Machining: A Tool Post Holder

I knew something was up when Jay was watching This Old Tony’s video about making Quick Change Tool Holders. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching This Old Tony’s videos. However, the fact that he specifically chose this video meant that he was mulling over an idea. And he was.

Tool Post Holder1

This is one of his current holders for his lathe.

Tool Post Holder2

When I asked why he decided to make his own he said it’s because he needed more. I guess he could have purchased a set of four holders, but he only needed two in the set. The other two were ones that he already has a bunch of and doesn’t need more. Also, he said that he wanted to challenge himself to build multiples of a part that requires tight tolerances.

Tool Post Holder3

He started out with a single block of material.

Tool Post Holder4

He cut the block down into individual pieces. That was loud. I was in the bedroom, which is directly above his metal-cutting bandsaw, and the floor was vibrating. Bob was not impressed.

Bob In Bed 05 2017

One of the tough aspects of the holders are the dove tails that are necessary to fit onto the machine and lock into place.

Tool Post Holder5

This required a lot of measuring, removing small amounts of material, measuring some more, etc.

Tool Post Holder6

This was rough and took a lot of time. Then a box showed up on the porch and inside was a material waterer.

Tool Post Holder7

Somehow this helps the metal piece to ripen.

Tool Post Holder8

I guess it’s just a little mister to keep your material fresh.

Tool Post Holder9

The other part of the holder includes some bolt-like things. So Jay made some of those, too.

Tool Post Holder10

“Gnurly, dude!”

Tool Post Holder11

And there you have it… four new tool holders for his lathe.

And apparently they all fit and have been used.

Tool Post Holder12

Way to go, Jay!

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A Laptop Backpack

Jay and I have been pretty busy around here. I showed you the decorative hangers he made for his mom. I promised to show you the project that I’d been working on for about a month. When Jay received his new position at work it meant he would also be issued a laptop. He mentioned that he would need a bag for it so I offered to make him one. He wanted a backpack, so I showed him his options. Then he picked out the color of fabric, webbing, and zippers. Are you ready to see it?

Laptop Bag

The pictures aren’t great because it was dark and I had to get them before he took the bag to work and it got filthy. No matter how hard you try, you can’t keep anything clean in a foundry.

This is the Demi Big Backpack by iThinkSew patterns. If you remember, I used their Dillan Lunch bag pattern to make the 20 lunch bags last fall. I knew I wanted to use waterproof canvas for the main fabric so I let Jay pick his color. Then he picked the strapping, and that’s when the rest of the fabric was decided upon. I used 1.25″ canvas strapping that I found on Amazon. It’s actually used for woven belts, but Jay liked the camo print so I decided I could work with it. If I were to do it again, I would stick with a poly webbing for these straps.

Laptop Bag Side

For the lining material, and as an accent for the gussett pockets, I found this digital desert camo print. It doesn’t really match the camo print on the canvas webbing, but it works.

Laptop Bag Back

The pattern doesn’t actually call for any padding to be added to the back straps. Jay wanted padded straps so I bought some Soft and Stable from ByAnnie’s because I knew it would be a great foam for this application. The problem was that Soft and Stable is not a fusible foam and these straps were made with right sides together and then turned inside out. How was I going to pad them and keep the foam in place as the straps were turned? I could have gone out and bought some of the fusing that you use to fuse two layers together, and then I remembered that I had something else that might work.

Laptop Bag Straps

I had two rolls of this fusible strip stuff that is usually used for hems. I fused a piece of foam to each piece of back strap material and then sewed it together. I made sure to cut the foam smaller to keep it out of the seam allowances. It did bunch up a little bit when I was turning them right sides out, but for the most part it worked.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering about the sign you can kind of see in the background, I found it on Amazon.

Sewing Room Sign

Despite the fact that the cat is sewing from the wrong side of the machine (obviously whoever came up with this design has never used a sewing machine), I thought it really went well in my sewing room. I still have to hang it up so that it’s not sitting on my cutting table.

