Monday, January 28th, 2008
10:16 pm - Projects...  
I didn't post a projects update last weekend, but that was more from laziness rather than lack of accomplishment. The first thing I did last weekend was to cobble together the second office chair from the leftover parts from the new chair and the two dead chairs. Not much to do there other than elongating two screw slots on the base plate to fit the old leather seat bottom. After that it was just screw it all together. Worked great.

Next up was a real project.

The Box When I bought my chop saw several years ago, I had nothing to put it on down in the shop, at least nothing that would put the saw at a comfortable working height. I did have the wooden case shown in the first picture, though. It had been given to me by a friend many years ago along with some other furniture. I think it had probably once been part of a entertainment center. It was about the right dimensions for storing record albums, and very sturdy. It was nicely veneered on the top and sides, and open front and back. There had been legs on it at some point in its history, but I never saw them. I'd used it as a cheap closet organizer in my old apartment, but I'd had no use for it in the new house, so down to the basement it went.

The Old Setup It was too short to be a work bench, but it occurred to me that the height would be about right if I turned it up on its side. So that's what I did, and for the last six years it sat next to the radial arm saw with the chop saw on top, just like in the photo. For the most part it worked.

There were still some nagging annoyances, however. The chop saw wound up being about three inches lower than the radial arm saw table. That meant that any time I had to cut a longish piece of wood, the radial arm table got in the way. If necessary, I could temporarily move the saw out beyond the radial arm, but that was a pain in the neck since there were no wheels on the case. Made it a pain to clean behind it, too. Also, putting the side of the case directly on the concrete floor led to a couple of other problems. First, the concrete isn't perfectly flat, so the case wobbled slightly. Second, there's been water in the basement a few of times, and the case was sitting in it at least once. You can see the water stains in the top picture. Not good for the long term health of the wood. Finally, there was a lot of wasted volume underneath the saw.

Cheap Parts So, how could I improve on it? I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something this crude. Mostly I wanted to get it up on wheels. That would improve both the height situation and the portability issues. On the other hand, I didn't want it moving whilst I was cutting stuff, so I decided to put some casters at the front, and feet at the back of the case. The casters would let me move the case around like a handtruck, while the feet would allow for leveling the case on the uneven floor. Plus I already had a bunch of leveling bolts with plastic feet left over from some sets of wire shelving I'd put together. I headed up to the Depot and got two casters, a pair of tee-nuts to accept the leveling bolts, and a handle. All I needed besides that was some scrap wood.

Much Improved. I attached the casters and leveling bolts last weekend, then installed the shelves and the back this past weekend. The finished refurb is shown at the left. Full details of construction with pictures and notes can be found here.

Finally, I had to revisit the floodlight project of two weeks ago. The damn thing worked for about three days, then decided it wasn't ever going to turn itself off again. I tried fiddling with the settings, but finally gave up. Saturday I uninstalled it, threw it back in its box (which I hadn't thown out yet), and returned it to Benny's. It had a two year warranty, so I got my money back. Picked up a different brand at the Depot, and installed it. Total time wasted was about two hours. The new one is battleship gray instead of black, but at least it seems to be working.