Reclaiming Again….

So a few years ago I found this table in the dumpster at work. I decided to bring it home because I thought it would be cool to put it in the basement so the kids could have a small TV down there to watch.

Well, after a few years, I think the TV has been on only twice.

We’ve also been selling and purging any of the toys or other stuff the kids no longer use or play with.

So I decided to bring this table back up from the basement to find a way to reclaim it once again and use it for something in my shop.

Well, for starters, I remember why I first decided not to cut it up to try and use the wood in it for anything. It’s because it is filled with staples and screws. The screws are easy to remove, but the staples are another story.

On the surface, it appears that this table is constructed of 2×4’s. But upon further inspection, it is actually 3/4″ thick pieces of pine stapled and possibly glued together to create the appearance of a 2×4.

When I cut it up, I was able to salvage four 2×4’s from it that are free of any nails, screws or staples.

The top is all 3/4″ pieces of pine that are stapled together. However it is slightly bigger than the area beneath my workbench. So I decided to use it as a shelf.

The size that I needed to cut it down to was 15 1/2″ x 42″.

I decided I was going to swap in my old blade in my table saw and try ripping it to the width that I needed. I knew I was going to hit staples as I ripping it which would cause sparks. Sparks and sawdust are not a good combination. As soon as I hit the first staple, there were a few sparks, so I took it slow and backed off the piece of wood out of contact with the blade. I was able to get through to the next staple and then I decided I needed to find another way to rip it down.

I used my jig saw for about two seconds before I switched to my circular saw.

I probably cut through four staples in all four cuts that I had to make. It definitely made sparks but at least they weren’t shooting down into the table saw cabinet with the possibility of catching any sawdust on fire. 🔥🔥

Just to let you know, these staples were pretty heavy duty staples and were about 2-2 1/2″ long. If they had been lighter, thinner staples, the blade wouldn’t have even flinched cutting through them. I just didn’t feel safe or confident enough to continue cutting them on my table saw.

After making the four cuts using my circular saw, I put the panel in place under my bench and it fits very well. I then fastened it down to the horizontal supports with four of the screws that I removed from the table. I was also able to use the same counter bored holes that they came out of. I hadn’t even planned or thought of using the same holes and they lined up perfectly.

I’d say this was a win and it will definitely give me some extra storage space for some tools or whatever else I decide to put under there. The best thing is that this didn’t cost me a dime to make.

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New Shop Lights

Ever since I started woodworking in my garage, I knew I needed some more lights. When we moved into the house, the only lights in there were these two 4′ t-12 fluorescent fixtures. They hold two 40 watt bulbs each.

Just the other day, I happened to check the Craigslist free section in my area and very quickly came across someone who was giving away a 4′ T-8 light fixture. I quickly responded and picked it up that evening. It looked brand new.

The only thing I needed then were light bulbs for it. So off I headed to Home Depot. I came across some 4′ LED bulbs that I thought would work with the new to me fixture.

InstantFit 4 ft. T8 32-Watt Cool White (4000K) Linear LED Light Bulb

They were only $7 a piece so I figured I’d give it a shot. The worst thing is that if they didn’t work, I could always return them. I even asked a HD associate if it would work and he said it will work in almost any 32 watt fixture. So I proceeded to bring them home and try them. Unfortunately, they needed a quick start ballast in order to work. I even looked up how to bypass the ballast to see if that would work with the bulbs that I picked up. No luck. So into the box the bulbs went and back to the store to get some florescent T-8 bulbs.

They had four different color temperatures of bulbs there so I chose the Natural Light color. Basically it goes from Soft white all the way up to Daylight. Soft white has more of a yellowish warm color to it while daylight has a bright, almost blue hue to it.

While I was there, I also picked up a pair of T-12 fluorescent bulbs in the same color temperature to match the T-8’s in the new fixture.

I really am going to love working out here now. It should also keep me more safe and make seeing my cut lines more clearly.

The bulbs I bought were only $5 each at Home Depot.

My 2017 Woodworking Goals

I’m normally not one to set goals. Mainly because I’m usually very bad about fulfilling them or completing them. So it’s easier to not set them in the first place. 

However, I’ve begun to learn that not setting goals can easily make a person lazy or unmotivated. In the end, who cares if you didn’t finish all of the goals you set for yourself. Nobody does and nobody expects you to be perfect in doing so. 

