In the face of today’s high-tech games and fast-paced technology, retro gaming is making a major comeback. The BBC reports that more people are collecting and playing with games on systems that dominated the early days of home gaming. These include the Atari 7800s, Nintendo Entertainment System, Sega Master System, and Sony PlayStations of the 80s and 90s, and the classic titles everyone played with as children.
Several years ago I read a book called Makers, by Chris Anderson and he talked about how, in the future, we could all have 3D printers of our own and our homes would be like little manufacturing factories. Today, we’re seeing that happen around the world. It’s pretty incredible. A couple of years ago I got my first 3D Printer and it cost me about $650 and could print just about anything I wanted up to 150mm squared. I was pretty stoked but it was a real labor of love. Things broke, prints got messed up and I spent more time trying to get a successful print than I did actually making cool stuff.
There are 12,000 reason why we love our house. We feel very lucky in many ways, considering we went into this whole purchase pretty blind and went off of a gut feeling that it was right. We truly had no clue what we were in for project-wise when we moved in. It’s been non-stop projects galore, but it’s okay because it keeps us out of trouble, and it keeps us from saving any of that pesky money. Who needs a savings account, anyway?
When we were looking for a new house a few years back, we really hoped to find one with a good amount of space and a three car garage, so that we could park both cars in the garage and then have some room for me to do woodworking and my many projects. We ended up buying our current home, which we love for a hundred reasons, but it didn’t have a three car garage. Katrina, knowing that I really wanted a work space, allowed me to pour a concrete pad for a wood shop as a sort of down payment on a future shop. Well, now that we have put the yard in, finished the basement and we’re finally getting a rock wall to replace our massive, weed-infested hill, it’s time to start on the shop. I got started a couple of weeks ago and it’s going well so far.
To begin, I designed the shop in Google Sketchup, which allows me to get a feel for size, color, space in relation to the house, etc. After that, I mocked it up in Photoshop using our existing garage as a starting point and then bringing in some color and texture to make it fairly realistic. The second image below is my Photoshop job of what the shop may look like, though we’re definitely not 100% decided as of yet on colors, textures, etc. The size and shape are pretty accurate, though.
I decided to do 2×6 framing instead of 2×4 since I’ll be insulating it and adding a heating and A/C unit. The shop is 15′ x 15′, so it’s not a big shop, but I’m excited about it. I decided to do 9′ ceilings, with a loft for wood storage. I’m putting several windows in it, including a row of windows above the door, a 3’x5′ window on two of the walls and a smaller window on the fourth wall. Let there be light. The best part about that is that I bought all of the windows already, including several extra, for a grand total of $100 from a person in our area. Thanks, local online classifieds! They’re all used double pane, insulated windows and most of them are either sliders or crank-openers. I’m looking forward to putting those in. It’s amazing what you can get for cheap when someone is remodeling their home.
I bought a framing nailer (should have done that years ago) and have been building the walls one at a time and then getting some help from neighbors to stand them up and put them on the lag bolts in the concrete then tight them down. I have to say – 15′ x 10′ walls made out of 2x6s are extremely heavy. Definitely not a one-person job. My poor wife had her feet under one of the walls when it fell into place so she’s got quite a pair of bruises on her feet but luckily it looks worse than it is.
With the four walls up, I started on the ceiling / loft floor. I used 2x10s and mounting brackets and it’s quite sturdy. Those 15′ long 2x10s are some heavy suckers. I finished putting those up and then, with Katrina’s help, put the 3/4″ OSB up for flooring. That made it way easier to work on the roof trusses (stick framing) without having to use a ladder to do it all.
For the roof cuts, I used a great little truss calculator to get the angles, distances and other cuts, which was super helpful. Me no do math good, so that was kinda fantastic. It gives you the angles, the birdsmouth cuts, the distances where to cut them and everything.
