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. 

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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


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


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.


This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

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

2015 Blog Reader Survey

Posted by John on August 10th, 2015

Happy Monday!

It’s that time of the year again.  Time for me to take the pulse of my readers and make sure that the content I’m creating is keeping you interested and engaged.  If you have ANY feedback whatsoever, now is a great time to let me know.  I’m continuously looking to improve my brand and your opinion genuinely helps me achieve that goal.

Please take a minute or two and complete this survey.

Create your own user feedback survey

Thanks for your feedback!

Posted in Blogging. Tagged in ,

Matt’s Fireplace Built-Ins

Posted by John on August 3rd, 2015

In today’s post, we’re talking to one of readers, Matt from Virginia.  Matt recently finished his own fireplace built-ins using our Large Built-in Plans and we’re talking to him about his experience.  There’s a few nuggets of wisdom here.

Matt ended up taking our free plans and making some modifications to the dimensions to accommodate his living room.  Along the way he painted the fireplace, added floating shelves and mounted his flat screen tv.

Here’s what Matt’s living room looked like before the project:

fireplace built-ins before


Now here’s the after.  Looks killer!

fireplace built-ins


1. You based your cabinets on the Large Built-In cabinet plans. Did you have to make many changes to the design or the dimensions to get them to work in your space? Was that difficult to do?

I had to change the plans to accommodate two different sized cabinets. The left hand cabinet is 48″ with the right hand cabinet being 51″. It was not difficult to change the plans.  A little time consuming to verify measurements and check over everything twice, but rather easy. Having the plans actually saved time, because I had something to reference and/or use as a guide.

built-ins 2

2. What was the hardest part of the project?

Hardest part of the project was the amount of time it took to finish.  The first problem was the plywood was cut to the wrong size at the big box store that I went to, so I had to further modify the plans versus returning the wood to the store.  This only set me back and added additional time to the project.  Secondly, I cut the face frame short on both cabinets – this proved to be challenging as it made hinge selection difficult. I ended up using 3/8″ hinges and hollowing out the sides of the cabinets to accommodate the hinge. Finally – I have never made inset doors. This for me was by far the hardest part of the project. By nature I am a perfectionist and getting the gap to line up without having a jointer or planer was very difficult. The gaps on the doors to this day are not a perfect 1/8″ all the way around

built-ins 5

3. How long did it take you?

It took 8-9 months to finish the project. I worked mostly on weekends or in the mornings before work to get the project done. This was building the cabinets, painting the fireplace, running cables through the wall to mount the TV above the fireplace, installation of floating shelves and repainting the living room.

built-ins 7

4. What kind of finishing process did you follow? What primer and paint?

I sprayed the finished using a HomeRight Finish Max Fine HVLP Paint Sprayer – Behr Premium Plus Paint in classic white and Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer.  In total, it took two coats of primer and two coats of paint. The process also included tips from your site on painting cabinets.  I used 150 girt and 220 grit sand paper initially on an orbital sander to get everything smooth prior to painting, with a light 220 grit sanding between coats of paint and primer. The top was stained with American General Java Gel Stain and finished in Min-Wax Polyurethane – I sprayed this from a can for a satin finish.

built-ins 6

5. What are you using the cabinets for?

The cabinets are mostly for housing the cable box and electronics along with my kids puzzles and board games, pull-ups, etc.

6. What are future projects are you planning around your home?

Future projects are bathroom remodels – one which is already complete. I have two more bathrooms to finish out. The two remaining will get new floors, vanities, mirrors, etc.

7. If you had to do the project over again, what would you have done differently?

If I had to do the project over again, I would have used pocket holes to put the carcass of the cabinets together. I ended buying a dado blade set off of Ebay that came in handy, but I already had a pocket hole jig and that may have saved me some time. I would have also opted for overlay doors vs inset, as I think overlay doors would be more forgiving.

Great advice from Matt after his cabinet build.  You can see the reflection in his countertops from across the room.  Nice!  Thanks for sharing your project with us, Matt.  

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

DIY Cabinet Door Calculator

Posted by John on July 21st, 2015

In today’s post, I wanted to let you know about a new, free tool I’ve added to our Plans page, a Cabinet Door Calculator.  It allows you to input the dimensions of a cabinet door opening and it outputs the dimensions of the individual parts to make that door.

cabinet door calculator

If you’re thinking about replacing your current kitchen cabinet doors, this tool will take the trouble out of figuring out the dimensions for the door parts.  You can select between Inset or Full Overlay doors and you can even adjust the number of doors you are building.

To get access to this free tool, you just need to subscribe to our free newsletter using the form below.  As soon as you subscribe, you’ll receive an email with a link to the calculator and all my other woodworking plans.

