Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist who loves woodworking and writing for those who also love the craft. I have found some ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop that might be helpful to you, and I enjoy hearing your own problem-solving ideas. Please share them in the COMMENTS section of each tip. If, in the process, I can also make you laugh, I have achieved 100% of my goals.
Mobile bases are terrific. I like being able to move a tool to the location of the work, or, sometimes, just move it in order to clean.
Last month I posted about the new sharpening center. This month, I finalized something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. In the sharpening center post, I mentioned that I’d considered putting a low-speed grinder on the deck, but worried that it might be crowded, as well as the risk of mixing water and electricity. Still, I wanted to have the grinder close by when it was needed, and this is how I fixed it…
When our Sears store had a local repair center, their dumpster was sometimes a gold mine. They would throw out things that seemed to be perfectly useful. One day I’d been there to drop off my dehumidifier for annual maintenance, when a grey object caught my eye. I wheeled around to check and, sure enough, a Craftsman tool stand was just outside the dumpster. As the proud owner of a Craftsman radial arm saw, I thought I’d pick it up in case I wanted to mount the saw on it. I’d already built the saw into my “saw table,” but it was a prize too good to pass up.
Over time, the stand was in my way, and I was happy with the saw table setup, so I started looking for other uses. It seemed ideally suited for a grinder, so I took a scrap of plywood and bolted it securely. To the plywood I attached my little Craftsman grinder. It was a good working height as- is.
For many years after I started woodworking, I was a terrible sharpener. In an effort to improve, I looked at a Work Sharp 3000 Sharpening Center, Scary Sharp sandpaper and several Tormek sharpening options. While I’m convinced that Tormek is worth every penny, I just couldn’t quite convince myself to drop the necessary coin. Since Steven Johnson’s excellent video on the Tormek T-4 Sharpening System, I’m now a believer, but I was already committed to a slow-speed grinder.
When my Steel City slow-speed grinder arrived, I was at first elated, then deflated. During shipping, the grinder must have fallen on its left side, because there were several parts bent. I called the company, and they were glad to take care of the problem. In fact, they sent me an entirely new grinder, and didn’t even want the old one back! I couldn’t be happier with the replacement. It was easy to unbolt the Craftsman, move it 90i, and have grinders back-to-back.
As Christmas approached, my wife asked me repeatedly what I wanted. Since I didn’t need anything, it was hard for me to produce ideas, but I settled on a DMT diamond plate and a universal mobile base. In no time I had a moveable grinder setup that could follow my wet sharpening system around the shop whenever and wherever they were needed.
Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.