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I've worn this apron in my studio/workshop several times now, and I really like it. It's more expensive than some, but the materials and construction are first-rate. I rarely give five stars, but the workmanship on this apron is impressive. The fabric is substantial and, although a bit stiff at present, comfortable to wear. The strap and grommet system is pretty clever, allowing a good fit for most, I would think. I'm a 5'-7" not-skinny woman, and I'm able to cross the straps at the small of my back and then tie them in front, so I'm guessing there would be plenty of strap length for bigger men. The straps sit comfortably on my shoulders. And all the pockets are great!

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.


While the top is drying, measure the thickest portion. Add 1/16” to this measurement and mark a horizontal line with a framing square across the tops of the table legs. This line marks the gutter structure mounting depth. Legs will protrude 1/16” above the plane of the tabletop. Ask a helper to hold the leg tight to the inside corner of the gutter structure with the mark at the top of the gutter. Drive at least two wood screws through the inside face of the gutter into the sides of the leg.
This is a very colorful and fun project. The idea is to use an old table with a top that you don’t really like and to give it a makeover. You don’t need paint for this project, just a lot of colored tape. Use it to make stripes to cover the entire surface of the tabletop. You can also wrap the edges in tape. You can also cover it with lacquer or add plexiglass on top to protect the design.
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.
This is a unique and cherished tool in my shop. 30 years ago my brother was a nuclear pipe welder at a federal submarine yard. He made this there and came home with it one day. The blade is submarine hull steel, Nickel Cobalt. I’ve never been able to sharpen it and it’s never really gotten dull. I had a diamond stone but quickly stopped using it as the diamond dust was being stripped off the stone. It has nostalgic and useful meaning to me.
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Turning over the sturdy tabletop, I felt a thrill of vindication. Clearly, it wasn’t a mistake in the end to use all three stains for the same project. Before I could consider the job done, though, I would need to apply sealer—Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane—to protect the wood from moisture, UV rays, and the wear and tear of day-to-day life. This was my first time experimenting with a spray-application sealer, and I loved it. Obviously, it’s important to have proper ventilation in your work area, and you’ve got to shake the can vigorously before spraying, but so long as you remember the basics, spraying couldn’t be more straightforward. Holding the Helmsman Spar Urethane can about a foot from the surface, spray in a series of even strokes, always in the same direction, until you’ve completed the first coat. Let the sealer dry for about four hours before applying any additional coats, and for best results, sand the entire surface before each application of a new layer.
I used a dry brush, barely dipped it in paint, and then lightly brushed it over the wood. If you get too much coverage with the paint, sandpaper is your best friend! You can stain the wood if you want a darker look peeking out from underneath. Check out the stain in this DIY post, it’s a great way to get that aged look quickly: http://www.jasonandshawnda.com/foodiebride/archives/11310
The end grain of wood soaks up finishes and often turns much darker than the face grain. Check for this on your test block. If you get an ugly result, pretreat the end grain with a dose of finish that will limit absorption (wood conditioner, sanding sealer, shellac or polyurethane thinned 50 percent). Apply the treatment with an artist’s brush and be careful not to slop onto the face grain.
This is another wood table but this time with a more elaborate design. Instead of using a large log, this time you’ll need several small ones. The idea is to cut them to the same height and to try to create a mosaic with them. You can glue them together and you can also wrap a piece of rope or something similar around them. You should be able to create an original coffee table.

If you have some basic carpentry and tool usage skills, take advantage of Ryan's custom woodworking plans and the opportunity to build a custom entertainment center yourself with entertainment center plans, media center plans and woodworking plans designed and published by Ryan. If you don't, now is a great time to start. Its not as difficult as your may think.
Just a little nitpick on the tape measure blurb. The hook should not be completely tight. It should move in and out about a 1/16th or the thickness of the hook. This way you get an accurate measurement whether you hook a part to measure or bump up to it. If you want more accurate measurements with a tape measure, “burn” an inch instead of hooking or bumping the part. Just line up what you want to measure with the 1″ mark and subtract that inch from the final measurement.
I started by doing some searches around the ol’ internet to find other folks who’ve built their own tables. Using the images and information I found, I started drawing up plans. My table is approximately 6’x44″x31″ (LxWxH). You may find different dimensions work better for you (31″ is pretty tall)–so make your plans however you like. I also built leaves that make the table 8.5’ long.
Example Entertainment Center: $25 for plans + $750 for materials + $1200 for good quality tools = $1975. Less than a few grand! Of course you don't have to buy brand new tools; search the sale lists online (i.e. Craigslist, Freecycle.org, etc.) in your area. You are sure to find some good deals on power tools and even materials! (A good set of tools includes a table saw, miter saw, nail gun and compressor and four piece cordless tool set.)
These tweezers are perfect. They’re nice and small and infinitely better than the cheap ones sold out of fishbowls at the home-center checkout lane. Their sharp, sturdy precision tips can grab even the tiniest sliver. Put them on your key chain and you’ll have a really high-quality stainless steel tweezers ready for the next time you have to perform a little surgery on the battlefield. They fold up like a pocketknife, so the business end doesn’t get wrecked. They’re available only at pocketweez.com.
Once your table is completely dry, flip it over and push the edge of the table over your workspace edge. Go ahead and trim the excess maple so that it is flush with the MDF using a circular saw. Make sure these edges are straight and refined, as these will end up being the finished edges of your table top. Flip the table top over and sand smooth, wiping off any sawdust afterwards.

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.
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.
Whether you are just getting started or you simply want to hone your wood work skills, you can locate many online sources that can be extremely helpful. Online plan collections are gaining popularity and enthusiastic builders are keen to improve their skills in a convenient way, given the busy lifestyles we often find ourselves leading with a lack of time and ideas. Thanks to the people who have organized plans with technology and the internet, it is now possible to find a huge variety of woodworking projects online from the comfort of your shop or livingroom. Some of the finest guides on the net can help you become an expert woodworker surprisingly quickly, you just have to work at it.
There are lots of clear finishes. But for a combination of usability and durability, you can’t beat polyurethane. Oil-based poly, which dries slower than water-based, is best for beginners because it allows more working time. The other important difference is clarity: Water-based poly is absolutely colorless, while oil-based has an amber tone, which can be good or bad depending on the look you want. 
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