Pallet Bar

A friend asked if I could help make a pallet bar for a “Stock the Bar” fundraiser.  They had a few pallets that I could use to get started, I said that I would give it a shot.

Here is what I had to start with.  I think that the shelves were for putting plants on display at a nursery, or something like that.


I ended up taking the pallets apart for the most part.  I reassembled the shelves with the boards butted up against each other in order to make the shelves a little more useable.  I used my No. 5 plane to joint the boards for the shelves prior to assembly.  There would have been a lot of gaps if I had left them rough.


I used some plywood that I had laying around for the top and then nailed some pallet wood to the top.  I think it gave the bar top a nice look.  I thought about using some bar top epoxy, but that would have added a couple days to the project for drying time.



I probably could have left it with just some shelves and a top, but I decided to add a little flare (and as my wife always tells me, I can’t just make it simple).  Here it is with a wine rack and wine glass holders installed.


I noticed that the bar top moved a little when you leaned on it, so I finished it up with some 2x4s for support.  It is nice and sturdy now.  We will see how much it sells for at the fundraiser auction.  My young son says we should sell these for $10.00.



Back Home

I got home from deployment a couple weeks ago.  I guess that means that I am not the “underway” woodworker anymore.  That is ok, I am not going to change the name of this blog anytime soon.

I took some time while on leave to start building a playhouse for the boys.  After discussing it with my wife, we decided to build a playhouse on stilts so that we can put a sandbox underneath it.

Here is the first picture I took.  The legs are up, the floor is in and two walls are ready.


A little teamwork to get the job done.  Nice work boys!


We got the first two walls up before the sun went down and we had to call it a day.  Day 2 is done.  The boys had a lot of fun helping me with the walls.


All the walls are up and I am trying to figure out how to make the roof.  I had to watch a video to learn how to use a speed square.  After I figured that out I got started on the rafters.


Rafters are up.



I have the shingles going on now.  I had to go back to work, so the progress is getting a little slower now.  I got a lot done in a couple of days.  I am going to try to get the roof finished this weekend.


I will write more as I get more done.

More Humidors

Thank you again to Matt for another shipment of cedar for the ammo can humidors.  I have had a lot of requests for humidors and I would not be able to get any of them done without a supply of cedar coming out to the ship.  The picture below is of the cedar just before shipping and after arrival out here.

Once the cedar arrived I got to work with my planes to clean up the boards.  About 10 minutes a board and I was ready to start putting humidors together.

Here is another humidor going together.  I am really happy with the corners on this one.

I made a tray for this one.  The sides are made out of mahogany and the slats are made from scraps of cedar.  The laser was close to catching the lid on fire while it was engraving the EGA, but I like the charred look that it gave the globe.

I tired mounting the magnet on the back side of the wood for a cleaner finish if the hydrometer was removed at any time.  Unfortunately, the magnet that comes with the hydrometers is not quite strong enough to justify the extra work it takes to hide the magnet. I used a chisel to bring it down as thin as I could.  The magnet holds a little, but falls off if the humidor is bumped too hard.

Here is a recap of some of the humidors I have finished so far on this deployment.  I have a few more orders to fill.  Maybe I will get one made for myself at some point…

The Wardroom Cabinet

Before we left on deployment, I heard some people talking about getting a cabinet for the wardroom.  I joined in the discussion and offered to help make something.  I figured it wouldn’t be too difficult to throw something together and if time got short, then I could just do the final touches once we got underway.

After a few conversations about how we should make the cabinets, Chaps and I decided to get to work.  Somehow he managed to convince the XO that we should get two days off to build the cabinet and that turned out to be instrumental in getting the project done on time.

The carcase was made out of 3/4″ plywood.  You’ll notice that back is cut just a little lower than the sides.  We did that to allow wires to come up from inside the cabinet since it would be installed under the TV.


The top was made out of three oak boards ship-lapped together.


Chaps cut out a silhouette of our ship and we glued it to the center of the top.  We used a 1×2″ oak board to trim out the front of the cabinet top and a 1/4″ piece of oak was glued to the sides and back in order to hold the bar top epoxy in.  The key to bar top epoxy is to apply it in thin layers in order to ensure that it hardens all the way through.  The blow torch was used to get all the bubbles out of each layer.  I did not realize that oak was as porous as it is until this project.  I had to keep using the blow torch for almost an hour on the first coat because bubbles kept pouring out of the wood.  The epoxy looked like champagne.  It think it took 6-7 coats to finish and came out crystal clear.  I probably could have put the epoxy down in thicker layers, but I didn’t want to risk it.



I used some plywood and stain to make cave dwelling silhouettes like the ones found in the Mesa Verde National Park.  We have a similar silhouette on our ship’s patch.


