There is a cemetery on a farm owned by a family member and they desired to add a place in it for relatives that have been cremated. I made a bronze box for this and my brother built it into the surrounding stone wall.
Kid Eating Table
The kids have outgrown the triplet table so we need a new mealtime solution. Our kitchen is very small and options squeezing in a place for adults to eat as well as children is a little demanding. They also make a mess underneath the table which makes a standard table and bunch of little chairs seem like a hassle. So, more custom furniture.
I've been hanging onto this salvaged 4in gate valve for a long time so I could make a table with it. Well, I finally scrounged some flanges for it and decided to do it now because I don't have enough other projects going on.
I wanted to route out some circles in a wood table top and really needed to do better than just following a line by hand if I wanted it to look right. So, that project spawned a spin off of this quick and dirty (relatively) jig to cut accurate circles.
Existing machinery is usually a mix of off the shelf parts, custom items and modifications over time. A winch I was working on needed a small hydraulic cylinder replaced and fortunately the majority of it was NFPA dimensionally compliant. The clevis end wasn't though so I had to make one.
When we bought our Westwood Main house the garage had been converted to another bedroom. I wish it hadn't though because the conversion was horrible and I ended up ripping everything out. It would have been easier to start fresh and that taught me a lesson. Next time I will completely demo everything and start from zero.
There is an obsession with ladders in the family right now. I put a fixed one on their climber but dragging stuff around is another never ending pastime so I made a little kids sized one for that purpose.
The kids have a little set of ramps that special cars fall down. I think it is pretty cool but they aren't that interested. Apparently it is too small and fast for them to follow. That means a bigger, slower version is needed!
On a youtube video my wife and I saw this toy with thousands of ball bearings sandwiched between two panes of plastic. We both thought it was cool and she particularly wanted one. Well, I looked around and found it was a desk toy from 1966 called Atomix and didn't exist anymore. So, the answer is obviously to make one.
When the ancient AC at our house finally died I decided not to do the new install myself but there were a few things I did do because AC guys are busy in the summer and I wanted special features. One of those features was mounting the condenser unit outside up high so it doesn't get dinged by the lawnmower and infested with ants.
An acquaintance was trying to get a 4x4 vehicle ready for a big trip next weekend and found he needed some axle shafts modified to complete his build. They were holding him up and he didn't want to waste the whole weekend because the regular shops are closed so I turned them down for him.
Elizabeth wanted a garden to grow some vegetables with the kids. She wanted a raised garden like my sister has but I don't like masonry blocks much and decided to make it out of limestone slabs that the local rock yard has at a decent price.
The first limestone raised garden that I made for us looked good and appeared to work nice so when Elizabeth wanted to give a raised garden as a Christmas gift I made another one with limestone slabs. This time I didn't want to do as much digging though and had a smaller time window to do it so I went with a different implementation.
I purchased a trailer to haul the wifes car when we moved to California. It was a decent deal but looked ugly and was really only fit for moving some cars with a deck made of random bits of steel so I gave it a decent overhaul and turned it into a flat wood decked trailer.
I had done some aluminum casting with temporary setups and made a furnace for my brother but needed to make a furnace for myself. The columbarium project came along and forced it to happen sooner rather than later. It also forced me to make the furnace a pretty decent size and able to survive bronze casting temperatures.
I had an aluminum test casting from the columbarium project as well as a pattern with a family name so I decided to make some plaques.
I already had the Logan which was a better machine but this Enco popped up for sale at such a good price that I just had to go pick it up. I did a complete teardown, cleaning and paint job but didn't end up having to do any repairs except small stuff like a knob here and there.
I purchased a Rockwell tool and cutter grinder for $350 off craigslist. As one might expect it was worn out and needed a complete rebuild.
I didn't like how soldering was going on some sheet metal boxes so I made the jump to spot welding. I don't have the money or space for a nice stationary system so I bought a harbor freight unit and immediately started turning it into something useable.
I was making a part at work on the sheldon lathe and noticed that I had a hard time moving the carriage side to side. I took the gearbox off the carriage and found three missing teeth on the main drive gear. A slow speed gear with reasonably low forces made fixing the gear an easier choice than purchasing a new one and modifying to fit.
A horizontal bandsaw for cutting stock was on my list for a long time. I ended up winning Wells 8M on ebay finally. It was a little rough and needed a rebuild to be useable so I gave it one.
The first mill I purchased was this cute little Industro-Lite horizontal. It is a little machine but well designed. Well worth the time I spent to rebuild it.
Some things I machine aren't worth a page of their own because I didn't take enough pictures or they just aren't a large enough project. This is a page for all those things to go on.
I needed to make some bends that the 24" wide brake I have couldn't make so I whipped something up to do it.
