Saturday, May 13, 2017

Workshop Makeover, part 20 - Dust Collector Closet - Dust Collector

I had a little bit of time Friday night before having to cook dinner and and play Mass Effect 3 for the evening so I cleaned up construction debris and moved my dust collector into the closet. There was just one complication - so far - which is that the bag supports are taller than the ceiling in the closet.


This wasn't a surprise, I'd been planning on it. Step one is to remove the supports from the collector. Fortunately the arm is segmented and the upper arm can be removed. I unhooked one top bag and checked how the bolts are connected on the inside. I was afraid there'd be nuts on the inside and if I just unscrewed the bolt the nut would be lost in the sawdust bag. Turns out there's no nuts, the plenum has threaded holes.

I started by loosening both bolts and then removing the top one.


This allowed me to spin the arm to the side, reinstall the top bolt, remove and replace the bottom bolt and voila! Bob's your uncle!



Then I was able to move the entire collector into the closet and best of all, it fit. It's a little tight but that's okay. I'm pretty sure the dust collector isn't claustrophobic.



The bags shouldn't be allowed to collapse entirely because they might bind up or snap when inflating. That's what those support arms I removed were doing. I was originally thinking of using eye bolts and carabiners but then decided it would be easier to just run a string the length of the closet.


In the picture I'm using some paracord I had lying around. I didn't like the way the bags hung on it so today I replaced it with some heavier rope (not pictured here). I still need to rotate the bags so the bags hang straight but I'm not too worried about it for now.

I put the garbage can cyclone into the back corner.


The picture doesn't have the cyclone cover or hoses. I still need to trim one of the hoses shorter so that it fits better. I'll get to it eventually; however, since I haven't run any of the duct work yet there is no rush.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Workshop Makeover, part 19 - Dust Collector Closet - Ceiling

As you saw in my last post I made pretty good progress putting up the blue board. I want to get all the blue board up this week so I can start using the closet. The last big piece is the ceiling; however, I made no plans for how to support drywall. Typically there'd be joists sitting on top of the walls that ran the length but I didn't leave room for them. I also have minimum head clearances already and so didn't want to drop the ceiling more than I had to.

Since it isn't a very big room I don't have to worry about a lot of weight hanging from the joists. What I did was after adding the last couple pieces of drywall near the ceiling I hung two 2x4s flat by toe nailing them into the top plate in the back and the header above the door. To get support next to the walls I screwed 2x2 cleats to the wall. Since I hadn't been planning on doing this I didn't have spare new 2x4s so I reclaimed some of the wall studs that I'd ripped out of the previously existing wall. They are garbage and the ceiling is probably going to look bad as a result but hey...  It is a closet in the basement meant to hold a dust collector.


To get my drywall home in one piece in the back of a short bed pickup I purchased a random piece of plywood. It wasn't a very good piece of plywood but I was in too much of a hurry to dig through the stack for a less bowed piece. I ended up using a chunk of it across the back of the closet. Since I screwed it into the joists it's going to give them a fair bit more support. It'll also keep things from whacking the back side of the ceiling drywall.

I suppose I could have come up with some braces to hold the drywall to the ceiling while I screwed it in place...  or ... I could get my friend to stop over on the way home from work and give me  hand. John stopped over this afternoon and we cut out the drywall for the ceiling and put it in place. It was quick and easy.


I've still got to put some small pieces around the inside of the door but otherwise it is all done or at least the blue board/drywall is done enough for now. I think the next steps for me are:

  • Move the dust collector into the closet
  • Move my table saw outlet
  • Ducting
  • Doors
  • Venting

I'm going to leave the closet without joint compound and paint for a while. I'm going to see how the noise works out. If the noise carries through the central air duct work and is significantly louder I'll take the top down and add some insulation to try and dampen the noise.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Workshop Makeover, part 18 - Dust Collector Closet - Drywall

I had a couple of hours tonight so I figured I'd get started on putting up the blue board.

Before I get any further let me say that I am horrible at drywall. I've done a little patching around the house and it all ended up looking okay but my technique is to make the patch, add mud, sand, ad more mud, sand, add more mud, sand, ad even more mud, sand... It all looks okay when I'm done but I'm no professional. Heck, I think when it comes to drywall I'm not even an amateur. Just keep that in mind...

My walls are 76" high, the side walls are about 60" long and the back wall is 48-1/2" wide. I took a couple of minutes to figure out how to most efficiently use 4 sheets to cover the walls.

