Time to Step Up My Skills #6: Where do I go next? No new progress. And some questions...

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by AngieO posted 07-17-2013 02:37 PM 1744 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: The end pieces are almost done. Part 6 of Time to Step Up My Skills series Part 7: Looking ahead to figure out what kind of finish I want »

Well… I haven’t made any new progress. I did some shop clean up and moved some things around. I have a few unfinished projects in the shop that I need to handle and get them out of the way. I am using the shelf under my bench to put the “in progress” projects. So the most I’ve done on my bench is to move it under there so that I don’t have to keep moving it from one spot to another to get it out of the way. This was probably a bad idea. LOL! Out of sight… out of mind.

The next step for my bench is going to be cutting the panels to their final shape. As a reminder… here is what they look like right now.

And here is what they need to end up looking like.

I also have this pic in the plans that show more about the dimensions. I guess I need to get a compass.

Any suggestions on this? When I think of a compass I think of the kind I used in school. But I’m thinking that this won’t be my only project I’ll need to draw some curves on. So I’m open to suggestions on what I may need to look into. I thought about making a trip to Woodcraft. We have one but it’s in Louisville. It is a little over an hour away. I’m sure they have other “things” I should go look at too. LOL

So there are some other things I’m thinking about as well. Like cutting the curves? Sanding them? I have a bandsaw… but it’s a little guy. I put a new blade on it and the blade seems to want to walk alot. I know to cut close to the line and then sand to the line… which makes me question how I’ll sand it. I don’t have a great sander. I have a little ROS and a little benchtop sander that I don’t think will do the trick.

I bought a new belt for it. The side piece is missing. I pretty much gave the guy $20 and got the sander… the load of wood… an electric circular saw… and I can go back to get more wood anytime. :) But… I don’t know that it will do what I need.

So… that’s where I am right now. Just in a thinking stage. I need to get a compass to draw the curves… and get the panel cut out. I have a little time to think about it. I had a lady that saw my little mini picnic table salt & pepper holders. She wants me to make her 5 of them for gifts. I have all the material cut. Now I have to assemble. Should be fun :) Hope you guys are having a great week :)

15 comments so far

View chrisstef's profile


17484 posts in 3060 days

#1 posted 07-17-2013 02:45 PM

Id say jig saw it out Angie. Don’t over think curves either. Find something round in your shop (coffee cup, paint can, etc …) and trace around it. To make them mimic the same size draw it and cut it out on some cardboard half the width of your panel. Draw one side, flip it over, and draw the other. You’ve got the skills just put your mind to it and do it!

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View woodcox's profile


2053 posts in 2065 days

#2 posted 07-17-2013 02:59 PM

I’ve found a small drafting set to be invaluable. Can be had cheaply at most craft stores. Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and the like. Mayb a spindle sander or a small drum sander set for a drill press?
Good luck, I have a follow through to finish before starting anew prob lately too.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2200 days

#3 posted 07-17-2013 03:26 PM

Unfortunately… I don’t have a jig saw. I had one but it was my ex’s and he took it. Thanks for the tip about the cardboard. I would have forgotten to do that.

I do have a 40% off coupon for Micheal’s… That could come in handy :)

View doubleDD's profile


7487 posts in 2096 days

#4 posted 07-17-2013 03:47 PM

With what you have your little guy bandsaw should cut the 1’’ stock with no problem. Check the guides and the tightness of the blade. Also that benchtop sander should work just fine. Unless I’m missing something the tools you have should do the trick.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 2538 days

#5 posted 07-17-2013 04:28 PM

I’ll be a contrarian and throw out another option. You could use a convex spokeshave to tame those inside curves. Clamp up the two pieces and work them both at the same time so the curves will match, then do the fine smoothing with a card scaper.

Hey, at least it’s dust free.

-- Brian Timmons -

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4065 posts in 2287 days

#6 posted 07-17-2013 05:03 PM

BT, I’m betting a convex spokeshave is on your want list too!

If the sander doesn’t work (but it should) sharpen up a cheap paint scraper. It cuts like a spokeshave, much faster and often cleaner than a sander. Just be careful to cut with the grain, switching directions as needed.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL If there's only one hole in the road, your tire will find it.

View firefighterontheside's profile


18519 posts in 1910 days

#7 posted 07-17-2013 06:21 PM

Do you have a drill press. I bought a little drum sander attachment for my drill press that has 3 different grades of paper. I put that in the press and turn the table just to the side of it so that I can get the whole board and sand to the line. The thing cost about 10 dollars. I have heard it suggested that the sideways pressure is not good for the press, but I’m not pushing that hard and not very often. Also to make circles of accurate sizes I use a piece of string or wire with loops at each end made in the diameter you need. Anchor center with little nail and put pencil through other end and draw away. If the diameter can be approximate, I use whatever is round in the shop and looks about right.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2200 days

#8 posted 07-17-2013 06:42 PM

I don’t have a drill press yet. It’s on my list of tools. It’s actually next on my list.

I don’t really have any good hand tools yet. I have an interest in some of the hand tools but I think it’s something I need to be shown how to use. It isn’t really something I’ve been able to pick up off YouTube. But some great suggestions.

