• Stairs Tread Installation

    I am in the middle of installing stair tread in our basement.? They match the stairs to the attic in terms of style, and color – I am using the same reclaimed dark bamboo treads as our attic stairs.? The trim is painted white, I am using sub-floor adhesive and screws to eliminate squeaks, and I have added cove molding to the underside of each stair lip because that is the right way to do it and they are mine – if I choose to overbuild them, then I will do so.There is no MDF or OSB being used – just like in the rest of our home.

    The stairs are period appropriate for our house– maybe even a little upscale for a suburban house on what was the edge of Seattle in 1928.Except for the bamboo tread material, they would be recognizable by the first owner of our home as proper.? The 5 feet of bottom banister and the wooden handrail will match the attic and rest of the house as well.?

    It has taken me two days to get this done, partially because of set-up and partially due to the time spent hunting for specific tools in the mess that is my shop currently.? If all I did was stairs, I would have a kit and process ready to go and I could bang out a strait staircase trim in a single 8-hour day.? Will be glad when this is 100% complete as it is the last major project left for the 3+ years of remodeling one room at a time in our house.? I know my wife wants it done even more than I do though.

    Before: 3/4″ Plywood sub-floor stair structure.Lots of adhesive and 3″ screws used in construction.


    Side note:? Because I am working on my own house, I am wearing OSHA-Approved safety Flip-Flops.

  • Working at Home – Memorial Day Weekend 2020

    1. Awake at 8:30?
    2. Coffee, Cereal, and a banana
    3. Hung flag, semi-circle flag banners on fence, and POW/MIA yard banner in front yard
    4. Braved the Wilds of Home Depot
    5. Still surprised by the selfishness and idiocy of the masses
    6. Drank More coffee
    7. Chiseled in the pockets for hinges on pantry doors and cabinet
    8. Hung and fit all the pantry doors
    9. Talked to neighbor (we were 10’ apart) and walked over to do a quick front yard fence repair job for her
    10. ?Skim coated 3 spots in house where drywall is/was dinged
    11. ?Played games over the internet with family and friends
    12. ?Movie (at home) with my wife
    13. ?Asleep by 10:30
    14. ?Slept till 9:00 on Sunday.
    15. ?Shoulder hurts
    16. ?Braved Home Depot again for lumber
    17. ?Wife came.? We bought a whole cart of flowers
    18. ?Really like my wife
    19. ?Went pet food store for bougie raw food for our two spoiled little furry monsters
    20. ?Drank a LOT of coffee and bought a gift card to help support out local shop during the COVID-19 Crisis
    21. ?Spent too much time on Instagram and Twitter instead of working.
    22. ?Started the basement stair finish at 2:00
    23. ?Had all the treads, kickers, and the two sides cut and test fit by 7:00
    24. ?Said some dirty words to make the process go smother
    25. ?Did a little Amazon shopping
    26. ?Texted back and forth with the friends
    27. ?Finished a?Malcolm Gladwell audio book before passing out for the night.
    28. ?Slept late
    29. ?Shoulder really sore
    30. ?Took 3 Aleve and wife rubbed back and shoulder
    31. ?Procrastinated and spent time on Twitter and Instagram while drinking my coffee
    32. Had second cup
    33. ?Started the stair tread installation
    34. Ran out of subfloor adhesive?– said dirty words…
    35. Sent wife to Home Depot for more
    36. ?She is awesome and got EXACTLY what I needed!
    37. ?Hit two nails under the same tread – the 2nd to the last and broke my only two counter-sink bits.
    38. ?The F-Word poured forth.
    39. ?Drank some more coffee and cussed a little more
    40. ?Went back to work on the stairs
    41. ?Finished the initial installation
    42. ?Need to fill, sand, caulk, prime, paint, add baluster, and handrail before I can call it done
    43. ?Neighbor bought over smoked ribs!
    44. Ate them like a starving crazy person while standing over the sink, making caveman noises (according to my wife)
    45. ?He is trying to woo my me with his BBQ skills
    46. ?It is working
    47. ?Coat of touch-up paint in the Bathroom
    48. ?Yelled at a guy speeding down our tine street in a silver convertible
    49. I have become “That Guy”
    50. ?Installed antique glass panels into the top pantry cabinet doors
    51. ?Did not cut myself!!
    52. ?Filmed the process
    53. ?Downloaded video snippets from phone and camera taken over the weekend into iMovie
    54. ?Tickled my wife until she made me stop.?
    55. I got “The Look…”
    56. ?Wrote a letter, sent out a couple of MoMT stickers, and wrote 2 Thank You cards
    57. Drank some rose with our pizza for dinner
    58. I may have bought a new Grill online – Memorial Day Sale!
    59. Talked to my son on the phone
    60. Had some herbal tea sweetened with my own honey
    61. Went to bed early at 11:00, but had weird dreams all night
  • Machine Shop Tool Organization

    Continuing to use the X-Carve to help out with some tool organization projects around the shop.For this video, I have moved to the Machine Shop side of my work area and am slowly adding to the tool box/project table that I have dedicated to the metal lathe and mill.

