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#368418 - 26/02/2017 17:35 Finished project
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3433
Loc: Guadalajara, MX
I mentioned in Mark's thread about his house that I was working on building furniture in my carport. This morning I finally finished a desk I built for my wife (that I promised her back in September). Done with only a Skil-saw, a drill, a sander, and couple hand tools. I did cheat and buy the front table legs on Ebay ($8/pair!) and then modify them to graft them into the project.

I still look at it and see all the mistakes, like the uneven drawer gaps from free-handing the cuts with a skil-saw, but the wife is happy, so I guess that's what matters.


Attachments
16996395_10155078124056477_2373216431076241891_n.jpg


_________________________
~ John

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#368420 - 26/02/2017 19:40 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11945
Loc: Sterling, VA
That's beautiful! Fantastic job with that set of tools!

What did you use for the little details in the middle? Was that the skil-saw too?

What did you use for the top, and how is it attached? What did you use for hardware on the drawers?
_________________________
Matt

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#368422 - 26/02/2017 21:43 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
Phoenix42
veteran

Registered: 21/03/2002
Posts: 1369
Loc: MA but Irish born
Originally Posted By: JBjorgen
...but the wife is happy, so I guess that's what matters.


Yup!

PS Awesome work, looks great!

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#368424 - 27/02/2017 14:00 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13710
Loc: Canada
Super job, John!

It is quite amazing how two little bits of scroll work can transform simple boxes into something rather elegant! The magic of good design!

Cheers

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#368425 - 27/02/2017 16:01 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
tanstaafl.
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/07/1999
Posts: 5319
Loc: Ajijic, Mexico
Awww, I coulda done that without even the SkilSaw or the drill. Just go down to Ikea, get out my credit card, ask if they deliver...

No, really, that is very nice work, John. I pat myself on the back any time I manage to screw a pair of shelf brackets onto the wall and have it come out almost level.

tanstaafl.
_________________________
"There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

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#368426 - 27/02/2017 17:38 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30897
Loc: Seattle, WA
Pretty darn sweet!
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#368427 - 27/02/2017 18:35 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3136
Loc: Portland, OR
Nice desk!

Originally Posted By: JBjorgen
I still look at it and see all the mistakes, like the uneven drawer gaps from free-handing the cuts with a skil-saw

As a fellow skil-saw-only* builder, there are a couple of things you can do to help with that. First, clamp a straight edge for a guide. Don't trust dimensional lumber like a two-by-four to be straight, but the factory edge of plywood is usually (but not always) okay. Which side of the line you put the guide on depends on whether or not the skil-saw motor can clear the clamps+straight edge, but if you can, clamp the straight edge so that any saw wobbles go into the waste, rather than into your good piece. Second, if you're looking for a finished edge, don't cut on the line, cut on the waste side of the line by a few mm, and then sand/plane to the line.

* I actually have not one, but two table saws, both of which are in pieces, and have been since I bought the darned things 6 years ago. Since furniture-making is a distant goal, and I mostly just need a saw to rip sheet goods, the adequacy of the skil-saw makes assembling the table saws a low priority.

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#368428 - 27/02/2017 18:48 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13710
Loc: Canada
For people without space/money for a dedicated workshop, probably the best power tool to get (after a decent cordless drill) would be a Track Saw.

It is basically a Skilsaw on steriods, but way way more than that.

A woodworker friend of mine has built high-standard complete kitchen cabinetry with one, using the living room carpet as his workshop. Without creating much of a mess, either. The dust collection (using a shopvac) on these is generally unbelievably good.

I have the Makita version, and both a 5' track and a 9' track. Absolutely excellent. But even the lowly ShopFox versions ought to be way better than the non-tracked alternatives.

We use an 8'x4' sheet of rigid foam (insulation) as a work surface (on the floor), placing the sheet goods on top of it so that the blade can be set to cut through the wood into the top 1/16" of the foam. Excellent straight, splinter-free cuts, with no big mess.

Cheers

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#368429 - 27/02/2017 20:13 Re: Finished project [Re: mlord]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 30897
Loc: Seattle, WA
I didn't know about track saws, that's cool. Next time I need to do a job like that where I wished I had room for a table saw, I will consider getting one of those instead.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#368431 - 28/02/2017 00:39 Re: Finished project [Re: tanstaafl.]
jmwking
addict

Registered: 27/02/2003
Posts: 669
Loc: Washington, DC metro
Originally Posted By: tanstaafl.
Awww, I coulda done that without even the SkilSaw or the drill. Just go down to Ikea, get out my credit card, ask if they deliver...

