Author: Ian Hartwig

Aquarium Stand

This is an aquarium stand that I built at Ace Monster Toys. It is made of maple 3/4 plywood and walnut edge banding. I used the old craftsman table saw and the ryobi router table to cut and shape the parts. If I had to do it over again I would use the CNC router. It would be far far safer, faster, and the results would be cleaner and more square. I would probably also use strips of 1/8″ walnut instead of the iron-on edge banding, because it would be much more durable and age better.  After designing the piece in sketchup, I made some test pieces to practice edge banding on. The idea is to use the edge banding to hide the screws and the ugly edges of the plywood.  It was a challenge to cut up the 4×8 sheet of plywood with a handheld power saw. A panel saw would have been better.  After getting the pieces small enough to fit in my car, I took them to AMT and cut them to size on the table saw. The problem was that, even with my own brand new blade, the saw would not cut perfectly square, and the measurements on the fence were not accurate. It was very frustrating and the results were not perfect.  I used the router table to cut dadoes and rabbets where the walnut strips would go. After assembling the box, I used an iron to iron on the walnut edge banding, which I trimmed with a razor.  At this point I took the stand home for finishing, and added some wheels. The stand contains my canister filter and CO2 tank. I am very happy with the result, but if I had to do it over, I would use the CNC.

Making a Knife Handle

This is an almost-complete project that I made at AMT using the band saw, drill press, and drum sander. It is my first attempt at a knife handle. I started with a rusty old blade, which I soaked in vinegar overnight, then cleaned up with solvent. I then filed the metal flat where the wood would go and drilled three holes the same size as the brass rod that I bought. I found a nice piece of wenge wood in the dumpster of a high end furniture manufacturer here in the East Bay. After re-sawing on the band saw, I traced the outline of the handle shape and holes on the wood. I trimmed the pieces on the band saw and drilled the holes for the brass rod. I epoxied it all together and clamped it for several hours before filing the sides and sanding the wood just up to the
metal. All that’s left is the final shaping to round and smooth out the handle, then finishing and polishing the  wood with cyanoacrylate, and sharpening the blade.