    Edge Technologies Tools: https://www.edgetechnologyproducts.com

    Binford Tool Box: https://homeimprovement.fandom.com/wiki/Binford_Tools X-Carve: http://x-carve-instructions.inventables.com

    Within Tolerance Podcast: https://anchor.fm/withintolerance

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mattofmanytrades/?hl=en

    Additional Tool Organization Videos: https://youtu.be/ny_83lXHrTk

  • Torii Gate Topper

    Our side fence on the south side of our yard was redone about 18 months ago.  It started out as a project that my neighbor (a residential and commercial builder) and I were going to tackle as a group/team build.  I did the initial work power washing the old fence twice, tearing the old fence down, saving the lumber that was in good shape, and running the string lines for the new fence. My neighbor was on the hook for setting the new posts and reinstalling the good wood on the “new” fence and supplying any new material. 

    That agreement lasted until about a week before the new fence was about to go in.  At that point, the neighbor decided to use the project as a “proof of concept” for a fence installation technique that he had seen recently.  That also changed the design and he wanted to use ALL new material.  I was out on the new and additional cost but agreed to pay for the materials and supply the labor for sealing the fence and also volunteered for adding a torii-like fence gate topper for the 4′ gate connecting our yards to make the total fence cost somewhat amicable. 

    The fence was sealed (Thompson’s Water Seal is my favorite!) the day after it was installed and 2 days before I had knee reconstruction. There was a somewhat pointed style and wood type discussion for the gate that put me off a little and I moved the project to the BACK of my to-do list priority.  Fast-Forward to 18 months later and 6 weeks into the Covid-19 Crisis and my project list was getting tiny, so I spent a warm spring Sunday getting the gate topper cut and installed.

    Coffee break during the initial beam fit and marking
    Tight grained red cedar

    I used a nice hunk of tight-grained tight-knot red cedar and inset the posts into the beam by 1.25″ and attached the beam to the posts with a 10″ lag screw that was inset from the top by +2″.The joints were pre-sealed with Thompson’s and the entire thing was double coated with Thompson’s to keep it looking nice for the foreseeable future.There will be an additional 1″ board on top of the beam with a 1″ reveal all the way around – waiting on the red cedar to be delivered to my local lumber supplier.

  • Ceiling Mounted Camera Dolly

    One of my shortcomings (there are so many) as a YouTube content maker is my camera work.It has never been steady and I have fallen over a tripod at least three time in the shop, so I decided to make a ceiling-mounted camera dolly to keep things out of the way and to give me both steady shots and the ability to pan/tilt/zoom with without much fuss at all.

    I doodled in my sketch book for a while and used UniStrut and UniStrut trolleys as the core of the mechanism, then took 9 months off before getting the bulk of the work done.

    The dolly body is made of 3/4 birch plywood.I designed it in the “rocket esthetic” in AutoCAD and then transferred the drawings to the free web-based version of Easel before cutting the main body pieces on the X-Carve.All the other parts were cut in the shop on conventional saws and all the hardware was sourced at Home Depot – except the UniStrut trolleys and hangers which came from McMaster-Carr.The trolleys were actually free for me as there were recycled at work after a building project was completed and I asked if I could have them.They sat in my basement for a year before I had the idea to use them for this project.

    Unistrut hangers: https://www.mcmaster.com/strut-channel-hangers/strut-channel-trolley-brackets/

    UniStrut: https://www.mcmaster.com/strut-channel-systems/strut-channel-5/

    Unistrut Trolleys: https://www.mcmaster.com/strut-channel-hangers/strut-channel-trolleys-5/

    Frank Howarth’s Camera Dolly: https://youtu.be/fHWJTVCOhBs

    Bales Camera Track System: https://youtu.be/tiHoWwuTM4U

  • X-Carve Tool Organization!

    I keep losing router bits and have been putting off making an organizer for DECADES.I got mad at myself after buying two of the same really expensive 1/4” round-over bit and decided to fix my lack of organization.In the process of that project, I was bit by the OCD bug and ended up cutting organizers for all my router bits, X-Carve bits, router and X-Carve tools, and material clamps and hold downs.

