2001 to 2017
From 2001 to 2005, while serving as Orders, Awards and Clearance Manager for the South Dakota Army National Guard at Camp Rapid in Rapid City, SD, I rented an apartment and garage at Clock Tower Gardens Apartments, which is right across the street from the east gate of Camp Rapid.
I set up a small woodworking shop out of my garage and began making coin racks for my growing collection of Challenge Coins (aka: Commander's Coins). I made a total of 4 or 5 of these. The first two, I made out of pine for my own collection and the rest out of mahogany for other people, then I made 7 or 8 shadow boxes out of mahogany, using either a glass or plexiglass cover. Regretably, I never took pictures of any of them.
The one and only piece that was photographed was the only one I made from oak (below). I made it for SFC Kevin Kabrud's retirement from the South Dakota Army National Guard on April 2, 2005. It is also the only one I did not use a Roman ogee router bit on. Oak is such a hard wood and I thought it might chip if I tried to route it, so I just sanded the edges of each board to round them off a little.
In 2005, I moved from Rapid City to Pierre and continued doing woodworking, although I didn't make any more shadow boxes or coin racks. Instead, I made other things below.
October 28, 2010 - Not satisfied with the design or cost of desks for sale in stores or online, I decided to build my own desk the way I wanted it. Surprisingly, the project took less than a month to complete, as I worked on it part time in the evening and on weekends. To keep costs low, I used pine lumber and 3/4" plywood, spending less than $150 on materials. Instead of staining and finishing, I painted it a red/brown color and added a faux wood finish using a faux wood pattern roller and black paint to mimic wood grain. It came out looking and working pretty good and I still use this desk.
The desk top rests on the two side drawer cabinets and is kept in place with thin strips of wood mounted on the bottom of the table top and surrounding each cabinet top. I designed this desk to be easy to disassemble and move without having to remove a bunch of screws first.
The bottom drawers were installed after this picture was taken and are used as file cabinets. I also put doors on the upper left and right compartments and added a decorative wood strip along the edges of the table top.
April 4, 2012 - I adopted two cute little cats from the local animal shelter and wanted to make them happy, so I purchased a few 8' long 4" diameter posts and 8' long 4x4s, as well as some plywood to construct the frames for cat furniture. I found some free carpet, in very good condition, from the dumpster of a local carpet store and stapled to the frame. Instead of adding foam for padding between the carpet and the wood, I just used a layer of carpet remnants. Combined cost for materials was less than $50.
In the fall of 2014, I rented a rough-looking basement storage room in a century-old building on Pierre Street. Before I could set up my workshop, I had to clean the place as best I could. It was a cluttered and filthy mess, with lots of crumbled concrete and dust everywhere. I had to carry several 5-gallon buckets of concrete debris up the stairs and a half a block away to the dumpster. I moved out by the end of July 2015 after the workshop flooded.
Pierre Street Workshop
The grey cat was named "Grease" (or "Gris", Spanish for "grey" and pronounced the same as "grease").
The orange cat was "Kirby". They were such cute guys, very well-mannered and playful. I really loved them. Sadly, only about two years later, they both contracted FIP (Feline Immune Peritonitis) and passed away soon after.
Desk with Hutch
When I left the Pierre Street workshop at the end of July 2015, I had to dissassemble my work table to get it out the door and up the stairs, then reassemble it once I moved my workshop into a garage at the apartment complex where I lived (what a pain!). My son, almost 4 years old at the time, was quite disappointed that I left Pierre Street, because he thought that old basement workshop was cool.
To make up for his disappointment, I thought I would make a pirate ship for him to float down the river one day.
September 11, 2015 - On the 14th anniversary of 911, I completed this combination park bench/picnic table in just a few days.
Day 1: Purchased pine 2x4s from a local lumber store, then cut, drilled and sanded pieces.
Day 2: Inserted screws and assembled nuts and bolts to the boards.
I saw a video on Facebook about it and I thought it was cool, so I found plans on the internet and made one of my own. The plans were very detailed and worked out perfectly. I was amazed with the results. I sold it about a year later for $100.
Park Bench/Picnic Table
From September 23 to October 7, 2015, I made an art table/desk for my son. This 2-week project was a real challenge for me. Although I had an idea of how to build it, I wasn't quite sure how to make it work, particularly the mechanism for raising and lowering the desktop. It took some trial and error on the mechanism, but I finally came up with a good solution. I thought very carefully about the height of the table top, not wanting to make it too tall that he couldn't see or too short, that he would quickly outgrow it. As it turned out, he can see just fine and will never outgrow it. I am able to fit in it and have used the desk myself sometimes, although it's slightly snug, but not uncomfortable.
