It’s been a while, but I’ve finally finished the Customizable Table Saw Station Plans.
To get access to these free woodworking plans, you simply need to subscribe to our newsletter. You can sign-up using the opt-in form on our sidebar or the form following this post.
This workstation has made using my table saw considerably easier. Building it was a big priority before we made the built-ins for our home office. If you cut large plywood sheet goods, a large table saw work surface is hugely important.
For the first time since I started blogging I’ve also made the Excel spreadsheet available to accompany the pdf. If you have any problems getting the calculations to work in the pdf, the Excel spreadsheet is a second option.
As I mentioned above, these plans are completely customizable to adapt to whatever sized contractor or hobby table saw you already own. All you need to do is enter the saw’s length, width and height and you’re good to go.
Good luck with it and let me know if you have any questions!
In this video and post, you’ll learn
– How to install chair rail molding
– How to install molding on a stairway
– How to add end caps to your trim work
– How to use two basic tools to figure out what angle to cut your trim pieces to
Happy weekend everybody!
This past week I was able to get some more house work done in the form of chair rail molding. This is the second time we’ve added chair rail to our place. The first time was back a few years ago. You can read about that experience here (photos were pre-DSLR). This time around it went MUCH quicker. Funny how a little bit of experience will do that.
This time around, I snapped a chalk line in the areas where the chair rail was to be installed. I also used my patented* no-tape-measure approach to trim installation, which was more fully explained in my baseboard installation video.
Anyway, why don’t you watch the video and let me know if you have any questions…
(If you don’t see the video, please click here to be redirected to YouTube)
The key takeaways from this video are:
– Use construction adhesive and a chalk line to align your trim
– Use a finish nailer for trim that is thicker than 1/2″ or so. Keep in mind that the nail needs to go through a 1/2″ thick piece of drywall plus the trim. Most brad nailers only shoot nails up to 1-1/4″ long.
– Use a t-bevel and your miter saw to figure out what angle your molding should be cut to.
– If you want an end cap or a “return”, just cut the end of the trim to a 45 degree angle. Then using a piece of scrap trim, cut a 45 degree angle on the opposite side you intend to install it and then just lop it off with a straight cut.
I hope this video helps you with your chair rail installation or any similar type of work.
In this video, you’ll learn:
– How to remove baseboard molding
– How to install new baseboard molding
– How to work without a tape measure
Well, we finally started our latest home improvement project. As we mentioned a few weeks ago, we’re working towards adding some character in our vestibule with taller baseboard molding, additional chair rail trim and shadow boxes.
The first item on this to do list is the baseboard molding. Rather than write a few hundred words on how to rip out short molding and install taller trim, it’s easier and more educational to simply film it and narrate the work.
Here’s a super quick video on how to install baseboard molding. By the way, super quick for me is around 5 minutes!
(If you don’t see the video, you can click this link to be redirected to YouTube)
I hope you find this video helpful. Adding taller trim can give your home a more high end look since shorter trim is very common. The visual effect of the taller baseboards gives the wall a more defined contrast with the wall.
Again, I’d like to emphasize that you don’t always need to work with a tape measure. Sometimes you do, no doubt. However, I find that if I’m able to employ the process I used in this video, I make less mistakes. When I first started out installing molding years ago, I used a tape measure. I can’t tell you how many cuts I messed up. When you use a tape measure, you’re adding potential pitfalls. You measure the wall then you measure the molding. If you make tiny mistakes on each of those steps you can make a noticeable mistake at the miter saw and cut the board too short or too long.
You can see another example of where I was able to avoid using a tape measure when I installed quarter round molding in our family room a couple years ago.
In our next video, I’ll show you how I use a t-bevel to make trim installation on angled walls easier.
Are you in need of new trim in your home? What molding work are you considering?
