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

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Monday, April 30, 2012

Garden cart, beer mug and a chess set.

Here's a great outdoor project. Brad Rumsey made this awesome garden cart using a lot of recycle parts. It looks almost too nice to use!

"I recycled a frame from a BBQ, metal from a bed old frame and wheels off an old bike. I did buy the wood (cedar fence boards) and the galvanized nuts and bolts."

Here's a clever project that Kevin Robbins ran across over on Instructables.com. A wood beer mug! I'd kinda like to try this out. Check out the entire article here.


Now, check this out. Michael Hedaux, 16, just completed this chess board and scrollsawn pieces. I have never seen pieces like these before. Absolutely incredible work.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Safety third pond

A few Sunday updates. I mention Mike Rowe in this video and recommend you check out his video and article on Safety Third.

Mostly, don't get caught up in mindless "Safety First" campaigns. They are as boring and robotic as the safety sections in tool manuals. You know, the ones written by lawyers that we all skip over. Instead, try this: respect your tools and yourself. Nobody cares more about your safety than you. Common sense is always safer than rote safety rules.

Aside from that, I wanted to answer a couple other questions and show you my pond. Yep, it's a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Mere Minutes

Friday, April 27, 2012

Build a really simple pair of sawhorses

Even if you spend most of your woodworking time in a well-equipped shop, there are times you will need a good pair of sawhorses. I use them all the time, especially for working on outdoor projects. If you don't have a any, build a pair! I guarantee you will find all sorts of uses that you never expected.

There are a lot of different ways you can make a sawhorse; it seems everyone has his own preferred method. Here is a pair you can easily make in less that an hour, using five 2x4s. I used my miter saw for all cuts.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Viewers' planter boxes

It's been really fun seeing some of the planter boxes people have been making.

Chuck completed this one just two days before I posted my video. He used pressure treated lumber and cedar.

Ron Ward made this redwood planter box and will be planting a Ficus tree in it.

Here's a clever idea from Daniel Clark. A mailbox planter box!

And from Lithuania, Kestutis built this very large raised bed planter. 

Here are my four raised beds I made many years ago with pressure treated lumber and redwood. Still holding up well. 

Mere Minutes

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Helping hand

Bill Wilson sent over this short video of what he calls a "helping hand". Very clever way to attach sandpaper discs to random orbit sanders. Just need a board and three dowels. (Bonus points for the Chicago music.)

Mere Minutes

Shot this on Saturday, but just had a chance to upload it. A couple more uses for bender board and I finally got my tomatoes planted.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Build a $20 planter box

Now that Spring is here, I've really been wanting to make an outdoors project. Planter boxes make great projects for woodworkers, because they can be made so many different ways. Do a quick Google search for tons of ideas.

One of the reasons I haven't made one before is because "outdoor" wood, wood better able to withstand the elements such as teak or cedar, is pretty expensive. Even with those woods, a planter box will eventually rot away.

Planned obsolescence 

I decided to not fret over its fate and built my planter box using 2x4s and garden edging. Including the 16 lag screws, this planter cost me a little over 20 dollars to build. At that price, I don't have to worry about rot. When it happens, I'll just build a new one!

If you really want to save money, use wood from old pallets. You can usually pick them up free!

So I suppose this is a bit of an experiment too. I have applied no finish to the wood whatsoever. It should all become silver-gray in a year or so. It'll be interesting to see how long it lasts. I'll keep you posted.

Of course, if you want to make something more permanent or if you want to make a planter box for a gift, I would recommend using teak, redwood, or cedar and applying a protective finish. The actual techniques I used for this project would certainly apply.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Die stool

Daniel Pozzobon talked about making some "dice" tables a while back. He ended up making this stool that he gave to his professor. Very clever project, made just using a circular saw.


Mere Minutes

Monday, April 16, 2012

Creative ideas

Programming note. If any of you have an internet-connected TV, you can check out my show on Blip.tv. I use a Roku device to connect. If you don't have one, it's a great way to watch TV without cable or satellite. I absolutely love that thing! (For some reason, you have to search for Woodworking for Mere Mortals. I can't figure out why I am not listed in the DIY section or any other section by browsing.) 


Here's a really cool idea. John sent me over a link to this Gizmodo article. Build an iPad stand using, well hand tools! I love that it is completely adjustable!

Randy Cosgrove sent me over a picture of his home-made Grr-Ripper clones. These look almost identical to the real thing. 

(Here's a simpler version Serjio Jimenez made back in August last year.)

My contribution into the "I can make one of those" category is the silicon glue brush seen in last Friday's video. It's similar to the one Rockler is selling for $4.00. I got mine at the Dollar Store. It's used for brushing barbecue sauce. Just had to cut the tips of the bristles down a bit. It really works great!

Mere Minutes

Friday, April 13, 2012

Versatile storage cubes

We've been giving my son's bedroom a makeover all week long. One of the things needed was more storage. I decided just to make some simple cubes out of MDF and let Wyatt stack and arrange them however he liked. Sort of like those old crates for storing LP records.

But the thought of making a bunch of identical cubes seemed really boring, so I made four variations of the five-sided cube.

I thought about various ways of joining all the edges together. My first thought was to use 45 degree bevels. That way each side could be the same size. The drawback is that gluing them up straight is more of a challenge. For making eight boxes, I decided simple butt joints would be the easiest and quickest. Since these are made out of MDF and painted, I really didn't need anything fancy.

