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Basement Bar Build

Finished Bar Pic 4
Finished Bar Pic 3
The Finished Bar

When you enjoy having big gatherings, you need to have a place for everyone to sit and visit. The original bar in this basement wasn’t large enough for more than a few people, and so it was time to replace it with something new. This article details the design and build process of the new basement bar.

Existing Bar

The existing basement bar, while better than no bar at all, never provided the homeowners the entertaining environment they desired. There was a small top, no storage, and most importantly only fit 3 maybe 4 people at once.

New Basement Bar Design

Firstly, decisions were made about the features the new bar would need.

  • Seating for 8 or more with an ability to talk to more than just who is next to you
  • Maintain walkway to the door that goes out to the deck
  • Storage for glasses, tools, bottles of alcohol, and 12 packs of soda
  • A bar rail along the top like at commercial bars/restaurants
Bar Design New Plan
Bar Design New Plan

The customers chose the above design as it met all of their criteria. People around the bar can converse with those next to them as well as across the way. There is space for 9 around the outside of the bar and the “bartender” brings the total to 10.

New Basement Bar Construction

It is time to build the vision, and the biggest challenge for this project was that the bar needed to be built off site in the shop, brought into the basement (max 3′ wide x 7′ tall pieces), and then finish the assembly. Therefore the 2×4 frame was 4 segmented pieces (two straights, the u, and the l) and the top and surfaces inside the “U” were only temporarily held in place before packing it all up.

Finished Bar Ready to Party

The customer did the finish work of staining and sealing the bar, and then it was ready for parties.

Contact and Follow

If you’re in the Indianapolis area and need a bar of your own, contact JoeBcrafts. Also be sure to follow projects and things on Facebook and Instagram.

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Entryway Bench

Entryway Bench by back door

Whichever door that your family ends up using as the main entry, the immediate area around it becomes cluttered with shoes and other things. My sister-in-law commissioned me to build an entryway bench to help with the clutter and give them a place to sit to put on shoes or put down an infant carrier. She found an entryway bench that she liked on Pinterest. After discussing with her what features of the bench were the essence of the design, I began to plan how to execute that vision.

Entryway Bench Planning

She liked the simple look of the Pinterest bench and so I started designing around the seat and legs being connected together like a large box joint. This would make it easy to assemble but the joints would be strong. Initially I was leaning toward using 1×3 material (nominal 3/4″ thick by 2.5″ wide) but as I laid the bench out in Sketchup I decided the look was too busy. The joints looked nice, but there were simply too many boards in the seat. I then modified the pieces to be 2×4 material. I liked the overall look of this design better.

Entryway Bench finished in chocolate water based stain and polyurethane

Design and Construction

The design utilizes (4) different sizes of board; (2) sizes are used for the bench seat and (2) sizes are used for the bench legs. The yellow seat pieces are 48″ long while the red seat pieces are 55″ long. The brown 18″ legs set the height of the bench. The 14.5″ leg pieces terminate under the long red bench pieces. It took (11) 2x4x8′ to build this bench.

Sketchup model of the assembled entryway bench
Sketchup model of the pieces for the entryway bench

Assembly consisted of gluing together the legs first. Each leg was glued together with an alternating short and long. A straight edge was used to keep the bottoms of each leg piece in line. After the legs dried, the seat assembly began. This was done by standing the legs up and inserting one of the central long pieces. The center short piece was then clamped to that. Once I checked that the top was flush and ends were even, I screwed the short board to the long board with 2.5″ long screws. Next I put in another long board, checked its alignment, and screwed it to the short board. I kept working my way across the seat. I did not put on the outer boards yet. When I was satisfied with the dry fit, I took the seat off the legs, applied glue to the mating surfaces and put it back together. I drove (2) screws through the last 18″ leg into the 2nd to last 55″ seat piece. The final step was to glue (no screws) the outermost 55″ seat pieces to the legs and rest of the seat.


The entire bench was sanded and then I applied (1) coat of a water based chocolate colored stain. This was a clear base stain that was custom tinted at the paint desk at Lowes. Once dry, I applied (2) light coats of a clear semi-gloss water based polyurethane. Round dome plastic feet were put on the bottom of the legs to prevent them from marring the hardwood floors.

