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Blog entry by Blake posted 03-04-2008 12:03 AM 1839 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello again, another random rambling. I just thought I’d keep you updated on what’s going on lately in my shop.

So you may have known from my thickness sander blog, that I have been agonizing about whether or which sander to buy for many months now. Well, Yorkshire Stewart finally pushed me back over the edge to make my own from his blog (Thanks again!).

This was the design that finally got me excited about making my own:

It’s small and compact and just what I needed. So, I ordered some 5/8” pillow block bearings after a little research. I guy at a machinist shop gave me the 15” rod for free since I work at the used tool store and we refer people to his shop all the time. I am excited to get started on that project.

The pillow blocks and rod:

In the mean time, I just installed a new door on the shop yesterday. This is something I have been meaning to do for a long time for added security. This is the old hollow door:

I finally found the perfect door at recycled building supply store in Santa Cruz. It was marked $75 but I bargained it down to just $35 bucks. Another great deal. It’s solid core with glass windows up top:

It’s exactly what I needed. As you can see, the old door had a tall, skinny window next to it. The new door is wider (36”) so I can get machinery in and out of the shop. So in order to install it the window had to come out. That’s why I am glad I found a new door with some glass, so I don’t loose too much natural light. The new door gives me plenty of light without sacrificing security. It took me a couple of hours to demo the old wall and frame and hang the new door:

I also got a chance to finally use my DeWalt impact driver on that door project for driving the 3” screws. Boy, does that thing work great! The screws just went right in to the studs like butter.

The new door was part of a master plan to try and minimize the rat activity in the shop. The only other door to the shop was an old horse stable door (The lower half only since the upper half has already been changed to a fixed window). So part B of the master rat reduction plan was to convert the half-stable door from a rat highway into a solid wall. So I framed it up and insulated the remaining cracks with expanding foam (which I will trim and paint later):

That old stable door, by the way, is how I got my table saw in the shop… another reason that the new door had to be wider.

Speaking of rats, this is the drawer that I pulled out and put outside to get rid of a huge nest that was made in my nice save-able wood cut-offs (notice the glove that the rat had used)...

Another new addition to the shop which I am quite excited about… a very comfortable drafting chair!

This is possibly the most important tool in the shop… a good place to sit and think. I got this chair for $25 bucks from a bulk tool buy we did at work. The guy said he paid about $250 for it but everything had to go.

What else… oh yea, I GOT A RIDGID oscillating sander!!! MsDebbieP's review finally inspired me to go get one from the big box (one of the few things in my shop which was bought new). But listen to this: First of all I had about $120 in store credit which got me most of the way there. At the store I politely waited an hour for the guy to find the box on the top of the rack. So before I checked out I asked if a discount would be possible and he gave me 20% off JUST FOR ASKING!!! (It never hurts to ask!).

So this is it… it sits sadly on the floor in a corner waiting for me to clean and re-organize my shop to make a home for it:

My shop is a total mess right now. It looks like a bomb went off. The mess started with me trying to get my boss’ Valet box done last week. And I have just been throwing stuff in there and trying to get that door done, etc. But now that those things are done the next thing is another deep clean cycle. I’m excited to get it back together with all the new improvements. I’ll post photos.

The shop after the bomb:

Another new addition to my shop is an old rack I picked up from the same recycled building materials yard that I got the door from. I think it is an old bread or pizza rack from a bakery or something. Tony’s major critique of my shop was my hodgepodge meathod of wood storage. So I plan to use this rack for horizontal wood storage. It will help me organize that cluttered corner. I’ll let you know how that goes, Tony. This thing is pretty big: 32” by 56” (another reason I needed the bigger door).

The bread rack:

Anyway, hope you enjoyed my ramblings. I just thought some of you might enjoy the updates.

-- Happy woodworking!

13 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4013 days

#1 posted 03-04-2008 12:10 AM

Your new chair looks exactly like mine. They are great since I can use it at my low workbench in the shop
or my high workbench in the office.

Looks like we have the same scales also. The two grey ones.

Good job on the door!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4325 days

#2 posted 03-04-2008 12:32 AM

You’re going to have a pretty nice shop if you keep at it.

Looks like you’re going to have fun building the sander.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 4102 days

#3 posted 03-04-2008 01:22 AM

Looking gooooood.

Is that your fire estinguisher (my spelling does not look right) on the floor next to the broom? Interesting place to put it :-) I have mine mounted on the wall next to the door.

-- BLOG -

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4186 days

#4 posted 03-04-2008 01:24 AM

a brand new tool… :) Congrats on the sander.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3847 days

#5 posted 03-04-2008 01:35 AM

Very good Blake. I really appreciate your updates. But I just can’t believe that you are going to get rid of your audience. But now that you don’t have so many prying eyes watching, you will be able to get more done.

thanks for the update.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4340 days

#6 posted 03-04-2008 02:12 AM

Good luck on that sander…keep us updated please.

View grovemadman's profile


556 posts in 3797 days

#7 posted 03-04-2008 03:03 AM

Guess you are going to have Ratire that glove Blake… LOL Either that or sanitize it. Good work on the shop.

-- --Chuck

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3921 days

#8 posted 03-04-2008 04:27 AM

You are one busy guy. I envy you for being able to make your own tools and for being so thrifty. Keep the inspiration coming!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Karson's profile


35125 posts in 4426 days

#9 posted 03-04-2008 04:40 AM

Blake Good ramble. and a tour of the activities you’ve been up to.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4125 days

#10 posted 03-04-2008 06:27 AM

Can’t wait to see the changes.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Tony's profile


986 posts in 4055 days

#11 posted 03-04-2008 10:58 AM

You have been busy Blake – I suffered a problem with rats in our yard too, until I made friends with a neighbour’s cat, they quickly moved out.

I would still consider storing that lumber in the corner outside of the shop, maybe extend that area (left side of shop)where you keep the logs in by a few meters, unless you do see a big difference between inside and outside humidity.

As for the thickness sander – I have just come back from Austria (skiing again), whilst there I was looking back through my “Shop Notes” Magazine and I have started to modify there design for the thickness sander, to take panels up to 26”. Send me you e-mail address and I will send you the drawings in case you re interested.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 3988 days

#12 posted 03-04-2008 02:22 PM

Great bunch of work, Blake. I wish I still had your energy.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Stacey's profile


19 posts in 3781 days

#13 posted 03-04-2008 06:56 PM

You’ve been putting in alot of time and work on your shop. It will all pay off soon. As far as the rat problem, I echo Tony’s recommendation to perhaps try nature’s remedy and get yourself a cat. Lumber storage is always an issue and I’m planning on building a lean-to type shelter on one side of my shop for this purpose so as to free up interior shop space for just immediate use/special lumber.

-- S. Box --- "But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever." - John Adams

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