New Desk Build

We used to have a crazy desk. It was to big, too cluttered, and just didn’t fit in the small space we had to put it in.

Ok, this isn’t really our desk, but I forgot to take before photos, so this give you an idea.

So we decided to buy new bedroom furniture, since we have never bought any in the 12 years we have been married, and our bedroom was a collection of hand-me-downs, but I had thrown a bed together a long time ago, so when we replaced this old bed:

With this new one: 

Note the old desk in the background…

I took the old bed and built a desk:

And now I am sitting at the new desk, writing this post.

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New Entertainment Unit

Since I had a 4 day weekend over New Years, and an entertainment unit design in my head, and a new Festool track saw I really wanted to play with, I decided it was time to finally get our living room looking a bit cleaner.  I picked up 4 sheets of ply, four 1X4’s, six 1X2’s, 9 feet of lath and 9 feet of bed mold, plus a few accessories, shelf pins, grommets, wire ties and wire staples, ect…for about $300.

I built out the carcass with my total inside width measuring 6 inches larger than my TV to accommodate the trim and leave a nice reveal once the tv was pushed in from the back. I trimmed the whole unit in the same style we used when we replaced the trim on our windows and doors during the dining room makeover.

On the upper and lower shelves I added an additional panel to make the inside of the cabinets flush to keep a cleaner straight line look. I drilled hols in the bottom shelving area to allow for shelving adjustments, drilled grommets for wires, and installed a split flex tube from top to bottom for a place to neatly run all the wires.

After getting it all built, I used a Graco HVLP Sprayer to apply the paint, lightly sanding between coats with a block sander and 220 grit paper.

I think it turned out pretty nice. Here are a couple before and after shots so you can decide for yourself.

 

A Day With Brian Fuller

This summer my coworkers and I were able to spend a day with Bryan Fuller. Bryan may be best known for his TV show “Two Guys Garage” , but has also worked with Chip Foose on “Overhaulin” and has also showed off a badass bike rebuild on “Café Racer”. Bryan is a seriously talented fabricator and a restoration expert.

The good folks at JET Tools and Equipment were awesome enough to arrange this visit for us. During the day we spent at Bryans Atlanta shop Fuller Hot Rods, Bryan and the JET team took the time to explain in detail how all their metal cutting, shaping, and turning tools worked. We had the opportunity to use them, test them, and learn everything about them.

This was a seriously awesome experience. During the day we got invaluable insight from Bryan who uses these tools everyday. He was able to give us tips and tricks the pro’s use.

If you are looking for great metal working tools or wood tools too, I strongly urge you to consider JET tools. From personal experience and advise from the pro’s, I can guarantee that you will be happy and your JET tools will give you many years of great service.

For more tips, click here to check out Bryan’s Book.

Here are a few pics of us getting to play.

 

 

Impact Wrench, Driver, Hammer Drill, What Do I need?

For Pros, it’s easy, but I hear a lot of people asking about the differences between impact drivers, impact wrenches, hammer drills, and drill drivers. It can really get confusing. Hopefully this will help to break it all down.

Impact wrenches are tools that have a square head to accept sockets. They are used for removing lug nuts or driving lag bolts. These tools vary widely is size and strength, so be sure to get one that will have the power you need to drive the bolts you have. Be sure to check the specs for torque on these tools, and make sure you get a high capacity battery as these application require a lot of juice.

Impact drivers are a more light duty tool. These tools have a 1/4″ hex quick connect on the end and accept standard insert tips for nut drivers or screw driving bits. They are great for running screws like installing drywall, metal studs, and home projects.

A hammer drill is a tools designed to drill through concrete. Most can also be used as a standard drill as well without the hammer function. This tool should typically only be ordered by someone needing to drill through concrete, but occasionally are used by pros who need the heavier duty capacity of the hammer drill without the hammer function.

Standard drill-drivers are the typical workhorse of cordless drills. The usually have a 3 jaw chuck that can accept any drill bit or driver bit with a shank diameter up to 1/2″. These are great for standard drilling through wood and metal and for basic screw driving applications. For someone looking for their first tool, this is where to start.

Landscaping

Although I believe that there isn’t much I’m not able to do with some wood and a few tools, I have no clue when it comes to landscaping. I don’t know what plants should go where. I have no idea what plants will look good together. I don’t have a clue about when to plant them, how to prune them, or what sizes and varieties are best for the areas I need to spruce up. So, because I am landscape challenged, we hired a Landscape architect to draw up some plans and give us an idea of what we could do to improve the curb appeal of our home.

For less than $200, we got this awesome blueprint we will use to slowly add to and change the landscaping around our house. While the manual labor will not be fun, spending the money for a pro to do our design will be well worth it. Now we can be confident that we will have the plants in the right place for a great new look.

SDS: Decoded

SDS, Plus, Max, Spline, Hex…what’s the deal? Why are there so many different options? Which one do I need? While selling tools, I have heard these questions probably more often than any other, so I’ll try to break it down for you here.

