Sharpening Station Stability

I built a sharpening station last year and like it a lot.  It has one issue though.  The whole thing wobbles badly during use.  The casters and small base don’t make a good combination.  I came up with a solution in this video:

It took a bit of messing around with feet material, but felt will work just fine for now.  I might find some kind of heavy duty rubber feet for longer term use.  Until then, stay sharp my friends!

Bunny Defense Network

Our two renegades rabbits are always looking for exploration and adventure.  Often they try to find it beyond the barriers we put up to keep them out of certain areas.  At first, opening up their exercise pen and placing the edges against the wall corralled them enough.  Now, they realize they can shove and move the fencing enough to get beyond.  I need a way to anchor the fence so they stop venturing beyond designated borders.

I started with sort of a three way corner thing to sit on the other side of the fence.  I wanted to add weight so the brace would be harder to move.  Boxing in the one leg segment and filling it with sand made the whole thing quite heavy.  I glued on a lid to keep from spilling sand all over the house.  I left off finish because I figured the little devils darlings would figure out how to chew on it through the fence.

This 20180114_162217all started when I had an idea for a simple 3D print that would hold the fence segments if you screwed them to something sturdy.  It seemed like a good idea, but eventually needed another iteration.

DSC_1037The brackets looked pretty good in wood filled PLA and held the fence well.  The issue I ran into was when it came to actually holding the little beasties beauties back.  On the first night they rattled it enough to knock two of the rungs off their hooks.  It only took them a few hours to figure out how to chew on my new creation as well.  Good thing I left off the finish.  I was going to need a deeper hook to keep them from breaking the fence section loose.

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In thinking about the design, it became apparent that the right half of that hook wasn’t needed.  The wooden upright would act as one side of the hook, I just needed to provide the other side.  I increased the hook size and stripped the part down till it was the bare minimum of what was needed.

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A few clear grippy bumpers on the bottom along with the sand mean it is impossible to shift this thing.  The new hooks ought to make it very difficult to disconnect the fence unless you are a human.  The whole thing tucks neatly next to a piece of well protected heirloom furniture.  Tyrion has been heavily inspecting and disapproving of my work since its installation.  Their hunger for items you value knows no bounds.

 

Jacked Up PushUp Bars

I built a set of pushup bars to go with my pullup bar from early last.  You grip them while doing a push up and it lets you dip down further than when using your hands on the ground.  That stretches your chest and gives a harder workout.  The only problem with them is that now I am flexible enough that my chest can touch the ground.  Time to jack them up a bit!  I started with the same 2×12 that they came from.

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It turns out old ratty 2x12s can be quite beautiful if you just give them a bit of planing.  Hand planing construction grade pine to make a piece of exercise equipment is probably some kind of sacrilege, but I like using hand tools when I can.  Besides, sanding is just the worst!

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I chopped this piece up to give two layers of material beneath each bar and glued.

All the load will be pushing down on these, so only a minimal joint is needed.  1/2″ dowels will be more than enough.  You drill in one side, insert these metal plugs with a sharp point in the center, align the other part and give it a wack.  The sharp points all transfer over the exact center of where you should drill to the mating part.

Some drilling, gluing, drying, and a fresh coat of boiled linseed oil later they looked smart.  Well not really smart, kind of chunky really.  If it were architecture I would call it brutalism.  Probably fitting for a room full of kettlebells.

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My beard touches easily, but my chest still has inches.  This is hopefully the last raise these will need for a long while.

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Battery Charging Station

I am mildly obsessed with flashlights.  These flashlights take fancy 18650 lithium ion batteries that can be recharged.  I have a lot of light accessories, spare batteries from laptops, and other things that need storage and organization.  Similarly cameras tend to have their own specialized batteries that need storage and charging.  I built a flexible station to hold all my chargers in one place.  Later I added an extras organizer from a repurposed storage box.

I started with all the specialized chargers I could find.  Two for flashlight batteries and two for cameras.  I decided to go for the pedal board route.  Guitarists can have a lot of effects pedals for their instruments.  Instead of having them all splayed across the floor they tend to put them on a thin box using velcro.  The box has slits that allow cables to pass inside the box out of the way.

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I built it to fit a shelf in my office closet and made it wide enough to expand with new charger capacity if need be.  Nothing special, just some pine I had hanging out.  The chargers are held at about a 60 degree angle, and there is space in the back to strap down a power strip.

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I wanted it dark to help hide the dark cables and velcro.  I never have good luck staining pine, but mixed up a water based dye blend.  It turned out great!

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With velcro and power strip in place I could start attaching chargers.

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A 4×1 outlet extender lets you plug in chargers that are supposed to go directly into a wall outlet.  I added a device called a blackout buddy.  Eaton makes them and they are red cross branded.  It plugs in and charges itself.  When the power goes out it turn on the light so can see.  Now when our power goes out I can find my way to the flashlight stash in the dark.  It fit like a charm on the shelf in my closet.

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Next up I pulled an old drawer storage box thing out of the trash.  It used to have board games in it, but was destined for the dump.  I thought the all-wood construction it was worth saving.  After re-gluing a few bad joints it was in good shape.