Since the Demi Backpack is not actually a laptop bag I had to modify it a bit. I looked at other patterns that were made to be laptop bags and used the basic concepts of how they added laptop sleeves to their bags. I then used the same foam that I used for the lunch bags as the padding in the laptop sleeve. After all, I still have quite a bit of it left (I’m using the box as an end table in my living room… I just threw a table cloth over it).

Laptop Bag Foam

Here you can see more of the interior fabric and the flap that I made to secure the laptop in the sleeve.

Laptop Bag Inside

Here is a view of the inside of the large compartment after I was finished. This pattern uses binding for the seams, which would have been fine except mine were already so thick I ended up using some of the leftover ripstop that I used in the lunch bags. I was afraid that if I tried to use waterproof canvas I would either break a billion needles or else just not be able to sew it at all.

Another modification that I made to the pattern was topstitching the main zipper. In the picture above you can kind of see how it tacked down the seam created by sewing the zipper onto the front panel. I was afraid that if I didn’t do this it would continually either get caught in the zipper or just generally be in the way.

Jay's Laptop Bag

I think it helps give the front of the bag a more “finished” look.

You’re probably wondering about the zipper pulls. Let me give you a closer look.

Laptop Bag Zipper Pulls

Again, I let Jay pick out his hardware. I had seen some fun zipper pulls and purchased them without any projects in mind. When it came time for Jay to decide what zipper pulls he wanted he picked these ones. Since they are double zippers I would have thought he would have picked the same one, but apparently he needed all of them.

MF Zipper Pull

Yes, you are correct. All of the zipper pulls are Star Wars themed, except Calvin and Hobbes.

Gary Zipper Pull

Jay wanted them next to the Stormtrooper so that it would look like they were laughing at him. If you are familiar with the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes then you will be able to understand it a little more when I tell you that Calvin and Jay are VERY similar.

There is a front zipper pocket, a larger front pocket and then the main compartment. I think the Demi Backpack pattern has the front zipper opening up into the larger zipper pocket, which didn’t make any sense to me. I tried making it a separate liner that would separate it from the other pocket, but I didn’t quite calculate correctly so Jay is looking at a blank wall when he opens it up.

Laptop Bag Front Zipper Pocket

If you are thinking about making this bag, I would caution against using the cotton webbing and the waterproof canvas unless you have an industrial machine. I used my Singer 403 and was able to get through most of it. The worst part was trying to sew the back panel on because I not only had the waterproof canvas and lining for the back, but the strap connectors (two layers of waterproof canvas) and the laptop sleeve (two layers of linin fabric). Plus, since I used the closed-cell foam for the padding it did not give a millimeter. It would push my sewing machine foot off the material, especially when I was trying to sew on the binding. And I manually turned the handwheel of the machine ALL THE WAY AROUND the back panel so that I wouldn’t break a needle or ruin my machine. Again, it’s my own fault for choosing those materials, but I managed to get it done. Just don’t look closely at the binding.

Laptop Bag 2

It’s quite a large bag. Oh, and as I’m looking at this picture, I should tell you that I used pieces of peltex at the top under the areas where I sewed the strap to the bag for some added reinforcement. I also cut a piece of peltex to fit on the bottom of the gusset to give that a bit of reinforcement. I knew a laptop would be resting on it, so I wanted a bit more structure.

The last thing I wanted to show you is that I don’t have a fancy set up or a lot of room in my sewing room. A lot of the time when I’m cutting out lots of fabric, or large pieces of fabric, I bring it all out to my family room and make a mess in there. If you don’t like to see messy things please look away now.

Fabric Cutting Area

As you can see, I’m using my fancy pattern weights (cans of kidney beans, tomato paste and tomato sauce). I don’t often use a rotary cutter because it’s difficult to manipulate it correctly in this setup. I usually trace the patterns onto the fabric using chalk and then cut it out with my fabric scissors.

