Dailey Woodworks

Building My Tool Chest

One day may workshop will be fully equipped with only the finest and highest grade tools from Jet, Sawstop, Festool, Powermatic, etc.  But for now I’m using mostly Craftsman powertools with some Ryobi and other brands thrown in.

I try to buy the best quality tools that I can reasonably afford.  Most of the time that ends up being Craftsman, sometimes not.

So why did I buy the tools I have and why did I buy them in the order I did?

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My ‘New’ Truck

Shortly before Thanksgiving 2014 I sold the truck I had since High School.  It wasn’t much but was reliable and since it was a truck I could do all the truck like things you do in a truck:  Pull stuff, haul stuff, drive in mud, put deer in the back, move stuff for people without trucks etc.  I even wrote a post about my old truck.

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From Concept to Reality: Starting my Modular Shop

modular 8My Pinterest boards are filled with ideas, projects, and cool things that I want to make someday.  The same is true of my to-do lists.  I feared my idea for a modular shop cabinet would be added to the ever growing list of projects I haven’t gotten to yet.

Well I’m happy to report that I was able to build two cabinets over the weekend. I modified my Sketch-up design a little bit, but anytime you take a design to execution you make changes.

Mod Cabinet 2I made a simple jig the route all the dados for the self guides.  I spaced the dados five inches apart (from top edge to bottom edge). I assembled everything with my Kreg Jig (If you don’t own one buy one).  I decided not to use glue for these since they were my ‘prototypes’ and I can disassemble and remodel them if I ever need to.

Mod Cabinet 5

Since 1/2″ plywood is slightly narrower than 1/2″, a 1/2″ straight bit worked great to make a snug drawer slide.  I made one 2 3/4″ deep drawer for the very top.  This is a catch all for commonly used and misplaced tools.

The plan now is to build drawer specifically designed for tools and tasks.  I remodeled my pocket hole tool box to fit in the cabinet.  Next will be a box specifically for my random orbital sander and accessories.  I have the freedom to layout the boxes as I need with dividers and such and since everything will fit the same size cabinet I can rearrange until it’s perfect.

I plan on building a rolling cabinet specifically for all of my automotive tools. I have a nice Craftsman Socket set with it’s own case that I sized the cabinet around and can put all of my specialty tools with it and make working on the cars less miserable.

So far I’m happy with the execution of this idea and am confident of it’s long term viability.

Mod Cabinet 6

What do you think and what solutions do you have to share for shop organization?

Some of My Custom Work

Here are some pictures of custom orders I’ve done over the last few months.  I find custom orders difficult.  Mainly because pricing fairly is hard if I haven’t made a particular item before.  I’ve found that I typically under price my custom work.

Picture Frames

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Having My Work Confused as Someone Else’s

This was a complement in disguise. Someone at the church saw one of my new signs and assumed it belonged to the elderly woodworker in our church. Considering everything he does is high quality it is a nice compliment.

2014-12-07 15.29.29

The Kindness of Old Woodworkers

I’ve decided to teach myself how to route wood signs.  One reason is for Christmas gifts this year, and hopefully start making custom signs for customers.

I’ve been following a “how-to” video series on Youtube on how to route wood signs free-hand.  Basically you have hardboard letters that you layout how you want, you spray-paint over them, and then you route out the outline.  Here is my first attempt.

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My New Workbench

It’s probably more like a workstation than a bench.  Actually it is the “Paulk Total Station”  designed by Ron Paulk.  He is a carpenter and home builder that has come up with very interesting organization systems, and work benches that are light weight and strong.

His total station incorporates a portable table saw, a miter-saw, and a router table into a portable 3ftx6ft table with extension arms for the miter saw.  I bought the plans and have been working on it the last several weeks.  I think it is a worthwhile investment and will work well in my small shop.

After I bought my miter saw, I spent a few days setting it up outside and then started looking for miter-saw station ideas.  My hope is this design will best utilize the space I have available.

Since Paulk has a 15 part youtube series on building this workstation and other benches, and he sells the plans on his website I’m not showing a step-by-step build. Paulk put a lot of time designing the plans in Sketch-up and gives you a detailed material list.

