A trusty pair of Electrician Scissors is the most used tool of many of the low-voltage electricians that we’ve talked to, and Klein seems to be the go-to brand. If you’ve never heard of electrician scissors, here is a primer: Of course like any scissors, Klein’s new Electrician Scissors can cut through stuff with the blades, but they also have a cable cutting notch so you can rip through wire up to 14 AWG. They’ll strip 19 and 23 AWG wire all day long and have a notch in the tip for de-burring electrical boxes. There’s also a scraper on both blades for convenient wire cleaning. Klein’s All-Purpose Electrician’s Scissors are available online and in home centers for $24.35.
For an artisanal look, you can use woodworking hand tools. These are easy to use, lightweight and require no batteries or power cords to operate. Many hand tools are covered by multi-year or even lifetime warranties for extra protection and value. Set up your pieces with the most expertly crafted woodworking hardware, such as hinges, pulls and knobs to create a final product that you can give as a gift, sell or just display proudly. 

It’s important to have an understanding of wood when building DIY furniture projects. Not just how to cut, and assemble with wood but also to understand how it works. In Mistakes with Wood Can Cause Your DIY Furniture to Crack we talked about how wood is hygroscopic. Simply put, hygroscopic means it absorbs moisture from the air. Seasonal changes cause wood to absorb and release moisture.
Today I want to show you a project that’s within your reach if you have a few tools, a couple weekends, and the courage to take on something new. If you’re completely new to woodworking, this may be a little ambitious, but if you’ve got a little experience, you shouldn’t encounter too much trouble. Keep in mind that I’m an amateur. I took shop class in high school and have done a few little projects here and there, but I’m certainly no pro.

Here’s an old woodworking adage I enjoy ignoring: “measure twice, cut once.” Honestly, I measure nonce and cut thrice. I often eyeball it. I use pieces I’ve already cut to measure what I need to cut. It’s not a great habit, but I prefer it to measuring everything. And the results usually aren’t that different. At least that’s what I tell myself. I ended up having to sand down the ends of the 2×12’s running the length of the table (where they meet the aprons) because they weren’t exactly the same length.
Reclaimed Wood from Corn Crib HOW TO DESIGN AND BUILD AN ENTRY WAY COAT RACK AND BENCH There was a door in granddad’s home the client wanted to preserve and wondered, if they provided the wood, could I build an entryway coat rack and bench using the door as part of the build. The wood they wanted to provide, well, that was from the family owned Tennessee corn crib that had been torn down and they didn’t want to lose the wood or the memories. Not only was this a corncrib but it was eventually used by the great grandchildren as a play house. So for the client there are as many memories in this build as there are colors. THIS PROJECT TRULY DEFINES THE “CUSTOM” in BAYNE CUSTOM WOODWORKING. I spent some time to design a simple layout in @sketchup_official so the client could approve the idea I had in mind. The wood showed up in two deliveries so we stacked it outside because this was the first time I worked with barn wood. I did not want to introduce possible termites to my shop. So my first call was to my pest guy asking how I would treat the wood for termites. Much to my relief he said I had nothing to worry about. This was “real” wood! Not nominal at all, nominal is how we buy our wood at a local hardware store. Where a 2×4 is actually 1 ½  x 3 ½ . These 2×4’s were at least 2”x4”’s if not more and were hard, heavy and dusty, did I say heavy? After cutting to length on my handy @DewaltTough miter saw, I had to take them to my @ridgidpowertools table saw and square up the bottoms only.  I was very careful not to lose any of the original saw marks and character because that would ruin the entire purpose. For someone who likes clean, crisp edges, this was a bit of a challenge. I used @kregjig Kreg Jig® K4 Master System to join all the pieces of the base, the seat frame and the supports to join the two together. I was very careful to hide all of the pocket holes so they could not be seen from any angle. I used Titebond Products original interior wood glue to join all the pieces together. The next item was to assemble the back which included grandad’s door as the center piece. The door was only 71 ½ tall which determined the overall height of the project. Part of this back also includes two live edge pieces that we picked to use as the “L” shaped wings or side walls. The door measured 24” which left me with 6” on each side to make up the final size of 36”. So I chose two of the straightest boards that were closest to 6” and cut them to width so as not to waste any wood or lose any character. I used the Kreg Jig® K4 Master System
These tweezers are perfect. They’re nice and small and infinitely better than the cheap ones sold out of fishbowls at the home-center checkout lane. Their sharp, sturdy precision tips can grab even the tiniest sliver. Put them on your key chain and you’ll have a really high-quality stainless steel tweezers ready for the next time you have to perform a little surgery on the battlefield. They fold up like a pocketknife, so the business end doesn’t get wrecked. They’re available only at pocketweez.com.
OK, the Long Ranger’s been around since Marconi. But we love it. Simply put, this Long Ranger III Remote Dust Collector Switch is a remote system for turning on your dust collector out in the shop from whatever tool you’re operating. It plugs into the wall, you plug your dust collector into that and you’re done. Push the button on your remote and it fires right up. It’s saved us about two years and 1,300 miles of walking back and forth to the dust collector switch.

