Maple Bookcase 2

The first post for this bookcase with fluted trim is posted here if you want to see more of the design and build. This post will focus more on the painting and final install. Here’s a quick look at the finished product:

I tried painting this with a Wagner Power Painter, but it was quite disappointing in the results. (I’ll discuss my issues with this painter later). I went with 2 coats of Kilz2 primer, then 2 coats of Behr Premium Plus Semi-Gloss paint. The color matches my house trim, which is a Sherwin Williams Dover White. I ended up brushing/rolling, which is not quite as smooth as I wanted, but it does look pretty good from 2 feet away.

Here’s a picture of some of the detail I chose for the base. You can see the feet were chosen to be taller than my baseboard trim, and set 1″ away from the wall. This allows the back of the book shelf to be flush with the wall, and more securely fastened at the top.

I chose some simple angle brackets and GRK cabinet screws to attach the top to the wall. Safety first on a bookshelf. Don’t skip this step!

Maple Bookcase with Fluted Trim

This project is a bookcase for my daughter.  I wanted to make this a timeless design that she can keep the rest of her life if she wants.  This will be a mixture of a couple leftover sheets of good plywood I have from my home office desk and bookcase build, plus maple wood for the trim.  I wanted to make sure the bookcase was built with good quality materials to last a lifetime.  If you want to see the finished product, click  here.

Bookcases are fun from a design standpoint, because you can start with a simple box and easily dress it up.  Here’s my basic overview of what I am looking for: a simple rectangular bookcase with adjustable shelves, fluted trim, a small amount of trim detail at the base, and on feet so it can clear a typical baseboard trim and stand flush against a wall. The sketchup model I used can be downloaded here.

When construction is finished (before painting) it might look something like this:

This bookcase starts off as a simple box, pocket hole screwed together.  I chose 2″ spacing for the shelf pins and made a short jig with a piece of scrap plywood.  I have used this on multiple projects now, and I cannot see any need to buy a shelf pin jig when they are so easy to make yourself.

I know some people really like their store-bought jigs that cost $30-$100, but I can’t see spending the money on one myself. I’ll post my shelf pin jig details in another post.  I did purchase a bulk pack of shelf pins for my last build, witch should last me quite a while.


Once the details for the base and feet have been designed, they can be cut and installed.  The curves are just cut by hand on a band saw, then sanded to the line with a spindle sander, 1/4 sheet sander, and/or hand sander.


Note that I chose 4.5″ tall feet, cut from 3″x3″ oak.  They are pocket-hole (Kreg) screwed into the base, and they do support the sides.  Screws are hidden on the insides and back faces.  The rear feet sit 3/4″ away from the wall in order to allow this bookcase to clear many baseboards.  I had this 3×3 oak left over from the construction of the house, and it will be painted so I don’t feel bad mixing and matching wood species here.

Note the 5/32″ roman ogee edge I chose for the base trim.  Because I cut all they plywood shelves the same width, the front trim is 1 1/2″, while the side trim is 3/4″.  You can see a small triangular gap, but this will be covered by the fluted trim

I really like the way this bottom detail comes together  The extra Ogee trim that bands the bottom of the bookcase really adds a dimension to this, even more than the fluted trim does.  You can see that the fluted trim is made with 2 passes of a 1/2″ core box bit, not to full depth.  I just eyeballed it until it looked good.  There was no science here, I just made a few cuts on scrap wood until I was  happy with the depth and spacing.  Once cut to length, it was glued and  nailed into place with a brad nailer.

Finally, I made some shelves out of 3/4″ plywood with a 2″ tall piece of maple Kreg-screwed to the front.  This maple adds height to stiffen the shelf, plus has an ogee routed into the bottom edge.

I had some grand ideas about a tall piece of custom crown molding for the top of this which I may still make sometime in the distant future, but I had a stick of store-bought crown laying around from my office desk build.  The instant gratification of putting this crown molding on was too big of a draw, so I attached it to some pine strips for support, and screwed it in to the top.  It will be easy to remove in the future should I want to change the look, but I think it looks pretty nice right now.

 The Crown is glued and nailed to a strip of pine, then screwed into the top of the cabinet.  This can be removed later to update the look of the cabinet if desired.  I’m still not 100% happy with my miter cuts on large crown molding like this, but I’m slowly getting better.  The next steps include fitting a 1/4″ back onto the project, then paint.

Working on a Socket Organizer

I’ve been working on organizing my garage and realized that my sockets need to be better organized.  I have them on some of those expanding clip trays that are really cheap,  but they don’t really hold the sockets in place.  Most of them are too loose after only a few times removing them.

Here’s what I’m thinking for the “best” design

  • Should be easily to identify the socket set while in the drawer.  3/8″ metric drive shallow sockets?  Check.
  • Should be space efficient to pack the most tools in the smallest space possible.
  • Need to be portable and easily removed (as a set) from the drawer when needed.  I love the looks of the entire drawer organizers, but they lack the portability I need.
  • Organizers should not fall over and/or spill either in the drawer or when they are removed to be used
  • Sockets need to be retained well, but easy to remove with oily/greasy hands and/or gloves on.

The basic concept I’m working on, and I think it’s new, is to make a set of nesting curved trays.  Something along the lines of this:

Early concept for curved socket holder/organizer


I’m designing this as an early project to learn Autodesk Fusion 360, which I find incredibly powerful but much different to use than my previous software, Sketchup.  The CAM abilities built in to Fusion 360 make it a no brainer for anyone who wants to export toolpaths for CNC use.

