At least a break from woodworking in my shop. This is a photo of my current outdoor woodworking project - the renovation of our front porch steps.
My wife has been super supportive of my woodworking projects. I have been hard at it now for about three years with at least one project underway at all times and sometimes more than one project. My non-woodworking responsibilites around the house have been placed in a secondary status all this time with just the critical things being attended to.
With my latest project now complete, I am going to take a short break from anything related to furniture making so I can knock out some repairs and updates on my wife's to do list.
In the photo above, you can see I have started what really could be considered a woodworking project since the renovation of our front stairs will be accomplished with wood. You can see some serious rot where the first step used to be. We became suspicious of a problem when the newel post at that step (already removed in the photo above) began leaning outward which is never good.
Note the totally rotted away end to the skirt board. I was careful to remove the railing without tearing it apart.
I began removing the rotted wood yesterday and I'll have to replace the stringers for the stairs since all of them are rotted at the first step. This means I'll have to tear out all of the steps and replace them with new wood.
Even though I think the contractor who built this front porch should have done a better job of protecting those boards from rot, he did an excellent job of nailing the stair treads in place. It has been extra tough removing them. Once demolition is completed, the rebuilding process will move pretty quickly.
I also have a wall to repair where some plumbing work was completed. I am very much a novice when it comes to sheet rock work, especially getting a smooth layer of sheetrock mud laid down and sanded. Once that task is finished, I'll paint the room. Then I'll be back to woodworking. :)
My next woodworking project...
Once these home improvement items are off the checklist, I plan to spend what may be a full year renovating my workshop. I need a new router table, a dedicated miter saw station, a secondary work bench/storage cabinet, and an additional storage cabinet for power tools and hand tools. This will likely include some new lighting and more focus on dust collection. All of this is pretty ambitious really, but these improvements are very necessary.
My next woodworking project: a new router table (click the image to enlarge).
My current router table was state of the art about 20 years ago, but it is now woefully out of date; it wobbles a little and it's hard maple fence has become slightly warped. The design shown above was inspired by an article in Fine Woodworking's year end Tools and Shops issue. The router table they unveiled in that article was designed to literally hang from table saw fence rails. It had the most clever fence design - one that clamped to the table saw fence and provided dust collection as well. My design won't hang on rails; rather I plan to use the space under the router for storage, so a cabinet is in order.
My new router table will replace the right table extension on my table saw. This will free up some much needed space in my shop and enable me to later build the miter saw station I desperately need.
I am still tweaking the design, but note that it has raised panels on the sides. I plan to use a variety of left over lumber from previous projects. The panels, top and drawer fronts will be made of African mahogany; the gray parts will be a combination of plywood and pine, and I'd like to use tiger maple for the fence. I am not totally sure I'll use casters, but I'd like to be able to move it around the shop if an unusual routing operation pops up. I have decided to use my upcoming shop improvements as exercises in design, so this router table will be purposefully interesting to look at.
I have another blog post in the works about a recent tool purchase. Look for that in the next couple of weeks.