Over the last few months I have been going through a shop organization to try and make the layout of my shop more efficient so that I can be more productive when I’m working in there. One thing that I did have to get rid of to free up some more space was my large miter saw station. Although it was a great shop fixture and provided a lot of storage it just took up too much floor space. One thing I was struggling to find a home for was mid-sized cut offs. I had some shelves on my multipurpose table for smaller cut offs that I wanted to save and had lumber storage on the walls for larger pieces of lumber but a place to lengths between two to four feet was lacking.
Fleximounts contacted me about trying out a new product they had released and it seemed like it would fit the bill for the storage solution for these cut offs. I accepted their invitation to try their Adjustable 3-Teir Storage Wall Shelves and in exchange told them I would publish my opinion in the form of this review and YouTube video. This is not a paid advertisement and in an effort to be able to give a good assessment of this product I waited to write this review and to edit the video till after I had used the shelf in my shop for a few months.
Fleximount offers two size and color options for their Height Adjustable Wall Shelves. I selected the larger black 1’ x 4’ shelf for my shop since I wanted to be able to maximize my available space.
The shelf was very well packaged and came without any damage or missing parts due to shipping. This is one of my frustrations with some companies that skimp in this area and in turn you receive a damaged product or it is missing parts. The shelf also came with hardware to mount it both on concrete walls and traditional drywall sheathed studded walls. The included template with leveling bubble wasn’t used in my installation because all of my studs had been previously marked when I put up the French cleats in my shop. I do think this is a great option to include with a product like this in case someone installing it might not own a level.
Product Overview: The Height Adjustable Wall Shelf comes with two wall brackets, six shelf brackets, and three shelves. All of these parts are powder coated and seem to be very well made. At first the shelf appears to be similar to many other commercially available adjustable shelves but it is the patented design for securing the shelf to the shelf bracket and to the wall bracket. This method of securing the shelves really is a huge improvement over the others and was the biggest reason that I wanted these in my shop. Anyone who has used other adjustable shelves have probably had a nice surprise when someone or something bumped the shelf causing the bracket to come out of the wall bracket causing it all to come crashing down. The one down side I did find when installing the shelf is in the design of what makes this shelf great. Now I’m not sure if it’s truly in the design or just my meaty fingers but I had a hard time locking in the shelves without the use of a screw driver. The company says that you can secure them without the use of a tool.
Would I recommend this product? Yes, I think what you get for the price point that Fleximounts is offering this Height Adjustable Wall Shelf and given the fact that it has the patented locking system which I think makes it a far more superior product that the other available options. If you would like more information on this product you can visit https://www.fleximounts.com/ or if you would like to purchase the one I got from Amazon you can find it at http://amzn.to/2CXPbGW
I recently found out that I had been the subject of a short essay from a new author. Even though I’ve been interviewed on a podcast and had some of my work featured in Wood Magazine, reading this essay gave me a feeling of pride unparalleled to even my best project. I wanted to feature this essay on this blog to not only share something that really touched me but also to introduce a very talented writer and craftsmen to all of you… so without further ado I present a short essay written by my son, Mike Merzke Jr.
During the early years of my life there were many defining moments and relationships that set me down the path I’m on. The relationship I had with my father played a very strong role in my decision of a career and how I choose to live my life. Whether I was visiting my dad for a day or for a month you could guarantee that a lot of that time would be spent working in his wood shop. Having access to tools and someone to teach you how to use them only the beginning to a life long journey of making.
My parents being divorced and my dad being in the army I didn’t always get to see him a lot, so when we able to visit the time was very important to us. He would always be in the middle of some big project that I would get to work with him on. And while helping with these projects I would pick up little bits of information on how each tool worked and so much more. For many of these projects we would build something that was applicable to me. In hindsight, I can now see why he did that. So that I would realize that making things can be interesting, fun and serve a purpose. Which I would find out later in life with my career choice.
While working with my father I started to enjoy making things, whether it was with wood or metal, if we were working with our hands we were happy. There something about working a long hard day, that satisfaction of when you’re finished for the day and you take a step back just to admire what you have created. Along with the feeling of accomplishment you feel humbled to do the same thing that generations and generation of people before us have done. After a period of time you start to enjoy the sounds and smells of the shop as if it wouldn’t be the same without them. I’ve also come to learn that there is no alarm clock more effective than a miter saw cutting at five in the morning.
Out of all the projects my dad and I did together my favorite had to have been my eagle scout project. This was by far the most rewarding project that I ever completed. It consisted of building and installing 6 benches for a local children’s home. This project used a culmination of many of the skills my dad had taught me over the years. Planning for a project, drawing plans/design, figuring costs, cutting parts, assembly, installation and more my dad had all taught me or influenced me in some way.