Its New Home

Here is a picture of the entryway bench next to the back door of their home.

The finished bench in their home.

It has room for shoes, boots, and other items underneath. It is also a good height for sitting and can be used to load their son in his infant carrier. Here I am sitting on my creation.

Joe B sitting on the entryway bench.

I enjoy making these pieces of furniture. I take pride in being able to point at it and say “I made that.” I love that it makes the people I made it for happy.

This Bench on JoeBcrafts Facebook Page

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Wooden Sign Blanks

Stained Sign Board Prototypes

There are a lot of parties these days that involve doing a group craft. A Wooden Sign with either free-hand or stenciled lettering has joined canvas, pottery, and wine glass painting as things for amateur artists to try. It is great that so many are willing to attempt to make art. In order to assist in these artistic and social moments, I have started producing wooden sign blanks.

Wooden Sign Boards in Chocolate and Summer Oak finishes

Board to Wooden Sign

There are three different sizes; 20×16, 16×16, and 16×7. The sizes are similar to typical art canvases. A 1x6x10′ board will produce two of the largest signs. 8′ boards are perfect for making a pair of the medium and a trio of the smallest wooden sign. Two 1x6x10′, two 1x6x8′, and one 1x4x8′ resulted in the stack of unfinished signs in the picture below.

Wooden Sign Boards assembled and ready for stain

Individual boards are screwed together to make the overall sign. This is done by using pocket holes and screws. For hanging, there is a keyhole slot along two sides and this allows the sign to be either horizontal or vertical. The keyhole slot is cut using a router and a keyhole bit. I made a jig to make consistent slots. Sanding is the final step before applying stain.

Wooden Sign Boards and tools to make them

Many different methods for building the wooden sign blanks exist. Additionally there are is a multitude of finish styles whether it be natural, stained, distressed, aged, painted, etc. The only limitation is your imagination and the ability to put the wood to work for you.

I am currently making these sign boards for a local art teacher. Feel free to contact me if you would like more information about these wooden sign boards. I also make charcuterie boards, wine racks, wine glass caddies, and several other items that I sell on Etsy. You can also see my updates on facebook.

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Art Canvas Drying Rack

JoeBcrafts Art Canvas Drying Rack Blueprint

This Art Canvas Drying Rack can hold 5 of your works. The design makes it versatile enough to hold many different sizes of canvas as well. Shown in the picture below is a 16″x20″ canvas and a 20″X16″ canvas. Canvases can be larger so long as one dimension does not exceed 20″.

Drying Rack made of 1x2 pine

Drying Rack Assembled Dimensions

Drying Rack Assembled Dimensions

Materials and Cut List

Drying Rack Materials and Cut List

This Drying Rack has been designed to sit on a desk or large shelf. Another feature of this design is that it is easy to adjust it for different needs. If you have larger artwork, the only adjustment is to make the cross members of the shelf longer. The rack can be modular. Build multiple racks and stack them for more canvas capacity. The possibilities are as endless as your artistic vision.

I made this Art Canvas Drying Rack for a family member and it currently is the only one. If you have a woodworker in the family (or know someone) that can make it for you, great! If you are a woodworker, make it for someone you know. If you’d like me to make one to your specifications, contact me via facebook, email, or send me a conversation at Etsy.

“So from all of us here, I’d like to wish you happy painting, and God bless, my friend.” Bob Ross

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Wooden Bandsaw Mill (Post 2 of 2)

Bandsaw Mill Tension and Tracking Adjustment

Bandsaw Mill Continuted

A continuation of the design of my Bandsaw Mill. Be sure to read the first part of the Bandsaw Mill design

Wheel Block

I designed the wheel blocks to be made of multiple pieces of wood. I did this so I could orient the grain for strength. I will refer to the pieces by their number as shown is the picture below.

