Pull out pantry drawers

Off our kitchen we have a deep (30″) pantry that we use to store flour, sugar, salt, etc. It has always been annoying digging to the back to pull out what you needed. Especially when the flour made its way back there since it was the heaviest.

I had the idea of making it into drawers instead of shelves and proposed my change to my wife. She loved the idea and I headed online to order drawer slides for the project. They had 28″ drawer slides in stock, which is the perfect fit.

When confirming my measurements, I noticed that we could fit 3 drawers. 2 larger ones that could fit the largest containers we had, and 1 small drawer at the top. I didn’t know what the top drawer would hold at the time, but figured we would find something.

The first obstacle was the right side was 3.5″ past the door casing. The slides would have to be in line with the door casing, so I would have to build that out. I used some scrap 1×2’s and plywood to build out the casing but used the old shelves to give a solid MDF panel to screw my drawer slides too. It was already painted the same colour as the cabinet, so there was an added benefit. 🙂

The drawers were made quickly out of plywood I have on hand (thanks to my new vertical plywood storage cart I built a couple months ago! I then used some solid birch for the top rails and front to cover the plywood ends.

After making the first 2, I realized that the top drawer could benefit from a thinner bottom panel for added height in the drawer. I also had some acrylic on hand from a past project that happened to be almost the exact size I needed. With the height of this drawer being above my wife’s head, it would help her find things without getting a step stool out.

For the hardwood edging for the drawers and draw fronts, I didn’t want to go through the process of milling more wood. I looked to my pile of misc. lumbar and found 2 panels that I glued up when I first got into woodworking. I don’t remember what my original intentions were with these, but they had seen better days and were a bit warped. Since the edging was going to start out at 1/2″ thick before going to my new drum sander, That should be thin enough that any minor warping would be fixed.

I cut the drawer fronts out of the same pieces of birch. There was certainly some differing colours to this birch. The beginning was the typical yellow-hue, then it went to more of a maple colouring before showing some spalting, which is dark lines through the wood.

We were eager to get this inside and put to use so I finished it with spray lacquer and left it outside for the day to get any smell off of it from the finish. Overall we are very happy with this project.

Space-Saving Plywood Cart

Back in August, The Wood Whisperer put out a video on a Space-Saving Plywood Cart. This idea interested me because I always had issues where a 8 foot section of my wall was unusable when I had plywood on-hand. For that reason, I tried not to have extras around when it wasn’t needed, but it is so convenient to have plywood on-hand for just regular shop jigs and cabinets.

I started watching the video deciding how I should make my version, but then I just decided that an exact replica was what I needed. I bought the plans and got to work building. I happened to have an extra sheet in my shop at the time (see, convenient!) so I used that sheet, and some scraps to build it. When I started, I realized that I wanted more plywood storage than what was accounted for in the plans. So I expanded the compartments a bit, but only by a few inches.

As soon as I got the cart built, I realized I would run into issues with it hitting my garage door sensor. Since moving it would be a safety issue, I decided to buy some 2×8 lumbar and build a little wall that I would secure to my existing wall with lag screws.

The only changes I made, other than having to built out the cart, was one suggestion by a commenter on his video to use fixed wheels vs swivel castors. Their logic was the cart was always going in an arc, so swivel was not needed. Made sense to me. The other was after getting it on the wall and my plywood scraps loaded. Taller scraps were falling forward. I screwed on some D ring picture frame hangers and used them to secure some bungee cords to hold them up right. My final addition was a way to secure the structure closed. I didn’t want it causing unneeded stress on the hinges by having it left partially opened or closed. I just used a lock hasp, which seems to do the job.

Overall I am very happy with this cart. I placed an order for 6 or 7 sheets of plywood after this and it all fit perfectly with the scraps I had. 😃 Here are a few pictures, and a link to a YouTube video overview I created. Sorry for the vertical video, I am still new to this. lol

Adjustable Shelf with Hidden Key Storage

Our current key storage was running out of room and we wanted a larger key holder. My wife also asked for a shelf to be built into the holder. I thought I could make a hidden storage compartment for the keys so it was a little more protected since it is right beside our side door.

For a few of the past projects, I have been making an effort to use up some of the offcuts and scrap pieces of wood around the shop. I had an old table top that came from a small end table that I scraped because it was falling apart. I kept the top thinking I could place something on it at some point. I started off by sanding the years of different finishes off of it. It had dark – almost black finish on it. I thought it was mahogany when I kept it, but to my surprise it was oak. White oak I believe. I thought this would be a great back panel for the bookcase. I took a left over piece of oak plywood from the recent downstairs floating table for the back panel and just needed to find wood for the box and shelves.

