Big Ole Wood Shelf

Several months ago, I started making a shelving unit out of southern yellow pine that my wife asked me to make for her booth. I got this far and it sat in my shop unfinished for months. After much contemplation, my wife and I both realized that the shelving unit was really too big to fit in our Ford Edge.

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The best thing we could do, is take it apart and resize the thing smaller so we wouldn’t have to rent a trailer to transport it. Luckily, I put the shelf together almost entirely with pocket screws. The part that was glued, I cut apart on the band saw.

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After, I cut the shelves shorter, I used my router and cut floating tenons on all the pieces instead of using pocket holes screws like I did before.

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A few hours later, I had the new resized shelving unit put back together. The height stayed the same at five feet, but the length was cut down from five feet to forty inches so that it would fit in our car.

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My wife always wanted the unit to roll so I added four old casters to the bottom. We actually bought the casters many months before we decided to make the shelving unit just in case someday we needed them.

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With 1/2″ plywood installed for the shelves, the unit was built, but unfinished.

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Anita wanted the unit to look somewhat old, so I smacked the wood around with a hammer and crowbar to give it an aged look.

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I bought a few piece of thin gauge metal, drilled some holes in it, bent it over in my vise, painted them black, and screwed them to the corners of the shelving unit to give it a more industrial look. The brackets and the dark stain really makes the unit pop. Now it was ready to throw in the Edge and bring it to our booth. Saved us $50 not having to rent a trailer and we both feel it looks nicer then it did before.

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Building a Shed Part VII

My wife and I bought two old ten pane French windows a couple of years ago at a flea market. We knew as soon as we saw them that they would be perfect for the front of the shed.  Even though they were in good shape, I had to trim off the edges a little bit so I could work with them.

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After I took all the hardware off,  I covered all the screw holes and areas with damage with two-part wood putty. The stuff did the trick as it was hard as a rock the next day.

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These windows were very well made with through tenons. They appeared to be made from old growth white pine.

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Because we wanted the windows to actually function, I had to build a window frame for each window. I took a 2 x 8, sliced it on my band saw, and milled the lumber down to 3/8″ thick on my planer. I then started to make the bottom sill with a slight chamfer to allow rain water to run off.

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I built a frame to fit inside the window opening and sized the window to work inside the frame. I did a whole bunch of test fitting taking it back and forth from the shed. It took all day to make just one of the frames.

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Once the window fit, I attached boards inside the frame so that the window would have a nice place to sit when closed.

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I bought 2 1/2″ wide hinges with removable pins and laid out the mortises. I cut the mortises with a chisel and a router plane to make the depth of the mortise the same throughout its length.

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I then test fitted the window in the frame before I went out to the shed to attach it.

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Being very patient, I fitted the window frame to the opening with wood shims and tested the window. It took nearly two hours to fit this window so that it would operate to my liking.

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Once the window fit well on the outside, I attached the frame to the opening with 15 gauge galvanized finish nails.

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The next day, I built and installed the other window. They both came out really well and open and close with ease.

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A simple scrap of cedar with a screw in the center acts as a latch for each window.

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Restoring a molding plane

I’m constantly buying old molding planes at local auctions. I can usually pick them up for a song since they really don’t attract much interest from tool collectors. They come in various forms and sizes but the most common in the marketplace are hollows & rounds and beading planes. This plane is a cove and bead. A sweet little plane that is useful for adding little detail moldings on cabinets.

This plane is overall in good shape, just a little dirty and neglected. But a little elbow grease and a citric acid bath, it will tune up in no time.

The blade has some surface rust but no serious pitting. I dipped it in a citric acid solution which contained a tablespoon of citric acid with five cups of warm water. My trough is nothing more than a scrap piece of plastic gutter with an end cap glued to each end. It works well and hasn’t leaked in the past three years.

After the blade sat in the solution for a few hours, I scrubbed it clean with a piece of steel wool and washed it off in the sink. I then sharpened the back by lapping it on some water stones.

As far as the body, I didn’t do too much. I simply wiped it with 00 and 000 steel wool then applied a couple of coats of mineral-oil/orange-oil/beeswax solution to the body and wedge. I didn’t rub steel wool on it too much as I didn’t want the plane to look new. Since it’s over a hundred years old, it should look like it’s that old but in working order.

The biggest obstacle that you’ll face tuning up a molding plane is matching the blade to the soul’s profile. After decades of the wood expanding and contracting, losing moisture and drying up, it’s not unusual for the soul to change. This plane’s blade doesn’t match up perfectly to the soul. ideally the blade should protrude equally along the soul. Since it doesn’t I have two options. One is to reshape the blade to match the plane’s soul. Or two, reshape the soul a little bit to match the blade. The first option is the best since you don’t want to weaken the soul by removing wood away but in this case, so little wood needs to be removed, that option two would be much quicker.

I needed to remove a little bit of wood by the end of the bead so I took a bastard file and shaved it down. I periodically checked the blade in the plane to make sure I had a constant protrusion along the soul. Once it did, I was done.

Next I needed to see how the plane performed. I grabbed a piece of straight grain poplar and started planing. The plane shaved off perfect shavings with no clogs.

This is how the molding would look when installed. You can see how the shadows bring out the curves of the molding. A nice little detail that adds a touch of class to cabinetry.

The plane looks nice too. It still has a nice warm dark color and plenty of patina to show off its age. I could have bought a router bit to do the same thing, but where’s the fun in that?