Recently Jane Dagmi, a writer for Bob Vila, found me on Twitter and began to follow the restoration process of my Victorian house. She approached me along with 3 other DIY renovation bloggers to write about our workshops and our restoration process. It was an honor and the first interview I’ve ever done like this. I hope you enjoy it.
SanFranVic’s John Clarke Mills: In the Workshop
Since then, I have also syndicated my house blog content onto Bob Vila’s crowd-sourced blog for do-it-yourselfers. Check out Bob Vila Nation for a look at what other DIY’ers like myself are building.
Every shop needs a good workbench and its about time I built myself one. I sourced most of the parts locally from the $75 solid maple butcher block top to the $40 shelves with drawers I got at a local salvage yard. The only things I bought new were the three Rockler vises which I have yet to install. The picture above is of everything all mocked up.
I have assembled the bottom section out of 4×4′s and 2×4′s secured with long galvanized deck screws. The base frame itself is 45″ long and 23″ deep. The butcher block will overhang 3″ on the front and back, and 12″ and 18″ respectively on the left and right. This will accommodate the vice setup I will be installing but I will post more on that when its complete. For now, you can see more pictures by clicking on the image above.
One of the most simple and useful things I have made in my shop so far is this crosscutting jig. It is perfect for when your chop saw just doesn’t reach far enough to cut a big piece of wood. Also, I have much nicer blades for my table saw then I do for my chop saw. Either way, it is a quintessential jig to have in your shop.
I made this one with some scrap wood I had lying around the shop in a matter of an hour or so. The base is made from birch veneered plywood and the rails are made from oak. I bought the T-tracks to guide the sled from Rockler, my new favorite store. Other than that, there’s not much to it. I decided to use dowels to hold it all together but screws or any other type of joinery would work just as well.
The most important part is getting it square obviously. What I did was made the base perfectly square, measured the distance between the tracks on my saw, then attached the tracks to the sled. Then I clamped the jig the saw, turned on the blade and raised it up through the wood. Now with my T-square I am able to line up the pieces that hold the wood perpendicular to the blade. Thats all there is to it. This design is very simple and straightforward but if you browse around the web you will find all sort of different designs, additions, and safety additions.
(More pictures can be found in this Flickr set)
I’ve waited too long to take the plunge and start the tool collection I have always wanted. For years I have had an assortment of tools scattered between my various toolboxes, my car, and the friends who like to ‘borrow’ them. Now they finally have a place to call home.
Although I have never owned a chest like this before I feel good knowing they are Craftsman and guaranteed for life. Having used them in other shops and hearing only good things from all my friends I know they are going to last. The price wasnt too bad either. I also opted to stuff the drawers even more with a new set of 150 piece metric and assorted SAE sockets and wrenches. Now if only I had a real shop to put these in. For now, my front stoop and back yard will have to do.