Thursday, September 14, 2017

Debt Free Real Estate Investing - $12K House - DEMOLITION - Full Renovation

Working hard is hard work, whether you're mining coal, fishing for lobster, sit in a cubical all day, dig holes or renovate houses. I'm no stranger to working hard and it has earned me some great opportunities, but working hard alone is a fools game. You've got to add some "working smart" into the mix. Trading hours for dollars is a great way to get money, but don't just spend it on your bills and toys, invest as much as you can towards creating passive income. Real estate is a great vehicle for creating wealth. It offers so many options, selling and renting being the obvious choices. I'm currently buying inexpensive (dirt cheap) properties with a goal of building a rental portfolio that replaces the need for me to work daily to make an income. Once I have enough monthly cash flow, I plan on shifting my attention towards more expensive properties either commercial rental or flipping nice homes. For now, I'm building the foundation that all the rest will rely on. In this project, I purchased a cinder block house for $12,000. I'll put around $10k in the property and either rent or sell it once the renovation is complete. If I rent I could gross $6k - over $7k a year. If I sell I could profit around $20k, maybe more. The decisions are still in consideration. The video below shows the first major step of the renovation, gutting the house. The demolition took several days, this video shows it in only a few minutes. Enjoy.

Wait, don't go anywhere! If you enjoyed this video there's more. First, if you could share the link to this page or the video it's self I would be very grateful. I've also posted some links below that you would also enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.
Suggested Reading Mystery Link-

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

$12K Tiny Block House - Intro & Day ONE of work!

As many of you know, I buy houses. I am buying them to rent, sell and live in. Regardless of the specific reason, I'm doing it as an investment. I have bought a handful of houses with the average price around $11,000....including closing costs. I just picked up another house for right under $12,000 and will be renovating it into a rental property. I'll be posting videos to both of my YouTube channels, The Homestead Craftsman and Homemade Home. I'll post big landmark updates on The Homestead Craftsman and more detailed "follow along" style videos on Homemade Home. Here's the first look at the house.

Day one of work is daunting, you really feel the full weight of how much work there is to be done. On top of that, you keep finding more things to add to the list. The following video goes over my thoughts and tasks of that day.

I'm excited about this project, it is small, easy to work on and in a location that will make it an excellent rental. In only a few years, this house will have paid me more in rent than it cost me to purchase and do the renovation. Doing the renovation will buy me 10-15 years before anything major will have to be done to this house. While a house like this isn't a gold mine, it's an inexpensive way to build passive income. A small batch of houses like this with good tenants represents more monthly income than many people make at their full time jobs. If you are like me, you don't have a lot of money, so it can be slow to get started but with each success, the next house comes easier and the renovation isn't as much of a strain. I encourage you all that have the "want to" to look into investing in real estate more. I started out with no job, no house and no clue how to get started. Over a 5 year period I went from nothing to owning multiple rental properties and my own home. My wife and I are completely debt free, including NO MORTGAGE on our personal home since it was purchased with cash and renovated as I could afford it. While 5 years may seem like an eternity to some, consider paying a mortgage for 30 years and how obstructive it would be to forward movement in the area of real estate investing. The average mortgage is around $1,000 a month. Not having to pay this and redirecting those funds toward buying an income generating asset like rental property is a no brainier....if you are willing to do what it takes. I find the key is to not let your standards and expectations get out of hand. Don't worry about what others are doing, consider what you need and want. Getting caught up in thinking you "NEED" everything everyone else has just lines the pockets of businesses that are doing what they should be doing, selling their products. Instead, focus on what your future could be if you managed your standards and expectations. Focus on what your life could be if you were debt free and didn't have monthly bills for things you don't need baring down on you at all times. Imagine the comfort of knowing that your home is yours. Manage your standards and expectations! You'll find that life is still very many cases, more enjoyable.

