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by Scott

Storable Camp/River Table

September 21, 2014 in Woodworking by Scott

Have you seen my vehicle? IMG_3666 Not much room for anything else on the roof?  That’s what I thought as well.  But you and me both would be mistaken.   Robi from Dinosaur showed me a great little table one night over beers.  Guess what I learned? Yup, he straps it to the underside of the bars!  How perfect is that?

I used 3/4″ CDX plywood (I’m sure marine grade plywood would be better but this is what I had) with maple trim.   The final dimensions were 18.5″ x 52″ and about 35″ high.  I used 1/2 black pipe for the legs, again because it was on hand.  Depending on how the legs hold up I might go with aluminum pipe later and possibly mill slots in the legs, which would allow me to strap them to the table.

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After creating an 1/8″ hardboard template for the hand holds, trace the template onto the plywood and rough the hole out with a saber saw.  Then route the template with a top-bearing flush trim bit.

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Route a round over on the inside of the handles

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The original design was almost 6 feet. I cut it down to just over 4 after seeing how unwieldy it was.

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3/8″ Maple trim was added with waterproof glue

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Plane trim flush

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1/2″ Pipe flanges were added with 3/4″ drywall screws. These were later sandblasted and painted with an outdoor spray paint.

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Legs were cut to length on the power hacksaw.  I should have taken a video because it’s just plain fun to watch this machine work.

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Table was finished with 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of acrylic latex outdoor trim paint

by Scott

Camping Water Storage Box

September 21, 2014 in Woodworking by Scott

This project was inspired by a conversation with a fellow camper during our stay in Rocky Mountain National Park and is based on a design by Blue Sky Kitchens.  “How come your kids don’t get water?,” Jim questioned. My response was that the 5 gal jug that we use is to heavy for the kids to lift.  To which Jim said that I should quit with the large jug and move to gallon size containers which are more manageable for everyone.  He recommend using the Arizona Iced Tea jugs as they are durable (as compared to milk jugs) and easy to come by.   That conversation got me thinking about this project.  It was a straightforward build and was easily completed in 2 days- one for build and finished in another.

It was built from scrap 1/4″ Lauan plywood and cedar trim planned down to 1/2 thickness then ripped to 1-1/4″ wide.  If I had to purchase the wood I’d have used 3-ply maple veneer plywood instead because it looks better.  Although you can’t see them, the plywood skins are attached to the rails with glue and pin brads to speed up assembly.

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The base was built around the footprint of the jugs. I left about 1/2″ extra on the length and width

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The sides were built so that the top rails would be around 1-1/2″ above the top of the jugs.

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Screws were added to the underside of the top and bottoms.

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Titebond III waterproof glue was used for all joints

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A piece of 2-3/4″ plywood creates the lip which keeps the bottles from sliding out.

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It was finished with 4 sprayed coats of water based poly urethane

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by Scott

I finally built a Chuck Box

September 3, 2013 in Cooking, Woodworking by Scott

Finally fed up with filling a picnic table with my cooking gear and stove, I searched the web for chuck box designs. I settled on the Grubby 1 by Blue Sky Designs. The pictures below show some of the build process.

I’m looking forward to releasing this project into the wild. After that I’ll comment further…

[UPDATE]  After taking the chuck box on a hand full of trips I can say that it is overall a great addition to the camp kit and I should have been built sooner.  The only issue that I’ve had is the durability of the stand.  The glue joint between the front rail and the side of the stand broke on the first use.  I’ve since reglued the joint and added 2 screws to each.  If I were to do it over again I’d dovetail the stretchers into the sides.

[UPDATE 9/4/2014] We used the box for almost a month straight and it was awesome.  It has a number of scratches from being hauled in and out of the van many times a day.  Still, it held up well and was it ever fantastic to have all the kitchen stuff easily accessible.  After leaving the box setup in a monsoon rain which filled the spice racks with water I decided to  drill a weep hole in each corner of the side cubbies to allow it to drain should that happen again.


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by Scott

Building a Canoe Seat and a Yoke

May 24, 2011 in Woodworking by Scott

I purchased a Mad River Eclipse canoe for my upcoming trip to the Boundary Waters. That trip will most likely be a solo affair so I need to be able to paddle the boat single. So, I set about making not one, but two additional seats.  The boat will see additional use in family canoeing and I want to have seats for each of my two children and wife.

To start, I found a wood appropriate for outdoor use. In this case I chose mahogany because it was on hand. Using the existing seats as a template, I measured up the lumber needed and cut it to rough size.
After the wood was machined to dimension I created the seat frame using mortise and tenon joints. In this case the mortises were chopped using hand tools and the tenons were cut on a radial-arm saw.


The seat frame was glued with a slow-setting epoxy that I purchased from the hardware store.

I chose to cane the new seats to match the existing ones. It turned out to be an interesting process for which I had to do a bit of research at the library to learn the technique. I purchased the cane and spline from Rockler because they are located closer, even though they were more than twice as expensive as Woodcraft.

To start off, I created a paper template to represent the location of the spline. I then transferred the paper template to a piece of hardboard and cut it out using a saber saw.

The caning instructions I followed recommended creating the groove for the spline ½” inside the frame rails. In my case, the spline was 3/16” wide and about ¼” deep. From the paper template I created a hardboard template to guide the router. The groove I routed was 3/16” wide x ¼” deep.
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Before installing the cane, the reed spline and cane were soaked in warm water for 20 minutes. After blotting the cane dry, I used a 1/6” thick x 3” long x 1” wide piece of scrape maple (round the end a bit) and a dead-blow hammer to press the cane into the groove. This process was a bit scary at first because I was worried about cutting through, but it really wasn’t as difficult as it would seem.
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That complete, I used a chip carving knife to cut the outside edge of the cane, just inside the groove. This was the most time consuming part of the caning process. It was straightforward, but be careful not to slip and cut yourself!

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After wondering how I’d lay down a nice even bead of epoxy I came up with a simple solution. Mixing the glue in a sandwich bag and then clipping off a corner worked great. I was able to squeeze an 1/8” bead of glue out, just like a pastry bag. Remember, too much glue is bad! I read that it will make a real mess and believe it.
Next was the simple task of installing the reed. First, I mitered the spline at one end using a sharp chisel.

Then using my dead-blow hammer I installed the reed. When I reached the starting miter, I marked a complementary miter on the spline with my chisel and then cut the miter using my cane tapping block as backing for the cut.

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To mount the seats to the gunwale I chose to duplicate the standoffs in cedar because I had it on hand and it is light weight.    For my son’s seat, I wanted it to be positioned lower so I created 6” long standoffs, seen below being center-drilled.

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The seats were brush finished with a marine varnish and installed using #10 truss head stainless steel machine screws.

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Here is the family on the maiden voyage!











UPDATE:  After taking this boat, minus the bow and stern seats, through the Boundary Waters for a week I want to add a few comments.

After testing the yoke with and without padding I can say that it is basically window dressing.  It looks great but is uncomfortable, with or without added padding.   While necessary to accommodate the center seat, the yoke is shifted off the balance point of the boat makes carrying more difficult.  Regardless, it was more comfortable to rest the center seat on the top of my backpack or my head than to use the yoke so I decided to remove it.

I added a Tump Line in place of the yoke.   Once I have a chance to do a serious portage with it I’ll comment further.


by Scott

Miter Saw Extension

November 12, 2006 in Woodworking by Scott


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