One thing that helped a lot on cutting the rafters was to create a template to make the marks faster. I created these small templates to slide onto each end of the 2x6s to make it really easy to mark every board in a hurry. It took me about 11 minutes to mark 24 boards, which is great. The templates took about 20 minutes to make.
As of right now, the rafters are up and nailed to the ridge board, so now I’m ready to finish the framing of the gable faces and then I can put the OSB up on the roof. Yay!
No injuries or accidents (other than my poor wife’s foot bruises) so far, so knock on wood. That’s it for now! More pictures coming soon and, of course, I’m videoing the whole thing for a complete how-to series on it from start to finish. If you want to learn about framing walls, windows, soffits, doors and closets, I already have some videos on those!
This year for Mother’s Day, I told NilsyNils that I wanted a couple of planter boxes for our front walk area. I think they add a lot of charm and dimension to any area, and had pinned quite a few pictures of ones I liked. Nils and I looked at a lot of different tutorials, and naturally, he decided they were all crap and designed a new one. We spent a Saturday in the garage building these cute boxes and bonding via power tools. This is an inexpensive yet outdoor-ready planter box that can hold about 3 full bags of potting soil and has about 3 square feet of surface area.
Each box consists of 9 cedar fence pickets and one 2 x 4. You’ll also need 1 1/4″ screws, 3″ screws, an optional brad nailer, and 18 gauge brads.
Check out the full video at https://youtu.be/WUnFAgj_7ps
The projector screen we’re going to be building is made of PVC and will hold steady in windy areas like where we live. It provides a great picture and is perfect for outdoor movie nights with family and friends.
For this project I used a good quality screen material that I purchased from Amazon. This is Carl’s Blackout Cloth, which you can pick up for about $35. Links are in the description. While you can use a bed sheet or other material, this cloth is designed for projector screens. There is a finished side and a back – you can hear the difference. Lie the screen on your carpet, scratchy side up, and folder over each side about 3-4 inches (8-10cm). To make the pockets for the PVC you can either use StitchWitchery, which is an adhesive strip for fabric, or just sew it. I tried both and the Stitch Witchery stuff, while a great option if you don’t have access to a sewing machine, is kind of a pain. It requires you to lay it down between the fabric, put a towel under it so as not to melt your carpet, put a damp cloth over it and then iron each side for about ten seconds each, all the way along the length of it. I tried this for one side and it took a while so I headed over to the sewing machine and sewed the other three sides. Both held up equally well but the sewing machine was much faster. You don’t need to be an expert tailor or seamstress – this is what I call “functional sewing” – it just needs to get the job done.
When you’re done with each side, cut a square in each of the four corners so that you can push the PVC pipes through. When you’re done, you should have a screen that is approximately 16:9 ratio – it should look roughly like this.
Next I did a bit of man sweeping in the garage to keep my screen from getting too dirty, then laid it out and started getting my measurements. Be sure to take multiple measurements in case your sides aren’t perfectly straight.
For my screen, the measurements were 102” wide by 58” high. I’m using 1 ½” PVC for this bhild. Take your width measurement and start by subtracting 2” to accommodate for the 1” depth of the elbows. For the top and bottom rails, I’m going to break it into two sections so that the kit is more portable. You’ll lose about a ¼” because of the coupling, so you’ll need to subtract that as well. Lastly, divide the result by 2. You’ll need four pieces (two for the top and two for the bottom). The sides are much simpler – just subtract 2” from the height and you’re all set. You should end up with four identically sized pieces (for the top and bottom rails), and 2 slightly longer identical sized pieces for the sides.
You’ve got several options for cutting the PVC. The first is to use a PVC Pipe Cutter. These are pretty inexpensive (links are in the description) and super easy to use. They’re also the cleanest option. If you have a hacksaw, you can use that too, but it’s a lot of work and a lot of mess, plus you’ll have to sand every cut because it leaves them pretty rough. If you have access to a mitre saw, that’s definitely the easiest and quickest way to go. That’s what I chose to use for this project.
