On Call Week

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Blog entry by David Craig posted 04-07-2010 05:25 AM 1097 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am on my on call rotation so shop time is pretty limited this week. On top of the 24/7 pager response, I am covering for two vacationing fellow employees. Been making for some long days. Still, in this state’s economy, I can’t gripe about my job.

I spent some time puttering down the basement tonight. Even if I don’t have the time to concentrate fully on a project, I just like being down there. Something about just being in the environment gives me a lift. I had an hour I could spend uninterrupted so I spent some of that gluing up my Mom’s lap easel.

Lap Easel Glue Up

One side will have a spot for her drawing tablets, the other for pencils. The lid will serve as the writing surface. I will be working on the legs to make setting on the lap more ergonomic and comfortable. I decided against box joints as the way I designed the stand/legs, it will end up hiding some of the joinery. The rabbets work well for hiding the slots for the hardboard bottoms. It is getting there anyway.

The “Nothing New but the Glue” contest came at a good time. I had pulled some hardwood pieces off of pallets that were sitting in my yard. Gary Fixler's posts about his found wood inspired me to see what was out laying around. I had a couple of pallets I cut up for firewood for my little pit and so I gleaned what hardwood could be salvageable from them. The resulting pile looked less than inspiring -

pallet wood

But looks can be deceiving. I cleaned off the dirt and grime with a card scraper (great time learning how to sharpen them with the new file and burnisher, which was a bonus!) and jointed and planed a few boards. The resulting wood pile is ideal for the contest ahead.

pallet wood planed and cut

In Shop Notes, there was a small organizer project for the purpose of storing pens, plans, small items so I might use that for the contest. No parts larger than 1/3 board feet. My shop efficiency would increase dramatically if I didn’t lose my pencils all the darn time so hopefully this project might spare me some pain in the future.

Happy woodworking all,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

5 comments so far

View scrappy's profile


3506 posts in 3394 days

#1 posted 04-07-2010 07:33 AM

Shop time is always good time. Even if you don’t “accomplish” anything.

Thanks for posting about the contest also. I missed this one. Will have to see what “scraps” I have around.


-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3088 days

#2 posted 04-07-2010 08:07 AM

Me – no scraps – David, send me some!!! Kidding, I’ll catch the next contest.


View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3128 days

#3 posted 04-07-2010 05:40 PM

See the lap table is coming along.

I made something similar once, but it was a floor table, meaning you sat on the floor to use it, not on a chair.

My handicapped step-daughter liked to sit on the floor and color, and work on simple puzzle books. She cannot read and write well, but she keeps learning a little bit by immersing herself in children’s puzzle books. She is now about 30 years old. That table got recycled to someone else, as I recall, and it was just made out of plywood, but it was finished and had the same concept. Storage inside, writing surface on the top, but there were no legs since she used it while sitting on the floor.

When I first saw your post on this item, I had forgotten about that table, made about 20 years ago, and got distracted by work and other things. The top was attached with a piano hinge. I usually keep some brass colored piano hinge in the shop since I use is so frequently. Just cut it up to size.

And you are already a leg up on me re the Nothing New challenge. I may make something, but I doubt it will be timely enough to be an entry.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3072 days

#4 posted 04-08-2010 12:49 PM

Thanks for the comments all.

Christopher - I look forward to some pics of finished projects as well … ;) Hopefully I will finish something.

Scrappy – This contest should be right up your alley…

Jordan – I know you are busy with the move, otherwise I would look at that comment as an unacceptable excuse ;) Woodworkers without any scraps at all just don’t exist…

Jim – Thanks for sharing that about your stepdaughter. Wonderful gift you made for her and a great way to reach out and help her with your interest. I need to get piano hinges, I will have to order them online. I went to the local HD here and, I kid you not, I spent fifteen minutes explaining to one of the sales floor people that what I need doesn’t require me to go to a music store… Grrrrr.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4170 posts in 3128 days

#5 posted 04-08-2010 04:23 PM

I got more piano hinges at Lowe’s just a couple of weeks ago. So you might look there if you got one in the neighborhood. I am shopping a little more at HD, because there is a new one near my workplace, on the way to home. However, given a choice, I always go to Lowe’s. I am finding the two stores carry different stuff, so I get a little more variety.

Amusing that the HD people didn’t know what you were looking for. At my usual Lowe’s place there is one roaming salesman that is really knowledgeable about DIY and some woodworking, and he always finds me what I need.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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