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Author Topic: Watch me build an Observation Hive  (Read 18922 times)
specialkayme
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« on: October 06, 2010, 07:13:15 PM »

I decided I needed a Fall '10 project. What better than to build an upgraded version of an Observation Hive? Basically, it's going to look somewhat like this (Version 4.0):




I will call it (shockingly) Version 5.0. The differences between Version 4.0 and Version 5.0 will be:
1. It will be done in Red Oak.
2. It will have the feeder closer to the glass panel, rather than on the side.
3. It will have a smaller lazy susan base.
4. It will (hopefully) be able to detach from the lazy susan base (still working on this one).
5. It will have safety glass in the panels (Version 4.0 has Plexiglass).
6. It will have a screened bottom board, with a drawer to put a sticky pad for mite counts.
7. It will (hopefully) solve some of the slide close problems that Version 4.0 had.
*The hopefully sections I have not worked out the mechanics of it yet, but have decided to start on the upper section first.

Besides that, the overall look will be the same. Three deep frames or four medium frames, single frame depth.

I am hoping to do posts periodically, as I build it. This way those who wish to build their own can observe. Others can comment as to what I am doing incorrectly (or what they think I should do instead). Ideally, with me posting, this keeps me motivated to finish (and not let it sit for 5 months on end with no changes). I probably will only spend about two or so hours a week on it, so be patient.

Any comments, questions, or concerns are more than welcome. I hope you enjoy!
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specialkayme
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2010, 07:37:01 PM »

Day 1

First to be built, the sides that the frames rest on.

I start with a 1"x2" Red Oak board, cut two sections to 32" long. Using the table saw, I ripped the two boards so they were 1 3/8" thick, instead of the 1 1/2". Since they are 1 3/8" thick, it's the exact thickness of the frames, securing them in place. The bee space is corrected by the panels. (Even though the picture has the dato blade on, I used the regular blade)



Next I put the dato blade onto the table saw and set it up to be 9/16" thick, cutting 7/16" deep. The cuts were spaced so that the first one left a 1" gap at the top, then there was a 6 7/8" between the first and second, 2 3/16" between the second and third, 3 1/16" between the third and fourth, and 5 7/8" between the fourth and fifth cuts. This should leave 10" of space on the bottom (Enough for the frame, plus 1" of extra space). These cuts allow me to have either 3 deep frames, or 4 medium frames. The cuts for the deeps were spaced so there was 3/4" between the frames. The medium cuts ended up being where they could fit.



And a better picture of the dato cuts.



I ended up cutting both sides. However, only on one of the sides did I cut two extra grooves for the hinges. One of the panels will be screwed into the Observation Hive. The other panel will be on hinges. To make sure that I don't screw up the bee space, or to make sure that the hinge isn't exposed to the outside of the hive (or the bees inside so they end up gunking it up) I cut two grooves on the sides of one of the bars. Both cuts were two inches wide, and 3/16" deep. It took four passes with the dato blade.



Both hinges were positioned where the thickest part of the top and bottom frames were expected to be, or roughly between 7 and 9 inches from the bottom, and between 4 and 6 inches from the top. This way, when I close the hive, the panels are less likely to bow outward if any of the frames are thicker than 1 3/8" due to propolis. I contemplated adding a third hinge, but since I had no problems with two hinges on Version 4.0 I decided to keep it simple. Here is a better picture of the grooves for the hinges.



My Golden Retriever Toby helped me make some of the cuts, and was nice enough to lay in the picture for comparison Smiley

Here is another, closer picture of the hinge groove.



That's all the work done for today. I still need to sand the frame rest pieces, but other than that they are all cut. Stay tuned to watch how it all pans out!
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AllenF
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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2010, 07:58:40 PM »

Hey, we got the same table saw.   Cool.
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« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2010, 07:37:07 AM »

This is great stuff! thanks for the tutorial.
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specialkayme
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2010, 10:20:03 PM »

Day Two

Next up: The window frames.

*Disclaimer: My woodworking terminology is not the best. I'm going with terms that I think is right. Feel free to correct me, but don't hold it against me.

In the past I have made my window frames from but ends. This time, I am trying something different and going with mitered ends.

First, I start off with my 1"x2" Red Oak boards. I cut them into 4 boards that are 20" long, and 4 boards that are 32" long.

Next, I set up the table saw to do a 45 degree cut on the ends of the boards. (I realize a miter saw would be perfect for this. Alas, I don't have one, and the wife isn't keen to new toys at the moment)



By simply adjusting the sled to push at 45 degrees, and setting up the fence to make sure I cut it exactly where I want to, I can just slide it right into the blade.