View RonInOhio's profile


721 posts in 2917 days

#9 posted 07-17-2013 07:32 PM

I just got a drill press a few weeks ago. As well as a scroll saw and oscillating spindle sander. I considered the drill press sanding drums, but figured my sanding needs would be something I would need to do regularly, and would always have to fool around with drill press set-up. Though its not that big a deal .

I was more concerned about putting lateral pressure on the arbor and chuck by sanding with it. I have a feeling that over time,it is likely to cause some runout. For the cost of a dedicated spindle sander from Harbor Freight , it seemed the best way for me to go. Though it does take up a little more space obviously.

For cutting curves , a decent jig saw would do . I have a cheap B&D . Its okay for stuff under 1/2 inch but wobbles quite a bit sometimes. If I had to do it over, I would spend more and get a quality jig saw,with power, like a Bosch. But new, they aren’t cheap. That would be my suggestion if you ever get a jig saw. Don’t get an underpowered,lightweight one. Splurge on this tool and you will thank yourself later.

View Richard's profile


1917 posts in 2744 days

#10 posted 07-17-2013 07:42 PM

Angie , do you have a Junior College near you ? Alot of them have classes in woodworking that you can take without having to be a full time student. You could get some help with some of those pesky hand tools and maybe get to have some shop time with some other power tools that you might want to check out.

View tyvekboy's profile


1775 posts in 3066 days

#11 posted 07-17-2013 08:10 PM

If I were making that project, I would first draw the cut lines out on one of the pieces. I would next line up those square holes with a piece of wood that fits snugly and flush with the surfaces. They will keep the pieces lined up after you cut the shape out.

Then screw the two pieces together placing the screws in the waste area away from cut line. If you don’t have a compass, you can use anything round like a can or something close to the curve you want. For the small curve, you can always use a washer or coin that is close to that size.

If you don’t have a jig saw, maybe you can get your mother to get you one so you can use it on a project for her. The one I would get is the BOSCH JS470E. Getting a good one like this (7 amps) will serve you well for many years. You can find it on for $144.

After you cut it out, keep the plugs in the square holes and take it to some type of drum sander. Since you don’t have a drill press, you may be able to get away with sanding drums that are close to the two radiuses you have in this project (1-1/2” and 1”) and about 2 inches long that you can use it with your drill motor.

Another option is to have your wonderful Mom get you a RIDGID Oscillating Edge/Belt Spindle Sander from Home Depot ($199) that comes with several spindle sizes. I use this a lot for projects like this. You could also use the belt to sand the flat areas.

When you’re finish sanding, you can remove the blocks in the square holes and you’ll end up with two matching legs for your bench.

These are 2 tools that you’ll use a lot in your future wood working and they are good investments.

Hope this helps.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2975 days

#12 posted 07-17-2013 11:21 PM

Hi Angie,
It is a simple job for you if you do it right. Here are the tips:
1. Radius of circle is very important on the plan. Fostner bits 1-3/4 and 3/4 dia are all you need. With your new drill press if not available… use a hand drill but make a guide jig so it will not slip, you will be sure that it will be perpendicular to the board and make the holes on the right place.
2. Then cut it straight with your table saw up to the hole but mark the limit. Finish with handsaw. No more fancy curves you need on this project.
3. Sanding will not be a problem but roughing is. Therefore all you need is a rasps file. Coarse one is just like or much better to use on your type of wood. They are softwood and easy to file.
Hope this would help.

But in making bench…. I like the corners to be sharp and not curve because the curve in there will just break the upper portion as it reduces the strength.

-- Bert

View Alongiron's profile


648 posts in 2746 days

#13 posted 07-17-2013 11:46 PM


I think I saw in one of your pictures a scroll saw. The Scroll saw would cut it just fine. Just make sure that you stay “North of the line so that you can sand down to it. If you have a belt sander, use double face tape and secure both pieces together and sand them so that they will be exactly the same. Who cares if they are not perfect…perfection is boring!

Also take some time to work on your bandsaw. If the guides are set correctly along with the tension and a good blade, it should cut like butter. Here is a link to some tips

One of the best tools that I have in the shop is a RIDGID Oscillating Edge/Belt Spindle Sander like Tyvek has above. I think it is one of the best buys one market and once you have it, you wonder how you lived without it.
If I were you, I would invest in this before a drill press

You can do all the above or just come over and visit my shop…..I will give you my key so that you do not have to put quarters in all the machines!! lol

Remember that this is a journey that never ends and you have came along way in a short amount of time…take your time and do not cut until you are ready to cut

Take care


-- Measure twice and cut once.....sneak up on it! Steve Lien

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2743 days

#14 posted 07-18-2013 12:48 AM

Angie, Make yourself a trammel (free) or just trace around cans, quarters, etc for the curves. If there is a Harbor Freight in your area, you can get an Oscillating Spindle Sander for $89. I have one, have abused it, and love it. Bosch jigsaw blades in your jigsaw may make a big difference in your cut quality. It did in my B&D jigsaw.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Don W's profile

Don W

18790 posts in 2621 days

#15 posted 07-18-2013 01:03 AM

it sounds like you need to watch a few episodes of MacGyver. Make yourself a frame saw, and a spoke shave. If you look through Mads blogs he’s made several different kinds.

I agree with stef, Don’t over think the curves, just draw them out.

As for sanding, a set or even one of these chucked in a cordless will get you moving. Its not the Mercedes’s of sanding, but its a Yugo budget.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics