Projects I hope to complete before NEXT winter.

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Blog entry by Will Mego posted 03-28-2008 07:00 AM 1153 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The following is a list of related projects I hope to complete before the snows next come to roost on fair Illinois.
(in only slightly intended order)
1. Build a workbench I have one, that my grandfather built, and while it’s nice, it’s seen more than it’s share of wars. Pitted, stained, cut deeply and often, it resembles a cratered moonscape more than a work surface. It’s not square, flat, level, etc. So, I want to build a new one. I’ve been pouring over “The Workbench Book” as though it were a sacred text, and I’ve decided I’m going to build a modified Shaker bench, although I lack the room to make a full version, so it will probably be 2 different woods/cuts of wood rather than 3. It’s going to be a while yet before I get started on this, thanks to things like the load of snow this evening, but it will be first, and I’ll post pics as I work on it. The old workbench won’t be tossed, it’s going to a cottage to enjoy it’s partial retirement.

2. Some quick and heavy duty shelving out of gal. pipe and plywood, and some ceiling mounted clamps as I saw in an old copy of Fine Woodworking from several years ago. Pretty cool stuff, the ceiling clamps.

3. A new desk. I’m a composer, and I’ve sort of begun doing that full-time a year or two ago, and I’m working at a computer all day and night. The computer is on a cheap laminate desk (of the Tab A-Slot B type), and further more, it’s a corner desk, with an annoying ridge right where my right arm lies across. That gets old! So, I’m going to build a new desk, with a design that really will resemble a oddly made arts and crafts side table. An extra thick top (I’m thinking cherry), long, no drawers, slightly curved aprons, toying with making a few router inlays with contrasting woods (haven’t decided what design yet though, maybe noteheads?), and a marble/travertine/other type of tile inset on the right side for the cups of diet soda and coffee I drink while working. This project is easily the most involved I’ll take on this year. I don’t want drawers because they’ll get in the way of my legs, believe it or not, and the entire thing will look a little off, since I want a very heavy top. I might increase the leg size to try to balance out the eye though.

4. I intend to teach myself how to make a nice custom sink and countertop with concrete. Counters aren’t a trouble, but the sink I have in mind is a little out there! If you’re not familiar with the things all the new concrete mixes can do, and how they look finished, you’ll be amazed! You’ll swear it’s marble/granite, etc.

5. A new shopmade router table.

6. If those don’t take up the entire year, I’ve got some ideas for other things that I want to make largely because I need these items!
A toolchest
A chest for clothing (thinking about the german chest New Yankee Workshop had the other day, might of been a German wedding chest? The top was held open by a small box mounted inside).
A new door on the workshop.

If you’ve read this far, I’m sorry for it’s size! I posted this partly as a way of focusing my thoughts and making sure I followed through on #1-5!

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

16 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3957 days

#1 posted 03-28-2008 07:16 AM

That’s quite a list. Good luck!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3844 days

#2 posted 03-28-2008 11:33 AM

That is an impressive “to-do” list. Good luck getting through it. (I should probably do the same)

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3768 days

#3 posted 03-28-2008 11:53 AM

I have a list like this also. I also know that I wont ever make it all. Good luck on yours

-- making sawdust....

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3791 days

#4 posted 03-28-2008 12:07 PM


That is a nice list of projects. Post the list in your shop and cross them off as you complete them.

Good luck. And don’t forget to share your progress with us as well.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3743 days

#5 posted 03-28-2008 12:15 PM

Hi Will

Sounds like you have your work cut out you. Only good thing about seeing next winter is bow hunting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Kevin Violette's profile

Kevin Violette

235 posts in 3833 days

#6 posted 03-28-2008 01:39 PM

Good luck Will, we will be waiting for updates.

-- Kevin

View ww_kayak's profile


70 posts in 3694 days

#7 posted 03-28-2008 03:16 PM

I’m with you on the concrete, and know exactly what you mean. Once you go to an integral sink you have to get creative, or have a 12’ thick counter!

-- Tom, Central New York

View NDwoodworker's profile


48 posts in 3704 days

#8 posted 03-28-2008 03:50 PM

Good luck with the sink and countertops, Let us know how they turn out and your process.

-- Stuart, North Dakota

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4046 days

#9 posted 03-28-2008 06:21 PM

Great list…I may be stealing some of the ideas…you can do it…I also need a work bench…waiting for my skills to improve before I tackle it…but this summer I plan on creating a lot of shop projects…

I have seen a few HGTV shows where they use concrete mixes for counters or all types…and I concur they look very nice—-and DO-ABLE…

good luck…will be looking forward to watching your progress…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4046 days

#10 posted 03-28-2008 06:22 PM

By the way—-WELCOME to LJ’s…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 3681 days

#11 posted 03-28-2008 06:50 PM

Thanks for all the welcome! I’m really shocked at how warm and immediate it’s been! concrete people: I’m crazy about concrete, and this book set the fire within my soul…I just walked by it by accident with my girlfriend at Home Depot, it’s called “Decorative Concrete” by Sunset. From there, and with the nice resource list in the back, you’re on your way!

Workbenches: I’ve done weeks of reading on them, and “The Workbench Book” is fantastic. I think the bench is the most important because in a sense, it’s the prism through which the rest of the work will be focused.

Progress: I know it’s a lot, but I have a real need for the bench and desk, so those have got to get done no matter what.

The ceiling clamps and shelves I would doubt they’ll take much time. Pipe flanges and gal pipe and some assembly, I’ve already got the designs complete in my head (a nice bonus of being a composer, keeping a large detailed idea in mind without losing the thread, probably the most important trick I’ve learned in recent years).

The concrete is from love, I just can’t keep myself from playing with that. The router table is another need. I’m planning on picking up a new porter-cable router kit within the next month or two (the 895pk), and it doesn’t have a table worthy of it around here, and I mostly want sturdy and flat of course, so it will be a simple base, and a nice flat surface like a laminate or MDF, decent router plate, homemade fence(s), and I’m installing levelers on both the workbench and the router table, so I can adjust for totally level on any surface, although I’m working a very flat and smooth concrete floor, so that’s not a huge issue.

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View kem's profile


56 posts in 3688 days

#12 posted 03-29-2008 05:21 PM

Great list of projects! A workbench is also #1 on my list and I have just started working on it.

Have you also taken a look at Christopher Schwarz’s “Workbenches” book? Of all the workbench books out there, I found it to be the most useful in terms of describing all of the functions of a workbench and the different workbench features that you can achieve these functions. He also describes the limitations caused by some features. For example, the cabinets under a shaker bench limits the use of clamps and holdfasts. While looking at the fantastic benches in “The Workbench Book” is inspiring, the “Workbenches” book has been the most practical for me in understanding what I want in a workbench and selecting a design that meets those needs.

I look forward to watching your progress on your workbench.

-- Kevin

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 3681 days

#13 posted 03-29-2008 05:44 PM

I haven’t read that book, but I am familiar with the shortcomings with the design. I have a VERY small space in which to work right now, in fact it’s a terribly neglected workspace I’m more or less rehabbing. I’ll take pics along the way as part of the workbench project. So, I can’t really do much in the way of cabinets underneath it anyway, as it’s got to essentially nest a full table saw and the as-yet-unbuilt router table under the bench! I really needed the detailed breakdown of the traditional tail vice. I’ll see if I can get some other ideas from the book you mention though, thanks so much for the advice!

Since I’m posting, I’ll list the initial jigs I need to build for my new shop, so I don’t forget/lose them, in order of need/intended construction:
1. Router Planing Sled (don’t have a planer)
2. Router Straight-Edge Jointing Jog (no Jointer either)
3. Panel Cutting Jig (who doesn’t need this?)
4. Cross Cut Sled (not a big deal, I have a really nice sliding compound miter saw)
5. Tapering Table Saw Jig (because it’s easy)
6. Raised Panel Jig (um..just because it’s cool!)

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4130 days

#14 posted 03-30-2008 05:35 PM

a great way to ensure you get a task done is by writing it down.
How could you possibly let us down and now show us the end results :)

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Will Mego's profile

Will Mego

307 posts in 3681 days

#15 posted 04-05-2008 04:43 AM

Additional jigs I need:
7. Tenon Jig for table saw (holds piece vert.)
8. Box Joint Jig

-- "That which has in itself the greatest use, possesses the greatest beauty." -

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