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Free woodworking plans. Easy woodworking projects. Fun woodworking videos. Woodworking for Mere Mortals.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's a spring-loaded spindle!

George Fulford works in a self-proclaimed "meager little shop" but is gettin' it done. He sent pictures of a box he made and then had the inspiration to crank out some embellishment on his scroll saw. I think this is a great idea. Crank out some fancy stuff on that scroll saw!


Mere Minutes

I  think need test screeners for my videos. I had so many people ask me how the toilet paper roll fits into my TP holder. I'm always intrigued by reading comments about key points I neglected to include. In this case, I should have shown my spindle. Nothing fancy: just a plastic, store-bought, spring-loaded spindle.

Oh, and I fixed my window.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Jon & Lou build a toilet paper holder and book nook

Identical cousins Jon & Lou settle their differences by building a bathroom project together. At least for a little while. Their zany hijinx will fill your heart with laughter and perhaps a tear.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Unique viewer projects: "bird"saw box and a convertible pool table

David P. from Kansas City went through a lot of research and development to build this pool table. It flips over when not in use and becomes a dining table! I don't think I've ever seen anything like this before. David got Best in Show at his high school for this woodworking project. He's a Junior. Wow...that's ambitious.

Bruce in Rossmoor decided to try his hand making his first bandsaw box. One thing led to another, and he ended up making a nesting set. Perfect, because while making it, he realized it looked like a bird. Adding the eye, was inspired. First box? Wow...more ambitious woodworking! Thanks guys.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Plywood, and bathroom project

This was a really busy weekend. My little bathroom project turned out pretty nice. It gave me an opportunity to use some of that curly redwood. Wow, that is some gorgeous wood.

The project can easily be made in a couple hours, but I spent two days shooting the video. Lots of editing to do now.

It's a book nook/book shelf/toilet paper holder. I actually started out to make a magazine rack, but then realized we don't really read magazines any more, and I'm sure very few house guests are the least bit interested in Wood Magazine. Look for the video on Friday. It'll be, well, different.


Mere Minutes

A little bit on plywood. A question, and a tool I like to use to rip plywood.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A bit (haha) more on the bit tip

Stuart posted a comment in yesterday's comments cluing me into something I wasn't aware of regarding router bits. A problem with many bits and routers is that the shaft of the bit can be longer than your collet. In this case, if you drop the bit all the way down into your router, it may bottom out, causing the bit to slip. Clearly, a rubber o-ring trick will do nothing for you.

Tim sent me a diagram illustrating the opposite end of the router shaft: where it meets the cutting part:

You can see where that taper occurs. That's the area that I think Woodsmith was addressing.

All in all, I think the best and easiest tip is to just drop your bit into the router and back it out a slight -ahem- bit.


No project video to post this week guys. Sorry. Somehow summer activities tend to keep me out of my shop more than usual. Here's an update:

Mere Minutes

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Router bit tip

I found out the the reason my dovetail router bit was slipping last week when I was making my sliding-lid box. I never knew that you aren't supposed to slide bits all the way into the router's collet. Apparently it doesn't hold as tightly, causing the bit to slip. Woodsmith Magazine has a tip describing a method to ensure your bits stay where they belong. (Sorry, they don't have a way of embedding it here.)


Wood Bits is now Mere Minutes. More on this and the router bit tip in this video:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Oh dear, dear, dear

I'm always amused when I hear from people who tell me their kids like to watch some of my videos. Perhaps the future of woodworking is bright. On the other hand, we all may be doomed.

Chris sent me this video of his 2 1/2 year old watching my "Woodworking Hoedown." (That was actually one of the most difficult videos I have ever made because I had to memorize stuff. And well, try to sing.)

Anyway, this is pretty cute. Thanks a bunch Chris.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Electric cigar box ukulele: video

Last month I posted the uke that Jack Read and his son Gabe made. Since then, Jack encountered a couple of problems that he had to correct, but now it's working great and sounds great. Here's a video of Gabe shredding on the electric uke!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Even smaller bandsaw boxes

About an hour after I posted my teeny bandsaw box on Lumberjocks, Sheila (Scrollgirl) cranked out this:

Yep, those are grains of rice. But wait. Soon after, Sheila was one-upped by Bob (KnotCurser) with this:

Can it get smaller? Here's what Thomas (Tag84) posted today: 

Over on Facebook, Karl Taylor posted this cool box. (It's on top of the larger box!) The bigger box was featured on the cover of Scrollsaw Workshop magazine, issue #34.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

World's tiniest bandsaw box

I decided to challenge myself to make a really teeny bandsaw box yesterday. Actually, I used the scroll saw.

Yep, I also made the world's biggest BS box:

And that's BS.


Wood Bits

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Scroll saw box and more on the redwood

I've basically been puttering in my shop today with no clear idea of a project to make. I decided to try and make the world's tiniest band saw box. Well, maybe no record, but it's a pretty good exercise using my scroll saw, not a band saw. So I guess it's technically a scroll saw box. I just finished gluing it up. Later I'll sand it and finish it. Here's the rough box:

And the drawer:


I want to do something with this cool chunk of redwood. If you have any ideas, let me know. Have any of you carved large chunks into something? I'm thinking about getting an angle grinder and giving it a shot on this.