No, really, that is very nice work, John. I pat myself on the back any time I manage to screw a pair of shelf brackets onto the wall and have it come out almost level.

tanstaafl.


I can do level - I just want them to stay up! (I'm always worried I'll just nick the studs and not get a good hold...)

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#368432 - 28/02/2017 00:57 Re: Finished project [Re: Dignan]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3433
Loc: Guadalajara, MX
Originally Posted By: Dignan


What did you use for the little details in the middle? Was that the skil-saw too?



I must admit I cheated on those too. Since I don't have a router to do the detail work, I was walking around Home Depot and found this curtain rod hanger, So I cut it in half and sanded it and filled the holes.


Attachments
IMG_1986.JPG


_________________________
~ John

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#368433 - 28/02/2017 01:01 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3433
Loc: Guadalajara, MX
The table legs were these: ebay legs, so I had to modify the shape of the top to graft into a regular 2x2 with a dowel and glue to hold them together. Then they were too long, so I cut off the bottom and rounded them off a bit.
_________________________
~ John

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#368434 - 28/02/2017 01:12 Re: Finished project [Re: Dignan]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3433
Loc: Guadalajara, MX
Originally Posted By: Dignan


What did you use for the top, and how is it attached? What did you use for hardware on the drawers?


The top is a simple 18mm sheet of plywood with a stamped decorative moulding mitered and attached around the edges to hide the plywood layers.

It's attached with 1.5 inch headless nails. I used nail set to tap them below the surface and filled the holes with resin. I didn't glue the top because I'd like to make a solid wood top for it someday.

The drawer hardware are antique (or oldish anyway) glass knobs that my wife ordered off Ebay. The slides are just typical ball-bearing cabinet drawer slides from Home Depot.


Attachments
16938995_10155078124366477_6351507749164311764_n.jpeg


_________________________
~ John

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#368435 - 28/02/2017 01:20 Re: Finished project [Re: mlord]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3433
Loc: Guadalajara, MX
Originally Posted By: mlord
For people without space/money for a dedicated workshop, probably the best power tool to get (after a decent cordless drill) would be a Track Saw.

It is basically a Skilsaw on steriods, but way way more than that.



After getting completely frustrated when cutting this desk out, for Christmas someone gave me an Amazon gift certificate so I bought a Kreg Rip-Cut tool. I've only used it twice since then, but other than being bulky, I'm happy enough with the straightness of the cuts. The disadvantage is that you have to have straight edges to start with. With a track saw you can mill your own edges. The advantage is that it's $30 instead of $300+.
_________________________
~ John

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#368436 - 28/02/2017 02:00 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13710
Loc: Canada
The ShopFox track saw (or Grizzly) is usually the cheapest.
Dunno how good that one is, but the online reviews
suggest it is effective after making a few tweaks to it.

The Makita and Festool models are the cream of the crop,
with the former priced at about half of the latter,
and no significant difference in quality or performance
(I have used both, and bought the Makita for here).

There are also "track" thingies to add to a basic Skilsaw,
but those are not at all the same as a proper track saw.

A track saw track, has a (replaceable) zero-clearance edge
at the cut line, so no top splintering of the material,
and really easy set-up: just line that edge of the track
to exactly where you want the cut, and that's where it will cut.
No weird offset measurements or anything.

So anyone starting out, or looking for an upgrade in saws,
take a good close look at track saws. They really are fantastic,
and can replace a tablesaw for many purposes. They can
actually cut straighter lines, and on crooked materials.



Edited by mlord (28/02/2017 02:19)

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#368437 - 28/02/2017 02:09 Re: Finished project [Re: mlord]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3433
Loc: Guadalajara, MX
Of course it comes without tracks or clamps or anything else, so you're pushing $250-$300 to get it to be usable.
_________________________
~ John

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#368438 - 28/02/2017 02:15 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13710
Loc: Canada
Oh, I missed that. Not much point of a track saw without the track!

The other "accessories" are not at all necessary. These tracks just sit on top of the work and stay in place with friction. Clamps generally not required -- I wasted $35 on clamps for mine, and have never gotten them out of their packaging.

Cheers

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#368439 - 28/02/2017 02:56 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11945
Loc: Sterling, VA
Tommy on This Old House has been using a Festool track saw for a few years now, and I salivate every time I see it. He has a whole bunch of Festool equipment, most of which has the vacuum attachment to seriously cut down on sawdust.

