Before “The Beginning”… The Woodworking Bug That Bit

When looking at what gets people interested in woodworking, it’s probably a true statement that many of us get “bit by the bug” with DIY projects around the house. I’m not an exception here. One of the bigger projects thus far in our house was when we had to get the other upstairs bedroom ready for our son. Of course, I didn’t have the foresight to take “before” pics, and wished I did. After all was said and done, it would have been nice to put the before and after pics side by side. The room also took longer than planned since my son had to be born 10 weeks early, which meant the room had to be finished after he came home – a two month hiatus where our routine was going to the NICU daily at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston – certainly no time for projects.

And now here we are a few years later and thought it would be cool to document one part of this project that used some basic woodworking concepts. Our house is old, as mentioned in a previous post, built in 1860. Old houses have their challenges, but also opportunities to be creative in solutions. In his room were a couple of doors leading into crawl spaces and there was a TV from probably the 1950s or 60s built into the wall! The TV was non-operational and useless. For the door openings to the crawl spaces, all I could imagine is what sort of trouble he could get into in the crawl spaces when he got old enough. The room is small too, so any extra storage spots would come in handy. So I came up with some basic boxes in the wall. They would seal off the openings, yet use what would otherwise be wasted space.

Materials used were 1/2″ birch plywood, and moldings to face off and hide the ply layers. Joinery was simple as well – butt joints reinforced by brad nails. All in all a simple project but one that helped add some needed storage space and it’s one of the projects I can honestly say I can point back to as one that really got me interested in more woodworking!


These two boxes on top of one another were where the built in TV were. The top was the TV, and the bottom was the speaker unit.


This is where one of the doors to the crawl space was. This box is now currently used to hold some of his children’s books.


Did You Know…

That MDF will get moldy if it gets wet? I do now! After spraining my ankle and breaking my foot, I wasn’t able to get down into the shop for a while, during which we had a lot of rain, and the basement got a little wet. I never got the chance to pick up the MDF scraps from my shelving unit… I’ll say though it’s a nice shade of green.

Some Shop Organization

I went and sprained my foot and ankle earlier this week, so figured I would actually post what I was able to wrap up last week – the shelving unit that goes above the air compressor.

One of key things for my basement is to try and utilize as much space as possible, and being in an old house (built in 1860), things are sometimes in an odd spot. As you can see in the picture, the column is holding up a beam above, and the space otherwise would be somewhat wasted. Luckily the air compressor fit nicely just behind it. The shelves above you actually saw in a previous post 1/2 done. The second unit is up on the right and is joined in the middle by a piece of MDF that sits in front of the column (the whole unit is made of MDF – being a novice, I figured it was cheap material good for shop use and in case I made a mistake with my router routing out the dados for the shelves). Then I installed a small strip of pegboard to the joining piece of MDF.

Today is the first day I’ve been able to hobble around mostly without the crutches… So hopefully, I’ll be back in the shop soon!

Shop Tour April 2009

One thing I’ve always been bad at in the past is taking “before” shots before starting a project around the house. I figured now though, I would have a shop tour early on in this blog, and down the road as I hopefully update the shop, I could do another shop tour and see the difference between now and later.

One of the biggest challenges of my particular shop is that I have to be creative on where I place my tools. My house was built in 1860, and the basement has plenty of spots where you have to duck your head to avoid ductwork, pipes, etc.

What better way though to start a shop tour with a picture of my “May ‘The Schwarz’ Be With You” shirt!

This is one of the first things I built for the shop when we bought our house in 2002. As the family “IT Guy”, I wanted a bench to be able to open computers and work on them.

Just behind the computer bench is my floor drill press, with a bit of a mess in front of it.

Turning around 180 degrees from the drill press, you see my benchtop bandsaw, workbench and pegboard. On the portable stand to the right of the bench is my mitre saw.

To the right of the workbench and pegboard is the air compressor, with some shelves I am in the process of completing to store tools.

Turning back toward the bandsaw, are some shelves for tool storage as well as a radio with aux input setup for my iPod (gotta have tunes!).

Between the air compressor and the shelves leads to the second half of the basement where the “big tools” are… although that is just a jointer, contractor style table saw, and dust collector. This area has less of the ductwork, etc and therefore has more headroom.

Turning right from the jointer is the table saw and dust collector.

A view from the other end of the second half of the basement. The open area is where I plan to put a planer.

And turning slightly to the left, another shot of the dust collector and table saw.

The Beginning…

Experiments of a woodworker

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