Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Well, I am on winter break and I have much time to get to the next project. I caught ear of a project from my father once again. As I said before, we just picked up a welder. My father wanted a cart to be made for storing the welder and helpful tools. He wanted the cart to be easily accesible and extremely moblie. We started but sitting down at the drafting table, actually our kitchen counter, and we began drawing some ideas. My father was giving out some ideas and I was trying to draft what he spoke. After some time we came up with the winning drawing. The clock was running towards ten o' clock at night, so not much more we could do for the day.

Monday, December 06, 2004

And... We Are Done!

The final step and we were going to be finished with the longest project I have attempted. The finishing step was to lay the copper I had bought from Lowes in the beginning of the project. The copper came in a roll of twenty feet, and is only about an eight of an inch thick. I had no way of bending the material, so our welder Kevin took it to a local machine shop. In about a day or so, the metal was bent and ready to be attached. I used liquid nails to hold it on. Then I used a piece of the same trim as I did around the top of the posts. To attach the trim, all I used was finish brad nails. I fired up the compressor and after a few nails the bed was done. Finally, I was done. I had much fun designing and fabricating the frame but I was so much more glad to it done. Now, my bedroom was complete. This project took a total of somewhere in the ball park of three or four months.

The bed frame is one of the more difficult projects I have done and it gives get satisfaction to have completed. I would not have been able to finish without the help of the master, "jack of all trades, master of none," Donn Parsons.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Three Nights of Polyurethane

The next day my father and I began by laying a coat of sand sealer. The purpose of the sand sealer is to raise the grain. Next you sand the raised grain, which gives a very fine finish. This step really shows in the finished product. Sand with a worn down piece of two twenty sandpaper or steel wool. Steel wool takes a bit longer but if the sand paper is to heavy, it will take the stain off the wood. We, then, got our foam brushes out for the polyurethane. Three coats is standard but one coat or ten coats can be applied. Ten might be over kill though. There are three different types of polyurethane. Satin, which has none, or little gloss. Semi- gloss, obviously you could tell from the name, just a bit more gloss. Then there is gloss, which has the most gloss of the three. These are the most known types but one could buy variations of the different ones. I really desired no gloss, satin was the choice for us. We applied the first coat using the foam brushes. My father said to me, "don’t lay on heavy, the runs in the polyurethane will show through so much more when it dries, so really spread it out." I did as I was told and we moved relatively quickly through all the pieces ‘til we were done. This stuff takes about a night to dry.
The next night we started by sanding with some worn out paper. Sand lightly just to rub any runs out of the coat we laid the previous night. Then we laid the next coat and we were done for the night. We did this same process for two more nights. And before we knew it we had one more thing to do and the bed was going to be done.

And the Staining is On

A few more days had gone by and I was back on the job. The last time I had worked on the project, I cut the slits in the rails for the metal hooks. Now I had to make the holes in the posts for the metal rods to attach to the hooks on the rails. When I traced around the metal hook on the rails, I also marked where the rods needed to be drilled. So, all I had to do was set the posts on our drill press and away I go. Of course, a problem, the drill bit I had, along with all the bits I had, were not long enough. Lowes here I come again. I picked up a six inch bit knowing it would be more than enough. I found myself at the drill press once again, and this time the drilling went well. After drilling holes, I could see the bed frame coming together. But I was corrected by my father. I thought all we had to do was put the wood together and I was ready to take it to my place. Wrong, I still had a few days of sanding, staining and applying polyurethane. But before I would be able to attack those tasks, I had to mount the metal rods in the posts. I cut the metal rods just a hair short of the full length of the holes drilled. I did this because I was going to put quarter inch round wood pieces in the holes. This would make the holes invisible, but I thought to myself, "is anyone really going to see the holes with the mattress and box spring?" And the answer was no, so it was an easy decision not worry. After hammering in the quarter inch rods, the bed was done and done.

