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Those rusty bikes can be made new again!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014
It can get expensive real fast keeping up with 3 growing boys.  Not only do they wear out their bikes quickly but they also grow out of them fast!  I looked at new bikes and found it really hard to justify even spending just $75 for a bike that I knew wouldn't get taken care of.

My solution was this $10 bike I found from the thrift store:
It didn't have a seat but it did have good tires which is all I was really looking for - plus I had an extra seat laying around at home.  It was perfect!

The bike was rusty and faded but I knew with a few coats of spray paint it would look practically brand new!

 The only thing I make sure not to spray paint are the reflectors on the pedals and the handle bars and seat (or they get gummy).  I turn the bike upside down at first and turn the pedals so the back tire spins and makes painting a breeze then spin the front wheel with my hand.  Next I flip it over and paint everything else at a different angle.

 Some might say to not paint the gears or chain but I like to because those always get rusty and nasty looking.  I use Rustoleum brand paint to cover the rust and stop more rust from forming.

 I did a black base coat and then went over a few areas with silver.

This bike only cost me $10 plus the use of extra spray paint I had laying around and the seat from another bike.  Pretty good!

I love how my kids drive ride around with their made-over-spray-painted bikes with pride like they're brand new.  I don't want my kids to need the high-end stuff to be happy.

Tutorial for Making a Hanging Thread Organizer

Tuesday, May 13, 2014
I have tons of thread and I needed a cheap and simple way to organize them.  I knew I wanted them on the wall to take advantage of the empty space.

Here's how my organizers turned out and it only cost about $25 for both.


Dimensions: I did both of mine 36" wide by 11-1/4" tall (you can make yours whatever size you want depending on the size spools and quantity that you have)

Materials and Tools Shopping List:
1-in x 12-in x 6-foot Pine Board ($8 @ Home Depot)
3/8" diameter dowels (for smallest spools)
1/4" diameter dowels (for medium to large spools)
6 d-hooks
Picture hanging wire
3/8" drill bit
1/4" drill bit
Wood Glue

Measuring Tape
Large Square (recommended)
Safety Glasses

Cut List: 
2 - 36" x 11-1/4" boards (cut your 6-foot pine board in-half)
? - 3"-long pieces of 3/8" dowels (however many you need)
? - 5-1/2"-long pieces of 1/4" dowels (however many you need)

General Instructions:
I advise you to read through entire instructions before beginning and make any adjustments/changes according to what you need. Take precautions to cut boards safely.

If you're good with math, you can calculate the size board you need by first counting how many of each spool size you have and then figuring the diameter each spool needs (your dowel is in the center of the measurement).

To see an image of how I did mine see below.

The measurements above are for the amount of spacing in-between rows/dowels.

 Once you know your spacing you can create lines on your boards; where they intersect should be where you drill your holes.  I highly recommend a large square for this step because it makes everything so fast AND straight!

You'll need a bit to fit the exact size of dowel you're using.  I also have a bit stopper for each bit.

 To set your stopper, hang your bit off the edge of your wood and make sure it doesn't get too close to the back.

 Drill your holes.  TIP: don't push down too hard or your stopper could easily slip up making your hole go through the back.

 I love my countersink/deburring tool because it get rid of all the ugly jagged edges.

 Cut your dowels to the necessary length.  See "cut list" above for my suggestions.

Use a scrap of sandpaper to rub the corners of the edges of your dowel pieces that will be exposed.

I used 3 d-ring hangers for each organizer so I could hang it in either orientation, depending on my wall space.  Measure and mark the same distance in for each of them...

 ...pre-drill holes and screw d-rings into place.  This is a good time to put your picture hanger wire on before the dowels go in (or it can get pretty awkward).

 Drip a few drops of glue into each hole and place your dowels in immediately.  TIPS: I like to put enough glue so that it seeps out of the top a little plus I twist my dowels when putting them in to make sure the glue is getting spread on all surfaces.  Make sure you push them all the way down and ensure they're straight.  After a minute the glue starts to cure so you shouldn't move your dowels after that.  

Wait a few hours then you can hang and organize!  TIP: I used 2 screws level to each other for each organizer because I didn't want them sliding around with all the weight.


I also made an organizer for the huge spools of thread for my industrial machine.  

I used thicker-longer dowels and mounted the organizer to some vertical boards since I didn't want to screw anything into my basement walls.

Want to organize your fabric?  Look here.

Click here to make this thread stand organizer.

Back to School - Woodshop

I didn't think going back to school could be so much fun!  I signed up to take a Cabinetry and Millwork class at my local community college.

It's entirely different working and building with wood in a proper environment compared to being outside on uneven ground, worrying about whether it was going to rain or not, being attacked by bugs or having your neighbors stare at you.

I also learned a lot of helpful little tricks like how you use a chisel for glue cleanup, building a drawer that will fit your opening perfectly and just how useful a block plane is (I assumed only old-school-hand-tool woodworkers used them).

Our building was dedicated entirely to woodworking and construction.  Watching the framing class build walls, decks and roofs got me excited to take those classes (hopefully in the near future).

Our classroom.  We spent only 15% of the time in here, thankfully!

We were tested on how well we could identify different species of wood.  Not exactly something I've done before so it was a challenge.

Here's a view of the shop from the classroom door.

Our project was to build an "apprentice cabinet".  The cabinet is a simple carcass with a fitted drawer and door.  Each student had only basic guidelines to follow when picking their measurements, but it was up to us to figure out the dimensions we wanted.

We used rough sawn lumber which needs to be cleaned up and cut down on every side to the final measurements you want, and usually includes gluing up several pieces to make panels for the large pieces you need.

The jointer and planer are my new best friends!

 We got our main carcass finished before we started on the drawer.  We cut our drawer pieces slightly larger than the opening so we could use a block plane to shave off the sides to fit perfectly later.

My drawer is glued up and my pieces are ready to start shaping for my door.  We used a shaper which I had never used before and it was a little nerve-wracking considering all the warnings and cautions we were given before using it.

Once the pieces were assembled we got to do the final sanding.  I also learned how to use the vacuum press for making my drawer bottom! 

 My friend took the class with me which was fun.  Isn't her cabinet so cute and little!?


I'm taking the next Cabinetry class where I'm going to build another desk similar to the hutch desk I built last year, but instead of pine I'll be using Ash.  Wish me luck!

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