Don’t Blink

Growing up, my parents didn’t miss my sports, they didn’t miss a summer without camping, and they made sure we knew we were their priority.  My In-laws did the same for my wife in a big way.  From Baseball games to Lacrosse matches, both pairs of parents made it a priority.  With that in mind, my summer goals were simple, make memories with my family on the field and in our home.

Mid-way through the summer, I am proud to say we have crushed a lot of house projects, watched the kids play baseball, softball, soccer and the oldest start his first real job.  Many times work, builds, and bills can be on our mind.  I am the first to admit these things far too often burden my plate.   As I draw up some new plans for the second half of the summer, they will continue to be kid centered and family approved.

Don’t blink, don’t sleep on the memories to be made.  Be in the moment, watch your kids sports, clear your mind.  Go for ice cream, plan a camping trip, un-plug.  Next month, we head off to our annual family camping trip and I can’t wait.  5 days, limited cell service, and lots of dirt!

As for projects, the first half of the summer saw my kids get some sweet trampoline stairs, our Kayaks get a new home, a landing spot for our shoes, and our cooler get some wheels.  The next half of the summer looks like some new back yard games, maybe some bedroom furniture, and who knows.  One thing I do know, is my kids and wife will be driving the ideas.

 

Stay Safe as always, and build from the heart.

Cooler Cart and Icing Life’s Rough Spots

About a month ago I received a package from Icon Coolers with a 50 gallon cooler and some sweet swag!  What I knew was that this was going to be the center piece of many parties, camping trips and outdoor adventures.  What I didn’t know was that I would dream up a plan for a mobile party cart that would take back yard parties to the next level.  As a maker, I’m pretty sure most things I see these days I want to build or build something to make it nicer.

The other thing I didn’t know is that after 2 months of testing, my mom would be told there was a 95% chance she had stage 3 lung cancer, and would need prompt surgery to remove it.  The night I got that call, I had just bought the lumber for this cooler cart.  Life can often toss sour grapes at us at any time, and having positive and productive outlets for stress is imperative to your own well being.   For me, my faith, family, woodworking and softball with my friends keeps me grounded.

That night, I did what many of us do, I got my kids in bed and jumped into the shop for some creative stress relief.  I had already spent some time sketching out (terribly at best) a design with function and style in mind.  So I went to work building a custom cooler cart, and maintaining my sanity after the recent developments.  That night I spent about 4 hours in the shop, working past midnight, sweating in the 80 degree heat, accomplishing these goals.

At the end of the night, the frame of the cooler cart was complete and I had spent some time taking a break from reality.  When I woke up the next morning, hoping yesterdays news was just a bad dream, realizing it wasn’t I had something in the shop to remind me that things would get better.  I knew it could be a long road for my mom, my dad, and my entire family, but we all needed to stay positive.

A couple weeks have passed, the cooler cart is already a hit at my house. Its function bringing joy, knowing its full of possibilities and leading to many a memory.  More importantly, on Friday, despite a 95% chance she was facing stage 3 lung cancer, the surgeon removed what was a terribly calcified infection.  As I watched my dad inform my mom post-op that she didn’t have cancer, a moment I will never forget, I was reminded that life is short.  Fill your coolers with drinks, your hearts with joy, and celebrate each other.

 

Here are some links to the pictures of my cooler cart.

Process pics

Magnetic Bottle Opener Catch

Finished Shots

 

 

 

 

 

Atlas46 Gear

Raise your hand if you have used a tool belt and spent the rest of the night wondering why your hips and back are killing you in spots you didn’t know existed.   How about spending countless hours looking for your tools that you “just had in your hand” and now they have mysteriously disappeared into that same world your socks must go to the second they enter the laundry bin.    Between sore hips and missing tools I had enough!

The first thing I needed to do was check out the Atlas 46 feed and decide which gear would suit my style and my projects.  I quickly fell in love with the Aims Saratoga NSN Kit.   This kit came with all the basics to get started, the drill holster, a magnetic patch, a fastener pouch, and a multi-purpose pouch.   I added an Atlas 46 flag patch because I liked the look, a pencil pouch, and the magnetic drill bit patch.

