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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Butcher Paper Holder

Butcher paper is an amazing thing to keep around the house.  It makes a temporary place-matt for messy projects on the nice dining room table, a large drawing surface, a good backdrop for small photography, a big clean surface for meat prep, holds cookies after baking, it wraps briskets for the Franklin Texas crutch, keeps wood finish and glue off your nice workbench, and about 1000 other uses.

Butcher paper is pretty reasonable if bought in a large roll.  The problem is that large rolls are heavy, tough to cut straight and just a pain to deal with.  In comes a butcher paper holder with fun features.

First, I took a few pieces of clean wide pine and cut some decorative sides.  I used to only make curves by tracing round objects like paint cans, but wanted to push myself outside of my comfort zone.  French curves let me get a little fancy and free form.  They could have been blended better, but at least I am learning.

I didn’t get fancy with the construction, just basic wood screws to hold it together and BLO to seal it.  Simple, but it looks right.

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This holds the roll and allows for easy removal of paper.  Next comes cutting.  I picked up a small strip of steel and started free-handing an edge on my grinder.  It is hard to get a consistent edge on something over 2 feet long.  I eventually went to an angled table on my little belt sander.  It performed well enough to produce an edge capable of cutting/tearing in a line.

Lastly I added felt pads to the bottom and left side of the holder so it can sit on its side for storage and not scratch the table when in use.  A handle at the center of gravity on the right side makes it easily portable.  Now I need a brisket to smoke and try out that butcher paper wrapped Texas crutch.

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New Bunny Hay Feeder

I made a quick feeder for the new buns in kind of a rush and without a lot of research.  It was a shallow 3 sided box with vertical dowels to hold the hay in across the front.  The dowel spacing was bad.  First it was hard to get their heads in because it was too narrow, then when I removed a few dowels it was too wide.  They tended to pull a ton of the hay out into their box.

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A solid box with two holes is the right way to go.  I used some 1×12 pine to give a nice tall body.  I wanted to engrave a bunny silhouette and the words “Chow Time” on the front.  Unfortunately I didn’t center the piece well and my CNC hit a hard limit.  It got to the “h” and I knew the rest would be ruined.  So skip the words and make the bunny bigger instead.  Had it gone well I would have taken the time to do some color inlay.  oh well, next hay box.

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I assembled the front with sides and a back to make a box with no top or bottom.  Instead of a flat bottom I used a plane to put a rough angle on the two edges of a board.  Once installed at an angle it made the bottom ramp towards the two feed holes.

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This picture shows the ramped bottom better.

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I installed it to the bunny fence set at a good height for their litter box.  There was going to be a lid, but I decided against it.  No reason really, just dump hay in when needed!  UPDATE: As it turns out, they can get inside.  A lid might not be a bad idea.

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This box has a ton of capacity, and because of the smaller openings than my previous attempt they tend to pull a lot less into their litter box.  This means less filling and less waste.  They can often be found with their little faces stuffed in nomming on bits of hay.

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