Making a pencil holder from scraps of plywood

This week we get one of the girls back into the shop to make a pencil holder to organize her art supplies.  We started with a sketch and used scraps of plywood to bring it to life.

The supplies and tools we used are:

  • 3/4″ Plywood
  • Wood Glue
  • Table Saw
  • Band Saw
  • Router with roundover bit
  • Drill Press with hole saw and forstner bits
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain
  • Polyurethane

Checkout the below video to see how we did it.

Walking Dead Valentine’s Picture Frame

Here’s my entry to Shogun-Jimi’s Valentine’s Day Maker Challenge.

This year I decided to make something classy for my wife.  With the return of The Walking Dead falling so close to Valentines day we had zombies on the mind, so she was bound to get something fun.  Checkout what I put together below.

Valentine’s Day Maker Challenge Playlist:

Shogun-Jimi’s channel:

How we made a 100lb steel and concrete RC Truck display

So this project ended up clogging the garage for 2 weeks as we reworked the design a few times.  We initially started out with the idea to make a shelf to display Damon’s RC truck to a steel and concrete behemoth.  All said and done he now has a display that comes in around 100lbs and he LOVES it.  When my wife asked why we were making it out of concrete instead of foam it was an easy answer…because it’s cool.  Checkout the below video to see how we did it.


To complete this project we used:

  • almost an entire 80lb bag of concrete
  • 1/2 of a bed frame
  • black pipe and caps for the legs
  • Melamine to make the form
  • a pile of rocks from the yard
  • primer & paint for the frame
  • Thompsons waterseal for the concrete

And to put it all together we used:

  • a grinder with cutting wheels and flap disc
  • miter saw with abrasive blade
  • mig welder
  • Bucket to mix concrete
  • trowel to move concrete around

Minute Tips: Securing RV cabinet doors

When I made the drawers for our tall cabinet I intended to use push-to-open drawer slides to prevent the drawers from smashing the door open when on the road.  Well, I ordered the wrong slides and instead of returning them and waiting for the slides I wanted I decided to use what I had.  I was hoping the spring loaded cabinet door catch would keep everything put, but was pretty sure I’d be dealing with this down the road.

When the drawers aren’t loaded all the way everything stays closed just fine, but when we have them loaded up for longer trips the weight slams the drawers into the door and they blast open.  While on out trip to Tennessee we made a pit stop at Home Depot to pickup some magnetic catches to help the door hold those drawers in place.  I ended up picking up two heavy duty magnetic catches for the task and left them in the cabinet for a month and a half and it turns out you need to install them for them to work.  The time has finally come to install them giving us our 2nd Minute Tips video, so check it out below.

500 Subscriber GIVEAWAY and our first Q&A

After 11 months, 53 videos and almost 90,000 video views we finally hit 500 subscribers! To celebrate, we answer your questions and are having our first giveaway.



500 Subscriber Giveaway

Minute Tips: Replacing axle grease caps

If you like your videos short and sweet this new Minute Tips series is for you.  In our first video in this series we show you how we remove and install axle grease caps.  Checkout the video below:

How to make a cordless drill mount for the RV

Well, after a few years of digging through the toolbox for my drill every time we setup and breakdown camp I finally got sick of it.  I needed to find a way to keep a cordless drill handy for putting the stabilizers up and down.  I wanted the drill in the same place each time I needed it and I don’t think that’s asking too much.

I’ve been planning to add some basic drill mounts to the workbench at home and was leaning towards a basic PVC mount that a lot of YouTube woodworkers have done.  So for this project I started with that idea and added a few features to make it roadworthy.

Here’s a list of supplies and tools I used for this project:
* Short (7-8″) section of 3″ PVC pipe
* Old piece of thin shock cord/bungee cord
* 1/2″ thick piece of foam (floor mat)
* Contact cement (I use Barge cement)
* Paint
* 3/4″ wood screws
* Drill
* Dremel
* Jig saw
* An old drill to keep in the RV

Once you have the materials together the build is pretty quick and easy.  It took me less than an hour to get it together and painted and I was winging this build (like most of our other stuff).  Checkout the below video to see how I did it and I’ve included steps below just in case you need them.

