As usual it was way more work than anticipated, but I’m quite pleased with the final result. I had a to build a ridiculous number of jigs and templates for this thing. –Frank
After 4 months of hard work, Frank, a new member, and carpenter completed an absolutely show-stopping dining table in the workshop and posted images of the final piece on the Ace Community Discussion Board.
Prompted by the Ace Community, Frank also provided insight into his process and the many tools he used to design, sketch, render, and build his dream dynamic, curvy table.
I’ve only been woodworking earnest for about the past year. I dabbled with it in college as well but just a bit. Most of what I know has been from the school of YouTube or from talking with people around Ace, and being a mechanical engineer has helped with some aspects.–Frank
Check out some highlights from his build:
Frank built a “ridiculous” number of custom jigs for shaping the unique curves of his design. See how he takes his idea, renders it, builds it, and tests it below:
He also put together a super neat glue-up for the top of the table:
He even converted his living room into a stylish workshop and all that between his 10-month-old’s naps!
The project may have been “way more work” than Frank thought it would be but, wow! Hopefully, he’s sending out dinner invites soon!
We recently went on a field trip To Peroba Reclaimed out in Richmond. They specialize in reclaimed lumber and live edge slabs ethically harvested. The staff was lovely and helpful. And really patient with us digging through their off-cuts pile. We were on a mission to get affordable wood to use in Ace project-based workshops. Not only did we find affordable products but really pretty options we can feel good about spending community money on. We definitely recommend going out there when you are ready to level up your solid wood projects.
Victor Lane may live in Sacramento, but he is still an active member of the Ace community. At Ace, Victor did a lot of woodworking with joinery, and over the past few years, he’s eventually made his way to becoming an instructor. I’m Carter Jenkins, and I had the pleasure of speaking with Victor to find out more about him.
Victor’s relationship with Ace began in a similar way to a lot of other members: finding an affordable and welcoming maker space. In his search, he found plenty of alternatives, but they were mostly for-profit organizations with narrowly defined communities that did not have a diverse environment. “You go to a lot of ‘maker spaces and it’s white guys my age making robots or 3d printing…” as Victor put it. He found that Ace fostered a group of people that was full of people that you wouldn’t find in those other maker spaces. Ace also had different technologies that you wouldn’t find in other maker spaces, such as fabric arts. He appreciates the fact that these “non-traditional” making practices have dedicated homes at Ace.
Victor’s New Class at Ace
Victor is hosting an in-person woodworking class for a small group of people at the maker space. It’s a class he has hosted pre-lockdown, but luckily not a lot about the class had to change. Like before, he’s teaching how to make a basic cutting board out of a single piece of wood, teaching how to properly cut and finish the material. The main purpose of the class is not to walk away with a perfect cutting board but to rather learn how to use the tools properly. As Victor said, “If you are not scared of the power tool you are using, you probably shouldn’t be using it.” He believes that gaining a sense of respect is the most important thing that a maker should have for their tools. The class employs the use of the chop saw and table saw, which Victor hopes to make his students comfortable. For the most part, mask protocol isn’t affecting the class. Most of the time, the people in the class were wearing filtered dust masks, so modified masks are being used.
Talking with Victor was a blast, and the Ace community benefits greatly from having a guy like him in it. His charismatic personality and great communication skills make him an excellent teacher and should make for a great workshop experience.
Mauricio Salmerón has been working on a project recently. What started as a joke request to a friend has now spanned into a multi-month project that is now nearing completion. I got a chance to speak with Mauricio over a weekend and he shed some light on what other workshop members saw as two large pieces of wood glued together.
Mauricio has been an off-and-on member of the Ace Makerspace for a few years now. He used to own a furniture-making shop called “The Furniture Space,” where he did woodworking to create all kinds of custom furniture such as tables and sideboards. After that, Mauricio found Ace to be the best place to continue honing his craft.
A while back, Mauricio was talking with June, a friend of his. The conversation eventually drifted to June’s need for a new bed. After discussing how June’s search hadn’t been successful, Mauricio jokingly offered to build her a bed frame. The two laughed, and the conversation moved on. However, a month or two later June took Mauricio up on his half-serious request.
Mauricio worked on the project on and off, but many months later it’s nearly complete. Throughout his build process, Mauricio used many workshop tools to complete the project. The table saw, chop saw, router, drill, and planer to name a few. He estimates “another 10 hours of work and headboard assembly” and the new frame will be ready to send to June. The entire assembly consists of 5 main parts that can be put together to complete the full platform-style bed. June, of course, will have to provide the mattress, but it seems that the bulk of the work has been completed.