Now the task at hand was to do the finish work to the frame, consisting of the sanding and staining. After a test of how everything fit together, I laid the head board on two saw horses. My dad and I both grabbed a palm sander and blasted our way through this part. I hit one side of the posts and half the top of the middle board and he did the same to the other side. After about ten minutes with two sanders going at once, one side was done. A flip of the board and we begun on the reverse side. Another ten minutes and we were finished. We did the same thing to the foot board and to the frame rails. An important step when beginning to stain is to CLEAN the shop up before starting. Stain just attracts dust like a magnet and metal scrapes. If there is saw dust in the air and people are stirring it up, more than likely the dust will end up on the fresh stain. And this looks horrible when dried. So, the first thing we did was vacuum and make some room for all the pieces to have their own area. We stained the head board first. A tip for staining, one can always add another coat if desired. You do not have to lay the stain on real heavy. Then we stained the rest of the pieces. We also stained the trim pieces for the posts. Once the stain is applied, let set until dry, a night or so.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

It's Coming together, I Think

I started working on the project by calling my father and seeing if he had any pipes long enough to make some pipe clamps. After he made a phone call to our welder, Kevin, to get some pipes cut to the length we need. As soon as "The Shop" was closing, I swung by and picked the pipes and clamps up in my truck. I was headed back to Dublin again. My pops showed up not long after my arrival. We set up the posts and boards up, and put glue in the joints and on the biscuits. We had to make sure we did not tighten one clamp more than the other. We would have had one of the post facing a different direction than the rest, and this would cause the frame rails to not align correctly. After a night or so, the joints will be strong as oak, or at least I thought.

– A good tip, have a wet towel in reaching distance when gluing wood. If the glue gets on a piece of wood which is going to be stained, the area will be of different color. So, if the glue is wiped with a damp towel right when it is applied, no discoloring will occur.

The next discussion my pops and I had was on what to do for the frame rails? I was going for a simplistic design. The wood I used for the outer layer of the posts was number two pine, so the lumber was knotted and rough. Some way I had to incorporate the rough characteristic into the rails. I wanted an extremely wide frame rail, but after conversation with Donn, we decided a two by six of rough lumber. The choice went well with our budget, a two by six can be stolen for about seven or eight bucks. Since the wood was cheap, it came with a nice amount of knots and that is what I was looking for. The toughest part of the rails is lining up with the head and foot boards and making a jig for the metal hooks. The metal hooks will attach to the posts and hold the rails in place. I decided I was just going to have the bottom of the rails even with the plywood of the boards. While holding the two by six up to the posts I created, I traced around the metal hooks. With the outline, I would be able to drill the holes of the hooks and mount them. I drilled the holes with a five sixteenth drill bit. The hole would have to go all the way through the board for the carriage bolts to tighten. The next task, I ended up having some trouble with to be honest. You have to make a slit on the edge of the board for the quarter inch metal hook to go into. I know safety first but the best I could come up with was to hold the board between my legs and use a circular saw to cut it. But make sure not to cut through the top of the board, cut from the bottom towards the top. By the time I finished cutting, I was kicked for the night.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Slowly Making Progress

A few days have past and I was determined to wrap this project up soon. I started the day by going to my usual classes and having lunch. Afterwards, I headed directly to my father’s shop to pick up my plywood. I was going to head to my parent’s house where all the tools are located. Upon arriving, I cut the plywood into two pieces. The foot board was going to be twenty inches and the head board was going to be thirty six inches. I got our new tools out that we had just bought over the weekend. Boy was I excited, like a little kid of Christmas. The tools came in a nice carrying case and were all cordless. The package came with a circular saw, saw zal, flashlight, chainsaw, jig saw, vacuum, drill, and a stud finder. The kit can be picked up a Home Depot for a decent price. I used the circular saw to cut the pieces of plywood. To make a straight cut, I had to set up a fence to guided me along the four feet I was about to cut. Smooth as butter, I was done cutting the material for the foot and head boards. I set the posts and boards up to be biscuit jointed. I tried to evenly space the joints as best I could. After cutting I went to grab the clamps but noticed all of them were at “The Shop.” So, instead of driving back to Arlington and then back to Dublin, I decided just to head home and start back the next day.

