Category Archives: Projects

Fermentation Experiments

I've been experimenting with some fermentation recipes lately. From left to right they are:

1) A red hot sauce from fermented Fresno peppers and garlic. Delicious and extremely flavorful, without being crazy hot.
2) The brine the red peppers fermented in. Only a tiny bit of heat - it's more like a salty brine that you can add to things like a baked potato, etc.
3) A green hot sauce from fermented green Fresno peppers and jalapeno peppers from out garden. This one fermented so aggressively that the jar would foam over every time I cracked it open to relieve the pressure. It's not really hot - it's more "peppery". Also delicious.
4) We've also been trying to make some homemade miso. It needs to age in a crock at room temperature for about a year before you can use it. While it is fermenting, it gives off a liquid called tamari, that is basically just like soy sauce (and can be substituted for soy sauce in any recipe). As the miso ages the tamari it gives off will get darker and darker - this tamari is from early in the process, so it's still pretty blond.

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Cherry End Table

I used some more of scrap cherry leftover from the credenza build, and made this end table for our family room. It's been working out good so far, but I think I'm going to swap out the tile in the top. We've all decided that it is a little plain for that table. I think I might use a sheet of mosaic tile instead, to punch it up a little.

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Plane Cabinet

I had a bunch of scrap cherry plywood leftover from the credenza build, and tried to think of some way to use those scraps for something useful. I decided to build a wall cabinet for my hand planes. Cherry is a bit fancy for the workshop, but it sure looks nice!

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Screwdriver

Turned this screwdriver on the lathe the other day. It's a lamination of curly maple and cocobolo. It's one of the reversible ones - where both the bit and the shaft are reversible, for a total of 4 different tips.

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A Pair of Credenzas

I recently finished a pair of credenzas for our family room. They were built to house our growing collection of retro gaming consoles. The drawers are full of games, controllers, and accessories. We've got a NES, SNES, Gamecube, Wii, Wii U, Atari 2600, PS2, PS3, PS4, and a Switch. The credenzas are built from cherry, and have tile tops. Since this picture was taken I built a shelf above the TV for the soundbar, and have moved that PS3 controller charger off of the top and to another spot in the room. I'll try to get a new pic of the setup sometime soon.

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Machine Embroidery

Those who follow this blog know that I love patches - my daily-carry backpack is covered with dozens of them. Because of that, I've always been interested in machine embroidery - as I'd love to have some personal, custom patches to put on my stuff. Make Magazine recently reviewed an entry-level hobbyist embroidery machine and that was basically all it took to convince me to give this a shot. I'm really just getting started and learning, but I've already made the Millennium Falcon patch you see in the bottom right photo. Pretty cool!


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Wiring Up The Garage

In every garage workshop I've ever had (this one is the third), I've always just used extension cords to get power from the one lone outlet that is in most garages over to the various tools. It's kind a pain in the butt (and you wear out extension cords faster than you'd think), but I've never bothered to do anything about it. This time I decided to use some conduit and run a bunch of outlets along the walls to each of my tools, so everything is ready all the time. I still need to use an extension cord to get to the table saw (because it is in the middle of the room), but for everything else this has been working out great! It wasn't that hard or expensive - I should have done this years ago.

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Concrete Coffee Table

My sister is thinking about doing some DIY concrete countertops at her new house. As an experiment, I wanted to try and make a coffee table with a cast concrete top to see how hard it was. I built a mold out of melamine, then filled it with Quickcrete 5000 and steel reinforcing mesh. After it had cured, I sanded the show side smooth and sealed it with an acrylic concrete sealer. The base is red oak, and a simple (but sturdy) design. Even that relatively small table top weighed a ton, and Lori and I had to work pretty hard to get it up the stairs. All in all, I'd say it was a success. I learned a few things that my sister should be able to leverage when doing her countertops, which will hopefully help her avoid a few (minor) problems I ran into.

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Bathroom Makeover

As part of the ongoing sprucing up we've been doing to the house, we painted all three bathrooms and replaced their towel rods, TP holders, mirrors, light fixtures, etc. This photo is off the downstairs bathroom, which I though came out especially nice. We painted in a rich grey color, swapped out the "hollywood" style light fixture for one a little more classy, and put up the mirror I built at the old house (from lumber I milled from a tree that fell on the property).

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Laundry Room Makeover

All the work we did in Carter's room inspired us to keep going with some of the other rooms in the new house that we'd been procrastinating about. For the laundry room, Lori picked a nice rich blue - which was a whole lot better that the unpainted, lumpy drywall that was in the there before! She also found that cool laundry sign at a shop up north. I added a milk crate to the wall to hold her supplies, and put up a long clothes rod for hanging things as they come out of the dryer.

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