Dining Table Build – Routing for Days

We have come to the most time consuming part of the dining table build. Routing. In order to create the mortise and tenon joints I outlined last week to deal with seasonal wood movement, I had to route every board used in the table top. I decided to start with making the tenons. This meant routing 19 boards on both sides, and in order to create a ½” tenon in the middle of the 1 ½” board, I had to route ½” from each side. If you’re following along and doing the math with me, that means routing away ½” of wood from 76 different sides.  To further complicate matters, each tenon had to be 2 ½” long, which meant taking 4 different passes with a ¾” wide router. Long story short, this meant an absurd amount of routing was required to create all of the tenons. Full disclosure, I…

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Dining Table Build – Seasonal Wood Movement

When planning out this new dining room table build, I really had no idea what I was doing. That’s probably an understatement. Luckily, about a week after finalizing the design, I went skiing with a friend of mine who is a great woodworker. Also, remember friends? Those people you got to see outside of your house back in the day? Good times. This friend, Brooks, really changed the route of the design and probably saved the table from a cracked and warped short-lived life. While on a chairlift and over lunch, Brooks explained to me the key to woodworking, which is wood movement. I had done zero planning for wood movement, meaning that as the wood expanded and contracted with temperature and humidity changes, it would probably crack and fail. But during that conversation we figured out a path forward to account for wood movement in my design. Yet another…

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Dining Table Build – Let Her Rip!

Last week, I laid out the design of a dining room table that I built for a couple of friends who just bought a home out here in Colorado. This week I’ll start walking through each of the steps I went through to build the table. Now, this table design is very large, about 4’ x 8’. A quick google search for tables that size shows that many, if not most, cost over $1000. Pretty significant. Because this is my first time building anything significant, and because they’re my good friends, they’ll be getting the table for the cost of the supplies. Even with that keeping costs down, this much wood can get expensive, so I decided to build the table out of douglas-fir lumber. While douglas-fir lumber is fairly cheap and readily available at your big box home improvement store, it does present a couple issues. Number one is…

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Dining Table Build – The Design

A few months ago, my friend asked me to help him build a dining room table for the new house that he and his wife bought in Colorado. I’m not going to lie, it was both terrifying and exciting. Terrifying, because I had never built anything that required close to the amount of skill required for a flat, square dining table. Exciting, because it was a chance to dive headfirst into something I believed I would really enjoy. Obviously, the first step was to design the table to fit their needs.  They love to spend time with family and wanted a table for everyone to gather around. In this case, everyone is 8-12 people, so we decided on a very large table. Approximately 4’ x 8’. After determining the size, we needed a design. They sent me a few examples for sale that they liked, and then I sketched out…

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Journey Into Composting

Compost is considered black gold for gardners. We buy large quantities every year to try and amend our soil and make it more suitable for growing food. Compost is also a great way to get rid of food and yard scraps and “recycle” them back into good nutrients for the soil. Back in 2017, Allyson and I started our composting journey, mostly as a way to reduce our food waste. We bought a vermicompost box at that time. Vermicompost is made by putting food scraps into a bin with worms, typically red wigglers. Unfortunately, our first foray into vermicomposting resulted in a large number of fruit flies in the small apartment we were renting at the time. Luckily, we bought a home shortly after and had space to make a large compost pile outside. The vermicompost still lives on, but we put way less food in it now. This helps…

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Bathroom Upgrades – Part 2

Last week I wrote about installing a vent fan in our bathroom to help with the humidity (and smells). This week is about the chandelier that we installed. All of the wiring in our house when we moved in was ungrounded, including the lighting. I spent a couple weeks after we bought the house, but before we moved in, to run new wiring to all of the outlets with grounding. At that time I got an electrician to put in a new 200 amp service to our house and add the grounding rods. What I did not do, however, was upgrade any of the lighting. At the time I didn’t want to open up any walls or ceilings to access the wires. Honestly, the lighting circuits worked fine and there wasn’t a big rush to upgrade them.  That all changed when Allyson asked me to install a new chandelier in…

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Bathroom Upgrades – Part 1

It is currently about 20°F here in Denver with snow in the forecast several days this week. Obviously, we’ve all been inside much more than normal lately with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but this weather means no garden or workshop time today. With that being the case, I decided it’s appropriate to discuss a recent indoor project that Allyson and I completed. Our house was built in the 1950s. Because of the age of our house, it did not include a bathroom vent fan when we moved in. Typically, older homes weren’t sealed very well (we can attest to that), which meant that moisture inside the home dried out without many mold issues. Modern homes are sealed much better, which dramatically improves their insulation, but can cause problems with moisture inside the house. That is why almost all homes built in the last 20 years include bathroom vent fans that…

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Goal Setting – Update

Well, I figure it is about time I wrote an update regarding goals I set last fall. This feels like it is several months late, but better late than never. In that post, I laid out two different goals for myself using the SMART principles. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound. I think it is fairly obvious to say that I did not meet my time-bound goals, but let’s revisit them now and see how I am doing.  Goal #1 - Weight loss My original goal was to lose weight and get down to 165-170 lbs. I specifically laid out that my goal was to lose 2lb/week until I hit 160 lbs. At that point I would try to put back on some muscle weight. Since I wrote that post about 28 weeks ago I obviously got down to 160 lbs without any problems. And it would make sense…

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New Workbench, Who Dis?

In another addition of Weekend Builds™ , I have made myself a new workbench/assembly table. (If you’re confused by Weekend Builds™ it’s because I just made it up). In general, I have been trying to finish my workshop completely before moving on to other projects. However, this has proven to be relatively difficult as other projects have come up. These other projects would be much easier if I could build them on a table, rather than on the ground, so I designed and built a simple workbench last weekend. To begin, I first had to decide what my main goal was for the workbench. While I would love to have an amazing woodworking bench with all of the clamps, bench dogs, and various contraptions I could ever want, I needed something simple and quick to get started. I wanted something sturdy, but I’ll be using it mostly for assembly, so…

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Collapsible Sawhorses

Fun fact, collapsible can be spelled collapsable. Which might explain why both spellings look incorrect to me. Ah English, so simple and straightforward. Fun facts aside, today I want to talk about a quick and simple DIY build that I completed several weekends ago. Sawhorses are a must for most people doing DIY around the house, and I am ashamed that it took me almost 2 years in our house to build my own. I finally decided that working off of the ground was too much of a pain in the back (literally). Step one of getting up off of the ground was this sawhorse build. Step two will be building an actual workbench for my workshop.  There are a ton of Youtube videos out there giving instructions on how to build your own sawhorses. I decided to follow the plans from Woodworking for Mere Mortals. Steve Ramsey runs this…

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