How To Create An Organized Stackable Parts Storage Cabinet

If you’re like me, you’ve got a kind of “Winchester House-like” system for keeping all of your screws, bolts, nuts, washers, hooks, nails, brads, tacks and parts in a place where you can get at them… usually thrown all harum-scarum in the smaller upper workbench drawers and coffee cans. I’d hate to actually audit the time I’ve spent looking for everything whilst in the middle of projects.

stackable organizer complete 2

So, what would you think of having your hardware– every single cotter pin, rivet, fuse, lock nut– sequestered in its own bin, in labeled cases stacked 12-high in a portable cart? Well, that’s exactly what Dave Wirth did with his huge inventory of parts and fasteners, employing the Storehouse 20-Bin Portable Parts Storage Case from Harbor Freight.

20 bin storage case

Made of rugged ABS plastic, each case houses 20 removable bins and has a clear lid so you can see what you got inside without opening it up. It also comes with a handle for easy toting.

sorting the bins

Dave actually got a kick out of going through his stuff, dumping everything out, sorting them into their own trays, and then deciding which trays should be grouped together in the same case.  In the process, he found things he never knew he had.  Also, it was a treat knowing he’d never have to spend all that excess time looking for just the right sized bolt.

building the cart

So, how did Dave Wirth tackle this extremely cool modern marvel? Check out his detailed “how-to” video here:

And while you’re at it, visit his Blog for a quick pictorial of how it’s done. It really is a neat project and a work of art.

As for the table saw, miter saw, wood glue, clamps, nail gun, compressor, belt sander and casters— whatever you don’t already have in your arsenal– you can find at Harbor Freight at great prices.

How To Choose a Circular Saw

circular saw intro pic

The circular saw is the loyal mutt of power tools. It’s the go-to for everything, from houses, decks, garden sheds and tree houses, to smaller things like furniture and shelves. You’re also more likely to spot a circular saw at a construction site than other power tools. From cutting 2×4’s to ripping sheets of plywood, a good circular saw will tackle all types of jobs and wood.

Corded vs. Cordless

cordless circular saw

Like most of the other power tools, circular saws come in both corded and cordless models. It was just a few years ago when you couldn’t find a cordless circular saw that could keep up with a corded model on a job. That said, technology has surged forward and now the choice isn’t so cut-and-dry. Cordless (above), of course, gives you a greater freedom of movement without being dependent on a plug, while the corded ones never run out of juice.

corded circular saw

What it boils down to is, it depends on how you use the tool and what projects you’re more likely to be working on. Knowing the benefits and drawbacks of each, though, is great for anyone shopping for one. My two cents, if you can get both, even better!

sidewinder circular sar

Circular saws are divided into two primary categories: Sidewinders (shown above) and worm-drive units (below). On a sidewinder, the “spur-gear” motor sits directly next to the saw blade which makes them small, lightweight, and great for jobs around the house. It’s especially good for jobs overhead. Worm-drive saws generate more torque because of a beefy spiral gear that dispatches power to the blade more efficiently, and it is notably heavier. Also on the worm-drive, the motor sits behind the blade. Advantages of a worm-drive saw include its line-of-sight visibility and its power.

worm-drive circular saw

So, which one to get? The truth is that one saw isn’t better than the other, it just depends on what kind of work you’re doing. For example, if you’re working on the rafters or stairs, the worm-drive would probably suit you better, while on the other hand you’d reach for the sidewinder for the opposing bevels. If you do a variety of light and more involved DIY projects, you’re eventually going to own both. Of course, the worm-drive will be more expensive, but the added torque and heft will carry you through the toughest jobs.

There is one other alternative for small jobs, too. Compact saws like the Chicago Electric Double Cut Saw (as seen below) provides ample cutting power for minor jobs around the house. They’re lighter and easier to maneuver in limited spaces.

double cut saw

Before buying a circular saw, make sure you actually pick each up and heft it. Take note of the weight, balance, grip and motionability. Do this with different models and you’ll get an idea of which is the most comfortable for you. In the case of the cordless models,  do this exercise with a battery attached, as that changes the weight and balance significantly.

