When it comes to choosing a finish there are two main choices. The typical approach of stain and urethane creates a smooth, wipeable surface, but when that finish eventually wears through, there’s no way of repairing it attractively. Sanding back to bare wood and refinishing is the only way to make it respectable again. Oil and wax finishes, on the other hand, take more time to apply initially, but they’re easily repaired and rejuvenated with the tabletop in place. Regular reapplication works just fine.

Now, the project starts to get really interesting. While I knew that I would use pocket-hole joinery (my latest obsession) to assemble the tabletop, I couldn’t decide how to finish the wood. There were three different cans of Minwax Gel Stain on my shelf, in three different colors—Hickory, Cherrywood, and Honey Maple. In my head, I could make a credible argument in favor of each one. And though it would have helped to know where the table would eventually go, that was another question I couldn’t answer. Then it hit me: Rather than choose one stain, why not use them all? After all, I was constructing the tabletop from scraps, so it was going to have a homemade, mosaic look no matter what. In the end, using multiple stains would emphasize the rustic effect the table was going to achieve. Perfect! From there, having fought my way to a project plan, the rest came easy. Read on to see how I built the tabletop, then stained and sealed it with Minwax.
Stanley produced this all-in-one layout tool between 1888 and the 1930s. It looks like a directional arrow from a street sign and was originally advertised as 10 tools in one (including level, depth gauge, try square, and compass). There are a few companies that make replicas, but originals can still be found on eBay for a couple hundred dollars apiece.

Finding a toolbox for a mechanic, for his hand tools, is not a big challenge at all - there are dozens of the tool boxes available on the market, from huge roll-around shop cases to small metal boxes. Plumbers, electricians, and farmers are well served, too, with everything from pickup-truck storage to toolboxes and belts. But, if you are a shop-bound woodworker then the case changes. You get to need a tool box that suits the range and variety of hand tools that most woodworkers like to have. For those who deny making do with second best, there's only one solution, you’ve to build a wooden toolbox that should be designed expressly for a woodworking shop.
Woodworking power tools include various saws for cutting the wood to size and drills for creating holes. Sand pieces down to the finish you want before you sand with portable sanders. Use drivers to install woodworking fasteners for a durable final piece. Cleverly designed rotary tools feature removable bits that can drill, drive, sand, cut and more, so you can use a single tool to accomplish virtually every task of your project. For a production-level project, nail guns can save you hours or even days depending on the work involved.
Your monster of a table is going to be HEAVY, so I strongly recommend moving it to its final destination in two pieces–lay a blanket down in your dining room, put the top on it upside down, then the frame upside down on top of that. Attach a couple 2×4 supports across the frame for good measure, then begin the frustrating process of centering the frame on the top. Once you have the top centered, attach your brackets–I did two on each end and three on each side.
Carefully lay the top down and attach pipe clamps at roughly 1' intervals. Slowly tighten each pipe clamp in a consistent fashion until the gaps disappear. Small amounts of glue can be removed when dry; scrape up any puddled glue with a plastic putty knife. To minimize sanding later, avoid working glue into the top of the wood. Let the top set overnight.

Work at a place where you’re required to wear a steel-toe boot? Then listen up. Wolverine just introduced a new boot that’s much more comfortable but still offers solid impact protection. Instead of steel, CarbonMAX boots have a protective cap made of carbon nanotubes, making them lighter and thinner. And if anyone knows about making comfortable work boots, it’s Wolverine—they’ve been making them for more than 130 years.


The reclaimed wood boards are glued together, side-by-side, to form the table top. Use a biscuit joiner to cut matching slots along the board edges (Image 1). Because this tool can be set to cut the all of grooves at the same precise depth, when you insert the biscuits in the slots and pull the boards together the result is a smooth, level surface (Image 2).
You can also use Google image search to research a project. Unlike the PDF search, the image search provides a photo of what the project will look like, which is helpful in determining if you want to pursue building it. By doing an image search for how to build a step stool, you will have a ton of options that all lead to woodworking plans of various quality. (The how to part of these is important—otherwise you’ll just get pictures of step stools.)
Cedar Mini Decorative Planters/Boxes Using Interlocking Dovetail Joints Having a cedar mill within an hour of my shop allows me to work with some very nice wood. While cedar can be brittle, it is wonderful to work with and makes putting these decorative boxes together a breeze. When working with cedar I am always looking for pieces that have what is known as “heartwood”. This is the red portion of the wood. When first planed or sanded, this heartwood is almost pink in color but takes polyurethane or spar finish well giving a vibrant dark red when applied. If left untreated, cedar will turn gray in direct sunlight and a dull red color from normal household light. These boxes have been treated with a wiping polyurethane mix that allows me to apply it with a cotton rag instead of a brush. It’s faster to apply, doesn’t run and dries fast enough to apply two coats in a day. So applying 5-6 coats only takes 2-3 days to accomplish. I assembled the boxes using a dovetail joint which provides both strength and decorative at the same time. A fan shaped tenon that forms a tight interlocking joint when fitted into a corresponding mortise. The dovetails on these boxes are shown on the length of the box and not the end where the handles are located. I use a dovetail jig and a router to make these joints which is more efficient. Depending on how the client will use the box I may or may not drill two holes in the bottom of the box. If they are built to be used as outside planters then I drill 2, half inch holes in the bottom for water to drain. If they are to be used inside as a table center piece or fireplace mantle decorative box, then I do not drill the hole. In the end they are strong, durable and beautiful no matter how they are used.
If you already have a workshop and the skills for woodworking, you will need to make sure that you have some reliable woodworking plans at your disposal and the necessary woodworking tools to complete the projects you wish to make. There are some websites that offer free woodworking plans, but they are often incomplete or lack sufficient detail to understand properly and this will lead to frustration and loss of interest in woodworking. After spending many years building up your collection of fine woodworking tools and learning to use them, you will no doubt have some neat skills under your belt. Now to make full use of these skills, you will need to find a nice project to work on, one which will do you proud and show off your fancy woodworking skills.

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