10 Mar

Shell Robe Hanger

Shell HangerThis was a quick project that I finally finished. I had the oyster shell sitting around for a couple of years and had planned making this since I found it in my travels. The wood was a leftover from a king-size bed I built for a friend out of Indiana poplar.

I love that wood! It has so much character and interest, in its coloring,  the grain and from the insects that had a party there during storage.

Anyone could make this with limited tools. You would need a handsaw or scrap wood already the size you wanted  for the mounting plate, a drill, a shell, sandpaper, three screws, some epoxy, and wood finish.

The limiting steps in this are drilling the whole in the shell—I used a Dremel tool—but an electric drill and some patience will do the trick. The drill bit will get hot—pause periodically to let it cool.

Try to find a shell of sufficient length with a flattened edge that will sit flush against the mounting plate. You can sand this flat edge to make it more even. Depending on the shell, you may want to sand the edges a bit to take some of the sharpness down or get rid of barnacles. The shell is calcium carbonate—the smell may remind you of the dentist.

Shell HangerShaping the mounting plate took some patience too, but that is the beauty of woodworking.  Once it is shaped just like you like it, place the shell, measure and mark the spots for the two mounting screws and the through the shell screw. Drill pilot holes for the mounting and through screws and  countersinks for the mounting screws.

You can finish the mounting plate with about anything you want. Paint it if the wood is not all that interesting or use a stain or  a natural finish. I used some left over teak oil to penetrate the wood and then followed it up with a coat of paste wax applied with a steel wool pad. I think this is a supremely natural, but protective finish.

Make sure you choose a screw to mount the shell that is not so long it will stick out the other side of the mounting plate. Secure the shell with a small amount of epoxy, like JB Weld, and a wood screw.  Be careful not to over tighten and crack the shell. Let this dry overnight.

That is it. It is ready to mount wherever you choose. I used some self-drilling dry wall anchors . If you would like some measurements, let me know and I will post them. But really it is up to you. If you have more than one shell, you could mount them in a series on a wider piece of wood.

09 Feb

Bargain Days

I should have known better than to walk the aisles of the tool department at Lowe’s. But I did it to check prices on miter saws in anticipation of getting one, someday. Naturally, I bought one today, but not the one I had thought I would.

Hitachi C10FCE2You see Hitachi is apparently coming out with new models and Lowe’s is closing out the old versions. I bought the Hitachi C10FCE2 10-Inch compound miter saw for less than $100! Seriously.

The next model up, the  Hitachi C10FCH2 10-inch Miter Saw, comes with a laser and now is priced at about $140. Other, snazzier models are also reduced to move.

I could not resist such a bargain and the reviews on the Hitachi saws were comparable to the DeWalt. So, if you are in the mood to buy an entry level compound miter saw or any miter saw, check out the Hitachi’s at Lowe’s. I can’t wait to assemble it and make a few cuts.

19 Jan

My Wish List

It has been cold here lately. Colder than normal for Alabama. This leads me to dream and shop rather than be in the shop working on projects. This was made worse by the arrival of a huge catalog from Woodworker’s Supply.

DeWalt Miter SawOn my wish list are a compound miter saw and a couple books. I have been looking at saws for a while. I want one that is versatile, sturdy, compact, and cost-effective. The front-runner is the DEWALT (DW713) 10″ Compound Miter Saw for as little as $190. It has gotten great reviews, too. Because my usual modis operandi for buying tools is to have a specific project that requires them, purchase will have to wait for a looming kitchen revamp. Soon…..

Books do not have to wait.  I am going to buy a highly recommended and newly revised reference book Understanding Wood 2nd Ed.. This one is not currently in my library, but should, and will be soon.

It is time for spring and warmer temperatures—budgets cannot support many more days of cold weather dreaming.

26 May

Pickin’ up the trash

One of the hazards of being a recycling woodworker is the drive by pick up. Sometimes it is worth an immediate stop and sometimes it sticks with you and you have to go back for a closer look. It all depends on what part is broken or in need of repair, what tools you have and what the cost of replacement parts or materials might be.

Sometimes it is a wasted trip upon a closer look–such was the case today. A rocker along side the road at 35 mph looked like a repairable thing, but at a dead stop it was too far gone to be worth it. Sometimes you get lucky–like the time I grabbed an Adirondack chair off a trash pile and all it needed was some sanding, screw tightening, and a new finish. Bonanza!