New Plans: Table Saw Station

Posted by John on May 24th, 2015

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!

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

RIDGID Drill and Driver Combo Giveaway

Posted by John on December 4th, 2014

Happy Holidays!

This time of the year is gift buying season and boy do I have a gift for you.

RIDGID Drill and Driver Combo Giveaway

Cordless Drill & Driver Giveaway facebook

The folks from RIDGID have hooked us up with their newest drill and driver combo and I’m giving away one set to one of our newsletter subscribers.

Here are the contest details.

Giving away one R9000K ($99 at Home Depot) which consists of:

– 12 Volt Drill/Driver
– High-Torque Impact Driver
– 4 ah Lithium-Ion Battery
– 2 ah Lithium-Ion battery
– LEDs on both drivers
– Carry bag
– Charger

What impresses me most about this RIDGID product is the free lifetime service.  Once you register your product online, any future repairs or part replacement is 100% free.  Can’t beat that!

RIDGID provided me with my own set to review.  Here are my un-biased thoughts.  My main drill/driver is a 12 year old DeWalt and as much as I love it, it’s nearing the end of its useful life.  The RIDGID drill is lightweight, supremely comfortable to hold and well balanced. It’s going to make a great addition to my tool set.  The impact driver has a crazy amount of torque.  When you squeeze the trigger, it practically turns your hand over.  Loads of power.

While I don’t want to get ahead of myself regarding our upcoming project schedule, there is a good chance I’m going to start framing out our basement sometime during the next calendar year and both the impact driver and the drill/driver are going to get a ton of use.  Really excited about these tools.

Here’s how to enter the giveaway.


The contest winner will be chosen at random.  I’m not picking a winner based on the content of your comments.  I will check to see if your email address is on my newsletter list.  The contest will close on 11:59pm 15 December 2014, which gives me enough time to ship the drill set to the winner before Christmas.  Only US postal addresses are eligible.  


Not a newsletter subscriber?

How to sign-up for the newsletter:  Enter your name and email address into any of the opt-in boxes on our site.

Why sign-up: You’ll get free access to our woodworking plans/tutorials.  You’ll be part of our growing DIY and home improvement community.

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Even if you already have a perfectly fine set of cordless drills, these RIDGID models will make a perfect holiday gift for the DIYer in your life.


Posted in Giveaways,Holiday,Tools. Tagged in ,, , ,

BLACK+DECKER Cordless Drill Giveaway

Posted by John on June 8th, 2014

I’ve got to be honest with you guys… the office improvement project has been slow lately.  I’ve been doing a bit of travel for work and that’s been cramping my DIY style, but thankfully, that’s done and I’ll be able to get back into high gear.  Later this week, I’ll have a nice update post for you.

In the meantime, I’ve got some big news.  Today, the folks at BLACK+DECKER are sponsoring a giveaway to one of our lucky readers.  One reader will receive a free 20V MAX* Lithium Cordless Drill/Driver with AutoSense Technology.  

**This is a sponsored post and giveaway, which means I am being compensated for hosting them.  You can read more about my sponsorship policy on my sponsorship page.  My bottom line is if the sponsored post or giveaway brings value to our readers and the content is relevant to the DIY and home improvement niche, then it’s a win-win for both me as an author and blog owner and you, my fantastic readers.**    

This weekend I was able to use one of these sweet drills around the house for some smaller projects.  One of the downsides of working a major home improvement project like our home office is the smaller jobs get neglected.  Nothing like a new power tool to help me hunt down some of those minor tasks.

I used the drill to tighten up some hinge fasteners that had come loose on our kitchen cabinets.

black+decker drill

I also finally got around to installing another wall hook for our beach chairs.  One can never have too many garage hooks.

autosense drill

beach chairs on wall

While I wasn’t asked to write a positive review of this drill, so far I’m really enjoying it.  My primary cordless drill, because one is never enough, is a DeWalt.  While I love my DeWalt, this BLACK+DECKER drill is profoundly simpler to use.   Let me show you some features…

black and decker cordless drill

It’s small, lightweight and comfortable to hold.  The 20 volts means it’s actually got more juice than my older 18 volt drill.