Step 1: Cut a section of 3″ PVC to length.
Step 2: Cut the slot to the handle to fit it.  Make sure the trigger rests below the bottom of the PVC.  I used a jig saw to rough out the shape and a Dremel to smooth it out and tweak the shape of the opening.
Step 3: Drill 1/4″ holes on the side to attach a piece of shock cord.  This will hold the drill in the mount when driving down the road.
Step 4: Heat and flatten the top of the PVC.  I wanted a flat area to mount this to avoid having the weight of the drill shake the screws loose.
Step 5: I used contact cement to attach a 1/2″ thick piece of foam to the inside top of the mount.  This was to stop the drill from jumping up and resting on the trigger while the shock cord pulled the drill forward into it.
Step 6: Paint it a pretty color.  There’s nothing better that a flashy tool holder, so I went with black.  I used black Plasti Dip for that extra bit of bling, but feel free to use any color you want as long as it’s black.  I think Henry Ford was onto something there.

This was a simple and cheap project that served a well needed purpose.  Have you done something similar or have a better idea?  Post it in the comments below.

Smart Tiles one year update and installing some more

Well, it’s been a year since we’ve installed our Smart Tiles back splash and wanted to give an update.  When Sandie came home with “Tile Stickers” I must say I was more than a little hesitant.  My initial reaction went something like “There’s no way I’m putting these fake a** tiles on the wall”, but after reading up on them I decided to give them a shot.  At about $10/sheet I was also put off by the price, but considering there’s no need for thin set, grout, floats, sponges and a messy cleanup they all of a sudden start to look like a great value.  Plus they won’t chunk off the wall while we’re bouncing the trailer down the road.  Checkout the below video to see our Smart Tiles update and watch us install them in the bath.

Now having them installed for a year I must say that I’m a believer.  If you know us, we’re not exactly easy on anything we own and these Smart Tiles are holding up wonderfully so far.  There’s absolutely no signs of wear and the adhesive (which I wasn’t all that confident in) shows no signs of quitting.  I must say I’d recommend these tiles to anyone looking to improve the looks of their RV without breaking the bank or sweating too much.

Since I installed the original back splash I’ve been squirreling away some scraps to add to the bathroom at some point.  Around the bathroom counter we have some shoddy plastic trim that’s cracked and broken and I’ve wanted to do something to make it look nicer for a while.  Now that our back splash has made it a year I guess it’s about time to do the bathroom and finally throw the rest of my scraps away.

If you haven’t seen the original Smart Tiles install video you can check it out here:

How To Install Electric Trailer Brakes

While getting ready for our first major trip of 2016 we decided it was time for new trailer brakes.  Last year when getting the trailer inspected we noticed that the linings were starting to crack, but no chunks have started coming off.  This year the cracks seem to have gotten worse, so I’m glad we finally replaced the brakes.

It took me about 30-45 minutes per wheel to replace the brakes which wasn’t too bad considering I was fooling around with the camera the entire time.  I also used our Andersen Rapid Jack (Amazon associate link) to lift each wheel one at a time instead of jacking and blocking each side which worked out well.

Here’s a list of tools and parts we used to complete this project:

  • Replacement brakes (Amazon associate link to the brakes we used)
  • Wheel bearing grease
  • Jacks, stands, chocks, etc.
  • Lug wrench
  • Torque wrench
  • Socket set
  • Wire cutters & strippers
  • Rags
  • Brake cleaner
  • Brake spoon
  • New cotter pins
  • Wire nuts or crimp connectors

The install was pretty straight forward.  Checkout the below video to see how we did it.


Now that we’ve scratched brakes off our maintenance list, the next major purchases for the trailer is new tires.


Trip preparation with a new 4L80E transmission filter

While preparing the trailer for its first trip of 2016 we’re also doing some maintenance on our tow vehicle.  Like our trailer, our Suburban is older and in need of love more than those new shiny trucks.  With that in mind, we decided on a little pampering before towing 1300 miles and we started with a new transmission filter and sparkling red transmission fluid.

Our 1999 Suburban K2500 has a GM 4L80-E transmission which is a 4 speed automatic used commonly in GM trucks, commercial vans and the Hummer.  This transmission can easily be identified by the 17 bolts on the pan.

To get started, you need to drain the fluid from the transmission.  I got lucky again and my pan has a drain plug, but if yours doesn’t you’ll need to strategically loosen bolts to allow it to drain from the front.  Once the pan is off the filter pulls straight out and the new one pushes right in.

Below is a list of parts and tools I used for this job:

  • Transmission filter kit (includes filter, gasket and o-ring)
  • ATF – our Suburban uses Dexron III
  • Funnel
  • 3/8″ ratchet with various extensions
  • 10mm socket
  • Rags

Checkout our video below to see how we installed the new transmission filter.


Up next for the Suburban before our next journey is an oil change and brakes.  This will get everything moving and stopping nicely.