And repeat on the other end.



Once finished, you should have 4 boards that are 20" on the long side, and 17" on the short side, and 4 boards that are 32" on the long side, and 29" on the short side. All ends are cut on a 45 degree angle.



If you pay attention, I changed the way I cut them after the first two. The sled wasn't dialed into exactly 45 degrees, even though it said it was. I figured the easier way was to angle the blade at 45 degrees. Once angled, I took a scrap piece of wood and ran it through there, and attached it to the sled. I lined all the progressing boards to be cut to the scrap wood. Maybe not the easiest way, but it gets the job done.

When you push them all together, they look like this (lying next to the 32" frame rest for comparison).



And separated slightly to show where the cuts were made (if it wasn't obvious from the above picture).



Now with the window frame and frame rests cut to this side, it accomplishes something that not everyone else does. Some observation hives that I have seen place the glass (or plexi) on the inside of the window frame attached with screws. I've seen others put into grooves on the outside, or held in place with mirror clips. This ends up accomplishing the 1 3/4" bee space directly between the two pieces of glass, with nothing holding the frame in the middle. The frame ends up moving around, and you might get more space on one side of the frame, squishing the bees on the other side. a real problem if the queen is on one of the frames that's being squished as you transport it somewhere. I have seen some make 'grooves' on the frame rest portions to hold the frames in place. While this helps the top stay in the middle of the OH, the bottoms are left to swing left and right.

To remedy this problem, I make the frame rest the exact width of the frame end bars (as you remember from day one). The window pieces hold the end bars in place, not the glass itself. I'm able to accomplish the additional room needed by cutting a groove in the window pieces, essentially putting the glass in the middle of the window frame, and not on the inside or outside edge.

Here are some pictures of how the window frame will look from the inside, once closed.



Here is another picture showing that the frame end bar gets held in place by the window frames, ensuring that the combs don't flop around if transported, squishing some bees and allowing excess room for comb building on the other side.



If not entirely clear right now, I'll show how the bee space is maintained when I cut the groove for the glass, accomplished another day.

Thanks for stoping by, and enjoy!
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Tommyt
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« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2010, 10:55:20 AM »

This looks Great so Far you may cause me to make one of these
I'll wait and watch your Progress

Tom
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specialkayme
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2010, 11:34:10 AM »

This looks Great so Far you may cause me to make one of these
I'll wait and watch your Progress

Tom

While you might want to wait to see the finished project, it will look alot like the first picture.

Still, better to let me finish and make sure there arn't any "kinks" in the system, before you start.

The real interesting part comes when I add the part that allows the hive to disassemble from the lazy susan. That will be fun!
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« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2010, 12:27:17 PM »

Very nice. Are you running that dado blade with no insert cover? I am going to make my own behives. I've built up some woodworking tools (table saw, bandsaw, miter saw, 2 routers and 1 router table and a Leigh D1600 Dovetail Jig) and would like to get started this weekend. I do need to get me a jointer and planer combo. I will be watching your build for sure. Good job.
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specialkayme
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« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2010, 07:47:01 PM »

Are you running that dado blade with no insert cover?

Sometimes. It depends on how thick I set the dato blade. The cover I have isn't set for dato, so if it's set too thick the blade gets in the way (so off comes the cover). I worked on it today, with the dato blade and kept the cover on it, but only because the dato was set at 1/4".

I'll post an update probably tomorrow or Friday. Too exhausted right now.

But thanks for stoping by. I love comments  cool
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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2010, 03:02:09 PM »

As promised, the update on what I've done in the past week or so.

Day 3

I began working on completing the doors that attach to the frame rests. While others attach their glass directly to the side of the observation hive, I prefer having mine surrounded by wood, and put them directly into the door that hinges open. In order to do that, I first take the dato blade and set it up to cut at 1/4" thick. The groove that is cut on the door will be 1/4" thick.

In order to maintain the bee space, I need 1 3/4" of space between the glass. The frame rest is 1 3/8" thick, that means i need to make up 3/8" of space. Divided equally between the two doors, that means each 1/4" groove needs to be 3/16" away from the side. I set up the table saw to cut it at this distance, and run all 8 pieces through.



Having run the boards through, when looking at the grooves they look something like this.



I'm not too sure how clear it is from the picture, but the 1/4" groove in the wood should be closer to one side than it is the other. The side that it's closer to needs to go toward the inside of the hive, to maintain the bee space.

From there, I grabbed the router.



And did a little cosmetic work.