Upon getting my Saratoga Vest It took me a few days of working in the shop to get my AIMS attachments in places that seemed functional to me and didn’t leave me stabbed by a pencil when I leaned over.  I was able to quickly adjust the side straps so the vest fit nicely over a sweatshirt or a t-shirt.  I recommend wearing a Sweatshirt when adjusting the straps to give yourself a little room.  Side note, once your wearing a t-shirt and have just had a decent sized lunch, your vest will still fit nicely.

Whether I am working in the shop or out of the shop, having all of my essential tools on my person has been a real time saver.  I’ve lost less tape measures, pencils and drill bits.   My overall work flow is substantially better, not having to spend time searching for lost tools or heading back to the shop for more tools as I can fill my vest at the start of the project with whatever I need.

One night a couple weeks back I decided to do a little experiment and not wear my vest.  I simply left it hanging 10 feet away.  After about 30 minutes of wasting time walking back and forth to my vest for everything from my pencil to my Kershaw Knife I keep on there I had to put my vest on or risk going crazy.

Atlas 46 has been one of my favorite brands to partner with since day one for many reasons, but the real hook that sunk its teeth into my heart strings was when my Saratoga Tool Roll showed up in the Declaration of Independence box that Atlas uses.   In my shop, I try to make an effort to support as many small businesses, American Made and community minded companies as I can.

Here are a few links to my Affiliate page and my Instagram Account to check out my gear…. As always have a wonderful week!

Atlas 46 gear Affiliate Account

Action Shot of Saratoga Vest

Building a Table Top

Trampoline Assembly with Saratoga Tool Roll

Ginger Challenge 2018 Project Video

 

 

 

Kayak Storage Build with Bora Tools

Last fall, I was faced with a huge problem, three problems to be exact. We had 3 kayaks in the garage/shop and once the snow started flying I needed all the space I could get in the garage to work. For the winter, I was able to store the kayaks in our shed with all our other bikes and outdoor gear, but that wasn’t suitable come spring. Many of us are working around bikes, toys and watercrafts, so needed a solution that was fitting for 4 seasons.

Come spring I started measuring and sketching out some plans in my Log and Jotters. By May, Bora Tools jumped on board with me to make this project a reality, and Spax Screws sent some screws out to be part this party!  So, armed with my Centipede supports, WTX edge Cut guide and 50 inch clamps it was go time!

First I created a work space top for my Centipede Support using some 1/2 inch plywood.  I ripped that down using the WTX Cut Guide right at the job site.   Once my work space was set up, I was on to the project.

Building behind my shed had some limitations as my neighbors fence line is fairly close, leaving little room to work with.  That being said, I decided to build face frames for each end of the Kayak rack.  This allowed me to place each face frame at either side of the shed, and then assemble my Kayak rack in its permanent location.

Once the Face frames where complete I was able to run the 117 inch 2 by 4’s from one face frame to another.   I used 4 runners on the top and the bottom and 3 in the two middle sections.

Here are a few links to my Instagram feed depicting this process.

Centipede Support work space

Face Frame Build with Bora 50 inch Clamps

Kayak Storage Pictures

Kayak Storage Usage

 

Materials List:

19- 2x4x10 Treated lumber

6- 10 foot deck boards- treated

2lbs of Spax 3 1/2 inch exterior screws

50 pack of Blue Kote Kreg Screws

 

Cut List:

Cut the 2×4’s as follows

8 – 32 inches (horizontal beams for face frames)

4 – 80 inches ( vertical beams for face frames)

3 –  34 inches ( joist support for roof)

14 – 117 inches ( runners between face frames for frame/kayak support)

 

Deck Boards- leave at 10 feet

 

 

 

 

Any questions message me here or at Gingerwoodworks@gmail.com

 

 

 