Wheel Block View 1

Wheel Block View 2

Wheel Block View 3

Pieces #1, #2, and #3 have a 5/8″ hole for the axle bolt. I set up a jig on my drill press to make sure that the hole got drilled in each piece correctly. You can see my penciled in arrow on piece #1. I had to shim piece #3 in the jig with a piece of wood equal to the bolt head thickness. Pieces #1 and #2 are oriented so that their end grain is not load bearing. Notice that piece #5, the one that receives the tensioning bolt, is screwed into and glued against edge grain of #1 and #2. Piece #3 has its grain running 90° to #1 and #2 so this makes the whole block a 3-ply… just really thick plywood.

Wheel Block View 4

Wheel Block View 5

Piece #5 is fancy compared to the others. I first drilled a small guide hole all the way through the center of the block. Then I drilled a recess for the washer with a forstner bit on each side. The inside I drilled a second time and then cleaned up with a chisel to create the slot for the washer. With the large holes cut, I switched to a 5/8″ forstner bit and drilled all the way through. To complete the block it was off to the bandsaw to cut the material out to finish the bolt slot. To keep the bolt from turning, i drilled and tapped for a 1/4″ bolt. The tension bolt slides in and the outer washer is held on with a small screw. The outer washer acts as a retaining clip to hold the bolt into the block.

The way I assemble is a bit different than most of the guys/gals I watch on youtube. Most of them glue and use a hundred clamps, then might put in some screws to “hold while the glue sets”. The first thing I did was to line up #1-3-2, insert a 5/8″ bolt, and thread on a nut to sandwich everything together. Once satisfied that those parts are lined up, I drill pilot holes and put in screws. I take it apart, then lather on some glue, get the screws started to where they just poke out a bit so they index into their holes, lightly clamp, then drive the screws.

Observations about the wheel block. At first I couldn’t get a hold of a 10″ long bolt. So I had to improvise with a shorter one. This lead to me having to drill out a larger hole in all of #2 and most of #3. This was a BAD situation. There is a tremendous amount of stress transferred to the axle and wheel block. I only had 2″ of pine supporting that load and that lead to the axle widening the hole and creating cracks in the block. Once I had a 10″ long bolt things worked much better since I could create the “sandwich” I intended to have all along. I really should make a new block with the 5/8″ hole only.

Tensioning and Tracking

Tensioning is done with a coupling nut on the bolt, there is no spring. I used a coupling nut to have as many threads as possible engaged on the bolt to try and prevent thread damage. When the wheel block is almost at full travel and the blade is tight, the coupling nut is almost completely filled with bolt thread.

Tensioning and Tracking

It took me a while to decide how to do the tracking adjustment. I thought about having another bolt threaded into the wheel block, but since the block moves the tracking pressure point would also change. Then I had the brilliant idea to use a modified stop collar. I drilled out the threads of the stop collar to 5/16″, I cut the head off a 5/16″ bolt, put the bolt into the collar, and drilled a small hole to hold my finish nail pin. There is a piece of metal on the back of the main beam that allows the bolt to be shortened by tightening a nut. The beauty of this setup is that the tracking adjustment doesn’t have to move along the travel of the wheel block. There is enough slop between the tension bolt, collar, and tracking bolt to deal with the changing angle as the tracking nut is tightened.

Blade Guides

I created a video about my blade guides.


I use the roller guide style found on commercial mills. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on “real” ones, so I made my own with a 5/8″ bolt (head ground down to match the bushing), a 3/4″ long 5/8″ ID bushing, a 3/4″ washer since it mates nicely to the bushing, and a stop collar to sandwich the assembly together. That gets put into a block that has (2) 5/8″ bearings. The block is adjustable up and down on a second block that attaches to the bottom of the beam. The second block is adjustable in/out from the back of the blade. I attach the block to the beam with a 5/16″ bolt that is threaded into a brass insert in the beam. I can adjust the blade guide location along the beam with the other inserts I installed. I figure that I don’t need infinite adjustment in blade guide location. Being able to move the guides on 12″ intervals is good enough.


While I wouldn’t want to use this mill for commercial milling, it is more than adequate for weekend warrior hobbyist activities. There are some adjustments that I need to make to improve the performance, but the bottom line is it gets the job done.

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Wooden Bandsaw Mill (Post 1 of 2)

Bandsaw Mill first cuts

Homemade Wooden Bandsaw Mill

The following is a short video and a detailed look of the Homemade Wooden Bandsaw Mill that I built in late 2015 to middle of 2106.


