Why Am I Building A Blanket Ladder?
If your spouse is anything like mine I am sure you have a lot of “honey-do” items. One of those items that have been on my honey-do list is building a blanket ladder. This whole thing started when one of my wife’s work friends had an old wooden ladder in their home that they used to store their blankets on. This helped their space look less cluttered any more inviting.
Well needless to stay my wife has wanted a lander blanket ladder in our home as well. One afternoon my wife was browsing an old antique store and she stumbled upon an older rustic ladder. She called to tell me she was going pick it up since I was taking to long to make the I promised. I asked what they were wanting for it and she replied $75 dollars. I said no way and got the normal huff and puff. So after some time, I decided to finally build her ladder.
For the build of the blanket ladder, I decided to use plain old normal 2×4’s. I took my time to find the three best looking 2×4’s that Home Depot had to offer. That took a little bit of time. Something I did a little different than other blanket ladders is I made the rungs out of octagons. This was my first attempt ever at cutting octagons on a table saw. It was actually a lot simpler than I thought it would be. I used this guide here on instructables.com on how to do it.
My wife was wanting it to be stained to match the rest of furniture I have built for the home. Minwax special walnut was the finish of choice. To complete this build probably took me about 2-3hrs finishing and all. Not 2-3 hrs at once but total time due to waiting for the stain to dry and etc.
- 3 8ft 2×4’s (to make a 6ft ladder)
- Tape Measure
- Miter Saw
- Table Saw (if you want octagon rungs)
- Counter Sink Bit
- Plug Cutter
- Wood Glue
- 2″ screws
In total for this project, I spent a whole 10 dollars on lumber and that was it. As far as the time it was roughly an hour to build and 45 min of finishing spread out over the course of a day.
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I purchased the Ridgid table saw over a year ago for my first larger woodworking tool purchase. This rigid table changed the way I did all of my woodworking projects from this stage forward. Previously, all of my woodworking was done with a circular saw.
If you think about it a table saw is just a glorified circular saw turned upside down. But if your thinking about purchasing a table saw and you’re nervous about making the purchase on one, don’t be afraid. It’s definitely worth it whether you choose to purchase this Ridgid table saw or not.
Why I Chose This Ridgid Table Saw
Before I purchased the Ridgid table saw, I tossed so many other options around before purchasing this one. I probably went to Home Depot about 15 different times to look at this saw before I actually purchased this saw. It might sound weird, but I am one of those people that has a hard time spending money on just about anything.
Ok, let me get on why chose the saw. I went to Home Depot one Saturday morning and there was an older man that happened to be near the saw that worked there. He said to me “That’s a great saw, I have one myself”. We proceeded to talk about the saw and then just general woodworking. He stated that mostly used his saw for general furniture work for his friends a family. After our chat, we headed over to the lumber dept to grab a larger cart and loaded her up.
Some other reasons I chose this saw other than this gentleman’s recommendation was that I wanted a larger saw that what a compacted had to offer. My saw in the shop mostly stays in one area and doesn’t move much. Unless there’s a hail storm about to come through it gets pushed to the side.
Other Saws I Considered
Others saws I was looking at was the Delta 36-725 one at Lowes. The reviews that I found on the internet said that this was an overall better saw according to forums. The main reason for this is because of the fence on the Ridgid table saw. Mostly because of the time it takes to properly get this saw blade and fence aligned. On the Delta side, some people wondered how much longer the actual Delta could actually survive. I am not sure if this is a valid point but it could be something worth considering.
Back to the point about the fence, I didn’t run into many problems dealing with alignment but it was time-consuming. I thought it was kind of enjoyable setting it up since I have a little bit of machinist background in my job. Dialing equipment in for milling is something that I kind of enjoy doing and that I am used too. Soon I will make a guide showing you the tools and jigs I use to align my saw.
As far as other saws that I was considering was the Grizzly G0771Z. Now this saw in my mental ranking order and price was actual was one that I preferred more over the Rigid table saw. The weight being a little more about 60 pounds heavier over the R4512 which I liked. The main reason I didn’t get this one was having it shipped to my house. I live way back on non-county maintained dirt road with a long driveway. The ability of it being dropped off at my curb with lift gate wasn’t really feasible. I could have had it dropped off at a friend’s house but chose not to.