Wood bits

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sliding-lid box

Here's the box that began as as a router box and then got skinnier. First time I've ever used a scroll saw to make a bandsaw box, but it seemed to work. It got me thinking about challenging myself to make the tiniest bandsaw box ever, using the scroll saw. I might try that. Maybe start with a 2" block of wood, or even smaller.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Guitar pick holder pattern

I've had a few people ask be for my design for the guitar pick holder. I should have thought to post that along with the video. At any rate, here's a PDF to download.

I'm pretty sure most guitar picks are the same size. Give it a shot!

Hey, here's a neat, non-woodworking idea:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Snazzy turned jewelry box

Fourteen-year-old Will Preston sent over this really cool jewelry box he turned on his lathe. It's made of purpleheart, padauk, maple and walnut. The box starts out as an octagon. Will has also posted very detailed instructions over at Instructables.com. Check them out. I may try one of my own.

Wood Bits.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Working on a sliding lid box

I finished up a sliding lid box this weekend. It's funny, because I was originally going to make this using a router for the inside. Unfortunately, my router bit wouldn't dig deep enough, so I decided to cut it out on the band saw. Then I decided to use a scroll saw, so I could avoid cutting the entry point that would require gluing.

Well, I screwed up a key part cutting the lid and ended up having to make the box much shallower. I could have done it on the router to begin with! I like the way the lid works out, though. Video on Friday.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pick for a pendant

In the shop today. I was going to make a little box using my router, but I can't get the bit to bore deep enough with a guide bearing and template. What would work is a straight router bit that is about 2" long. (The cutting part, that is.) Are those to be had?

I'm still going to make the box, but make a modified version of a band saw box. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Guitar pick holder and pendant

A few weeks ago, I got the notion to make a wood guitar pick. Then my son said it would be cool to make one to wear on a chain around his neck. Eventually, this led to the idea of making a pick holder when I came across this one:

I made my version out of mahogany and accomplished most of it on my scroll saw. Simple project, just a little tricky to make the cuts accurate, given its size.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Viewer projects

Just wanted to catch up on some cool projects people have sent!

Bill Wilson sent over his version of the slit drum I made a while back. He made it using padauk and obeche. Interesting choice of wood. Great idea to add the legs and holders for the mallets. Thanks Bill!

Laney Shaughnessy made this cedar keepsake box, with a raised panel lid. Finished with linseed oil.I love cedar. It's easy to work with and it smells good.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Still organizing

I decided against throwing out my scrap wood and am giving it away on Craigslist. I saw an episode of Hoarders the other day and it really inspired me to stop saving stuff I probably will never use.

I've been working on getting a video together for the guitar pick holder I made last weekend. Look for it on Friday. It's really a great little project and one that allows you to use those, well, scraps you've been saving. Wait, what?? Preview of it at the end of this video:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A little shop cleanup

I have a second YouTube channel that I've really never used for much, other than testing and personal videos. I decided to start using it to post videos of a more personal nature: ones that might offer some insight, but aren't projects. Midweek videos from time to time, to update you on my shop.


It's been a while since I've done any sort of re-organizing in my shop. This past weekend I had some time to make things work a little better. The hardest part was deciding what wood I needed to part with. And the towels and rags...oh the towels and rags!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Honorable mention

Happy Fourth of July!

We went to the fair yesterday and I saw how my chair ranked: honorable mention! I wasn't expecting first prize, but wow, honorable mention? First through fifth place ribbons are awarded, which means my chair was ranked along side a little chair made out of Rice-a-Roni boxes.

I also entered a cooking competition called "Bridging Cuisines", in which you combine two styles of food into something new. I came up with "Broccomole". It's kind of like guacamole, but made with broccoli and yogurt. I even grilled homemade naan bread to serve with it.

I came in second. But that's not so much of a feat, considering five people entered the competition, but only two showed up! Haha! Ah well, we had fun anyway.

Here's my official recipe. It's actually pretty good:

(with grilled naan)

Stuff to get for the Broccomole:

2 heads of broccoli

½ cup plain yogurt
½ small onion
¼ cup loosely packed cilantro
1 tsp lime juice
1 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic

1 tomato

How to make Broccomole:

  1. Steam broccoli until softened. Maybe 10 minutes or so. Stick a fork in it and see if it’s soft. I don’t know...maybe there’s an app for that.
  2. Run cold water over broccoli to cool it down.
  3. Dump the broccoli and all the other stuff into a blender. Well, except the tomato. Don’t add that to the blender. (See, it pays to read the recipe before making it.)
  4. Push various buttons on blender until you get something green, thick and smooth that sort of looks like guacamole.
  5. Try tasting it once in a while to see if you like it. If not, try adding more stuff.
  6. Pour broccomole goop into a serving bowl and toss in the chopped-up tomato.
  7. Serve with naan, tortilla chips, pita bread, Oreo cookies, or anything else you like!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Turn a captive ring

Sorry guys, I don't have a video to post this week. I've kind of fallen behind a bit with summertime activities. Sunday I am going to the fair and will report back on my miniature chair. Over on Facebook, I've been describing a guitar pick holder that will attach to a necklace. If I can figure out how to do it, I'll make it tomorrow.


In the mean time, Adam Howarth sent over some projects he's made. If you like to turn stuff on a lathe, this is little ornament is a cool project.

I'm pretty much ignorant about all things lathe, so Adam clued me in to a video showing how to make captive rings. Definitely something to try. Thanks Adam!