If you’ve been a regular reader for the past couple of years you know we’ve worked on some pretty sizable home improvement projects since our beginning in 2011. We completely renovated our home office from the ground up this past fall. We spent a few months and upgraded our dining room with raised panel wainscoting a couple of years ago. There were garage projects and major furniture builds along the way too. I even built my shed from scratch. However, I’ve barely mentioned or blogged about my biggest home improvement project to date since I started blogging nearly four years ago.
What was my biggest DIY project ever? For me, it’s an easy question to answer: the kitchen in my first home.
When I bought my first home back in 2003 it needed a lot of work. What was wrong with it? Yes. Plumbing, electrical, drywall, flooring, the windows, the ceiling, the door, the cabinets, the countertops… all of it was wrong.
The house was built back at the turn of the previous century and the kitchen was an addition from the 50s or 60s. I don’t think it was ever updated from it’s original construction. Amazing it lasted as long as it did.
I was so overwhelmed with all of the work I had to do to the house that I punted on the kitchen remodel until years later. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with the kitchen, so I didn’t do anything until 2007. It took me four years to finally get around to gutting it and then building it back from scratch. There are a lot of things I would’ve done differently with that house, but the kitchen isn’t one of them.
From 2003 until 2007, I upgraded the rest of the home with new drywall, all new trim, a new furnace, new electrical and refinished the floors. Most of the work I did myself. Of course, I hired out some of the more critical items to move things along. During those four years I was able to build up a level of home improvement competence that I didn’t have when I first bought the house. I learned what work is best for me to do and which work I can outsource.
The kitchen renovation started with a demolition party in the spring of 2007 and wasn’t finished until the homemade kitchen cabinets were painted after they were installed well over a year later. The results of that years worth of work was worth the effort. We eventually sold the home in two days and the remodeled kitchen was a big reason for that quick sale.
Sometime in the next few weeks I’m going to be releasing my first product for purchase: a book on how to renovate your kitchen. Instead of focusing on specific DIY techniques like a lot of our blog posts, I’m concentrating mainly on the planning and exectution of your next kitchen remodel. For me, the planning was the hardest part of that kitchen remodel. It took me a few years to get started and I couldn’t do a thing to the space until the planning was done. If you plan your kitchen renovation well, you’re much more likely to have a successful project.
The book will focus on the steps you need to take before you start the project and will help guide you through making all of the big decisions that you are bound to run into along the way. I want to prepare you as best I can for those challenges.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be taking some time to to talk about kitchen renovations prior to the book launch. If you have any questions about your upcoming kitchen project, now is the perfect time to ask.
I’m also hoping to get my next set of woodworking plans completed soon. The table saw station plans are taking slightly longer than I’d like.
Have a great week!
The last couple months have been super busy. In case you couldn’t tell by my complete lack of posting, I haven’t done a whole lot of home improvement work lately. Life with three little kids is much more time consuming than it was with two and my free time is just about gone nowadays. I have maybe two hours every evening after work to either blog, do house projects or other online projects that I’ve started. It’s a challenge to say the least.
I’m expecting to get back in the swing of things this week with our latest home improvement adventure: shadow boxes.
We’re going to dress up our vestibule with some simple trim work to give the home some more character. Over the years, I’ve installed a lot of trim, but this will be my first crack at shadow boxes and I’m looking forward to the challenge. We’ll also be taking the opportunity to upgrade the baseboard trim.
Here’s a shot from our vestibule now.
You can see in the photo that we have chair rail molding already in place. We installed that back in 2011. Here’s a link to that tutorial. The baseboard molding looks pretty puny, so we’re going to pop that off and install the taller stuff. When we built the house, we were under the impression that the baseboards would be the taller variety. It was one of the few minor disappointments we had during our walk-thru.
When we renovated our home office, we took advantage of the opportunity and installed the bigger baseboards in there first. The goal is to have the bigger molding throughout the first floor. We’ll continue that work with the vestibule and then maybe the living room at a later point. It’s unlikely that we’ll change the baseboards upstairs.