    I used the free web version of Easel to do almost all of the designs – except the tool organizer, which I used AutoCAD for initially.You could probably do it with Fusion360 or the pay version of Easel as well, but I have been an AutoCAD used since I was 14 and 32 years of using the tool makes it my go-to for 2D drafting. Jeez, I am old…

  • Starbucks Mug Display Shelf

    My wife and I have a little problem – Starbucks mugs…. We have 119 and counting of the “You Are Here,” “Been There,” and “City Mugs.”We have run out of room and need some storage/display shelves.I am at a stopping point with our pantry cabinet build, because of the mandatory Covid-19 closures – I need granite, paint, and a mirror to finish the job, so I took this time to address the mug situation AND add to the scope of the pantry cabinet project by installing a 43”X60” 10-shelf unit on the opposite wall of the small room. We live in a 1928 Craftsman bungalow and have attempted to replicate what would have been in the house originally when we have remodeled or updated and I wanted this piece to be a part of that, so I decided to build it in the same style as the rest of the house and design it for uses other than Starbucks mugs, like maybe it would have held grandma’s fine china cups and saucers back in the day.In 20 years, I want a prospective buyer to marvel at all the “original” built-ins that have “lovingly survived.”As far as our use – it will hold 122 extra large Starbucks mugs, a couple of platters, and a smattering of espresso cups.Coupled with some storage in the pantry cabinet, that should satisfy our need for coffee mug room for a few years.I built the unit out of 3/4” #2 poplar and 1/4” plywood that I had on hand from other projects and used the dregs of three cans of my favorite Benjamin Moore trim and cabinet paint.All told, I have about 8 hours into this build and will spend another 45 minutes sanding, caulking, and painting the final coat of paint when the pantry cabinet is completes as well. I didn’t make a drawing of it, but I can if someone wants to build one as well, let me know.Starbucks Mug P0rn:https://starbucks-mugs.com

  • Restoring a 100+ Year Old Blacksmith Sledge Hammer

    I picked up a blacksmith striker sledge for almost nothing from a cast off tool bin at a local architectural salvage place in Seattle.I saw treasure through the rust, slapped the cash down on the counter, and ran out of that place like Sméagol with the One Ring…. It sat with my other pretty and precious things in the shop for a couple of months – waiting.

    Before long, I was in the planning stages of cleaning the rust off a number of old tools as I remembered the sledge head, it moved immediately to the top of the project list. I used Evapo-Rust to clean it off, thinking that I would give it a try before putting it in an electrolysis bath – my usual MO.No bath necessary – 24 hours later and all the rust was gone!

    I used an angle grinder/wire brush to do the final clean and then touched up the face and peen with a flap disc.Worked like a charm.I can say that you will need to oil, wax, or paint anything that up pull from a tank immediately as it will start rusting again right away!I coated the head in wax from a new tin of Axe Wax that I just purchased after giving the remnants of my last can to a well-deserving home.

    For the sledge handle, I up-cycled a never-used maul handle: cut it down, sanded off the poly coating, and shaved it down to fit the head.A scrap piece of walnut provided the wedge material.I use a dab of glue on my wedges before sinking them home, but to each his own.

    For paddles, hammer handles, and exposed boat trim, I will use Corey’s Amazing Tung Oil, but for mauls, hatchets, axe handles, and the like, I am sold on Axe Wax.I swear I get less blisters and it lasts a whole season before reapplication is needed.

    The sledge turned out to be a 14-pound Atha Tool Co. model that was last produced in 1913.It makes my heart happy to be returning a quality 107+ year old tool to work.

  • I Had a Small Fire in the Shop!

    I started a small fire in the shop.I wasn’t bad, I found and put it out right away, but it brought up a lot of fear and trepidation for me as a shop fire is one of my worst nightmares!I thought this was a good time to show you what I did wrong, talk through what I should have done differently, and have a frank, general discussion about fire safety in your shop or garage.

    Stay safe.


  • New Forging Hammer

    Somebunny had two newhammers waiting on him when he got home from vacation. It was a few days beforeI was well enough (food poisoning) to swing them, but I was giddy with anticipationfrom the minute that I opened the boxes and after an initial trial both are EXACTLYwhat I wanted.

    One is a 3# ? or diagonal peen forging hammer was custom made for me by the amazing and local black smith, Jakob Faram (@faramforge). The fit and finish are fantastic. No mill scale and the faces are both deferentially hardened and beautifully polished. The handle – fit and finish – is perfect. The head and handle closely resemble the Hofi-style forging hammer.? If a tool can be beautiful, this is the embodiment of that. This hammer will be ? of my primary hammer usage in the forge and my cross peen will be used less, but still in rotation. I am really proud to have this tool and thankful to Jake for making it for me.

    The rounding hammer is a Big Blu (@bigbluhammer) 3.5 lb. and is replacing a 1500g Swedish style hammer that I had used to move a lot of metal on initial heats.? This is an upgrade for my forge as I perfer the rounding hammer to drawing out and spreading material in a fast/controlled manner.? It is my second Blu and also has a Hofi-style handle.? I will keep buying hammers from them as they provide fantastic a cost/quality value.The finish is not as nice as the Faram hammer, but it is listed at retail for ? the cost…? I am going to put a torch to the Blu handle to black it like the rest of may forging hammers and then apply two coats of Corey’s Amazing Tung Oil to finish it off properly.

    Faram Forge 1/4 Peen Forging Hammer
    The Faram and Blu hammers side by side
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