Posts in category wood-working

Making Stake Pocket Anchors

I bought a toolbox for my pickup truck, and needed to mount it to the bed rails securely. Using some J-hooks to bolt it to the metal inside the stake pockets did not work well enough; the loaded toolbox shifted from side to side while driving, scraping up the bed rail covers in the process. I needed a more secure mounting option for the toolbox that did not require drilling holes in my truck, and if I could avoid drilling holes in the toolbox, even better. Oh, and I needed to get it done immediately to avoid additional damage. While Magnum Manufacturing offers the stake pocket tie downs they use for their headache racks, I needed to solve the problem immediately, not wait for a well-made product to arrive.

The concept is to have an assembly that fits into the stake pocket which I can bolt onto from the top, and fasten from the side. My solution was to cut some scrap 2x4 down to fill the stake pocket, and cut out space for a bracket, and a recess for the bolt.

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I fabricated the bracket from 1/8"-thick 2x2" angle iron; cutting it to size, drilling counter-sunk holes for the screws, and tapping a hole for a bolt on top.

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I drilled pilot holes in the wood block and assembled the anchors with exterior wood screws:

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Given that I was in a hurry and making it up as I went along, the actual anchors looked a bit more like this:

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I dropped the anchors into the stake pockets and marked the location of the hole inside the truck bed, then drilled a pilot hole in the center of that.

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Installing the anchors in the truck meant dropping the anchor in place

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and securing it with an exterior wood screw and fender washer.

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From there, it was a matter of lining up the toolbox slot with the bolt hole

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and bolting it down.

Now, the toolbox is much more solidly anchored to the truck.

Making toy wooden swords

One of my sons bought an inexpensive wooden sword at a nearby Renaissance festival. And naturally, his older sister wanted one as well, but...it's gotta be a bigger one. Sibling rivalry? What's that?

Looking at the design of the sword, I could see it was pretty straight-forward to replicate, so I told her that if she bought a 6' 1x3 select pine board at the local hardware store, I'd turn it into a sword. Woodworking is fun! And educational!

The basic design is to cut a board for the cross-guard, 5 to 6 inches long. Then cut another piece to the length of the blade and hilt. I mounted the latter board on a 1x6 with a clamping set to get a straight tapered cut from the tip to where the cross-guard would be. I then put the tablesaw blade at about a 45 and gave it 4 cuts to provide some shape to the blade's cross-section and that look of having a pseudo-edge. My daughter had sketched what she wanted the hilt to look like, so I used a bandsaw to get a rough shape to the grip and pommel, then took that to the bench sander and shaped it generally "by eye". For the part of the grip where the cross-guard belongs, I was aiming for a shape that would fit into a slot cut with a 3/4" straight router bit. Once I had the size of that determined, I shaped the rest of the grip and pommel to have a cross-section no larger than that. Then I mounted the cross-guard in the mill and cut the slot into the center with a 3/4" router bit. Four passes on the tablesaw to take off the corners, and I had a cross-guard.

The two pieces looked like this:

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The select pine is right at 3/4" thick, so the cross-guard slid over the hilt with a friction fit.

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Of course, a 6-foot board was enough to make *two* swords, so I made an even longer, two-handed sword.

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The dangerous duo:

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While a proper template and a router would have yielded more precise results for the grips, overall I was pleased with how they turned out.