That’s nice and all, but what makes this drill really unique is its clutch mechanism.

black and decker autosense

It’s designed to never over-drive a screw into wood since it has Autosense technology, which actually senses the amount of torque the drill is providing and backs off enough on the power to just set the screw at the perfect depth.  As a mechanical engineer, that’s some cool stuff.

You can switch between the drill and drive mode by using a simple push button on the top of the drill and it has a battery level indicator light.  Guys, it has a battery level light.  C’mon.  I can’t tell you how many projects I started and then had to stop because I didn’t know my drill battery was dead.  Ridiculous.


Posted in Giveaways,Tools. Tagged in ,, ,

Our New Tool Recommendations Page

Posted by John on March 19th, 2014

One major addition to our blog that I’ve absolutely been itching to do is add a proper Tools page.  About a month or so ago, I added in our new menu bar with some new pages and I put in a placeholder page.  Well, this week I finally got an opportunity to publish the completed Tools page.   You can check out the new content my clicking on the “Tools” link in the menu bar or by clicking on this big link here:



My goal is to keep adding to this list all of the tools I use for my various projects.  So far, I’ve gotten a good start on some basic recommendations for woodworking tools.  In the future, I’d like to add tools for Electrical, Plumbing and HVAC work as well.

So this is what I’d like you to do.  Take a look at my list and if you think I’m missing anything, leave me a comment in this post and tell me.  Tools can be very personal items, so I do expect some people to take exception to some of my choices.  No problem.  Would love to get some feedback or start a conversation about our favorite power tools, brands, etc.


Posted in Tools. Tagged in ,,

All About Nail Guns

Posted by John on October 2nd, 2012

If you can’t tell, the whole home project thing is going a bit slowly at the moment. We do have a couple home improvement tricks up our sleeve yet, so don’t go anywhere! In the meantime, I thought I’d continue where I left off with our air compressor post last week. This time I thought I’d discuss air powered or pneumatic nail guns.

Nail guns are generally task orientated so you use the nail gun most appropriate to whatever you’re working on. For hobbyists that do a good amount of light carpentry work, this may be a brad nailer or maybe a finish nailer. If you’re framing up some 2x lumber while refinishing a basement or building a shed, then you’re going to want a framing nailer.

Here is a list of nail guns and how I’ve used them.

(via Porter Cable)

1. Brad Nailer. A brad nailer is pretty much the jack of all trades for hobbyists and DIYers. It shoot nails that range in length from around 1/2″ to 1 1/4″, maybe slightly longer depending upon the application. The nails are 18 ga, which if you’re not familiar with sizes the larger the number, the smaller the nail. I used a brad nailer to install all the baseboard and window trim in our first home. We also used one to assemble our sliding drawer project. You can’t use really long nails in these nor can you them to assemble 2×4’s or anything majorly large. There are a few different manufacturers on the market and the usually run around $100 new. This is a perfect first nail gun.

(via Porter Cable)

2. Finish Nailer. These nailers are a little bigger with 15 or 16 ga nails. They’re also capable of shooting much longer nails. These are more appropriate for specialty trim or carpentry projects. We used one to nail the MDF raised panel sections to the wall since the nail needed to go through 3/4″ thick MDF, 1/2″ thick drywall and then into the 2x wall stud. Price wise, they aren’t much more money than brad nailers.

(via Porter Cable)

3. Framing Nailers. These are some big nail guns. They shoot the regular flat head framing nails most of us are familiar with. They’re not very useful for smaller projects as they’re too powerful for window and door trim work. Framing nailers are a little more expensive than brad or finish nailers and can run around $200 for a new gun. They’re worth the price though considering how much time you can save framing up a basement or a home addition.