A boy can dream...

I currently have a DeWalt circular saw, so I'll have to look at that Kreg thing you linked to, John. I had been meaning to look for some sort of straight edge to use as a table saw replacement, because I don't have the space or money for a table saw smile But I could drop $25 on a distant facsimile that requires a bunch of offset measurements smile
_________________________
Matt

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#368440 - 28/02/2017 03:19 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13710
Loc: Canada
On the cheaper end of the scale, it is quite easy to make a DIY "track" for use with any circular saw and/or router.

Just need a strip of 1/8" thick material ("hardboard", "masonite", or whatever they call it where you live), about 10" wide and as long as you want your "track" to be. This piece doesn't even need to be straight.

The second thing needed is a _straight_ length of something (eg. factory edge from 1/2" plywood, or more masonite, or..), perhaps 2-4" wide, which you glue to the top of the first piece, to become its "guide rail".

The circular saw (or router) then rides on top of the first piece, tight against the second piece. The first time it is used, it trims the first piece flush with its blade, creating a zero-clearance guide for future cuts.

Dirt cheap and easy to make, but it does normally require clamps to hold it in place when in use, which means it also then requires sawhorses or something to elevate it so the clamps can be used.

Terrible description, I know, but photo attached. Note that the saw in the photo is not the one I actually used with the guide (the original saw was larger), but it does illustrate how it would work.

EDIT: Here is an article showing the concept more clearly:
http://www.woodworkersjournal.com/making-straight-cuts-with-a-circular-saw/


Attachments
sawguide.jpg

Description: DIY saw guide track for Skilsaw style machines.



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#368441 - 28/02/2017 04:23 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3433
Loc: Guadalajara, MX
Thanks Mark. That would make a good complement to the Kreg tool, which does have some limitations. And the price point is right in my range smile
_________________________
~ John

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#368442 - 28/02/2017 05:45 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
larry818
old hand

Registered: 01/10/2002
Posts: 980
Loc: Fullerton, Calif.
This is what I do. It also had the advantage that I can throw it away when done and build another the next time I need one, 5 years later...

My garage is more about metal work.

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#368443 - 28/02/2017 06:20 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11945
Loc: Sterling, VA
Good suggestion, Mark! And that's probably the exact same saw I have, actually. I'm in the DeWalt ecosystem. Any other invaluable tools you'd recommend for general work around the house? So far I have:

impact driver
hammer drill/driver
drill
reciprocating saw
circular saw

Those are all on the 20v Max system. I keep a tool bag for work, but of course I mostly use that hammer drill/driver for everything.
_________________________
Matt

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#368444 - 28/02/2017 16:28 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
JBjorgen
carpal tunnel

Registered: 19/01/2002
Posts: 3433
Loc: Guadalajara, MX
Matt, if you're working with anything other than wood, a 4.5 inch angle grinder is a fantastic all-purpose tool you can use to cut concrete, metal, masonry, rusted bolts, etc.. You can also put wire wheels or flap discs on them to clean up rusted or painted metals, etc.. I use mine quite a bit, but then again they don't build anything out of wood here in Mexico.
_________________________
~ John

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#368445 - 28/02/2017 18:07 Re: Finished project [Re: Dignan]
canuckInOR
carpal tunnel

Registered: 13/02/2002
Posts: 3136
Loc: Portland, OR
Originally Posted By: Dignan
Any other invaluable tools you'd recommend for general work around the house?

Your list is pretty decent already, and will get you most of the way to anywhere, assuming you also have standard things like screwdrivers, a hammer, tape measure and a ladder.

The thing about "general work around the house" is that it can mean anything, so the best thing to do is just buy your tools as projects come up. For example -- I had to replace the subfloor in a laundry room, after the washer leaked and the existing particle board subfloor absorbed all the water and deformed. That's when I upgraded my anemic cordless circular saw to my current one, and bought a pry bar (because trying to use the claw end of a hammer sucked). So now I have a pry bar in my arsenal of tools for general work around the house. It's nice, but certainly not something I'd say, OMG, you *have* to get one of these -- because the truth is, you can get by just fine without one for years. And that's really true of a lot of tools. My non-contact voltage tester pen, (crappy) chisel set, mitre box and cross-cut saw, level, hacksaw, aviation snips, and a host of other tools arrived similarly.

