Welcome to Woodworking for Mere Mortals.

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

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Make a corner stand

Marriage is never boring. Having a wife means having an endless, "You know what we need?" list.

My wife decided we needed a plant stand for some plants that were getting unwieldy on the kitchen window sill. She even showed me where she wanted it to go, which really helped to focus my design.

We have a small, unused corner of our dining room, right next to a large bay window: a perfect spot for a few potted plants.

I came up with this design so that it would be sturdy and the slanted legs would keep it from tipping. This is an easy project you can make in an afternoon using scrap lumber. The only tricky part is deciding what angle to slant the legs. I made this stand 36" high and angled the legs at 15 degrees. If you wanted to make it taller, you would probably want to angle those legs at 10 degrees or so.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Games, fishing and router jointing

Are you familiar with a game called Kubb? Olivier Van den Brande in Belgium sent over a picture of a Kubb set he made. I love backyard games. I need to look into this further and maybe make a set.


And here it is again: fishing season! I actually just made that up because I don't fish. Nor do I think fishing has a season: I've seen guys fishing on frozen lakes. Not my idea of a good time, but what does look fun is making a fishing rod rack! And that was a really long and convoluted way to get to Tim Baily's pictures of this beautiful fishing rod rack he made! 

Mike Szymanski made one of my folding step stools and uses it on job sites from Michigan to Alaska. Calls it a real knee-saver. He made his out of oak and used maple dowels. Sounds really sturdy.

One more entry into the Picnic Tote club. This one from frequent contributor, Bill Wilson.

First time project! I don't recall any of my first woodworking projects coming out this nice. Kim Whitley-Gaynor made this rustic farmhouse table using reclaimed wood. Take a moment to read about the process on her blog, Living Vintage.

Banana stand! You may recall my banana stand project from way back in February. I can tell you that I actually do get a lot of use out of it and it does actually keep bananas fresh longer. Here's Peter Nowikow's version that reminds me of a question mark! Thanks Peter!

Mere Minutes
This is a scene I cut out of my bookends video. I think it's a pretty useful technique so i decided to post it as a Mere Minutes video.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Picture frame bookends

A few weeks ago over on FacebookDale Weinke posted a picture of a cool little pair of bookends that double as picture frames.

 I thought they were very clever so I decided to make a pair myself. I made mine using a series of curves and changed the frame itself to a simple circle. Adding a rigid piece of aluminum under each base adds to its stability.

If you would like to make a pair of these, here is a full-sized template you can download.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bookcase tree and odds & ends

After reading my post yesterday about bookshelves, Randy Cosgrove sent me over a picture of this really cool bookcase tree. He made it for his daughter Hilary to display specialty owl pillows she makes and sells. All of the branches come apart and store in the base (trunk?) so that it is portable and no tools are needed to put it together. To give it stability, two gallon-sized jugs of water fit in the base. Neat!

 And check out Hilary's web site. Really cute stuff.


A couple of items from viewers' items that I have been behind on posting:

Remember my little "10 cent maze puzzle " from last year? Josh Bucher took the time to make up a template that you might want to try out. It a bit more complex than mine, but looks like a good one!


As a gift for his brother, Marc Rouillard in France sent over pictures of his version of my guitar pick box. I love the way he sandwiched together beech and purpleheart creating a nice contrast. Absolutely beautiful work.


Finally, something from to Chris Demetrick that just may cause your head to explode:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bookshelf art

Many of you know that I like to visit several local libraries on a regular basis. One of the main reasons is because I often find woodworking inspiration in books that have nothing to do with woodworking. It's the random nature of discovery at the library that I find hard to match online.

Try it sometime. Browse through books on toys or ancient games. Find an image of an unusual musical instrument in a book about King Henry VIII. Discover a museum's book that feature galleries of Aztec art.

I recently picked up a book devoted to nothing but bookshelves: Bookshelf, by Alex Johnson. Most of the bookshelves featured in it are works of art and highly impractical, but they all inspire me to create. Probably nothing exactly like any pieces the book, but perhaps elements from them will show up in my projects. Either deliberately or unconsciously.


Bob Daniel just clued me into the Bookshelf web site. Take a look!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Solving the Craftsman table saw miter slot problem

Make a table saw sled for your Craftsman table saw

Every so often I get an email from someone asking me how to make a table saw sled for his Craftsman saw. The problem is that they have grooves that are different than regular miter slots. They look more like t-track systems. Naturally, this makes it hard to construct runners for various sleds you might want to build.

Felix Pitre has solved the problem with this solution. He made snug-fitting runners by cutting them out with his router table. Thanks Felix. I'll refer people to your pics from now on!

Update: Just heard from Dan Johns over on Facebook who solved the problem this way, allowing him to drop the sled in rather than threading it in from the ends:

I used my Dremel to grind off the tabs that turned those miter slots into a t-shape. There were only 2 tabbed constrictions per slot; one at the front of the table, and the other at the rear, so a little grinding on the left and right of each of those two areas smoothed the slot out for a regular rectangular hardwood runner.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Quilt rack follow-up / tostones

A few quick updates about yesterday's quilt rack video. I also wanted to thank Wil Wilson, who sent me an HVLP sprayer! I'm looking forward to using it for applying lacquer, and I hope save money.


I also meant to post this last week and forgot. I recently sent my tostonera to Hilah Johnson -- my favorite YouTube chef -- to see what she could do with it. Here's her video. Good stuff!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Make a quilt rack

I looked at a lot of different quilt racks before designing this one. Most of the racks looked at seemed either overly chunky and heavy, or ornate. The purpose of a quilt rack is to display quilts. Like a picture frame, it should enhance the art, but not out shine it.

So I decided to make it with as little wood as possible, just a few graceful curves. This turned out to be a great exercise in wood-bending. (My first attempt at bending was back in February.) It's a surprisingly easy technique. Just takes time and patience.

If you would like to make this design, here is my template for the s-curve sides.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Shop tour 2012

I decided to do an updated shop tour this week. After looking at my original shop tour, I was surprised at how little I have changed my shop. I guess when you find a system that works, there is no need.

I have also had a few people ask how some of my old projects are holding up, so I thought I would shoot a second video showing some of those.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day

I hope all of you here in the U.S. are enjoying the three-day weekend. Good day for a barbecue or picnic. Speaking of which, here are a couple of versions of my picnic tote from a week ago.

Michael Beilner really expanded on my design to hold lots more stuff:

I spent a fair amount of time trying to figure out a way to add a handle to my caddy. Bill Bumpus had a great solution with a semi-circle wedge on the back.

Got more mallets, you ask? Why sure. Here's 16-year-old Adam Howarth's ash and lignum vitae mallet. Nope...I hadn't heard of that wood before, but it sounds very hard. Adam salvaged it from an old lawn bowling ball. 

Check out this mirror stand made by Mike Speakman with very limited tools and showing some great detailing created using a Dremel tool.

Finally, here is one awesome race car bed Josh Phillips made for his grandson. Wow, I would have loved a bed like that when I was a boy! What's also cool is that Josh took pictures along the way and has shared them in this photo album. Well worth looking at. 

In his email, Josh described himself  as "an occasional woodworker, with fair skills, and no mania for perfection". 

I absolutely love that phrase, "No mania for perfection."  Beautiful. If I ever start to get manic about perfection, I suspect I may lose a little of the fun in woodworking.

Mere Minutes.
A little bit more on my shishi-odoshi fountain.