Privacy Garden Planter- Kreg Jig

In the early spring I was asked by a friend to solve a problem. You see, this friend lives on a corner lot, with a fairly short chain link fence. When you spend time enjoying your backyard you want some privacy. So he and his wife asked for some privacy Garden Planters. He wanted them tall enough and large enough to let he and his family enjoy a nice meal without feeling like the whole neighborhood was joining the feast.  The framing of this planter is put together entirely using the K4 Pocket hole system by Kreg jig and 2 1/2 Blue Kote screws designed for indoor/outdoor use.   This Planter was done using treated lumber, once it dries, it can be painted or stained.  If Cedar is available in your area that would be a wonderful option as well.  Using only 4- 2x4x10’s, 13- 6 foot Dog Eared fence posts, 1 piece of Lattice and some screws you can add this nice piece to your backyard oasis.   So whether its privacy or adding another spot to cultivate your green thumb, make sure to check out my plans which are sponsored by Kreg Jig at BuildSomething.com.

 

To check out my all of the products that Kreg Jig has to offer including the K4 system head to  https://www.kregtool.com/store/c13/kreg-jigsreg/

 

 

To check out my Build plans, head here

https://www.buildsomething.com/plans/PF7D8AEFFB1999389/Garden-Planter-

 

 

 

 

No Tool Snobbery to see here……

Last summer, while my project list picked up, I quickly learned I was bringing a plastic spoon to a knife fight.  I know I am not the only one who started a project ill-prepared with quality tools. The tools I had gotten when I moved into my first house in 2007 were no longer relevant, and barely useful. Over the course of last summer I spent more time waiting for batteries to charge then I did building.

Why am I sharing this with you?  Because over this past year I have been blessed to add many tools to my shop, including many Ridgid tools.  I personally love how tough the Ridgid tool brand is, the Lifetime Service Agreement, and of course…..the color. That said, one thing you wont find here at Ginger Woodworks is Tool Snobbery.

We all started somewhere and there is a place for every tool. When I talk tools, I will find the positive. It may be the value, it could be the sale, and it could just be the quality. In every product you have ever used, there are good encounters and bad encounters. There will be more posts on specific tools that I like, ones that I recommend even, but you wont find me knocking brands here. Many of us are married to brands, sometimes its because we love them and sometimes because the battery cost is as much as a car payment.

My advice – you do you. Buy the best tools that you can afford and always get the one you need for the latest project before the one you want because it looks cool.  I’ve used a lot of brands in my shop, and I can say that they work for their intended purpose.  Not all tools are made for the pro job site and not all tools need to be.  Each of us is building, making, and creating something different.  Keep that in mind and be excited about your new tool purchase.

Hardwork…..How do your kids see it?

Ask yourself, what do my kids think hard work is?  This is a question I was pondering last summer.  When dad heads off to work, do they really know I work hard, or do they assume I do because I told them so.  As a social worker by trade, not many of the social ills I face on the daily can or do come home with me.  This inevitably leaves me at a loss when trying to educate my kids on what it is to work hard.   Then, one day last spring, I got this crazy idea to build the kids a playhouse for our backyard.  This playhouse had to be big and the kids had to help.  So, after searching online for some plans and pictures, and locating a gently used slide we were off!  After two weeks of cutting, drilling, screwing, and basically waiting for my NiCad batteries to charge we had a playhouse!  What happened next was the real treat; my kids wanted more.  Not more Playhouses, but more builds.  So, we set off on some new projects, and one by one their zest for what dad would come up with next was reaching a fiery pitch.  Each project brought lessons on hard work, precision, dedication and even money management.   Each project also turned this regular Ginger dad into a super hero.  I started hearing things like “dad can build that” or “dad can fix that”.  Its then when I realized, that not only did my kids get to make memories on a cool playhouse, but they were learning first hand with their own eyes what hard work was.  Hard work no longer meant that dad was away from them, rather it meant that we earned what we built with our sweat, smashed fingers, and splinters.