Horizontal Band Saw

Finally waited long enough to buy one of these Harbor Freight horizontal band saws.

Didn’t bother keeping the stock blade. Bought a new blade right off the bat and used it to set the alignment of the blade. It took a little doing, but it’s dialed in and cutting straight.

I found this document for aligning the blade and adjusting tracking. It’s still not tracking 100% on the lower drive wheel. But I think I have a plan on how to fix that with some help from the internet.

New welding table (almost)

Welding table top

I have been wanting a welding table from Certiflat for YEARS. I can’t remember just where I first saw them. I finally had the space and the budget to get one this year.

It comes in pieces. A flat top, laser drilled with 5/8″ holes every 2″. There are also slots cut into the top where the tabs on the support ribs fit into.

You start the build upside down, clamping the ribs to the top piece. You have to clamp it down completely to ensure the top comes out flat.

I used u-bolts to clamp down the center pieces.

I used the MIG to tack weld the center parts of the ribs together and to the table top. and then added more clamps to the outsides of the ribs.

A lot of clamps. You can never have too many. I used a flashlight to make sure there was no space between the ribs and the top, shining it on the side opposite to where I was standing, making sure I saw no slivers of light come under neath the rid.

Once it was completely tacked together, I turned it over and used the TIG welder to complete the welds of the tabs and slots.

My TIG welding still needs practice, but that’s part of what this table is for. I’m debating on if I will finish welding the ribs below. I don’t think it really needs it.

The legs I ordered with this table haven’t been shipped yet. Once those are in, I’ll be able to complete this project.

UPDATE: Leg kit arrived.

New TIG Machine

I’ve been wanting a TIG/Stick welding machine for some time. Not because I need one, but because I want to learn how to TIG weld. I looked at a number of options, trying to stay budget friendly. I ended up getting this TIG 225X machine from Primeweld.

It’s been getting pretty good reviews, especially from some welders that are fairly critical of inexpensive chinese imports.

What sold me on it was not just the price at $775, but that it does pulse as well as AC welding – which means I can weld aluminum!

It came with a CK Worldwide torch and an upgraded foot pedal. I picked up a bottle of argon from a local welding suppliers, as well as some filler rod and stick electrodes from Harbor Freight.

It’ll take a while to learn how to do all of this with some degree of acceptability, but it’s going to be a lot of fun!

Found an old welding cart on Facebook for $20. Cleaned it up and painted it. Perfect fit!

Makes my Hobart 175 amp MIG welder look so tiny!


I rearranged the workshop for the winter months and pulled the Jeep in for the first time. It fits as closely as I expected.

I’m thinking of removing the spare tire to make it easier to get to the other side of the Jeep. I still have to put it up on jack stands to keep the tires from developing a flat spot.

Paint and gutters

Now that the siding is complete (finished that off after the electric service was finished) it’s now time to paint.

I used paint from Sherwin Williams that matched what was on the rest of the house. When the house was last remodeled and painted, the remaining paint was left in the basement. This helped, since I felt I could get the most accurate paint match.

I started with the trim, soffit and fascia. I rolled it on for the soffit and fascia, and then brushed in the cut in and the trim. Two coats later and it looks great.

After that dried for about a day, I did the cut in for the main color.

I also painted above the doors and windows. There’s only about 550 square feet of wall, but an airless sprayer will make this a lot smoother and even coat. I had picked up one of these cheap ones from Harbor Freight a number of years ago and it has worked perfectly before.

This time was no exception. I got the first coat done in less than 2 hours, including setup and clean up.

I did manage to get a little overspray on the soffit. That cleaned up easy enough with some touch up paint.

I waited a couple days to put on the second coat and remove the plastic and tape. Second coat took about an hour and a half, including cleanup. I did need to do a little touch up on the white where there was some overspray, but that only took about 30 minutes. The feed for the electrical service seems to disappear. Once we get this landscaped, you’ll never notice it.

The last thing I need to do is install the gutters. Again, I bought all of the components from Menard’s. The gutters came in 10′ sections and was just a matter of snapping an appropriate slope line, using some seam sealer and screwing it into the fascia.

The downspouts run into an underground drainage system that comes out in the yard, keeping the majority of the water away from the building.

I can finally take a break from working on the shop. I am done until next year when I figure out all the electrical requirements.

Trench Settling

Purposely haven’t done much with where the trench for the electrical is. We’ve been waiting for some decent rain as I know it would help settle the soil. It has . 🙂 I may plant some grass in mid October before it gets too cold.

We have power!

Took a lot of work, and a lot of help from my wife, but I have power in the shop!

Once the trench was dug and signed off by the building inspector, next step was to lay in the wire.

Decisions, decisions

Figuring out what kind of wire to use took some research. Not being an electrician, I didn’t know exactly what to use. I reached out to my nephew who works in the trade for some ideas. He old me they use two different types of wire, SER and URD. SER is a service entrance wire and URD is an underground wire.

They both would not work for me, according to the building department. SER cannot be buried. Not even in conduit. URD can be buried, but since it’s not fire rated, can’t be used inside.

Then I stumbled upon MHF, mobile home feeder wire. Not only can it be buried directly, but it’s fire rated for indoor use. And the building department agreed. Perfect!

Running the feed wire

The stuff is not too heavy, and a little unwieldy. It’s 4 conductors, 3 each of #2 and one #4, all aluminum. The #4 is green for the ground, and one of the three #2 conductors has a white line indicating the neutral return. And at only $1.37 a foot after rebate (have to love Menard’s) it’s way cheaper than copper. Not having to pull this through a conduit was the icing on the cake.

The only conduit I needed was to run it into the shop. Code requires conduit 18″ below grade. I ran conduit from outside the house into the sub panel and tied it into a new breaker. I’m still only feeding this panel with a 50 amp breaker, even though the new breaker and the load center in the shop both are both 100 amp. If I find that I am tripping this breaker, I still have some #2 wire I will use to update the feed from the main.

Finishing it all off

Last thing to do was to fill in the trenches. This will take some time. Need to let everything settle for a few weeks before cleaning up the extra dirt and planting grass again for the third time. Something tells me I’ll be planting in the spring, too.

Downspout diverter

One of the things about this house that I didn’t really like, is we don’t have storm drains for the downspouts. The rainwater just hits the ground and is diverted away from the side of the house. Not very effective. A while back, I installed these underground diverters on the house and wanted to add them to the shop as well.

The come in two parts, one, a collector that you place under the downspout. It has an angled face on it that screens the large leaves and such from the entering the drain. The second part is a popup that you place in your yard an appropriate distance from the structure. They work incredibly well and it was a no brainer for me to put these in.

I didn’t get the popup buried. I need to get a different connector to attach the drain line to it.

Workshop Power

I rented a 6″ x 36″ trencher to dig for th power line I need to run to the shop. The shop is attached to the garage, which is attached to the family room of the house. Both of those are on slabs, which means I have no way of running any kind of wire through the main structure from the basement.

My only option was to trench. Code requires 24″ deep trench for direct burial wire. This is about 30″ deep in most places. Once it passes inspection, I’ll get the wire in the ground and go from there.

While I had the trencher, I went ahead and dug for some downspout drains. I don’t have storm drains here, so the rain water leaves the downspout right to the ground. I don’t want it next to the building, so I am adding some underground pipes that will lead to a popup in the yard.

Downspout drain trench