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BLACK+DECKER Giveaway and How to Install a Window Valance

Posted by John on June 13th, 2016

(This post is sponsored by BLACK+DECKER, but the content and the opinions expressed here are my own)

black and decker giveaway

So it’s been a while since my last blog post, mostly because I’ve been hard at work on CabinetsfromScratch.com.  If I’m not writing blog posts, it usually means I’m not working on the house.  Consequently, my honey-do list for projects is nearing a mile long and I had to knock out something this weekend or I’d feel like a total bum.  Luckily, Lisa had purchased a window valance some time ago and we decided to finally hang those up.

I’m not going to write out a long how-to for this project since it’s incredibly simple.  However, I will point out that my new BLACK+DECKER 20V drill made this project go smoothly.  I’m not being compensated to write a glowing review of it, but I will say this drill is light, well balanced and feels comfortable to hold and use.

We started this weekend’s quick project with a basic, undecorated double window in our oldest daughter’s room.

window without valance

This valance comes with three brackets that get installed into the wall just above and outside the window opening.  I’ll use a pencil to mark the bracket holes and then I’ll pre-drill them using a drill bit with a diameter slightly smaller than the screw diameter.  I was lucky enough to hit the wall studs when I located my brackets.  If you don’t hit studs, then you need to use molly bolts to hold the fasteners in place.

black and decker drill

After the first bracket was installed, I used a long level to locate the next two brackets.  A couple of screws later and we were done.

window valance

Boy that was an exhausting weekend. 🙂

So the good folks at BLACK+DECKER are giving away one (1) 20V Lithium Drill/Driver AND one (1) 20V circular saw to one of my readers.  

Here’s how to enter the giveaway.

  1.  Check out the BLACK+DECKER Drill/Driver here.
  2.  Leave a comment at the end of this blog post telling me what you’d do with the drill if you win the giveaway.

That’s it.  Check out their product, leave a comment and BOOM, you’re entered.  Piece of cake.  The giveaway starts immediately and ends on 11:59 June 27, 2016.

If you’ve never left a comment before, here’s the basics.

  1.  Scroll to the bottom of the post.
  2.  If you have a Disqus account you can log-in to leave a comment.  You can also log-in to your Facebook or Google+ account to leave a comment.
  3.  If you don’t have a Disqus account, click on the small box that says “I’d rather comment as a guest.”

how to comment

    Enter your name (you don’t have to use your real name) and your email address.

how to comment 2

    Leave your comment.

A couple of quick notes.  The actual content of your comment isn’t relevant to the giveaway.  The winner will be drawn at random.  I’m not picking a winner based on what you write.  Got it.  Good.

Good luck everybody!

 

 

Posted in Garage and Tools,Giveaways. Tagged in ,, ,

Free Download: Wainscoting Calculator

Posted by John on April 30th, 2016

One of my favorite home improvement projects over the past few years has been our raised panel wainscoting we added to our dining room.  While this project was fairly challenging, it was well worth the effort.  It dramatically improved the look of this space and I think it’s safe to say it probable added some value to our home.

wainscoting-calculator

It might surprise you to learn that the actual woodworking portion of the project wasn’t all that difficult.  The hard part was planning the layout so the panels were properly sized and the walls looked even and balanced.  This isn’t a project where you should try to wing it.

To help aid you with your own wainscoting project whether it’s raised panel or shadow boxes, I’ve come up with an MS Excel file that calculates the sizes of the panels on multiple walls for you.  All you need to do is mess with a couple numbers to play around with your layout.

That calculator file is free to download on our Plans page, all you need to do is subscribe to our newsletter.

Get the Free Calculator
You'll also have access to all of our free woodworking plans.

To help you use the file, I filmed an instructional video that walks you through how to use it effectively.  You can watch that video below or you can click this link to be redirected to the YouTube channel.

I hope you find this video and calculator helpful and I would encourage you to try adding your own wainscoting to your own dining room, living room or vestibule.  This project can be a major game changer in the look and feel of your home.

If you have any questions at all, you can email me on the Contact page or leave a comment on the YouTube video.  I try to reply to every email I get and I’m always here to help.

Thanks and good luck!