As with any power tool, safety comes first. Always wear proper eye protection and read through the safety manual that comes with your saw. And in your journey, be sure to visit your local Harbor Freight Tools where you’ll find great deals on circular saws, blades, gloves and more!

How To Build a Farmhouse Table

farmhouse table sample 3

Last night the wife and I were watching one of those “fixer upper” shows on the”house channel” (which is what I call it anyway). It was one of those typical episodes where a couple finds a house to fix, they run into major unexpected issues, they roll their eyes at each other, and at the end some happy homeowners are clinking glasses of cheap white wine with their new neighbors. Or something like that. Anyway, during the phase where the significant other is filling the house with furniture and charming antique commode-plant holder decor, a couple of the lackeys haul in this beautiful, rustic dining table. “Wow,” I comment. “That’s cool.” “Yeah,” says the Mrs. “That’s a farm table.” To which I give my usual response, “Huh.” It really was a great piece, and I decided I wanted to build one. Which leads me to this article.

farmhouse table complete

Farmhouse tables (or farm tables) are those warm, rustic benches that makes you think of humble families gathered around American dinner tables in the 18th and 19th-centuries. Instead of being built by skilled craftsmen, they were put together with rough, sturdy planks and their solidity was appreciated scads more than their detail or refinery. Today, farmhouse tables can still bring charm to any home, complementing matched or mismatched chairs, and whatever other furniture you’ve collected. Plus, they’ll take a massive beating and still be worthy of heirloom status when it’s time to pass them on. Furniture stores like Restoration Hardware sell farmhouse tables at a premium, even thousands of dollars. Imagine if you could build your own– just as nice and rugged– for under $100.

farmhouse table sample 1

There are a number of sites offering DIY plans for building your own farmhouse table, ranging everywhere from extremely ambitious to pretty succinct. The plan I liked the most, as far as taking it and making it your own, is on Ana White’s site. Not only are her instructions refreshingly legible and professionally illustrated, but she only requires five tools in the arsenal to make it happen (excluding tape measure, marking pencil and safety protection, that is).

farmhouse table sample selection

Another extremely helpful feature, Ana includes a scrapbook of a number of variations others built using her plan. Not only does it reflect how friendly her approach is to personalization, it offers a plethora of ideas to consider when you go for it. As for the tools needed, you probably already have a couple of them.

Tools Needed

1. Drill/Driver

drill driver 3-8 art

Ana originally listed a power drill, but I’d like to take it a step further, considering all the screw driving that needs to be done and recommend this 18-volt 3/8″Cordless Drill/Driver by Drillmaster. With 21 clutch settings, a keyless chuck and a reverse, this workhorse costs less than $25 and will give you more than enough performance for this project.

2. Circular Saw

circular saw

The circular saw Ana used was an 18v 5-1/2″ cordless model with a laser guide. I recommend this Chicago Electric model, SKU #68849. Not only does it have the same size and features as hers, but it’s less than half the price.

3. Brad Nailer

brad nailer

Ideally, you’ll already have an air compressor so all you’d need to pick up is a pneumatic brad nailer. If this is the case, this Central Pneumatic 18-Gauge Brad Air Nailer is a tireless performer that’ll get the job done and be ready for more. And for less than $20, it’ll leave you plenty to keep the cooler stocked.

3a. Hammer w/ Nail Punch

hammer nail punch


If you don’t have an air compressor and don’t want to get one for just this product, a hammer and nail punch can accomplish the same task. It just won’t be as fast and effortless.

4. Random Orbital Sander

random orbital sander

You might say you already have a sander and don’t need another one, but I’m telling you, you’ll want this one. When the dust settles, when it comes to stripping paint from furniture, preparing new molding or cleaning up between finish coats, you won’t get more bang for your buck than with a random-orbit sander.  It doesn’t leave swirls or scratches, you can go in any direction (hence the “random”), it’s a lot easier on the hand… it even smooths and cleans metal and composite materials like solid-surface counter tops. Use a Chicago Electric Random-Orbit Palm Sander (under $30) on this project and I’ll bet you a Buffalo nickel it’ll be your go-to sander from here on in.