Thank you all for having a look at the post. In order to get this all done, I can't film the videos like I'm in Hollywood or write this text like an award winning author. These posts will have to be a little raw, but what they will be is truthful and representative of the process that I'm going through and the mindset to see them through.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

My Biggest Custom Order Yet - White Oak Trestle Table

This is without a doubt my most involved woodworking project yet. While I have built more complex pieces of furniture, this table required a lot of resources to be called on. It started as a request from a good customer, inquiring about having a table built. It's purpose was to be a feature piece in a cabin that they where restoring. Along with this trestle table, I also crafted a 8 foot farm table and benches as part of the same order. While I had about 4 months to complete the order, I literally sprayed the lacquer finish on the base about an hour before delivery. 

This table is made from white oak, sourced from a local tree service. The tree yielded 3 nice logs. Lumber was milled from the logs using a band saw mill, with the majority being quarter-sawn. This is a very labor intensive process, even with a fully hydraulic mill. First the log is sliced length wise into four even pieces, like a pie. Then boards are taken off each face of these quarters alternating between faces. This yields some of the most beautiful and stable lumber available with growth rings running straight down the board. It is stable in that it expands and contracts across it's thickness, not it's width which reduces cupping and warping. 

The lumber for the table top was dried in an electric kiln for about 2 months. While the larger dimension lumber for the base continued to dry, I got started with the table top. I planed the heavy boards with the help of the sawyer and my father in a helical head planer to about 2 inches. The top is so large and heavy that I could not make it in my small basement shop. I ended up renting out space in a warehouse for one week, and boy was it a good idea. For jointing the boards in preparation for gluing them into a 12 by 4 foot slab, I “jointed” their edges with my Festool track saw. To get a perfect cut, I used a brand new blade and it did indeed come out perfect. The table top was first glued up into two halves, then joined into the final slab. For aligning the boards and two halves I used 8mm domino tenons, cutting the mortises with my Festool XL 700 which was specifically purchased for this project. Luckily it has made things much easier and faster in the shop since on a variety of projects. After picking up the lumber for the base, I jointed and planed the lumber with a jointer and planer in the rented space but built the structure in my own shop. I built up the center post of the trestle out of two pieces, this was done to make sure the lumber used would dry faster with less chance of splitting. All the joinery in this piece was fairly simple thanks to my domino joiner. The balance of the joints were traditional mortise and tenons, a saddle joint of sorts and large screws. While simple using the domino joiner, the joinery for this project would have been massively time consuming and complicated if it would have been done totally traditional, I can't say enough about how great an asset XL-700 is in my shop. With all the pieces and parts of the base fabricated, I glued them together using Tightbond 3 wood glue. I used a variety of clamps throughout this project, from quick grips, pipe and band clamps. Thankfully the glue up went smooth. I stained the table using Minwax Jacobean. After staining the base I added bracing to the trestles, this was more decorative than structural, even though it does add a large amount of strength. These pieces where added after staining for ease of assembly and staining. I used large counter sunk wood screws, lubricating the treads with Vaseline. This keeps the screw moving and avoids snapping off the head. Both the base and the table top where finished with M.L. Cambell Pre-Catalyzed Lacquer which dries almost immediately. I sprayed on 3ish coats sanding in between with 220 grit paper. Once fully dry I rubbed out the finish to an even satin sheet with 3M finishing pads.
This was quite the project and one that I would question doing again. With that said, it was a great experience and I happy I built the table. The customer was very happy with the table and the fact that they got it in time for the cabins debut.

Here's The Full Video!

I'll also be producing a series of videos about this project, where I go over in more detail certain aspects of the build. This will be done over several videos posted over the next few weeks. If you have any questions in the meantime, let me know. Thank you all for you time and support. If you have any friends or family you can share the video with, I would greatly appreciate it.

Amazon Affiliate Links for Tools and Products used in this video, click for prices and details.

