Tag Archive for DIY

Tool Cabinet Handles

 

 

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A while ago, Adrienne and I bought this great big tool cabinet from Harbor Freight.┬áIt’s been super useful. The one problem is, the only space we have for it is in the living room. It clashes with our otherwise old-timey decor. How to make this beast play well with others? Replace the ugly square silver handles with handmade leather drawer pulls.

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Tin Can Banjo

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This is my second attempt at a home-made instrument. The first one came to an abrupt end…yeah. Let’s just say I learned an important lesson about leaving wood to dry in communal spaces without a note. Le sigh.

Two things to note before you continue reading. First off, I took a lot of photos while I was doing this. It’s a long post. I made many mistakes along the way, and they’re all on display here. Learn from my blunders!

 

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Honing Guide

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I found myself in need of a honing guide. I didn’t have a honing guide. I wondered how practical it would be to make one myself? They seem like simple enough devices. I found this tutorial on youtube and figured this might be something I can do:

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Cigar Box Lamp, MK II

Verson 2.0 of my cigar box lamp is complete. This time it has twin bulbs and a dimmer switch. The dimmer has push-on, push-off functionality, instead of turning to switch on. This lets you turn it on to whatever brightness it was set to last time. I actually prefer the kind where you twist to turn it on, then brighten…but this one was free from a friend. The problem with the dimmer is that it’s designed for a wall switch, and had a big ugly white dial on it. Underneath that is a big ugly shaft, that goes up and down when you click the lamp on and off (that’s the main reason I don’t like ’em). Some alternatives were tried, like a wine cork:

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And a more stylish radio knob:

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I think I tried a chicken head knob as well. All had potential, but I felt like I needed something more to spruce up the switch area. That’s when I found a load of old rusty door hardware at a store in Gowanus. Keyhole covers, maybe? All I know is, I loved the shapes. I picked ’em up for a buck a piece or so. Just looking at these suckers could give you tetanus.

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The store had three shapes, all with their own character.

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Some de-rusting treatment (WD-40, sandpaper) brought out the potential. I decided not to make them completely shiny, since I liked the halfway distressed look.

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Here’s how they look on the box:

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Still playing with ideas for the switch. On a more square box, I could also add brass corners. I’d like for this thing to be really slick when it’s done. By the way, those cut-glass bulbs cast some really cool patterns on the wall when they’re on. Found them at Lowes, so they’re easy to come by.

Cigar box lamp, MK I

I really enjoy making things out of cigar boxes. I’m working on some instruments, but for quick and dirty fun you can’t beat a simple table lamp. Here’s what I used:

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  • cigar box
  • cord and plug assembly
  • electrical wire
  • wire caps
  • socket
  • vintage-style bulb
  • toggle switch
  • hand drills and bits
  • needle files
  • pliers
  • wire snippers
  • compass
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • clamp
  • brush
  • tea
  • more tea

To work!

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First off, I marked where I wanted the power cord to come into the box.

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Clamped and drilled.

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Wire’s through the hole, with an underwriter’s knot to keep it there. Very handy trick, that knot.

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The plug goes onto the other end of the wire.

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Next I drilled a hole for the toggle switch, on the top of the box.

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I didn’t have a big enough bit, so I used a file to enlarge the hole.

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And now it fits!

 

 

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This is where things got…interesting. I measured out how big a hole I’d need to fit the socket into the box.

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I bored holes along the diameter with the drill and then used my needle files to cut between them. Would have been nice to have a hole saw right about now.

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This took a while. And required more tea.

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Finally! The socket fit in place. This model was keyless, with springy tangs on the side to keep it in place.

 

 

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Now that everything was in place, I wired it up and prayed (I hadn’t made anything electrical before).

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The finished lamp

 

 

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It works! Damn was it bright, though. 60w bulb, but that long squirrel cage filament is a doozie.

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Photo taken with the shutter speed waaay up to capture the filament.