Why make this thing?

I’ve been a hobbyist woodworker for a long time. Most often my woods of choice have been pine, oak, and poplar that can be purchased at home centers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these, but I have been wanting to use woods with more character. The arrival of Emerald Ash Borer to Indiana was kind of a push to make it happen. I grew tired of seeing so many beautiful trees being cut up into rounds and offered as free firewood on craigslist. I wanted to be able to give these and other trees new life instead of a second death this time by fire.

I began to scour the internet and youtube for mill options, and boy are there options. Bandsaw Mill, chainsaw (Alaskan Mill), swing arm (large circular saw blade), etc each with advantages and disadvantages. I settled on a bandsaw mill style as it is familiar to me and in my searching I had come across several examples of wooden equipment. I found a setup by Geek Woodworker on the Lumberjocks forum that I decided to start from. My mill has several features in common with his, and some other things that make mine unique.

Step #1: The Power Plant

I knew that I wanted to make this bandsaw mill have a gasoline engine as I wanted to be able to mill where there is no electricity. Given that this would be an experimental mill, I didn’t want to spend too much on anything just in case it didn’t work out. In my research it appeared that I would need somewhere in the neighborhood of 5-10 hp depending on cut width, blade speed, tooth angle, etc. I chose to go with a 6.5 hp engine from Harbor Freight as they are “cheap” (inexpensive and replaceable). An additional reason to go with this engine is that these things are widely used by go-kart building enthusiasts. Clutches with pulleys are widely available and I purchased one with a 3″ pulley.

Step #2: Deliver the Power

To distribute the power I decided to use 18″ wheels. The target blade speed is in the neighborhood of 4500 FPM. This puts the wheel RPM at around 1000. The engine turns around 3000 RPM with a 3″ pulley and so I made a 9″ drive pulley for 3:1. I haven’t verified what the actual blade FPM is, but it works for my needs as it currently operates. A 4L-660 v-belt joins the clutch to the drive pulley. I checked online at Woodmizer’s site to see what length blades are standard. I got a 1.25″x0.42’x158″ 9° from them (there is a Woodmizer locally in Indianapolis).

Step #3: Support the Power

The main beam is a box with 2×6 top and bottom with 2×4 on edge front and back. There is no glue, it is only screwed together with 2-1/2″ exterior grade screws (this allowed for me to modify things… which I had to several times since I was designing on the fly). Each end has a 2×6 with a horizontal slot to receive the 5/8″ tension bolt. The ends are not identical, however.

End “A” which is the non-driven end also has a 2×4 behind the 2×6. I had intended for the drive side “B” to have a fixed wheel block. I realized after I had shortened the beam on that end that this wasn’t going to work well (given the slop and inaccuracies between a hole in pine and axle being a cheap bolt). So the driven “B” end has a shortened wheel block and no 2×4, but there is a piece of 1/2 plywood.

The boxes for the legs to go into are made from pieces of 2×6, 2×4, 1×4 (cut to 3″ wide) and some MDF. After using the mill and watching the video, it is apparent that this part of my mill is a weak point. I will have to find a way to reinforce against side to side and twisting.

The gantry legs are pairs of 2x4s. The verticals are mortised into the horizontals and MDF gussets add rigidity. 5″ MDF wheels with 1/4″ bolt axles allow the gantry to roll in the 3/4″ aluminum track on both sides of the log bed.

The top of the legs have MDF caps with a 2×4. The threaded rod for up/down adjustment passes through the 2×4 and MDF.

Originally I had the rod on the back of the leg. The old location for the coupling nut can be seen on the picture above with the engine. This location caused the blade and beam assembly to lean forward. So I turned the caps around, drilled holes through the 2x6s, and added a new 2×4 block under the beam to trap a washer and coupling nut. No more droop, problem solved. I chose to use a coupling nut to have as many threads as possible in contact with the threaded rod. I don’t have a leg lock, so the 2 threaded rods and coupling nuts are holding up the weight of the saw and engine all the time.

The rest

The construction of the wheel blocks, how the tension and tracking works, and the blade guides will be covered in another post.