I found some smaller pieces left over from the bathroom cabinet I believe and figured that should be enough for everything. I cut the sides to width and length and set up my box joint jig for the joinery of the box. I like the look of box joints and the Incra Box Joint jig I got for Christmas a few years ago make them very simple to make.

After the box was cut, I put a groove down roughly the middle for the back panel of the shelf portion. It was going to be inset into the box so I had to install it at the same time as gluing the box joints together. When that was finished and glued, I cut the box in half to separate the front and back sections and glued in the back panel for the keys section. Once the box was separated into a front and back section I cut and glued the plywood back panel in for the key section.

For the shelving, I was originally going to inset the shelves into the sides and glue them in place. I *ahem* forgot to cut the grooves before gluing it together and decided shelf pins were a better fit instead of trying to cut them after assembly. After making a quick jig to keep the shelf pin spacing the same, I drilled all the holes in the front shelf section. I do have a kreg shelf pin jig for drilling the holes, but unfortunately it doesn’t work with the very narrow shelfs I have.

I went to Home Depot in search of some hinges to use for this project. I wanted something hidden preferably since it was supposed to be “hidden” key storage. Unfortunately Home Depot didn’t have anything that I liked. I could have ordered them and had them shipped, but I wanted to finish this. I decided to get a piano hinge and use that. The hinge portion is against the door casing from the entryway to breezeway, so that should be hidden enough.

After coming home and installing the hinge, I installed a 1/2″ magnet on the top of both sections so it would stay shut. For the keychain holder, I previously bought some small screw in hooks for this purpose. I bought them years ago and they have been sitting around collecting dust ever since. Our previous keychain holder had the hooks on a 1/4″ piece of wood and I liked that idea. I took the last piece of scrap oak I had that was roughly 1/4″ already and cut it into 1 1/2″ strips for the sections. I pre-drilled holes to aid in screwing these things on and went onto sanding.

After sanding the project thoroughly I sprayed on a few coats of lacquer. After a final assembly of the hinge and keychain holders the project is complete!

We are very happy with this project. It ticks all the boxes for what we wanted in a shelf and keychain holder. It also has storage for many more keys that we may find around the house. 😃 After the project was finished, I decided to try making a project overview video in addition to my usual pictures. Enjoy.

New Table Saw Fence, Drawers for Table Saw

I have been hooked on this online auction place recently. They don’t have woodworking things within my city often, but I have picked up quite a few gems over the past year on their site. Recently I saw they had a larger table saw fence up for auction. It wasn’t a great picture and there was no preview due to COVID, so I had to take my chances.

I bid a maximum of $65, and I think I got it between $50-60. When I picked it up and saw what I finally won I was happy with my purchase. I quickly installed it and replaced my existing table saw fence with this new one. It has much larger cutting capacity then my older saw. Too much for my needs even. I ended up moving the fence brackets over to the left as much as I could and trimmed the length so it didn’t interfere with my jointer. I even had to pull my table saw back towards my entry door because it was too wide. 🙂

After installing I put it to use on the floating desk for my printers. I absolutely love how well this works. Better then my previous fence and larger cutting capacity!

I used a cut off from my old computer desk to build out some empty space left by the larger fence. I then took a sheet of birch plywood that I had for a while now and build a 4 drawer cabinet to go under the table saw. I thought I might as well as make use of the space as well as have storage for my commonly used table saw accessories such as push sticks, blocks and featherboards. I overbought the amount of handles I needed for a previous shop cabinet with building another cabinet somewhere in the future. I am glad I did. All I had to purchase to build this was the drawer slides.

This was a fairly quick installation and build and it has helped my productivity so much in the shop. 🙂

Wall Mounted Printer Desk

Now that we have been working from home for 17 months I have been ever changing my working habits to try and get back a proper work-life balance. My working from home area is shared with my personal computer, so I have to disconnect and reconnect the two whenever I want to work on my home PC or work system. I thought if I had a separate work area for work and home it would help me mentally disconnect from work if I was not at the same desk setup for work and home.

I tossed around some ideas with my wife on what this would look like. What we decided on was to move the printer and 3d printer to a location above our filing cabinet. Then I could move my monitors to the desk where the printer was. It would not be a totally different room, but it would be a separate keyboard, mouse and monitor. So I could even quickly browse or work on something (like this post!) during a break without having to disconnect my work system.