Things I Disliked
I don’t know if this falls into a dislike or just a lack of information on my part. After I purchased this table and got it home, unload and in the shop. I began to open the box and get everything laid on the floor as nice as I could. This all started about probably 12 pm for a time reference. There was so many nuts bolts and pieces that needed to be assembled. It took me till almost 5 pm to get this fully assembled and probably another to get the fence and blade dialed in. Take this into consideration I always wonder how many of the negative reviews on the Home Depot site are negative just because they thought it was as simple as pulling it out of the box and hooking it up.
Other think I really don’t care for is or it could be something I am doing wrong. This is the fact that the fence doesn’t seem to slide as smoothly has it does over the cast iron part and the extension wings. Once you get past the extension wings it seems to become a little bit more stiff. This could be something out of alignment on my end. If you have this saw and have solved this issue I would love to hear your solution to this issue.
The final peeve is a minor one and my laziness for not fixing it. It is these this little black plastic caps that go on the end of the table saw fence slide extrusion. The purpose of these is just to dress up the ends and keep the debris out of the end. But the problem I ran across was getting them to stay in. I fought them for a couple weeks before tossing them in a junk bin. Someday I might put a dab of glue on them to make them permanent. Until then they will stay in my junk bin. As I stated this is a minor thing.
Things I like
The price played a factor of me purchasing this table and plus other decisions I have outlined throughout this article thus far. Something else you might want to consider try is using one of the Harbor Freight 20% percent off coupons that you get to your inbox all time. I know this might sound weird to try using one at Home Depot but when I was researching the rigid table saw I saw a lot of articles saying that they were able to use to get 20% off.
Now I tried this and was unsuccessful. Here’s what I attempted I called about every Home Depot with a 50-mile radius of my town which was 4 different stores. I called and asked for each store manager and told them I was looking at the Rigid 4512 table saw but I was also thinking of about going with one of a different brand and store. I explained that I had a 20% off coupon. Each store I called failed at this attempted but it only took me 20 mins to do this so it was worth a shot. A lot of people in different forums said they were able to get the 20% off. Just something worth considering if your better at negotiating than I am.
Mobile base on this saw is awesome. Yes, I have stated that it stays is one area in my shop but there has been a few occasions where I had to move it out of the way to make room for automotive repairs, which can be very convenient. I know a lot saw’s that come with this but it’s something I definitely like on this saw.
The way that the riving knife hooks on is so simple and fast. All you have to do is slide it in and push down on the orange lever and its locked in, its that simple. There could be saw’s that have better systems but this seems really simple to me. I would love to hear other people weigh in on this. I love learning about different and better products and how things tick.
The final reason I like about this saw is the lack of vibration. My saw sits on the flattest piece of concrete in the world, as you can see, this nickel test results in that it stays up just perfectly. I don’t know if this the most proper test for testing vibration but I see everyone else doing it so it must be right, right?
Take the leap
If you’re on the fence like I was about this saw let me be the old man that pushes you off the fence and get this saw. Just like that older man at Home Depot did for me and got me to purchase this Ridgid table saw. Yes, it takes the time to get this aligned just right but with PATIENCE it can be setup properly.
I will work on putting an alignment guide and video for this Ridgid table saw in the upcoming week so be sure to sign up to receive that. Feel free to contact me in you have any trouble setting up your saw and I will do my best to help give you a hand.
Are you in the process of hooking a woodworking dust collector up in your shop? If so you have stumbled upon the right article. I am going to give a little bit an overview of getting dust collection going in your shop. Dust collection is very important to your health so please take the time to properly install an adequate collection system.
Throughout this article, I am going to help decipher through all the woodworking dust collector jargon to make sure you chose the proper dust collector the first time.
Determine Your Suck Numbers
The factor you need to take into consideration when setting up your dust collection is what kind of air volume you’re going to need to satisfy your machines.
