planked (or is it Tiled?)

I have been working on the walls of my retail space, which is a former bedroom and front hallway in the new house that I’m turning into my workshop.  Although I purchased the flooring a few months ago, I felt it best to do the walls first so that I wouldn’t drip paint on the new floors. As any of you DIYers know, it’s better to do things in the correct order.

At first I thought I would just paint my walls in the space that will house my products, but for two reasons I decided against that.  Firstly, the walls were not in good condition due to the fact that I removed a wall, closet and door in order to make the two areas into one.  (…and anyone reading this blog for a time will know that I don’t really enjoy patching and mudding drywall).  Secondly, I will need to put a lot of nails or screws (and maybe even shelving) in this room, in order to display my signs and other things I make.  I felt that hanging something off of drywall would not be as good (solid) as having some type of thicker material to “grab” the fasteners.  Initially I thought of horizontal boards spaced about a foot apart to help with that problem. Then, I started seeing quite a few bloggers who “planked” walls in their houses, and I liked the look, so decided to try that!

So, for a recap, this is the area I’m working on and this is how it looked when we bought the place:
(standing in the front hallway, the door goes into the bedroom)

This is after I removed the wall and door:

And, here is after I took out the flooring:

Okay, so what I did was get ten sheets of 1/4″ plywood underlayment at the lumber store.  It comes in 4′ x 8′ sheets which I had the store cut to 4′ x 4′.  This is much easier for me to handle and I did not want to put up any 8′ lengths of boards anyway, so the maximum length of my boards will be 4′. I primed all twenty sheets, which was made easier by having a basically empty workshop, and then cut the 4′ sections into strips of just over 5 7/8″ wide on my tablesaw.  This gave me 8 strips per 4′ length, or 16 strips from each 4′ x 8′ sheet. For anyone not doing the math, this is 160 strips!!

I proceeded to find the studs on all the walls (I use a strong magnet) and had all strips end and begin on studs. The studs were not at the usual 16″ apart, but this is a very old home, and this front section was added on at some point, so it didn’t surprise me. The ceiling is not at all level, so that was also something I had to deal with (and also wasn’t surprising!)

I started on the end wall, using my nailing gun to put nails wherever I found studs.  I used pennies to horizontally space out the strips (do not ask me how many times I had to pick up pennies that fell out of the slots, I lost count after 427) and I also staggered the boards from end to end, like tiling, with a space between the end of one board and the beginning of the next. (Most people butt them up together, but I wanted the visual look of the spaces both horizontally and vertically)

Here are some progress photos (this took quite a few days of work):

Now it’s time to paint the walls!

How to Cope Trim Tutorial

Have you ever coped trim?  Some of the trim in my new workshop needed to be cut to length due to my rearranging of some of the walls.  In the corners trim should be coped and not just cut at 45 degrees.

One side of your baseboard trim is cut straight, as I did here on the right side, going into the corner:

The left piece needs to be cut at a 45 degree angle with a mitre saw or a handsaw in a mitre box… I’m not sure how to explain this, but the trim edge that is cut leaves the bare unpainted mdf showing and is cut longer at the back:

Here is what the left piece looks like after being cut:

As you can see, the baseboard trim on the left will not fit against the right piece:

The next step is to cope the trim, which means to cut away the back edge, but not into the front.

I use a utility knife because this is mdf and not real wood.  If you have solid wood, you need to use a small coping saw and it’s a bit trickier to cut, but still doable.  With the mdf you can chip away at it.

The object is to take away all the side edging (that isn’t painted) so in effect you are taking away the back part of the trim and leaving the shaped front intact.

When you lay it flat you will see what still has to come off of the side and back edge:

This is what it will look like when the coping is finished and the piece is laying flat.  You will not see any of the bare edges:

As you slide it into place:

It will fit without any gaps:

I hope this helps some of you that may have thought that coping was too hard to do… you CAN do it!

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My Adirondack Chair

Holy crap… a whole month has gone by since my “Outhouse Signs” post. (Pun intended)

This is a post about something I started and never finished until recently.  I am prone to do that.

Over FOUR years ago I made my husband an Adirondack chair with his favourite hockey team emblem painted on it.  He likes the Montreal Canadiens.

I blogged about his chair and how I made it, in December 2009.

Now, the plan was that the second chair I was making at the same time, was for myself and would have the Toronto Maple Leafs logo on it.  I have been a Leaf fan since I was a teenager… and they still haven’t won a Stanley Cup!

My thought was, that I would paint my chair white with the blue logo on it. Since the team is so lousy, I had second thoughts and figured my chair would look nice sitting outside my shop with some flowers painted on it instead.  My husband disagreed and insisted I go with the Leaf logo.  Being the good wife that I am, I painted the Toronto Maple Leafs team logo on my chair.

 Here’s both our chairs, sitting outside my workshop:

More about wood movement

This post is an attempt to further explain wood movement and how it relates to furniture building.

While I’m not an expert by any means, I do know some basics of wood movement.

Most of you will have seen, or have in your own homes, cupboard doors, or even interior doors that are made of solid wood.  In many cases, these doors will have a panel in the middle of a frame.  Have you ever wondered why and how it is built?

In most cases, if the the middle part (the panel) is solid wood it is not firmly attached to the outer frame, it’s known as floating.  This enables the wood to expand and contract with changes in household humidity. The frame, made with stiles and rails, has grooves in it that the panel sits inside without being glued in.

When the humidity changes (and it will unless you have a precise heating/cooling/humidifier system in your house that can keep the humidity constant no matter what the conditions are outside) the panel will move inside the frame and the door will not crack.

Perhaps you have, or have seen an antique with a cracked door or drawer bottom?  This is usually caused by wood that is expanding and contracting, and is trapped between other pieces of wood.

