hole saw excess
Sunday, September 18 2011
Out in the garage today I made a brand new set of portable shelves (a bookcase, if you will) for the improved storage of garage things. The set of shelves was four feet tall, two feet wide, and had four shelves spaced 11.25 inches apart. Such shelves tend to be more stable if they sit on four legs instead of the bottom edges of the two vertical boards, and to get those four legs, one has to cut some wood out of the middle of the bottom of those vertical boards. To do this, I decided to use a four inch hole saw with the center bit placed three eights of an inch above the bottom edge, producing a nicely-arched void. Word to the wise: never use such a large hole saw one-handed. That's a recipe for a torn wrist ligaments.
Since I had the hole saw out, I decided to continue cutting holes in the vertical boards, centering one between each shelf on each end. It wasn't much work, but it produced surprisingly attractive results. As a bonus, I now had a bunch of four inch wooden wheels I can use on some other project (or simply hoard).
My lifestyle depends on an insulated hot water pot that can produce boiling hot tea water on demand (such pots are rare in the United States, though they're common in places like Korea and Japan). Since getting my pot, it's been on a shelf near the laboratory door, but that was never an optimal place; it blocked access to a set of shelves behind a hinged painting of a nightmarish cat-salp. But now that I'm reorganizing the southwest corner of the laboratory, I realized I could put the hot water pot on a corner of a table that had been serving as collecting spot for useless things like old composite monitors and Pentium I-based motherboards.
Once I'd cleared off that table, I realized it would be a good place to sit down and do things that don't require a computer. The only problem was the general gloominess of that part of the laboratory. But I had a set of under-counter halogen lights salvaged from the old dismantled workstation that I'd replace with my new shelves. The only problem was that I had no horizontal surface to attach it to; the slope of the wall-ceiling above the table is 45 degrees.
So I went out to the garage and made myself a structure that I could mount on a sloped ceiling. With all the 45 degree wall-ceilings in our upstairs, you'd think I'd have a lot experience building such shelves, but the only one I've ever installed is actually an automotive spoiler fin that Gretchen bought me as a joke. (It's serving as a handy shelf above my main laboratory workstation.) This new shelf consisted of a nine inch plank with four isosceles wooden triangles attached to it at their hypotenuses. Since I was in a hole cutting mood, I used a hole saw to cut two inch holes out of the center of each of these triangles. Because the geometry of this structure made attaching it to the ceiling difficult, I ran a piece of angled perforated steel having an L-cross-section all along the top edge of the triangular standoffs and ran screws through this into the wall-ceiling studs. It's kind of hard to describe geometrical ideas like this without a photograph, so here's one I took using my iPad. In the background you can see the new set of shelves on the west half of the laboratory's south wall, complete with the painting used to make some of them into a close-able cabinet.
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