I was worried with COVID the cost of oak plywood would be expensive. Surprisingly it was only $70 for a shop grade 4×8 sheet of oak plywood. They wanted $60 for spruce plywood, so I don’t understand why hardwood plywood wasn’t much more then it was pre-COVID. I think I paid $55 or $65 pre-COVID. I didn’t have a truck to pick it up, so I had them cut it down the middle so I had 2 2’x8′ pieces. I was worried it wouldn’t fit in my SUV, but I think I can easily get 4 2’x8′ sheets in. Good to know for next time!

The top was made exactly like my main computer desk setup. It is 2 pieces of plywood glued together and the sides wrapped in oak for better wear. I also built some pieces that would attach to the wall so the desk would float and not have to be braced on the floor. I did rest one on the filing cabinet though incase the wall mount didn’t work out as good as I though it would. 🙂

The desk was finished with the same “Golden Oak” stain I used on my main computer desk, and the left over polyurethane finish I had left over as well! I think it was going bad, but after removing some solidified skin, it seemed OK.

After it was installed, which was nice to see something custom built and installed in less than 5 days!, I realized I had some wasted space on top of the filing cabinet. I decided to use the left over 1/2 sheet of plywood to build a drawer. It also meant I built an extra brace on the other side of the filing cabinet just in case.

I am so happy with the addition of this desk. I ran some extra networking cables to that area for the printer and 3D printer. I also wired in the arcade instead of running off of wireless since I was running the cables. The project is still evolving. At the time of writing this, I am building another shelf to go beside the drawer to store some printer paper and get it out of the drawer.

Workbench for my workbench :)

After finishing up my last project, I was in the mood to get rid of some wood I had accumulating for some time and clean up the shop. I kept a copy of a fine woodworking article from a few years ago about a workbench to go on top of a workbench to raise projects up and eliminate bending over.

I had kept some maple boards from a shelf for years as well as some mahogany casings from the old doors we had in the house. I went over them quickly with my sander to remove the previous finish and glued them up. After having to lug around the tops from my last workbench, this was a breeze!

It went together super quick and I applied the same finish as the previous workbench. Danish Oil. I was debating about putting a vice into this workbench like the article had, but I decided to hold off and just drill dog holes for my hold-fasts and use those for securing workpieces.

I have yet to use this workbench, and it is a pain to store, but I am happy with the results and to finally find a use for those scrap pieces of wood that would have usually ended up in the dumpster.

Cedar Package Storage Box

For a while now, I thought it would be a good idea to have a box where our packages could be placed for safe keeping while we are not home. The reasoning for the box has since changed due to working from home in COVID times, but we thought it would still be nice to have a place for keeping our packages safe and secure.

I was going to build this out of cedar 2x4s or 2x6s, but thanks to COVID, those boards are very expensive. I happened to find 26 “cedar strapping” for sale on an online auction locally. They advertised 1×3 strapping. I figured I would be able to work with it somehow, so I bid and won the auction for around $40.

Now that I have the wood, I could figure out a plan. Joining them into one large panel seemed like the easy thing to do, but I thought perhaps if I overlapped the pieces slightly it would create a cool design. Once one side was done I really liked the took, but it wasn’t very sturdy. Luckily I wouldn’t have in-and-out movement when in box form, so I don’t think that would ever be an issue. I prepared the other sides and top. The sides were cut on a 45 degree angle and I used the Festool Domino to use loose tenon joinery to enforce the corners.

One worry I had, since this would be a nice looking box in my driveway is that it would be easy to just pick up and walk away with. Especially made out of cedar, which is fairly light. To solve this, I didn’t put a wooden bottom in; I added a concrete patio stone! I bought a 2’x3′ patio stone at Home Depot and trimmed it to the perfect fit. No one is walking away with this now!

I added a handle with a magnet on my house where the handle meets the wall. With that, the top will stay open to grab packages easily. I also finished the project with an outdoor finish to try and protect it a bit for a while. I doubt I will go back and reapply finish in the future, so it will eventually start to grey.

As a finishing touch, we placed a sign on our door indicating that packages should be placed into the box. MOST couriers have listened and placed our packages there. Occasionally Amazon will put it on top, or beside the box. I don’t know why, but it happens once every 5-8 times.

Overall we are very happy with the results and love our new package storage box.

Birch Workbench

Ever since I started woodworking, I dreamed that one day I would build a split-top roubo workbench. This work bench traditionally has a front leg vice, as well as a nice at the end of the bench that works with bench dogs, which are wood or brass pegs that are used to pin a piece of wood between them.

I have had the wood available to build this workbench for some time, which was give to me for free when I started woodworking from a neighbour, but I never had the time. There was always something else to build for the house.