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,, , , , ,

New Download: Office Cabinet Plans

Posted by John on January 18th, 2016

In today’s post, I’m finally releasing the plans for my home office cabinets.  Unlike some of the other cabinet plans I’ve released before, these plans are fully adjustable and will allow you to modify the dimensions to fit your space.  The plans are actually an MS Excel file that you can download.  The file allows you to customize not only the dimensions, but also the build method.  You can select pocket screws or dados for the box construction.  You’re also able to turn the added bead feature on or off.  While I think beaded face frames looks killer, it adds a level of complexity that not everyone will want to try.

Office Cabinet Plans

home office cabinet plans

 

To get access to the free plans, all you need to do is subscribe to our free newsletter.  You can use the email sign-up form below.  If you’re already a subscriber, you know where to get them.  (I’ll email them out to everyone anyway!)

Get the FREE plans for this project
Join our newsletter and be part of a community of DIYers and Home Improvement enthusiasts.

Since these plans are somewhat involved, I’ve also released a new video explaining some of the finer points of the plans.  Here’s that video…

(Click here to be re-directed to the video on YouTube)

Here’s a list of parts you’ll need to build these cabinets.  I’m not including some of the more basic tools like a table saw and a miter saw, since you can read my tool recommendations page for that stuff.

Office Cabinet Parts List

1.  1/8″ Radius Beading Bit (Optional: Only if you want a beaded face frame)
2.  1-1/2″ Kreg Notching Bit (Also only required for the beaded face frame)
3.  Inset Hidden Hinges
4.  Shelf Pins
5.  Blum Inset Drawer Locking Devices (There’s a left one and a right one)

I’ll refresh this parts list if I think of anything else I forgot.  You’ll also need drawer runners, but the plans will specify the exact part number once you punch in your desired cabinet dimensions.

Must-Watch Videos

In order to build these cabinet properly, you should familiarize yourself with at least two more videos in addition to the one above.  They’re not long.  Two of them feature this exact cabinet set so they are worth watching.

  1. DIY Home Office Cabinet Build
  2. DIY Shaker Cabinet Doors

You should also refer to the main Home Office Cabinet Wrap Up post to see the progress of the entire project from start to finish.

I hope you enjoy the challenge of building these cabinets!  This was one of my favorite projects so far in our new house.  Good luck and if you get stuck or have a question, just leave a comment or shoot me an email.

R,

John

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects. Tagged in ,, , , ,

Woodworkers of Instagram #2: Lance’s Workshop

Posted by John on December 1st, 2015

Well it’s been nearly a month since my last post.  Did you miss me?

With three little kids, a pretty demanding full-time job and the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I haven’t have much time to work on any home improvement projects lately.  Add to that pile, I’m using all of my free time to develop my kitchen cabinet course.

While I may be idle, I still want to continue my series on my favorite woodworkers on Instagram.  In today’s post, I’m sharing some posts from Lance’s Workshop.  Lance Wroblewski has a ton of great Instagram posts as he setup his shop.  He’s currently building a pretty sweet workbench.

You can follow Lance’s Instagram account by clicking here.

Make sure you also checkout some of Lance’s YouTube videos.  He’s got a couple cool tours of his shop worth looking at.

Check out these killer dovetails:

A photo posted by Lance’s Woodshop (@lancew09) on

Here’s a shot of the maple hardwood he glued up for the workbench top.

 

A photo posted by Lance’s Woodshop (@lancew09) on

He’s also built some really nice workshop cabinets.

 

#woodshop #woodworking A photo posted by Lance’s Woodshop (@lancew09) on

So I think you get the idea of why he’s worth following.

In my next post, I’m going to be sharing the complete plans along with a calculator for my beaded face frame office cabinets.  Stay tuned.

Posted in Blogging. Tagged in ,,

Woodworkers of Instagram #1: Humphrey Munson

Posted by John on November 6th, 2015

If you’re into DIY and woodworking like I am and you have an Instagram account, then you’ve probably seen some pretty amazing projects in this app.  In today’s post and throughout the rest of the year, I’m going to spotlight some of my favorite Instagram accounts so you can check out their impressive work. We don’t have a lot of home improvement projects going on at the moment, but be sure to follow my Instagram  account (@john_ohfs) to see what we’re up to.

Woodworkers of Instagram

I’m going to kickoff this series by taking a look at one of my favorite cabinet shops, Humphrey Munson.  Their Instagram account is @humphreymunson.  Give them a follow.  (By the way, I’m not being paid by anyone to share my favorite accounts and I’ll just assume that they’re ok with me sharing their photos.) Here’s one of my favorite @humphreymunson photos.

