Just for Fun... #1: The Beginning...

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Blog entry by littlecope posted 08-29-2009 05:45 AM 1818 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Just for Fun... series Part 2: Of Tops and Bottoms »

So I’ve lived in the same two bedroom apartment for ten years now. The second bedroom is my workshop and has a closet that’s been my catch-all for anything that I don’t immediately know what to do with. Needless to say, it’s gotten to be a pretty scary place! A couple of weeks ago, I finally set myself a goal: to take out and sort one box a day until I could see the walls of the closet again…
As is usual with such things, the longest journey begins with the first step, and once I began I found myself sorting 3-5 boxes a day and the job was finished in a week or so. I found trash and treasure, meaningful and meaningless things. And thisMy Grandparent's "Big 10" Sign
It came from my Grandparent’s house but holds no real sentimental worth, no fond memories. It’s a mass produced item, no real value. I hold the “Big 10” in my heart, and live by them daily, but don’t care for a daily reminder on my wall…What do I do with such a thing?
Well, upon turning it around, I discovered why I hadn’t tossed this old thing in the first placeA very wide board
Yes, it’s “only” Pine, but it looks like it came from a venerable old tree! 5/8’” thick, about 12” wide. As I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the Ten Commandments, and NEVER throw away any wood, Friday afternoon I decided to separate Church from Wood. I saved the Brass Plaque, which was of surprising quality, but now can be slid easily into an old book or something, and the Wood is now mine to have some fun with! Started out by giving it some rough sandingAfter some rough sanding
The next step was to plug the holes left from the nails. Set the depth stop of the drill press in my usual fashion, by hanging my 3 lb. Estwing off of one of the handles of the press to hold it in the down position, and raising the table. Setting the depth stop
When I want to really fine tune, I raise or lower the drill bit in the chuck a bit.
Glued some dowel into the resulting holes and filed and sanded flush.Plugging the holes
A decision had to be made at some point about what exactly I was planning on making here, so I asked myself “What does Mike make besides boxes?”. The answer, of course, was “MORE BOXES!!”
At first I was thinking of squaring up the piece, but that’s easier said than done, with the curves on this piece. Ahh, the curves…they intrigued me and since this is “just for fun” and I don’t really know what I’m doing anyway, I thought “Why not leave them and see what happens?”
And so, not having any clue, I pressed forward and cut this piece in halfThe beginnings of the vision
Upon measuring, I noticed that the crests of the curves were equidistant, 5 1/2” apart. Looks like this one’s going to be square…
After cutting the pieces as near as I could to the center of the crests, and all 5 1/2” long, I brought them to the “Marking Board”. Marked the depths of the cuts by using the pieces themselvesMarking depth of finger joints
There’s still the detail on the other side, and I can’t extend finger joints into that region. Let’s see…I’d like 3/8” fingers for this project, but the wood I have to work with isn’t divisible by 3/8”. But 4 1/2” is. I’ll just tilt the ruler! Nobody’s watching!Marking finger or box joints
After that, I’m on familiar ground again. Drill some “maneuvering” holesDrilling Manuevering Holes for the Scroll Saw
And off to the scroll sawSawing away the fingers
There’s probably a bunch of people now who are saying “What a Nit-Wit!! Has he never heard of a box joint cutting jig?!” and they’d be right about the nitwit part! But I don’t own a stacked dado head cutter and it only took 6-7 minutes per side, and this is JUST FOR FUN! It does take a few minutes to mate each joint, filing one side and then the other until they mesh snug, but not too snugTwo sides completed
And so, to make a long story even longer, after 4 hrs or so total,I went from the unwanted sign to thisA Poor Man's Box
I’ve begun to call it the “Poor Man’s Box”.
In the next installment I hope to finish whatever it is I think I’m doing…

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

14 comments so far

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14172 posts in 3978 days

#1 posted 08-29-2009 06:18 AM

Hey Mike
fun stuff ! there is always another way to do something! neat way to make a box joint. will have a hand cut look.
I need to try it this way myself. Thanks for the blog. Enjoyed reading it.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3336 days

#2 posted 08-29-2009 06:18 AM

how ever it turns out ,
i’m sure it will take ,
10 steps to get there !

this box with no bottom ,
is like my pockets ,
they don’t hold a thing !

great post mike .
i’m glad to see
that you are having fun !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3671 days

#3 posted 08-29-2009 09:37 AM

Looking good from here. Wonder what will happen to it ??

Sounds like you’ve done what I need to do to the garage/shop. One box a day, except today I was out of town and tomorrow I have to go to the Tree Farm to get the tractor to get it fixed. Sunday I’ll bring it home, Monday I’ll take it in…....... Wed, maybe a box ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4294 days

#4 posted 08-29-2009 02:41 PM

A great recycling project.

Have you ever used the depth stop adjustment screw on your drill press?
Depth-stops control the depth to which the quill descends and limit the depth of the hole. Depth-stops are good for repetitive boring and dowel holes. The more precise your depth-stops, the more accurate your boring operations.

