CNC, Maker, Programming, Woodworking, X-Carve

Generating and Cutting Halftone Images on the X-Carve

Halftone is an app I’ve written for making halftone-style carves with Inventables’s Easel CNC design platform. A halftone image uses different sized dots to represent light and dark areas.

Upload an image, and Halftone will convert it to a grid of holes with each hole sized to reflect the brightness of the image at that point. Darker areas are represented by wider holes; if you’re going to backlight your carve, you can invert it and have lighter areas use wider holes.

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Maker, Woodworking

I Made a Stand for a Daily Photo Calendar

We bought a photo-a-day calendar for 2019, but because it didn’t come with any sort of stand, it was in danger of getting broken apart prematurely.  I made this stand for it that doubles as storage for the used pages so they can be used as a notepad.

Underneath the calendar, there’s a slot where old pages can be inserted or removed. (The wooden divider between the calendar and the old pages is not attached to anything; it just floats up or down depending on how many pages are underneath it.)

I made this stand out of an interesting block of wood that was given to me by a friend. I don’t know what type of wood it was, but its coloring is pretty similar to red oak. For scale, the calendar is about 3″ square, and the sides of the stand are 1/8″ thick.

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3D Printing, Maker, Woodworking

Shaker-Style Jewelry Cabinet

I built this Shaker-style jewelry cabinet for my wife. You’ll never guess what’s inside…

The cabinet box itself is only 1 3/4″ deep. These are the four sides; the top is shorter because it won’t be mitered, since the top of this box will be hidden in the final product.

I cut a rabbet into the back of the sides so that they could accept a quarter-inch piece of plywood for the back of the cabinet.

I love my 90º clamps.

I would love to have more clamps too.

Here’s the main box after being glued up.

I added this half-inch pine board so the hooks (for hanging necklaces) would have something to screw into and to keep the hanging jewelry away from the back of the cabinet.

I painted the interior of the box at this point because it would be very hard to reach with a brush or sprayer after installing the face frame.

I’m not sure why I didn’t install the top board before doing these coats of paint, but I guess I did it at this point.

Here’s the assembled face frame, made of 3/4″ poplar.

I don’t normally fill any of my pocket holes, but I had four plugs that came with my Kreg jig forever ago, and these holes might have been accessible to dust and lint inside the cabinet if I left them open.

I glued and nailed on the face frame and then filled the nail holes:

I then gave it another three coats of white semi-gloss.

I installed the hooks in two rows, with each hook an inch from its neighbor.

And I hung it up in the bathroom while I worked on the door.

The door was built using cope and stick joinery. These are the four sides; I cut the groove and tenons with a dado stack on my table saw. The groove is a half-inch deep and a quarter inch wide, and the tenons are sized to fit perfectly in the groove.

This is how they go together. Pretend that I also took a photo of the door after inserting the plywood panel and gluing it all up and painting it, because I forgot to do that.

This is a jig I 3D printed to help install the hinges. You drill a hole in the hole, and then the hinge fits in there.

I added a handle to the door, and boom: a door with a handle.

See how easily the jewelry hangs from the hooks?

We decided that the cabinet could use a second row of hooks about halfway down, so I made a second row of hooks about halfway down.

Tada!

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Maker, Woodworking

I’ve Been Framed!

In a picture frame, that is! I made this 30″x20″ frame for my wife, who wanted one for our wedding picture in the same style as this smaller frame she found:

The new frame is constructed of 3/4″ Baltic birch plywood. I started by making the sides (each 3″ wide) and cutting a rabbet into the back of each to accept the glass, photo, and backer board, and then I mitered the ends and glued them together into a basic rectangular frame. (There are no photos of this process, so you will have to believe me. You MUST believe me.)

Then I drew the scalloped shape, cut it out with a bandsaw, cut a cove into the edge, and stained it with Varethane’s Kona stain.

This is so the stain can show through on the edges, which I will weather after painting. Speaking of painting:

I gave the frame three coats of semi-gloss white and then roughed up the edges to match the frame it was modeled after:

I used window glazing points to secure the backer board.

And then I hung it on a wall. The end!

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Maker, Woodworking

I Built a Kitchen Cabinet to Replace Our Pantry

Come along with me on a journey; a journey of craftsmanship, cabinets, and canned goods. Observe as I detail the steps I took to build this new cabinet in our kitchen so that we could move all of our food out of the cramped pantry and into the light where it belongs (the light where it belongs).

It all started with a SketchUp drawing:

My wife and I designed this cabinet to take up an entire wall in our kitchen that had previously only been home to a smaller more decorative cabinet that was more suited for display:

A very nice cabinet to be sure, but it was not meeting our needs. The room directly behind the wall the cabinet is on is our pantry, although it also holds the water heater and furnace air handler, so it is awkward to get in and out of. Once the new cabinet is built, we’ll move all of the food into it and use the old pantry for storage that won’t need to be accessed so frequently.