5. Square


When building your table, you’ll need to check that the parts you’re assembling are “square.”  You’ll want a measuring square for this. A lot of folks like using a speed square, however for a table this size I recommend a triangular rafter square. Pittsburgh makes a really nice one for under $2.  If you’re a little fuzzy about the whole “squaring” thing, here’s a nifty guide on operating the rafter square. If you’re the type that’s more confident with a tape measure, you can also go the diagonal-route of squaring your table.

The Plan

farmhouse table sample 4

As I mentioned, you can find a clear and basic plan on creating your own farmhouse table on Ana White’s blog site. Whether it be new lumber, reclaimed wood, repurposed bowling lane wood, or what have you, building this signature piece is very doable. And remember to stop by Harbor Freight Tools when you plan to start!


Sanding has got to be my least favorite part of any project. Manual sanding is a long, excruciating ritual with relatively little payoff. Using sanding blocks isn’t much better. The paper’s a bear to get on and, maybe it’s just me, but it doesn’t want to stay on, either.

hand sanding

Maybe you’re lucky enough to still have your dad’s old vibrating sander. That’s an improvement, sure, but you can still do better. When the dust settles, when it comes to stripping paint from furniture, preparing new molding or cleaning up between finish coats, you won’t get more bang for your buck than with a random-orbit sander. It even smooths and cleans metal and composite materials like solid-surface counter tops. Use a random-orbit on your next project and I’ll bet you a Buffalo nickel you’ll be using it over any other sander from then on.

random product pic

1. Smoothability

A random-orbit sander performs by moving in “random orbits” (ironic, I know) or ellipses,  and also spins in circles. Unlike disk and orbital finishing sanders , the random-orbit leaves behind no swirls or curlicues. It can move across different grain directions without leaving so much as a scratch.

2. Diversability

Another reason why this type of sander makes sense is, it can be used for all types of sanding chores, from the tougher stuff like stripping down paint, to more gentle tasks like smoothing contours.

random pic furniture

3. Maneuverability

Random-orbit sanders generally come in 5″ or 6″ sizes, based on the size of the sanding disk. The 5″ models tend to be more popular with DIYers, though, as they’re capable of being more nimble on the contours. They’re conveniently controlled with the light touch of your palm and with just a little urging, you can let the sander do all the work. Sweet, no?

random product dust bag

4. Suckability

The most desirable models come with a vacuum system. A vacuum sucks away virtually all the dust through holes in the disk pad while you’re sanding–keeping the surface of the sandpaper cool and clog-free– and deposits it into a detachable container. However, even with the vacuum system there’s bound to be a marginal amount of airborne dust, so it’s still advised to wear safety goggles and a respirator mask.

5. Affordability

 Prices for random-orbit sanders can reach upwards of several hundred dollars. The Chicago Electric 2 Amp 5″ model (#69857) featured in this article is rated at 4.5 out of 5 stars and can be had for under $30.

Belt/Disc Sander Tips – The SOP Checklist For All Your Belt/Disc Sanding Projects

belt disk sander 1

Last week I talked about How To Turn Your Garage Into The Ultimate DIY Workshop and as part of the arsenal, I recommended a belt sander. This time, I’m going to add the stationary belt/disc sander, and if you do a lot of projects with wood and metal, you’ll immediately get why. Whether you’re making razor-sharp miters, shaping precise  contours on a model, making knives as a hobby, sharpening lawn mower blades, smoothing down welds or putting a silky smooth finish on a project, a belt/disc sander can be your best friend in the workshop.

This time, though, I’d like to talk about some guidelines

belt disk sander 2

Safety Tips

1. As with most all power tools, always wear safety glasses with side shields or safety goggles while operating the belt/disc sander.

2. Always be on guard when switching on this tool. A sanding disc or belt cuts quickly and aggressively. Failure to anticipate that may result in the loss of skin or digits.

