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Friday, December 30, 2011

End of the year

This is my last video of the year. Mostly, I just want to thank all of you who continually support my show and inspire me with your creativity.

I've got a number of projects in mind for the new year. Near the top pf that list is a router table. I really hope to get that started very soon. Keep watching, and I'll see ya next year!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A week to rest

I always view this week...the one after Christmas...as a very odd week. Many people have the week off from work, and many people who are at work are hardly working. It's the doldrums of the year.

Look at it this way: Christmas is right around the corner. Less that a year away. Might as well get started on woodworking gifts.

Here are some projects that friends and families of viewers enjoyed unwrapping on Christmas morning. 


John Hendricks was the chips & dip tray monster this year. He's kind of lost track how many of these he made this year. Needless to say, these make great gifts.


Bill Wilson is one of the busiest woodworkers I know.  He made this box based on no plans...just winging it and making it up as he went along. That is sometimes a really fun way to spend time in the shop. Let your creativity run.

Plus, he made some beautiful frames and heart-shaped candle holders.


Alan Duke sent over some great signs that he made for his shop. Pretty much sums up my woodworking philosophy: 

Measure once - Cut once- Cut once again for good measure

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Hey guys. Just wishing you a Merry Christmas and hope you have a wonderful day with friends and family.

Friday, December 23, 2011

J. Lo wearing my bracelet?

Check this out. Jennifer Lopez has on a bracelet that looks suspiciously like one that I made last year!

Here are a couple I made:

Naturally, I can only conclude that J. Lo is a fan of Woodworking for Mere Mortals.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sharing projects

Just a few days before Christmas, but I wanted to share some really cool stuff people have been sharing with me.


Most of us struggle to make ends meets. We deal with whatever life throws us. We try to earn livings and provide for our families.We are not woodworking gods, nor do we necessarily aspire to be. Yet, throughout it all we understand the value of diversion. Probably before an ancient man painted on a cave in Lasceaux, France, humans have been creative animals and need ways to express it. It doesn't take a lot of money or skill to make stuff out of wood, but the rewards are huge.

I have been living with cancer for a a year now. At this point I am pretty sure I have it conquered it and expect to live a long and healthy life. It could rear its ugly head again, but it certainly put life into perspective. I have no room in my life for anger, hatred, or bitterness. I just want to focus on making woodworking projects.

Simple woodworking projects can bring joy to a lot of people. Get yourself a cheap tablesaw, maybe a router and you're good to go!


Steve Daughhetee has definitely been busy. He loves making scrap-wood projects, something I admire. Not only that, he's a poet. Check out his "Ode to the Bread Box Sisters". I really love it when people are able to combine creative pursuits. Woodworking doesn't need to exclude writing, poetry, music, etc.

Steve has been experiencing a certain amount of family struggle that I can relate to and has taken up my woodworking philosophy: "After all, it's only wood."


Stephen Stange made his wife a drawer organizer. I have to say , this was one of the most useful projects ever. In a stump? Make kitchen projects!

Now you gotta check out Merv's projects from South Penrith in New South Wales down under in Australia.

Merv had an accident a couple of years ago that rendered one of his arms useless. Did it prevent him from woodworking? Check out his fishing rod holder, outdoor seat and a spice rack. Love the details:


Sunday, December 18, 2011


...the countdown is on. Not to frighten you, but it's only a week away. How are those gift projects coming? Since Christmas is on a Sunday this year, there is still next Saturday to put together last minute projects. I recommend making picture frames, which is what I've been working on today. Print out a photo of a certain kid or grandkid, stick it in a homemade frame and you are golden. 

Here are some cool projects viewers have been working on. 

John Schutz made this cool sled...a small model of one many of us probably remember from our youth. It's 16" long by 8" wide. Maple and walnut: always a good combo.

He also made this Christmas tree by cutting out four pieces of scrap wood on the bandsaw. I love scrap wood projects!

