I Was Finally Able to Use My Table Saw to Finish Stuff for Christmas

I was finally able to get my table saw up and running. Not only that I bought a zero clearance insert and casters for it as well. On top of that I built a sled for it so that I could do some repeatable cuts while working on the stepping stools that I did for Christmas presents. It was so nice to finally have a real table saw.

The stepping stools came out pretty nice although I did not get them done in time for Christmas. They were built and glued but I did not get to priming them until after Christmas. At the time of writing this they still need to be sanded and to be touched up.

I also did not get the second batch of magazine racks done either. They are stained but I still need to put the Polyurethane on them. I did take the people that were getting them into the garage to show them what they would be getting “some day soon”. That day hasn’t come yet but I will try to get them done during this long weekend.

What I Learned

These were some really cool projects that brought several really good lessons with them. Here are some of those lessons:

  • The grit of the sandpaper that you use determines how much stain the wood will absorb.
    I found this out by sanding the first set of magazine racks with 220 grit. They did not seems to want to take the stain. Then on the second batch I sand just a few blemish areas with 100 and the stain did not want to take in those areas. Next time if I sand one spot I sand the whole thing with 100 grit.
  • My paint sprayer has adjustments for the paint and air flow and I should adjust them before painting my pieces.
    I used oil base primer to seal the stepping stools which was really thick paint. It coated the stools with a texture because I had too much paint and air coming out. Half way through I started messing with the knobs on the back and was able to get nice even texture-free coats on some test pieces. Oh well, that is what sanding blocks are for.
  • Start building Christmas presents before December 1st.
    I had not planned to build Christmas presents this year but then I saw the magazine rack idea on the Wood Whisperer and thought “Hey, I can do that”. Sure I was able to do it but not in the quantity and time frame that was needed. Next year I am starting in August 😉 .
  • Keep things in perspective, this is supposed to be fun and I am just starting out.
    This is probably the most important lesson. There was a point a few days before Christmas that I was exhausted and tired of rushing to get these things done. It was not fun anymore and that is not how it should be. Therefore I took a couple of nights off from it which is why they were not done for Christmas. I don’t regret it as I needed to take a step back. Also, I was rushing too much and that always leads to accidents which I did not want.

All in all it was a good Christmas season and I loved being able to make something by hand for folks. For those that did get their magazine racks before Christmas they loved them and I am sure the other folks will like theirs when they get them.

After all the dust settles it looks like I will be moving on to a gadget station for me and a head board for our room. I can’t wait!

Coming Down to the Last Minute in Finishing Christmas Presents

A couple weeks ago I came across the Wood Whisperers article about simple magazine racks as Christmas presents. I initially made a couple out of Pine to test out but planed the wood to thin so it easily warped. I then bought enough Rd Oak to make 4 which came out alright. These 4 are stained but still need the Polyurethane added to them. This past Sunday I picked up 4 more pieces of Red Oak and busted out 4 more in a night. These guys still need stain and Poly.

I also pick up some 5/8″ MDF in order to make some stepping stools as presents as well. These have yet to be cut, glued, and primed but they are at the bottom of the list as they do not need to be shipped. I should be able to build all 4 of the step stools that I ant in an evening as well. 

The issue that I am facing is that it has been literally freezing the last fee days – day and night. I don’t believe the stain and Poly work to well in the lower temperatures and I don’t either. today it started to warm up a little but not enough. Tomorrow is supposed to be better but I have plans in the evening (Christmas stuff for the kids). It seems that I really underestimated the weather and the amount of work involved in getting Christmas presents done.

Hopefully I can get the staining/priming/Poly done this weekend in order to get them shipped on Monday.

Progress On My Daughter’s Two Step Stepping Stool

Two Step Stepping Stool - Angle View

Two Step Stepping Stool - Angle View

This weekend I got to spend some time in the garage and was able to assemble and prime my daughter’s 2 step stepping stool. The stool is made of 5/8″ MDF that I had left over from a 4′ x 8′ sheet that I had bought to make some shelves for under our stairs. The piece that I made this from was 16″ x 48″ and I still had some MDF left.

Generally MDF would not be the ideal type of wood for this project due to the fact that there is a good chance that the steps are going to get wet. While MDF is pretty strong and rigid water is its chief enemy. I am combating this by putting several coats of Kilz Oil based primer in order to seal it. I am hoping that the primer plus the paint that I will put on it will be protection enough for it. It is a stepping stool after all.

I hope to have it painted an finished some time this week.

Here are some photos before I put the primer on it.