27 September 2013

This Thing May Be Dead After All...

Holy crap, it's been a year since I posted anything here....

And to think, for quite some time I posted (at least) once a day...

Feel free to blame social media, I do.  Regularly.

Like I said a year ago (!), maybe I'll get back to it some day, but until then... be well, do good work, and we'll leave the light on for you.


20 September 2012

Still Here, If Not Posting

Just a shout out to those of you who still check here to see if I'll ever post anything again...

I will, but who knows when. :)

We're waiting for the landlord to finish enclosing our garage/carport so we can get all my tools -- and the two bicycles -- out of the front room.  Once I'm set up out there, I've got some projects pretty much lined up: some cabinets a loft bed and a bunk bed.  But, since we're in the Land of MaƱana there is no telling when the garage will actually get finished.  Pura Vida!

So anyway, eventually I'll have new stuff to put up here, until then...

Thanks for stopping by!

21 June 2012


 When last we talked, I had gone to the lumber yard and acquired -- of all things -- lumber for to make the cabinets.  I spent a while measuring and cutting the pieces....

 Then spent more time joining (using the pocket jig), planing, and sanding....
 And then we didn't take any pictures for a while.... but when I remembered to get the camera, there it was!  A big ole cabinet!
I didn't do the doors -- I'm not set up for all that faincy curvy stuff -- but it's done and the client likes it. 

18 June 2012

...And A Half Step Back

So, going to the lumber yard at 8:00 turned out to be going at 9:30, and then there was some last minute changing of plans, so this is what I'm now going to build:

I realized I didn't ask if they wanted the double cabinet on the left or the right and, of course, I had Sketched it backwards (no big deal, a single click reversed the thing).  But he didn't like the idea of the cabinets being one depth with the microwave shelf extending, so instead of a single 12" board for the depth of the cabs, there's now 2 joined 8" boards.  And no face frames, which is mainly an aesthetic thing anyway when building with solid wood.  And since the micro shelf is the same depth as the cabs now, I figured for overall strength it was best to have the top go all the way across the piece.

The doors, btw, are "store boughten", and established the sizes for all the rest.

I've got about half of the cuts done and will soon be able to start making wide boards out of narrow boards.  Pocket screws, glue and clamp time ahead!

One Step Closer

The new houses all have a large kitchen island with a sink, but in true Tico fashion, there are no other counters or cabinets.  So, the landlord asked me if I would build a wall cabinet unit for storage and also to provide a place for a microwave oven.  We're going to get the materials in a little bit, but before doing that I had to figure out just what I needed.

Enter "Google Sketchup" and "Cutlist Plus".  The former for the design, and the latter to tell me how many boards, and how they can most efficiently be cut.  Those with carpentry/cabinetry experience know how wonderful it is to have a program to figure this out for you. :)

So.  Wall cabinet design (with and without doors, and in metric for the ease of understanding for the client):

The cut list program doesn't easily avail itself of screenshots, but here's some clips showing the generated lists:

This tells me I need (2) 1"x12"s for the main shelves and sides, and where they need to be cut:

This shows the (5) 1"x2"s for the face frames, all marked for cutting:
And this one depicts the (1) 1"x8" for making the microwave section:

I won't be using it, the but program will even print out labels for the individual pieces of lumber, so they can be loaded in order (handy for larger projects, I'm sure).

Now it's just time for coffee before going to the lumber yard....

15 June 2012

Getting Jiggy With It

Hello, strangers!!!  Yes, I know it's been months since I've posted anything, but... that's life these days.

On to the reason I've revived this beast....

I shall be building some cabinets (both for ourselves, in the new house our landlord is building, and for him to put in the other two new houses he's building) and hope to continue building things for money and all that, and ... anyway, I got a new toy.  It's called a Pocket Screw Jig, and it's used for building frames (cabinet fronts and doors, pictures, &etc.) fast and with a clean front (no nails/screws/dowel pins visible).