I have just finished cutting the pieces out for four purses, so once I have those finished I will post them here. They are going to be absolutely adorable!

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Small Wooden Wall Hangers

Hey guys! I was trying to give Jay some time to take pictures of the things he’s making, but the only thing he has remembered to take progress pictures of were the small wooden wall hangers he made for his mom. She showed him a picture (which was drawn a LOT better than mine):

Heart Hanger 1

She told him the approximate size she wanted and what she was going to hang off them. They are just going to hold light fabric banners, so he decided he could use some 1/4″ birch plywood. Have you tried finding any of that lately? Good luck! He managed to find enough scrap pieces in his shop to make the quantity that she requested.

Then he drew it up in SketchUp because he was going to use the CNC router to cut them out.

Heart Hanger 2

Due to the limited material he had on hand, he had his mom proof the design before he started cutting. It got the go-ahead.

Heart Hanger 3

I think the large CNC router is having some kind of wiring issues, so he fired up the small CNC router.

Heart Hanger 4

It worked quite nicely.

Heart Hanger 5

After the router was done he just had to cut the tabs holding the hangers onto the larger piece of plywood. This is easy enough to do with a scalpel.

Heart Hanger 6

Easy peasy.

Heart Hanger 7

When he was done he had a decent little stack.

Heart Hanger 8

His mom is going to finish these herself, so once he was done they were delivered. No sanding and no finishing work for me. I was perfectly fine with that because next week you’ll see what I was working on for the last month.

Posted in CNC Router, Wood Work | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Hat and Backpack Gifting

The past several weeks have been very busy. I actually looked up while I was at work and realized it was 6pm. Whoops! Needless to say, I haven’t taken the time to update the blog. Instead I worked on a few sewing projects while Jay brought MORE work home.

My best friend’s little girl turned 2 and goes to daycare, so I decided she needed a little backpack. After all, who doesn’t like a cute backpack? I looked around and decided on the Lindsport Mini Backpack.

Indah's Backpack

Please be gentle because this was the first backpack I’ve ever made. It was a little rough going around some of those curves.

Indah's Backpack Side

Gary wanted to model it for me. He did a good job.

It has double zipper pulls on the main pocket. Inside I made a simple slip pocket.

Backpack Inside

Are you wondering what you can fit into this backpack?

Backpack Size

I was able to fit a composition notebook in it without any problems.

But that’s not all. There’s a front zippered pocket on this, too.

Indah's Backpack Back

This is the second bag I’ve made with a front zippered pocket where the pocket did NOT end up across the room in a fit of anger!

Also, this pocket has an adorable cat zipper pull.

Backpack Zipper Pull

Not the best picture, I know. You will have to take my word for it that it’s adorable.

This pocket also has a slip pocket, but this one is divided into two sections.

Backpack Front Pocket

But wait! That’s not all! When you purchase this backpack pattern you get two zippered pockets, plus we’ll throw another one in for free!

Backpack Back Pocket

Yes, that’s a Darth Vader zipper pull.

If you’re wondering, I used waterproof canvas for most of the exterior, but the celestial fabric is quilting cotton. I only used SF101 for interfacing the cotton. Oh, and the pink parts are quilt cotton, too.

The next gift I made was a little bucket hat.

Indah's Bucket Hat

I told Gary it was too big for his head, but he insisted on modeling it.

I used a white cotton denim for the exterior and quilting cotton for the interior.

Indah's Hat Inside

I used a stiffer interfacing for the brim (not sure what number because I had it sitting around without the paper). This turned out really cute. It was fairly easy to make, except I didn’t read the pattern all the way through so I didn’t realize that I would have to hand sew the interior cap to the brim.

Indah's Dixie Cup

I think what I’m going to try next time I make this is to make the interior just like the exterior, attach it at the brim, and do the top stitching at the end. I think that will be much quicker and easier for me. It turned out cute, regardless. I’m sorry that I didn’t link the pattern, but I can’t recall where I found it and I don’t have the pattern handy.