So with that, here are my woodworking goals for 2017, roughly. 

My number one goal is very broad but it is broad for a good reason. It’s the one reason or purpose that I work with my hands to make things. That is to make more projects and things for people. Whether they are gifts or things that people pay me to make. 

The thing that I realized in 2016 is that it is far more rewarding to make something for someone else rather than yourself. This seems so obvious. 

Nothing else made this more obvious than when I made a loft bed for my son and seeing the reaction on his face when he saw it for the first time. I made it as a present for his 7th birthday. I was able to actually finish it and make a video that I released on his birthday, October 28th. There were other things that I made for others that certainly attributed to this realization.  

But, we are selfish by nature and like to please ourselves. So it’s very easy to have a hobby and spend all your time pursuing ways to make yourself happy. Naturally we think of selfish ways to make that happen. 

Woodworking and having a shop or place to work in very often requires you to make projects for the shop space. It’s necessary and it gives you much needed practice and experience that you can use in projects that you eventually will make for others. So shop projects are good for honing your skills. But I don’t want them to be my main goal in 2017. This is something I have found to be easy to say, but far more difficult to do. Especially if I’m not currently working on making something for someone else. I have to be intentional with it, especially on social media. 

I know making and sharing shop projects is important to a lot of people, but it can, over time, start to develop in you a selfish mentality. At least that’s what I’ve found. Again, I’m not knocking on making projects for your shop to make working in there more enjoyable and efficiently. But for me, I don’t want them to be my main focus in 2017. There are far more people out there with less tools and way messier shops that are making and doing some awesome things in them. 

My second goal is to eventually start blogging and documenting my work. More than just showing a picture or two every day on Instagram. This is something that takes way more time than just uploading a picture. Giving an explanation or description or even sharing more details about something can be more beneficial to the reader or consumer. It’s a way for me to better connect with and relate to them as well. Sharing my thought process and the things I learned while and after making a project can go a long way and have a more lasting effect than just being entertained or even inspired for a brief few moments. This will include spending more time on this blog and converting it to more of a website where I can post the pictures and give further explanation and lessons learned. 

My main goal in this is to not come across as fake and present this perception that the project came out perfectly. So sharing more gives me to the opportunity to be more open and honest about it. 

Again, this will require me to be intentional about it. But I really think it will help me to be more selective and wise when posting something. 

So I’m setting the goal that every time I share or upload a new picture or video, that I will write some sort of blog post or article to go along with it. It doesn’t have to be super long or even super detailed. I will simply share my thoughts and/or give further explanation about it. 

Often, I would think about doing this or making the goal and would get discouraged because I would feel the obligation to go back and make blog posts on my past projects. I’m not going to put that pressure on myself. I’m only committing to doing this for future projects. So if you are looking for or asking about a past project’s blog article or post, that’s the reason why there isn’t one. It’s very difficult to put myself back there when I made something and to relive the process of making it to give an honest and detailed explanation. 

My third and final main goal is related to the first two. It is to continue to grow my social media accounts to reach more people and to eventually turn this hobby into a business to help with the expenses of it. Eventually it will help to provide for the family. But that’s not something I see immediately happening. Not that I don’t want that to happen.  But if I were making bigger projects, there would be more time invested and would bring in more profit. But, making smaller projects that don’t require as much time is where I see my hobby/business going in 2017. So if someone is paying me, which still makes me feel weird, then the profit will be smaller. Which I’m OK with. 

Starting and running a business frankly is new territory to me and often intimidates me to even think about. But I do feel it is worth pursuing, even if it is daunting and out of my comfort zone. With time, my skills and knowledge will improve and eventually lead me down the path where I can feel comfortable charging someone a competitive price for something. 

But in the mean time, I’m content with this just being a hobby that allows me to make connections with others out there and to hopefully make things that they can enjoy and benefit from. 

May God Bless you!

Woodworking

So, within the past year and half, I’d say, I’ve gotten into the hobby of woodworking. When I use the term woodworking, that can be very broad and cover a lot of different areas of working with wood.

I grew up around power tools and occasionally helped my Dad when he was into building things from wood. I didn’t really have a desire to help him build furniture. I’m probably not that much different from most kids that grew up around tools.

I also remember my Grandpa having a wide array of tools in his garage that I would look at and admire whenever I’d go to visit him.

