Closet Storage

Over a month ago, I started tackling the storage closet upstairs. I removed the wire shelves, patched the walls, painted, and made a simple tower to hold all the computer and network gear. The next step was building cabinets.

Cabinets aren’t usually a great choice for a closet since you lose the space where the doors have to swing open, but I wanted to go for it here because we always leave the door to that closet open. The computers generate a lot of heat and there isn’t any cooling system in place other than the open door.

I really don’t like projects that require me to go in and out of the house 100 times so I decided to build the cabinets in the garage. I designed them so I could assemble and paint everything in the garage, and then disassemble it to the point where it would fit through the doorways.

This is the first time I’ve really tried to make cabinets. There were a ton of mistakes but in the end, it looks pretty good and it will meet our needs. It’s difficult to take a picture of a closet, but here is one attempt:

As I mentioned, there were a lot of snags in the project. These were the biggest ones:

  1. The cabinets are built out of 3/4″ plywood with poplar along the edges. I completely miscalculated how much poplar I needed which meant a second trip down to Crosscut. It’s about 30-40 minutes each way and Saturday is the only day they are open when I’m not at work.
  2. Despite measuring a dozen times and carefully planning it all out, the cabinets were too deep and covered up the light switch. I was able to cut out a bit of the face frame so you can reach in to hit the switch. It’s ridiculous but it’s really isn’t that big of a deal. It will just make me feel dumb forever.
  3. I didn’t think to use special cabinet door hinges until the complete end of the project. I spent hours upon hours getting the doors to align and making sure they all closed smoothly with a fairly consistent gap between them. At the end, it dawned on me that cabinet hinges have an adjustment built in so that you can fine tune after everything is assembled. Why didn’t I think of that before?

These are all good lessons learned because I think there are a couple more projects like this coming along.

Fort Wilderness

My parents jokingly refer to their house as “Fort Wilderness”. I didn’t appreciate it growing up as much as I do now. When I made those two signs for Don and Dean, I also made one for my parents and delivered it on our recent trip. These are fun to make but I’m more excited to do them after I get a CNC. That will remove a lot of the stress of making them.

Storage Closet Cleanup

We have a fairly big closet at the top of our stairs that holds a bunch of stuff that doesn’t otherwise have a home: sleeping bags, board games, wrapping paper, vacuum cleaner, folding chairs, etc. It’s a mess. That’s not terrible except that we have to leave the door open because it is also the closet where I had the electrician run all my network jacks. That closet has a whole bunch of networking gear and two computers that are on 24/7. It gets way too hot if the door is closed. Some day I might build a ventilation system in there, but regardless of whether I do that, I knew I needed to build some storage that was better than our old wire frame shelves.To kick things off, I cleaned out the closet, took down the wire shelves and then patched all the old screw holes from those shelves. I even sprayed on some new wall texture to hide the patches. I had a leftover half gallon of the same brown color that is used in many other places in our house and it was the perfect amount to paint the closet.

The real improvement will come from some new storage cabinets, but first I needed a solution for the mess of computer wires. It had to just sit on the floor while I was painting and I needed it out of the way for the cabinet project. So the first build in this project was a very simple set of shelves to hold the computers, routers, battery backups and other miscellaneous gear. The shelves were a quick one day build (with Elijah helping) out of a sheet of 3/4″ plywood, some poplar to hide the exposed plywood edges on the front, and a bunch of pocket screws.
It’s not fancy, but the bulk of this will be hidden by the new closets along the same side wall anyway. And for me, this is glorious. It’s going to be so much easier to diagnose problems and I finally have all of the network jacks in our entire house connected at the same time. Nerdvana.

Now it’s time to build some big cabinets…

Wood Sign

Router-carved signs are a common sight at fairs or even in pop up shops at the mall. I’ve been watching a bunch of Dave Rhoten’s videos on YouTube¬†and finally I decided it was time to try it for myself. I purchased a Dewalt DWP611 along with two special router bits and a nice base plate from Dave’s store.

I bought 1×8 select pine from Home Depot (mostly knot free) and put on a couple coats of shellac. Then I used the laser cutter at work to draw the letters that I wanted to cut. That made the layout portion of the project very easy!

The next step was the most time consuming. I used a very narrow V-bit to carefully cut around the outside of every letter. Then I put in a bigger 90 degree V-bit to draw the big cloud around the outside and cut out everything between the cloud edge and the edge of the letters.

After a little cleanup with some chisels to remove any remaining high spots, I covered the whole piece in black spray paint. When it was dry, I sanded the top which removed the paint from the letters and the part outside the cloud leaving the indented part black. The shellac coating helped to keep the paint from bleeding too deep into the wood on the parts where I didn’t want it to stick.

Finally I used my keyhole bit to cut a slot in the back for a screw or nail so it could be easily hung on the wall.

This was a gift for Don’s brother and his wife in Montana as a thank you for letting us stay with them. And since I was making one, I decided to make two and give one to Don as well. It’s a fun and relatively quick project, but it takes patience!

Happy Birthday Tyla!

Happy birthday Tyla! On Saturday she chose to spend some time down by the river in Monroe, Sunday afternoon was spent eating fried chicken with her family and playing board games, and then tonight we are going out for Thai food. That should do a pretty good job at filling up her love cup.

I was happy to finally share a project I made a few weeks back. I laser cut a tree out of a piece of cherry plywood and then dug a mortise out of a block of walnut to hold the tree. The idea is that this can sit on her dresser and hold small jewelry. I used a random scrap of walnut and it had some beautiful grain in it that was perfect for this project.

I didn’t invent this so if you’re interested you can see lots of variations of this idea on Etsy and various craft sites.