Decided our knife block was taking up too much space on the counter. It also interfered with the microwave door if knives weren’t put into specific locations. Another motivation was to store my knives that would also display some of them – particularly some Japanese knives that have some amazing damascus patterns in their steel.
I do have a couple magnetic knife strips designed to just mount on the wall, but unfortunately there was no convenient wall large enough to hold the strips. The strips are also bare metal, and thought they might not be too kind on the knife blades. My approach would be to insert magnets from the back of the rack, so the knives only contacted wood. I also wanted the knife rack to store a sharpening steel and ceramic honing rod.
After doing a few sketches in Photoshop, I made up a simple cardboard mockup of my design. The purpose of this was to determine the best angle for the knife rack so that it would accommodate my knives and also a sharpening steel & honing rod – without impeding access to space below the rack. Once I had those details sorted, it was time to see what wood to make the rack from.
I had an old board of some very figured birds-eye maple to use as the primary ‘shelf’ to hold the knives. I used some red oak for the ends of the rack. These would also serve as the mounting point to the underside of a microwave shelf. I also had some small bits of black walnut to make a simple holder to store a sharpening steel and honing rod.
I needed to resaw the birds-eye maple to make the thinner shelf. I then ran the pieces through the thickness planer to clean up the saw marks. There was still a fair bit of sanding required despite the very sharp planer blades due to the wildly figured maple.
I cut a couple dados in the back side of the maple that will hold some neodymium bar magnets I got on Amazon (the ones I used were 60mm x 20mm x 5mm). The dado left about 1/8″ of wood. The magnets are very strong, and very effective even behind that much wood. I created similar dados in one of the oak end pieces as well. This provides a spot for a pair of kitchen shears. To fill the dados after the magnets were glued in I made oak plugs for the end piece. I just used a thin 1/16″ strip of oak to cover the magnets on the underside of the knife shelf.
To finish the knife rack, I used Butcher Block wax from Knifewear – it’s a soft, food safe paste wax made right here in Edmonton. I slathered it all over the rack and let it sit for 15 or 20 minutes, and then rubbed the wax in. I did this a couple more times (using less wax than the initial application) and vigorously rubbed the wax in. The result was a satin sheen that really looks good. I’m also using this stuff on my cutting board instead of the mineral oil I used previously :).
I did sort through our knives a little – leaving room in case another new Japanese knife happens to need a new home :).
I recently started a renovation on our upstairs bathroom, replacing the old shower, and converting an un-used sauna into a laundry room. Removing the old shower tiles (2 layers of tiles!) was a big job, and there were also some floor tiles leading into the shower I needed to remove.
I did a bunch of online research, and decided to try out a Dremel Oscillating tool, that I purchased from Home Depot. The kit came with a grout removal tool, and it worked great! There was some subfloor that I needed to remove, and using the saw blades that were also included with the kit, I was able to make a perfectly flush cut, so the new subfloor would fit perfect!
The Dremel tool had a nice quick release/locking mechanism to make blade changes easy. At the back of the handle, there’s a dial to adjust the speed.
Unfortunately, after having the tool for maybe 2 weeks, the on/off switch became extremely hard to switch on, and when I was finally able to move the switch, nothing. It was dead.
Home Depot refunded my money with zero hassle, and unfortunately again, they had no stock of my second choice tool, a Dewalt.
I ordered the DEWALT Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit from Amazon, and I’m really impressed!
The Dewalt tool doesn’t use a sliding switch, instead it has large a variable speed trigger along the bottom of the handle. There’s a button lock to lock the trigger as well.
The quick release blade change system is even easier to use than the Dremel tool, and the Dewalt kit also included a universal adapter to allow other blades to be used. Only downside is that a hex wrench is needed to lock blades in place when using the adapter, but the wrench is included.
There’s an LED light to see into darker spots (would have been nice to have when doing some of the cuts I had made with the Dremel).
I large carrying bag, and a plastic accessory case is also included, along with a bunch of sanding pads and a quick release sanding pad holder.
I had been skeptical about these tools in the past, but after having one, I regret not getting one sooner. The ability to make very precise cuts, flush trimming, and being able to cut a variety of materials, really makes it an indispensable addition to your tool collection!
Tracey and I decided that we wanted something a little different for our living room coffee table, and wanted a couple matching side tables as well – something I don’t think we’ve had in the last 25+ years!
So I started looking at various designs, and tried drawing one up myself – but ended up finding a design through the magazine Fine Woodworking. As it turns out, Fine Woodworking also sold plans for the coffee table, that also included a Google Sketchup file. So, I purchased the plan, and then duplicated and modified it to come up with a design for a matching side table.
The coffee table is a Mission-style – I’m simplifying a couple sections, and I’m also going to look at building in USB charging ports into the side tables – probably along with an outlet to plug in a table lamp. Another change is adjusting the height of the shelf, to provide clearance for Tracey’s Roomba.
The side tables will be the same width as the coffee table, and a couple inches taller.
Went and picked out a bunch of oak to get the project started, a combination of quartersawn white oak, and some red oak. The white oak is being used to build up the legs. Did some miscalculation in our heads while at the store, meaning we had to make a second trip to get more lumber – which brought the cost up to almost $800 just in oak!
Well, surprisingly, it was a lot more difficult to find the corrugated steel that I had initially planned on using as a roof material.
Continue reading The Roof is Done