Friday, April 10, 2009

Scrolled Oak Shelf

Here is my latest project! As usual, I had a need for something and I decided to capitalize on this need and build it myself! The story goes something like this.

My wife and I just recently had a baby which meant we needed to make room for the "pack and play" in the living room. We moved our computer desk out to give us some room but quickly realized that there was no longer any room to put our telephone! The only option was to build a shelf, but like everything I do, it couldn't be anything too simple.
The first thing that I did was choose the type of lumber that I wanted to make it out of. I decided to make it simple and use some red oak I had laying around the shop. I used my new jointer to true up the edges and cut my stock to length. I created a mortise to attach the top of the shelf to the back and routed out a couple dados to create a place for my scrolled supports to rest.

The scrolled supports were also made out of the same red oak that I planned down to about 1/4 of an inch. The pattern was an original design that I created on paper with a set of french curves. I gave myself a measured rectangle to start on paper and filled it in with a design I thought would work. I then copied the pattern to the wood through carbon paper and cut away on my scroll saw.
I fastened all of the parts together with a good wood glue and some 3/4 inch brads. A few coats of Polyurethane with light "wet sanding" in between and hung it on the wall! Functional and different!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mirror and Coat Rack

This Entry Way Mirror project is one of my most recent. We have a pretty small closet in our entry way and who really likes to hang up their coat on a hanger everyday? This was my solution. I made the main frame out of poplar. I think if I had thought this through more, I would have used a lighter, more consistent grain wood such as maple. Poplar has a varied grain color and has a green hue to it. I was really looking to achieve a very strong contrast between it and the walnut trim I used to cover up my joints. Live and learn!

Construction of this project was pretty easy with the right tools. Right tools being a tennoning jig. Here is one that I made and it works pretty well for me. I don't remember where I got the idea for it but I think it was out of a book. Once I remember which book, I'll post the title. I needed this jig to create half lap joints to construct the
poplar frame. This joint is pretty easy to create and is pretty strong because the amount of glue surface. The one turn off to this joint is the look of the end grain but in this project, it was covered with the walnut trim. To hold the mirror, I rabbited a channel in the back. The mirror is simply held in with mirror/panel hardware that I ordered from Woodcraft. They come in a couple different depths, so I had to take into account the depth of my rabbit and the thickness of my mirror.

After I had my poplar frame completed, I decided to trim up the edges with walnut. This is where a lot of hand work was necessary. At the time, I didn't have a jointer. In order for the walnut to sit flush to my frame, I had to hand plane areas that were not square. This took quite a bit of time, but worth it because the result I achieved was a seamless transition between the poplar frame and walnut trim. I simply cut the corners of the walnut trim to a 45 degree angle and attached it with glue and 1 1/4 inch brads. After completing all that hand planing, I did buy a jointer! It's awesome!
The shelf was assembled with a single piece of poplar which I notched on the ends and slide into a dado I created. This step took a little bit of trial and error, but I was careful to take off a little material at a time. You can always take material off but its really hard to put it back!
The final two steps were to put the coat hooks on, and hang the frame on the wall. For me, the hanging step was done twice! With a heavy mirror, and coats this projects becomes heavy very quickly. I was very careful to find some STRONG hooks and locate studs in the wall to ensure that it wouldn't fall off the wall.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wine Cork Trivet

