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Making a Whiteboard for the Woodshop—Who Needs an iPad?

Making a Whiteboard for the Woodshop—Who Needs an iPad? post image

While I was eating lunch the other day at my local diner, I received an email. It was a link to a recent blog post from Matt Vanderlist regarding planers.

Seeing as I’m intimately familiar with one of the two planers someone up the ladder wanted me to take a look. All the email said was “Do you have anything to add?” and a link.

I read the blog post and watched the video then and there on my iPad. But, it’s not much fun to type on an iPad so I left writing the reply until I got back to the workshop.

After getting back I sat down and promptly started looking at drawings for a desk I’m designing at the moment. The reply-writing had slipped off the radar.

What I needed, was some sort of scribble board, something to write quick notes on to remind me to do things.

It happens too often that unless I have a note to remind me of what I “should” be doing I tend to get sidetracked.

Desk blotter? Ok, but no room…until the new desk is built. What I need is something on the wall beside me that I can jot down notes one. It screams “whiteboard”.

The Complete History of the Whiteboard In Case You’re Wondering

One of the best whiteboards I’ve ever used in the past was simply a sheet of glass suspended in a frame over a white section of wall.

The wall next to my desk is white, sort of. It was white at some point in the past, before people with dirty hands came along (I have to admit my share of blame on this one), now it’s white with patches of “someone should probably clean that”.

desk area where the white scribble board will be installed

The Workspace

So, there’s the idea. A glass pane hanging against the (sort of) white wall that I was write on with a dry erase marker.

I have a small piece of glass left over from some picture frames I built a while back. It’s maybe a little smaller than I’d like ideally, but this is a spur of the moment thing so it’ll do.

glass writing surface for the whiteboard

Glass is Ready to Go

I’ll use an offcut of cedar that’s sitting around to make up some wall cleats.

Organize Your Whole Shop with a Wall Cleat System

A full frame won’t do. I want to be able to loosen off the screws and slip the glass out if I need to clean it properly. Plus it would be good to use it for the original purpose in a picture frame if it comes down to that.

wood ripped on the bandsaw

Ripped on the Bandsaw

The original piece was about 2.5” x 3” and about 10” long. That’s big enough for what I need, but it’s far too wide so I ripped it down the middle on the bandsaw.

I could have used a table saw but the bandsaw has a narrower kerf and is right next to where I have a pallet with cedar offcuts.

two pieces of stock from the thickness planer

Planing to the Right Thickness

I checked how straight the pieces were simply by laying them on the granite bandsaw table which I know is perfectly flat. They were indeed flat and square so there was no need to run them through the jointer.

They’re of minimal size to run on the jointer anyway so I’m glad that I don’t have to risk my fingers doing that. Putting them through the planer made sure they were flat and even.

Profiles Cut with Crown Molding Bits

Profiles Cut with Crown Molding Bits

I then routed a crown molding profile on to them. They don’t need it but it just looks a little nicer.

A saw kerf width cut makes a perfect rabbet for the glass to sit in

Cutting a Rabbet the Width of the Tablesaw Blade

A saw kerf width cut makes a perfect rabbet for the glass to sit in.

wood pieces cut on bandsaw

Crosscut on the Bandsaw

I cut the first piece on the table saw using my cross cut sled and the first 3” section I took off was fine. I use a single sided crosscut sled in my workshop.

It’s great for many things—one of the main ones being cutting sheet goods. But it doesn’t give the workpiece support on both sides of the blade meaning it’s no good for crosscutting short pieces.

I’ll have to build myself a two sided sled at some point in the future (I want to do one with a removable mitering block anyway), but for today I just took my miter gauge over to the bandsaw and did the crosscuts there.

My fingers may not be pretty, but as far as fingers go they do a pretty good job so I’d prefer to keep them attached.

four wood pieces to hold the glass

Roughed Out First Assembly

What it will look like—it all seems to work.

holes drilled in wooden glass holders

Drill and Countersink

Figure out the center point. Drill and countersink the holes in the center length wise, but high of the center point in the width so that the screws go through a wider point—i.e. avoid the narrow point in the molding profile.

standard cordless drill and impact drill

Cordless Drill and Pneumatic Impact

The baby (14.4v cordless drill/driver) and the daddy (GBH 2-26 RE pneumatic drill). Guess which one I’ll be using for drilling into the walls? Go on, guess.

paste wax has been applied to the wood

Johnson Paste Wax to Finish Off

A coating of paste wax will keep the cedar looking nice.

wooden cleats screwed to wall

Cleats Installed in Place

The cleats in place on the wall.

I screwed the bottom ones in most of the way so they were firm and wouldn’t spin but didn’t completely tighten them up.

The top ones are just in place and will spin/move freely. Then it was just a matter of sliding the glass in to place and tightening the screws, making sure that the glass was sitting in the rabbet cleanly.

glass installed behind cleats with writing on the board

Glass Installed Behind Cleats

Nuff said about that one really.

First note – “Write Blog Post!”

Ironically enough I just got a new rabbeting block plane off a friend of mine at lunchtime. Instead of writing the blog as I was meant to ended up honing and setting up my new plane.

So, the board works, but also doesn’t.

Next Article: SketchUp vs Sketch Pad—Who Needs an Ipad?!

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