Now, if the panel is plywood, then you will not have any changes in size and it can be glued in the frame without worries.

One of my readers asked if table tops was one of the biggest issues in wood movement.  It is one of them, but any where that wood is trapped and cannot expand and contract, it will be a problem.  This could occur in the bottom of a drawer, which is often why plywood is used there. It could occur on a headboard, the sides of a bedside table, the back of a cupboard, anywhere really where wood is trapped.

This reader also asked about making the kerf cut in the table apron to hold tabletop clamps that allow the wood to expand and contract. (You can see what she was referring to in my last post here.)

from Lee Valley

I use a tablesaw to make the kerf, but you could also use a router, or a circular saw set to the proper depth.

There are other methods of attaching table tops and this article from Fine Woodworking (an excellent magazine) explains them quite well.

I hope this helps a bit, and I will write more soon.  I was also asked about pocket screws and will write about  that sometime.

Please Don’t Make a Table Like This

I am seeing plans like this all over the internet
 DIY Dining Set

There are people with their own blogs making this type of table and thinking they are saving money.

Many of these plans, including the one above are completely the wrong way to build.

Here’s a posting in a woodworking forum from someone who used that exact plan:

I’m fairly new to “fine” woodworking and undertook a project of building a table from a Lowes Creative Ideas magazine.
I have the table built and but the top has twisted so bad that the table rocked. So I trimmed the legs to level it after some reading online but the top has continued to twist. I installed table leveling feet before I could see how bad the top actually is.
Does anyone have a suggestion as to how to fix this? I put 3 coats of poly on the top and 1 on the bottom of the wood slats.
Every time I look at the table sitting in our kitchen I’m so disgusted and am wishing we would have just bought one, but we’ve spent the money and the finish of the table is nice – it’s just so twisted and visible. Any help is appreciated.

I’ve written here before about using construction lumber for a project, but I’m just a little blog and the message hasn’t got through, so I’m trying again.

There is a way to make things, and a way to make things that will last.  


Wood moves.

                      Wood.                       Moves.

Depending on the season and climate, wood can and does change size.  Wood in a dry environment shrinks and in a humid environment expands. This change takes place widthwise, not in the length of a piece of wood, and is due to the internal structure of wood.   Wood pieces that are placed side by side against each other and attached to something, or pieces that are trapped in a frame, will crack or warp. Table tops made of solid wood cannot simply be screwed down.
Also please note that construction lumber is not made for furniture.  2 x 10s, 2 x 8x, 4 x 4s and 2 x 4s are not kiln dried to the water content that wood for furniture is. Have you ever sat a 2 x 4 in your house for a few days?  It usually will end up looking like a hockey stick.  
Construction lumber is not sold to be used for furniture.

The top should first have all pieces glued together side by side then attached with Z shaped clamps which you can see here:
and I used for my lamp table

If you use some of these incorrect plans your table, bed or chair might look good at the start, but will not last. Unfortunately there are people offering plans that are not properly designed.  You may end up with something cheap, but you will most certainly be disappointed and get what you paid for.
I am willing and happy to answer any and all questions about woodworking.
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Workshop Window Trim

I have a beautiful shop that my husband and I made ourselves, that I really haven’t blogged about and need to do so soon.  We built it a few years ago and I am still trying to finish off the inside.  On and off over the past few months I’ve been working on trimming the side windows.  The front room windows had already been done by me a couple years ago. This is the south side, and where I enter my shop.

I chose pine to trim the windows with because it’s my favourite and the shop cupboards and router table I made are pine.The vinyl clad windows were inserted from the outside and nailed into place through their flanges which are now under the siding.  They were also screwed into the framing from the sides to keep them firmly in place.

This is what they looked like from the inside, before painting. There are three windows along the east side of the building.

Here is one of the sad looking windows, unfinished:

The first thing to do is make the jambs, this is the wood that fills in the framed area, not the part that sits on the wall, but perpendicular to it.  These windows are made with a groove that holds the jamb so that the wood fits into it… who knew?

The great part about having a planer is that you can make your wood exactly the thickness you need it.  I planed mine down to about 3/4″ thick so that it would fit perfectly in the grooves the window had built in.

This is how the sill will fit into the groove when it’s finished:

I decided on having a sill that extended past the outside of the window trim or casing by 1″.  Because of this, the sill piece has to be cut to fit into the groove as well as on the wall.  You can see it here at the bottom:

Here’s a close up, the window casing is 3 1/4″ wide, so the “finger” on the sill extending out has to go past where the casing will sit by 1″.  It also is wider than the side and top jamb pieces, to allow the side casings to sit on it.

The side jambs will sit between the top and bottom pieces, of course everything has to measured precisely. 

The previous photos show a trial fit with unfinished wood. Since I was trimming three windows and two doorways, I had a lot of pieces to cut and finish. I coated all pieces with five coats of wipe-on polyurethane.

The jambs are attached first, this shows the bottom sill and the side jamb:

When the jambs are nailed in, they have to have shims put in between them and the framing, to keep everything level and perpendicular.  I also had to add some insulation in the space.

Next I put on the 3 1/4″ wide side casings, all are 1/2″ thick. Note that casings sit back from the jambs about 1/8″ – 1/4″, something I didn’t know until I researched how to trim windows. 

Here you can see how the side casing sits on the bottom sill:

For the top frame piece I glued a 1″ wide piece of pine perpendicular to the top piece:

The top piece lines up with the outer edges of the side casings and gives a trim style that is different from the usual mitred corners.

The final piece is the bottom apron that sits below the sill and also lines up with the outer edges of the side casings.

The finished window:

Now I just need to make doors for two openings!

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