(via Senco)

4. Pin Nailers. These guns are considerably smaller than even the brad nailers. If you can’t tell from the name, they shoot very small, very thin nails designed to not leave a noticeable nail hole on your project. The downside? They are delicate, somewhat easier to break and are not ideal for all projects. You can’t use this gun for most window or door trim projects, the nails just aren’t long or big enough to grip something heavy. These nail guns are absolutely perfect for attaching small, thin pieces of wood that would look stupid with big nail holes in them or would otherwise split from larger nails. Pin nailers are not cheap either. Good guns can cost you more than a decent framing nailer!!

(via Senco)

5. Staplers. Staplers can be useful for certain application where nails just don’t provide adequate fastening. Like what? Well, like fabric or thin plywood. You can’t upholster a chair with nails, you need something to grab the fabric. The price for staplers is usually around the price of a brad nailer. I’ve never actually used one myself, but I haven’t worked on any projects that would require one.

Hope that helps to explain the basics of nail gun options. Any questions?

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

How to Build a Router Table: Guest Post

Posted by John on July 2nd, 2012

You know that router table I’ve been talking about building for a while now?  Well, I built it a couple weeks ago and today I’m guest blogging about it over at One Project Closer.  Stop by, say hello and check out their great website!!

Posted in Blogging,Carpentry,Garage and Tools,Tools,Trim. Tagged in ,,

Thinking About a Router Table

Posted by John on June 12th, 2012

Another busy work week here! Thankfully, I’ve found some time to write a couple posts. I have not had a ton of time this week to read or comment on my normal reads. Hopefully I’ll get some more free time later this week. Sucks!

After we finish up the last wall in the dining room, it’ll be time to build a router table. I initially thought I’d be building one before I began the paneling. Figured I’d build it in February! Ha! That never happened. One of the biggest challenges to remodeling and DIY’ing, in my opinion, is making accurate guesstimates for finishing projects. It takes a lot of practice and experience to properly gauge how long it will take to complete a project. I’ve been wrong so many times with guessing project time that I’ve learned to be more realistic with planning. I’ll be optimistic in my thoughts, but what I commit to verbally is much different. Lisa has even learned to stop asking when I’ll finish something. I’ve learned to stop providing a time or date in the first place. We’ll finish a project when we finish it. This raised panel project is no different. The last time we committed to finishing a home project was during our flooring work in the family room. We wanted the floors installed in time for our daughter’s first birthday party. Even for that project, to make sure we didn’t run afoul of our schedule, we gave ourselves more than a month to add the flooring. So when it comes to schedules, I try to tread lightly.

So, where was I? Oh, right, a router table! While I haven’t finished nailing down the design yet, there are some basic elements that I want to incorporate.

Here’s my design requirement list. Hopefully, whatever I come up with will meet these goals.

1. Size and height. Much like the workbench project, I’d like a router table that is comfortable to work on. Ideally, the work surface will be large enough to accommodate whatever I throw on it. For this paneling project the pieces I’ll be milling are about 2’x2′ so the router table top should be able to hold these for machining with ease.



2. Simple Design. You can tell by the two photos above that there is a wide range of options when it comes to router table design. The first table is a more basic design that can be purchased online. The second is a home made version that offers an all wood construction an adds a ton of storage. I’m going to try to build mine from plywood, but stick to a more basic structure. I don’t want the router table to be a major project. It’s just a tool.

3. Cost. I’d love to use only the scrap wood I’ve got lying around. I don’t want to spend really much of anything on this project if I can avoid it. I think I have enough plywood and melamine left over from the workbench project that I can get by. We shall see.

4. Safety. One thing I may pony up for is a paddle switch like on the wooden router table shown above. I don’t want to have to reach up under the router table to turn it off… especially considering how fast these things turn!

5. Mobility. I’m probably going to add wheels so I can move it around the basement. I’ll try to either make it light or modular for easy disassembly. The MDF panels are likely to be milled outside considering how many I have to machine. That will prevent the basement from filling up with dust! Keeping the table’s weight low will help with bringing it up and down the steps.

So that’s what I’m thinking. And I promise to have it all finished by tomorrow night. Completely. Done. No doubt about it. I promise. 😉

Hope your week is going well. Do you have issues with estimating projects?

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

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