My wife and I had attended a local festival in the area where artists and vendors from around the state would bring their crafts to sell. I came across one vendor who was selling trivets made from wine corks. I think she was selling them for 25 dollars or more!
She caught me eyeballing the construction of the frame that the corks sat in. I think it made her nervous because she said to me,
"I don't think you could make these. They are custom frames that my husband designed."
Trying to make her feel better I agreed that I couldn't make them. However, when I got home, I immediately went on the web to look for wine corks. I found a whole lot of used wine bottle corks on eBay. I think I bought 4 or 5 hundred corks for 20 or 30 dollars from a women who owned a restaurant in California! Seemed like a pretty logical place to have old wine corks in the heart of wine country. The frame is made out of oak that I ripped down to 3/4 of an inch. I mitered the corners, glued and used 3/4 inch brads to fasten it together.
The trivet I saw at the festival had exposed the end grain of the back panel that the corks were attached to. I didn't like the way it looked so I chose to improve on the design by routing a rabbit for the 1/4 inch birch ply panel to sit it. I Just glued and clamped the back panel into the rabbit. Once the frame was together and the back panel was dry, a little bit of sanding, stain and a few coats of polyurethane were applied to the frame. Lastly, I used hot glue to fasten the corks into the frame into this pattern. One methods I used to plant the corks in the frame was to make sure they were all similar in length. Not all the corks in the box were the same so I had to cut some down with a sharp razor blade.
I have made about 10 or so of these trivets and I have considered making a big one or maybe a serving tray. The steps would be the same just bigger. I would just have to lay my corks out in a pattern I like, measure to the outside of my pattern and add 1.5 inches to compensate for the frame.

Shadow Boxes

I received a table saw for Christmas about 4 years ago. This was my first woodworking machine. My wife wanted a couple shadow boxes and this was the first project I ever put together. Its a pretty simple concept. Two shelves that I just flipped to give me the effect we both wanted. I made this project out of red oak that I got at Home Depot. Nothing fancy!The boards were fastened with 3/4 inch dado's that I made with my router, glue, counter sunk #8 wood screws and then I plugged the holes with dowel. I used a dark walnut stain and a few coats of water based polyurethane. It was a pretty simple project.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Weather Station

A couple years ago, my Dad and I were talking about some of the complications with his weather station. At the time, he had all of the gages set up on a broom stick out in his lawn but he wasn't receiving accurate readings, especially when the sun was beating on it all day long. He also had a need for a platform for the rain gage to sit on.
Here was my solution. A white, louver wall box, with an inverted roof. I made the entire box out of pine. The hardest part of this whole project was making sure the louvers were even between the top and bottom rail. I did measure quite a bit and ended up trying to make a template first on a piece of scrap before I did it for real. Once I created the dado's in one side, I realized all I needed was a mirror image of the side I just made. I was able to simply nibble out a dado for the louvres with my table saw and my miter gage set at 45 degrees. I made them tight so I wouldn't need anything but glue to keep the louvers in. Each louvre was made out of a 1/4 inch piece of pine that I had a friend surface plane to size for me. As for the frames the louvres fit in, I built each exactly the same size. All the frames were glued, pre-drilled, I counter sunk the screws and covered all the screw head holes with plugs. I basically made a cube!

As for the roof, this is where I got pretty creative. At least I thought it was. The roof was designed to accommodate for the function of the rain gauge. In order for the weather station rain gauge to work, water needed to be able to enter through the top of the instrument and drain out the bottom. In order to achieve this, I decided to invert the roof to create a channel under the rain gauge would. I pitched my table saw blade at 5 degrees and ran the two piece through. From the back of the box, you can see how the roof is pitched. I also found that I needed a couple of wedges to offer some support to the roof. The other roof on the outside of the box is purely for looks to give the illusion that it there is a normal roof.

After 5 sides were finished, all I need was a couple hinges, a knob, and a magnet to keep the door closed. I painted the entire box with flat exterior latex paint and mounted it on a 4x4 pole in my dad's yard. It took quite a few hours of work, but it was worth it! My dad is getting good readings from his weather station I now know how to make a weather station box!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dart Board

Here is a dart board cabinet I made for my brother as a Christmas present. I made it out of oak and the back panel is birch plywood with some green felt that I covered it with. I designed it in such a way that I would be able to take the back panel off so that it would be easier to hang on the wall without having to hold the entire cabinet while trying to make it level. The back panel simply sits into a rabbit I made in the cabinet, and then the cabinet is fastened with screws on the top and bottom to the back panel. I used my porter cable dovetailing jig as a means of jointing the corners. With this kind of joint, glue was the only fastener that I needed to keep it together. I used a Red Mahogany stain and 3 or 4 coats of a water based polyurethane. It was a pretty easy project and very functional!