PTS pre ChristmasI haven’t yet installed the supports for my table saw or the extension wings.  But for where I’m leaving it (for now) I’m pretty much done.  After the “Christmas Crunch” of getting projects, gifts, and orders completed; I’ll finish it up completely.

The horses with material support are nice but I may end up using my new modular system to support the work top.  I’m going to sleep on this a little longer.

I’m loving it.  Primarily for the improved router table.  Before I had my router on a small table and used the table stand that came with it.  I incorporated my router table plate into the work bench.  It has made a world of difference in how I use my router.

I had to modify Paulk’s plans a little to fit my Craftsman 10″ Sliding Compound  Miter Saw.  Also instead of buying a router plate I used the table that came with my Ryobi 8.5 Amp 1-1/2 Peak Horsepower Router.

I used 2x4s to support my router plate. I used straight bit to cut the relief for the depth. I got it perfect.
I used 2x4s to support my router plate. I used straight bit to cut the relief for the depth. I got it perfect.


router Station

The storage space directly under the table top is a nice feature for getting tools out of my way.  I’m going install a heavy duty power strip to run all the tools I leave at the station.  And so I can just plug it in if I go to a job site.


miter saw base
This base got me close to level, but I still had to use some 1/16th washers to get it perfect

miter saw stationThe Paulk Total Station takes up a lot of space in my shop but none of it is what I would call wasted.  And that is why it’s a welcome addition.

I’ll further modify the PTS to fit my specific needs  as time goes by.


Twenty Gifts for Woodworkers Under $20

It’s almost Christmas!  This no doubt means that you’re looking for inexpensive gifts to get for the woodworker/carpenter/handyman in your life.  I’ve put together a list of 20 gift ideas under $20.

  1. Stanley 6-In-1 Screwdriver($9.99)|  I have many 6-in-1 screwdrivers.  This one is by far the best and my favorite.  In fact this very screwdriver is probably my most used tool.  Don’t worry about if he already has one, sometimes it’s nice to have multiples of useful tools to stick in the car, the junk draw, at work, etc.
  2. IRWIN Tools Combination Square, Metal-Body, 6-Inch (1794468) ($9.47)| This is one of those tools that you don’t think you need.  That is until you get one and start using it.  My little combination square lives in my tool bag right next to my Screwdriver.
  3. Wood-Cased Pencils, #2 HB, Yellow, Box of 96 ($15.01) |  How do I know a big box of pencils is a good gift for a woodworker?  Because I specifically asked for a box full of pencils last Christmas.  I prefer standard pencils some prefer Carpenter Pencils.
  4. X-Acto Model KS Table- or Wall-Mount Pencil Sharpener ($10.74) | Every shop needs a dedicated pencil sharpener.  I honestly prefer the mechanical type especially since it can be mounted anywhere.
  5. Craftsman 100-PC Accessory Kit ($13.49) | Drill bits get lost, Driver bits wear out.  These kits are a must for anybody who owns a power drill.
  6. Craftsman Utility Gloves ($9.99) | A good pair of gloves are always a good gift.  I like this style because they fit nice and tight with good dexterity.
  7. Stanley 12-Inch Soft Sided Tool Bag ($9.97) | I have many of these bags in multiple brands.  I prefer to build out these bags to serve a specific job.  I have one for my gun cleaning supplies.  One is dedicated it my chisels and carving tools.  Another is for my sander.  No matter who you’re buying for this will not be a wasted gift.
  8. Mirka Gold 5-Inch 8-Hole Dustless Hook-and-Loop Sanding Disks, 10 Each of 5 Grits ($19.72) | Sand paper is never exciting.  Unless you’re me.  If I unwrapped a big box of quality sandpaper for my random orbital sander Christmas morning I’d be very happy.   This Mirka brand is some of the best paper I’ve found for my RO sander, and it is a great value.
  9. Craftsman 24in Bar Clamps ($18.96) | A woodworker can never have enough clamps.  A woodworker hates buying clamps.  Follow the link buy a clamp, any clamp, you will be thanked.
  10. Kreg MKJKIT Mini Kreg Jig Kit ($12.78)| As for me, I love my Kreg Jig.  I have the Kreg K4MS Jig Master System ($139), but if you have a new DIYer or know they don’t have a pocket hole system the Kreg Mini is a great start.
  11. Empire Level 419-48 Heavy Duty Adjustable Drywall T-Square ($20.97) |  This one does break $20 but it’s too useful not to make the list.  I use this guy for so many different things other than drywall. In fact, rarely for drywall.
  12. Cordless Rechargeable Work Light with 35 LED Lights (19.99) | I don’t own this one, but I’d like to.  Sometimes you just need more light.  This guy is cordless, which is great for working on vehicles.  It also comes with a car charger so you can leave it in your vehicle.
  13. Craftsman Evolv 5-PC Pliers Set ($14.96) | There is always a use for a good set of pliers in any shop or tool box.
  14. Craftsman  Folding Lockback Utility Knife ($14.99) |  Almost everybody has a utility knife, but a premium knife is a nice upgrade.  Not only is it safer, but it’s a joy to use over the cheap ones.
  15. Wood Magazine: Arts and Crafts Furniture ($13.22) |  Some of your woodworking friend and relatives have all the tools they need.  So why not buy them a book that has project plans and ideas for inspiration.  I like furniture, but Amazon has about every book on woodworking made.
  16. Bessey BPC-34 3/4-Inch H Style Pipe Clamp ($13.97) | Pipe clamps use metal pipe from the hardware store.  They can be made to almost any size.  If your woodworker likes making furniture having an extra 10ft pipe clamp is always nice.
  17. Rockler Glue Applicator Set (19.99) |  Glue is used on about 90% of my projects.  Having easier ways to apply it is always a good gift.
  18. Craftsman  8 pc. Standard 12 pt. Combination Wrench Set (9.99) | Tools need adjustment and calibration.  An adjustable wrench can’t get into the small spaces, and they can damage the nut.
  19. Craftsman  11pc Inch Hex Key Set with Caddy ($13.49).  Same as above.  Needed to adjust tools.
  20. Coleman Cable 04657 6-Outlet Metal Power Strip, Heavy Duty Design, with 15-Feet ($19.53) | Yep, it’s a power strip, but a heavy duty power strip.  Trust me.  I want one, or 18.

