Category: shop

When Tool Lending Goes Bad

If you tackle a house renovation you’re going to acquire tools.  Lots and lots of tools. Some of them will get worked to death and replaced.  Others might only be used for one project then put away never to be touched again, such as was the case with the Makita framing nailer I bought on eBay to build my fences. In the former category is my table saw.  I dispatched my original Ryobi contractor saw to an early grave. I burned out the motor while slicing up some pressure-treated 4x4s barely two years after I got it. I had it

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The Tormek Blade Sharpening System

Shop owners love to brag about the incredible tool buys they’ve made on eBay, at flea markets and at estate auctions. Like my $50 Hitachi framing nailer and $125 radial arm saw. But most of us have also made purchases we’re less proud of, like the $100 “miracle corner clamping system” I bought at a tool show which turned out to be utterly useless for anything besides building the tiny box the salesman demonstrated at the show. Naturally, we don’t talk much about those overpriced white elephants, which is probably why these hucksters are still in business. Then there are

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Got a shop? You need this stuff!

Last weekend, my boss and I made the trek to the annual NJ Woodworking Show. Jeb has a pretty nice woodworking shop but his passion is car and motorcycle restoration. He’s done several old bikes — Velocettes and Moto Guzzis — but his current project is a 1955 Land Rover. The Rover looked like it had been parked at the bottom of a river for the last fifty years but after two years he’s nearing paint and finish, which means he needed supplies, which means we both needed to hit the show. I’ve been looking for a decent steel tool

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New Stained Glass Projects (building a face frame)

I have several stained glass tasks in the queue here. Some, like the upper cabinet doors in the living room media cabinet, have been on hold since 2003. Others, like the funky stairway skylight, I’ve wanted to replace since the day I first saw the place. While stained glass construction is fairly mechanical and basically just woodworking joinery using glass and lead came, the design, templating and piecing out can be very time consuming. Most of the glass I’ve done here is fairly simple and angular to match the existing stained glass. But I wanted something a bit more ornamental

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More and more sawdust

With a challenging software project winding up, the top floor reno winding down and my tools reunited with their friends in the basement, it was time to turn my attention to the crime scene that used to be my shop. This cleaning has to last several months because it will probably be that long before I’ll be using the tools again. I don’t mind working in a messy environment but I can’t start a new project unless everything is neat and tidy, with every tool in its proper place, the table saw waxed, stationary tools aligned, blades sharpened, etc. This

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My shop is a war zone!

I’ve completed boxing in the bay windows. I had to deal with these windows downstairs during the living room renovation so I knew this wasn’t going to be a cake walk. The original builders pretty much winged the framing so the angles aren’t consistent. The trim was essentially supported by a trash can full of shims… some of them three inches thick. So here’s where I’m at now. As here, I usually use hardwood plywood for box framing like this unless it’s going to support the weight of a door. Cost isn’t the only consideration, although using red oak plywood

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    Welcome to Brooklyn Row House

    This blog is about the challenges of renovating an old (1903) Brooklyn, New York row house.

    My last major renovation project was the master bedroom, most of which is about finish carpentry. You’ll find other completed home improvement projects in the Projects submenu at the top of this page.

    I’m not a professional builder and don’t pretend to be. I’m just an experienced amateur raised in a family of committed DIYers. I try to closely follow local and national building codes but don’t mistake anything on this site to be professional or even accurate advice! Your mileage may and definitely will vary.

    This is the third iteration of BrooklynRowHouse.com, from scratch-built to Drupal and now Wordpress. I hope you enjoy your time here.