I started by building the box for the drawers. Plywood and pocket holes, nothing unusual here.

The corner cabinets are triangular in order to match the layout of the kitchen; I made them separate from the drawer box so that I’d be able to carry it into the house myself.

The intersection between the corner cabinets and the center drawer box is a 135º angle, so I glued up these pieces for the face frame so it could all be one piece to avoid having seams in the finished piece where the different cabinet boxes meet.

This worked better than I expected it to:

Here you can see the full face frame before I painted it.

I used full extension ball-bearing slides for all the drawers.  They’re installed on spacers so that they will clear the edges of the face frame.

Each drawer is just a box held together with lock rabbet joints and a piece of quarter-inch plywood fit into a groove in the bottom.  I’m glad I bought a strap clamp for this, although I should have bought more of them so I could glue up more than one drawer at a time.

At this point, all of the drawer boxes are built and installed and are ready for their fronts.

I cut all of the rails and stiles for the drawer faces and cabinet doors at the same time (sixty-eight pieces). They are all 2 1/4″ wide. (Ripping these pieces from larger S3S boards I bought from a lumberyard allowed me to both get the custom size I wanted and saved me about 65% of what I would have paid to buy poplar 1x3s from a big box store.)

I used cope and stick joinery for all of the drawer faces and doors. Here they are all dry-fit before I cut the panels…

…and after being glued together with the panels, which are made of quarter-inch plywood.

I moved the three base cabinets into the house.  By this point, I had also painted the insides of the corner cabinets and drilled holes for adjustable shelving. You can also see an outlet that I would later extend into the corner cabinet.

I painted the face frame and all of the drawers before installing them in the house. And it only took forever!  I should have used melamine for the drawer boxes; it would have cut way down on painting time, and I would have gotten a better finish.

The base cabinet has an oak countertop to match our kitchen table, garbage cabinet, and shoe cabinet. I made this the usual way.

Time to install the lower cabinet doors!

Oops. It isn’t very useful to have a handle six inches from the ground.  I used a very strong magnet and dragged it up to the top of the door.

The upper section of the cabinet is made up of four parts: two corner cabinets, a lower shelving unit, and an upper display cabinet.

The face frame for the upper section was constructed in the same manner as the lower cabinet frame.

After painting and drilling more adjustable shelving holes, I learned how important it is to leave yourself an inch or two of wiggle room. I had designed this cabinet to come within half an inch of the ceiling, but when I began installing it, I found that our ceiling is 3/4″ closer to the floor on one end of the room than it is on the end that I measured on.

Luckily, I was able to make some adjustments and just barely get everything to fit.

I had originally been painting everything in my 8′ x 8′ spray booth, but with so many drawers and shelves to spray, I masked off the front of my shop instead.  I used semi-gloss paint and did all of the painting with an HVLP sprayer. By the time I finished this project, I was consistently getting a really nice smooth finish.

The corner cabinet shelves are amputated triangles.

Haha, look at all those triangles.

The very top section of the cabinet is meant to have glass-front doors so we can display some of our very fancy things. This necessitated a different door construction so that I could easily paint the door before inserting the glass. I went with mitered half lap joints, my first time trying them.

I installed the glass doors, and the cabinet was almost done. (There are a lot of 3/4 views of this cabinet because the kitchen light fixture prevents me from taking a full shot from the front.)

 

After a week-long wait for my moulding order to come in, I added 3 1/2″ baseboard moulding and a 3/4″ cove moulding around the top.

Show ’em what you got, cabinet!

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Maker, Woodworking

I’ve Been Busy in the Bathroom Again

Not content to live in a house with only one barn-style sliding door, I’ve built another over-toilet cabinet

I made a few changes since the last time I made one of these:

  • I made the rail out of poplar instead of pine, as the pine rail on the old cabinet is beginning to splinter a little where it contacts the wheels.
  • I shaped the top of the rail to match the profile of the inside of the wheels instead of planing the entire board to be thin enough to fit inside the tapered openings in the wheels.
  • I finished the door with tinted wax to get a graywashed look that matches our master bath.
  • Instead of using pocket holes to build the cabinet box, I glued the shelves into dadoes in the sides.
  • I hung it using a French cleat instead of using a ledger board.
  • I cut the spacers behind the rail out of wood instead of printing them on my 3D printer, mainly to save time.
  • I glued stops onto the back of the rail instead of printing endcaps.

Stay tuned for more updates on my bathroom activities!

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