3. Check yourself for loose clothing, jewelry, hair or other things dangling loosely from your person, and secure them  so they are NOT caught in the machine.

4. Sanding on wood or plastic will cause heat buildup due to the friction and may cause the product to burn.

5. A power-driven sander can do some serious damage to the skin. Avoid any contact with the belt and disc when powered up.

6. A filtered face mask is always recommended when working with these sanders.

7. Check the integrity of the sanding belt tracking as well as the integrity of the disc. Any ripped belts or discs should be replaced immediately.

8. Contrary to other the operation of other power tools, do NOT wear gloves while operating the sander, as they can get pulled in by the belt or disc.

9. Let the machine to get to full speed before feeding it material. Also, be aware that it takes time for the disc or belt to stop moving. You just can’t stop it on a dime.

operating belt disk sander

When Operating the Belt/Disc Sander

1. Always approach the belt/disc sander with safety on the brain!

2. Make sure the gap between the sander’s table and the spinning disc or belt is as small as possible.

3. Make sure the distance between your fingers and the spinning disc or belt is no closer than 3”.

4. Absolutely do not sand pieces that are too small to be safely supported.

5. Always hold the piece securely when sanding.

6. Use the backstop, fence, table or other supports as you’re sanding.

7. Always hold the piece on the downward rotation side of the disc when sanding.

8. Avoid putting your hands in awkward positions. A sudden slip could cause a hand to move into the spinning belt or disc.

9. Do not sand with the work piece unsupported. Support the work piece with the backstop or table.

10. Clear scrap pieces and other objects from the table, backstop and belt before turning on the sander.

11. Don’t push hard on the sanding media. Both the belt and disc perform best and safest when they’re allowed to remove material at the rate for which they were designed.

12. Never adjust the belt while the sander is on.

13.Turn the machine off and unplug it before installing or removing belts or discs, or when making adjustments.

14. Never leave the machine when it’s running or before it comes to a complete stop.

15. Shut the sander off, clean it off and clear the work area before leaving. If there are rugrats about, unplug it, too.

Central-Machinery Belt/Disc Sanders

belt disk sander art

Harbor Freight Tools offers an excellent 4″ x 36″ Belt/Disc Sander (#97181) for most (small-to-medium) home projects with a cast aluminum table tilts to 60°.

9 x 6 belt disc sander

Or, if you anticipate larger projects– or want the flexibility for them– we also offer the 9″ x 6″ Combination Belt and Disc Sander #61750 with a 45 ° tilt.

Both of these are great buys as well as great additions to your workshop.


pioneer speakers

Remember when your speakers were the nicest pieces of furniture you owned (even beating out the cable spool coffee table and matching orange crate record holders)? Even now, I”ll go so far as to say they’d still be the most gorgeous pieces in my house if I still had my Marantz quadrophonic ruling the roost.

marantz white

Ah, but the world has moved on to iPod docks and Bose Wave systems, and other soulless devices of aural sterility. Perhaps, though, your Pioneers (or JBLs or Advents) are still in the garage, under boxes of Christmas lights or the old carburetor you swore you were going to rebuild. Maybe the cones are shot, but you just haven’t been able to bring yourself to part with that beloved part of your history. Well, now you don’t have to! Not only can you keep your lattice beauties, but you can emancipate them from storage and return them to their rightful place– the entertainment room!

speaker liquor cabinet completeTurn that deceased speaker into a liquor cabinet… or any kind of cabinet you like, as explained by Hippiesarah on Here we proceed with the idea of keeping the cabinet looking like a real speaker. Of course, you can fashion it however you want.

Tools Needed:

  1. Screwdriver
  2. Wire Cutter
  3. Cordless Drill
  4. Miter or Circular Saw
  5. Staple Gun
  6. Hot Glue Gun

Materials Needed:

  1. Unused speaker(s)
  2. Sandpaper
  3. Wood (for shelves; amount depends on the size of speaker)
  4. Paint
  5. Hinges
  6. Corner Brackets
  7. Light
  8. Pencil
  9. Paint marker
  10. Nitrile Gloves


Step #1 – Gut the Sucker!

gutted speaker

Wear some nitrile gloves– or other type of gloves that keep you dexterous– when you’re doing this. The cabinet’s insulation might be fiberglass, which can irritate the skin.

