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

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Well-pump lamp

Doug in Buffalo, Illinois created a great project in remembrance of his grandfather who died from cancer. It's a lamp in the form of a well pump. As Doug put it, "he was a well of information and with a little priming the knowledge would flow". Nice.

Mere Minutes

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Inexpensive vacuum press

Here's a clever way to clamp up or repair certain small work pieces. Tim Sluder uses Ziploc Vacuum seal bags. The kit comes with its own pump and 3 quart-sized bags. It would also be useful for applying thin laminates to small boxes and such.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Building a coat rack

I've been working on a Shaker inspired coat rack this weekend. Here's where I am so far:

This will be a really fun project. Video on Friday.

Mere Minutes

I erred. I mention my biscuit jointer in this video and show my belt sander. Yep, that's me. Master woodworker


Friday, August 26, 2011

Make your own yarn swift

I'm sure most of you reading this blog will be asking yourselves, "what is a yarn swift?" Well, if you know someone who knits, it's a really handy tool to wind yarn.

I wasn't sure whether I wanted to shoot a video of this because it is a project that appeals to a very specialized audience. After listening to feedback on Twitter and Facebook, I realized that quite a few people knew about yarn swifts.

A few months ago my wife asked me to make a yarn swift. I looked online and discovered plenty of designs; some I liked, and some I didn't. Kathy didn't want it to take up a lot of space; it's not something she uses every day, and by its nature a yarn swift has a fairly large footprint. So I got to work figuring out ways I could make it both functional and collapsible.

This project was as an exercise in problem solving. One morning I spent over an hour at the hardware store just looking at all sorts of parts, gizmos and gadgets trying to figure out an efficient method to get something to spin on an axis and yet have a hole through that axis that would allow for a tightening mechanism. As always, the solution was simple.

The answer lay in the plumbing department.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Small space woodworking: the bedroom workshop.

Paul Balm from The Netherlands is studying furniture making in Amsterdam. (Plus, he's a homebrewer. Two pluses!)

Think you've got a small wood shop? Check out Paul's. It's in his bedroom! That's woodworking dedication.

As I mentioned before, Vikings are crazy about their woodworking. And crazy good at it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Homemade band saw

I'm sure many of you are familiar with Alex Harris, The Teen Woodworker. His latest project is simply astounding. Yep, he built his own band saw! Check out Matthias Wandel's plans at Woodgears.ca.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bandsaw boxes and a microwave cajon!

Andrzej Jankowski sent me some photos of some outstanding boxes he made. I am always intrigued by how creative people get making bandsaw boxes.

This one is my favorite. It just flows.

He made it using leftover wood from this bench. Thanks Andrzej. You are one creative guy. 


Microwave Cajon!

Well now I may make another cajon. Timely, since my old microwave oven just broke and is still sitting in my driveway. Paddy Uglow is a musician who created this:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Things that break

Mere Minutes

For some reason, everything around me is breaking! I did make a little project today at the (continual) request of my wife.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Make your own cajon

A cajon is a drum originally from Peru. It is almost always made out of plywood and produces different sounds depending on where you strike it. Some (like mine) have snares inside, some have guitar strings stretched across the inside, and some are simply hollow. They all have a hole in either the back or the side (like the one pictured) to create a deep bass drum sound when struck in the center.

Bill Wilson got me curious about cajones a while ago. The more I looked into them and researched their construction, the more I wanted to build one. Here are a couple that he's made. Bill really helped me out along the way with techniques and cluing me to all the various ways they can made.

If you are interested in making your own, here's some in-depth instruction including a video showing the cajon in action.

Here's my version:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Finishing the cajon and rubbing out a finish

Here's my completed cajon. It really sounds good!


Mere Minutes

Rubbing out that lacquered finish. Here's a simple technique I like to use.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A bit more on the tumbling ladder toy. And lacquer finishing.

It seems I am the only one who couldn't get the ladder toy to work! Here's a video from Ben Johnson showing how his works. Very cool. Thanks Ben!


Mere Minutes

I am really having a lot of fun building the cajon. It's basically done; I am at the finishing stage. A lot of cajones are brightly colored, so I decided to stain mine a deep red. Today I am applying a bunch of coats of brushing lacquer. I thought this video might be of some help if you have never used brushing lacquer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Homemade gripper. No, not a Grr-ripper.

I've got something of a backlog I want to catch up on this week.

Sergio Jimenez (you may recall his homemade speaker brackets back in April) decided to make his own familiar-looking adjustable push stick. Of course, I recommend MicroJig's Grr-Ripper, but I love it when anyone looks at something and says, "hmmm...I think I can make something like that." This is clever.

Mere Minutes.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tools in conspiracy

Just trying to make a simple project this weekend. Simple? Well, not when everything seems to be going wrong!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Router 101: The woodworking router for beginners

Getting started using your router.

Videos for the total beginning woodworker. In part one you'll learn basic techniques for using your router. It should be enough to get you up to speed and comfortable enough to move on to your first project: part 2: a simple picture frame.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Yep, more router tables

Bruce (Wood Chuck)

Bruce uses two router tables. For this one he purchased a Jessem top and fence and built the cabinet underneath for storage and dust collection.

This one is a horizontal router table Bruce built for milling molding and other things that are easier to rout flat, rather than on edge. Nice having the feather boards included on the fence.