Westwood Main Shop
We bought a house without a garage because it was supper cheap. After suffering without a shop for years I am finally going to build one. Well, get it built I guess.
Step #? in baby proofing the house, the great baby wall. The living room is our safe zone and the kitchen by nature is not. There is a big 11ft opening that connects the two and since we wanted to separate them we needed something that the kids couldn't knock over that spanned that big distance. I didn't think anything on the market would works so I made a fence to keep them out.
Need a changing table for the kids but no one makes it! By no one making it I mean that there isn't anything worth buying on the market even at high prices. A changing table by definition involves dirty clothes and poopy diapers which need to be deposited somewhere but apparently it is too difficult to incorporate into the furniture made just for this task. End result, I have to make it.
We wanted some learning towers for the kids to use in the kitchen so they could reach things on the counters and help in the kitchen. These are easy to find so it seems like a good candidate for something I can just buy instead of building but space is at a premium in our kitchen and that changes the equation a little. Specifically, if I made the towers light and just the right size then they could slide under the triplet table between the seats when not in use.
Elizabeth wanted a table to sit the children in for mealtimes. They make replacement plastic chairs for some sitting tables that schools have so I made a table that fit three chairs so all the kids could sit and eat at once.
The kids need a table that is their size. We have a space that may or may not fit anything that exists out there but finding something that does would be a lot of work and odds are that whatever it is that is made for kids will be such poor quality that I won't be able to stand living with it. That means a quick one day project to make the table.
The kids were playing on some of my unfinished projects and I wanted to do a satisfying quick project so I decided to make them a climbing playground. Things got a little out of hand and it grew on me but it was fun.
Some things I make for the kids don't deserve a whole page cause it is too small or I didn't take enough pictures. This is a page for all those things to go on.
The kids love flowing water and needed some for their water table. Why not let them power it themselves?
Guest Bath Tile
I didn't like the tile put in the bathrooms by the previous owner (largely because they did a horrible job of it) but it was low on my priority list. That is until we had the foundation fixed. The tile had been laid after the bedroom sank so when the house was moved back the guest bathroom tile pushed up and created a 2inch hump or tent in the middle of the room making the floor jump to priority #1.
The most pressing project priority for me is putting a roof over the back porch so I can have a little space to work on things whenever it is raining. Before I do that though I have to take care of the chimney. Things aren't right and there is going to be some rot.
The AC return in this house was the only place a couch naturally fits in the living room despite the fact that the plenum was also adjacent to the entry hall. So I moved the return over to the hall wall and while I was at it upgraded the system filter are and added an electronics closet in the bottom of the plenum.
The kids rooms is small and we needed to put one of the cribs up against the wall. Kids and blinds/curtains right next to their bed doens't work that well so I made a false window to cover up some blinds. We can still use the blinds but the kids can't hurt themselves or ruin them.
Houses should all have big covered porches. Not only do they protect door from water but they give you a place to sit or work on thing when it is rainy outside. My house has a small concrete back porch but it isn't covered so I am going to fix that.
The mailbox which came with the house needed replacement. The previous owner had painted a nice fox on it but the mailbox itself was absolute junk and feeling the effects of time so it had to go. I don't like doing things twice and don't like the look of most mailboxes so I went a little beefier than most for the replacement. I shouldn't have to do that again.
Things looked like we would be able to pay off the house in maybe just a couple years so I didn't want to build a garage when we would just move. So I started building a nice shed I could take with me when I moved and then use it as a guest cottage.
In California we had a great entry porch that just called for a big bench. I stumbled across a pew that needed some work and was perfect for the space.
The wife wanted a place to sit and put on her shoes. I wanted to make something with a limestone top.
When I rebuilt the Wells 8M bandsaw I wanted to lower it but I couldn't let those cast iron legs go to waste, so I made a coffee table with them.
Multi-Window Curtain Rod
The kitchen has a little alcove with 4 windows. They are visible from the road so we wanted to cover them but finding something that looked good was problematic and I decided to make one big curtain rod which held a curtain over all of them. It turned out pretty good.
I like what seems to be an uncommon type of strainer that you just hold up to the pot while you pour the water out. Anyway, we have one my father made for use that works quite well but I like metal so I decided to make a few out of aluminum.
I thought that some puzzles made out of metal would be cool so I made some. Well, I designed them and had them made by a professional shop because waterjet and laser cutting fall outside the realm of capabilities I have in house.
I have always done a lot of drawing. These days it is all practical, sketching out a new idea or planning what project will be like. I draw to get an idea down on some paper so I don't forget it, or to work details out and see how things fit or to show someone else what I have in my head. Once though I had time to draw things just for the sake of drawing them. Here are a few of those drawings, you can click on each picture for a larger version.
You know those rice crispy/oreo/candy corn turkeys you see people make around Thanksgiving? Well, things got a little excessive over at our house one year.