The best part? He sent over a cutting template so you make your own. Pretty cool John, thanks. Click through for the full sized picture: it's set up for an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. Enlarge accordingly.

Raymond Levesque (remember his full-sized sleigh?) makes small stuff too. Some really cool candleholders and some scroll work:

Mere Minutes

Friday, December 16, 2011

2011 New Year's noisemaker

Here is this year's very loud noisemaker. If you don't have a lathe, you can just use a dowel for the handle and for the clanger. It's really loud! Big thanks goes to Ron Vieck, who send me a large assortment of wood a few weeks ago: cherry, poplar, cottonwood and some pecan.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Making noise

It's that time of year again. Well Christmas, yes, but also The New Year. Or more specifically, New Years Eve. A good opportunity to make noise that doesn't necessarily sound like a power tool.

I've been working on a noisemaker. Something loud. This is one of those projects that went round and round in my head for quite a while. Every time I came up with something, I would sketch it out and discover parts that I didn't like. Eventually I came up with sort-of a wood bell. It also looks something like a cowbell.

I haven't completed it yet, but here's an idea what it will look like.

It has been fun building, plus it gave me an opportunity to use my lathe. I really enjoy turning and should do it more often. And, for the clacker inside, I'm using another one of those wood balls that I got for the advent calendar.


Last year's noisemaker

I don't think this year's will be as loud as last years, but in case you missed it, here's the simple noisemaker I built last year. It is so loud that after about one second of its use, I guarantee people will yell, "STOP THAT RACKET!"

As an aside, this was one of the first videos I made with my new camera and hadn't quite worked out the settings, which is why it's kind of dark. But here it is a year later, and Friday's video will be the first to feature my new lighting setup! I can't believe how much better they make every shot look. I was really getting frustrated dealing with certain high-contrast scenes and inconsistent lighting. So I guess once a year I'll kick the show up a notch.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas greeting

Just a little song Alex Harris and I put together for Christmas. If you don't know Alex, you're missing out on a lot. Check out his web site, This Woodwork, and subscribe to his YouTube channel.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pasta rack

As much as I enjoy cooking, I have never made my own pasta. It just seems easier to buy. That may change after seeing this. Alex Benson (17) is a new woodworker and cooking enthusiast from Niagara Falls, New York. 

Great gift idea. Here's what he has to say about his device: 

I use an attachment on my KitchenAid mixer to roll and cut fettuccine as well as another attachment for lasagna and spaghetti. This is a rack I just finished for air drying the fettuccine when it's done. 
I used an 8x8 piece of hickory for a solid, heavy base. Just a forstner bit hole and a roundover on that. Then I took some leftover dowel from a closet project and drilled the 1/4" holes for the small crossed dowels. A little sanding and a light coat of canola oil finished it up. 
The whole thing is pressure fit together so it'll come apart for storage. I've got the pieces cut for another, because I've found that the more noodles the merrier!
Rolling out dough

Disassembled rack

Loaded with fettuccine

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Big and small projects

I always love it when people send pictures of projects they have made based on my designs. Last week, over on Google Plus, I enjoyed watching Bill Akins' progress as he built the advent calendar. It's really fun when you can involve the family in woodworking. So really, credit goes to the entire Akins family on this one.


Remember my candle holder a couple weeks ago? It seemed to me it needed something else in its design. Rob Daniel decided to angle the edges toward the bottom.

And here's Scott Ritt's version. I absolutely love the curved ends. That's the look I think I wanted!


Now, Raymond Levesque seems to go BIG with his Christmas. He made Santa's sleigh as a float for the Moose Lodge's Christmas parade. No plans, just winged it. My kind of woodworking!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas greeting card display

I never really know what to do with all the holiday cards that will soon start to roll in. Usually we tape them to the wall and after a few days they start falling down.

So this year I came up with a way to display them and store them.

Here is a PDF with a few templates you can cut out, if you'd like to give this a shot.