Potato Blossom Festival

This week is Potato Blossom Festival week.  The fields around O’Leary are full of rows and rows of potatoes in blossom.  Did you know some blossoms are white, some are pink, some are even blue!

Two weeks before the festival week, the town puts up colourful buntings (or pennants) along Main St.

I made some large pennants out of wood and strung them up outside my store to add to the festivities.

The parade will come right past both my house (which is just around the corner) and my shop which is right on Main St. This year I’ll watch the parade from the front porch.

Last year my husband drove a friend’s tractor in the parade:

There are a lot of tourists in town, some people spend their summers here.  These were two of my little visitors last week, they are from Pennsylvania:

I am keeping busy with orders in the shop, will try and post some more creations if I can find the time.

New Display at the Front of the Shop

Now that the weather is nicer I have improved the area at the front of my shop.

I bought an old bicycle which I spray painted red, and painted everything, the seat, the tires, the basket, everything!

Then I used old pallet wood to make a flower box to fit in the basket.

 I also have a new number sign under the light by the door.

And I needed a two-sided sign for outside, so I made one and attached it to a post that sits off the edge of the deck that runs across the front of the shop.

This is a wood spinner, or whirlygig that I hang off my sign to attract the attention of passersby! I made it myself with thin strips of wood.

I’m not sure if any of you noticed, but the wood screen door that I repaired and blogged about before here is not in any of the photos.  That’s because it blew open a few weeks ago and broke.  Now I need to fix it again!

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Shop Counter

I have been working for the last couple of days on a counter for my retail shop. Because I don’t have much square footage in that room I wanted a counter that was not too large.  I read an article a few years ago about selling at craft shows, which said that when you have customers it is best not to sit nor display your crafts at a regular table height. I found this to be true, because customers are usually standing, and if you are sitting on a chair, they are looking down on you.  So… my counter would be made at a height that I could use while seated on a bar stool.

I decided to use 1″ x 4″ wood and paint the wood different colours and then distress them.  This is how I make a lot of my products, with the distressed look.

Since I am on an island, I chose beach type colours… white, two shades of turquoise and two shades of blue.

I laid out the pieces of wood to see how many I would need side-by-side to make the front of my counter and figured that ten pieces would be best.  That ends up being about 36″ wide.  I used only four pieces for the sides and it is U-shaped.

Horizontally, on the top and bottom of the painted pieces I used some worn looking 1″ x  6″ pieces of wood that were “hanging around!”
Here’s a side section, the painted boards are pin nailed to the horizontal ones:

The top was made with four pieces of the same 1″ x 6″ boards, which kind of look like barn board, they are a nice grey-brown.  The top overhangs the front and sides by about 1 1/4″.

Step right up, I’d be happy to serve you!

Darn… now I have to find a stool, I’m not sure I want to make one, but who knows?

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Rolling Assembly and Parts Cart

I have had this cart for quite a few years.  It started out as something a friend got me years ago, as part of a skateboard ramp set for my kids to use.  I put locking casters on the bottom, a shelf in the middle and carpet on the top and used it in my shop.

That was in my last shop.  The problem with the new shop is that the cart won’t fit through the doorway and also won’t fit between the end of my table saw and the corner of the wall beside it.

Rolling carts like this are great for putting parts on.  I have used this to move wood from the jointer to the planer and then to the table saw.  I used to put clamps on the shelf.  You can glue parts together or do other types of jobs with this cart, it’s really handy.

So, I took one side off, cut the horizontal cross pieces and top and put it back together.  I painted it and have not yet put a shelf in the middle.

Now it fits through the door!

Clamp and Tool Racks on French Cleats

I use French Cleats to hang the tool racks in my shop.  I actually moved these from my old workshop. French Cleats make it easy to hang different types of pieces and also allows them to be moveable.

Here is a basic diagram of how the cleat works.  The back of the cleat is slanted (usually 45 degrees) leaving a gap between the wall and the cleat. The clamp rack then has a piece on the back of it that fits into that gap and “locks” into place.

