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Consider building your tabletop out of boards about 6" wide (1x6 or 2x6), or close in size (I use x4 and x8 boards on occasion). If you go smaller, you'll be adding more joints, which means more pocket holes and more sanding. If you go with a wider board, the board itself may cup over time, creating high and low points on your tabletop. I personally find x6 boards to be that happy medium.
If planks are slightly cupped or twisted, have them planed at a local millwork shop or borrow a tabletop planer and tackle the job yourself. If planing yourself, first check planks for and remove nails and excess dirt*. Run planks though the planer, stripping a small amount of wood from each side as you plane. While the board is going through the planer, manually adjust the depth of the cut to compensate for irregular thickness (or twist) over the board’s length. You can hurt yourself or damage the board or planer if you do not manually adjust as you go. Keep running boards through the planer until the blade has lightly stripped each surface. Next, rip boards on a table saw to create straight edges; planks do not have to be identical in width.

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If you don’t intend to finish the wood, you can probably safely skip this step. But for me, it was crucial to sand each board, not only to ensure a level tabletop, but also to give the stain a surface to which it could easily adhere. Of course, no matter how much sanding you do, some woods (2x4s included) are not milled for finish work and may never get totally smooth. But that was fine with me, as I figured that any imperfections that remained in the end would work to underline the rustic quality of the piece. It was in that same spirit that, in the process of sanding the boards (with fine-grit paper, always in the same direction), I opted not to sand down a few of the chatter marks left by the sawmill. I knew the stain would take to the wood a bit differently in those spots than elsewhere, lending the tabletop a further layer of charm—or so I hoped. Once I was done sanding, after thoroughly cleaning each board with a moist tack cloth, I let enough time pass for the wood to dry out completely.
To save money, we keep the temp in our shop down low when we’re not in it and crank up the heat when we return. But even when the air temperature hits 70 degrees F, the concrete floor is still Minnesota-cold. We tried a space heater under the bench, but it broiled the shins and still left us with cold feet. So we recently bought a foot-warming mat, and now our feet stay toasty warm. Plus, it uses a fraction of the electricity and is a lot safer than a space heater. The mat is produced by Cozy Products. The good folks over at Cozy suggest putting a chunk of cardboard underneath it if you use it on flooring that could fade from the heat, like carpet or wood.
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 

Aside from the privacy it offers, a latticework porch trellis is a perfect way to add major curb appeal to your home for $100 or less. The trellis shown here is made of cedar, but any decay-resistant wood like redwood, cypress or treated pine would also be a good option. Constructed with lap joints for a flat surface and an oval cutout for elegance, it’s a far upgrade from traditional premade garden lattice. As long as you have experience working a router, this project’s complexity lies mostly in the time it takes to cut and assemble. Get the instructions complete with detailed illustrations here.
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.
PROCESSING NOTES: No matter how easy I have tried to make following these media center plans and constructing them, if you find it overwhelming to attempt the project or operate the basic tools necessary for completion, get help. Contact your local supplier to see if sheet goods can be ripped to fit your car trunk. The possibility of ordering all the parts ready for assembly is also available. Most importantly, when you set off to build your project, help is only an email message away.
Drill four 5/8-in.-dia. 1/2-in.-deep holes on the large disc?inside the traced circle?then use 5/8-in. dowel centers to transfer the hole locations to the underside of the small disc. Drill four 1/2-in.-deep holes on the underside of the small disc and a 1/2-in.-deep hole in the center of the top for the dowel handle. Glue in the dowels to join the discs, and glue in the handle. We drilled a wood ball for a handle knob, but a screw-on ceramic knob also provides a comfortable, attractive grip.