Working and Playing Today

Not even one day has past and I was already back to the bed frame. I started early in the morning working at my father’s auto mechanics shop in Arlington. When I say I biscuit jointed the boards, I speak of cutting half ovals into the tops and bottoms of the boards. The cuts are about an inch and a half. Then a piece of material, called a biscuit unofficially, is put between the two boards. When the glue begins to dry, the biscuit expands and fills both the cuts, making for an extremely strong joint. But once I had finished gluing and clamping the boards, I noticed that some of the biscuit cuts were wrong. Some cuts had an angle to them causing the boards to warp. I thought I was going to be able to still work with the pieces but once my father walked over and saw the mess I had got myself into, he made the decision we were going to go buy a sheet of nice birch plywood. Which I really wanted to use, but at Lowes I saw the price of one sheet and turned away. But then I turned right back around because having one piece for both the foot and head boards would make the build much easier and look that much better. I loaded up the sheet of birch and a few more odd and ends for my father and I was on my way. I returned to the shop and decided it was time for some fun, so I unloaded the plywood and loaded up the four wheeler. So, this work day was over.

Slowly, but Surely Working to Get Done

Well, about three weeks have past and I am just getting back to starting the build. I began the day by cutting the pieces of pine to length. And then, I ripped forty five degrees down both sides of the pieces, so then would fit tightly together, well I thought they would at least. For the foot board, all the pieces were measured at twenty eight inches and the head board pieces were forty two inches high. My next step was going to be a tough one. I had to come up with a way to build a post inside of a post. Which meant I had to scab the two by fours together and attach the pine to it. I started by nailing two two by fours together and I took some measurements. I saw I needed an inch on one side and three quarters on the other side. I went down to the workshop and gathered the needed pieces. Once I got four relatively close structures, I started up the compressor and began to nail the suckers on. Once I was done nailing the pieces on. I attached the trim pieces on the tops and bottoms of the posts. The trim pieces completed the top of the posts and brought everything together. Now the inside structures were covered up by a piece of quarter inch plywood, sharp! And now the posts are done for the most part, ‘til the sanding part.

I proceeded to make the middle boards of the head and foot pieces of the frame. I took four pieces of pine for the foot and six pieces for the head board. I cut all the boards to forty eight inches even. Once done I ran them through my uncle’s jointer to have straight edges to biscuit and glue together. I began to cut the biscuit joints and got the boards ready for glue. But as it happens, the day light was running out and I was getting tired.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

As Time Goes by

A few days had past and I had been trying to come up with some different ideas and ways to fabricate the frame from the ground up. I had to figure out how to attach the plywood and posts together and what to make the side rails out of. I could either dido or biscuit joint the posts. I, also, had to come up with a way to make the posts. Since I was on a low budget, I would not be able to get solid six inch by six inch posts. I would have to scab two by fours and add layers to get my lumber to fit right. I decided to go with number two pine for the outer layer of the posts, cheap and easy to build with. This same day I went to Carter Lumber in Plain City to get my pine. I ended up needing about twenty eight foot pieces of one by six. Which are actually three quarters by five and a half inches, damn wood company. I picked out five two by fours also to scab together for the inside frames of the posts. Another few days and yet no building as gone on yet.

A Bed Frame Built for a King

Well maybe not for a king and for a college student with some time on his hands. This is a project in which I have been working for more than three months. The bed frame was much more difficult than the cake pan but is still manageable. I began designing and building in late August when I finished summer school.

The look I was going for was simple, cheap and original. I wanted four thick posts to give support and then just simple oak plywood as the head and foot boards. Nothing more, nothing less. I wanted a light stain to bring all the oak together.

The first day I made some drawings and came up with some ideas. Donn also throw in some ideas, and since he was going to help on the project, I had to listen. He told me to walk around Lowes Home Impovement and search for ideas or gather suggests for constructing the frame. So, I set off for the hardware store. After doing some research, I felt comfortable about the upcoming project. One idea that caught my attention was adding copper roofing metal to the head and foot boards. I got a roll of that and talked to a few employees and was on my way. Day one was done.

Some Helpful Tips

I thought you weekend warriors would enjoy this site I found through another blog on metal fabrication. Just a few hints and tips to a smoother, and more productive shop or work space. The site can be reached here at shop tips.

For more welding information, a great site and partners of the Ohio State University is The Eddison Welding Institute website.