Humphrey Munson is a British cabinet company that build handmade cabinets for custom, high-end looking kitchens. They’re designs are simple and quite elegant featuring mostly inset doors, beaded face frames and hardwood dovetailed drawers. If you’re thinking about building your own kitchen cabinets or built-ins, their Instagram account is a must-see source of inspiration. In addition to the white cabinets, they also have a few other paint colors and some stained pieces as well.

 

A photo posted by Humphrey Munson (@humphreymunson) on



 

A photo posted by Humphrey Munson (@humphreymunson) on

Amazing work, right?  If I ever build another set of kitchen cabinets, I’m going to use these guys for inspiration. Now here’s what I’d like you to do, either in Instagram or in this post, let me know what woodworking Instagram accounts you love and tell me your account as well. Have a great weekend!  

Posted in Carpentry. Tagged in ,, ,

Miter Saw Stand Plans

Posted by John on October 6th, 2015

This weekend I’m going to start filming my new course on how to build kitchen cabinets.  As part of the preparation for that project, I decided to add a much-needed miter saw stand to my workbench inventory.  Having a miter saw stand is a huge convenience and while you don’t absolutely need one, it makes your workshop life a lot easier, especially when you add the Kreg Top Trak gear.

The plans for this miter saw are available for free to our newsletter subscribers. 

Get the FREE plans for this project
Join our newsletter and be part of a community of DIYers and Home Improvement enthusiasts.

Here’s some pictures of the recently completed project.  It took my about three 2-hour nights to start and finish this project completely.

miter saw stand

It’s a great entry-level project and the perfect warm-up to a cabinet build since it involves many of the same skills needed like cutting large sheets of plywood, pocket holes, circular saw work, router work, etc.

There’s a lot of room for improvement and upgrades with this particular stand.  There’s a lot of wasted space beneath the top, which you can use to install some drawers or a lower shelf.  All of those upgrades I’ll eventually get to myself, but for now, this setup will work just fine.

I recently shot an instructional video demonstrating how to build this exact saw and you can check it out here:

(If you can’t see the preview window, click here to be directed directly to YouTube)

This saw was built from the following materials (affiliate links):

Here are some other close up pictures of the stand.

1 img miter saw stand

2 img side feed

6 img groove

3 img kreg stop

So far, I’m liking this saw stand much, much better than my previous portable stand.

Remember to sign-up to get access to these plans today!

Posted in DIY Projects,Garage and Tools. Tagged in ,, , , ,

Designing a Miter Saw Station

Posted by John on September 22nd, 2015

In our last post, we discussed our need for a new miter saw station.  In this post, we’re going to take our list of requirements and come up with a basic design.

Miter saw station design

Whenever I start a new woodworking project like a cabinet build, I usually start out by drawing a sketch of what I think it should look like and then make changes and redraw it.  Once I’m happy with how it looks, I can either come up with a dimensioned parts list or make a 3D drawing in SketchUp.

Here’s my pencil sketch.

miter saw stand design

In my pencil drawing, there are two tables.  The top one was my first design.  It’s a pretty straightforward miter saw station with a narrow workbench top that has two boxes on either side of the saw.  One of our fellow Facebook group users posted a similar picture (Peter G) and it also looks a lot like that Shanty2Chic model.  If you like this design, go for it.  It’s a smart option if you already don’t have a workbench or two, but it will require some extra plywood for both the top and the boxes.  Since I already have a couple dedicated workbenches, I came up with another option, which is the bottom drawing.

The option I’m going with will feature a narrow work surface with an integrated fence and a recess where the saw will sit to flush it up with the work top.  While this setup will complicate the design a bit, it should be a pretty useful station.

After I finished my pencil sketch of the table, I drew it up in SketchUp.  By drawing it in a 3D CAD program, it allowed me to see some areas of the design that I hadn’t fully thought through.  It’s like building the table before you even buy the parts.  It’s a helpful exercise.

Here’s what that drawing looks like.  And no, I didn’t have to draw the saw.  SketchUp has a great model library where you can import drawings made by other people.

miter saw stand

If you’re in our Facebook group, you would have already seen this image.  The table is made completely out of plywood and it will feature some caster wheels for easy moving around my basement shop.

From this image, I was able to dimension every single part.  I’d give you that parts list now, but I want to verify it first.  You never know.  Once in a while even I make a mistake (no, no I don’t).  😉

Later this week, I’m going to run out and purchase the material.  I should have it ready for a post next week.