Here below is some ideas of what some of those requirements might look for each piece of normal woodworking shop machinery. Always take the time to seek what the manufactures requirement might be if you’re unsure to keep your shop safe. Most of these air volumes will be in a CFM rating. CFM if you do not know stands for cubic feet per min. Something like this anemometer must be useful if you really want to check for proper CFM on runs.
So take the time to figure out what those “suck numbers” are. Why are these numbers so important? Well because this will help us determining what size of dust collector you are going to need to pick up. Each HP (horsepower) rating is going to have a different air flow number.
An underpowered woodworking dust collector will not properly remove chips or dust from the machinery. This alone can cause many different problems. Including your health and machine problems.
To Single Stage Or Not?
So what does single stage mean? What single stage means is that the larger debris is not separated from the smaller finer debris so all of the debris will go through the impeller and into your collector. These larger chips could cause damage to your impeller.
Just about any single stage collector can handle debris from any one machine. Single stage dust collectors are normally a more economical solution for workshops on a budget. The reason being is that you have the ability to convert that single stage into two stage collector for a lot more budget friendly price. Yes, you can buy a two stage collector already built and basically plug it and go to work.
A simple search on YouTube will reveal a lot of people turning an affordable Harbor Freight dust collector into a two stage sucking machine.
The beginning question of this whole section was to decide if a single stage was worth it or to just go with a two stage collector. If your budget is not tight and your not a huge shop I would suggest going with a single stage. But this goes without saying take the time to convert it into a two stage on a Sunday afternoon.
Options Of Converting Your Single Stage
In the previous section, I talked about upgrading your single stage into a more economical two stage collector. Even with converting your single stage into a two-stage you have a few different options to choice from.
The Thien Baffle was created by a guy named Phil Thien. His site can be seen here. The wonderful think about the Thein Baffle is that very little vertical real-estate is used in making one of this. Making one of these? yes. A Thien Baffle can be easily made in your shop in an afternoon.
Like a Thien Baffle the rout of airflow follows an indirect path of flow and separates heavier chips and dust to the bottom. This then will, in turn, allow clean debris free air be returned back to your dust collector.
One of the more popular brands of the cyclone dust separation family is the Oneida Brand. They make a great quality product. If you haven’t built a dust collector separator for your shop-vac the Oneida Dust Deputy might be worth look into.
Now that you have got your single stage woodworking dust collector running in two stage mode its time hook your equipment together. This is probably my favorite part of the whole operation of hooking dust collection. This part takes time and patience.
Take the time to properly layout out your dust collection runs and minus turns as much a possible. This will help to make sure that the most CFM is getting from the machine to the dust collector.
Woodworking Dust Collector Install Tips
- For longer runs use sewer drain pipe (not schedule 40)
- Install or build blast gates for isolating machine’s not in use for greater performance
- Use dust collection ports and hoods for machines to improve chip removal
- Flex hosing near machine for mobility if needed
- Ground your dust collection system to prevent fire hazards
Setting up proper dust collection in your shop is very important to your health and safety. I feel like this part of proper dust collection is really overlooked by a lot of new woodworkers. Woodworking dust collection is a science on its own. There is so much great information out there one extremely great resource I recommend checking is Bill Pentz. There is so much value in the research in his guide. I plan to do a lot more articles in the woodworking dust collector realm because I am fixing to configure my new shop. So follow to stay updated with the progress on that.
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Sketchup For Woodworking
Creating something from scratch requires an image in mind. It’s easy enough to picture a flat scene or even a carved two-dimensional object. When it comes to woodworking, projects tend to be three dimensional and they require accurate measurements to fit the pieces together. SketchUp is a program that is easier to use than traditional graphics or drawing programs and lets you sketch out an idea before you begin building it.
In woodworking, you need to make the pieces separately and make sure the pieces fit together. As easy as it might be for you to draw out your idea, a computer will be better at accurately relaying it visually.
Adobe is famous for their creative suite of programs and there are other three-dimensional sketching programs for the computer. If you like mechanical drawing, you can lay out your image on paper too. But the issue with woodworking remains accuracy of measurements more than the intricacy of design.