Do you have older 18V DeWalt tools that are still near and dear to your heart but need new batteries? Consider firing up those old tools with 21st century technology. Now, 18V tools can be run on powerful 20V lithium Ion batteries with DeWalt’s new battery adapter. The adapter slides into the tool and the battery hooks onto the adapter. It works on most 18V DeWalt tools but not all. It’s sold two ways: the adapter alone (DCA1820), or the adapter with two compact 20V, 2.OAh batteries and charger. Now you’ll be able to hold on to your favorite cordless reciprocating saw forever!
The engineering involved in building this garden bench is pretty simple, and we have provided some links to get a full cut list and plans with photos to help you along the way. Additionally, to the stock lumber, you will need wood screws, barrel locks, and hinges to complete the table. A miter saw or hand saw is also extremely helpful for cutting down your stock to the correct angle and length.

If you want your table top -- any table top -- to actually ast without bowing/cupping/twisting, you MUST attach it in a manner that allows for seasonal wood movement. Wood is an organic product, and it naturally expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity. I'll post link below to a couple of options that you can cheaply buy which will allow you to securely attach a tabletop while still giving the wood the flexibility to move with the seasons. When you buy decently-made furniture at a store, they all accommodate for this one way or another. Don't just screw the top down to the legs or the skirt...you'll regret it later on.


Cedar Mini Decorative Planters/Boxes Using Interlocking Dovetail Joints Having a cedar mill within an hour of my shop allows me to work with some very nice wood. While cedar can be brittle, it is wonderful to work with and makes putting these decorative boxes together a breeze. When working with cedar I am always looking for pieces that have what is known as “heartwood”. This is the red portion of the wood. When first planed or sanded, this heartwood is almost pink in color but takes polyurethane or spar finish well giving a vibrant dark red when applied. If left untreated, cedar will turn gray in direct sunlight and a dull red color from normal household light. These boxes have been treated with a wiping polyurethane mix that allows me to apply it with a cotton rag instead of a brush. It’s faster to apply, doesn’t run and dries fast enough to apply two coats in a day. So applying 5-6 coats only takes 2-3 days to accomplish. I assembled the boxes using a dovetail joint which provides both strength and decorative at the same time. A fan shaped tenon that forms a tight interlocking joint when fitted into a corresponding mortise. The dovetails on these boxes are shown on the length of the box and not the end where the handles are located. I use a dovetail jig and a router to make these joints which is more efficient. Depending on how the client will use the box I may or may not drill two holes in the bottom of the box. If they are built to be used as outside planters then I drill 2, half inch holes in the bottom for water to drain. If they are to be used inside as a table center piece or fireplace mantle decorative box, then I do not drill the hole. In the end they are strong, durable and beautiful no matter how they are used.
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