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

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2790 posts in 3433 days

#5 posted 08-29-2009 02:49 PM

So that’s how that’s done.
Cool read.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4155 days

#6 posted 08-29-2009 02:52 PM

I think this is awesome. And I love how you honoured all the pieces.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4241 days

#7 posted 08-29-2009 08:28 PM

Great read Mike, great fun to watch you make something out of the ten commandments!

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#8 posted 08-29-2009 08:38 PM

good work

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3320 days

#9 posted 08-29-2009 08:59 PM

This was a very enjoyable read.

View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3497 days

#10 posted 08-30-2009 08:37 PM

I wanted to thank everybody for their kind words and comments sooner, but I had an unexpected adventure. More about that later… Dan: These are hand cut, aren’t they? Sorta…? If you’re going to try it, the best advice I could give you is to stay focused. Staying on the waste side of lines isn’t that hard, but the hole drilling for maneuvering is so mundane and routine… Well, suffice to say, it’s very easy to put in an unwanted hole!
When you’re laying these out, you have complete flexibility on number of fingers and size. It is imperative, of course, that two sides that are butting up against one another are accurately marked. You could have a different number of fingers in every corner, going in any direction as far as mating, but that gets confusing! I usually use the same numbers simply because it looks “smarter”... Patron: Hey, I still don’t know whether this is right side up, or upside down! It will work perfect for me so far too, my money will go right through it! Fools and my money are soon partners… Topomax Survivor: That closet has been daunting and taunting me for the last 4-5 years! But the “old” folks knew what they were about when they gave us such pearls of wisdom as “That job takes longest which is never begun.” Once I actually started, it really didn’t take very long! Dick & Barb Cain: I do indeed use the depth stop! Dad showed me how to use that on his drill press when I was a wee little one! The trouble is, my drill press depth stop has two regular nuts, so I need two adjustable wrenches each time I want to make an adjustment… Too much of a pain in the neck! So I adjusted it to full extension, use the weight of the sledge hammer to “bottom it out”, and then just adjust the table accordingly. Your way (which is the way I did it for most of my life) it also seemed like I had to readjust for each new use, while this way it’s always “ready to use”. Craftsman on the Lake: As tongue in cheek as this is, and it most definitely is, it’s exactly how I’ve made all the boxes! There is very little measuring involved and if there is some sort of “detail” on the scrap, I try to incorporate it. For instance, taking the trash out at work one day, I came upon an entire brand-new 48” stair! It still had the UPC code stapled to the end! Apparently a carpenter was putting new treads on a flight of stairs, and discarded the one I found because it had a large knot right in the middle. He probably rightly feared that the knot would fall out, with a resulting 2” hole right in the middle, which certainly wouldn’t do! Anyway, I brought it home, and when I got around to it, I made this:New Message
Big Wood, Big Box! But the point is that you can see on the top of this box what would have been the front of the stair…If it’s there, I try to use it! MsDebbieP & jockmike2: I’m trying here to appease my reverence for the Lord, with my reverence for Wood, which are not entirely unlike… a1Jim: As always, thank you my Friend!! mtkate: I’m glad that you enjoyed it! If I’ve imparted even a portion of the enjoyment I get from doing this into my words…Well…that’s good! To all: In re: Unexpected Adventures.
Boy, I’ll tell you, lightning can strike anytime, anywhere! Yesterday, at work, we were low on Turkey, so I roasted a Turkey Breast, just another ho-hum part of the life of a cook. When it was done, and cooling on the counter, it smelled so good I just had to have a taste…Took a bite, which promptly got lodged in my esophagus. I could breathe and speak, though with difficulty, but couldn’t swallow! Ended up at the Emergency Room where, for once, they took me right in. I guess they don’t like people drooling and hacking and gacking on their floor. They ultimately had to put me under (first time ever for me) and do endoscopic removal of the offending bite of food. Took two tries.
I’m fine, though my throat is sore, taking it very easy today…Go figure, huh?

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3671 days

#11 posted 08-31-2009 05:58 AM

Glad you made it thrugh the emergency episode ok!! Worst thing that ever happened to my esophagus was a bee sting about half way down :-(( I had trouble swallowing for a couple weeks!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View joseph b harlacher III's profile

joseph b harlacher III

21 posts in 3186 days

#12 posted 08-31-2009 09:28 AM

me too. my dad has been giving me his tools and fishing gear for the past year and a half he still doesn’ want to let go of them he started with his collection of nuts and bolts yikes they still sit in the entry hall and need sorting. several glass jars in a plastic container. the tools are apreciated though need care. emery papper and steel wool. i plan to start with building shelfs. or dread pay for ikea.

-- joseph

View patron's profile


13603 posts in 3336 days

#13 posted 08-31-2009 02:11 PM

mike ,
you got to read the fine print !

some where in there,
( #8746 , or maybe #47,824 )
it say’s ,
” thou shall not gobble thy turkey ”.

glad you were forgiven !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4294 days

#14 posted 08-31-2009 03:44 PM

Hi Mike,
You should be able to use the depth adjustment without wrenches. Most a lot of machines just have

a knurled nuts, just hand tightening the jam nuts should be ample enough.

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

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