My intentions were to complete the shop cabinets when i started the second series. I wrote the entry ‘startup’ on Sunday evening, and had six cabinet carcasses together Monday evening. I had never built cabinets, which is probably evident from the results. Todd advised Baltic Birch, but im cheap, and this is a shop. So i use plywood that i will trim out to be nicer. My Kreg jig is getting a work out.
So everything is going really well.
Then something happened on Tuesday.
I havent spent any time talking about my tools. I plan to go in depth on all of them, not because they are great tools, but because i have had to scrape and claw for each one. I see what people are pulling off of Craig’s list back East, and in the Midwest and it makes me sick. Beautiful, cast iron tools that will last a lifetime being offred all the time, used but in great shape. In Montana it is a different story. Finding a used tool is rare, (the current economy and the availabilit of Craig’s List is improving this though) finding one that is of decent quality is almost nonexistant. Unless you are looking for mid 80’s to 90’s Craftsman tools. If this is what you want, you will be happy.
Being on a budget, i cannot afford to get new tools now, so i have to hunt for used tools. I have hunted Craigs almost every day since July. I need a bandsaw, but none are offered. Most are too small, or they want too much. I come across an 18 inch grizzly, but when i call a couple hours after it is listed, it is already gone. A Powermatic shaper was offered, i called within an hour of it being posted, and i was fourth in line for it. A friend has an old 12” Crapsman, i mean Craftsman in his shop that i find myself actually considering. I know that i am goin to get the Grzz 17” Extreme in a year or so.. but i want something now to cut curves and templates with. What happened was, we were all out to dinner and he mentioned that he had a really old bandsaw he never uses. I ask what size, he tells me 16 inch Craftsman, but its really old. So i am thinking he has an ancient Walker Turner “Craftsman” and get pretty excited, i would love to fix up an old piece of equipment. Then i walk into his garage and there sits a tiny little 12”. My dissapoinment is probably the only thing that kept me from taking that thing. So this brings us to last Tuesday. I look at Craigs List and there is a Transpower 16 inch bandsaw. Looks to be in good condition. It says that the trunions are cracked but the table is locked at 90 degrees. So i call the guy, and he has it and when would i want to come look at it. I leave work and drive the 40 minutes to his house. It is in good shape, has 10” of resaw, has a 1.5 hp induction motor, and aside from the trunions is in decent shape. So he lowers his asking price, i write him a check for LESS than $200 and we load that heavy casat iron beast into my truck.
Does it have some alignment issues? Yes. Are the wheels coplanar? No. Does it have some vibrations problems due to the stand? Yes. But i will knock these out and have a decent little saw. I am goin to have a machinist duplicate the trunions (minus the cracks) and i will be in good shape. So this is what threw my plans off, for finishing the cabinets by Sunday. And i couldn’t be happier.
So i lost a couple days with the bandsaw. But i go some spacers on the bottom wheel and now its coplanar and is tracking just fine. So its back to work time for me. Saturday mornin comes around and its time to get busy. If you look behind me in this picture, you will see where the cabinets have to go.
There is a ton of junk, tool chests, radio cabinets, and a built in 6’X8’X4’ plywood cabinet that is built in. This all has to go. And the garage is already stuffed, cause nothing has a place right now. So i move the tools, and go to work dismantling the existing cabinet. I get all that crap out, and now i have a full truck bed ready for the dump. I clean the area really good. and move the carcasses into place. I leveled and shimmed the cabinets, and added 4 inch wide strips of particle board on the top. Im sure these have a name, but i dont know. I thought of these after the cabinets were put together, so i had to add the pocket holes after. My jig has build in clamp, so i just flipped the jig upside down and easily added the pocket holes.
I get all the cabinets into positon and get all the rails cut. Then i get all artistic and patch the cracks in the concrete walls and pime and paint. Its amazing what some white paint and cabinets do to spruce up an ugly shop.
Now i add the melamine tops.
So i didnt get to the trim and cabinet drawers this time, but there is always tommorow, and the next day. I dont know if i have expressed how exciting all of this is for me. It is something i am truly passionate about. I know that many of you reading this are fairly advanced and make some truly beatiful pieces, but im creating in my own way. I am learning so much by doing it is almost overwhelming. Absolutely everyhing i do adds to my knowledge, and i am constantly making mental notes on what to do next time. I hope this is interesting, not because anyone will be amazed or learn anything, but just to share my joy and my journey. Im a little behind, but i am starting to come around. My wife asked me last Friday when she was going to see some progess and she is amazed right now. The pictures dont really do justice to how bad this area was, and what we have dealt with in this garage. But it is so much brighter and pleasant in there, i probably sat on my new countertop for over an hour tonight, just looking and thinking about what ill do next. So… next segment will be on the drawers and cabinet doors….unless a new tool gets in the way!
Seymore, the German Shorthair ‘Shop Dog’, with paint on his ear to prove his status and dedication. He is from a rescue program for abandoned dogs, so we have to stop work alot for hugs. He loves his new home, and will lay down on his be and sleep, regardless of what tool is being used.
I would like to add how much i appreciate all the comments and reads that i received on the first segment, i would really like this to be a good read for veterans, and a helpful guide for future new workers. Thank you all.