“New” doors

A bit of an impulse buy this week.

A diamond in the rough? Don't know about that, but it was cheap!

A diamond in the rough? Don’t know about that, but it was cheap!

I’ve been wondering what I’d do for doors in the shop for a while now. My preference was always two large barn door type dealies that I lovingly handcrafted from….ok that was never really going to happen. Doors like that take time, skill and money. I didn’t want my first foray into the world of door building to be a 2.4m wide feature of the backyard.

So I thought about glass sliding doors instead. While it means the doorway opening is reduced to half the size of the barn door style, it also means they don’t take up any extra room when open. And with the garage mouth being so wide, the opening is still 1.2m, more than a standard doorway.

No door, just a big empty hole where bugs fly in.

No door, just a big empty hole where bugs fly in.

I was pleasantly surprised once I started fitting it into the building, it seems I’ve picked up a few little tricks over the past few months while labouring for a builder. I got the whole assembly in on my own, inside of 30 minutes. The only sticking point, mind the pun, was one of the wheels was broken on the door which made it very hard to slide. I figured this would happen though so a quick trip to the hardware store had it sorted.

Around 20 minutes later.

Around 20 minutes later.

I’m very close to finishing off this renovation now that the door is done. I need to finish installing some lights, do a little bit of plastering around the new doorway and sort out the fireplace, then all the major work is done. Soon enough it will be time to start thinking about building a workbench.

Life is good when you have a Monster on hand to help out :-)

Life is good when you have a Monster on hand to help out :-)

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Chair Rack Build Gallery

Here’s a few photos of the Chair Rack build. There wasn’t a plan beforehand and measurements were made to fit the chairs I have, so I’m not sure that any plans are needed; but let me know if you want some and I’ll put something together.

Do you hang your chairs? Have photos? Feel free to send them through.

Wall Hanging Chair Rack

When I was done framing up the garage I looked at the mountain of construction scraps I had leftover and wondered what I would use them for. Most lengths were between 20cm-40cm (8in-16in), not really long enough to use for a project so most were destined for the fire. But of course, the urge to save money took over and I decided this morning to put some of them to use.

I have a bunch of fold-up chairs in the garage that we use for parties, poker nights, that sort of event. Nine times out of ten they also get loaded in the car and loaned out to family and friends functions as well. The problem’s that on the ground they take up a fair bit of room, when stacked together they are heavy and awkward to move.

After a bit of a think this morning I came up with this hanging rack for them.

Sturdy. Ugly yes, but Sturdy.

Sturdy. Ugly yes, but Sturdy.

Finding enough timber long enough to use was the hardest part but I got there with some creative layout in the end. I only had a couple of hours to myself so it was joined together with the Kreg jig. Ideally I would have used half lap joints to save money and increase the strength, but I wanted the job done fast. These chairs have been sitting outside along with the contents of my garage for the best part of 4 months, it’s time I got to work cleaning up out here.

It may not be the prettiest rack you’ve ever seen, but the price was right. When loaded up with a dozen chairs it’s hard to see the frame anyway. It is very strong and was simple to construct. The chairs are now completely out of the way but at the same time they are easy to access and will never be blocked off. I’ll paint the rack when I get around to painting a few other projects in the shop and I think it will last me for a very long time.

Test fitting the chairs on the floor

Test fitting the chairs on the floor, 3 large bugle headed screws keep it up on the wall.

Ah, shop projects are great. There is no pressure to make them beautiful over functional!

Click here to find a gallery of photos from this build.

SB12 Table Saw Review

Now that I have the Table Saw powered up and I’ve been using it for a couple of weeks, I
thought I’d post a review on it to help anybody else who is trying to find more
information on them. I’ve also got a general overview of it in a youtube video you can
watch below.

I’ll jump straight to the main point though; yes, I would recommend this saw if you are
looking for one around the 1k mark in Australia. I am certainly no expert on table saws,
but I feel that the $900 I paid is more than fair for this model.

I bought from Hare&Forbes Machinery House, click here to see the saw’s product page and current price.

So lets begin:

Blade: Comes with a 36 tooth, 12in blade. Nothing too special about it. However it crosscuts thick & dense wood very well and leaves a nice crisp edge. The only time it has struggled has been while ripping lengths of construction pine. However the pine was damp and gummy so I suspect most blades would have slowed down through it. Blade cuts around 75mm when at 45o and just shy of 110mm @ 90o.