The gifts were almost two weeks late, but they were well received. She absolutely loved them. At least, that’s what I was told. 😉

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Walker Caddies and the H2O 2GO Sling

I haven’t been able to crochet for several weeks because I aggravated my wrist when trying to shovel 40″ of snow we received from the last two storms. That’s okay, though, because I had a few things I needed to sew.

The first one is the H2O 2GO Sling by Linds Handmade.

Addie Modeling Sling

Addie was nice enough to model it for me.

This sling is big enough that it holds my 32oz water bottle with plenty of room left over.

H2O2GO Sling

This was a birthday gift for Jay’s mom. She likes to have a bottle of water with her when she takes her dog for a walk.

I thought this would work great for her because she could keep either her keys, phone or extra poop bags in the zippered pocket.

H2O2GO Sling2

I was at JoAnn Fabrics when I saw this celestial fabric. I knew I had to get it. I just didn’t know what I was going to make with it.

H2O2GO Sling3

Then I started figuring out what I was going to make Karen for her birthday. That’s when this fabric jumped into my head because these are her colors.

H2O2GO Sling1

I used waterproof canvas for the lining and the crossbody strap.

The next project I worked on was a walker caddy for my friend. She was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy last year and has recently started to use a walker. I thought these might come in handy.

Walker Caddies

I believe she was going to get one walker for home and one for work, so I made two. And yes, she loves cats as much, if not more, than I do.

Blue Caddy2

Aren’t those little faces so cute??

I wasn’t sure what the measurements were for her walker, so I used Simplicity pattern #S9309.

For the blue one I used white denim on the back, and on the pink one I used more waterproof canvas.

Pink Caddy Back

I didn’t want it to be too flimsy.

Pink Caddy2

There are pockets on both sides so I tried to make sure that you could see all of the cats between the two sides.

Pink Caddy1

I love that cat fabric. You can find it at Walmart, if you’re wondering.

I’ve been working on other projects, but they are being shipped to the lucky recipient, so you will have to wait until next time to see those!

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A Guy Walks Into A Bar…

Or maybe a guy works at a bar. No, that’s not right. Hmmm. Let’s start looking at pictures and maybe I can work out the right saying.

Work Bar 1

Jay used to be a bit irritated if I brought work home, but look what he’s doing! This particular project is to help the guys set a casting on the table correctly.

It all started with some angles and a drill.

Work Bar 2

What do you get when you drill six holes into two pieces of metal?

A lot of metal shavings. I’m serious. You should see the floor…

Work Bar 3

Hey! There’s the bar I was discussing earlier in this post. I guess that a guy walked in with a bar and drilled a hole at one end.

Work Bar 4

Then he made his own pin. Not a broach like what your Aunt Esther would wear, but a pin. With a nubbin.

Work Bar 5

You put the pin in the bar and you turn it all about… you put the pin in the bar and you let it all hang out.

Work Bar 6

And finally, the “How NOT to Mount” your new bar picture. Nowadays you have to put these kinds of warnings in the instructions because you know that somebody will try it and hurt themselves.

Like I said, this bar is going to be mounted to a table where the heavy castings are placed, then the bar pivots and gives the guy a little more leverage to push it into place so that it can be de-sprued.

That’s it. Nothing fancy. Have a good day!

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When the Workshop and Sewing Room Collide…

Today would normally be a day when I would post something that Jay has made. Except, I think the only thing he’s been making are blank bullet molds in preparation for his coworker’s ammo requirements. It gives Jay a project and the guy gets cheaper ammo.

Bullet Mold 25

It’s a win-win all around.

There have been two projects, though, that Jay was asked to do that involved sewing rooms.

First, his mom asked if he could 3D print a larger spool cap cover for her machine. If you’re not familiar with sewing machines, the spool cap is what holds the spool onto the pool holder.