Here’s a reminder of what those taller baseboards look like.
Pretty nice if you ask me. Definitely worth the effort to rip out the short stuff.
Now that you know what we’re up to, here’s what you can expect to see and learn during this small project. I’ll film and explain the essential parts of the work like the sizing, cutting and installation of both the shadow boxes and the baseboard molding. Even if you aren’t planning on performing this same kind of project in your home, understanding the process should be helpful.
Make sure you stop by later this week. I’ll be releasing my next set of free woodworking plans. This time it will be the table saw station.
Have a great week!
Most of the home improvement projects I’ve done around our home are one-time savings events. I’m doing the work once and saving money over hiring a contractor one time. There are a few projects, however, that continue to save me money even though I finished them years ago. In this post, I’ll share with you three DIY projects that still save me money well after the work has been finished.
1. Reverse Osmosis System. Lisa and I installed a reverse osmosis system under our kitchen sink back in 2012 and since then it’s saved us hundreds of dollars. Instead of purchasing bottled water or using a Brita, the reverse osmosis system has a dedicated tap that we use for drinking water, coffee, tea and even cooking pasta. How much money it saves depends on how much bottled water you’d normally go through, but here’s an example. If the average adult drinks 8 servings of 8 oz. of water per day and you have two adults in the house, that’s something like 120+ cases of bottled water in a year. If a case of Dasani costs $4, then that’s $485 per year in bottled water. The Whirlpool reverse osmosis system we installed cost $146 and will cost anywhere from roughly $99 to $133 per year to maintain (replacement filter costs). That represents a savings of approximately $339 the first year and $350 to $385 each additional year. Those numbers don’t even include water used for tea, coffee or cooking. That’s just drinking water.
2. A Whole House Surge Protector. How does a surge protector save you money? If you ever get a power surge or a power outage, your electronics can be damaged if they are not properly protected. The year we moved into our current home, we had three or four power outages. Before the power went out, the lights would flicker on and off for a few seconds. When that power is flickering, it could be going above and below the amount your electronics can safely handle and cause it to fail. One option to protect your equipment is to connect your computer to an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), which can usually filter out those power spikes as well as provide a backup power source to give you time to safety turn off your computer. An UPS is a smart idea for computers, but for the rest of your home a whole house surge protector can be a smart idea to help prevent damage to flat screen televisions and other electronics and appliances. It gets installed directly to your circuit breaker box and will filter out those power surges from affecting your home. It’s much cheaper to purchase and install a surge protector then to replace all of your electronics.
3. Outdoor Lighting Timer and LED Bulbs. By now, if you aren’t using LED or compact flourescent light (CFL) bulbs then you know that you are spending more for your lighting costs than you should. Despite the fact that we were using LED bulbs for our exterior garage lights, we were still wasting energy by having them on all day. We would try to turn them off in the morning and off again in the evening, but it’s an easy chore to forget. The longer the lights are on, the quicker they’ll burn out and there’s no reason for them to be on during the day. To correct this issue, we installed a lighting timer to automatically turn the lights on and off for us. It was fairly simple to wire up and now we don’t have to worry about it. The lights will last longer and we get the added security of a well lit house at night. Boom. Time and money saved.
How are your home improvement projects saving you money?
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last blog post and although I haven’t been doing any home improvement work, I’ve been super busy with a different kind of project that I think you’ll appreciate. Last spring, I started work on my first book!
Over the past few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to find some free time to really wrap that work up and I’m happy to report that I’m just about finished. I’m expecting to make the book widely available for purchase before May.
Here’s a look at the new cover.
Here’s the details…
The book is a guide on remodeling kitchens and it’s aimed at the handy and the not so handy alike. If you’ve been a regular reader for the past couple of years you know that I try to explain the detailed process of home improvement whenever possible. I try to put myself in the shoes of someone who is just starting out. I’ve tried to take that approach with this book and layout the kitchen renovation process from start to finish. It reads more like a conversation with me about your kitchen project and that was my intention.
