Archive May, 2015

DIY Phone Home

13 May, 21:09, by Mark Zander

ShopTelephone  The workshop now has a Telephone. It has 911 access in case of emergencies. It is kept on top of the filing cabinet in the front room.

You may use this phone for incoming and outgoing calls. The number is (226)706-4149.

This is the main phone number which we publish. So make a great impression if you answer the phone and answer with “Diyode Community Workshop! How may I help you?”

If you hear the phone ringing, only answer it if you are a) expecting a call or b) are willing to deal with who ever is calling. The phone has voice mail so if you don’t answer it we will get a message



Games in the Park – Wooden Block Stacking Game

11 May, 17:00, by Mark Zander

As a first in what is hopefully a series of “Giant Board Games to Play in the Park”, here is my take on that well known wooden-block-stacking-game.

I got all my inspiration from this Instructables Post.GiantJengawithDarwinandLiam

Materials Used :

6 – 8′ x 2″ x 4″ SPF (your standard 2×4)

1 can of MinWax Paste wax.

Shop Tools Used :

Chop saw

15″ Thickness Planer

BenchTop Belt Sander


First I set the right end stop of the Chop saw so that it was 10 1/2″ from the blade. This will allow me to make repeated cuts that are all the same length. I then positioned a roller stand to the left of the Chop saw and adjusted the height so it can support the weight of the 2×4 on the left in-feed side. This is needed as the 8 foot  2×4 is much too long to hold by hand safely on the Chop Saw.

Now it is just a matter of aligning the 2×4 on the stand and Chop Saw and pushing it up against the stop; make your cut; wait for the blade to stop and then clear the cut piece. You will be able to cut 9 ‘blocks’ out of one 2×4 (with a tiny bit left over.)

When you are finished cutting all 6 of the 2×4’s in to 10 1/2″ blocks you will need to smooth the top and bottom. A smooth top and bottom will make the game much easier as the blocks won’t catch on each other as then are removed from the stack.

You can smooth it with a sander. But I opted for using the Thickness Planer which will give you a very smooth surface very quickly.

I set the Thickness Planer to take off about 1/8″ off the top of the block and then ran all the blocks through once. I then set the Planer to take off 1/8″ the bottom and ran all the blocks through a second time. This left a mirror like finish on the blocks, as I had just replaced the blades the day before.

You will notice that the Thickness Planer has ‘sharpened’ the four edges and corners on both ends of the block. For safety I used the BenchTop Belt Sander to round over the edges and corners.

After sanding the edges the final step is to seal the wood. I chose to use a Paste Wax. It not only penetrates the wood but also creates a slippery surface which gives you just the right slip when trying to remove the blocks from a stack. I have not tried but I would think that varnish or shellac would be too “grippy” as surface and make removing the blocks much more difficult.

The only thing you need now is a bag or box to carry the blocks to the park and a level surface to play on. Oh, and a bunch of friends to play with!