Shop Remodel #1: The Fiery Pits of Hell

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Blog entry by bearkatwood posted 11-03-2015 11:47 PM 1280 reads 3 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Shop Remodel series Part 2: Break it down to build it up. Day one. »

So I got a wild hair when I was cleaning up my table saw.
But first a little background, I have been trying to clean up my shop and make it presentable for pictures and videos. I have been woodworking for 16+ years and I feel confident that I could teach. So I thought the logical place for me to start would be some on-line videos and see where it went from there. It is a slow and arduous process to take a woodworking shop that has been used for years as a factory of furniture making and turn it into a showroom for teaching woodworking, but I am going to give it a try.

Which brings us back to my wild hair. So I took a plane to my workbench that exists as an extended part of my out-feed table and smoothed it down to refinish. My table saw top was coated in years of neglect as well so I carefully sanded it down to a beautiful metal color instead of what was there. I think it bordered on greenish ;). The last zero clearance insert I made for it was about two years ago out of some particleboard and it was looking pretty rough. I had some MDF left over from a form build I did. That is about the only thing I like that stuff for, but I thought it might work well for the insert so I tried it out, we’ll see how it works. I cut it out, routed it to size using a pattern following bit and put some set screws in the bottom to adjust it to height. I put some magnets in the back to hold it down good and a short nail in the back end to keep from flying out.

All done it looked o.k., but I wanted more than o.k. so I painted it bright red… There that was better, it looked official. Like a real woodworker, concerned about safety and all that jazz. It looked like it just came off the factory floor. Something inside me beckoned to have some fun with it. It needed more.
“FLAMES! I said to myself. “This sucker needs flames!” So I pulled out some clear drawer liner I use for glass etching sometimes and put a piece on the insert. Using a razor blade I cut out my flames and hit it with some spray paint. A final coat of clear and it was Hot! I like it, it makes me think if I stick my fingers near there they will get burned.
The fiery pits of hell on my table saw. Yeh, that’ll do.

Hope you like it. I will try to add to this blog so you guys can follow along as I “pimp my shop;)”

The bear in the last photo is another use of scrap mdf, it is my bear push stick. I usually make them out of solid hardwood, but hey it was there. Maybe this MDF stuff is growing on me…What am I saying, yuck.

-- Brian Noel

13 comments so far

View  woodshaver (Tony)  's profile

woodshaver (Tony)

3938 posts in 2774 days

#1 posted 11-04-2015 12:23 AM

Nice read and love the flames! MDF good for some things but mostly just use it for sacrificial stuff.
I wish you good luck on your new plans for teaching woodworking.

-- Tony C UAW, St Augustine FL, My high school shop teacher said "You can do it"... Now I can't stop!

View BurlyBob's profile


3468 posts in 1687 days

#2 posted 11-04-2015 02:11 AM

Brian the flames are awesome. I love it. I doubt I would have thought of that.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

21555 posts in 1759 days

#3 posted 11-04-2015 04:37 AM

Cool to follow.

I have not found a use for MDF in the shop.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2755 days

#4 posted 11-04-2015 04:53 PM

Looks cool. Could also be dripping blood, a good reminder either way. I like MDF for jigs, but it is awful to work with (toxic dust).

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View chrisstef's profile


15468 posts in 2428 days

#5 posted 11-04-2015 04:58 PM

Love the tough guy flames. Every hard hat ive owned and worn has had some.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Richard's profile


1871 posts in 2112 days

#6 posted 11-04-2015 05:26 PM

Nice job on the insert and the flames are a good touch. The saw top looks really good too , what did you use to clean it up?

View AandCstyle's profile


2539 posts in 1678 days

#7 posted 11-04-2015 10:44 PM

Some people have way too much time on their hands. :D I am looking forward to the updates and the eventual teaching videos.

-- Art

View bearkatwood's profile


1172 posts in 433 days

#8 posted 11-04-2015 10:57 PM

That has to be my favorite comment yet. Sometimes I feel like I am so far behind I ma never going to die. I feel like I am playing the constant game of catch-up. Thanks to all for the great comments.

-- Brian Noel

View Bill Van Loo's profile

Bill Van Loo

5 posts in 357 days

#9 posted 11-04-2015 11:00 PM

Looks great! I spent quite a bit of time cleaning up my table saw a few months ago as well; I was shocked at how much easier it was to push a board through after the table top was (relatively) clean and shiny!

View CFrye's profile


8575 posts in 1261 days

#10 posted 11-12-2015 01:57 AM

Love the flames, Brian! Look way better than the duct tape flames I put on my crutches a few years back. Heeheehee
Looking forward to your teaching videos.

-- God bless, Candy

View Reaperwoodworks's profile


94 posts in 356 days

#11 posted 12-28-2015 02:31 AM

YES!!!! Those flames are awesome! I need a zero clearance insert on my TS. Can’t decide if I want to make one, or just buy one for 22 bucks. I have 4 kids and work too many hours, seems like it would be well spent 22$, but those flames have me thinking otherwise! That almost looks too pretty to use!

-- Website:, Youtube:

View bearkatwood's profile


1172 posts in 433 days

#12 posted 12-28-2015 03:13 AM

You can make one for less than a buck I think and the painting is really easy. You could use wide painters tape and draw out a design and then use a razor knife to cut it out and rattle can it. Thanks for the great feedback!

-- Brian Noel

View jbay's profile


702 posts in 320 days

#13 posted 12-28-2015 04:20 AM

Looks cool, but I am wondering how it will be for cutting small stuff after it starts getting scratched up a little. use caution that it doesn’t make your work pc grab, then slip causing a jerking action. A good hard finish and a good frequent waxing may help.

-- Many times my “MO” involves Judging others, playing God, acting as LJs law enforcement, and never admitting any of my ideas could possibly wrong or anyone else's idea could possibly be correct.--

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