Babylock Spool Cap

She had a small one, but wanted a larger one that would help guide the thread around the rougher edges of the spools she was using. She hasn’t sewn in many years so she’s just practicing right now and using up thread that she has on hand. Jay made one for her and it worked great, but she wanted a second one.

Spool Holder 1

On the right is the original one he made for her. On the left is the hunk of UHMW plastic he cut for the second spool cap.

Spool Holder 2

He mounted it on the lathe using a bolt, I believe.

Spool Holder 3

Then turn-turn-turn, cut-cut-cut, and plastic spaghetti was flying all over the place.

Spool Holder 4

Using the little nubbin that had surrounded the bolt, he turned the piece around and remounted it so that he could drill the hole out a little larger to spec.

Spool Holder 5

Spool Holder 6

Within a few minutes he had it done. His mom was so happy!

Spool Holder 7

The next project was for my sewing room.

When I was making the lunch boxes I purchased zipper tape because that was the best way of getting the number and length of zippers I would need.

Zipper Tape and Pulls

If you’ve never heard of zipper tape, it’s a zipper in yardage form. You can cut it to whatever length you want and then install a zipper pull. And believe me, there are a TON of zipper pulls out there. The most common size seems to be #5 as that’s used in a lot of bag making, but you can also buy it in #3 (on the right in the picture above). Personally I have #5 plastic zipper tape (on the left), #5 Nylon zipper tape (in the middle) and #3 Nylon zipper tape. It works great, except it can be kind of a pain to get the pull onto the tape. If you don’t line it up just right then you’ll have a bulge in front of the pull and it will look bad.

I find that it’s tricky for me to try to both hold the little zipper pull in my hand while also trying to thread both sides of the tape into the pull. It took me 30 minutes one day to get a zipper pull onto the tape without it looking bad. You can buy a zipper jig that will hold the pull for you (search Zipper Jig on Etsy), but I’m sure that you probably already have some stuff laying around your house that you can use.


No, I was not eating while I was sewing. You can use a fork to hold the pull. How? Let me show you.

Fork and #5 Pull

Fork and Zipper Pull

It will even hold my smaller #3 zipper pull.

Fork and #3 Pull

The fork holds the pull so that you can use two hands to start it on the zipper tape.

If you don’t want to use a fork from your utensil drawer you can buy single pieces fairly cheap at Walmart or the dollar store.

Next determine where you will most likely want to mount the fork while you are trying to attach it to the tape. Make sure the surface has a deep enough “ledge” that will allow the wood to get a good hold on it (you might be tugging at it more than you think).

Fork Holder Base

Also, make sure it’s a snug fit. I literally just slide it onto the side of my sewing table and it doesn’t move.

Fork Holder Clamp

Use some screws to clamp the fork in place (you don’t want it wiggling around), pick up the empty spool that fell down under your feet when you were sewing this weekend, and you’re ready to start threading pulls onto zipper tape!

Fork Holder

It’s so simple! I would tell you where I keep this in my sewing room, but I don’t want Jay to know. He might use it (with the clamp) should we run out of clean forks in the kitchen. I’m not even kidding…

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Imperfect Crocheted Tops

The biggest problem I have with social media is that many people look at somebody’s account and feel like they aren’t as good/as pretty/as talented as this person appears to be. I honestly hope that nobody thinks that everything I do turns out perfectly, because it definitely does NOT.

That’s why today I want to share two of my more frustrating projects that I’ve worked on in the last six months. Both of these are tops that I looked forward to wearing. Neither one of them are wearable yet.

My first project is the Solari Poncho, found at Annie’s.

Solari Poncho

Picture courtesy of

Doesn’t it look comfy and warm? I thought this would be great to wear on the slightly chillier days that we have at the end of September. I purchased Premier Basix DK yarn in Fog Gray for my poncho. The yarn is great and I really love working with it. I enjoyed the pattern so much that I didn’t realize I had reached the end of it. The poncho seemed too short. I had a lot of yarn left, so I added a bit more at the hem for length. It didn’t work out so well.