Once you’ve got your six pieces cut, lay them out for a quick test fit to make sure everything lines up and then try to fit them into the screen and see how it goes. If it’s too big, that’s ok. We want to cut the pipes down until they barely fit. That’s what keeps the tension on the screen and stretches it tight to get rid of the wrinkles and creases. Keep adjusting until you get it to fit nice and tight.
Once that’s squared away (see what I did there?) you can make the cuts for the legs and feet. The stand is just two feet and a leg for each side. I made my feet about 18” each and then the legs were 2 feet but feel free to adjust as needed. Put these together with one tee and two end caps each, then attach them to the screen to stand it up. Tadah! The screen is almost done!
Now if you want to add some tie downs for windy conditions, one way to do that is to drill a hole into each side of the vertical poles about half way up. Drill through the outside of the PVC and then slightly into the other side, but not through. You can then drive a 3” screw into each side. These act as the connector for the tie downs. Drive some stakes into the ground (or you can just use some heavy objects, like your kids) and then use paracord to tie the screen to the stakes (or the kids). Be sure to have a helper if you’re setting the screen up in very windy conditions, like you see here. You can then use a lighter to melt the ends of the paracord to prevent fraying.
With that, you’re all done. Exxxxcept for that you’re not. I thought I was finished but then I noticed the horizontal folds. I came up with a solution for this that works pretty well. I created a stretcher bar to fit between the top and bottom poles. I had to make a small cut in the sleeves and then I put a 3” screw in the top and bottom of a pole and spaced them just far enough apart that they stretched the two apart. With the stretcher bar in place, the wrinkles were mostly gone, and the one that was left didn’t show up when the screen was in use.
NOW, it’s done – and back yard movie night is on. Oh – and check out that tiny projector in the corner!
Ready to learn to make a gorgeous and sturdy farmhouse table from scratch? Use the plans below to build your own.
The Triangles: I’d recommend doing the triangles however you think looks best. If you want to know what size the triangles on my table feet are, they measure 9 3/4″ on the diagonal side (the longest side) x 3 1/2″ at the bottom x 9″ tall. I used 4×6 lumber to make these.
A quick note on the end caps. I’m not sure I’d honestly recommend them. The problem is that the wood will shrink and expand more in one direction than the other, which means that while the table top may move a bit in one direction, the end cap, by virtue of being perpendicular to the rest of the top, will move in the other direction. On my table this has resulted in a bit of a lip. Nothing huge, but not what I hoped for. I’d recommend leaving the wood out for several weeks first, or possibly omitting the end cap altogether. Another option is to create an end cap (for the lip) by cutting off 1.5″ from the table top and then attaching that to the bottom of the ends – to help match up the skirts. I attached the end caps with glue and brads at first, followed up with some pocket hole screws from the bottom side. If you’re just doing the skirt method, then I’d recommend screwing them in from the bottom using 2.5″ countersunk screws. The end cap dimensions (as shown in the plans) are 3’6″ W x 3″ H x 1.5″ D.
As for the side skirts, it’s just a 2×4 ripped in half and then glued, tacked and screwed onto the table top. I countersunk all of the screws and that one worked out pretty well. The side skirts are 7’9″ W x 1.5″ H x 1.5″ D.
Several people have asked about how I attached the base of the table to the tabletop, so I wanted to address that. I used 4 1/2″ lag bolts with washers and put them in six locations under the table – one on each corner of the two main legs, plus one in the center of the 2x4s that run the length of the base. To predrill, I started with a 7/8″ forstner bit, drilling just as deep as was necessary to hide the head of the bolt. From there, I used a 7/16″ bit to drill through about two inches in, then a 9/32″ bit to drill the rest of the 4 inches or so. Be careful not to drill too deep – you don’t want to drill right through the table top.
Drive the lag bolt in and let the washer stop you when it bottoms out. I think the six heavy duty bolts are enough but if you want to put more in, it couldn’t hurt.
Watch the video to see how it’s made! ^^