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.

DSC_0813

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.

DSC_0814

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!

DSC_0816

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

DSC_0817

DSC_0818

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.

DSC_0819


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.

20170512_191052

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.

DSC_0823

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!

DSC_0824

 

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!

Timber time!

A post shared by Chase (@kiltedcraftworks) on

DSC_0731

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC_0736

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.

DSC_0738

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.

DSC_0756

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.

Porch Fuel Organizer

The slow take-back of the porch continues.  With all the bunny stuff gone, I have to get things organized so we can maximize the available space.  I have grill stuff everywhere.  Three propane cylinders for the grill, outdoor cooker, and spares for hurricane season.  I put all my Traeger pellets into kingsford charcoal bins to keep them organized and from spilling all over the place.  This all needs a nice storage rack.

dsc_0561I was planning on using 1x4s to do a majority of the building, but found that the store was out of their basic grade boards.  Instead I noticed their furring strips.  1×4 with nicely rounded edges for about a 1.70 a piece.  The quality is terrible.  They are very light rough and soft pine.  Many were so bent and twisted you couldn’t even use them for boat building.  Still, with enough cherry picking I got some good boards and was able to keep my whole project cost to less than 15 bucks.

A few scraps of 2×4 made uprights for the two level contraption.  I set the width so that I could store the 3 propane tanks comfortably below with a few pellet bins on top.  Keeping the propane low seems like a good idea.  Less distance to fall.

dsc_0562

Short pickets run between the two frames to tie them together and give the propane tanks a stable surface to sit on.

dsc_0564

The top shelf could hold a lot of weight in pellets.  To help stiffen the two existing runs I wrapped a vertical boarder around the edge.  It added a lot of strength to the shelf, keeps the pellet bins from sliding off, and looks nice!

dsc_0565

dsc_0567

Everything fits as intended, and I am ready to give it all a heavy coating of boiled linseed oil.  Never used this on an outdoor project, but it will live under cover on the porch, so it should work out.

dsc_0568

24 hours later the coating was nicely cured, and the wood took on a lovely golden yellow look.  I may have to use furring strips more often!  It looks good on the back porch and helped clean up a lot of space.  I wish I had gone a few inches wider though, I could have gotten another bucket of pellets up there.  Oh well, next time!

dsc_0569

 

 

Printer Cabinet

I am keeping with the printer theme, but this is the 2d paper chewing variety.  Our old printer was on the fritz, so I upgraded to a more professional model that does document scanning and yada yada.  It has been over a month and it prints well, scans fast, and is cheaper to operate than the last one.  It is quite big though, and the old location in the closet isn’t going to cut it anymore.  I need to be able to get to the top and have lots of room to flip up the scanner.  We are gonna need another cabinet.

DSC_0441I wanted to build this quickly so I could clean up our office a bit.  Plywood is what I have used on many of my previous shop cabinets.  It looks decent out in the garage, but I wanted something nicer for inside the house.  Edge banding is a possibility, but I wanted to try something else.  This product is available at most home centers.  It is pre-made laminated pine boards.  The price is pretty reasonable and it has a nice rustic look while still looking better than plywood.  Never buy it.  The thickness varied from board to board, and once I cross cut it there was a lot of warpage.

Consider yourself warned.  I built a basic box using rabbeted edges, glue, and brad nails.  The thickness differences made doing a proper rabbet really tough, and the warping kept the joints from being tight.

I did a basic framed panel door to go across the front opening.  My issues continued, I cut the panel right at the edge of too short.  It will work, but I have to be careful to prevent it from shifting and showing a gap.  I used some of the left over laminated material to build a pull out drawer.  Cutting at the angle relieved more stress and showed a lot of bad warping.

 

For a finish I decided to try out a home built shellac.  Fine woodworking had a decent article and video on making your own and application.  I like it!  This is kind of a big project for wiping, but it was easy to mix, went on really fast, and didn’t alter the color too much.  I used a very blonde shellac.  Next time I will do something darker and see how it works with soft woods like pine.

DSC_0450

The screw-ups keep on coming.  I cut the panel groove all the way through the side board.  I should have stopped it.  Not only does it look bad, but it compromises the strength of the pocket hole screws.  They don’t have as much to bite into.

The drawer went in on a set of full extension metal drawer slides. This will house my paper shredder and paper storage.

The warping of everything showed up in the front door.  Tight on one side, slightly open on the other.  Oh well, it is going in a closet.

Speaking of closet, here is the final resting place.  It slides under the existing shelf nicely, and is short enough front to back so that you can close the closet door and conceal the printer.  If you just need to make a few prints, the front area is accessible enough to do so.  If you need to scan, the whole cabinet is on wheels, so you can just pull it out, do your work, then shove it back in.

DSC_0459

The best part is what is housed inside.  I put my shredder on the back side of the drawer, and used the front as paper storage.  Now instead of a pile growing around the shredder it collects neatly here until I can get to it.  My implementation and the materials leave a lot to be desired, but it still looks decent, and is super functional.  I learned, didn’t get hurt, and got a useful piece of furniture.  I’ll call that a win.

DSC_0460

 

 

Screech Owl Box

I got my latest hive from a co-worker by taking the owl box from his yard that was full of bees.  I got to learning about screech owls and even started hearing and seeing them in my neighborhood once I knew what to look and listen for.  I wanted to host some owls of my own, and I figured my co-worker at least deserved a replacement box.

I take no credit for the plans used to make this owl box.  The Treasure Coast Wildlife Center provides free plans to create owl nests from a single 1×10″ piece of lumber.  See those plans here.  They are great plans, easy to follow, and even include a little picture of a tiny screech owl to help motivate you!

My bee buddy wanted a box too, so we got 3 eight foot 1×10″s and went to work chopping up the needed lengths.  One of the pieces was really badly bowed.  I really dropped the ball when picking lumber.  I always check for straightness, but sometimes neglect cupping.DSC_0239

Everything went together with simple exterior screws, and some of the dimensions are flexible enough to make assembly a breeze.  Start with the back, add sides, then move on to bottom, front and top.  The directions should make it pretty clear.

DSC_0240

I used pine, but you might want to go with cedar.  They recommend against any kind of sealing or paint.  I guess the owls don’t like it.  Time will tell how long untreated pine like this lasts.

DSC_0243

The two of us were able to knock out three owl boxes in about 2 hours once we got into the swing of it.  I kept the bowed one, my bee buddy got one, and the co-worker got the last.  With any luck he will catch bees in it again and I can have it back!


I put the box up a month or so ago.  I am a bit late for mating season, but I know there are screech owls in the area.  So far no signs of them having found it, but it can take years for them to decide to use the box.  Now we wait!

DSC_0299