Having made them look a little nicer, I grabbed the 4 shorter bars (which will make the tops and bottoms of the doors) and drilled two small holes in the ends of each for the screws to go. Make sure to drill them between the groove and the end, otherwise when you try to screw it together you end up drilling into the glass.



Having drilled the holes, align up a long bar with a short bar, hold it in place at a 90 degree angle, and drill the holes through the end bars into the side bars.



Add screws



and you are good to go. Notice the two screws to ensure that a side doesn't twist while the glass is inside the door. Additionally, all screw heads are on the tops and bottoms, and not on the sides. This will make sure that the screws aren't visible when the entire thing is completed.



Continue through till all tops or bottoms are met up with a side.





I find it easier to attach the glass to two 90 degree slots of wood, rather than attaching three to each other then sliding in the glass. I guess to each their own.

I wanted to make sure that each piece of glass was put in square, so I grabbed some clamps to finish the job.



Repeat till the entire glass is enclosed. I chose to use 1/4" laminated glass. It was alot heaver than I originally anticipated.



a better view so you can see how thick the glass is.



And continue for the second door.



Well that's all for now. Next time I'll show you how I attached the doors to the frame rests. From there, it's the bottom board (complicated) and the top bar. Then the lazy susan.

Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate the comments!
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« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2010, 03:17:01 PM »

nice. will be waiting for updates.
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« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2010, 04:37:41 PM »

great job!!!
 do you glue the frame as well as screwing it together?
  Jim
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« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2010, 04:58:02 PM »


 do you glue the frame as well as screwing it together?
 

Good question Jim, my wife asked as I was putting it together  Kiss

No, I do not.

The bees will propolis up any cracks that exist, whether you see them or not, including any gaps between the wood and the glass. If, for whatever reason, the glass should break, it's improtant to be able to remove it as easily as possible. This would mean just screwing it apart, not cutting it due to glue.

I have seen others that will glue two or three sides together, and leave the last side unglued. If you do this, you require that you have to slide the glass out of the frame in order to remove it. When it's gummed up with propolis, this doesn't make for an easy task, especially when you are dealing with shards of glass that could potentially cut you.

Without using glue, I can just unscrew all the parts of the frame and pull the entire frame apart. Doing that lets all the broken glass pieces fall out (or with a quick yank or a few taps). Then I can reconstruct it around the new piece of glass.
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« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2010, 05:40:52 PM »

This is just my opinion but I would glue the sides and bottom rail. You have already said the laminate is heavier than you thought, suggesting to me that strength is needed. Also, you are using a laminate, its more than likely not going to break. I was reading on Bush's site where he mentions that his grandsons have struck his numerous times with nary a crack.

I am with you though on trying to make it easy to repair.
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« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2010, 06:19:04 PM »

I see where you are coming from, but I don't view it as much of a concern. The laminated glass isn't applying force in all directions. It's only applying it downward, i.e. on the bottom rail. 99% of the time, the bottom board will be below the bottom rail, so it's not a big deal. 1% of the time I have the door open, and it's not supported by the bottom board. 4 screws are sufficient (in my opinion) to hold the glass for 1% of the time.

But hey, if you want to glue it, by all means be my guest. Just from personal experience, having to change the glass out is difficult enough, let alone having to "slide it, glide it, push pull and ride it" all the way out. Then when that doesn't work, having to cut the frame in order to get it out, and build an all new one.
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« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2010, 01:13:11 PM »

Day 4

This update should be rather quick. All I did here was attach the Glass Frames to the Frame rests.

I didn't take very many pictures, because I didn't feel that it was really necessary. But, here are the pictures that I did take.



Basically, I started off attaching the hinge to the frame rest, in the grooves that I previously made. From there, I lined up the frame rests on the inside of the one glass frame. Having lined them up, I marked the frame rest to know where to attach the hinge that had already been attached to the frame rest.

Completing that, I had one frame rest attached to one glass frame. I then placed the other frame rest where I felt it should be, and placed the other glass frame where I felt it should be (baslically lining up the frame rests to the outside edge of the glass frames). I clamped them all together, and screwed four screws into the glass frame that WAS NOT attached to the hinge, drilling past the glass frame and into the frame rest. Having finished all four screws (two on each frame rest) I now had one glass frame that was attached to both frame rests, and one glass frame that was attached to one frame rest via a hinge.

I then took a locking window sashe.



and attached it to the part of the other frame that hinges open, enabling me to securely hold down the door that opens.



And how with both of them attached.



And a full view



And now showing how it opens. I placed a deep (in the wrong section) just to show how it fits.



That's it for today. Thanks for stoping in, and enjoy!
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« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2010, 11:24:19 AM »

Day 5

Alright, since the last one was fairly easy and straightforward, it seems only fair that this one be somewhat more complicated.