With the addition of a heater for my shop, I spend more time in the shop over the winter months, which gave me some time available to build a workbench!

Going off some pictures and plans available online, I got to work. Workbenches, such as the split top roubo, are not as wide as my current workbench, which I also use as an assembly table and outfeed table from my table saw. I decided to increase the size slightly by 6-10″. One thing I learned very quickly is that after my 1″x3″ birch boards were glued together to a 12-16″ wide, 3″ thick top is that it is HEAVY. I could barely lift it by self. I wanted to try and pass the top through my surface planer to level the boards, but there was no way I could manage it.

After the 2 tops were assembled, it was a good time to install the shoulder vice on the front workbench top. I had to carve out a portion of the base to fit the vice in. The process was fairly simple and straight forward. One my vice and end caps were installed, I build a router-sled to flatten my workbench tops with. I flattened both sides, but knew I would have to do a final pass once my bench was assembled. 3 routers later, my bench tops were flat and level! Boy was this a messy process. I was glad it was over. And yes – I burnt out and broke 2 routers during this process. The 3rd’s power switch broke for some reason as well.

The base was pretty straight forward, 3″ square legs with 2″x3″ braces around the base and across the top to connect the back and front workbench tops to. In order to assemble, I had to finally break down my old workbench, which was my old office desk propped up on a base to make it a bit higher.

Once the legs & braces were glued and assembled, which I cheated and used my Festool Domino to complete the tenon work to save time, I was ready to attach the top!

It was nice to see a semi-completed workbench and I could see the end in this long building process. Next up I built the front leg vice. I had previously measured and drilled the hole before assembling the legs. Then a spacer was made to fill the gap in the split-top. The top is split into 2 mainly to allow for clamping in the middle of the workbench, but the spacer for the gap could also be raised to allow hand planing against it. The split top roubo is traditionally a hand tool workbench. I primarily use power tools, but have quite the collection of hand tools for when hand planing is the best method to use.

In the end, I finished the workbench with Danish Oil to give it some protection, but not to coat it in a finish that would be too slippery and something that would show scratches and dings more easily. This is supposed to be a workbench after all. 🙂

It has been quite a few months since I finished this build and I could not be happier. There has been many times where either vice was the perfect way to complete some work. Part of me wishes I did this much sooner, but I am glad I waited and increased my skill level before completing such a large project.

Oak Medicine Cabinet

We started to accumulate various vitamins and creams around our bathroom sink recently. We had a medicine cabinet in the washroom already, but it was rather full and we would loose track of certain items because there were multiple bottles deep in the cabinet.

Our solution was to have a shallow cabinet that would fit beside the bathroom door.

The cabinet design I came up with is a 5” deep cabinet with fixed shelves made with a sliding dovetail like in may other projects I made for the house recently. The height of the shelves are 7”. 7”, 5” and 3”.

Even though it is winter and I can’t spray outside, I decided to spray the lacquer finish in the garage in a pop up spray booth I purchased last year. It isn’t ideal, but I thought I would try it out.

I intended to centre the cabinet on that wall, but I couldn’t get 90 degree hinges right now so I had to compensate the location so it doesn’t hit the mirror. We are very happy with the results and love our new cabinet.

Quilted maple toy box

I wanted to make one last toy box for my son. I had previously made 4 toy boxes with 2 different designs. I decided to make the curved lid design for my son as I was really happy how the toy boxes I made for my nephews turned out.

I was given some maple from my neighbour and new this is what I wanted to make from it once I got it. I knew I was going to make a toy box at some point for my Son Owen, but wanted him to be a little older when I made it for him. He is 3 now.

To further complicate the design, I wanted to use a solid wood bottom vs the plywood bottom I had used before. Solid wood isn’t used too much in drawer bottoms because it moves with the season across its width, so you have to take that into account when making the bottom. For this design I used ship lap joints. This are essentially z shaped boards where the left side of one board is overlapped by the overlapped by the right profile cutie the next board. Then as it expands and contracts it never leaves a gap right through the bottom.

The box construction was made similar to the previous toy boxes with box joints. The lid is constructed similarly as well, but I figured out what angle I needed to keep all pieces the same angle and still get the proper depth I needed once done.

For the lettering, I decided on Cherry. I really like the look of cherry, especially once it ages. I printed out the lettering and cut it out in my scroll saw. It was then face glued onto the front. I don’t put any screws or dowels to hold it on as the wood glue is more then strong enough. When Owen grows up, if he doesn’t want the lettering, I can just plane the lettering away and leave no trace of it.

Very happy with the result and love the quilting on the maple. My son won’t see this until Christmas but I am sure he will love it.