Solari Poncho Front

Solari Poncho Side

Solari Poncho Back

Addie is obviously much smaller than me so it looks good on her. It doesn’t look so great on me. The hem, even with the added length, falls just past my elbows. Then there’s the weird way the back hangs. And it just wasn’t as loose and flowing as the picture in the magazine appeared. To be fair, I didn’t check my gauge. Why? Because it’s a poncho! I chose the largest size figuring that it couldn’t be too small. I was wrong. So, where did I make the mistake?

I honestly think my stitches are too tight. It was the first time I had attempted to crochet cables and I was nervous about them looking right. I think that going up a few hook sizes would help. And my hem didn’t really work. So what am I going to do? I’m going to rip it all out and start over. Not immediately, of course, but that’s the plan. I still like the look of the finished garment. I just have to figure out how to loosen my hold on the yarn.

My next project is a sweater that I’ve had for quite a few years. I actually bought the yarn kit from Craftsy shortly after I learned to crochet. In fact, I’d had the yarn boxed away for so long I thought that I’d purchased brown, not the gray that was actually in the box (apparently I’d forgotten about wanting a nice gray sweater).

Zoey Zig-Zag Box Cardigan by Nicole Wang

Zoey Zig Zag Cardigan

Picture courtesy of

This is a great cardigan pattern. It’s quick and easy to make. The problem I ran into involves the sleeves. For this pattern you crochet the whole thing flat, and then fold over and sew your shoulder seams so you don’t have hardly any piecing to worry about. After I had the shoulders sewn together I tried it on to see how it fit. It was a great fit! Jay asked me if it was supposed to be a vest, or was I going to put sleeves on it? You see, to make the sleeves you just crochet the edging on and you’re done. I didn’t think that would look too good so I added a little bit to it.

Zoey Cardi Ruffled Sleeve

I added five more rows of the pattern, this time in the round, and then doubled the rows for the edging to give it a little bit of a ruffle. Then I wore it to work to see how I liked it. I didn’t. I came home, ripped out the ruffled edging and redid it.

Zoey Cardi Modified Sleeve

I kept the extra bit of pattern in the round for the length, but I put the called-for edging on it. I think I like this much better. Just to give you an idea of how long the sleeve would have been without the extra length, the edging would have fallen about 4″ higher up on my arm in the middle of my bicep. That’s not really where I like my sleeves to sit.

Zoey Cardigan 01 2022

Once I fix the other sleeve the cardigan will be finished. I’m going to wear it a bit to make sure I like it, but I’m already planning one in brown and possibly white. This won’t be the only one I make.

As you can see, though, nobody is perfect. My best tip for making wearable garments is this: When you think you’re done with it, don’t fasten off right away. Put a stitch marker in the last stitch and then either wear it to work or wear it around the house. That will be the best way to determine what works and what doesn’t. Hopefully it will be something easy to fix. If it’s not, you might have to rip it out and start over. And that’s okay! Half of the fun is in the process of making the item.

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Jay’s Must-Have Machining Tools

Recently Jay obtained a different position at work. This new position will involve robot programming, robot troubleshooting, prototyping, and machining. Essentially, they are now going to pay Jay to do what he usually does in our basement. It would be similar to my employer paying me to sew and crochet all day. What could be better??

Since this is a new position in the company Jay has taken stock of what they have in the machining area and made a list of things he would like to have on hand. This made me wonder about what kinds of things would be on that list. Obviously, they have a much larger budget than we do, but I decided to ask Jay what machining tools he would consider to be absolutely necessary if he had to start all over again.



I told him that he couldn’t list the kegerator since he’s not allowed to have it at work. He claims it should be part of everybody’s basic tool kit regardless of what hobby you enjoy. I told him I would take that into consideration.

The following list consists of things Jay feels he must have in his machining shop. These are not the luxury items; those will be coming in a future post.