I started working on the bottom board, which comes in three parts. This is part number one, which consists of the main bottom board and the screened section.

I first started off with a 1"x6" board.



And I cut it to 29" long.



The reason why it is 29" long, and not a nice even number like 24" or 30" is because I want to make sure that I include everything that I want in it, while reducing the size as much as possible. This allows for it to fit in smaller spaces inside my house, and makes for easier transport when needed.

I marked all over this thing to show where everything goes.



The exact spots were everything goes doesn't matter too much right now, but if you were wondering, I have two support poles, the center of each will be placed 1 & 3/8" in from the edges. From there, the frame rests will be placed (the center of it) 4 & 7/8" in from either side. The center of the board will be 14 & 1/2" (obviously).

Finding the center, I drill a hole with a 1.5" hole saw.



The reason I've chosen a 1.5" hole, is one of these fits nicely in there.



a simple 1.5" x 6" plastic sink flange (photo courtesy of Robo and http://www.myoldtools.com/OBhive/OB_Chapter1.htm). I incorporated one of these into an OH I had a few years ago, and I loved it. I have not yet decided if I will use it, but I would like the option.

Here is what it looks like with it sticking out, showing how nice it fits.  afro
 




In the past I have routed a groove to make sure the sink flange sits flat. If I decide to use it again, I will route a groove, but I have not yet done so at this time.

Moving on, I now started to work on the screened bottom portion. Grabbing my router and the 3/4" straight bit.



The cuts start 5 & 1/4" in from either side, are 7 & 7/8" long and 1.5" wide. If placed correctly, the cuts should be 0.5" away from the hole that you previously cut in the center.



I skipped the interum cuts, but needless to say it took SEVERAL passes with the router to cut all the way through it. It also took a steady hand, as I decided not to use any guides and wanted to do it free hand. I don't know why, I was just in the mood to be creative  rolleyes

From here, we need to make the cuts for the feeder, that will be attached to the side near one of the frame rests. I flipped the board over (so as to make sure not to cut through the pencil marks I made previously) and cut a 1" wide groove, 5/8" deep using the router again. Make sure that the one end of the 1" wide groove matches up with where the frame rest will begin, and where the screened cut you just made ended.



This will create the channel for the bees to pass in and out to the feeder.

Next, I used the router still to cut a 0.25" deep cut that is 4" x 3". I chose not to center this cut around the groove, because if I did the feeder would mostly block the hive. Instead, I want it to mostly block the space next to the frame rest. As such, I made sure that I only cut 1" of space toward the center of the board, and 2" toward the outside of the board (2" outside, + 1" center, +1" of space already cut = 4").



Here is a little better picture to show the difference in depths of the cuts.



As you will notice, the one edge is rounded (from using the router). I need it square, so I grabbed a chisel and a hammer.



And squared it off. From here, I now have the space for the feeder, but I need to actually put in the feeder. So I grabbed a 1/4" x 5" oak board, and cut off a 4" x 5 & 1/8" section.





And as you will see, it fits rather nicely into the cut that we just made.



From there I constructed a basic feeder. I actually fumbled this part up, as you can see. The construction of it was fairly simple, but I just tried to use the feeder again, and chips went flying. It was constructed out of 1/4" oak again.



I know the "industry standard" is to use mason jars as feeders. That's great for others, but I use applesause jars. They are easy to come by, glass, and replaceable at will. To each heir own I guess. An applesause jar lid is 2 5/8" wide, so that's what I used. If you have a mason jar, you might want to adjust it accordingly.

Here is a view looking inside the feeder, notice that the gap for the opening is more on one side than it is on the other. That's because of the opening in the wood is on one side more than on the other.



To prevent the little ladies from getting out when the feeder isn't there, we need some #8 hardware cloth. I first started by stapling it to right above the entrance of the feeder, on the bottom board side.





Leaving the mesh there for now, I grabbed some good glue.



and glued the feeder to the bottom board.



Once held in place, I was able to fold the mesh down over the feeder, cut it to fit, and staple it to the feeder.



I eventually wasn't satisfied with just the staples, and felt the feeder needed a little more support. I eventually added some guerilla glue (admitedly too much of it) as well as a collar for the feeder. I didn't take pictures as I was doing it, but you can see it in the end shots.

Last thing that we need to do is attach the screen to the cuts you made in the bottom board. I'll be attaching wood to the underside of this bottom board, so I need to make sure that the wood attached will sit flat even with the screen there. So, I went BACK to the router and cut a groove around the screened cut we made before. It was only about a 1/16" deep, just about the thickness of #8 hardware cloth.