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

This is the same type of calculator I’ve used for all of my cabinet projects including my home office remodel and both of our built-in projects.  Actually, every time I’ve planned and built my own cabinets, I’ve used a spreadsheet like this one to make the project easier.  It allows me to make minor changes to the design or dimensions without much of headache.

This tool will help with the planning, but if you want to see how to build the doors, you can watch how I’ve built a couple in two of my YouTube videos:

1.  How to Build an Inset Style Shaker Cabinet Door


2.  DIY Shaker Cabinet Doors

The spreadsheet includes instructions on how to use it, but if you have any questions, you can always email me (John(at)Ourhomefromscratch.com).  Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and you’ll see the latest videos as they are released.  At the moment, I’m planning on filming at least one more cabinet door instructional video.


Posted in Carpentry. Tagged in ,, , ,

Time for a Backup Generator

Posted by John on June 30th, 2015

This past Tuesday, the Philadelphia Region was slammed with a windy summer storm that knocked out our neighborhood’s electricity for days. We were without power until this past Saturday. No fun. Since we moved here from the city five years ago, we’ve lost our power maybe once a year and for never longer than a day or two. Even during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, we didn’t lose our power.

purchase a generator

During the storm last week, we were able to borrow a portable backup generator from a kind neighbor who had extras. Surprisingly, this was my first experience using any type of portable generator system.   We kept it out in the back yard and ran a couple extension cords through a window to keep the fridge going and to do some laundry.  That setup worked pretty well until it started raining. Turns out, generators are electrical devices and they don’t like getting wet. Go figure.  Unable to effectively keep it dry, I had to turn it off and bring it inside the garage until the storm passed. This time of year with the heat and the humidity, it could rain everyday or every other day.

When it rained and we weren’t using the generator, we resorted to putting all of the refrigerator contents into a cooler packed with ice. We kept the freezer section closed, which supposedly will keep the food cold for up to 48 hours. We’ll see, I’ll let you know if I accidentally eat any spoiled meat.

A few of my neighbors that have portable generators also have an outlet on the outside of the house they can plug the generator into. This setup allows them to power the entire circuit breaker instead of running extension cords through a window. With the circuit breaker powered up, they can then choose which circuits to turn on. If you want lights and the refrigerator powered up, no problem. You can turn breakers on and off depending on what you’d like to power.

Here’s what that outlet and power cord looks like (thanks, Ed):

generator outlet


generator cord

There are a couple drawbacks to this option. Since the plug is for a portable generator, it’s not designed to sit out in the rain so you’ll need to either safely cover it somehow or bring it in. Guess when your power is most likely to be knocked out? You guessed it, during a rainstorm.  Once the storm is over though, you’re good to go.

The other issue is the size. You can get portable generators up to 17,500 Watts. If you want to power up your central air conditioner, you’ll probably need 17,500 Watts and for that size you’re looking at spending around $3k-$4k just for the unit.

The unit we borrowed from our neighbor was 3250 Watts and it was plenty big for a fridge and lights. You can get a decent sized portable generator for under $1000 no sweat.

The other option available is a whole house unit. This type of generator will sit permanently in one location and will be hard wired into a box next to the main breaker panel. They can run on propane or natural gas as opposed to gasoline, which is used on the portable generators. The whole house backup generators will monitor your circuit breaker for a power outage and then power themselves on automatically. You can then select which devices to provide power to. If you hook it up to a natural gas supply line in your home, you won’t ever need to run out during a storm and add fuel. Power goes out, generator kicks on and you’re back in business. They can be sized from 10,000 Watts on the low end up to 22,000+Watts on the higher end.

generac generator

(20kW Home Standy Generator via Amazon.com affiliate link)

Obviously, the advantage here is a nearly uninterrupted power supply. If you get a generator big enough, you can keep the AC on. Since it’s designed to never be moved, it can take abuse from the weather and the elements. Some of them perform their own maintenance and will let you know if you need to change or add oil or call for a service appointment.

The big downside to this type of option is the price. The equipment costs around $4k and up not including installation costs, which I could handle.

The big question: Is it worth it? Can we get by with a $500 unit and just run some extension cords? If we install the outlet outside, am I okay with running out for gasoline every day or bringing it into the garage if it rains? This is one of those questions that everyone needs to answer on their own. What’s your pain threshold?

Today, I’m not a fan of no AC, frequent rainstorms and no lights. I’m also not a fan of paying $4k for something I may not need that often.  So, we’ll see. Definitely doing something, just not sure which option yet.

What would you do? What would you do if the price wasn’t an option? Maybe I need to sell some more books!! 😉

Stay tuned, because you know I’m going to show you how to install this piece once I buy something.


Posted in Electrical. Tagged in ,,

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