I have clamp racks to fit the different clamps that I have.  I cut a slot to hold each clamp. Some clamps have a wider neck, so therefore I have different widths of slots depending on what I want the rack to hold.

I made my racks out of maple, with plywood cleats.  The slots are cut on the table saw using the sliding cutoff sled that I made a few years ago:

You can also use dado blades set to the width of the slots, but this is just as easy.  I mark the width I need the slot to be and then clamp the board to the back of the sled and run it through the saw with the blade at the height I need to make the proper length of slot.  I then move the board and run it through again to widen the slot.  This photo might make more sense than my description:

As I said, I have a few of these for the different clamps I have:

I also have a rack for my screwdrivers.  It is the same basic idea except there are no slots, instead there are holes drilled in the horizontal top piece, for the screwdrivers to fit into.

Another cleat holds my pegboard:

It makes things go smoother when you have a place for your tools and you know where they are.  It can be so frustrating to spend time looking for a clamp or screwdriver right in the middle of a project, so I try to put them away after using them.  Of course it also keeps things off the floor!

Do you use French Cleats?

Getting Organized with Tool Racks

For those of you new to this blog, just a quick overview.  I am renovating a house that is just around the corner from my house, to be used as my workshop and a small retail space where I will sell what I make.

I took down walls and turned two rooms (previously a living room and an office), into one, which is my workshop.  Beside that, is the kitchen and dining area.  I haven’t shown a photo of the kitchen (I will in a future post), but this is the corner, perhaps where a dining room table would be placed when this was used as a house.

I will use the kitchen and dining area as my painting spot and also a place to keep some supplies. My thought was to put the wall mounted bins that I just posted about, as well as the bookcase that I made, in this corner.

Of course, seeing that the walls really needed painting, it made sense to paint them before attaching anything.  Because I knew once I put things on the walls, they would not get painted for a long time, if ever!

So, I put a primer on and then I painted the walls with the same Sea Foam paint that I used in the workshop (because I had some left over) on the top and Simply White on the bottom.  I did not remove casings, trim nor flooring.

I then attached the bins and my bookcase on the wall, and put my filing cabinets on the floor beneath. They hold cabinet handles, picture frames, shop tool manuals and some other odds and ends.  I also put my safe here, it came with the house.

Some of my woodworking books are in the bookcase, other books are still waiting to be sorted out.
Behind this corner is an angled wall in my workshop.  It is where I am hanging my clamps and other tools on french cleats.
I also have a pegboard for some hand tools, beside my drill press.

The window adds a lot of light into the workshop.

As you can see, I’m getting organized.  I think I need some inspirational signs above my tools racks.  I’ll have to find someone to make me some πŸ˜‰

I’ll talk about the clamp racks in a bit more detail next time.

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.

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The Chalkboard Wall

As I said in a previous post, I decided to make a chalkboard wall in the store area of my workshop house.  Actually this wall has been painted for a few months, but I needed to wait for the floor to be in before I could continue.  And the floor couldn’t go in until the walls were done (because I didn’t want to get paint splatters all over it)… so I finished the planked walls and the laminate floor and finally it was time to get to the chalkboard wall. It’s actually a wall and a bit, because I decided to turn the corner and paint the chalkboard paint to the left of the door that leads to the workshop.

This is how my wall looked after I put the freshly painted baseboards on:

Now, chalkboards need to be conditioned before they are used. If you don’t condition a chalkboard you will always see the first thing you wrote on it.  To condition you prime the chalkboard by laying chalk on it’s side and cover the whole surface:

Then you rub in the chalk with your fingers and wipe it down with a cloth:

I felt my chalkboard wall needed something else, so I made a frame for it using lumberyard 1x4s, some stain and two coats of shellac:

The corners are mitred:

And then I added a little something for fun:

So, the retail area is basically done, although I do need to make myself some type of counter to sit at, in front of the chalkboard wall.  And I need to get my creations in there!

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