Festool XL 700-
Festool Tracksaw-
Knockoff Festool Blade-  (36 tooth)

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hammer and Chisel Engraving - A Traditional Craft

Engraving is the cutting of various lines into metal that form decorative patterns. “Hammer and Chisel” is the traditional form of metal engraving done with a small chasing hammer and chisels of various forms. For my personal engraving hammer and chisel handles, I chose to make them myself on a metal lathe. The chisel that goes into the handle is ground by hand from a 1/8 micro grain carbide blank to various shapes depending on the desired cut. In the first video on this post, I do a basic demonstration without explanation just to show the process. I take a “pull” from an engraved firearm by putting black chalk in the cut lines. I then transfer this design with tape to a pull plate that has been waxed so that the chalk adheres. Once the image is in place, I select a tool and begin cutting the main lines, followed up with single point shading and a punched background. Again, this is a simple demonstration and I am by no means an expert. I am still learning the craft of engraving from a seasoned engraver with the goal of doing it both for personal projects and professionally for an additional source of income. In the future I would like to engrave the knives that I am making for a fully executed project as well as engraving jewelry and inlays in wood. Professionally I would engrave firearms for the most part which offers many challenges such as various metal types and uneven surfaces.

A selection of hand engraving tools.

Hammer and Chisel Hand Engraving is fairly simple as far as equipment goes, you need a hammer, chisels and a way to hold your work piece. My vice is a traditional engravers block, which is a ball shaped vice that you can position freely to make your cuts. There are of course many other accessories that you can gain from such as dividers, sharpening stones, optics and more. The more modern form of engraving uses pneumatic hand pieces and powerful magnification. It is a faster and easier method to learn and quite popular. While both forms of engraving can create beautiful works of art, hammer and chisel is still prized as the traditional form.

Featured Video

Hand engraved rifle.

Thank you for taking the time to view my video and read this short piece. Below are several other videos I have posted on the topic with more to come in the future.

Here's some links for engraving tools on Amazon, Associate links help support the channel and website.

Headband Maginifer-
My Engraving Vice-
Engraving Hammer-
Swing Arm Engraving Lamp-
Pneumatic Engraving-
Assortment of Gravers-

The Art of Engraving-
Engraving on Precious Metals-
The Jewelry Engravers Manuel-
Fantastic Ornament-
Steel Canvas: The Art of American Arms-

Making Engraving Chisel Handles

Engraving Tools and Work Space

Getting Started - What to Cut First

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2016 Nutcracker Making - The Blacksmith

As you all know, life is busy. In the pursuit of greener grass people run themselves ragged, basically eating and sleeping in between working. One way to combat that is to have no excuses time set aside to do things together. One of these times that my wife and I have established is making our annual nutcracker. While a project like this can be kind of daunting during my most busy time of the year, we have done so for the past 6 years! Our first nutcracker, Mr. Nutty, was inspired by my wife's love for the Nutcracker play. I surprised her on one of her visits 4 years before we got married with a clean workshop and a huge pile of split oak for the wood stove. She lit up when I told her what we where going to do.

The first step was heading out into the woods to find a good tree to work with, we found a standing dead tree about 4 inches round for a good 12 feet. We cut it down and drug it back to the shop and got started cutting it into nutcracker sized pieces. We have continued to use this same tree for each nutcracker and have one more nutcracker's worth! We also use other pieces of wood for smaller pieces and parts. The use of metal, leather, fabric, clay and other materials also makes the list. Each nutcracker has been turned on my old lathe by both my wife and I. Before turning we first decide the theme of the project and then without looking at the other, each draw our idea. Afterwards we look at out drawings and decide the best features and combine them into one magnificent nutcracker. The majority of the nutcracker is turned on the lathe with the balance of the parts made on other tools in the shop. Once parts start getting finished up, my wife starts painting on the cloths and other decorative elements. Assembly consists of drilling holes, using nails, epoxy and what ever else we need. First we assemble the nutcrackers chomper, arms and legs. Next comes gluing it into the base, attaching his shoes and doing some finishing work including gluing on his hair and making what ever clothing he may be wearing. In the end we have an incredible amount of time tied up in something you can buy for less than $10.......but saving money........or time, clearly isn't the idea.