Before you get too excited, it’s not going to be available at Barnes and Nobles or any other store. I’ve decided to self-publish it and make it available as en ebook. I’m going to be setting up a separate website for it and I’ll let everyone know when it’s available. I’m not going to publish it on Amazon either, although I may make it available in the Kindle format.
I plan on giving away several copies in advance to some email subscribers and then launch with an initial discount for a few days. So if you’re interested in this book, make sure you sign up for the newsletter if you want the discount code when it’s released.
Later this spring I plan on putting together a second book as a companion to this one so stay tuned for that one as well.
It’s been really challenging writing a book with three young children, one of which is a newborn. Finding time to write a 300 word blog post is one thing. Finding time to work on a 30,000 word ebook is quite another.
Here’s what else is going on…
I’ve started a Facebook Group where you can post, comment, ask questions and share photos of your projects. It’s exactly like our Forum Page, but it’s open to everyone. You just need to click the Join button and as soon as I approve you, you’re good to go. It’s a bit more user friendly than our Forums Page so I thought I’d give it a try. If you have any home improvement projects you’re currently working on, I’d love to read about it over on the Group Pages!
Thanks and have a great week!
In this post, you’ll learn:
– How to build a medicine cabinet
Well I wanted to show you this medicine cabinet completely finished and painted, but I think it may be a little while longer before it gets warm enough to spray paint it. Maybe I’ll just brush paint it with a few coats instead. We’ll see. In any case, I was able to capture the build process for an instructional video.
This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.
Happy Sunday everybody! We finally got started with our new medicine cabinet project and I’m hoping to show you the video next week. The build is going very fast. I’ve only put in around 2 hours of work and I’m nearly finished. Ideally, I’ll be painting it later this week. That’s going to be a challenge in this bitterly cold weather, but I’ll figure it out.
In today’s post, I wanted to talk about project burn-out. Project burn-out comes in all forms. It’s not just mental or physical exhaustion. Often times for me, it’s just a general lack of motivation. During the week it’s especially hard to overcome. After work, I get home and eat dinner with the wife and kids, have some family time and then after the kids are in bed, I maybe have an hour or two for projects or writing. So that means I can either do some DIY work or skip it and do something else, but I can’t do a ton of stuff. That small window of time makes it really, really easy for me to blow off a home improvement project.
When I’m in the middle of a huge project, like when we were remodeling our home office, taking a couple nights a week off can drag that project on for a longer time than I’d like. In fact, sometimes with the larger projects it can feel like you’re never going to finish them.
I know what that’s like. It’s no fun. Home improvement projects are hard enough technically. Add to that the stress of working on your house for several weeks and months and it can get to you.
Here are 5 tips for dealing with project fatigue that will help get you through those DIY doldrums. These tips are strategies I use when I’m knee deep in drywall dust and still have weeks and weeks more work ahead of me.
1. Take a Break. Intentionally take some time off. In fact, plan those breaks ahead of time. Taking some time off away from the project space is probably the best way to recharge your mental batteries. If you’re physically tired or just tired of working, taking a night or two off from a project is supremely helpful. After a long day at work, sometimes you just need to skip the project and relax. Catch a movie or go to bed extra early are a couple options. This is especially true if you are stuck. Go clear your head for a while.
2. Get Ready for the Next Work Day Ahead of Time. Often times when I’m starting day two or three of a multi-day job, I’ll waste maybe 30 minutes or more just setting up my tools and materials. So instead of doing your setup for day two during day two, setup for day two at the very end of day one. After a couple hours of work on day one, you’ll probably be in a groove and setting up for the next day will be easier than doing it later. You can even leave a note for yourself reminding you of where you stopped last time. This technique can be effective since it makes it easier for you to start the project again and get busy working right away. Some examples of prep work you can do the day before include setting up the table saw with the right blade, adjusting the fence setting and blade height or putting the router bit in the router.
