Behind the Scenes of Behind the Scenes Work

I am sad to say that this week has consisted of very little woodworking. I installed a set of laundry room cabinets that I built last week, and worked on large wood panel wall for a church stage. I spent the bulk of my time doing office/computer work: designing my website, trying to learn book keeping techniques, figuring out invoice/estimate forms, getting my logo designed, and a whole bunch of other semi boring work.

I am pursuing improvement in my life. I have recognized many areas of weakness, and I am actively strengthening them. I created Houston Woodworking’s mission statement “Designs and builds commercial and residential carpentry projects with authentic craftsman quality.” This mission statement serves as a simple, yet powerful, reminder of what I do (and don’t do) and to what level I finish my work. My mission statement has helped me prioritize my schedule and manage my time better.

I organized my home office space and created a visual reminder by writing my goals, areas for growth, and reading log on a whiteboard on my desk.


Try and Try Again, A Lesson on Painting

This has been in interesting week for me at Houston Woodwork. I booked a small painting project for Monday budgeting 2-4 hours. Spoiler alert, Murphy’s Law attacked me with full force and my 2-4 hour job took 2-1/2 days to complete, YIKES! Although frustrating, I learned many lessons about painting.

  1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT PAINT. Paint is no joke. The vast options are overwhelming and often confusing. My machines that I was painting contained three different surfaces: painted metal, brushed aluminum, and dyed vinyl. My first attempt using an industrial enamel did not stick well to the aluminum and vinyl.
  2. SURFACE PREP. After scraping off more paint than I care to relive, I decided to take more intentional surface prep measures. First I gave the entire surface a light sanding with 220 grit sand paper. Next I rubbed a deglosser over the every surface using a microfiber cloth. I recommend reading the safety label carefully as it is a gnarly chemical. I then sprayed a water based primer over the surface.
  3. TAKE YOUR TAPE OFF WHILE THE PAINT IS WET. This is hard to think about. My primed surfaces looked great when I left them. When I returned to the project later in the day I realized that my tape holding the masking paper to the glass front failed and the paper fell onto my wet primed surface. Add at least 2 hours to repair the damage caused by this flip flub.
  4. DOUBLE, TRIPLE, AND QUADRUPLE CHECK PAINT COLOR. I was painting one machine 2 different colors on the front silver and black. I color matched a silvery/metallic color sample from another machine, loaded my airless sprayer, and sprayed all the silver. But… the silver wasn’t very silver at all. Rather beige, totally wrong for a vending machine. My thought process at this time was something along the lines of “You have got to be kidding me.”
  5. BE FLEXIBLE. We decided to paint the entire front black and scrap the 2-tone idea. I applied several thin coats of a black water based paint to the entire surface, and I dare say it looked nice. Things may be looking up!
  6. DON’T CLEAN YOUR PAINTING EQUIPMENT TOO CLOSE TO YOUR WORK. I was done painting, finally after 2 days of frustrating, but educational, mistakes. All that was left, clean the gear, load the truck, and leave. Not so fast! While cleaning my airless sprayer I accidentally shot a high pressure burst of water into my waste bucket, causing dozens of destructive droplets to fly through the air and land all over my perfectly painted vending machine. My thought process is now “I QUIT!”
  7. PROBLEM SOLVE. I resprayed the surface, but the finish was now terrible after the splash damage. I decided to spray and back roll (run a roller over surface after spraying) to add some texture. Luckily this technique worked well, and the texture hid the flaws from the water droplets.
  8. LEARN A LESSONAdmittedly I did not walk through this whole process with a smile on my face, but I did learn many lessons on paint, process, and patience. I wanted to share some of them and further deepen my understanding by sharing them in this post.

Table Saw Station

I was gifted a DeWalt DW745 table saw from my dad. This is an amazing table saw to begin woodworking with, but it needed some help to reach it’s full potential. I created a moveable table saw station that lifts the table saw to a usable height, provides support to the left and right side of the table saw, has a folding outfeed/assembly table,  and offers plenty of additional storage space. This was my SketchUp model and picture of the real life build.

I constructed the base out of 4×4’s using half lap joints. I attached casters to the bottom.

Next I installed the 4 outside legs using 4×4’s connected to the base using a ton of pocket holes. It turned out super sturdy and was fast! Pocket holes aren’t my favorite look, but hey they work great for shop furniture.

My next move was to build the table saw stand. This part took a good bit of measuring and planning to get the the proper height. I constructed the base using 2×4’s and a sheet of MDF. This was a great step because it made using my table saw much easier.

From here I began to fill in the base and sides of the table saw station with MDF board. Note MDF is not my favorite, but I chose it for this project because it was budget friendly and will offer plenty of strength.

Next I installed the top. I made the top out of one 3/4″ sheet of MDF and one 1/8″ sheet of white paneling. I connected the top using 18 gauge brad nails. These nails will hold it down securely, but will also allow me to easily replace the surface if ever necessary. *This was my stopping point for day one.

Day two began with installing the support board that will connect the folding outfeed table. I beveled a 2×4 with a 45 degree angle and planed it down until it was a little bit lower than the rest of the table saw station. I attached this board using screws. At this point I also installed my piano hinge.

After the support board was attached I cut the MDF to size for the top of my assembly/outfeed table. I propped it up near the table saw station using scrap lumber and a fold up picnic table. I attached this piece to the rest of the unit using the piano hinge.


Finally I used scrap 2×4’s for the legs of the folding table. I installed rubber feet on the bottom and attached them to the folding table using some screws and old hinges that I had lying around.

I have plans to improve storage and add a router table to this table saw station, but for now I am pleased with how this project turned out.

Building A Dream

Measure tape and pencil on wooden palnks

My passion for woodworking dates back many years to when I was a little boy watching my grandpa fix and build stuff. I used to think he could do anything, and I admired him greatly. He taught me how to use a wide variety of tools, and gave me little “projects” to build. We used to watch “This Old House” and “New Yankee Workshop” together every day at the kitchen table. He would sketch various tools and quiz me about what they were called. My passion was flamed by my awesome stepdad David. Although goofy, and often sloppy, David could figure out how to fix and install just about anything. He made DIY fun, and sometimes scary.

My father, two different uncles, as well as great and great great grandfathers on both sides of my family are/were woodworkers as well. This passion flows through my blood and has been cultivated throughout my life.

Designing, building, and sharing useful, entertaining, or attractive pieces brings me so much joy. That is why I’m writing this post right now. I want to build up an online portfolio to share with all who would care to see. I hope to showcase some of my favorite pieces, inspire other people to build, and offer quality educational content.

I hope you enjoy the things to come as much as I will enjoy sharing them!