Having these very fond memories of building things and being in a shop atmosphere for extended amounts of time left me with a desire for more. So, my senior year of high school I started looking around at my options for careers with the general idea I didn’t want to go to a 4-year college and I wanted to work with my hands building things. During this time, I looked at many different trade schools and work-education programs but one apprenticeship would stick out the most: Apprenticeship 2000. At the time and still now my career of choice was clear to me, a machinist. Without the guidance and teaching of my dad in the shop and out I don’t think I would have found a successful and fulfilling career. The best way to learn is to do and my dad gave me that opportunity.
~ Mike Merzke Jr.
I am not going to even try to put into words the feeling I got when first reading this… but I think there was some sawdust in the air because I think I got some in my eyes. My son has grown up to be a good man with a strong work ethic and is honing his skills in the craft he chose. I am proud of him and proud to have been able to be a part of his journey. Knowing that there are men like him going out into the world to help shape the future gives me hope. So, if I can leave you with anything I would just say to invest in the future by sharing your passions. The seeds planted might not always immediately be seen but one day someone shares something as powerful as this with you and you know it was all worth it.
For a little while now a small group of volunteers led by my friend John Degreef, an Air Force Vet and local small business owner, have been working to set up a woodworking shop for the Falcon Children’s Home and Falcon Children’s Academy in Falcon, NC. This is a home and school for foster care and under privileged children. I was introduced to John through a mutual friend and as soon as I heard what John had been working towards I was immediately on board.
We have been blessed by several donations from individuals, local businesses and grants from the United Way which has enabled us to put together a proper place to teach these young men and woman some skills and attributes that will hopefully serve them both now and in the future. What started as John bringing up some tools in the back of his truck was quickly turning into a fully functional wood shop. Once we had most of the major tools in place we started putting together the plan for a dust collection system. There were a few of us that recommended we contact Nordfab Ducting so we could not only get an estimate for a ducting that would be needed to provide dust collection to all the major tools but also make sure it was the appropriate layout and size of ducting.
Since all of us volunteers were all woodworkers who had each set up only our own small shops and none of us had really any experience with setting up a shop this size we wanted someone who knew what they were talking about. I requested to be contacted by a Nordfab Dealer by visiting Nordfab Ducting’s website. This is where the magic of this story begins. I was contacted by David Bubb, a local licensed dealer, and we began emailing each other with the details of the project. It wasn’t but a day or two later that David reached out to me by phone and volunteered his personal time to come out and help us plan out what all we needed as far as ducting for the dust collection system. He even drew up the layout that we would need and then prepared the bill of materials we would need to order.
David Bubb didn’t just stop at submitting the estimate but he also contacted Nordfab Ducting and asked if they wanted to be part of the project. I have contacted many of the more well-known companies that provide woodworking tools and accessories and more often than not just get pasted around from one voice mail to another in an attempt to try and solicit some help or even an educational discount on their products. You can see why when David contacted me next I was a little in shock that not only were they going to provide the materials but that David had put together a small group of people to include David Jones, another independent Nordfab dealer, and Lynda a representative from Nordfab Ducting to help us install the ducting.
The installation was a pretty straight forward process but greatly improved by the fact that we had a couple guys that not only sold and were very familiar with the product but were involved in the installation of it. It was pretty amazing seeing how each of the parts that were delivered on a large pallet started to come together just as it was on the layout diagram that Dave had drawn.
This was my first time working with the Nordfab Quick-Fit Ducting system and I am really impressed by not only the fit and finish of the materials but how easily it goes together and because of the quick-fit clamping system you could just as easily disassemble and readjust your ducting layout to meet the needs of an increase in tools connected to the system or just a change in the layout of your shop. The rolled edges and laser welded seams really creates an efficient and strong ducting system.
Before you knew it we had installed all the ducting that would provide dust collection to the Table Saw, Jointer, Planer, two band saws, several benchtop tools, and a couple floor sweeps. We sometimes over look things like proper dust collection in our personal or small business shop because it only effects us. We knew that regardless of any external requirements we needed to make sure we did everything possible to create a safe environment for these kids to learn and build. I know that my next shop will definitely be equipped with Nordfab ducting and after this experience of working with their product but also because of the kind of people this company finds value in keeping around both as employees and also as their licensed dealers.
I can not put into words how grateful we are for everything Nordfab Ducting has done for the kids at the Falcon Children’s Home Wood Shop. A big thank you to the rest of the install crew for all the help! If you are in the market for a dust collection system then I encourage you to head over to their website and check out all they have to offer. You can also read more about the installation and see more pictures over at their blog at:
Pictures of installation are courtesy of Nordfab Ducting