Posts in category woodworking

Maker Friends

This is my ongoing effort to rally coworkers who do cool things outside of work.

Table Saw Projects

Here are some of the first things I have created with a table saw.

Small Table Saw Sled

Not much to say about it. I need to redo most of it with hardwood.


This was the first proper thing I made. It is all made of tongue and groove joints.

Things I would do better next time:

  • I did a lousy job gluing and clamping. Taping the outside of the top and bottom during a dry fit and then gluing and "rolling" it back up seems like the easiest way to do it better without any more investment.
  • One of the panels has its grain pattern oriented differently, as a result of the sizes of scraps I had.
  • The handles are too close to the top, uneven, and too big. I should have just spent more time planning, there.

It's currently full of scrap wood, so it works.

Screw Advance Box Joint Jig

I figured I needed a reliable way to make strong joints to get started, and I did not have the tools (or technique) to jump right in to the woodgears approach.

Derived mostly from these plans, I made a screw advance box joint jig out of relatively cheap plywood, and with it I have made my first good-fitting box joints.

A/C Cover

The covert that was on my outdoor air conditioning unit had completely deteriorated in just a few years, so I made a slightly beefier one by making a frame out of 2x4s using box joints and gluing some old scrap plywood on top. The whole thing is sealed in probably half a dozen layers of paint, so the box/finger joints are not even visible.

I am pretty sure the old plywood I used is going to be the first thing to go, and common advice seems to be that just a scrap of plywood with a brick on it is when you want, but I had to try out my new jig.

Wood Cube/Robot Toys

I made these as gifts. I saw images of something similar and wanted to try my hand at making them. It ended up being a lot of work (mostly the sanding)!

I made too many mistakes to list. My plan going in was to make more than I need and put the ugliest pieces on one(s) that I would not be giving away. That generally worked out.

I like how they turned out. If I do it again, I will get more creative with the design.

Arcade Cabinet

Late last year I decided I wanted to make an arcade cabinet.

Phase 1: Evaluation

I decided that the first step of the process was to determine if this was just a passing whim or I would actually want a cabinet occupying living space. Cardboard seemed as good a place to start as any to test my actual interest before investing anything other than time.

It took several hours to gather, clean up, patch, and cut up enough cardboard to make the rough cabinet shape I wanted.

I ordered controls, and quickly got a few old games of mine (mostly projects from college) running on it when they arrived.

Phase 2: Wood Construction

The cardboard was not meant to be permanent, and it basically collapsed after a few weeks under the weight of the monitor.

I picked up three 4'x8' sheets of 3/4" plywood from a hardware store, cut to 2'x8'. It took some time to settle on a shape for the cabinet, but once I did, measuring and cutting the side panels went fairly quickly. Lots of sanding ensured that the sides generally matched.

Content with the sides, I started cutting pieces of wood for the top and bottom of the cabinet. Everything except the back is fastened with lots of screws through 1"x2" strips into the plywood from the inside. Piece by piece, I closed in the box.

In retrospect, the construction would have gone much faster if I had planned measurements for everything up front, so that I could assembly-line each step: measuring, cutting, sanding, drilling, and screwing. I figure I could make a second one off of the measurements of this in a day or two that way.

I painted everything, added wheels, mounted the controls, and added some outlets for power and a network cable. The C14 power connector was impossible to find in stores. I was able to scavenge one from a burnt-out PC power supply.

I was quite pleased with how it looked solid black, but the red plastic T-molding really made it seem more legitimate to me.

The Finished Product

With some help, I managed to get it upstairs.

I still have plenty to do, but it is finally playable.

  • I would like to add a proper coin door.
  • I want to fit it with a bigger monitor. I mean to make a frame to cover everything except the monitors display and then cover the whole thing with an acrylic sheet.
  • And once I make a proper game or two for it, I intend to pick a name for the thing and add a marquee and some graphics.

The current game list so far is just the set of games I have made that were easy enough to bring over to it as well as arcade games suggested by friends.