Saturday, December 14, 2013

Attic Decking

I have finished the easy part of decking enough of the attic to more-easily maintain my AC and furnace unit, but have not designed around the challenging part yet. You'll be able to see what I mean after the first few pictures below:

There was plenty of clearance under the gas line, so creating a large zone near the entry was a matter of a couple easy cuts.
This offset step allowed me to leave the light fixture in its current location. It required cutting and notching a couple of 2x4s to provide clearance for a couple of wires. A half sheet of plywood covered the main span down to the tricky part.
The routing of these wires meant that it would be necessary to use two boards where the change of direction occurred.
There was an existing one-by near the vertical part, so that made for a natural stopping point.
Looking down from the top of the step-up. This is where I need to figure out how to make climbing, crossing, and descending significantly easier...
That 1x4 on the right is the only way to cross over to the AC unit at present. There are no hand-holds in the area, either.
 It doesn't seem that tall in this photo, but the step up from my plywood to the 1x4 is roughly two feet.
Another look at the current means of crossing over to the AC unit. If I were 12, it would probably seem fun to tiptoe across the balance beam and jump down on the other side. But, instead, I think I'll design a different solution that makes my older self feel safer and more comfortable. As always, dodging both power and low-voltage wires will be involved.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Garage Workbench Construction

I wanted to show this sequentially, with inline images, so decided to post it over here instead of just using Google+.

Here's a step-by-step of the second phase in my construction project.

1. Cut and notch the base cabinet side panels.

2. Cut the lower front facia, and the mid and rear under-cabinet supports.  
    *NOTE*: The plywood scraps from the notches are used to confirm measurements.

3. Cut the bottom (shorter) and top (longer) of the cabinet. These parts should match the measurements of the one-by material cut in step 2.

4. Using a scrap the same thickness as the back panel, set the blade height for some rabbets.

5. Cut the rabbets on the top of the bottom shelf, the bottom of the cabinet top, and the inside of each side panel. (You could use a router to cut the rabbets, but -- as you'll see in the next step -- this method is pretty good for plywood.)

6. Since the depth of the shoulder cuts was about the same as one of the lamination layers within the plywood, it is quick and easy to clear the rest of the rabbets with a chisel.

7. Attach the back and middle supports to the underside of the bottom shelf.

8. Attach one of the side panels.
    *NOTE*: The square was used to align the nails.

9. Attach the other side in a similar manner, then attach the front fascia.

10. Nail through the bottom shelf to the front fascia to provide more strength.

11. Attach the top, then cut the back panel and insert it into the rabbets.

12. Cut the two rails and two stiles for the cabinet's face frame. Glue and nail the face frame to the plywood structure of the cabinet.

13. In order to increase clearance in the toe space, trim some material from the lower face frame before attaching this piece.

14. Congratulations, you have a base cabinet.  Lather, rinse, repeat...

15. Modern fancy laser technology helps cut two-by lumber for the bench top.

16. Cut and attach all of the pieces for the bench top. Be sure to slightly overlap the front edge of the cabinet bases, to make it look "right". Optionally, add a "backsplash" to help secure work pieces, and to keep parts from getting lost.

17. This puppy is strong enough to stand on top of. If you don't have a jointer, then you'll have to suffer the slings and arrows of minor gaps caused by imperfections in the two-by lumber. A sheet of melamine, MDF, or even some filler can compensate for this later...

18. This particular framing square makes a fine grey card for setting white balance. Include it in all your photos if you want consistent colors :^)

19. Nothing says "man cave" quite like a faux diamond plate power strip.

20. Detail from underneath...

21. If you make your cabinets as large as these, there's plenty of room to relax and fire off a selfie.