See you then.

Posted in DIY Projects,Garage and Tools. Tagged in ,, , ,

Next Project: Miter Saw Station

Posted by John on September 13th, 2015

I need a miter saw station.  Badly.  So much so that I’ve decided to build one.  In this post, I’m going to talk about all the different features I’d like to incorporate into my new miter saw station and why you need one too.

Miter Saw Station

***Over the course of the next few months, I’m going to be posting a lot about cabinet construction.  At the end of that series, I’m going to launch a new video course on building kitchen and built-in cabinets.  Today is the first post in this series and it’s about miter saw stations.***

I’m on my third miter saw.  I bought my first one back in 2003 right after I bought my first house.  It was a 10″ Rigid model with a dual bevel feature.  Worked great.  I didn’t have a miter saw stand back then.  I made all of my miter cuts by simply resting the miter saw on the floor or on a table.  Mostly the floor.  It made for sore joints the day after a lot of trim work.  Eventually, I bought a delta miter saw stand and it was a huge improvement.  No more bending over a million times during my projects.

After the Rigid model broke down, I moved onto a used 10″ sliding model from Makita and now I’m on a DeWalt 10″ sliding saw, which I bought new.  No plans to change saws anytime soon, although the DeWalt isn’t perfect.

While I was building my home office remodel, I noticed that there were a few cuts that I was making over and over again.  To make those cuts, I had to measure the wood and make the cut each time.  If I had a miter saw station with a stop, I could measure once and then cut as many pieces as I’d like.  A stop would streamline the process.

When you’re building one cabinet, having steps in the build process to speed things up isn’t a huge deal.  When you’re building a room full of cabinets, those time saving steps are critical.  More importantly, they insure consistency from one piece to the next.

My current miter saw stand is nice and if you’re not interested in building a miter saw station, then at least consider purchasing a portable stand.  However, if you want to have a dedicated station to improve your miter saw cuts, then you need to build a miter saw station.

Here are a few miter saw stations I found by searching Pinterest.

shanty2chic miter saw table

(The Shanty2Chic Model)

This particular model has a 2×4 base with a simple, plywood fence assembled with some pocket screws.  The miter saw is offset to the right side of the table, allowing for longer pieces to lay on the left side of the saw.  I really like the approach here.  The base is wide open for tool storage and it has wheels so it can be maneuvered around the shop.

miter saw station 2

(Lumberjocks)

This next model from Lumberjocks is more of a traditional woodworkers miter saw station.  It’s very well-built.  You can tell by looking at some of the photos that a lot of time and care was taken while constructing this piece.  I don’t want to spend that much time on this project, but I like some of the features of this table.  It has a measuring tape and stop installed along the fence, which I’ll want to incorporate into my design.

miter saw station fixed

(Lumberjocks)

This last version is permanently fixed to a shop wall and features a super helpful set of storage drawers as well as a dust collection chamber.  While I’d prefer mine to be mobile, I love the simplicity of this design.

Now that we’ve looked at a few designs, I can start drawing out what kind of miter saw station I want.  Here’s a list of the key features I’d like my station to incorporate.

  • Mobile base for moving it around the shop
  • Fence with measuring tape and cut stop
  • Storage for tools or other shop supplies
  • Simple base design
  • Complete plywood construction

I think I can come up with something that includes all of those items.

In my next miter saw station post, I’ll show you a drawing of what I’m thinking.

See you then!

 

 

Posted in Garage and Tools. Tagged in ,, ,

Survey Results and the Fall Agenda

Posted by John on September 4th, 2015

Happy Labor Day weekend to all of our American friends and hello to all of our readers wherever you are!  I hope you’ve all been having a safe and enjoyable summer.  As much as I love this time of year in New Jersey, I’m ready for slightly cooler weather.  And football.  And hockey.  And Doctor Who Season 9.  🙂

blog survey results

In today’s post I’m going to briefly discuss the results of our reader survey and talk about what our plans are for the rest of this calendar year.

First, a big thank you to everyone who took a few minutes to take the survey and give us their feedback.  My number one goal is to build a community of enthusiastic home improvers and DIYers and we’d be no where without your help.  So a big high-five, guys.