Here is what it looks like installed in the wardroom.  The hardest part was raising the TV about an inch because we didn’t take the bar top epoxy into account when sizing it.  All the other measurements worked out though.


A little practice

I had a break in the schedule the other day and some scrap wood laying around, so I decided to try a new joint.  I have used dove tails before, but the half blind dove tails looked a little intimidating.  My wife sent me a book all about joinery so I read what it had to say about the joint and then gave it a try.

Cutting the tails was easy, they just don’t go as deep.  I think I will go further than half the thickness of the pin board next time though.  The picture below was taken while removing the waste from the pin board.  It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.


Here are a couple pictures of the finished joint.  It isn’t perfect, but not too bad for my first time.  Excuse all the nail holes, I was working with some scraps from an old crate.





More cedar has arrived.

Another shipment of cedar arrived a couple weeks ago.  I went to work making some more humidors to try to catch up on all the requests.  At first it looked like there was enough wood for four humidors and that I would have a couple pieces left over.  I ended up getting five humidors out of it.  I still have to finish the engravings on the lids, but the assembly is complete.  Thanks John!


Here are a couple pictures of the assembly process.

The corners are getting tighter with each one.


This is the first one I completed with this shipment.  I had the buyers name engraved below the EGA which added a nice touch.  The tray is made out of mahogany that I picked up at a lumber yard in Crete.

Here are the other four that were made with this shipment.  I will get the lids finished up soon and I will add a picture of each one to this page after that.



Workshop with a View

When I am out to sea I like to watch the sunset.  The colors that you see in the sky are always amazing and there is something about having an unobstructed view that makes it that much better.  Here are a couple pictures of sunsets that I have seen while working at the bench.  The pictures taken through the salt spray covered windows don’t really do the sunsets justice, but I think you can get the idea.

Sun rises are not bad either, except that you have to get up early to see them.  This isn’t ideal lighting for a workshop, but I thought this early morning picture was pretty neat.


I will add more pictures of the sunsets as I take them.



Another Humidor

The Chaplain on board received a donation of cigars to share with the Sailors and Marines when we have Cigar Socials.  The problem was that he did not have a place to store these cigars so that they wouldn’t dry up.  Well, problem solved.  I was not sure how many cigars one of these Ammo Can Humidors would hold, but now I know.  Chaps received 80 cigars, but only had 65 left after a Cigar Social.  As you can see, the 65 cigars fit with no problem.  Well, there was one small problem, the hydrometer hit them when the lid was closed so we had to lay some of them down.  I think that the humidor will hold at least 78, but 80 is probably doable.

After finishing the humidor for Chaps I started to work on the next one.  This one is for a retired Marine that one of the Marines on board knows.  He asked if I could put an EGA on the lid so I did a little searching.  I found the laser engraver that the ship has and asked if I could get a piece of cedar engraved.  We found an EGA file on the laser engraving computer and went to work.

I think I found a great way to personalize the Ammo Can Humidors.  Hopefully the guys with the laser engraving machine don’t mind if I stop by a little more often.


Shooting Board

I decided that I should stop dragging my feet and finally make a shooting board.  To start this I needed some lumber.   There is plenty of lumber on board if you  are willing to work for it.  Another project that is looming is a set of corn hole boards that some of the guys want help with.  I told them to keep an eye out for a crate or pallet that had some good plywood on it.  They found a crate that was going to be thrown out during out next port visit, so we got to work carefully disassembling it.  After a lot of prying and nail pulling, we have the lumber needed for the corn hole boards and some extra that I could use for a shooting board.


I used the rough dimensions that Christopher Schwarz recommends in The Anarchist’s Tool Chest for the end grain shooting board.  I am very pleased with the results.  The shooting board itself is not pretty, but it sure makes squaring up edges a breeze.

Dave is missing.

I was told that I should write about Dave again, so here it is.  Unfortunately, Dave has gone missing.  When we pulled into port last month I saw him perched high atop the ship, so I know that he was still with us then.  We all enjoyed some liberty but when we departed we realized that something was missing.  All the sailors were accounted for, but Dave had left us.  But why did he leave?


Maybe he wanted some more scenery when he watched the sun rise and set.  I suppose these are pretty good views, so I can understand that.

The food is much better there, I am sure of that.  He was probably getting tired of the young Sailors and Marines chasing him around the ship for fun.

Maybe he realized that we really were not going to let him drive the ship.  More than anything, he probably found a nice European pigeon to settle down with.

Whatever the reason, he has not been seen for several weeks.  It was entertaining to have him on board for about a month and a half.  Maybe we will pick up another  stow away the next time we visit a port.  Enjoy Europe Dave.  If you need a ride back to the States you are welcome to join us again.