So easy to use, just position the jig, clamp it down and drill (using the specialty "step bit" that comes with the jig).  You then insert screws in the resulting pockets (hence the whole "Pocket Screw" thang), tighten them down, et viola!!!  A clean, tight corner.
There's only one small problem.  The whole thing is designed to use pan head screws, which are readily available in The States, but seem to be ... not so much available here in Costa Rica.   I haven't checked with the big box hardware store EPA, but I did go to the three medium-sized places here in San Rafael, and they'd never seen such a thing.  You can see here what happens when one uses regular wood screws....

I know I can order the screws through the same place where I got the jig (Grainger Hardware Supply, which recently opened a Costa Rican location), but those would have the a) added cost of shipping from The States, b) the whole "2-3 weeks to get them in" thing, and c) they're square drive [the 'slot' in the screw head is square shaped, rather than the common Phillips or Flat], which would require a specialty screw bit/driver.

More types of screw head than you ever knew existed:

But I'll get it figgered out.

30 January 2012

17 January 2012

Musical Interlude

Can't help but hear Robin Williams announcing this song using his Lawrence Welk voice....

(cropped because the imagery is ... very 70s and all that goes with that)

06 January 2012

New Desk Done

So I'm back from my border run, and have got my new desk all set up.  See previous post for photos of the creation of the new desk.  I was able, before heading to Nicaragua, to get a good finish of polyurethane on the desk, and then to allow it to dry thoroughly for three days, so this morning I got busy (with Jen's help) making the switchover.

Before (actually a few months ago)

The shelf unit is the same, so you can see how much more space I have on the desktop.  Not only is the new one deeper, but it is also wider.

Umm, that's it.

01 January 2012

On a (Building) Tear

For Christmas this year, Jen's folks gave us cash, with which to do nice things for ourselves.  Jen used her bit as a lion's portion of the price of a "like new" netbook computer, and I decided I would use mine to buy materials for a larger computer desk, as the one I built when I first arrived in Costa Rica is small, because I had a small space in which to put it.

The first step was to go to the neighborhood lumber yard and get some planking for the top.  I wanted to go as wide as possible (and here in CR it's easier to get really wide boards), but I ended up getting 1"x10"s, as they were the most reasonably priced.  I also went with pine, although I did think about using the laurel (accent on second syllable, please) like I used for the folding tables last time.

I already had some 2"x3"s, that Jen's former boss gave me (along with some other lumber) when they closed down shop, so I decided to use them for the under-top frame and legs.

Top planks 'joined' using cleats and screws, and under-top frame assembled and temporarily in place.
Legs and low back brace added, pondering computer shelf placement.

Same thing, viewed from the other end (note the 'park' bench I made in the background).

The top with a nice coat of poly on it.

Close shot of the wet-polyed top, showing the dowel peg anchors.
Not a whole lot left to do before bringing this one into the house... decide final placement of the shelf for the CPU, more poly on the top (and legs and shelf) and attaching the upper shelf unit that is on the old desk, but all that will have to wait until I return from my quarterly trip across the border to get my visa re-stamped.  I leave in the morning, and will return on Thursday.

Pictures to follow!

27 December 2011

Buildering Stuff

I decided to make some folding TV tables, now that I have all the tools. I began by looking online for free plans, but the hundreds of "leads" all led to the same page, which was just written instructions which were difficult to follow. So, of course, I just started making....
First, I cut the pieces for the top (1"x4" ripped [using my new table saw!] on the small dimension to get ½"x4" pieces), the frame (1"x2" ripped to 1"x1") and legs (1"x2").  The legs have the angle cut so they'll sit flat on the floor when the table is in use, and the frame pieces are mitred so no end grain will show (which is why I wanted a frame in the first place, to hide the end grain of the top pieces).
After cutting a rabbet for the top pieces to lay into, I put the frame pieces together with glue and brads and had this.

I then started work on the underside,... the cross supports for the top (to which the outer legs would be attached) and to which the top pieces were glued.  This took some time, because I had to reconfigure the pieces a couple of times to make sure everything would be strong enough in the end.
And then the inner legs, with braces and ½" dowel hinge pins (and a stop board I had to add so the legs wouldn't splay all the way to the top frame).
And VIOLA!!! One folding TV tray.

I still have to put a finish on it (polyurethane varnish), and build another one, but at least I finished this much by Christmas morning for an 'official' unveiling.

The End.