I think I have 5 tools that I bought "because I should have these", rather than "because I need it for my current project." Two table saws, a router with router table (it was a good deal at a garage sale), a belt sander, and a pair of drywall T-squares. Of those, I have only ever used the drywall T-squares. The rest just take up space in my garage.

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#368446 - 28/02/2017 22:03 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13710
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: JBjorgen
Matt, if you're working with anything other than wood, a 4.5 inch angle grinder is a fantastic all-purpose tool you can use to cut concrete, metal, masonry, rusted bolts, etc.. You can also put wire wheels or flap discs on them to clean up rusted or painted metals, etc.. I use mine quite a bit, but then again they don't build anything out of wood here in Mexico.


Ditto. Got one last year, and use it weekly for any number of oddball tasks.

I also got the DeWalt cordless multi-tool thing --> I've had a corded Fein one for decades now, and it is an amazing problem solver. But horribly inconvenient to use: no quick-change arbor, and that long cord that needs an outlet. Thus the DeWalt cordless. It is nowhere near the quality or smoothness of the Fein, but more than Good Enough for everything so far.

Oddly, I have never used either version for their original intended purpose as a sander!

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#368447 - 28/02/2017 22:05 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 13710
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: JBjorgen
Thanks Mark. That would make a good complement to the Kreg tool, which does have some limitations. And the price point is right in my range smile


I figured such! smile

One tip: make it wider than I (or the article) suggested. Like, perhaps 14-15" wide instead of 10-12". That way you'll often be able to position the necessary clamps far enough to the side that the saw motor doesn't want to bump into them in use.

The first one of these I ever made was that wide, and the top piece was just a 3-4" wide strip of 1/2" ply more or less down the middle. I used one side with the circular saw, and the other side with a router.


Cheers


Edited by mlord (28/02/2017 22:07)

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#368448 - 01/03/2017 19:19 Re: Finished project [Re: mlord]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 11945
Loc: Sterling, VA
Originally Posted By: JBjorgen
Matt, if you're working with anything other than wood, a 4.5 inch angle grinder is a fantastic all-purpose tool you can use to cut concrete, metal, masonry, rusted bolts, etc.. You can also put wire wheels or flap discs on them to clean up rusted or painted metals, etc.. I use mine quite a bit, but then again they don't build anything out of wood here in Mexico.

That's a good idea, but I'm not sure if I have many times that I'd use that. I do have a rusting iron fence that guards a walk-up basement in my back yard. I could use it to get the paint and rust off and repaint it, but I don't think it's worth the effort. It's not the most substantial fence, and the area where the fence meets the concrete is the most rusted. I'm not actually sure what to do about it. Any tips? Or should I be thinking about taking the whole thing out, drilling new holes in the concrete, and starting over again?

Originally Posted By: mlord
I also got the DeWalt cordless multi-tool thing...

That might be more up my alley. I do a lot of drywall cut outs for low voltage plates, and feel like that could make my job easier. Although a good old drywall saw does the job too. But I also need a sander...

Ok I guess I'm just looking for an excuse to buy more tools, which I really don't need. I just got the supplies I need yesterday to replace the shelves in our hall closet. We have a unique triangular-shaped closet that I can't get premade shelves for, and the current ones only come out halfway, so I effectively lose more than half the possible storage space.

I'm going to cut up some plywood, attach cleats to the walls to hang them on, and put a decorative edge on the front like John did to the desk. Wish me luck!
_________________________
Matt

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#368462 - 09/03/2017 18:46 Re: Finished project [Re: mlord]
tahir
pooh-bah

Registered: 27/02/2004
Posts: 1705
Loc: London
Originally Posted By: mlord
For people without space/money for a dedicated workshop, probably the best power tool to get (after a decent cordless drill) would be a Track Saw.


Agreed, they're brilliant. We make jigs from scarps for the router

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#368463 - 09/03/2017 18:50 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
tahir
pooh-bah

Registered: 27/02/2004
Posts: 1705
Loc: London
Sorry, forgot to say that's way more complex than anything we've done. Looks great.

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#368464 - 09/03/2017 19:05 Re: Finished project [Re: JBjorgen]
tahir
pooh-bah

Registered: 27/02/2004
Posts: 1705
Loc: London
These are the most complex pieces we've done yet. In the middle of a whole bedroom at the moment and then hopefully our solid cherry dining table which started off as raw timber, wiggly bits will be straightened using track saw and then thicknessed.


Attachments
Cot.JPG (23 downloads)
Coffee Table.JPG (26 downloads)


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