This concludes my list.  These are tools that I either have and found extremely useful, or that I want someone to get me for Christmas.  I’ve tried to stick with quality product with good reviews.  I hope this helps with your Christmas list.

Merry Christmas!  And remember the real reason for Christmas; God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Savior.

Stolen Tools

God forbid you come home from work, head out to the shop to find a busted lock and missing tools.  Thankfully I haven’t experienced this.  But I can imagine the horror.

I’ve been lucky in my life.  I haven’t had many things stolen from me.  Personally, my wife’s Iphone was stolen out of my unlocked truck (I forgot), and my church’s sound system was stolen from the youth room.  Interestingly enough, both items were later returned.

The phone was returned to us by a parent whose child bought the phone at school.  We “bricked” the phone once it was missing so it would not activate and only displayed my number.

Our sound system was returned when a youth recognized it at a friend’s house.  (The kids that had it said that they got it from a different guy, knowing the other guy I find the story believable-ish).  Anyway, we got the equipment back and had him make a statement to the police.  They later came to my office and personally apologized.

This and things that happened to my In-laws (someone stole a TV and pistol) prompted me to start taking precautions in-case I am ever robbed.

I take the same precautions with my tools as I do with my firearms.

Being from a small town I got to know my insurance agent pretty well.  In fact, he was my Sunday School teacher for many years.  His son also was a member of the same 4H Shooting Sports club as me (and an Olympic Contender).  He told us that if you are ever robbed the insurance company isn’t going to take your word for what you own, especially with firearms.  I needed to have pictures, make, model, and serial numbers.

This does two things.  First, you have a record to submit to the police so they can file the serial number with a database that pawnshops are required to check.  Secondly, haven’t pictures, product information, and serial numbers proves ownership to the insurance company so you can be reimbursed correctly.  It should go without saying that you need to be properly insured.