Andrew's Art Table/Desk
From October 11 to October 20, 2015, I worked on this queen-size bedframe and headboard. I designed it to be mobile, with wheels, as well as tall enough to vacuum under. I also wanted to be able to just tuck the covers between the bed and the frame, so I made the inside dimensions of the frame two inches wider and two inches longer than the mattress (1 inch on each side). At the time I built it, I was running low on 2x4s and didn't have as many as I would have liked for the mattress support, so I had to try different configurations to get maximum support with the few 2x4s I had available, or else go to the lumber store and buy more (which I didn't want to do). I think I spent less than $100 on materials.
Bed Frame and Headboard
From October 29 to November 10, 2015, I worked on a kitchen table for my apartment. I didn't have a written plan when I made it and changed the design a few times while building it.
Photo #1: I purchased spindles and a 5'x3' table top from my local lumber store. After a lot of sanding and finishing, I marked where I thought the table top supports should go and assembled it as shown in the 2nd picture.
Photo #2: I experimented with the placement of the bottom leg supports, by attaching them (with bolts) to the legs as shown in a criss-cross manner. The experiment revealed it was not a good idea.
Photo #3: The finished table.
June 26, 2016 - My son liked the desk I made for him, but he always seemed uncomfortable in the office chair (his feet couldn't touch the floor). One of the residents of my apartment complex threw away a kitchen chair, so I used it to make a chair I hoped would be more comfortable for him. I took the legs off the kitchen chair, cut off the front 1/3 of the seat and used the cut-off piece to make a foot rest. Then I mounted the seat on the office chair wheel base. He liked it better than the office chair because his feet were supported by the foot rest. In retrospect, I should have rounded the back corners of the footrest.
Andrew's Desk Chair
January 11, 2017 - In preparation for the Greater Sioux Falls Outdoor Show at the W.H. Lyons Fairgrounds, I made three display panels and a 3-tierred stand below.
DC's Tackle Displays
These three pegboard panels were used for hanging out product at the sports show, so we could easily grab a rig to sell to customers.
I made this 3-tiered stand for displaying each of our different fishing rigs (with prices) on the front table. It worked pretty well.
From January to June 2017, I tried very hard to think of ways to increase production speed on Bottoms Up Fishing Rigs. I created a series of contraptions, of which some I used and some were just funny. It was like doing experiments every day to find out what would or wouldn't work. When I started driving part-time for Napa on April 12th, that put a little damper on my time to experiment.
October 27, 2017 - Pulling the staples and old cover off was a dirty job. I sprayed all the legs and arms with hot water in the shower and scrubbed everything to get it completely clearn. I used decorative tacks on the backrest of the big office chair. I'm very pleased with how they turned out. Now my son sits in the little chair when he does art and homework at his desk. Since I already had an office chair that I was comfortable with and didn't need the chair on the left, I donated it to someone who needed one.
October 23, 2017 - Two free office chairs in need of new covers.
OK, so it's really not woodworking, but it is furniture and I did have to pull a lot of staples out of the bottom of the seats (which were made of wood).
One evening, upon returning to my apartment complex from work, I saw a grey office chair sitting beside the dumpster. The cloth cover was stained and dirty, but the wheels and everything else was good, so I took it to my shop for safekeeping.
The next morning, I saw a little black office chair sitting next to the dumpster. When I saw it, my first thought was, "this is going to be a good chair for Andrew". Other than slightly dirty, the chair was perfectly fine. I took that one to my shop also.
A day or two later, I went to Walmart with my son and spent about $20 on nine feet of fake leather and a bunch of decorative tacks.
Reupholstered Office Chairs
During the summer of 2017, my son would regularly trace coloring pages on the glass of my balcony door, using the light from the sun to show the image through the blank piece of paper he was tracing on. As fall aproached, he did not trace much. Part of the reason was because days were shorter with less sunlight, but he also said that tracing on the window was a little tiring.
So, I decided to make him a light box as a Christmas present. A few weeks before Christmas, I went to Menards and purchased some maple and ash wood, along with two 6' long Christmas rope lights and some plexiglass for about $20 total. I kept putting the project off, hoping for a warm day that never came.
By December 24, I had to get it done or else. I spent about four miserable hours in my workshop without heat on a very cold (below freezing) and windy day trying to get pieces cut, drilled, glued and sanded with cold hands.
I used a scrap piece of hardboard for the bottom and attached it to the rectangle formed by the ash (left and right sides) and maple (front and back sides) joined with dowels and glue, instead of screws. I drilled a hole through one of the sides for the power cord to go from inside the box to a wall outlet.
I covered the hardboard and inside of the rectangle with adhesive spray, then carefully laid aluminum foil to cover all inside surface areas below the plexiglass. I laid out the rope lights evenly inside the rectangle and hot-glued to the aluminum foil. Then I cut the plexiglass to cover inside of the rectangle.
Andrew's Light Box
December 24, 2017 - I designed the light box to be just big enough to trace onto the large thick paper I use for acrylic paintings. I hoped my son would later paint some of his traced drawings.
December 24, 2017 - This light box seems to work very well, as you can clearly see the image below the thick matt paper.
January 6, 2018 - Andrew likes the light box and uses it often. These two photos show a cute little Rembrandt at work.