Doug in Fredericksburg, VA

Doug sent over these pictures. His dog seems to approve. Doug also reminded me of the Router Workshop show on PBS. These guys make some incredible stuff. He also recommends RouterForums.com for answers to just about any router questions you might have.

Doug also has a handy tip along with the description of his router table:

One of my favorite tips for the router table is never sweep away debris with your hands... always use a broom. Cutters can be quite sharp if you catch them with your hand, and that ain't second hand information. (Notice the broom on the table.) 
This table top was the Oak Park design used in the Router Workshop TV series on PBS. The cabinet is built out of luan plywood in a rolling cart frame I found at a store that was going out of business. It stores EVERYTHING, and weighs a ton so the table is quite stable even without locking the casters. The shelves slide out either side, and the only drawer slide hardware is the 1/4 inch hardboard bottom in a dado in the plywood. With a little wax they work surprisingly well, but they do get a little sticky in the humid summer. The big drawer on the top is the router bit storage. I have the bottom of the box lined with a 3/4 inch piece of MDF drilled with a grid of 1/4 and 1/2 inch holes. 
The lower drawers on the bottom are perfect for extra bandsaw and tablesaw blades. 
The fence is a piece of 4 inch aluminum angle iron milled to a perfect 90 degrees.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

And still more router tables!

Paul Homes tells me the router tables with the pivoting fences are quite popular in Australia. He clued me into Gifkins, a web site that not only sells specialty jigs, but has free plans for a router table you can make yourself.(PDF) 

Next, head over to Martin Pope's blog where he describes how he built his inexpensive router table. Check out his method for raising and lowering the router:
My low tech solution was two blocks of wood with a 45ish degree angle cut between them. A long slit was cut in one block into which a long bolt was passed through into a nut at the rear. As the bolt is turned it closes the blocks together which raises the router, screwing out the bolt lowers the router.

Mere Minutes

And now some more router tables!

Shawn Graham

Here's another router table for under $20. Shawn made this one from poplar with a plexiglass insert.

Erik van Baarle

A router table from the Flemish part of Belgium! Here's a good idea for the small shop. A bench-top router table that easily stores away. (Hey, that's my Workmate!)

Eddie Antley

This is one of the biggest router tables I've seen. Looks like it doubles as a workbench.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

More router table ideas

Benjamen Johnson

If you want to learn how to make a serious router table, check out Ben's Workshop. On his site, he has a great tutorial on how he made this. 

Jason Othoudt

Here's another simple router table, yet Jason incorporated dust collection and various sized plates for the bit opening. I like the cost: $25.

I build it for about $25 out of CDX plywood and laminating 2 sheets of 1/4 ply (don't remember the type) over the CDX base for the top. I made other plates for smaller bits and the fence allows for attachment to my shop vac and has hardboard cover to close off the opening. I build it because I didn't like the height of commercial tables and I surly hated the price.

Ray Arnold

Ray's router table is a hybrid: mostly home made, but with a purchased fence and top. I love all the storage space.

This is a router table I made a few years ago, the top and the fence are from Woodpeckers, the rest I made, however I made a new face for the fence with a slot rail to mount feather boards an such, is from Woodpeckers, the rest I made. It is made of MDF and red oak and pine  It’s held up well.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Router Week

Discovery Channel has Shark Week, so why not Router Week here? Friday, I'll have two new videos on router basics. The first one will be an introduction to the router and cover primary techniques. The second video will be a simple project using just a straight bit and a roundover bit.

In my shop I use my router on nearly every project I build. After my table saw, it is my next most important woodworking tool. Equally important is my router table. I rarely use my router in hand-held mode.

I use an inexpensive Craftsman table, but eventually I will get around to making a table that suits me better. Last week I asked for you guys to send pictures of your router tables. I'll be posting them here all week. If you've been thinking about making one,  I hope these will give you some ideas. The possibilities are endless.

Warren Downes

Warren calls this a $15 / 15 minute router table. My kind of budget! (Note how the fence just swings on a pivot.)

I made this super cheap router table from scrap wood and a few bolts, im only new to wood working and had no idea how easy it was going to make my life, i seem to hardly take the router off the board. 
Its just a piece of MDF with the router bolted to it and pine for the fence held by a clamp on one end and a bolt and wingnut on the other. 
I can clamp it to my bench or table saw very quickly and takes up no room in the garage.

John Hendricks

Here is John's router table. To call it just a "table" hardly does it justice.

It was a lot more work than I had planned on, and when I finished I was done with woodworking for awhile. All and all I'm glad I spend all that time because I love this table. It's probably my best tool. When I got done I went out and bought a new router cause I couldn't bare putting my old router in this thing. I did a lot of research to incorporate different features. This is a combination of ideas from various places and a few of my own. Things I incorporated into the cabinet: 
-Laminated the top (both top and bottom for strength)
-Closed cabinet makes less noise
-Top is about 1 1/2" thick.
-Miter slide
-Can mount feather boards in miter slide or up on the fence
-A drawer for storing bits and other router stuff
-Dust collection
-Mobile base
-The fence slides on drawer rails. This was kind of tricky, but I love this feature. Lock down from back.
-Adjustable wings on each side of bit.
-Laminated wings so stock slides easy.
-A paddle switch to power on and off router without reaching under cabinet
-A pullout box under router to catch most of the saw dust, also for more storage.
-Lift. This was tricky, and I experimented with different ideas. Simplest idea worked best. Made two wooden gears with a belt between. Can adjust height from above table.