Monday, November 29, 2004


Here is a picture of the cake pan after the underside is painted and finished.
Posted by Hello

Third and Final Night of the Build

The tools of the trade for the third night are angle grinders and paint brush rollers. The angle grinder I prefer is made by Dewalt. We had a team of three working tonight, Kevin the welder, Donn my father and of course me, the master fabricator (joke). For about an hour, everyone had a grinder in their hands. We were working on grinding all the welds and rough spots down on the cake pan. This is not a difficult task at all. Just do not grind too far into the welds and create a gap. After this, all the metal work is done.

The next task is to paint the pan and let dry. I suggested sparing the paint on but was corrected. Kevin and my father said the paint would not stick as well if we just sprayed the paint. So, we had to do it the old fashion way. I grabbed a roller and as did Kevin. We began on the inside of the pan, while Donn cut in the pan with a hand brush. Thirty minutes have gone by and the inside paint is done and done. We painted everything but the tip rails of the tank so we could flip it over and start the underside. Another half hour and the tanks is painted.

After school and the work for the elders were done, we painted the top of the pan and let dry for about an hour. Once it dried fully, the cake pan was shipped to the purchasers shop. The job was complete and Kevin handled the finance portion. Remember, SAFETY FIRST AND THEN FUN! Until next time, keep building.

If anyone has any questions, email or leave a post and I will respond as soon as possible.
Also, if someone in the near area needs one built, let me know. Thanks for stopping in to Jack of All Trades, Master of None.

The Second Night of the Build!

The second night should be the most productive. The sheet metal is cut to length. The first task at hand is to knock off all the SLAG, this is a term welders and metal workers use to name the extra metal left over from where the shear cuts the sheet metal. The best way to take care of the slag, is to just lightly knock the edges with a chisel. There is no need to push or press the chisel into the metal, just let the weight of the tool do the work for you. This process is important when welding the two pieces of sheet metal together.

The next stage of the night is to cut the twenty four foot, inch tube steel into eight foot strong pieces. The tubing needs to be just a hair longer than eight feet, to make sure all of the pieces come together and have a tight fit. The best way to cut theses pieces is to use a metal chop saw. The saws can be picked up for sixty five dollars or over two hundred. Remember when purchasing, how much are you really going to using the tool? If you have an angle grinder, this tool could be used also to cut the tube but is not as accurate. These eight foot pieces will have some slag on the end of the cuts, but are taken care of in a different manner. Run your angle grinder across the top and sides of the recent cuts. This will make the tubing weld together much stronger. All of the metal is prepped and ready to weld together.

– My welding professor Kevin Bricker, which I proclaim him as, told me "you have to feel the metal going together and work the pieces as you weld down the lines. Using a screw driver to prop the pieces together or pound the tubes together with a hammer."

On that note, we started welding the two eight by four feet pieces are fused to each other. Tacking, is when the welder just puts a small weld between the two pieces of metals. When fusing the two pieces, one person welds and the other slams the tacks with a metal hammer. The purpose is to keep the weld as close to the metal as possible. After the pieces are put together, we start to attach the foot high sides. The sides are the same material as the bottom. The tip from above comes into play. Do not just line the pieces up and start to weld. Begin at one corner and tack as you work down the side of the pieces. Use a screw driver to work the other end of the piece to get it to line up and tact the metals together. Tacking is all that is needed at this point in the build. Upon finishing the tacking of all the pieces, finish weld all of them together. This is achieved by running welds over every seam to seal them. BANG, hit all the corners and sides where welds are, to make sure they are tough and will hold under pressure with the hammer. The only welding left to do is tack the one inch tubing steel around the top of the foot side walls. The tubing is for protection from injuries, as in if someone walked by and knocked into the tank. A great tool for this is a half clamp. We built our tank upside down on a rack for automobiles. A half clamp is welded to the reverse side of the bottom and puts pressure on the tubing. With enough clamps, this could be done with one person, but we used two people. Once done welding, the end of the second night.

This is a picture, sorry was not a great day for inside pictures, but you get an idea of the welder we are using. This is the Lincoln MIG-135 Posted by Hello