3. Smaller Tasks and Smaller Time. If you really need to work on your projects, but don’t want to take on any big power tool work, you can always concentrate on some smaller maintenance tasks. These smaller tasks include cleaning up your work space, putting away tools you’re finished using and doing some of those minor chores that slow you down. If you have two hours to work before bed time you can always just do these smaller tasks for just an hour and take the other hour off. It will feel like you kept working and moving the project along even if you didn’t do a whole hell of a lot.
4. Motivate Yourself. What pumps you up? Heavy metal music? A coffee? Whatever it is, try to incorporate it into your work schedule to keep yourself moving. For me, I love putting on some AC/DC to keep my blood pumping and I try to have a little bit of caffeine with dinner if I want to avoid fatigue. Just don’t go crazy. If you’re going to be using power tools, you still want to be calm and careful.
5. Ask for Help. A great way to break up the monotony of a big project is to enlist the help of a friend or family member for a night. Obviously having another set of hands will help move the project along, but it will also get you talking about the project. Talking about the project can be motivational. I know it is for me.
I hope this tips help you get through your next long project! If you found this post helpful, please share it.
What techniques do you use to use to stay motivated and avoid project burn out?
In this post you’ll learn:
– How to keep your furniture from tipping
– About other child safety devices for your home
As a Philadelphia Eagles fan (womp womp), I’m usually not rooting for a team actually playing in the Super Bowl. I’m more a fan of the spectacle and of course the commercials. This year was sort of a downer in terms of the tone of the commercials, especially the Nationwide Insurance spot with the dead kid. Yikes. Where’s Paul Harvey when you need him?
Years ago, before I had kids, those sorts of messages never resonated with me. I never thought they were depressing. At. All. Wouldn’t of bothered me one bit. After I had my first daughter (I now have three), something inside me flipped like a switch and now that stuff will stick with me for days on end. My wife and I are pretty careful parents, so we take extra measures to make sure our kids are safe in our house. However, no matter how safe I think our home is, seeing images of overturned clothes dressers or flat screen televisions on the floor is pretty disturbing.
The next day or so, I added some more safety devices around our place and I want to show you what we did in hopes of gently reminding you to add your own gear if you have little kids in your house.
The first is the flat screen TV in our family room. It’s not mounted to the wall and even though it’s got a pretty wide base making it hard to tip over, we figured better safe than sorry. We installed these two anti-tipping straps to the back. The get secured to the top of the TV stand. Here’s an Amazon link to the straps if you need them. (affiliate)
If you look closely, you’ll also notice a bracket on the wall. There’s a matching bracket on the stand and between them is a plastic zip tie that keeps the base from tipping over as well. If I ever need to move the stand away from the wall, I just need to take a pair of scissors and cut the zip tie. No big deal. We also used the same bracket setup for all of our girls’ dressers.
Here’s a picture of one installed on the back of a Hemnes:
You need to make sure it gets screwed into the thick part of dresser structure and not just the thin back plane. From the front you can see the thicker wooden strip.
Other than those pieces, we have the standard compliment of baby/toddler proofing devices throughout the home. You can read about that stuff in an earlier post here.
Here’s the basic rundown of the rest of our kid-proofing gear:
1. Cabinet Locks (multiple kinds)
2. Door Knob Covers (great for bathrooms, bedrooms and pantry doors)
3. Gate at the top of the stairs. Gates near the bottom
Our setup has evolved somewhat as they’ve gotten older and it’s still a challenge. It’s just something we need to stay on top of.
If you have any small children in your home, I hope you’re using the necessary safety hardware.
That’s all I have for this week. This weekend I’m going to get started on the medicine cabinet! Thanks!
Hey! Thanks for stopping by. We're Lisa and John and this is our DIY and Home Improvement blog. Feel free to browse our DIY project gallery or our latest posts. You can read more here.
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