A simple graphics program is needed rather than a complicated and cumbersome one to use. In Sketchup, there is no need for learning 3 D modeling. It’s intuitive and has a short learning curve. The software is free and so are the video tutorials, many of which are offered by woodworking magazines and professionals so good teachers are free too.
Sketchup covers simple box diagrams for shelves up to molding, joints and complicated layered and fitted designs. If you change one item on your model, the rest intuitively updates to reflect the change. You won’t need to individually modify parts based on new attachments or adjustments; the program can do it for you. It’s easy to visualize your end result, even if you make a change mid-plan. You can always redo it speedily on the computer.
Begin with Sketchup’s video tutorials which will guide you through the user interface. The interface is a simple set of tools you’ll need for inserting pieces, rotating your item, as well as the traditional zoom, file and save icons.
Using a pencil icon, you will draw lines, or drag and drop shapes. The program fits them at your indicated points and will create a 3D rendering. You can use the arrow icon to increase or decrease the heights and widths of your 3D add-ons. A hand icon allows you to rotate the image to see all sides.
You can find that there is a multitude of videos to be found covering all aspects of woodworking modeling with this simple and intuitive software. Some woodworking magazines and online sites have whole chapters devoted to projects done using Sketchup. It’s a good indication that the program does what it claims. Jay Bates a Youtube Woodworker has a lot of great content for SketchUp seen here below.
As a woodworker, it’s more likely you spend more time with the drawing your project rather than using a complicated artist’s software program. Sketchup is made expressly for woodworkers looking to use a computer guided modeling technique to draw out projects, without complicated or expensive graphic programs.
Choosing The Best Table Saw Blade
If your table saw blade just isn’t cutting it anymore, you have come to the right place. I am going to give you some insight on how to choose the best table saw blade.
1. What are different types of table saw blades available? We can do this by putting the blades into two categories first by what you’re trying to achieve. See below:
Cross-Cut (cutting across the grain) Ripping (cutting with grain)
2. What is the primary type of material will you be cutting with this blade? If you’re just going to be cutting one type of material we can choose a blade that will be more specific for the job at hand. There are blades specific for cutting plastics melamine or etc.
Ask yourself these 2 simple questions before you begin to search for a new table saw blade and it will help you become less overwhelmed.
Like I talked about before cross-cutting is cutting across the grain. You will use cross-cutting all the time in your woodworking projects. The toughest challenge with cross-cutting is dealing with tear-out. So let’s talk about some characteristics of a cross table saw and how you can choose the best table saw blade.
Cross cut table saw blades normal come in a 60 t0 80 tooth configuration. The higher tooth count is going to give you smoother cut across your work surface. The gullet is the area in between the saw teeth. Gullet on a cross-cut table saw blade is going to have smaller gullets which result in less chip removal and having to feed at slower feed rated. When a quality saw blade is used and cut through in a cross cut formation the end grain will almost have a sheen to it.
- 60-80 tooth configuration
- smaller gullets
- slower feed rates
- high quality blade for best performance
Ripping as discussed is cutting with the grain. Common tooth count for a ripping blade is 24 teeth. This is a big difference compared to the 60-80tooth we just discussed. Your ripping blade will remove material very quickly from your work piece. Even with the best table saw blade you will not be able to achieve a mirror-like surface like you might be able to with cross cut blade. Gullets with a rip blade are much larger and have much better chip removal. This gives you the ability to move through material very quickly.
- 24 tooth count commonly
- big gullet
- greater chip removal
- fast feed rate
- rougher cut finish
Four Main Tooth Configurations
- Flat-Top Grind (FTG) Flat-top grind is a very simple grind style. The top edges of the teeth are square to the main saw blade on this type of grind. You can almost relate to the teeth on this blade to chisel cutting through the material at high-speed. FTG blades efficently and quickly cut through material.
- Triple Chip Grid (TCD) Now with a triple chip grind your going to have a trapezoidal-like tooth followed by a raker. The raker tooth with have a flat top grind on it which well help remove the corners of the material left behind from first trapezoidal tooth. TCD blades are great for cutting plastics laminates and even non-ferrous metals.