Remove the speaker cover. Most just pop off with velcro or pop-ins, but be careful not to break the cover frame from too much effort, especially if it’s an older cabinet. There’s also the chance it’s screwed in. Carefully remove the speaker, insulation, wiring and components.

Step #2 – Trace Your Outline

tracing the speaker

Once the speaker is completely gutted, put the cover back on. Then with a pencil,  mark exactly where it lays on the face of the speaker. It’s important you don’t cut the opening bigger than the speaker cover, so as to maintain the illusion that it’s still just a speaker. Remove the speaker cover again and use a paint marker to clearly outline where you want to cut.

Step #3 – Time to Cut

cutting speaker

Cut as straight as possible along your drawn lines. Once you’re finished, measure the width and depth of the speaker cabinet so you can cut your shelves. For this, you could salvage wood from old furniture or resort to buying a piece.

Step #4 – Sand and Paint

sand and paint

Sand where needed and paint the interior and your shelves any color you like. If there is a hole on the back of the cabinet, you could simply staple black fabric over the opening– or you could keep it to string in a light cord if you want to add electric illumination.

Step #5 – Brackets


When the paint has dried, it’s time to add the hardware. At this point, you should have an idea where you want your shelves to go. If you want to make your liquor cabinet like this, give the top shelf a good height to store your shot glasses, then give the next shelf room enough for rocks or highball glasses. Screw the corner brackets on the bottom of your shelves, then to the speaker walls.

Step #6 – Hinges

hingesYou might find that when you start to add the hinges, you run into a small issue. If you want the cabinet to look like an ordinary stereo speaker, then exposed hinges betray you (et tu, hinge-ay?)  In the top photo, see how the hinge lines up perfectly with a small space in the speaker cover? The fix: get a strip of scrap wood and sand it down till it fits tightly into the space. Then hot glue it into the cover and attached hinges as normal. With a quick dash of black paint marker, you can’t even tell anything was done.

Step 7: Light ‘Em Up

For convenience, and to add that touch of class, you may want to have a light in your liquor cabinet. This could be done by simply sticking in an LED click light with adhesive back, bringing electric lights through the cabinet’s back hole and stringing them around top, or getting one of those magnetic drawer lights that come on when you open the door.

Step 8: Bar’s Open!speaker liquor cabinet completeTime to stock your shelves and lie in wait for your first unsuspecting guests!

Or,  let’s say you’ve got towers. Maybe you’d like to try something like this, not quite as clandestine.
tower speaker cabinet

Or, maybe you don’t drink. In that case, perhaps you’d be interested in repurposing your speakers into a media library cabinet:

speaker media cabinet

Whatever your inclination, you can refer to these basic steps and your once-retired stereo speakers can give you hours more of pleasure! And remember, Harbor Freight‘s got the tools that can make it happen! “Sound” advice, no?

Miter Saw Tips For Beginners

miter saw glam shot

You recently started woodworking and totally love it. Now you’re ready to take your mad DIY skillz to the next level? Well, the miter saw is an awesome tool to have in your workshop arsenal. This is the go-to tool cuts for crown molding, picture frames, door frames, window casings, decks, furniture, flooring  — and that’s just a fraction of what it can do. When asked what their favorite tool in the shop is, a lot of folks say, “My miter saw! I love it!”

miter saw angle

The miter saw is designed to cut different kinds of angles.  If a board is flat on saw’s base, the cut across the wide part is called a miter. Hold the board vertical and set it against the saw’s fence,  you’re cutting a bevel. Most saws cut from 90 to 45-degrees, but some can cut even steeper angles, up to 55 degrees.

