Monday, November 26, 2012

A Facelift without the Kenny Rogers Look

As always, I underestimate everything.  I really wanted to not wait until I had a huge amount of information to report, but again find myself needing to write a rather long post.

The summer was, well, fantastic.  I got to go to my first hands on training with Seth Rolland, we entertained quite a bit, ate a lot of good barbecue, took some great hikes and I got to shoot a lot of "film".  It's still bizarre for me not to consider the medium film.  You'd think I'd be over it, since the digital age of photography has enamored me like the young Swedish maid that I've always tried to talk Sylvia into would.  Like wood working and design, photography will be a life long pursuit.  There's no way to get to a point that you've mastered the art.  You can always get better and I will continue to try.  You can check out my photography at or click on the little Flickr badge on the right of the blog. But, for now, the shop is back in focus and I'm excited to have everything mostly the way I want the shop organized to function well.  I'm what my doctor likes to call ADHD.  She says I'm not truly OCD because I fidget too much.  I have a "need" to have a place for everything and everything in its place.  I tend to come in and blankly stare at things when they get too "out of hand".  I do realize that my sense of what is out of hand varies greatly from the norm, but my little behavioral problem is actually something I embrace.  Most times our weakness is our strength and vice versa.

So, changes.  Let's see. I have a new heating and cooling system for the shop.  I put in a ductless heat pump (DHP).  Now that I have this unit for the shop and the DHP system I had installed in the house a couple years back, I'm thinking my 1000 gallon propane tank will last a good ten years once I get it filled again.  That's a lot of barbecues!! 

I took down eight feet of shelving to enable better vertical lumber storage.  For now, I have shorts on the remaining twelve feet of shelving, as well as assorted kitty litter bucket.  They're the new version of old five gallon buckets I used to collect.  Quite handy.
One thing I'd been waiting on was a proper outfeed table for the table saw.  I knew approximately what I wanted, but once I found out I was going to be able to take the bending course with Seth, I put it off until I got through that.  I couldn't easily build the table like I had studied and seen on Marc Spagnuolo's site, The Woodwhisperer because I really don't have anyone that is readily available to lift heavy objects.  To see how it is supposed to be done check out Marc's video.  This table is to be my outfeed/assembly/bending table.  Instead of the approach Marc takes, I started with a simple box as a base that was level and square.  I don't really need more storage, so did not opt for a set of base cabinets.  Once the box was in place, I put the box skins (plywood) down.  I drill pocket holes in all of the "ribs" to enable me to suck the bottom skin up to the ribs, which it seemed logical would be level, if set atop the level base.  Luckily, logic prevailed.  Here is an in progress shot of the build.  
After the ribs were set, I glued and brad nailed the sub-top to the ribs.  Through out the process I checked for flatness with a long piece of steel stock I have for just such occasions.  I have one corner that dips about 1/64", which bothers me, but not enough.  Next came the final, top layer which is only screwed down.  This layer is to be sacrificial, but I'm guessing it will be years before I need to address it.  The entire assembly sits about a 1/64" to 1/32" below the level of the table.  Oh yeah, I also replaced the off cut table for the saw with one of the exterior doors I still had.  The original was very cheap particle board.  The last things to do were to route out the miter slot extensions and install a shelf to house the veneer and bending equipment. 
I needed to run a new dust collection leg and needed some extra pipe and fittings, so now was a good time to rebuild my sliding compound miter station's dust collection, install a proper fence and finally get a table on the right of the saw.  The design for the dust hood originated from Mark Hochstein over at Gunpowder Woodworks.  He has a phenomenal shop and recently completed a very beautiful dining table.  You should definitely stop by and check it out.
This new hood is very effective and once I get the rubber/plastic strip curtain in place will work even better.  I increased the pipe diameter to 5" and being the first branch out of the cyclone, there is plenty of CFM.  The strip curtain will provide velocity and direct it wherever the saw penetrates the curtain.  Quite ingenious of Mark.
Adding another leg to my existing system was relatively easy, as I have a couple Ys I installed to facilitate expansion as I grew into the shop.  Here's a shot of the piping in the crawl space.  To all my energy and building associates: YES, I KNOW I'm supposed to have a vapor barrier down.  I'm in the desert and will get around to it one of these days.
After getting the pipe secured below, I got all my Ys, corners and blast gates install up top.  I also installed a boom arm to use on any tools that will require dust collection.

Since I'm getting ready to start designing some lamps I went out this weekend and got all the parts to make a hot pipe bending rig.  It will also come in handy to do small bends on scale models for future designs.

I told ya it was gonna be a long post!  The next thing I'll be adding is probably a proper router table.  I've been using a top and fence I made years ago that mounts on a couple saw horse.  I have the dust collection port in place for when I get around to that.  

Thanks for stopping by!


acanthuscarver said...


The shot of the ductwork beneath the floor, is that your foot or have you just triggered the FBI?

Vic Hubbard said...

Wow! I didn't catch that! I guess I'd better install the vapor barrier sooner than later and keep my diggin' dogs out of there.

ChrisHasFlair said...


Nice to see something on your blog. I hope to see more from your shop as winter sets in.


Vic Hubbard said...

Thanks, Chris. I'm doing some salad tong sets right now to get some experience using the hot pipe bending rig. I have some lamps coming soon that have some curves.

Robert said...

Nice work Vic. Organizing our workspace will be a never ending task as our skills evolve and our needs change.
Nice detail on pocket screws for your assembly table.

Vic Hubbard said...

Robert - Luckily, I'm close. I'm sure I'll add more to the shop, maybe even a lathe at some point. The pocket holes saved me on this particular build.

Anonymous said...


Do you clean up the ends of your lumber when you get them? I noticed the ends of the boards look really square/clean. When I get rough lumber and try to stand it up, they lean to the side because the sawmill doesn't cut them square. Is this something I should do for good practice?

Vic Hubbard said...

Anon - No, I don't clean the ends. I would if they weren't close enough to square to be able to stand. So far, the lumber I've received is fairly square.

TMcWoodworks said...

Nice work on the table Vic. How flat did it remain after routing out for the T slots? I find that sometimes breaking the surface of a board tends to do something to the inbuilt stresses and sometimes it locally goes potato chip like.
As ever the blog is very informative and entertaining.

Vic Hubbard said...

Terry - Because it's a torsion box and has very little span between the ribs, I don't expect this will ever move. I can jump up and down on it and it has no effect. Also thank you. I hope what I encounter in my journey to be a good designer and craftsman can help others who are in the same pursuit. I know I gain a lot from the people I follow regularly.

Anonymous said...

Always great seeing what you are up to Vic! I need to get some shop time and some blogging done. It's been too long! Thanks for the constant inspiration!

Bobby Hagstrom said...

Nice use of long-radius elbows...! pretty cool set-up. How many sq. ft. is your shop/ how many tons is the mini-split?

Vic Hubbard said...

Bobby - The shop is 30x40 with ten foot ceilings. The DHP is a 2 ton unit. A bit overkill, but to a point, the efficiency goes up in oversizing. If you get too big, you lose the efficiency in the added draw at the low end.