Drill Press

Drill Press

You should get one that is large enough to cover 15% more than your largest anticipated jobs. You don’t need the largest one that money can buy. Jay bought this one about 20 years ago and it’s still going strong. He said the only problem he’s had with it is that the quill is currently acting up because he was using it in a way that it wasn’t meant to be used. He can easily fix that by taking it apart and de-burring something. He told me what it was, but I’ve already forgotten.

Drill Bits

Drill Bits

Obviously, this is to go along with your drill press. Jay says that the 29 pc drill index is the bare minimum and that the 115pc set is ideal. Steer away from the gimmicky “5x longer lasting” propaganda. That’s just a good way to throw your money away. Plain carbon steel is fine for 95% of all work.

Tap and Die

Tap & Die set

When purchasing taps and dies you should get both metric and SAE. Get the largest set that you can afford in your budget. You don’t need anything fancy, but stay away from the bargain bin sets. Jay usually finds the Hanson or Irwin brands for a decent price. The biggest tip he can give for using taps and dies is to practice and use oil.



If you’re doing any kind of machining work you will need a file for various reasons. You use these for shaping, de-burring, chamfering, and other material-removal reasons. Get a good selection of teeth, shapes and sizes for your anticipated work. If you are going to be making smaller items then you won’t need a honking-big file. A nice turning/carving exercise is making file handles for your new collection.

DS Miter Gauge 12

Disc Sander

This might not have popped into your head when thinking about machining. Yet, Jay uses his all the time for wood, plastic, metal and composites. At minimum you would want a 10-12″, which is a good size for a home-based shop without being obtrusive. When I questioned him about this item on his list he said that if you just have a smidgen of material to remove in order to get down to your mark it’s much better to hog it off with this than to put the wear and tear on your precision tools (ie mill). He keeps a 60 grit disc on it, unless he’s making something with balsa wood. He likes to get his sanding discs at Harbor Freight because they are very reasonably priced.

Digital Calipers


Calipers come in both analog and digital. Depending on what type you were originally taught to use will usually determine as to which camp you fall into. A lot of your “pros” will only use analog. Jay prefers his digital calipers because when he’s machining a part he can re-zero the calipers, then as he measures it tells him how much more material he has to remove without having to do math. If you put your decimal in the wrong place it could be a very bad day for you. You definitely want to get a decent set, so figure out what you can afford on your budget and go from there. This isn’t the time to get a bargain set, but you also don’t have to mortgage your house for decent ones, either. Jay says that 6″ is plenty for most work (that’s NOT what she said…).



A small set of various-sized punches/drifts is great to have. An Auto Center Punch is a must.

Metal Rulers

Metal Rulers

These are in constant use on Jay’s bench. In fact, I was a bit surprised that they were all hanging in their spots. At the very least the 6″ is usually on the bench. Jay uses the 6″ and 18″ rulers the most. He says that these stainless steel rulers are not that expensive so get a couple.

Scribe and Marker

Metal Scribers & Sharpie Marker

At some point you will need to make a mark on your metal piece. A lot of people think you have to use the blue layout fluid, but you don’t. A blue sharpie marker works just as well and it dries quicker. Also, they are more widely available. As for the scribe, Jay says it needs to have extremely hard and sharp points. Unlike a pencil, you can’t sharpen it easily when it gets dull.

Combination Squares

Combination Squares

These are typically used in woodworking. You definitely don’t want to use these for squareness because they are not the right tolerances for machining. However, if you need to draw a straight line they are great. You probably could use your metal ruler (see above), but these you can square up on your piece of metal and draw a quick line.

Center Drills

Center Drills

I can’t remember exactly why Jay said to put these on this list. He said that they are multi-use (wood, plastic, metal, etc) and you can use them in the drill press. You should have a set of 4 or 5 to cover the most-used sizes.