Tabletop: Cast Iron, 510x686mm, the extensions take it to 1030x686mm. The wings are fixed in place by adjusting 3 screws. Surprisingly they were relatively quick to install and I had it dead flat almost straight away. Only issue here was the grease that was all over it when I bought it. No idea what it was for or why it was spread over the tabletop, but it was very hard to clean off. Water, Metho, CLR and an orbital sander to finally clear it. The table is smooth without being slippery, I will look for a buffing product to improve it.

I was worried that a cheap saw would equal a terrible fence, but I must admit I really like this one. It slides well on both sides of the blade and is easy to remove or install. It locks down very tightly and has the micro adjuster to move it by millimetres in either direction, far better than slapping the fence to line it up I would think.

Mitre Gauge:
Pretty crap to be honest. Expect to buy an after-market one, or be prepared to make quite a few adjustments to it before use.

3hp Induction; requires a 15A connection. If you have to spend $600 on an electrician to run new cable to your workshop, then this saw is probably not for you. However if you have the 15A in there already (like I thought I did…) no problem. It’s not exactly quiet, but can happily be used without earplugs if you put them down and forget where they are. Anybody else do that?

Body & Stand:
Strong and sturdy. Quite hard to move around if you need to rearrange the shop, definitely a 2 man job or you will risk bending the legs. The only issue with mine was one of the legs came with a deep scratch through the powder coating, around 80mm long. I thought about returning it for a new one, but the store is literally 1.5hrs drive away, I’m not going to waste 3 hours driving over a scratch.

Assembly: Oh wow, this is where it really sucked. The instructions are poor; made up of pages that have been photocopied multiple times, crude drawings that you can’t make out part numbers on, poor translations, etc. It really was disappointing to open the manual, I was worried that I had wasted my money in a big way. Fortunately, it’s just the manual that is of such low quality, the machine is fine. It took me maybe 3-4 hours to assemble it, however as I state in the video, don’t do it alone. Organise for a mate to help you out, your back will thank you and you won’t risk dropping a 120+kg machine on your foot.

Final Word: I love it. It did take me 3 months to turn it on due to the power issue, but now that I have it I’m rapt. The only project I’ve used it for so far is building some shop cupboards. For them I’ve been ripping construction pine and slicing up sheet goods mainly. All the cuts are straight and clean, they are repeatable, and they are safe. If you are looking for a saw around the 1k mark in Australia, this seems to be the one.

If you have some specific questions about this saw, hit me up, happy to help as I know there were almost no resources for TS reviews when I was looking.

Disclaimer: Once again, I am not a table saw expert nor a professional woodworker, this is just my opinion. As a hobbyist who has never used a comparable machine before, all I can say that I am very happy with it. I have no affiliation with Hare&Forbes either.

El Cheapo Shop Cupboards

The El Cheapo Shop cupboards are coming along nicely. They’ve taken a bit of extra time to put together for various reasons, but I now have three boxes installed on the wall and the face frame is up as well. Unfortunately it really shows how uneven the ceiling is!

Middle box is slightly shorter in height than the other two thanks to a dispute between my pencil and tape measure...

Middle box is slightly shorter in height than the other two thanks to a dispute between my pencil and tape measure…

I’ll figure out how to mask that later on, probably some molding or similar. I wouldn’t mind so much, but the gap does draw the eye when you walk into the workshop.

As for the cupboards themselves, they aren’t perfect, but they sure are cheap! I made a few silly mistakes, like routing rabbets on the wrong side of supports and stuff like that, but in the interest of saving a few bucks I pushed on. Time will tell if I have caused myself extra cost and labour in repairing them!

Face Frames hide all! (Well, all except the uneven ceiling)

Face Frames hide all! (Well, all except the uneven ceiling)

At the moment they seem strong and secure enough for me. They won’t hold up to a Matthias test, but for tools, boxes, projects and the other general items that I’ll use them for, they’ll do great. I plan on filling the workshop with storage like this so I’m trying to find as cheap an option as possible in building them.

I’ll post a proper write up once I’m finished but just briefly:

  • Frame is made from standard 45×90 (2×4) ripped into 2cm (3/4) strips.
  • Panels are 6mm (1/4) MDF. Yet to be cut are the backs which will also be 6mm.
  • Face frame and doors are 12mm (1/2) MDF
  • Total cost so far is $87 for 3m (10ft) of cupboards, with hinges still to be bought. Making them frameless out of ply would be well over $200 by now.

The doors are next to be made, already have the material. 2 for each, 6 in total. I’m not sure if I just go flat MDF panels, or if I edge the MDF with pine. Might try one framed and see if it is worth the extra step.

Load it up

Load em up.

Hope you enjoyed the weekend in your shop!