I am so glad to see this. It is exactly what I have been looking for. I have had a similar idea in my head for years but didn't know how to bring it together, and I wasn't sure how it would actually turn out. Yours is beautiful. It is nice to start with an idea of how the project will actually look when I am done. My table is 25 years old with a laminate top. The reason I want to cover instead of replacing it does that it is the first purchase my husband and I made together. It has seen 25 years of abuse by three little (now big!) boys and by me, the messy crafter. But I cannot imagine ever getting rid of this table. Plus it's not like I'm going to get less messy, so investing in an expensive table would be crazy. I love how I can take this top off and still do the messy damaging things on it. I am bookmarking this and if I ever get around to actually doing it LOL, I will send you pics 

Open rafters and trusses are an endless source of falling dust. So if you’re working under an open ceiling, hang plastic sheeting above. Keep the plastic at least 12 in. from light fixtures or remove the bulbs. Sometimes, adding plastic ‘walls’ is a lot easier than cleaning up the entire area. If you’re using oil-based finishes, hang the sheets about a foot from the floor to allow for ventilation.
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.
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.
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.
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. 

Breaking down heavy sheet-goods on a jobsite table saw is difficult, and dang near impossible when working alone. That’s where a track saw comes in handy. A good quality track saw can produce cabinet saw results out on any job. Now, this portable tool is even more portable. The FESTOOL TSC 55 is a cordless saw that has the same features and performs just as well as FESTOOL’s corded saw, including the cut capacity and blade speed. It also has a collection bag that actually works, collecting up to 90% of the dust. The batteries are compatible with other FESTOOL products and the saw runs on their standard tracks.
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.
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.
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.
After all slots are cut, stand each board on end and coat the edge of jointed side with wood glue. Next coat the biscuits with glue. Insert biscuits in one side only of each board, then insert glued biscuits in the empty joint of the next board. Assemble planks in order until the top is complete. Don't worry about small gaps. Next, 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.
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.

Although it’s tempting to use a random orbit sander to smooth your table top at the final stages, I never do. Finish quality is the reason why. Random orbit sanders often leave behind swirl marks that don’t show up until finishing time. A better option is to complete the sanding process by hand, using 180-, then 220-grit paper only in the direction of wood grain. The finish of a tabletop is more closely examined than wood finishes anywhere else, so you need to eliminate all flaws.
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.
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.
Now that you have the final dimensions for the table top, you need to choose which boards you want to use.  Because we don't have a table saw and we wanted to keep this project simple and not cut any boards lengthwise, we {and by we, I mean my husband} plugged and chugged different board sizes into his calculator to find the perfect equation. We ended up using seven 1x6 boards for the width and on the two end caps we used 1x8's. Remember, a 1x6 is not six inches wide, it's five and a half, and a 1x8 is seven and a quarter inches wide. When you are doing your math to figure out what boards you need, remember that the nominal size {1x4, 1x6, 1x8, etc} is not the actual measured dimension of the board.
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.
Thermal imaging systems work great at finding water leaks, electrical hot spots, and insulation gaps in walls. But until recently, thermal imaging systems were not a practical tool for the average contractor because they cost thousands of dollars and were the size of a microwave oven. But now this extremely helpful technology is accessible. FLIR’s new C2 compact imager is pocket-size but has most of the same important features as larger models. The touch screen controls are intuitive to use, and it acts as a regular camera as well, which helps when pointing out to homeowners or coworkers where exactly the trouble spots are. They also make models that work with your smartphone.
California Air Tools makes great air compressors. One of their most popular models is the 2010A. The aluminum tank makes it light (35-lbs.) and eliminates those stains from rusty water draining from rusty tanks. The oil-free dual-piston pump provides a fast recovery time—fast enough to run a framing gun. It also draws less power and performs well in cold weather. There’s no doubt that you’re going to like all the features of this compressor, but you’re going to love how quiet it is. It runs at about 60-dB, which is about the same as a conversation in a restaurant. So, no more hollering at coworkers or cranking up the radio to hear the music over a screaming compressor.

Every carpenter or woodworker has needed a pair of sawhorses at some point. I've used them for hundreds of tasks, including as a sturdy base for a table saw. This set of saw horses is stackable, very solid (they will hold as much as 500 pounds each if properly built) and very easy and inexpensive to build. Once you have a set, you'll find hundreds of uses for them, not only in the wood shop but around the house as well.


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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