Clamp curved caul edges inwards so they align tabletop boards in the middle, then torque up the main clamps to draw the boards together. If the width of boards you’re using allow it, pre-glue boards for your tabletop in sections that are just narrow enough to fit within your thickness planer. Run these through the planer to clean and level the glue joints, then move back to clamps for final glue up. Working in stages like this reduces the number of glue joints you need to sand smooth and level later.
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.
Creating a classic toy: One of my favorite shop projects is to create children’s cedar building blocks from rough Tennessee red cedar. These came about after I built my first Adirondack chairs and I had a large amount of scrap wood left over. Our first granddaughter had just been born and we decided to build a set of building blocks. Since that first set of blocks was made I’ve delivered hundreds to young children all across the country. Hearing the stories of the kids playing with these for hours and seeing the joy on their faces is what it’s all about. *DISCLOSURE: Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you chose to click through and make a purchase I will earn a commission but there is no additional cost to you. It helps compensates the business for the time spent creating these posts. THANK YOU! Start with Rough Cut Cedar These blocks start with rough 2×4 and 2×6 cedar lumber purchased from my local cedar mill. I use my Ridgid Power Tools Surface Planer to bring the wood into smooth milled lumber. Over to the SuperMax Drum Sander to sand the wood as much as possible. The goal is make sure the wood is as soon as glass. Then the wood goes into my Ridgid table saw to be milled into ¾ x ¾, 2 x 2 and ¾ x 2. Once the pieces are cut to proper width its over to the Grizzly Band saw to cut the blocks to length. I tried to do this on my sliding miter saw, but found I could not control the blocks well enough and the saw blade would cause them to either get jammed or fly across the shop and be ruined. Block Sizes These blocks come in a number of rectangle and square sizes. ¾ x ¾ x 2”, 4” and 6” ¾ x 2 x2’, 4” and 6” 1 ½ x1 ½ x1 ½ 2 x2 x 2”, 6” Final Step by Hand The last step is to take them to the Ridgid Oscillating Sander and round over the edges and corners to keep them safe. Because we handle them multiple times it gives is the opportunity to clear out any misfits and chipped blocks. Watch the process here. At one point we were coating them with a finish used for salad bowls but they were hard to dry without leaving ridges from the drying racks or drips that needed to be sanded off. It was recommended/suggested by a number of mothers that we not put anything on them. The beauty of these blocks is they hold the smell and are safe to play with. They provide hours of fun when stacking and building. I have watched the little ones learning how to pick things up grab and hold them. Available to purchase on Etsy Interested in having your own set? We have a limited amount available for Christmas 2018 with or without the hand made wooden
Be sure wood is dry. Material from a job site or floor joists that existed in a crawlspace may have high moisture content; material from a conditioned space should be dry. Wood can be dried in a kiln (ask your local lumber mill) or stored inside through the winter. If time does not permit, stack wood in a hot dry place with 1" spacers between layers. Allow to dry for a minimum of two weeks.
OK, the Long Ranger’s been around since Marconi. But we love it. Simply put, this Long Ranger III Remote Dust Collector Switch is a remote system for turning on your dust collector out in the shop from whatever tool you’re operating. It plugs into the wall, you plug your dust collector into that and you’re done. Push the button on your remote and it fires right up. It’s saved us about two years and 1,300 miles of walking back and forth to the dust collector switch.
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.
We will suggest you select the simple Birdhouse if you are new at woodworking but be sure to select its design with respect to the place where you are going to hang/place it. One of our simple Birdhouse tutorials will help you building one. We have managed to include a source tutorial below that will help you to understand illustrates and the instruction to building a simple Birdhouse.
A super simple iPad Dock/stand made out of a single block of wood features an angled groove which gets to support the tablet device and a cut in a hole to revise access to the home button of your iPad. It’s possible to drill an access channel in the stand through which you can run a charging cable, although this mini stripped back iPad stand may have very limited functions.
After sanding, I wiped down the table to remove any dust. Then I stirred the polyurethane and brushed it on the table top, including all four sides. After the polyurethane coating dried, the table was ready to be used. I used the poly coat because the table is being used on an outdoor porch. It is a covered porch, but sometimes there is a blowing rain. I also wanted a protective coating because the table is being used for food and drinks. I didn’t want to worry about anything being spilled on the table.
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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.
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