This summer has been crazy.  Life with three kids is hectic… add to that the occasional work trip, a full-time job, vacations, and it’s a wonder I can keep my head above water.  I’ve got a few “extra-curricular” projects that I’ve been developing and they’ve been consuming a ton of my time as well.  Consequently, my content creation for the blog has been slower than I’d like.  This entire summer, I only finished one home improvement project, our shadow box trim.  That’s major weak-sauce.  I hope to pick up the pace again this fall.

Content Strategy

One of the most striking results of the survey was in regards to the type of content you enjoy seeing on our site.  The results were just about evenly split between the videos and tutorial style blog posts, with the free plans a close third.  Awesome.  Message received.

Going forward I’m going to commit to one post a week and ideally, one video a week as well.  And by commit, I mean give it a good effort.  I don’t want to waste your time, but I’m pretty sure we can find things to write and talk about.

Oh and since we’re talking about blog posts and videos, your favorite topic is woodworking, by far.  No love for the landscaping posts!  That’s good.  I hate landscaping.  Major PIA.

To Podcast or Not to Podcast

For some time now, I’ve been kicking around the idea of hosting a home improvement style podcast.  It’s a fun medium… and boy can I talk.  While you were generally receptive to that idea, with a little over half suggesting that you would listen to it, I’m going to pass.  Home improvement is such a visual activity and video is a far more effective tool for teaching and learning new skills.  Trying to discuss cabinet building and some other construction style topics on a podcast would be a challenge.  There are some really good home improvement podcasts out there (check out Doug’s Thumb and Hammer Podcast, for example), but I think video will be better for what I’m trying to do here.

Ideally, I’d like to produce a more regular stream of videos so you can tune in weekly for new topics and discussions.  I’ll probably start transitioning to a slightly different video format in the coming weeks to match that goal.

Cabinet Course

The other big idea I’ve been considering is an online kitchen cabinet and built-in course.  Thanks to your feedback, this is definitely going to happen.  I’m planning to start filming it next month with the goal of getting it available before the end of the year.  My goal is to make it comprehensive and very detailed so you’ll know exactly how to build either your own set of kitchen cabinets or your own custom built-ins.

The format for the course will be video instruction with some added software tools.  I’m probably going to make it a monthly subscription type website, but I’m still figuring that stuff out.  I promise to make the course available early to all of our newsletter subscribers at a substantial discount.

Cabinet building is by far my favorite topic to discuss with folks and I think this will be a lot of fun.

Website Updates

Another change you’ll see soon is to our website.  While I like this design, I’m going to make some updates to it to make it easier for new and current readers to explore and find content.  I’ll also fix that annoying pop-up so you don’t see it as often.

I’ve got a LOT of work to do.

Have a great weekend!

 

Posted in Blogging. Tagged in ,, , ,

New Video: How to Install Shadow Box Trim

Posted by John on August 28th, 2015

In today’s post, you’ll learn
– How to Install Shadow Box Trim

It’s been a while since we’ve finished any home improvement projects and although, this latest one is pretty quick and simple, it feels great to wrap up another project nonetheless.  Lisa and I had been planning on adding some sort of decor or charm to our front entry for some time now and we settled on shadow box trim since it looks great and won’t break the bank.  Between paint and trim (both chair rail and base cap molding), we probably spend around $150.

shadow box trim pinterest

To make this tutorial even easier, I put together a video for you to help demonstrate the process.  Check it out:

(Click here if you don’t see the video to be redirected to YouTube)

Here’s what tools you’ll need for this shadow box molding project:

– Base Cap Molding
Miter Saw
– Tape Measure
Brad Nailer
– Adhesive Caulk
– Nail Sets
– Painter’s Caulk
– Wood Filler

I wrote a how-to post for eHow.com, which will explain this whole process in written form along with an explanation for the angle cuts on the stairs.  As soon as that article goes live, I’ll update this post with that link.

There are a couple things to keep in mind when you are thinking about installing shadow box trim.  For starters, when you are trying to plan the layout and figure out how many boxes and how big each one should be, smaller walls should only get one box.  Longer walls can get more than one, but try to get an odd number as odd numbers tend to look better, although we weren’t able to squeeze in odd numbers on our walls.

You’re also going to need some sort of top cap like a chair rail molding before you install the shadow box trim.  Luckily, we have a post and a video on how to install chair rail, which you can check out first.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me or leave a comment on this post OR on the YouTube video.

If you think my shadow box trim looks good, do me a favor and share this post.

Thanks!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Posted in Carpentry,DIY Projects,Home Decor. Tagged in ,, , ,

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