The pros tend to put drywall on horizontally, probably partly because they are covering longer walls and they can use 12' sheets that way. Unfortunately I didn't come up with a way to make that work out without having to cut a lot of niggling little pieces so I decided to put my sheets in vertically.

I put the first sheet on the left hand wall from the perspective of the doorway. It was a little tricky getting the sheet in but with a little effort and twisting I managed to get it into place. I also needed to cut a hole for the power outlet which I did after I mostly had it in place. To start the hole I used a spade bit and finished it with my drywall saw.


That went relatively smoothly so I figured I could get another one done before having to make dinner. Unfortunately I'd just barely managed to get the first piece of drywall into the closet and had to use the opening between studs that was now covered up. I fussed with it for a bit then decided it would be easier to just take the back wall off.

I think I forgot to mention this earlier but the entire closet is screwed rather than nailed. I have nails, I have hammers; however, I also have a sore elbow and tendinitis in both wrists. I figured it was a small enough project that using deck screws wouldn't add significantly to the project costs. It worked out in my favor when I needed to remove the back. Six screws, three per side...  zip-zip and the back came off.



Then I remembered that I needed to trim the next piece to 46-1/2" wide rather than use the standard 48". The right hand wall doesn't  have a stud in exactly the right place. When John laid it out he didn't anticipate the post shifting the leading edge of the drywall back. No worries, I left that piece in place to use on the back wall and went and cut another to fit the side wall.

With the last two large pieces of drywall in I reattached the back wall and fastened the two pieces in place.



That's as far as I got before it was time to eat dinner. Tomorrow night I'll use the off-cuts to patch the remaining gaps and cut the piece for the ceiling. If I get lucky I'll have time to add the framing for the ceiling as well. We shall see.

Workshop Makeover, part 17 - Dust Collector Closet - New Walls

It's the end of the weekend and while I didn't make quite as much progress as I'd hoped I did pretty good.

I spent Saturday prepping the work area. This entailed

  • Removing the last of the drywall that would have ended up inside the closet
  • Moving the last of the shelf debris into the garage to go out to the curb with the garbage
  • Widened the opening where the closet was going in
  • Swept the floor clean of sawdust and drywall dust
  • Moved cabinets to back corners of the shop to get them out of the way
  • Cleared the tops of my table saw and workbench so they could be used for wall building
  • Moved the lumber for the walls from my garage to my workshop
  • Did final measurements and made plans for how to lay out the walls

That's a lot of bullets but it only took me four hours or so to get all that done. It left me in a good spot to hit the ground running when my friend came over to help raise walls Sunday morning.

Let me say that working with 'John' was great. We got done in three hours what would probably have taken me a couple of days. Having someone who knows what needs to be done who can work independently is awesome. While I was cutting the sole and top plate to length he'd be bringing over more 2x4 studs. While I was cutting  the studs to length he'd be laying out the locations of the studs on the floor and ceiling plate. I know John knows how to use all the tools in my shop properly and safely.

We started the day by going over my plans and getting John's approval. Okay...  I didn't really need his approval but since he's worked in construction previously and has a lot of experience I'd be a fool not to seek his opinion. And while my 'fool' status may be debatable, I do believe strongly in relying on other people who have more experience than I do. The basic plan was to:
  1. Cut the existing wall top and bottom plate to length
  2. Double check the closet depth
  3. Build the short side wall
  4. Build the long side wall
  5. Build the back wall to fit
  6. Build a door frame
John approved of my plan so the first thing we did was cut out the existing top and sole plates where the closet was going. I learned something new: using a circular saw over your head is annoying. All the sawdust falls in your face. Next time I'll use my sawzall.

With the sole plate out of the way we were able to pull my dust collector into the opening and double check my measurements. And, it is a good thing we did. I'd based my measurements off the base - partly because it was easier - but the dust collector is a bit wider in the middle than it is at the bottom. Simple enough to add a few inches to make sure it'll fit.

We started the construction by building the short wall extending the existing wall. It was a great place to start because it was small and quick to do and we were able to get used to working with each other again. Since the existing wall didn't end with a stud we had to add a couple scabs to fill the gap and give us something to screw to.

The longer wall has some complications. Mostly that pesky post needed to be worked around. Fortunately with some careful measuring and thinking we decided we could just notch the bottom and top plates and surround the post with studs. I made the notches with my jigsaw The rest of the wall was pretty standard.