Around Thanksgiving each year, we realize it's about that time again and start thinking of ideas. After Thanksgiving we get a tree and start brainstorming on paper and get started. They take about a week to make from the time the first piece of wood is turned. Thank you for taking the time to read these words and watch the video. I hope it sparks an idea in you as well to make your own nutcracker or other fun project with your family.

Here's our other nutcrackers in the order we made them, Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Farmhouse Bench Video and Plans

This bench is the same design I sell along with my farm tables. For those of you that are new to my website and YouTube channel, I am a furniture maker. I have a small basement workshop where I build many different projects. For income, I make and sell farm tables and other pieces of furniture. My best seller is a traditional farmhouse table with turned legs, reclaimed wood top and a distressed painted finish. It has been a great seller and created many opportunities for me in the form of content for my channel, a set of plans and income from sales. My tables where a hit from the start and shortly after getting started customers started requesting a bench in a similar style. This is the very design that I sell to my customers. It is simple, quick to make and built from common materials. It's a great add on item to an order that adds only a small amount of addition work to an order for it's return. Whether you are looking for a simple bench for your home, as a gift or as a source for additional income, this bench is a great way to go. My customers use them with farm tables, by their front door, as coffee tables, on porches and just about everywhere else you can imagine.

As a woodworking project, I would call this a beginner project for the handy person. There's multiple ways to go about building the bench, but you could get by with a jigsaw and drill. The best simple set of tools that would be good to have would be a miter saw, drill, jig saw and a table saw. If you don't have a table saw, you could alter the plan and buy a ready piece of lumber to substitute for the bench rails. Regardless of your method, you'll come out with a piece of furniture that you are proud of. While a set of plans will be used, each person's bench will come out unique in the fact that different wood is used, different colors, sizes and not to mention alterations to the design. I look forward to seeing what you come up with, good luck. Here's the video! 

Here's some more videos you may enjoy!

Farm Table Build-
Another Bench-
And another Bench-
Distessed Painted Furniture-

Interested in building both a table and bench, here's a link to both.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

How to Build a Farmhouse Table - Full Video & Plans!

Farm tables have a rich history all around the world. Their simple utilitarian design gives them their charm. Farm tables work well with just about any style home -- country, modern or eclectic, for example. Whether a farm table is an antique or a reproduction, the history associated with them makes each one stand alone as an artifact. This is the reason farm tables do not have to match the decor that surrounds them like other style furniture. They are like sculptures in this way, yet, in application they are simply worktables for the kitchen as well as a place for families to gather around for meals. These aspects of farm tables are in part what initially attracted me to them, and ultimately influenced my decision to focus on making them for customers. I have made quite a few of these tables and am pleased to know the role they play in my customer's lives. In the same vein I decided I wanted a way to make the same impact on a larger scale. By making this set of plans I, with the help of fellow craftsmen, will be able expand the number of homes and families my table design can reach, more so than I could ever achieve on my own.

This table is simple. It has four legs, four aprons and is constructed with pegged mortise and tenon joints. The top is a simple glued up slab of reclaimed lumber, in my case, but you can choose anything you would prefer. The top is the most obvious and impactful element that makes your table stand apart as unique. The legs are in the same boat. I demonstrate and give dimensions for a turned leg made on a lathe; however, you can turn a different design, or go with a more primitive leg shape like a taper for example. Regardless of your end design, simple, easy to obtain materials can, and should, be used, as that’s kind of the spirit of this style table. The materials are not flashy; it’s just a table to be a table with subtle design elements that make them so desirable. This handcrafted set of woodworking plans makes it possible to have this vary table in your home!

I also put together a great list of videos that will be helpful when making your table, enjoy

My book on developing this table-
Making a 10 Foot Farm Table-
Tapered legs-
Painting and distressing-
Making tables fast-
Wood lathe duplicator-
Table saw tenon jig-
Scraping a table top-
Repairing reclaimed lumber-
Jointing with a track saw-
My drum sander-
Wipe on poly-
Pegged mortise and tenon-
Hand hewn look with block plane-
Drill press mortises-
Attaching a table top-