- Alternate Top Bevel (ATB) With alternate top bevel it is what the name is saying. The teeth are beveled in alternating directions. This tip design gives the tooth the ability to slice through the wood fibers. If you have a steeper angle on your bevels you get a cleaner but in return they dull very quickly. The style of blade works great for cross cutting as well as cutting plywood, particle board, fiberboard and more.
- Combination or (ATBR) The combination blade gives you the ability to cross cut and rip the same blade. Combination blade commonly has teeth in sets of 5. These include 4 ATB teeth and then 1 raker to clear the material. That last raker tooth will also help keep the blade straight throughout the cut.
Now How To Choose The Best Table Saw Blade
Putting everything together I laid out in the article will help you ultimately choose the best table saw blade. Start by determining if what type of cutting will you be dong the most. Cross-cutting or Ripping? Next step, what material will you be primarily but cutting with this blade? Asking these two simple questions will help in your quest of buying a new table saw blade.
If you’re looking for a general multi-purpose blade your best bet is to choose a combination blade and have the ability to cross-cut and rip very efficiently. You can check one out here on amazon.
I hope this brief overview helped you with what different saw blade types there are on the market and will help you in your purchase. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me through the contact page.
Do you have some interest in getting started in woodworking? Well, you have come to the right place because I am going to give you some tips on beginning woodworking.
Woodworking is a hobby that can be rewarding. It gives you the ability to use wood as a canvas and create anything your mind can imagine.
Step 1: Seeking Out Guidance
Ask your friends if they know anybody that is into woodworking. I like for you to start here because this gives you the ability to try woodworking before you actual start investing in equipment.
If you were unsuccessful in finding anyone to let you try out woodworking, the next would be to seeking out a local class. My local tech campus has evening classes. This also gives you the ability to try before you buy. Most teach classes will charge a fee but it is usually a reasonable amount.
Step 2: Gather Some Extra Knowledge
Now that you have got a little taste of woodworking I am sure you’re hooked! My next tip would be spending a week thinking about what projects you might want to start making to build your skill set. I would suggest to head into forums and read as much as you can and just educate yourself with different terms of this wonderful hobby. YouTube will also be a great resource to help start building your knowledge. Here below are some forums and Youtube channels I recommend on beginning woodworking.
Just to name a few.
Step 3: Gather Tools
It does not take a lot of tools to get this hobby going. If you have watched any of the YouTuber’s I recommend above you probably noticed their nice equipment. Most of their equipment is called stationary equipment. Basically, you take the wood to the equipment to complete the task. Well, if you are on a budget your going to be using handheld power tools to get started.
I created post on some tools I recommend to get started this week. You can check that out here.
Here are some tools I recommend for beginning woodworking.
With these items laid out above you will be able to create just about anything. The main thing is to get out in the shop and start building and this will increase your woodworking abilities.
Step 4: Material
Now that you have got the tools need to help start creating its now time to source some material. I would suggest starting with just construction grade lumber. There is no need start with expensive hardwoods. You will make mistakes starting out in your measuring, cutting and etc. It happens to the best of us.
Find budget friendly material.
Use Craigslist to find affordable material. In craigslist theres a section thats just for material. A lot of times you can find some lumber thats dirt cheap for sale. I use it all time and actual get notifications sent to me when something meets my criteria when its posted.
You can use Craigslist to post a wanted add as well. Use it to find scrap material or wood pallets. There is people doing a lot of awesome things with wood pallets these days. Most of the time you can pick up pallets for free.
Step 5: Create
Now it’s time to build! I am sure you have found a lot projects your wanting to create by now. Take your time and start small. Pinterest is a great resource as well for finding project ideas to help get you moving in the right direction.
With the minimalist tool kit, I laid out above and in my other post. It gives you the ability to create in your backyard because there is no big and heavy equipment to move around. Don’t worry though woodworking will suck you in and the big heavy equipment will come soon.
I hope this guide on beginning
woodworking helped you see how simple it is to get started and that you will take the first step and seek out some help to get started. Feel free to use the contact page to get ahold of me with any questions.