miter saw 10 non slide

Before you go to the store, know this: miter saws are NOT created equal. There are three types of miter saws on the market: miter saw, compound miter saw, and sliding compound miter saw. A compound miter can cut a bevel and a miter at the same time. It’s great for cutting things like crown molding. A sliding compound miter cuts multi-angles like a compound miter, but also has a sliding action that lets you cut even wider boards.

miter saw cutting angle

Miter saws also come in two sizes, 10″ and 12″, based on the diameter of the blade. The size you get depends on the work you anticipate doing, but know that the 12″ blade is able to cut thicker and wider than the 10″. For example, a 10″ miter saw will cut a 2×6 at 90 degrees and a 2×4 at 45-degrees, while the 12″ can cut a 2×8 at 90 degrees and a 2×6 at 45 degrees. A laser marker feature is also nice! So, before you lay down your money, think carefully about all the things you might use it for. It also stands to reason that a 12″ sliding compound miter saw will cost more than a 10″ compound.

Miter saws can take your DIY skills to the next level, but it’s important to make sure you follow some basic safety tips before starting your cuts.

miter saw CU laser

Before You Cut! Safety Tips:

  • Before the switch is thrown; safety glasses, ear buds, gloves, dust mask!
  • Remove all distractions (kids, pets).
  • Remove scraps and other foreign objects from the machine before operating; also remove loose chips along the way, after the blade stops.
  • Keep a firm grip on the saw handle and on the work piece; make sure it is firmly up against the table and fence before cutting.
  • Anticipate flying pieces– getting startled with a spinning blade in front of you could be bad.
  • Never work with a dull blade.
  • Don’t operate a saw without a blade guard.
  • Never leave the machine until the blade comes to a full stop.
  • When the board is cut all the way, release the trigger and allow the blade to come to a complete stop, then raise the blade. If the blade is still spinning when you lift, there is more apt to be flying pieces.
  • Never start the saw when the blade is touching the wood; allow it to be at full speed before cutting.
  • Never put your body in the path of the blade (sure, you say “duh” now); never let your arms cross while cutting.
  • If the piece you’re working with is short, use clamps; don’t get your hands too close to the blade, stay at least 6″ away.
  • Make sure your work piece is supported before cutting. More than half the length should be resting on the saw. You need to focus on your cut, not balancing the wood.
  • Go slow when cutting knots; they can break up and shoot pieces.
  • Make sure you’re not cutting through metal (nails and staples).

And if that weren’t enough, here are some more tips in’s Miter Saw Safety Manual.

miter saw handyman

Tips On Operating a Miter Saw

  • When working with small pieces of wood, cut with a chopping motion; when cutting a large piece, slide blade out, cut down and push back in.
  • When marking your board, draw the line all the way across the stock, then drop the blade to the wood to check your alignment. Adjust the piece as needed before cutting.
  • Go slow with bevel cuts, especially if you’re chopping with the blade as opposed to sliding.
  • When first cutting your miter cuts, purposely cut slightly long and just a little at a time so you can readjust as you go. If you try to get right on the line, chances are good you’ll cut short.
  • Always cut the factory end from a board before measuring for your final cut. This ensures better fitting parts.
  • Let the saw do the work; don’t force the blade through the wood.
  • More teeth means better quality cuts: Use a blade with more than 50 teeth for construction cuts, and with more than 90 teeth for fine cuts. For treated lumber, use a lower tooth count, even for fine cuts; the open spaces between the teeth clear the debris and puts less strain on the saw’s motor.
  • If possible, cut one angle end of a part first, then mark the cut on the opposite end after you test fit the first cut.
  • When making repetitive cuts, set up a stop block. For long boards, set the stop up next to the saw. For short cuts,draw a line on the saw. Use masking tape and a pencil to make the line. Then remove the tape when done. This is much more accurate and efficient than individually measuring each part.
  • To speed up the cuts and increase their accuracy, cut a piece of 1/4″ plywood the height of the fence and the length of the saw. Attach it to the fence on both sides of the blade with double-face carpet tape. Then make a cut through the plywood. This will show you exactly where the saw blade will cut. Then move your marked board up to the edge of the cut for a perfect result.

