Adding to a pole barn

After thinking about for a couple years, my dad and I finally got around to building an addition to this building.


We decided on post-frame construction for this project. Posts need holes however, and in our area they have to be 4 feet deep in order to meet code. Code also requires each post sit on a 4 inch thick, 12 inch diameter concrete pad placed at the bottom of the hole. And the best way to make a bunch of holes that size is a drill.

Before drilling any holes however, we wanted to make sure the electric service to the building was out of the way, so we asked a friend who specializes in that sort of thing to lend a hand:


Turned out we had to move the electric slightly, and once that was done we replaced the metal on the front of the old building with OSB sheathing, and started setting posts:


Followed by headers and rat boards:


Then it was on to installing roof trusses:


And OSB sheathing:


Before going too much further, we put the forks on the tractor and removed the original asphalt driveway from inside the addition as well as in front of it:


Once the roof was closed, the asphalt we removed was replaced with concrete:


After the concrete had time to set we put the personnel door in, then broke out the underlayment, shingles, and the coil nailer and finished the roof:


Last but not least…siding and trim:


The plan, at this point, is to replace the metal on the rest of the building with OSB and siding so it matches the addition. I’ll post it when it’s done.




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Posted in Wood projects

Building a bathroom vanity

It all started when I woke up one morning wondering how hard it would be to build a replacement for my otherwise useless bathroom vanity. Wound up re-modeling the entire bathroom and replacing every water line in the house, but I think it’s best to save that story for another post, and talk instead about the vanity.

Since the big pile of wood in the shop had a bunch of cherry in it, I decided that would be a good choice for this project. And, since this thing would be sitting in a corner, there seemed to be no need in building a traditional cabinet when a sturdy framework would do:


As you can see, it’s nothing fancy, but it’s more than strong enough to do the job.

Strips of cherry were glued together to make the top, and a row of screws added along the edge to give it a bit of an industrial look:


After making a couple doors, and a trim panel for the end, the whole thing was given a few coats of polyurethane and put in its permanent home:


Shortly after seeing this, a friend decided she wanted one. Decided to get a bit fancy for this one and build it using oak and walnut. Since she liked the look of the screws around the top, those were added as well:


Here’s a quick look at it after it was installed at her place:


Turned out there was one more vanity on the list, but this one had to be big enough to hold two sinks. It also seemed like a good time to get even more creative:


Went with cherry again for the frame, but chose maple for the top, which measures 2 feet by six feet by 1 1/2 inches thick. And probably weighs more than I do. The floor of this one is oak, and had to be custom-fit around the plumbing.


Decided to use walnut, and what I believe is chestnut for the doors to make this truly one-of-a-kind. I should note here that the area to the left in this picture used to have one of those garden tubs in it, which was removed (since it was never used) to make a small sitting area and provide room for this nice oak towel cabinet:


Nothing too complicated with this except for the bottom, where we went with a drawer that we made to match the three sets of doors above it.


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Posted in Wood projects

If the fridge don’t fit…move the wall

I’m gonna start this post with a look at the finished project, then give a short description of how it was done.


Here’s a look at what was behind the original wall:


It was pretty obvious at this point that this wall not load-bearing, and would be relatively easy to modify, so we cut out part of the old framing and replaced it with 2×8’s:


Then added some cross members:


From here it was a matter of nail up the bead board and re-install the electric:

















Posted in Wood projects

Building a bed

completed bed

I know…lots of people have beds like this, but I like the idea and thought I’d give it a try. Before starting however, I took several measurements to confirm two things:

1) That the bed I had in mind would fit in the room

2) The completed bed could actually be brought into the room

Due to the floor plan of our house, satisfying condition 2 would require the bed to be built in sections. Seems simple enough, but I also figured if I was building this in sections, why not make them light-weight, so they could be handled by one person?

Which is precisely what I did, as you can see in the following pictures:


sections joined

The frames and the moulding on the headboard were made from cherry. The headboard and drawers are 1/2 inch Baltic birch plywood. The drawer fronts are also Baltic birch, and I used some maple left over from another project for the moulding on those.

I went a bit over-the-top and used half-blind dovetails on the drawers, as shown below:

drawer details





Posted in Wood projects

New Table Top

Shortly after completing the hutch, we decided to do something about our dining table.

The original table had a round top, which we got rid of, and a real nice oak base, which we decided to keep. That meant all we had to do was clean up the base and make an oak top to put on it.

Here’s what we came up with:


(The third vertical member I mentioned in the hutch post can be seen here as well.)

Since this thing is solid oak, it’s a bit on the heavy side so we brought it in in two pieces as shown below:


In case you’re wondering, the half-round objects leaning against the window in the background are the pieces of the old top, which I figured I’d hang on to in case I need material for shop jigs or something.

Posted in Wood projects


After threatening to do it for many years, we finally decided to rip out the cheap excuse for a hutch the builders of our house installed, and replace it something you could actually store stuff in.

Once we worked out the size we wanted, we raided the woodpile for enough walnut to build this:


For the record, it’s slightly over 7 feet tall, and just over 8 feet long. Two glass shelves run the entire length of the upper section, and each of the doors has a mirror behind it. We also installed several small LED light fixtures that are controlled by a switch on the wall next to the cabinet.


This view shows it with the room lights off and the LED’s on.

(In case you’re wondering about all the open space between the lower and upper sections, we designed this with an extra vertical member right in the center. We didn’t install it however, until after we started putting items in the upper section.)

Posted in Wood projects

A-Frame Hoist


I built this hoist about 10 years or so ago. As you can see here it does a pretty good job.

Inside the barn.

While I made allowances for the inside clearance, I forgot to double-check the door opening, which this thing unfortunately won’t make it under.

So far it hasn’t caused too many problems, since we have other means of getting heavy items in the building, but I’m satisfied that at some point I’ll need this thing outside.

I’m currently exploring several modification options.



Posted in Welding projects

Lawn Roller 2.0

My dad got hold of an old 250 gallon propane tank that had been thoroughly cleaned and properly purged of flammable substances, and with the help of a friend of ours built this to replace the smaller roller we had.















The axle was made by passing a round bar completely through the tank and welding it to the ends, and a frame was made from square tubing so it could be pulled behind the tractor.



Posted in Welding projects

Rants, and other musings…

Nothing in particular this time, just letting everyone know that anytime I feel like venting my frustrations it will show up here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Rolling test cart

Several years ago, I got this wild idea to build a small rolling cabinet to house the items I often used when testing and fine-tuning various electronic circuits, and came up with the item pictured here.


I’ll describe what each section of this thing does in a series of future posts.


Posted in Electronic projects

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