One memory that will stick with me for a long time is the fact that my Dad would always search for ways to fix things when they were broken. I can’t count how many broken fans that he found that just needed a new power cord or something small to get them working. My Dad literally knew how to do everything related to working with his hands. He was always, and still is to this day, learning how to do new things. If there was something he needed to know, he’d read magazines and books on how to do it.

So, I definitely credit my Dad for teaching me and instilling in me the desire to fix things and work with my hands.

Of course, there are many things that led me to start the hobby of working with wood. But, I really wouldn’t call myself a woodworker. I really haven’t built any pieces of fine furniture. I’m more of a DIY’er who aspires to be a woodworker. I just happen to own several tools that woodworkers use. I also consume a lot of woodworking media through YouTube. If you aren’t aware of it, there is a huge woodworking community on YouTube as well as other forums and blogs. From the weekend woodworker to the person who makes woodworking videos and makes a living doing it making money from adsense. But most YouTube woodworkers who are able to make a living doing it, also have their own websites to share their content with the masses.

The desire to make woodworking videos to share with others online is to teach others the craft or hobby.

Not too long ago, if you wanted to see woodworking videos, you had rely on shows like Hometime, This Old House and The New Yankee Workshop. My favorite was always Hometime with Dean Johnson. And, of course TOH is still on PBS and I have it set to my DVR. But, woodworking in the media has changed and evolved to Home and Garden and DIY on Cable Network channels by the same name. Those shows almost try and make the work seem so easy even a caveman can do it. Others actually show homeowners taking on projects only to have to call in professionals to fix their screwups.

I’m not trying to bash some or even most of those shows. People just need to be honest with themselves and know their limitations.

But, something that seems foreign to me, and I don’t want to offend anyone, is grown men not knowing their way around tools or how to fix the very basic things. Or, even not having the desire to learn how to fix something themselves. I suppose it’s the way God made them as well as how they were raised. As far as DIY projects are concerned, so much money can be saved by just learning the very basic things when dealing with home maintenance. Things like fixing a leaky toilet or installing a new faucet are both relatively easy to learn how to do.

I often wonder what happens when a homeowner experiences a leaky toilet and they don’t know how to shut the water off to it with the shut off valve. It can be costly and cause a lot of damage if they don’t know how to turn off the water.

These were some of the things that I learned growing up and a big reason there are so many on YouTube who are making informative yet entertaining videos showing and explaining some of these things and more.

I’ve found it very helpful whenever I’ve needed to learn how to fix something and it turns out that someone has already had the same problem and uploaded a video to YouTube showing the solution.

Take, for instance, car repairs. If you want to find out how to replace a part, you can drive down to the nearest auto parts store, assuming they’re open, buy a manual for your car, bring it home then spend a little while searching through it to find the location of the part on your particular vehicle. Or you can simply do a Google search for the part on your make and model of you car, and within a minute you can be viewing the part, all without leaving your home.

Now, most people don’t realize how much work it is to shoot a good quality video, provide detailed narration and explanation all while keeping the viewers’ attention. Not to mention, making a video documenting something generally adds 3-4 times the amount of time it takes to accomplish the task.

But there is a wealth of knowledge to be found online. It really only takes a person’s desire and the confidence to learn how to do some of these things. As well as having the right tools for the job.

I certainly don’t want to come across as pompous or somehow more privileged because I have some tools and knowledge. I know I could wake up tomorrow and it could all be gone or taken away.

I realize that I have this window of opportunity given to me during this season of my life to have this hobby. I would like to make it count and learn and apply as much as I can. I also know that knowledge can puff you up and make you feel superior to others.

Unfortunately, I’m not very good at interacting with individuals who aren’t familiar with basic tools without coming across as a know it all.

It’s amazing how good we can be at hiding what we’re truly thinking.

Of course, being able to teach others is also a somewhat basic social skill that others have that I don’t have. That’s where I have to step back and think about all the gifts and talents that person does have. Not to compare myself to them, but to keep myself humble.

For me, YouTube, and this blog, seems like a good opportunity to pass on some of that knowledge in such a way as to not come across as a know it all.

I’m certainly not trying to reinvent the wheel, but we all have life experiences to pass on to others. Some may embrace the knowledge while others will be able to take little nuggets and apply them.

I may not be a walking gold mine of woodworking and diy knowledge, but I hope that I have some little things I’ve learned that others can benefit from.