Oak boards were surfaced through the joiner and planer, then dimensioned with the table saw
The boards were clamped together and glued to make the large sides of the bed, the tops to the sides with pocket screws
The three main pieces were completed by now, each with its own plywood support frame
The surfaced boards were put together with pocket screws and clamps to create the headboard
The last piece, the middle mattress support, was made with plywood, glue, and pocket screws
The three large oak pieces were attached with latches, the headboard had cleats and bolts to attach to the side pieces, and the middle mattress support piece
This is an aquarium stand that I built at Ace Monster Toys. It is made of maple 3/4 plywood and walnut edge banding. I used the old craftsman table saw and the ryobi router table to cut and shape the parts. If I had to do it over again I would use the CNC router. It would be far far safer, faster, and the results would be cleaner and more square. I would probably also use strips of 1/8″ walnut instead of the iron-on edge banding, because it would be much more durable and age better. After designing the piece in sketchup, I made some test pieces to practice edge banding on. The idea is to use the edge banding to hide the screws and the ugly edges of the plywood. It was a challenge to cut up the 4×8 sheet of plywood with a handheld power saw. A panel saw would have been better. After getting the pieces small enough to fit in my car, I took them to AMT and cut them to size on the table saw. The problem was that, even with my own brand new blade, the saw would not cut perfectly square, and the measurements on the fence were not accurate. It was very frustrating and the results were not perfect. I used the router table to cut dadoes and rabbets where the walnut strips would go. After assembling the box, I used an iron to iron on the walnut edge banding, which I trimmed with a razor. At this point I took the stand home for finishing, and added some wheels. The stand contains my canister filter and CO2 tank. I am very happy with the result, but if I had to do it over, I would use the CNC.
Having the right tools when you are puttering around making things is invaluable and having those tools near at hand is a wonderful thing. When revamping the Electronics Area and turning it into a place you are not afraid to work from the pit of darkness and despair it used to be, I noticed we didn’t have the necessary tools needed to do the job. Also we had no place to put said tools even if they where available, so I decided to m
odify the standard tool rack I developed for my workbench at home. It is a standard rack with basically vertical piece of wood between two frames, like an I beam. On each side of that vertical piece you put a collection of PVC tubing to hold whatever you want to hold. The trick is to have an idea of the tools you want to have on it and lay those out before hand, so you know what kind of tubing and how much you need. Some #6 screws, a drill press, bandsaw and CNC up the wood bits and away you go. Rubber feet on the bottom make sure it doesn’t slide away from you as you reach for that next screwdriver. The tools selected for the rack are based on my own experience in doing electronics and detail work. Precision screwdrivers are a must but so is a regular #2 Phillips and flathead. The #2 and #1 Phillips are probably used more than anything. From there it all makes sense to have enough tools but not too many. You can go crazy on the tool rack but it starts to get too large and would take over the tabletop if you let it. Keep it basic and know what you use.
I wanted to hang my most-used tools on the wall just over my workbench/desk.
Pegboard might seem like the obvious choice, but I’ve never really liked it: The hole grid dictates positions that never seem quite right, and there’s always some tool that just doesn’t work with the standard pegboard hardware. Also, that hardware can be surprisingly expensive once you get everything you need (and the extra parts you think you’ll need but never use).
At the other end of the spectrum live craftsmen who create a custom holder for each tool, complete with six coats of varnish and an elaborate french-cleat mount system. I don’t live there. Not even in the same town.
Instead, I just wanted a simple plywood board to host any random screws, nails, cup hooks, or screw eyes that do the job. Whenever the mood strikes me, I want to be able to just hang something up, without having to go find some weird hardware or make a custom fixture. I don’t want to think about it; I just want it done.
Today, in the intro to woodshop class, I spotted a 2’x4’x3/8″ plywood sheet just perfect for the job. No blue tag, so it became mine. This was my first woodworking project at AMT. I finished it in about 45 minutes this afternoon.
I wanted to stiffen it and separate it from the wall in case I drive one of those cup hooks a bit too deep. I bought two 1×2 strips at the home center and made a simple frame. It’s glued and screwed to the tool board with wood glue and #8 wood screws. I have no photos of the exciting build process, since Hugh only suggested the contest after I had it done. (He gets the laptop if I win, btw. I really don’t need two.)
The only power tools I used were the chop saw and two drills: One to drill pilot holes and the other to drive screws. Sure speeds things up. This is the kind of project that could be done at home, but it’s just so much nicer to work on a proper bench with enough clamps to hand, the extra drill, etc.
Back at my workshop/office, I discovered I no longer have a stud finder. Must’ve given that away in my
most recent purge of extraneous stuff. I borrowed a magnet from the fridge and hung it from a piece of string… which actually seemed to work better than the old stud finder. Two 3″ #8 screws hold my
board up. It seems very solid, but as I add things it might get heavy, so I’m thinking about adding a couple more. I drilled clearance holes in my board for the mounting screws, so the threads only bite into the wall studs. This way the screws can cinch the board up snug to the wall.
As you can see, I only have a few things hung so far, all with 3/4″ #6 wood screws. It took me about two minutes to do that much; I just drove the screws straight into the plywood without even bothering to drill pilot holes. The caliper is a good example of a tool that would not be convenient to hang on a pegboard, yet two screws do the job nicely on my tool board.
I still have a big mess to clean up, but I already like my tool board better than any I’ve used before. It feels nice to undercomplicate something for a change.