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Not Afraid of a Power Tool - Recent D.I.Y. Projects

Although I had a lot of assistants this ramp
was very much built by me - all with no plans.
Although I spend hours in front of a computer I'm still very much an old school, hands on, do-it-yourself kind of person who's not afraid to pick up a power tool and build something out of wood.

Probably largely due to my Dad, who built a lot of the furniture we had as I was growing up. I got to watch him work and, when I was old enough, use his power tools to build a lot of skate ramps.



Digital Artist, Student Desk Conversion


I was shopping around looking to buy an artist's drawing table but couldn't find anything smaller than the full sized professional desks. Similar to that pictured on the right - which start from around AU$198.00.

Knowing that I wanted to use the desk as an angled surface for my WACOM graphics tablet as well as regular drawing I expected I was going to have to improvise in some way to stand a monitor behind it.

In my search I happened to come across a $20.00 adjustable tray table that you'd normally place over your lap whilst sitting on a couch (or perhaps sitting up in bed?) . The tray had a metal frame and was just the right size for both my tablet and as a general drawing surface. It occurred to me that I could just build it into my existing table and gain a drawing surface whilst still having room for a computer monitor at just the perfect location.

So I dragged my standard student size desk out into the garage for it's second conversion (the first being the addition of a keyboard drawer). As you can see from the photos below. It all work out pretty good, if I do say so myself.

You can see the original tray table in the top left 'before' photo.
The bottom right image shows the desk back in place.

As usual I didn't draw up any specific plans. I started out not knowing exactly how I'd combine the two so there was a very real chance I was about to ruin a perfectly good desk.

Fortunately it all came together. I even painted the exposed wood, where I'd made cuts, with black paint to make the whole thing look like a professional conversion (just don't look too closely at my less than perfect cuts).

It was well worth doing as the newly converted desk has helped me be just a little more productive and has certainly helped make using my graphics tablet more enjoyable.

Mini Skateboard Quarter Pipe


The following weekend I started another DIY project to make a mini skateboard quarter pipe. I've been trying to get my skills back with skateboarding - I've pretty much lost almost everything I could do. Back in the day, one of the fastest ways to learn was to build your own ramp and skate it daily.

So that was the plan. For this project I had a lot of wood just laying around the garage so I decided to build the best ramp I could from it. In the end I only had to buy wood for the ramp surface and caps for the coping (i.e. pipe across the top of the ramp).

You can see the various stages of my handy work in the image below.

Mini Quarter Pipe from start to finish. About five Saturdays of work.
Technically the ramp isn't a true quarter pipe - probably closer to a one eighth pipe - but it's designed small so I can relearn basic 'lip' tricks without falling too far if things go astray.

Again I built it with no plans and even the curve for the transition was hand drawn by eye (no improvised compass to get it exactly right).

The PVC pipe coping should be interesting. I've only ever heard of people using PVC pipe filled with sand for coping (to reduce noise) but never actually skated anything with it installed. I used PVC because it was all I had. I suspect I'll have to replace it with metal pipe eventually.


So there you go. Two recent projects. It was nice to actually build something with power tools again. I really should do this more often. Nothing is more satisfying than being able to use something that you built yourself.

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