Next steps:  Physically lay out and measure some real sockets on an existing piece of paper.  Identify how much “wasted space” there will be and work on minimizing this.

Basement Organization

It’s been about a year since moving into the new house and the mess of a basement is killing me. Here’s a before picture!  (Sometime in the future there will be an “after” picture link, hopefully.)

Yes, it was seriously that horrible. I had thrown up a couple shelves, but not nearly enough when we were moving in. The rest of our stuff has become a haphazard mess. I know, I know, you’re saying “You just have too much stuff, you packrat!” Which, I do. I admit it, and I’m currently purging. But, there is a LOT of stuff that I have, which I like, that I use only a couple times a year. Here’s some of that list:

  • Holiday Decorations – used once per year, but apparently we need them.  And apparently there’s multiple holidays we need to decorate for.
  • Camping Stuff – yes, we only use this once or twice a year, but it’s pretty fun, so we’re keeping it.
  • Baby Clothes/Toys/etc… If you have ’em, you know why you’re keeping ’em.
  • The list is a lot longer, but I’m trying to narrow it down.

In the meantime, I am building a garage storage shelf system, in addition to some attic storage.  I’ll be documenting all of this here, so stay tuned.  Hopefully this organization will help others out as well.   The storage system is just that: a system.  It’s very modular and very simple.  Inexpensive to build, and tough enough to last a lifetime.  Here’s the basics:


2’x8′ shelves, sized to fit totes of your choosing.  I like to leave around 20″ of ground clearance, then around 44″ of clearance for the middle shelves.  There’s nothing scientific here, it just seems to work for the plastic storage totes I’ve found to be reasonably priced from Sterilite:

Sterilite Tote

Refinishing the Cedar Table 2016

Here’s an update to show how the cedar table has weathered and how I brought life back to it.  While we were moving, this table had to sit out in the weather, unprotected and without maintenance for 2 full years.  Here it is when we finally got back around to it June 2016.  Pretty rough.

Table after 2 summers of weathering with no refinishing

It was showing a bit of weathering.  The finish had cracked and was missing in many places, leaving the bare wood to turn silver in from the sun’s UV light.  It’s time for a bit of sanding!

Starting to sand

Almost finished sanding

The top was much smoother after a quick hit with the palm sander. I was probably using 100 or 150 grit paper, but the finish was smooth enough with just a single pass.

Now time to add some fresh deck stain.  I still have the original can of Sikkens that I started with on this table, so I keep using it.  It is really easy to apply.  The table top looks great, almost new again!

After a fresh coat of stain

And finally, here’s a picture of the table a few weeks later, after a rain.  The finish is smooth and the water beads up nicely.

Water beads nicely!

I’m thinking about getting a table cover now to keep this look for a long time.  I’m liking this one from Amazon.  It should save me a bit of refinishing work and extend the life of this table for quite some time to come.

Rolling Miter Saw Stand

I’m starting to put together the new shop plans and have decided that I want a rolling miter saw stand rather than the stationary stand I posted earlier. I still want to keep a few features from that stand, but add some additional features.

I really like the basic design shown at, but will be doing some modifications to make it my own.  I’ll try to keep the page updated with my progress.  Her table is shown below:

IMG_0124Here’s the modifications I’m thinking about:  I would like to be able to quickly swap tools on the top to take at least my  1)Miter Saw, 2) Drill Press, and 3) Grinder.  Other tools would be a plus, but not required.  Quick tool changes would be a very nice feature.  The body of the cabinet should be large enough to store these tools when they’re not installed on the top.

Also, I want the top of this table to be the same height as my table saw so I can use this as a portable outfeed / support table when needed to cut large pieces.  I’ll keep you updated on the progress.


Liftmaster 8500

I’ve been using the Liftmaster 8500 for about 6 months now and I think it’s time for a review. In general I like it very much. I especially like that it allows the garage rails to be mounted very close to the ceiling, making the garage feel much more spacious.

One downside I saw was that the garage door installers had no clue how to install these. It took them 3 tries to get the rails installed (mostly) properly.

Overall I’m pretty happy with it and would recommend to a friend.


High Garage Door Rails

Forever House



It’s a great feeling.  Today I got to change the name on my Pinterest board from “Forever House” to “Our Home.”  That’s right, the dream is coming to life.  The excavation is complete, footings are poured, and construction is underway!  Stay tuned, We’re going to document the entire build process and give you all of our thoughts on how we made the thousands of decisions it takes to build a house.


This is going to take my blog in a whole new direction.  I won’t have nearly as many home improvement projects to post, because we’re going to build the new one exactly the way we want over the next year.  Here’s a shot at our footings.  If you’re savvy, you’ll see that we’re prepping for a walk out basement.  Woot woot!  




More pictures and decisions to come as we go through this journey.

BPGraph – Dynamic Charting in Excel

BPGraph – Dynamic Graphs/Charts in Microsoft Excel

Do you ever have the need to quickly graph some data and look for trends, make reports or narrow in on a range of data? Then BPGraph might save you some time. BPGraph is a simple Excel worksheet that uses named ranges and controls to quickly graph the data you paste into it. You can switch between columns of data and switch your ordinate (x) axis on the fly. I find it useful, and thought I’d stick it out on the web in case anyone else would like to try it. Click on the picture below to download it! A short HOWTO is included on a secondary tab in the worksheet.

bpgraph screenshot