One of the Deacons at my church had a stolen firearm returned to him recently that was missing for 10 years.  Pretty cool.

Thankfully,  I don’t earn my primary living from my tools.  Though it would be tragic if my tools went missing.  It would not be as devastating as a Contractor finding his tool trailer empty on Monday morning.

What I’ve done for my firearms (and am working on for my tools) is make a PowerPoint with a good picture, a picture of the actual serial number and make and model, and a written description of the item.  I then save it and upload a copy to one of my cloud storage drives (such as OneDrive, Dropbox, Google Drive) this way if my house burns down and I loose my PC I’ve still got a copy.

A final thing I do with all of my tools is write my intials and/or paint my logo on them.  Engraving would be a good step since paints can be removed.  This mainly helps keep your stuff from ending up in someone else’s tool box at a work site.

What precautions do you take in-case of theft?


I’m Going Modular

I’ve been following Ron Paulk’s build of his “Awesome Rolling Toolbox” on YouTube. He owns a home construction/remodeling business and has very creative solutions for organization and workflow.

Right now he is building out a new trailer for his work. Using Sketchup he is trying different designs and configurations to get the best possible layout for his tools.

Borrowing his ideas and the principles of a modular system I think I’ve found a system of shop furniture that will “go the distance.”

After a couple of years of failed organization attempts I think I’ve found a solution that will make my life in the workshop easier. It can also be transferred to a mobile work area if/when needed.  It is a basic cabinet that I’m going to build a lot of.

This cabinet will be the basic building block of my shop for the foreseeable future.  The hardest thing, for me, was to figure on the base size that would be the most efficient.  I chose the DeWalt Deep Pro Organizer as my base size for my modular system.

I bought one on a whim at Home Depot, and I love it.  I have two of these; one for most of my screws, and one that I’m using for my router bit storage.  They lock securely and stack on one another.  So I plan on adding more to hold and organize different tools.  The bins are removable so you can remake the inside to fit whatever purpose you desire.  Using their size I found my basic size needed for my modular system.  However there was one problem.

The problem is my Craftsman 165-piece Mechanics Set.  It’s case is slightly bigger than the DeWalt Organizer.  I’m going to quit storing my tools in their supplied cases and size their boxes accordingly with my new system. However the supplied case for over 150 sockets, wrenches, and ratchets is one I’m not willing to part with.  Therefore, I sized up my minimum shelf size to fit this set.

For everything else that wont fit in a DeWalt Organizer I am going to build drawers to fit them.  My space between dadoes is 5 inches.  So I can build custom drawers five, ten, or fifteen inches depending on the tool.  Instead of using drawer slides and hardware I’m going to let the bottom of the drawers/shelves slide into the 1/2″ Dadoes.  Since 1/2 ply is less than 1/2″ they will slide in and out easily enough.  This will also also make it possible to quickly remove the entire box and take it to the work when needed.

modular 1I decided to size the boxes to 31.5 inches.  This way when I when I brace for casters, add casters and a top I can get it to 36″ which is a good working height for me.  I’m also left with about a 2 1/2 drawer on the top of each box where I can put small supplies and equipment specific tools.  I can stack the boxes for tall cabinets, bolt them together for a workbench base, or have them as independent workstations for power tools.  Also with this design if I ever have to move I can nail a piece of hardboard to the front and load the boxes straight on a truck.  I’ll probably have a mess when I get to the new place, but it will be easy to layout a new shop.

You’ll see from the model of my shop that I do have some dead space in places.  That is a negative of a modular system verses building for the exact space.  But I feel that I’ll end up with less dead space overall by each cabinet’s efficiency

modular 9

I’m building the tops and sides from 3/4 ply and the back and shelves will either be 1/2 or 3/8 plywood (I’ll probably go with 3/8 for cost savings.)

That’s pretty much it.  I’m going to build a couple of these and see how it goes.  Then, I’ll gradually build out the rest of my shop.

This system wont work for absolutely everything, but I think it will make a good foundation.  When I combine this system with french cleats, peg board, and a lumber rack I think I’ll finally have an organized shop.

What do you think of this system for cabinets?

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