As this is a serious purchase for a serious tool, I encourage you to surf operational videos, blogs and forums to get a well-rounded understanding of miter saws. When you’re ready to pull the trigger and shop for yours, be sure to make your first stop Harbor Freight Tools. They have all types and sizes of saws, safety gear, blades, stands and more!

How To Soundproof Your Garage or Workshop

Insulated Garage Wall

It doesn’t matter if you’re a recreational DIYer or a serious garage guru, you make noise. It can’t be helped, especially with power tools. And if you’ve got close neighbors, you probably always think about that noise when you’re switching on a machine. Soundproofing your garage/workshop is the key to maximizing your freedom.  Imagine being able to cut lumber anytime–late night or early morning– without fear of wrath or reciprocity.

orange block soundproofing

There are, of course, a number of methods to soundproof. For the “whatever” DIY guy, it might be hanging moving blankets on the walls and ceiling. There’s another method called “resilient channel” which is what a lot of the nicer recording studios use, and which is great… if you’re building a nice recording studio. An approach I like a lot more is the “cleat” method, suggested by “Mobile Rik” on With a lot of easy-to-follow steps and lots of pics, Rik shows us how hanging drywall panels on a pair (or more) of wooden “cleats” can contain a great deal of sound. Compared to the “resilient method, the “cleat method is:

  1. Much cheaper
  2. Much sturdier (if you decide you want shelves or other heavy things hanging from those walls)
  3. Is removable for tweaking if necessary
  4. Uses ordinary 2 x 4 lumber and not some fancy-shmantzy materials that need to be special-ordered

insulated garage wall vertical

But, be warned, the “cleat” style is based on different– even contrary– principles to conventional soundproofing methods. But this is the cornerstone of every blue-blooded DIYer: Build A Better Mousetrap! Be sure you read Rik’s “Be Willing To Break The Rules” section to understand the high-fidelity physics behind his approach and why he’s going this route.

Take a look at Mobile Rik’s “How-To” and see if this is something you could do in your garage!

cleat drywall

But first, here’s a quick (short) list of what you’re gonna need:

Tools Needed:

table saw

*If you don’t have a table saw or band saw (although this is as good an excuse as any to get one), you could skip this tool by going to the lumber store and have them rip your boards per your specifications.


Polyurethane Tube Insulation

  • 2-1/2″ Nails
  • Drywall Screws
  • Closed-Cell Foam Tape
  • Polyethylene Pipe Insulation Tube
  • Drywall 1/2″ (you may even consider 5/8″; besides killing even more sound, it’ll add fire protection and be more gouge-proof)
  • Acoustical Caulk

Other Tips To Deaden Sound In The Garage:

rubber washers

  • Buy a pack of rubber washers and apply them to machine cabinet fasteners as long as it’s not a critical connection for precision alignment
  • Retrofit all of your tool stands to include rubber-wheeled casters, and look at using rubber grommets on the plate holes where you bolt them to the stand legs
  • Buy those square rubber vibration isolation blocks and use them to separate the tool from the mobile base or tool cart
  • Spray sound-dampening material on the insides of metal machine cabinets
  • Add sound insulation lining to machine cabinets, router table chambers
  • Use baffle-like sound shields made of sound-absorptive materials near motors and other noise sources without restricting heat dissipation for the motor. 
  • Add additional sound absorbing material (perhaps backed by sound reflecting material) directly behind noisy machines that are against the wall
  • Safety guards around blades and bits do help with both dust collection and noise isolation, so it’s not a bad idea to use them when you can, especially over the table saw blade.  Maybe make your own, and incorporate some sound-deadening strategies in addition to dust collection efficiency strategies.

Remember that a lot of little things will add up to a much quieter shop.  You’ll feel much more free knowing that you won’t get complaints about your late night or early morning dust-making activities. And remember Harbor Freight Tools when you need a quality tool at a very low price!

Make a Hidden Wall Compartment In Your House

hidden compartment complete open

As kids, we always had a thing about secret compartments and hidden spots. Somewhere to hide money (from light-fingered siblings) or special treasures that held significant, personal, intrinsic value. Somehow, hiding them made them even that much more special. So, why would that change when we become adults?

