A dispensing gun allows you to save foam if the job requires less than a full can. Once the job is finished, just set the gun aside until the next time you need it. Leave the can on the gun if you know it will be used in less than 30 days, or pull the can off, cap it and then clean out the gun with cleaning solution. Besides saving you money on foam, the dispensing gun provides much greater control because you’re not working with a flimsy straw, and the trigger can be adjusted with a turning setscrew to control the rate of flow—nice! Spray foam dispensing guns are available online and at home centers.
A heavy-duty hardened steel chain with hexagonal links will thwart nearly every thief with a bolt cutter. Hexagonal links (or square or trapezoidal) make it impossible for bolt cutters to get a grip. You may be tempted to buy chain by the foot at the hardware store, but it’s designed for lifting and towing, not theft resistance. Even the thick stuff is likely to have round links, and frankly, if a hardware store clerk can cut the chain easily, a thief can too.
Screwdrivers are another must-have in the woodworker’s set of hand tools. Not only will you need Phillips and slot, or flathead screwdrivers, you’ll need star drivers and Torx drivers, too. A quality construction is vital to a good set of screwdrivers. So many of them are made out of soft metal, and the first time you put any “oomph” behind them, they strip out, becoming absolutely useless.
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.
Google is probably the first place where most people would start searching for woodworking plans, but often the top results can be a mix of articles and how-to pieces that just aren’t detailed enough. Sometimes they’ll link to the plans (like we try to here at Lifehacker), but other times, they’re just showing off a cool project. There are better, more precise ways of finding what you’re looking for.
It’s important to have an understanding of wood when building DIY furniture projects. Not just how to cut, and assemble with wood but also to understand how it works. In Mistakes with Wood Can Cause Your DIY Furniture to Crack we talked about how wood is hygroscopic. Simply put, hygroscopic means it absorbs moisture from the air. Seasonal changes cause wood to absorb and release moisture.
This time I surprised one of my favorite dice games and took it outside. I made a set of wooden dice in just a few hours, and instead of sitting in the room and doing nothing, we are taking our dice game out into the yard. With this set of wooden dice, dice games are becoming our favorite backyard game. Check out the step by step tutorial below so you can make your own.
Probably the next most useful shop accessory is a large work table. I like to use a portable table that can be moved around the shop as needed. This particular table, which you can build by clicking on the link above, is lightweight yet sturdy and has retractable casters. When you want to move the table, simply lift each end and the casters lock into place to allow the table to roll. Once you get it into position, pull the cord on each end and the casters retract, so the table won't move.
We recently upgraded a wheelbarrow with Simply Dump It pivoting handles. They slid right over the handles and took about five minutes to install. If you’re tall, you probably hunch over when you roll your wheelbarrow around the yard so you don’t end up nose-diving the wheel guard/brace into the ground, resulting in messy spills and the occasional expletive. The Simply Dump It handles raise the grip location a few inches, which lowers the handles, which in turn raises the front wheel brace. The handles not only prevent sudden stopping syndrome but also make the wheelbarrow easier to control, especially on rough terrain. And the pivoting action all but eliminates the awkward torque on your wrists when you empty the wheelbarrow. You can get Simply Dump It handles online.
Here’s an old woodworking adage I enjoy ignoring: “measure twice, cut once.” Honestly, I measure nonce and cut thrice. I often eyeball it. I use pieces I’ve already cut to measure what I need to cut. It’s not a great habit, but I prefer it to measuring everything. And the results usually aren’t that different. At least that’s what I tell myself. I ended up having to sand down the ends of the 2×12’s running the length of the table (where they meet the aprons) because they weren’t exactly the same length.
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.)
Adirondack Chairs in Tennessee Cedar Wood Growing up in Central New York and spending years in the Adirondack Mountains, I grew up seeing all types of Adirondack chairs. But it was not until I moved to middle Tennessee that I attempted to build Adirondack chairs myself. I found plans that gave me the basic design to build the adult chairs. I made some adjustments in order to fit them into my style and the type of wood that I have available. I found a cedar mill within an hour of my shop that allows me to purchase rough cut lumber. Because of the nature of rough lumber I am buying wood that is actually thicker, wider and longer than wood purchased at a brick front store. Where a nominal 2”x 4”x 96” bought at a local lumber store is actually 1.5 x 3.5 x 96. The cedar I purchase is 2 ¼ x 4 ¼ x 102 inches. Once run through the surface planer to clean up the roughness and sanded, I am able to build with actual 2” x 4” or 2” x 6” lumber. This makes the chairs heavier, sturdier and more durable. Because of the size of the wood I assemble the legs and main supports with 3/8” carriage bolts. The arms, seat boards and backs are all assembled with 2” to 3” exterior screws. I predrill all the holes prior to inserting any screws. I do this because cedar, or any wood for that matter, can split at any time. The actual finished chair stands 38” tall x 39” long and 33” wide. They weigh about 35 lbs. and can seat a large adult very well but also comfortable for my tiny framed wife. The rise of the seat from the knees to the ground for your feet is 13 ½ inches. The seat reclines backward naturally but not so much that it is hard to stand from a seated position. The back is curved to support the natural curve of your back allowing for a more comfortable fit. The back is 32” tall to support even a taller person. The arms have been described as looking like whales so they are narrow where they fasten to the back of the chair and wide in the front for a cup, a book or even a laptop if you choose to work outside. *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! Child’s Chair: The smaller child chairs are added to match the adult chairs to finish the family. These also are made with rough cedar milled and sanded to size to make the chairs sturdy. As with the adult chairs the wood will be thicker, wider and stronger than nominal wood. I use all true 1” lumber for the