That concludes the basics list that Jay put together. I hope it was interesting and that maybe you found something on the list that you wouldn’t have normally thought of using. Did we forget something? Remember, these are just the bare basics that Jay felt he would want in his shop. We will definitely be posting about some of the more luxury-types of items that are nice to have down the road.

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Project Linus Blankets #40 & 41

Project Linus Blanket #40

Project Linus Blanket #40 12-2021 - Minty Goodness

“Minty Goodness”

If you recall, I received the Projet Linus version of Annie’s Caring Crochet kits this past fall, but I wasn’t happy with the blanket pattern they included. It was much too holey for what my local director likes to see. Also, there was only enough yarn to make a baby blanket and I typically like to make them bigger for the older kids.

These were the yarns I had decided to use:

ACC - 09 2021 Yarn Plus

I didn’t have a pattern in mind so I decided to go to Creative Grandma’s website and find one of her Stitch of the Week stitches that I thought would work. I decided to use #210 Tulip Stitch Pattern. It was simple and I thought would work nicely.

Project Linus Blanket #40 Detail

The stitch is the same one that you use when making a corner-to-corner blanket, but instead this one you work in rows. I decided about how wide I wanted to make the blanket, and chained until I got to that approximate width. It ended up being 205 chains. Since this is baby yarn I used a G hook (4.5mm).

I started with the mint green and crocheted until I ran out of yarn. That determined how many rows I would get out of the other Bernat baby yarn skeins that I had on hand. Then I used one of the variegated skeins that been in the crochet kit, and I crocheted until I ran out of yarn.

Project Linus Blanket #40 Stripes

That told me the approximate number of rows I would be able to get out of those three skeins, plus the length that I could expect. Using math I calculated that I would need another skein of white to make sure the blanket was long enough without looking wonky. This was a great project to use up some baby yarn that I had in my stash.

Project Linus Blanket #40 Length

I really like how it turned out.

Project Linus Blanket #41

Project Linus Blanket #41 - 1-1-22 - Striated


I had a few days off of work right around Christmas, and that’s when I finished the last Project Linus blanket. With a few more days off looming ahead of me I decided to make another blanket. Remember a few years ago when I kitted up a bunch of blankets? I had two totes of kits. I decided that I needed to pull another kit out and get it worked up. I was a bit surprised when I pulled this kit out.

Project Linus Blanket #41 Detail

I had forgotten that I’d put together such a neutral-colored blanket. Looking at the colors, though, reminded me of the walls of striated rock that you pass when you travel through the mountains on the east coast. It also kind of reminded me of some of the pictures you see of the canyons out west.

This used Red Heart Super Saver and Michael’s brand CraftSmart. Not very soft yarns at all, at least, not compared to the baby yarn I had just been using. The bad thing about using so many stripes are the many ends you have to weave in. I decided to do that as I went along and it really helped. Usually I leave them all for the end, and then typically I end up having to sit with three or four blankets that need to have their ends woven in before I can wash them and drop them off.

Project Linus Blanket #41 - Length

This kit was the last one in the tote. Of course, I quickly filled the empty tote with other yarn that had been sitting out in the open. I have one more tote of kits to work through before I can start kitting up more. The ripple pattern is nice, but I like experimenting with the Stitches of the Week. I’ve been trying to write down the details as I work through the blankets so that if I want to make another one I will know just how much yarn will be required.

As an aside, I cancelled my membership to the Annie’s Caring Crochet club. Most of what I had received so far were just hats. If I loved making hats then it wouldn’t be a problem, but I don’t. They are a nice pallet cleanser now and again, but I didn’t feel like I was really getting the value out of them. I signed up for another crochet club, though. This time I went with Mary Maxim’s crocheted afghan club. You get a pattern and enough yarn every quarter to make an afghan. It was only about $10 more per kit as compared to the Annie’s kits. I hope the afghans are something that I can use for Project Linus. Even if I don’t like the pattern I might be able to try some yarn that I’ve never touched before. It should be interesting!

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