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 this
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 place
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 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.
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.
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 half
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 themselves
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!
After that, I’m on familiar ground again. Drill some “maneuvering” holes
And off to the scroll saw
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 snug
And so, to make a long story even longer, after 4 hrs or so total,I went from the unwanted sign to this
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.