December 28th, 2011

Pencil holder stocking stuffer

I made a bunch of these for office Christmas presents. I wanted something that I could mass produce easily with my mediocre wood working skills. I looked around the internet and found a commercially produced version of this. It was an interesting form and it seemed like a neat trinket that people would want to keep on their desks. I stared off with two red oak 1×4’s and one .25×4 poplar boards. All three pieces were laminated together to get the thickness I needed. I went to a friends house to use his jointer to make the edges flush and get down to the final width of 3.25”. On my table saw, I cross cut the long blank into individual blanks that are 3.25” wide by 3.25” high by 1.75” thick. On the drill press I drilled two 1.25” holes laid out symmetrically. The finish is just one coat of tung oil.

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November 1st, 2011

CD and LP storage

I made these a while back to use up some scraps and add some flair to my stereo rack. Both pieces are done with oak plywood and edge banding. The CD storage just wraps a black plastic CD organizer that I found lying around. The finish is polyurethane.



September 11th, 2011

Bookcase from a magazine

Here is my bookcase based on plans from Wood magazine, issue 206 (September 2011). It is made with oak plywood and solid oak trim pieces. The finish is clear poly. I made this in part to match with my custom desk.


March 20th, 2011

LED Shed Lights

I put in a plastic storage shed last summer and have been trying to customize it to my tastes. One thing that I thought would be cool was to add some lighting. I eventually came up with the idea of using LEDs and a SLA battery to power them. But how to make them look nice? That would soon come to me…

In early January, the orange depot was clearing out all of their Christmas stocking stuffer gift crap. I ran across their LED flashlights that were marked down to $1 each and I knew I had found my light source. I bought 8 Aluminum LED flashlights [6 LEDs in each flashlight – batteries included!]. I also got a 12v 2.3AH SLA battery and a 12v solar car battery maintainer (meant to sit on the dash and plug into the cig lighter to keep a car battery charged when it sits for long periods).

I started by cutting 2 strips of 5/8″ MDF and then drilling 4x 1″ holes equally spaced into each of them. I also made a shallow 1/4″ dado cut centered along the length of the back of the strip.

I then cut all the flashlights right behind the LED assembly and began wiring them to the board. I experimented with 7805 5v regulators to lower the 12v battery down to 4.5v for the flashlight head. I used 2 regulators (4 lights per regulator). They got really hot even with a heat-sink, so I figured that this heat was wasting lots of battery power.

In the end, I settled on using 2x16ohm (32 ohm total) 5 watt resistors running two light heads in series. So each of the 4 pairs of light heads has its own resistors lowering the battery voltage down to the proper level. I used a small relay controlled by a regular house light switch to turn the lights on and off (to try and avoid some line loss of power between the switch and the battery).

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To install the light bars in the shed, I used hanger bolts (wood thread on one side, machine thread on the other) to bolt the light bars to the metal rafters in the shed. The rafters are ‘U’ shaped, so they made a nice place to tuck the battery away in. The solar panel is held up to the shed sky-light with some safety wire. A length of phone wire connects the relay module to the light switch that is installed in a shallow plastic work box screwed to the shed wall. As you can see, the lights provide more than adequate illumination for finding things in the shed at night.

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Thanks to the folks at the orange depot for ordering too many flashlights at Christmas. Without their $1 flashlights, this project may have never materialized!

May 29th, 2010

Oak Monitor Stands

I made these for a pair of 15” inch monitors that came without stands. They are made with some scrap 1×4 oak and 1/4 inch MDF. The two pieces of the base are pocket screwed together. The vertical arm is also screwed in from the bottom. The MDF fits in the square inset that would otherwise be filled in with the stock stand. The MDF square attaches to the monitor using the 4 screw holes that are present to accept an aftermarket 100×100 millimeter VESA wall mount. The wood hinge is somewhat problematic because when the wood shrinks the carriage bolt has to be tightened to keep the screen from flopping downward. I tried a small knob instead of a nut on the carriage bolt. The problem was that it couldn’t be tightened hard enough by hand. A knob with a longer handle to get more leverage would be necessary. I didn’t think that would look good, so I just gave up and went back with a nut. So I just have to grab a wrench when it needs tightening.320782