After getting the two side walls built we built the back wall to fit between then added some framing around where I am going to build a door.



The doorway header is a pair of 2x4s with some 1/2" plywood to make it 3.5" wide. It's wedged between the existing wall and the post pretty tightly but I added 2x4 trimmers to make sure it stayed up. Yes it is a pretty lightweight header but it isn't supporting anything so it should be fine. Mostly it is just going to hold up some plywood to cover the I-beam..

There are a couple of pieces of plywood holding the rightmost trimmer in place. I'll probably toenail a couple of screws later but the T1-11 plywood I'll add around the doorway should be sufficient to hold everything in place.



I had planed to put T1-11 siding on the walls but John suggested using drywall as it will slow the spread of fire if somehow I get a fire started in my dust collector. I didn't want to use drywall but mold resistant blue-board will work. I didn't want drywall in my shop because I'm hard on the walls but the closet will be protected from dings. John helped me out again by helping me pick up some blue-board before heading home for the day.

I still need to figure out how to put the ceiling in since I didn't really leave room for joists. I'm sure I'll come up with something.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Workshop Makeover, part 16 - Dust Collector Closet - Wall Demolition

I had an hour this evening so I figured I'd get a head start on this weekend's work and decided to remove the cabinets and start the wall demolition.

I removed the counter top in two pieces. It didn't require any cutting, the counter was already two pieces that had been stuck together with caulk. I got one small corner and one length. After the counter I started pulling the base cabinets.

The base cabinets came out pretty easy. Just a few screws and then muscling them out. One of the cabinets was pretty beat. I'll have to take a closer look at it to decide if it is worth repairing or if I should just throw it out. With a very cursory inspection the wide cabinet and the narrow cabinet seemed to be in okay condition.

After the bottom cabinets there were just the two top cabinets left. They came out pretty easy as well. I removed all the screws but one from the top of the cabinets and then carefully removed the last screw while holding the cabinet up with one arm. Then I lowered the cabinet to the ground.

On the gross factor, there was mouse feces on the top of the cabinets.

When we moved into the house there was a drop ceiling in the room that became my workshop. It was apparently a race track for mice. When I removed the ceiling it was covered in mouse droppings. The top of these cabinets were apparently part of the track. We've had cats since we've moved in so I know we don't have mice now and haven't for the seventeen years we've lived here.

Anyhoo, I didn't get pictures of the space after the cabinets were removed but it looked good. I'd get pictures now but I cannot. I got all excited and ripped off the drywall and pulled the 2x4 studs.

View from workshop to back storage area

View from back storage area into workshop

Not bad for an hour of work.

Yesterday I didn't get into the shop but I did get some more accurate measurements and made up another set of plans.

BETA plans
I've labeled these plans as 'BETA' because the final construction almost certainly wont match. First off, that 49" back wall is a little awkward. The T1-11 siding is about 48 1/4" so I might narrow the closet to 48" wide. If I move the inside wall (left from this perspective) over an inch that makes the last shelving unit a little awkward (It will have to stretch 49" then). The\ awkwardness with the outside wall (right hand from this perspective) is that half of that wall already exists. To have a flat wall I'd have to shim it.

Either way, my friend "John" who is a woodworker and has worked in construction might come over this weekend. I'll definitely seek his advice. There's four perfectly viable solutions, I just need to pick one and adjust to make things work.

Hopefully by the end of this weekend I'll have the dust collector closet walls raised and paneled. If I'm really lucky we'll fashion some kind of door for the front and have a way to install furnace filters for venting.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Workshop Makeover, part 15 - Dust Collector Closet - Removing Cabinets

It's raining... Nearby towns are flooding; however, I live on top of a hill. Since it was nasty out I had a little bit of time this afternoon so I figured I'd start tackling the cabinets. I know I'd started looking at them last weekend but I hadn't checked inside the cabinets. Turns out the middle two doors of four are part of a single cabinet. The new wall will be going right through the middle.

This isn't too big of a deal. I was going to pull all the cabinets anyway. I'll just have to do more reconfiguration than I was planning. Or perhaps I'll build something custom in their place.

I started by emptying the cabinets. Prior to condensing my shop the cabinets hadn't seen much use; however, after cleaning out the small shop I pretty much filled them up. The upper cabinets held pieces of unfinished - uh, in progress - projects. The lower cabinets had scrap hardwood that I'd thought to be worth keeping. I didn't get rid of anything in this move. I mostly just moved the contents to other cabinets or piled on top of my workbench.