In the beginning, there was SDS. Bosch introduced the Special Direct System (SDS) Drills to the market in 1975, and since then all the other major manufacturers have gotten on board with their own SDS compatible versions. SDS tools differ from regular hammer drills because the drill bit hammers within the chuck as opposed to the entire chuck moving. This provides for more efficient operation and more power than conventional hammer drills.

Next came the evolution of SDS to SDS Plus. SDS Plus bits work in both plus and standard SDS drills. SDS and SDS plus bits are 10mm shanks inserted 40mm into the chuck.

After Plus came SDS Max. SDS Max drills are even more heavy duty that the SDS Plus. They use an 18mm Shank and are inserted 90mm into the drill chuck. The bits are not compatible with SDS plus, but Plus bits can be used in a Max drill with an adapter.

Also there is Spline. Spline tools technically don’t use the SDS system but have very similar specs and uses to the SDS max tools. The bits are not cross compatible but adapters are available to interchange spline and max bits.

So, after these explanations, which one do you need? The tool, either in their name or product description, will say, for example; “Bosch 11224VSR 7/8-in SDS-Plus Bulldog Rotary Hammer”. What this means broken down is: Bosch = Brand, 11224= model number, VSR=Variable Speed Reversing, 7/8-in =max through hole diameter in concrete, SDS-plus = type of bits accepted, and rotary hammer= the tool will drill, hammer drill, or hammer only. But what does this mean for you?

The max through hole diameter, the type of bit accepted, and the type of tool are the most important things you need to know. If you often need to drill 2″ holes through floors or walls to push conduit through, you need a drill rated at 2″, but if you only drill 5/8″ holes for anchors, you can buy a drill with a lower max through hole diameter, because you don’t need as much power or torque. Similarly, the SDS-plus is a lighter duty tool than SDS-max and provides less torque and less power for a lighter duty job, where SDS-Max is heavy duty for serious drilling or demolition. Finally there is the type of tool; Most rotary hammers will drill, hammer drill or chisel, but a demo hammer will only chisel but not drill.

Last but not least, there are Hex hammers. These tools like spline drives are not technically SDS but provide a similar function. Hex bits are used for heavy demolition in breaker hammers and demo hammers and are not for drilling. They are available in 3/4″ and 1 1/8″ shanks. The 1 1/8″ hex bit is the size most commonly used in jack hammers in the 35-80 lb class.

I hope this helps clarify the differences in the tools and bits available, but if you still have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.

Click here to see the full line of Bosch SDS Rotary Hammers.

Click here to see the full line of Bosch SDS Bits and Chisels.

The Yellow Nightmare

This is a true story from our friend Michelle at TenJuneBlog.

Once upon a time, there was a sweet little yellow bathroom.

I mean… really, really yellow, and it used to look like this!

Then we took one of these…

and did some demolition to the sweet yellow bathroom.

This picture is blurry because it’s behind a wall of plastic…

Then, all of the trash and construction debris went into here.

Except for the cast iron bathtub. It got to sit in my front yard for a few months days.

Next, we redesigned the room so that it was customized to our style. You know, just plain awesome.Here’s the layout.

Then it was time to re-build the room from the floor up.

Literally.

The plumber came and did his magic.

And I helped up the ante on the insulation in the room.

We took out the old, tiny window and added a new, bigger window.

And, in one of my favorite moments in the room… we added a pocket door and water closet. Just for a little privacy when the time calls for it, ya know what I mean?

(before)

(after)

Then we had the tile guy come out and lay allllll the tile.

And I heard angels sing (or was that Justin Bieber?).

Oh and the drywall was finally completed.

(I am never, ever, ever touching drywall, ever again unless you pay me in pitchers of margaritas)

And I painted the new walls.

We installed a toilet- highlight of my year.

Then we waited a month for our much-anticipated Pottery Barn vanity to arrive.

Got it.

Hated it.

Returned it.

Waited another month for Pottery Barn to pick it back up.Then decided to DIY our own vanity.
Finally finished the vanity project and breathed a big sight of relief.

Why? Because… we’re almost done.

Actually, I don’t really mean that. What I really mean is WE ARE DONE!!!!!!

Without further ado… here is a full tour of our (mostly) do-it-yourself renovated master bathroom!

And because everyone loves a good before & after….
(FYI- the “after” photos are taken from the exact same position in the room as the “before” shots!)

Seriously, this bathroom rocks. Now it’s time to move on to our next project!

Keep up with Michelle and her crazy DIY adventures at TenJuneBlog.

Winterize Your Home

Are you ready for winter? Is your home? When the seasons change and the temperature drops, there are a few important things everyone should do to make sure their house is prepared.

