et cetera, Tool Cabinet and Surround
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et cetera 11.12.13

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There have been a few things that have come my way recently which I wanted to share, and I also have a quick update on my current project…

Shop Talk Live 44: Big Changes for Fine Woodworking – While I find it interesting that Fine Woodworking editor Asa Christiana is moving into a different role at the magazine, what I found most interesting in this podcast was their discussion about finishes. A listener sent in a question about an unusual finish. The answer touched on the subject of bypassing complex and even “home-brewed” finishes for the old stand-by finish at the home center. A quote:

“There is stuff out there like Minwax Wipe-On Poly that tends to kick every other finish’s butt whenever we do a test, but because that is just sitting there in the home center, you know what I mean, people are not willing (to use it).”

I use Minwax Wipe-On Poly and am proud to say so. Listen to the podcast by clicking here.

Sharpening to 250-Grit: Cutting Edges That Work – Very interesting video by Paul Sellers where Paul makes the case that you don’t have to sharpen your plane blades to super high grits. Good news for me since I have just one combination bench stone – medium/fine along with some inexpensive diamond plates. Do I need to go super fine? See the video here. UPDATE: There is a lively discussion about this video at the WoodTalk forum.

Free Wooden Jack Plane Plans – 18th Century Style – Caleb James says this plane is his favorite so its pretty cool that he went to the trouble to make a woodworking plan for it. The illustration is high quality and well executed. I would have to study it in great detail before building one; looks like the throat area for the blade could be challenging to fabricate. See it here.

Project Progress

This week, I have been adding sheathing to the framing for my wall surround. The only thing complicated is fitting the sheathing around the obstructions along the top.

A view of the right side framing.

First a before view; mechanical system clearly in view.

View from the left, note the red arrow.

View from the left, note the red arrow.

View from the right.

View from the right.

Cardboard templates have made the fitting go very well and I have called my old Craftsman jig saw into use. This jigsaw is easily 25 years old and I rarely use it, but such a saw is handy to have. I need to upgrade it to something more substantial, but it works fine.

The wall is a little rough now and the red arrow in the second photo shows a gap above and to the right of the air return tube. I am not totally sure what I’ll do about that. I need the gap there to ensure the wall easily slides out should some serious furnace work ever need to be completed. That furnace is original to the house – old to say the least, so it is likely that a new one will be needed in the near future. I am very pleased that the water heater will soon be totally hidden from view.

The fun stuff starts next. I’ll begin adding molding to the wall this week.


  1. As an ex-propane guy, I notice the panels (which look great) are surrounding a gas water heater and probably a gas furnace? Be certain to always use the new dust collection system and keep it clean and working to full efficiency around the open pilot lights when ever you might be creating dust. Don’t need to send the house up in flames or worse yet a big boom.

    • Rick thanks for the tip. We use gas, so your concern is correct. A goal of mine is to improve my dust collection and hopefully the wall will also block some dust.

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