And stapled the screen in place.



Giving us the end product, a bottom board.





If it wasn't clear as I was building it, the entrance will be the 1.5" hole in the center, and the cuts we made to the left and right of it are the screened bottom boards.

Next up I'll make the drawers for the screens, followed by the shut off gate, the lazy susan base, and finally the top board.

Thanks for stoping by. I know I don't always do things the easiest way, and my methods are usually a little unorthodox, but I have fun and get the job done. Thanks for all the comments and questions, I really appreciate them.
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« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2010, 07:04:13 AM »

What a tremendous tutorial! Thanks!
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« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2010, 07:52:36 PM »

Day 6

I figured it was about time for me to post an update. Thanks to everyone for being patient.

When I left off last time, we had built the screened bottom board, and that's it. In a conventional outdoor hive, you can create a screened bottom board and let all the debris fall to the ground. That isn't really an option with an indoor observation hive. Sure you COULD have it fall to the base of it, but then you are pulling out the dustbuster every few days, and that gets to be a pain. Plus, when friends come over, there is crap all over the bottom of the hive. Including, the occasional mite or wax moth. Really embarrassing  Undecided even if they don't know what it is.

So for my Observation Hive, I want some way that I can trap that debris and clean it out without having to get the dust buster, and without it being 'seen'. So I decided to go with drawers. Since we have two screened portions, we need two drawers that slide in and out. The center will have the entrance going directly through it, so for the time being it has to be solid. So here is what it's basic construction (the housing for the drawers) looks like:



It comprises of two 1x2 peicnes of oak, cut to 24" long. If you noticed the fact that the sides look different on the ends, it's because I originally cut it to be 18" (I think) long, then realized my mess up and had to glue extensions on to it. Oops.



Then in the center I have a 2.25" piece of 1" oak. This will allow the center entrance hole to pass through it.



It is designed to be 5.5" wide (for now), or the exact width of the 1x6" board that makes up the bottom board.



Before gluing it all together, I cut a 1/4" groove in the slots, so that the drawers could fit in there.



I can't really tell you what the "dimensions" of the dato slots were. i really just went with what felt comfortable at the time.

From there, I created the actual drawers, using scrap wood that was available. 1/4" oak makes up the bottom, while scrap 1/4" oak makes the sides and back. Scrap 1x2" oak makes up the thicker front portion, which has the same groove in it that the rails have. The sides and back were attached with woodglue, while the thicker front portion was attached with Guerilla Glue. The center was polyeruothained (sp?).



Here are a few more photos with better pictures of the dimensions of the drawers, if anyone is interested in replicating them Cheesy







I'm sorry I don't have pictures of me cutting the pieces, gluing them, or actual dimensions of the cuts used. I was in a zone and just went with it.

Here are a few pictures of the drawers sliding in and out of the rails, after a little bit of sanding.





Attached to the rails that house the drawers will be the first of two "cut off" valves, allowing me to close the entrance of the hive and transport the hive, if needed. The first one is attached to the bottom board, while the second one will be attached to the base. The "cut off" valve will slide, so we needed to create the slide as well as the grooves that it is housed in.

I used 1/4" oak boards to create two 24" long, 1.75" wide boards.





I used the router to cut grooves in the sides that were 1/8" deep, and .75 inches wide (I believe).

Here is a better view to see how they were cut.



These sides will be glued to the rails, with the smooth side (the un routed side) facing away from the rails. In between the two of them houses the larger slide mechanism. It is 24" long, and 3.75" wide.





On either edge of it, I used the router to create the same 1/8" deep cut, .75 inches wide.



Once you glue the two smaller pieces of the slide to the rails, it will look like this.



And like this from the side (to help conceptualize how you glued the two smaller boards, remembering to glue them with the routed side facing the rails)



This allows the thicker slide piece to slide directly under the rails, as such.





And finally, with it closed.



A hole will be drilled directly through the block in the center of the two rails, as well as the center of the "shut off" slide. Then when you push the slide to one side, it closes the entrance and you can remove the hive.

Eventually, the rails will be glued to the underside of the bottom board. But that is a task for another day.

Again, I'm sorry I havn't taken too many photos of me actually building it, just interim shots of the pieces. Sometimes I get in a groove and just have to roll with it. But I'll try to do a better job.

Thanks again for stoping by.
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KD4MOJ
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« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2010, 09:49:32 AM »

All I can say is WOW!!!!!  Great tutorial so far!  I wish I had that much woodworking talent...

...DOUG
KD4MOJ
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