It came as no surprise, when doing a search on DIY hidden compartments, that I would get a plethora of results. Hidden doors, drawers, a “safe” in a tree, a fake head of iceberg lettuce… I don’t think there’s an end to the list of hiding places and secret compartments folks have in their homes or on their properties.

secret floor

So, I decided to focus on ideas that were practical (even though climbing into a bunker through the hood of a car was cool in “Red”), convenient (in the house), but not too simple (so the old hollowed-out book trick was out). Eventually, I found this wall unit on, which is the perfect combination of doable and clever, and the lock is kept in plain sight! If you’ve been thinking about creating a hidden compartment, check this out and see what you think. Then maybe look around your place and see where you could put it!

hidden compartment complete closed

FYI, here are the things you’re going to need to make it happen:


Besides the common woodworking tools, here are a few things you’ll need…


  • Tot Lok with extra key
  • 2 @ 3-1/2″ square rosette block moulding
  • Cabinet hinges
  • 1″x8″ shiplap board
  • 1″x8″ tongue and groove boards —  to cover the wall(s) that have wainscoting
  • 1″x2″ boards — spacers between the pairs of the 1″x8″s. You should have the same number of these as the 1″x8″
  • Nails, construction adhesive, caulk, paint, other wood needed for baseboards and for plate rail at the top of the wainscoting, etc.

If you’re short on any of the tools, swing by Harbor Freight Tools! You’ll find them at great, low prices!

How To Build a Teardrop Trailer

teardrop trailer complete

In the March/April 1939 issue of Popular Homecraft an article ran– along with detailed plans– for a new, cool oddity called the “Honeymoon House Trailer.”

It was built in the late 30’s by Louis Rogers of Pasadena, California, a guy who literally saved his dimes for the little traveler so as to take his new bride on their wedding trip. The 8’x4’ floor plan had tongue-and-groove flooring on a pine chassis, a Chevy front axle with 28” wheels and 1926 rear fenders.  The mini trailer slept two and had a raise-up deck lid for a rear kitchenette, complete with ice box and stove. A curtain-enclosure outside the starboard entry served as the “dressing room.” The whole project set him back about $60 ($1,026 today). This may or may not have been the very first teardrop trailer, but it was certainly in the ballpark.

DIYers went crazy. They followed Rogers’ plans and soon added touches of their own. After World War II, subsequent models morphed even more, sporting Jeep wheels and exterior skins made from bomber wings. After the 50’s, though, their popularity waned as big RVs appeared. Then, once again, the teardrops returned with a vengeance. Today you can find a number of websites for plans (some free!), photo galleries, forums and clubs. Teardroppers believe that creating, renovating and modifying unique, personalized models are what give the little campers their timelessness—and the most rewarding way to own a teardrop!

vw teardrop

The coolest part of all this is, you don’t have to be a master builder to make your own drop-dead gorgeous teardrop trailer. If you’ve got just a basic knowledge of woodworking and some tools, you’re already ahead of the game.

First thing, how to go about it? On a recent Google hunt, I found this most EXCELLENT “HOW-TO” tutorial on building a teardrop trailer on with extremely detailed steps, TONS of pics (man, you gotta have pics!) and a comfortable daily planner. Building it on a Haul-Master 1720 lb-Capacity. 4’x8′ Super Duty Trailer

HF super duty trailer…the author created this beautiful camping capsule, complete with aluminum siding, wiring and lights, vent fan, sink-&-stove kitchen area, windows on the sides and front, and a roomy bed with a second kid-sized bunk, all for under two grand!

teardrop beds

Necessary Tools:

teardrop camping

While it’s not exactly a 2-weekend project, the finished product will leave you buzzed with such sublime satisfaction, and give you years of fun and memories that you just can’t buy.

Of course, most of the tools necessary to make this dream a reality can be found at Harbor Freight Tools. Make sure you check the ads for specials and coupons for even greater savings!