Leaning Wine Holder

A Slanting wine holder is an easy project, therefore it has been documented in numerous places on the internet with many different variations. This post includes pictures of the version that I built and the dimensions to build your own. Continue reading

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Drawer Style Toolbox

Recently I have been building some simple toolboxes. To practice more advanced woodworking skills I set out to build a mechanics style toolbox. The benefit of this design is that you can get a large number of your hand tools into a very compact space. None of the tools have to sit on top of any other tool. This arrangement keeps the tools in better condition and makes it very fast to find the tool you are looking for. Borrowing inspiration from Jim Stack’s “Building the Perfect Tool Chest”, I modified a design that I thought was a reasonable Continue reading

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Five Dollar Clock

I needed a clock in my workshop so I would know when it was time to go get dinner. With the help of a coupon I paid less then five dollars for a circular blank and the clock movement. I chose a font styled after the arts & craft period for the numbers. Minute tick marks will be useful for times when I am waiting on stain to sink in and needed fairly accurate timekeeping.

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House Temperature Monitor

Recently a family member had his furnace fail while he was away from his house for a long period of time in the winter. His pipes burst and caused quite the mess. This project describes a temperature sensor that broadcasts the temperature in his house to the pachube data logging website. This allows him to check on his house from anywhere he has internet access.

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Simple Tool Boxes

This post describes two simple tool boxes that I made for members of my family that were in need of some tool storage. The first tool box is the simpliest tool box possible, with a handle that swings out of the way to allow you to easily access everything in your box. The larger tool box was designed for a recent high school graduate that needs a fairly compact and mobile storage solution, but doesn’t want all the tools rolling around in the same trough together.

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Nephew’s Bicycle


My nephew needed a bicycle for when he visited his grandmother’s house. So we bought a bike from a garage sale and gave it some work. Should be good enough for the occasional ride.

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Router Mortising Jig

I have a project coming up that I would like to utilize mortise and tenon joinery for. After investigating a few options, I determined that the easiest and most powerful approach is to cut mortises with a router. This jig was very cheap and easy to create. Construction plans are described in detailed in shop notes #90.

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Cosco Step Ladder Chair Restoration

Starting around 1940, the Columbus, Indiana based Columbus Supply Company (COSCO) started manufacturing a combination chair/step ladder. Production of this product continues through today and can be purchased at big box retailers.

I was fortunate enough to inherit a COSCO step-chair that was part of my father in law’s family for many years. When he and his two brothers were young enough for their dad to give them haircuts, it received quite a bit of use. Each of the boys would try to be first in line for two reasons. First, they knew that as the evening progressed, dad’s patience with wiggles and squirms slowly eroded. Second, the last person up had to sweep up all of the hair strewn around the floor. When not engaged in barber duties, the step-chair served its intended role in the kitchen and alternatively as a paint ladder and play gym.

In our house, my wife continues the haircut tradition and provides me with regular haircuts. Based on this history, the nostalgic value of the chair is very high. Predictably, after a life of use the chair was wobbly and held together with an assortment of ad hoc hardware. The original chair was fire engine red and chrome. I hope to restore the chair to its former glory and prepare it for another life of use, specifically for providing a solid base for many more haircuts.

COSCO chair step ladder on July 22nd, 2011 functioning as a chair

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Refinishing the Family Dresser Set

Complete dressers after refinishingThis project documents the process of refinishing a clothes dresser. As purchased, circa 1948, these dressers were stained, and at some point in the 70’s were painted over. Therefore the refinishing process included stripping the paint, sanding down the bare wood, staining, and finishing with polyurethane. In 2008 I needed a dresser to replace the particle board dresser I had brought from Walmart. My in-laws were generous enough to let me have and refinish the short dresser. In this project I refinished the tall dresser. It is nice to now have a matching set in our bedroom. Continue reading

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Tool Box Prototype

For a while now I have felt that my ability to organize my tools left something to be desired. After looking through Jim Stack’s “Building the Perfect Tool Chest” I had a rough idea about the type of tool box I wanted to make. But I was hesitant to spend money on a project without any experience building a cabinet type project. I was not sure that I had enough clamps to properly glue everything together. I also was not sure how the tolerances would stack up and effect the quality of the final product. Eventually I decided that I had too many unknowns and needed to build a prototype. Using only material that I found in a construction site dumpster or had left over from previous projects, I built a prototype toolbox to practice. The largest piece of plywood I scavenged was 13″x27″, and that constrained the dimensions of this project. Admittedly I needed the practice, and still have some technical issues to iron out before I build a toolbox that will last a lifetime. Below are pictures documenting the results of the build.

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