  • Have your local HVAC Company inspect your furnace. This is extremely important, not just in heating, but also making sure it is safe from CO2 leaks, and risk of fire.
  • Protect your hose bibs from freezing by covering them.
  • Have your chimney cleaned or inspected if you plan to burn wood.
  • Inspect your home’s exterior cracks and seal them
  • Add weatherstripping to doors where necessary to prevent cold air from coming in.
  • Clean your gutters. They maybe full of leaves from the fall. Make sure they are ready to remove the rain water and melting snow.
  • Drain the gas from your lawnmower and drain the gas and water from any pressure washers.
  • Inspect the attic, garage door, and unfinished basements for proper insulation
  • Reverse your ceiling fan. By reversing the direction, your fan will pull warm air down from the ceiling keeping you more comfortable.
  • Wrap any exposed pipes that go through unheated spaces like garages or basements, to protect them from freezing.
  • Check the operation of your smoke & carbon monoxide detectors and replace the batteries.
  • Finally, I like to spray Rain-X on my DirecTV satellite dish. this prevents snow and ice buildup so I do not need to get on my ladder in the snow to clean it off to watch TV.

If you take these few steps to prepare your home for winter, you can rest assured it will be more peaceful, comfortable, and affordable.

By therealnate Posted in How To:

Vacation Preparation

I just got back home after a quick vacation, and initially everything at the house seemed fine. It was only later in the evening when I tried to get some ice from the freezer, did I realize that we had narrowly missed a huge disaster while we were away. My freezer door was frozen shut, but after a few good tugs it opened up. For the first time ever, I saw a giant block of ice in the freezer. Apparently, the shut off valve to the ice maker failed, allowing water to continue to run into the freezer and not stop, quickly filling the back and bottom of the freezer, with several inches of solid ice.

I say that a disaster was averted because before leaving town, I shut off the water to the house by closing the valve located in the front yard. Although I often laughed at myself while doing this and considered it paranoid, it definitely paid off this time. Had the water not been turned off, my ice maker would have continued spewing water for days eventually leaking onto and ruining the hardwood floors, cabinets, and possibly more. I will never again consider this task paranoid, but an essential part of my vacation preparations.

Before leaving town, here are a few other things I do to prepare the house:

  • Turn down the temperature on the water heater to “vacation” or as low as possible.
  • Program the thermostat to rarely turn on the heat / ac while we are away.
  • Unplug all unused electronics, like TV’s, DVR’s, computers.
  • Lock all doors and windows.
  • Arrange for mail and newspaper pickups with a neighbor, or suspend them completely.
  • Mow the yard, and arrange for it to be mowed if gone for extended periods of time.
  • Be sure a neighbor has a contact number to reach you in case of emergency.

Many others recommend setting timers for lights or even a radio to give the appearance of being home, and even leaving curtains or blinds open, and installing a security system if you don’t have one. I personally am less concerned with security than I am with the fact that things can happen while you are away and would simply prefer to prevent as much damage as possible. By taking a few simple steps, like turning off the water, I saved myself (and my insurance company) thousands of dollars and weeks of frustration by preventing a flood in my kitchen.

Now, go on vacation, relax, and enjoy yourself. Your house will be fine when you get home!

Bosch GTS1031

My friend Ethan at One Project Closer wrote this awesome review of the new Bosch portable jobsite table saw. Thanks Ethan!

Table saws are a must have tool whether you’re installing hardwood flooring or sheathing new construction. No contractor’s inventory is complete without one. Cabinet table saws are perfect for the shop but it’s important to be able to pack-up and go. That’s where the GTS1031 fits in.

The new Bosch GTS1031 is a 10″, compact table saw designed for the job site. A well placed handle makes it easy to carry one-handed, and all the accessories are safely stored within the all-steel frame. The 18″ rip capacity is shorter than we would prefer but surpasses competitors within the same class. Even so, it’s an excellent option to consider for your next purchase.

Traveling between job sites can wreak havoc on the toughest of tools. The rip fence is often the most exposed component and the first casualty. Bosch understands this and found storage space within the steel frame for all the accessories including the rip fence. There is no wasted space here. This approach also enables you to store the GTS1031 on its side, taking up a smaller portion of your truck.

If you’ve ever carried a table saw, you know it’s usually a two handed operation. One-handed carry is an important feature because it saves time at the job site. Making fewer trips means getting the job done faster. The padded handle is securely attached to the frame and well balanced for easy transportation.

Bosch equipped this saw with a 4hp, 5,000rpm motor that powers through materials with ease. The bevel adjustments (-2° to 52°), and dado capabilities (1/2″) mean this saw can tackle a variety of projects. The Squarelock Rip Fence moves easily along the rails and provides an precise cut each time. The Bosch GTS 1031 has a respectable 18″ rip capacity but falls short of the ideal 24″. At two feet, you’re able to cut sheet goods in half without extra cuts. This is a fair trade-off considering the small form factor, and even at 18″, the GTS1031 is more capable than similar models.

Setup is quickly achieved by raising the blade and riving knife, and locking the safety guard and anti kickback pawls in place. This saw is streamlined for performance with no unnecessary frills.

At 22.5″ square and 13″ high, the GTS1031 is extremely compact and has one of the smallest footprints available. It weighs 52 lbs, making it slightly heavier than comparable models.

There are several compatible accessories including dust collection, a zero clearance insert and the GTA500 stand.

Click here to view the full post by One Project Closer with tons of pictures.

Click here for more specs and to order the GTS1031.