The fun thing about these is setting them up in all different ways. I suspect they might be a hit in college students' dorm rooms, too.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A couple of puzzles

12-piece puzzles

After watching my 3-piece wood puzzle, Pascal Vergneau in France, decided to take it further by making a 12-piece version!

You just need to make 4 of each type of piece.

He's also drawn up a plan you can download and try out. (Click the third image to enlarge it.) It is in metric, but really it's just the proportions that are important. Make the pieces based around the sizes of the hole pieces.

Thanks Pascal!

This also reminds me of Matthias Wandel's 12 piece puzzle, which is made from 12 identical pieces. Here's his video solution. Even when I understand these puzzles, they make my head spin.


Ted's stolen plans revealed

Finally, I wanted to give you an update on Ted's Woodworking. Jim Barry at Copyrighters Sharing Information has a complete list of all the plans Ted is selling and from where they are stolen. For what it's worth, there aren't 16,000 plans, as advertised. Only about 2,300. Can't believe Ted would lie to us.

Anyway, definitely check out this PDF. It will give you a little bit of insight into the vast web of shenanigans known as "Ted".

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

More Spring project ideas

Kevin Schlomas has been one busy guy in his yard. here's a curved fire-pit bench he made "using a zillion pocket-hole screws".

Kevin also made this pair of cedar, tile-top side tables from plans he got at woodsmithshop.com. Also built using pocket hole screws. The top is a standard 12"x12" ceramic tile.


Robert Naylor, up in Montreal, tells me that the arrival of Spring is a big deal: no more snow. He's still "road testing" his portable outdoor work station...complete with beer fridge! Says Robert, 
 I made it on big wheels so I can "wheel-barrel" it into my shed to keep it out of the elements. Basically I use it with a coleman 2 burner camp stove in conjunction with my regular BBQ. So basically all the prepwork and cooking is done outside! The top is tiled but it's not evident in the pictures.


John in Hadley got the plans for his porch swing from Wood Magazine. (Check out Wood's outdoor seating plans. Good stuff.)

"The arm rests are scrap plywood, the uprights for the arm rests are left over 2x4, The supports for the slats came from the neighbors firewood pile, and the slats were from a futon we were throwing away. I did buy the chain though. This was only 4 beer project and is so simple that you can make them as house warming gifts. The next time I paint it I will make one change. Note the top (with hearts) and bottom are cut from the same piece. I will recut the bottom to be straight so legs don't hit it."


What says "Spring" better thank a lemonade stand? Morry Hansen made this classic stand for his grandkids.

I'd like to build something like this bench Jason Piper made. I think it would be just so cozy in a garden nook. Especially with vines growing on that lattice.

Jason also built this Adirondack chair set from plans he got at WoodcraftPlans.com They recline and Hason says they are very comfortable. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ted's Woodworking fraud

I have more Spring projects to post, but decided it wasn't fair to include them along side of such filth at Ted's Woodworking. Keep those Spring projects rolling in, though! I'll post some more tomorrow, Easter. That seems appropriate.

The tangled web of woodworking plan piracy just gets deeper and deeper. I am convinced at this point that Clickbank.com is in bed with Ted, so-to-speak. They have no concern about copyright violations, even though their own web site policies state they do. Hmm...think Ted is making Clickback some money?

To any of you who have been watching this series, thank you. To the rest of you, I promise to get back to regular nonsense soon.

Big thanks to Jim Barry of Copyrighters Sharing Information for helping me out with this. He's actually determined the source of nearly every single plan Ted offers. That must have been a herculean task. He's also posted this article you should check out. It contains a list of companies and sites that Ted has stolen plans from.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter basket

I wasn't really sure what I wanted this project to be until I saw Chris Brown's planter box earlier this week. It reminded me of an Easter basket.

With that bit of inspiration, I ripped some really thin strips of poplar with the idea that I would bent-laminate a long curved handle. As I started playing around with those strips, it occurred to me that I could weave them.

I Googled "basket weaving" and discovered it looked far more tedious a process than anything I really wanted to try. Sort of reminds me of knitting, which baffles me.

So eventually I decided to weave some of the strips and give the project a hint of "basket". Sort of a faux basket. Sometimes projects evolve on their own.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

More springy projects!

Let's get started with a stunner. Check out Morry Hansen's bridges. Somehow a bridge can bring out the elegance of any yard. Gorgeous at night.

I love this little planter Chris Brown made. Might be perfect for Easter, and there's still plenty of time too!

There's something romantic and nostalgic about benches. (Even though I have no nostalgic memories of ever doing anything romantic in a bench.) I like the simplicity and coziness of this bench built by Kris Childs. Makes me want to sit on it on my front porch. (Even thought I've never had a front porch.)

Finally, Bill Wilson's been keeping me updated on this cupcake stand he made at the request of Mrs. Wilson. While not strictly a Spring project, I could certainly see it being used for Easter. That, and well, I may just steal his idea for a video project!

Mere Minutes.

Today's update on the Ted saga, if you've been following it.

This just in: Stephen D. Carroll over on Facebook just found Ted! Well at least the photo of Ted: Yup, it's a stock image from iStockphoto.com called "Friendly Man". Too funny.

Personally, I thought Ted may have been the Brawny Man.