Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Harbor Freight Foot Switch Review

I recently bought a foot switch from Harbor Freight for my scroll saw.  I thought it would be fun to try it out on other tools too.  Check out my video then read more about my thoughts below.

Harbor Freight sells two types of foot switches.  The Momentary Foot Switch (Item 96619) works like a sewing machine pedal - press it to make the machine run and release it to stop.  The Power Maintained Foot Switch (Item 96618) works like a regular switch - step on it to turn on and step on it again to turn off.

I purchased the Momentary Foot Switch for my scroll saw, because it seems very similar to the use of a sewing machine.  The switch works great for this purpose and I highly recommend it.  I also recommend this switch for a drill press, sander, and even a router table where the router switch may be difficult to access.  My only complaint is that it's made of plastic.

I don't see myself using a Momentary Foot Switch for larger tools, like the table saw, band saw, or lathe.  I move around and change my stance a lot when using these tools, so keeping my foot on the pedal would be cumbersome.  Also, the thought of accidentally shutting off power to a tool in mid-cut is kind of scary.  The Power Maintained Foot Switch may be a better option for these larger tools.  It could be useful as a secondary stop switch or for hands-free operation when handling large sheets of plywood, but I think the switch itself and the power cables could be a trip hazard.

There are some safety considerations when using foot switches, so make sure you follow the safety guidelines that come with the switch.  If you have kids, pets, or frequent visitors in your shop, it's a good idea to turn off the tool's main switch when it's not in use and not rely solely on the foot switch.  If you blow a fuse or trip a breaker, turn off the tool's main switch before resetting the breaker.  Use common sense.

I can see where foot switches could make a production environment more efficient for repetitive tasks.  For most of us in a home woodworking shop, speed isn't much of an issue, but there are still some good uses for them.  Pick one up for about $13.99 (even less with a 20% off coupon) and try it out on a few tools to see what feels comfortable to you.  Just make sure you buy the right type for your purpose.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Sidebar Convo with Project Follow-Ups and a Shop Visitor!

In this Sidebar Convo, I follow up on some of my most recent projects.  Also Keith Hurley from South Georgia visited the shop and I asked him a few questions about his brand new YouTube channel "Peccy's Place".  Check out the video!

Show Notes:

Keith taking a bite out of my Palletroni Pizza!  Mmm!

Palletroni Pizza

Sunday, May 29, 2016

DIY Scroll Saw Stand for the DeWalt DW788

I designed and built this Scroll Saw Stand for my DeWalt DW788 scroll saw.  Watch the video below to see how I made it, then continue reading for more info.

This scroll saw stand can be customized to fit other saws as well.  Below are some of the features that I incorporated into the saw:
  • Added casters so I can move it around and even take it outside on nice days.
  • On-board storage allows for a place to keep scroll saw accessories and blades in the top bin, and the larger bin at the bottom can be used for cut-offs and scrap.
  • The stand has a small footprint and is 25" tall, but can be customized with risers to make the saw tilt forward to reduce neck strain. 
Scroll Saw Stand

I have created a 20-page detailed set of plans for this project and made them available for purchase on my Etsy store.  The plans included measured drawings, plywood layouts, actual size cutting templates, and detailed assembly diagrams and pictures.  If you would like to build one of these stands, please consider purchasing the plans.  Click here for the plans!

Scroll Saw Stand Plans

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Quick and Easy Raised Garden Beds

Make these quick and easy Raised Garden Beds in just one day!  Watch my video showing the basic steps, then read further for a shopping list, step-by-step instructions, more photos, and a few awesome videos for extra inspiration!

Shopping List - Quantities shown will make one 48" square bed.
  • Four 8-foot 2x6 boards, untreated
  • A 4-foot section of 2x4, untreated
  • 40 exterior screws (2.5" or 3")
  • Landscape Fabric 
  • Stapler with 1/4" staples
  • 15-16 cubic feet preferred soil

Step-By-Step Instructions

To make a square bed from 8-foot 2x6 boards, cut each board once at 49.5".  This will also yield a shorter 46.5" piece.  You should end up with four of each size.

Cut four 11" sections of 2x4 for the corners.

Stack two 46.5" board on top of two of the 2x4 pieces, making sure the 2x4's are flush and square on the ends.  Drill pilot holes and screw them together - two screws at the end of each board.  Repeat for the other 46.5" side.

Stand the two sides up so they are vertical.  Stack two of the 49.5" boards on top, making sure the sides are flush and square with the ends of the longer sides.  Screw them together.  Carefully flip the partial assembly over and fasten the two remaining boards on the other side.

Cover the bottom with weed block landscaping fabric.  Leave some excess around the bed if you will be landscaping around the beds.  Use a stapler to fasten the fabric.  

Flip the raised bed over and position it in place.  Landscape around the beds if desired.  Fill the bed with 15-16 cubic feet of your preferred garden soil.  My wife selected Vigoro Organic Garden Soil and Miracle Gro Gardening Soil for Vegetables.

 Plant your vegetables and don't forget to water them!

Make a sign to personalize your garden.  I used an Inventables X-Carve CNC machine, but you can paint one just as easily.  Be creative!

Below are some more awesome videos that may give you some other ideas for making raised garden beds.  Enjoy and happy gardening!