Since I want to reuse the cabinets I wanted to take them apart gently. No sawzall or sledge hammer!

I crawled around inside the cabinets to figure out how the previous home owner had put them together. It took me a couple of minute but I finally spotted where he'd put screws through the frame into the top. In some cases the screws were hidden inside, sometimes they were just straight through the front upper rail. I got all the screws I could find but there was still something still holding the front down.

Turns out there was one sneaky screw I hadn't found. Unfortunately the screw was in a drawer opening where my table saw impinged the drawer preventing it from opening fully. The table saw weighs 600 lbs so moving it isn't really an option. I briefly thought about using a sledge hammer and smashing the drawer out. They're pretty cheap drawers and I wouldn't mind rebuilding them if I reuse the cabinets; but instead, I pulled out the sawzall and cut the screw off with a metal cutting blade. There are other ways I could have accomplished this tasks but this was pretty quick and easy. I love my sawzall. It is probably one of the least used tools in my shop but when it comes to tasks like these it's invaluable.


So okay, maybe a little sawzall.

My blade may have gotten  little hot...  perhaps there was smoke involved... It was new to start.

After getting the last screw it was just  matter of noticing that there was caulk along the back edge and scoring it so the top could be pulled off.



That's where I left it as I had to finish cooking dinner.

Of interesting note I found a couple of cellar spiders in the cabinet. I think they're dead since they didn't move when disturbed but I left them alone anyway. At least I think they're cellar spiders.



In any case, unless there are surprises it'll just a couple more screws holding the cabinets to the wall and I can finish pulling them out.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Workshop Makeover, part 14 - Dust Collector Closet - Removing Shelves

It's been a couple of weeks with little progress. I wish it was because of all the awesome outdoor stuff I've been doing but alas it is something much more prosaic. My elbow has been paining me since sometime during the basement clean up in January. Stupid weak software engineer physique. Anyhow, after two weeks of rest and some really good anti-inflammatory medications I'm back to working on my dust collector.

I didn't get much time this weekend as I did have other things to do; however, I got a couple of hours of knocking apart the old shelves.


The top row of 2x3s were added by me when I needed auxiliary wood storage. They came down pretty easy since I'd just screwed them in place with deck screws. Zip-zip and they became a pile on the floor.

Unfortunately the person who put up the shelves originally really liked nails. That meant hammer swinging and nail pulling. I did seriously consider pulling out my sawzall and just cutting them out but decided it would be better to knock them apart. It did let me know that my elbow isn't completely healed yet but now I have a nice pile of 2x2s, 2x4s and particle board ready to be taken out to the curb on the next garbage day.


Much better. I'm probably going to discard the 2x2s and some or all of the short 2x4s. There's some utility left in them but not a heck of a lot and they'll take up storage space. Maybe I'll find something to do with them; however, all that particle board and probably the flake board is going to the curb.

I had a little bit of time left so I took a closer look at where exactly the next set of shelves would end. This is important because I'm going to support one side of the next set of shelves with the closet wall. I'll go into more detail on the shelf construction in the next post but figuring out where the inside wall of the closet was going to land allowed me to take a closer look at the space inside the workshop.



The wall is going to come out just to the right of the steel post. That post is also pretty much in line with the wall to the left. Framing around it will be a little tricky maybe but probably not too bad. My woodworking friend who helps me pick up lumber on occasion is was worked construction before so he'll be able to give me tips and suggestions.

I'm definitely pulling the two upper cabinets and the lower cabinets. I think I'll move the lower cabinets back to where my laundry machines are. That'll give me storage for laundry supplies and other household chemicals I don't want just sitting out. It'll also give me a counter top for folding laundry. The upper cabinets pose a bigger question.

I have some shorter upper cabinets to the right of the post that I could replace with the taller ones.


There is a vent there that might make things more complicated but I might just prefer to close it off to help keep dust out of the rest of the house. With the taller cabinets I'd have to readjust my pegboard but that was really just a short term storage solution for the things I pulled off my old peg board. In fact that is a piece of my old peg board that I cut down so no great loss.

Whatever extra upper cabinets I have - short or tall - will probably get moved to the garage.

Next steps:

  • Empty and remove the cabinets
  • Demo the wall
  • Build the closet
  • Finish the shelves