One of my favourite projects is a toy stove which I made for my granddaughters for Christmas 1997. I saw a photo of it in a friends book and I thought that with some well thought out and careful planning, I could make my own plan and build it. I did and this is the result. It wasn't very difficult - anyone can do it with a little thought, so can you. I had very little experience before I tackled this project, and in the "Making Your Own Plans" section, I'll explain how coming up with any plan is done, and believe me, if I can do it, anybody can.
But, first things first. When I started pursuing my woodworking hobby, the first thing I needed was a table saw. I soon realized I also needed a mounting arrangement for it. Like everyone else, in my shop, bench space is at a premium. So I decided to design and make a moveable tablesaw stand/sawdust catcher. I made it from 3/4" plywood - glued and screwed. Lengths of 2 x 4's, support the removable 3/4" plywood shelf on which my Skil Saw 3400 is permanently mounted. The table can be rolled around or locked in place on its 2" lockable casters. The sides have handslot cutouts to facilitate moving the table.The shelf, to which the tablesaw is bolted, has a hole cut from it, almost as big as the base of the saw. The sawdust is collected in a cardboard box (check out your grocery store for the size you need), in the lower compartment of the unit. The door, when closed, holds the shelf snuggly against the back of the unit, and is latched by a hook & eye fastener. For a bigger photo and more information, click on the small photo above.
Everyone who has a router, needs this "Bit Box". You can make it out of scraps you find in your wood bin. This one is made to hold 12 bits. The box is 10 7/8"L X 5 1/2"W X 6 1/8"H. but you can make it as big as you like. It has a hinged lid with a handle and is really a snap to build. Don't be afraid of building a box, or of getting the lid to fit nicely. That's the easy part. All you do is build the box all closed in. Then you cut off the top of the closed in box, and you've got yourself a box with a perfectly fitting lid. It's got to fit, right? Right!
This project is really useful in the shop, you can customize it for your own personal needs, and it's cheap since you make it mostly from scraps. Click on the Bit Box to get all the details.
We've all seen or built our own cut-off jigs for our table saws. But when I came up with an idea to make an "adjustable" cut-off jig, I was on to something good! It is very accurate, and can be adjusted to maintain its accuracy, when necessary. I thought it was a unique idea, so I sent a sketch and verbal description of my jig, to Canadian Workshop magazine.
A few months later, I opened that month's issue and saw an article on something that looked a lot like my idea. I said "some son-of-a-gun (I used a different word) stole my idea!" Who was this creep? What was his name? As I read the short article, it said his name was 'Don Firth'. I started to laugh. No one had stolen my idea - it was my adjustable cut-off jig. Click on the small picture to see a larger photo and get a description of how to make my adjustable, accurate shop made helper.
Using lumber which was destined for the garbage dump, has always seemed like a good idea to me. You can recycle a natural resource and save a tree; but besides all the good you are doing, it's free! My brother-in-law gave me some 'several times painted' 3/4" boards, which he got from a demolished bar in Hamilton, Ontario. They were planed down to the thickness I needed (3/8") and revealed themselves to be good old oak, with a great grain pattern, just waiting to become the CD case I needed. A local custom carpentry shop did the planing of these boards for me. They have since advised me on other projects and sold me some beautiful wood - the kind that your local building centre just doesn't have, as good as they are. Details on this easy project can be seen when you click on the picture of the CD case.
The perfect 5th birthday gift this last summer, for my granddaughter Shelby, was this sturdy easel. She loves to draw on her chalkboard. On the other side, a large pad of paper can be clipped-on, and will then rest on a large corkboard. "Works of art" can be torn off and kept, or notes & photos can be posted. On the chalkboard side there is a grooved ledge for her chalk, and on the other side is a recessed tray to hold pens, markers, paint pots and brushes. The legs have the ability to grow taller with her, so that she can't outgrow this well thoughtout project. Featured in Canadian Workshop Jan.'95 (now Canadian Home Workshop) which is another of my favourite magazines, it will be used for many years. See the larger picture by clicking on this small photo.
When I found this woodworker's shop clock in WOOD magazine, I just knew I had to make it one day. A Christmas present for my son-in-law gave me just the excuse. This clock truly looks great on a shop's wall and can be a treasured gift for years to come. It's not exactly the same as the plan but still looks great, another example of how it's not at all difficult to customize an existing plan and come up with exactly what you want, at a price you want to pay. Your choice of woods can be used and you'll be surprised at what I used for some of the parts.
This beautiful serving tray is another easy to build project from John A. Nelson's "the Weekend Woodworker - 101 easy-to-build projects", which we offer for sale in our bookstore. Like all projects in this book, it goes together quickly, and looks terrific when completed, to say nothing of it's usefulness. I built mine out of red oak, and stained it with Minwax "Pickled Oak" stain. Click on this small photo to get more details on this project and a larger photo.
These attractive trivets are very easy to make, very useful in your home, and with just a tad of creativity, can be very imaginative and can compliment any decor. Ceramic tiles are incorporated into this project too, to lend to the project their heat insulating capabilities. A few small tiles, a bit of inexpensive moulding and a scrap piece of 1/2" plywood, and a couple of hours and you've got an attractive trivet which will become a protective fixture in your dining room. Click on the small photo for directions and a larger photo.
This potato/onion bin is a project that comes in very handy, in just about every kitchen. It's a straight forward, easy to build project, and it's just the right one for the new woodworker who wants to try something a bit more involved, but not out of their league. This was the first non-small project I made years ago, and yet it still sits proudly in our kitchen. Click on the small photo to see a larger photo and to get more information.
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Storage Cabinet - Sushi Serving Table - Solarium
Repair/Renovation - Pen Turning
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