Oct 052018
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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 ideasPlease 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.

This was the funnest little project to make.

I got the idea from my sweet Brenda. She wanted a little carrier for some artist equipment, and she suggested making it from steel food cans. As usual, I fulfilled her request, with overkill.

Getting the cans was the easy part. I like beans. I eat all kinds of beans. Some of the beans come in big cans, some small. Maybe the best part was emptying the cans.

After running them through the dishwasher a couple of times to ensure no food particles remained, I dried them thoroughly.

Nothing ruins a metal project faster than rust, so step one was several coats of Rust-Oleum Rusty Metal Primer.

Brenda is the female version of “The Man In Black,”  and she likes her accents black, too. Therefore, the choice of colors for the project was limited. To one.

“Rickety ” and “overkill” don’t go together, so the project had to be stable. It was easy to pre-drill the top of the can into its 2×4 centerpiece, but it took a little more effort to stabilize the bottom. The top location was secured with a sheet metal screw. I measured 3-1/4″ down from the top of each can, drilled a 3/16″ hole from the outside of the can, then reinstalled all of the cans. (If you have a right-angle chuck you could do this in situ.) With a stubby pencil I marked through the holes onto the 2×4, then drilled 3/16″ holes in it, and secured 1-3/4″ bolts with a nut. For the two end cans I used a right-angle Phillips screwdriver and put sheet metal screws in both holes. Since Brenda has dainty hands, a screen door handle worked fine for carrying.

Brenda’s little artist carry-all has her fully equipped for off-site work.

That was the inspiration for my hand-sanding carry-all. The scale is bigger, so I asked the family that owns our favorite Mexican restaurant to save me some tomato cans. Otherwise, the process was about the same. The handle is from a Stihl string trimmer. I saved a handle from an old Craftsman trimmer that I liked better for eating weeds.

My hand-sanding version of the carry-all

Each can has a job. The one labelled “HDW” holds hardware: a pair of indestructible scissors for cutting used sanding disks into quadrants, a rod for lifting used sandpaper from the prongs of hand-sanding blocks, an air nozzle for blowing dust from whatever is being sanded, a pencil, and sometimes not-currently-used sanding blocks. The other cans are labelled by grit and hold a pre-loaded sanding block and a ZipLoc bag with the corresponding grit and quarter-sheets of sandpaper already cut to fit the block. The bottom of this page tells you how to get even more free sandpaper and an easy way to know which ZipLoc it goes in.

If you need some beans eaten so you can have empty cans, send them on over…

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.

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