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.
Leave your tabletop longer than necessary until the sanding is done, then cut to final length. Most tabletops are too wide to trim on a tablesaw, even with a crosscut sled, and this is where I use a hand-held circular saw. Clamp a guide strip so it’s square to one edge, then follow it with your saw. Repeat the process on the other end, then carefully use your hand-held belt sander to remove any blade marks on edges. It sounds like a coarse process, but you can get great results this way.
You won’t believe what you can create with a bunch of free scraps. A stunning scrap wood table, by Instructables user Wholman for starters! This DIY is a bit time intensive, as the process for laminating wood can take many hours depending on the dimensions of your project, but the end result is nothing short of breathtaking. The natural wood grains, different colors and all the character from each piece of salvaged wood come together to make a show-stopping table. // Wholman on Instructables
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.
Slice, dice and serve in style on this easy, attractive board. We’ll show you a simple way to dry-fit the parts, scribe the arc and then glue the whole thing together. We used a 4-ft. steel ruler to scribe the arcs, but a yardstick or any thin board would also work. Find complete how-to instructions on this woodworking crafts project here. Also, be sure to use water-resistant wood glue and keep your board out of the dishwasher or it might fall apart. And one more thing: Keep the boards as even as possible during glue-up to minimize sanding later. For great tips on gluing wood, check out this collection.
Okay, let’s stain this beast. I should explain that we used Rustoleum’s Dark Walnut Ultimate Wood Stain, but we did it wrong. We failed to mix it well before applying it, resulting in a color we really liked–but not the color this stain is designed to create. When we came back to do a second coat, we stirred it well, resulting in a coat that looked like purple paint. I had to sand it off and start over. So, don’t follow my lead here–follow the can’s directions and TEST before staining all of your new masterpiece!
A lot of woodworkers share their projects through their own blogs or YouTube channels. In fact, we’ve shared many of them here before, including, Woodworking for Mere Mortals, The Wood Whisperer, Matthias Wandel, April Wilkerson, Sawdust Girl, House of Wood, FixThisBuildThat, Pneumatic Addict, Build-Basic, Rogue Engineer, Her Tool Belt, and Ana White. The best YouTube woodworkers create great videos, but also provide a complete blog post with a cut list, tools, materials, and instructions. Find your favorites and save them for when you’re doing your searches.
When sourcing materials from a renovation or job site be sure to have clear permission and wear the appropriate safety gear. Be aware that lead paint and asbestos may be mixed in with clean wood. Watch out for and pull nails out of material before loading in a car or truck so reclaimed wood will stack better. Be careful when working with items painted prior to 1979 as they may contain lead-based paint. Be sure to consult the EPA's Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools pamphlet before disturbing any paint that could contain lead. Building materials produced before 1983 should also generally be tested for asbestos. Contact your local building official for exact requirements.
If you want your table top -- any table top -- to actually ast without bowing/cupping/twisting, you MUST attach it in a manner that allows for seasonal wood movement. Wood is an organic product, and it naturally expands and contracts with changes in temperature and humidity. I'll post link below to a couple of options that you can cheaply buy which will allow you to securely attach a tabletop while still giving the wood the flexibility to move with the seasons. When you buy decently-made furniture at a store, they all accommodate for this one way or another. Don't just screw the top down to the legs or the skirt...you'll regret it later on.
Building a table is one of the most deceptively simple woodworking projects going. What could be easier than gluing up a few boards and applying a finish, right? But reality is often surprising, because building a top for that table can go wrong in ways you might not realize until it’s too late. Here are my favourite tabletop construction tips, plus advice on how to avoid trouble.