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The bottom drawer houses all the extra batteries I had from laptop pulls and random purchases.  I printed a number of organizers to keep them from touching.  Every organizer positively holds the battery in place so they can’t come out and can’t touch each other.  Keeping them from touching is an important part of preventing battery damage and fires.  Plenty of room left to store more batteries.

The middle drawer has random flashlight stuff.  O-rings, manuals, cases, etc.  I printed some dividers to hot glue down to keep the drawer from being a mess every time you open and close the drawer.

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Lastly I threw some of my DSLR gear in the top drawer because I never really had a good place for it.  3D printing and woodworking come together to help organize and support my camera and flashlight fixations.  What a gorgeous synergy!

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Pullup Bar

I have been doing kettlebell and bodyweight exercises consistently for over 6 months.  I love the speed at which it kicks my butt and have been getting progressively stronger at all the exercises.  Aside from a variety of bells none of it requires anything more than a small bit of space.  The two exceptions are pull-ups and Turkish get ups.  Pull-ups obviously require some kind of bar, and Turkish get ups involve large series of steps to take you from lying flat on your back to standing up straight with a kettlebell overhead.  It takes a bit of room.

The plan is to kick out my treadmill and build a dedicated kettlebell workout area.  I have a doorframe pull-up bar, but want to build a freestanding piece of equipment.  Might as well use this as a chance to do some woodworking.  Start with some nice (Super rough!) untreated 4x4s and get cutting.  Even though they were supposed to be kiln dried they were wet enough that my normal tenon saw bound up an inch or two in.  Had to break out a panel rip saw!

With guns that big my joints weren’t exactly surgically precise.  Along those lines I didn’t really have the right chisels for the job.  An old 2″ framing chisel helped, but my only other option was a 1″ bench chisel for chopping the waste out.  Still I was able to bang out some bridle joints to attach the upgrights to the feet.  Things were going swimingly enough I was able to shoot a little assembly vid!

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Timber time!

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Before doing any glueups or serious trimming I assembled the uprights with the pull up bar at the height I thought appropriate.  This let me do some basic testing to see if I was on the right track.  It was shaky, but even without glue or fasteners it held me!  Last but not least it let me play with different widths to figure out what was right for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I started trimming excess and planning out the rest of my parts.  A shelf across the back holds kettlebells when not in use.  The shelf is dovetailed so it helps keep the assembly square.  All that weight comes in a lot of handy!  The right angle joints between the uprights and the feet got glued and pinned for good measure.  Everything else is going to stay friction only so it can be disassembled.

I tried trimming everything down as much as possible so it wouldn’t take up any extra space inside.  It looks compact, but beefy.

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I made one critical flaw though.  Those pins on the backside are pretty thin, and any force on them by the tails puts a lot of shear force along the grain.  It is a recipe for splitsville.

Yup, I was doing some assembly and it popped off.  I tried gluing and pinning it back in, but only managed to destroy the piece.  If I had made the foot extend a few more inches past the tail it would have been strong enough to survive.  Lesson for next time.

I installed some angled pegs along the back of the uprights to give myself storage hooks for grip trainers and other items.  The whole thing goes into the house easily, and assembles in a few minutes.  The pull up bar itself was pinned with some 1/2″ dowels though the upright from front to back.  That will keep it from rolling or working its way out.  The shelf and those pins are just held in with friction and gravity.  Assembled the device is too big to get through any doors, but by using carefully planned joints, I can take it apart to get it in and out of the house.  A coat of boiled linseed oil offers some protection and adds color to the pine.

All the wooden joints creak and groan and shift a bit when doing pullups, but it is super sturdy.  I might drill out the pull up bar and upgrade from a 1-1/4″ to a 1-1/2″ bar at some point, but for now this works well.  Those pegs along the back hold my chalk, a towel, and grip trainers.

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Backyard Ballistic Target

The kitchen renovation rages on, but between painting and tiling there is time to work on a little side project.  A backyard knife throwing target.  It also works for hatchets!

wp-1483059011512.jpgThis project took only 3 2x4s, a bit of glue, and a hand full of screws.  I started by cutting up a pile of 3.5″ long 2×4 segments.  These are going to go together like a end grain cutting board.

At 5 across and 10 tall the target comes out roughly square.  15 x 17.5.  You could add another row to make it very square, but that would have required additional 2x4s and this seemed like a big enough target.  Easy to say now when I hadn’t missed 10 times in a row.

Titebond type 3 is an outdoor compatible glue, even if standard 2x4s aren’t.  Not sure if that matters or not.  It will be a race between the environment rotting and pulling the target apart, and my ability to actually hit something and cause damage.  My monster belt sander came in handy for leveling the edges of the rows after the first glue up.

wp-1483059011520.jpgWith everything glued I had a big block target.  This alone would probably last a while, but could somewhat easily cleave in half along the grains.  To help with strength I wrapped the edges with 2x4s screwed into the core.  This will help hold the relatively delicate center together longer.

A bit of throwing shows that I am no good at this.  Maybe the environment will get to it before my accuracy chunks out the center.