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Friday, November 30, 2012

Wood snowflakes

Got a package of wooden snowflakes from Duane Kriebel at Spheramid Woodworks a couple weeks ago. At first I thought they were made using a scroll saw. And they looked like a lot of work.

Instead, they are quite simple to make. It's just a matter of creating a "snowflake log" and slicing it up into bunches of individual flakes. Each set you make will be unique; they remind me of those paper snowflakes you can make by folding and cutting paper.

Duane has been making and selling these for many years and has worked out quite an efficient system  for production. In fact, to save time he has several table saws and routers so he can quickly move from one set-up to the next! Here are some pictures of his operation.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Almost December!

Still lots of time to make Christmas presents. Well, four weekends. Some ideas:

Here's a great idea for pet lovers. Brandon Allen built this luxurious four-poster doggie bed with a lot of help from his Kreg Jig.

And speaking of Kreg, Sammy Sills is making eight of my Kreg crates (remember those?) for Christmas gifts. Fill 'em up with some good beer and you've got a very special gift!

Everywhere I look I keep seeing stocking holders with the hook in front. I suppose they are just intended as mantel decorations rather than actually holding stockings stuffed with goodies. Bill Akins made a bunch of my version. And they won't fall off!

Lastly, I wanted to share a photo of Randy Dressen's nativity scene. The great thing about decorative Christmas projects is that they become family heirlooms. And they generally remain in good condition since they are stored most of the year. Rand's dad made this back in the 1960s. His mom made the ceramic figures.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Make a Quarto board game

I only learned about Quarto a week ago. As soon as I started researching the game boards and pieces I knew I wanted to make one. It can be designed in all different ways, making it a great woodworking project. Plus, it would make a nice Christmas present.

Interestingly, this is one of the few projects I have made for which I used nearly all my power tools. Only my scroll saw didn't see any action.

The game itself is very simple to play and quite intriguing.

Here's a layout template for the circles if you want to make one similar to mine.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Make Christmas stocking holders

I decided to make some stocking holders just about a year ago, when we hauled out our Christmas decorations and hung our stockings from the mantel. It has always been a problem, because most stocking holders are not really designed to hold stockings. Or at least once Santa fills them with goodies. The hook is on the front of the holder, causing it to tip.

To be functional, the hanger needs to be recessed beneath the mantel. I made the hooks using flat steel bar from the hardware store. These are strong enough to fill your stockings all the way!

Once I figured out the basic design for these, I decided to make it also function as a candle holder. When lit, the light shines through the trees and creates a nice glow.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wooden necktie posse

Dallas Diehl's made ties for his entire posse. Love it!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nativity scene

Here's a fun idea for Christmas. Νίκος Ζαγοραίος  made this nativity using materials found in his yard: soil, twigs and weeds. This would be a fun one to get the kids involved with.

Not Christmas or gift related, but here is Jesus Marquis' home-made gripper-style push bock. He has also included some instructions for making your own. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Advent calendar and other gift ideas

Terry Dahlquist has been cranking out advent calendars this year!

If you didn't see my video last year, here it is again. If you would like to make one, you have just two weekends left before December! And here's a cutting template.

Mitch Gagne sent over a couple teams of reindeer. These would look nice on a mantel.  

Looks like he used a few strays to make some toothpick holders too!

You might remember Nighthawk's full-sized Halloween coffin last year. Now he's made this beautiful bed-end blanket chest as a Christmas gift. It made with Rimu, a popular New Zealand wood. Check out the entire build on Nighthawks web site.

And George Raburn jumped right on the wooden neckties. He made three!

Mere Minutes
Speaking of ties, here's an update.

Friday, November 9, 2012

How to make a wooden necktie

After seeing a bunch of ads for wooden neckties, I decided to make my own. These things sell for $50 online, but you can make one with a little scrap lumber and elastic.

I think these would make great Christmas gifts. Wearing a wooden necktie is certainly a conversation starter!

If you would like to make one, here's a template.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Let the gift-making begin

If you plan on making any Christmas gifts, now is definitely the time to get started. My advice is to keep it simple. People marvel over handmade wood projects. Band saw boxes, for example, are pretty quick and easy to make and every one is custom. You can make a lot for a lot of people.


I want to start of with a tray that 12-year-old Joe Dandy made for his mom, complete with "fiddly mitre joints". Serving trays are like boxes[ they make great gifts because the recipient gets to decide what to store in them. Great job Joe. Hope to see more projects from you!

Brian Belcher, in Pulaski Virginia is running strong already making gifts. Here's a tile trivet, similar to the one I made this summer

And some over rack pullers. Brian says these are enormously popular gifts. I agree. Easy to make, lets you use some exotic woods, and something people can use and display in their kitchens. Laminating different woods together is a great idea.

Finally, here is a neat little reindeer. He is making small versions for the Christmas tree. Ornaments are always good gifts. 

Here's Bill Wilson's version of my wind chimes. He also used steel conduit, but painted the tubes to look copper. It was a gift for his mother in the picture. Love the bunny-shaped wind sail.

Here's what they sound like:

And although Halloween has just ended, I had to show Jorge Velez's skull and crossbones candy dispenser. In Mexico, he and his kids were able to use it for Día de los Muertos as well as Halloween. I like how he added the stand on the back. Looks great!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Floor vent follow-up

A little about cheap router bits.

In general, Ryobi bits work fine for light work, but I broke two of them while making the vent covers this week. It was a real test of their strength and explains why they are inexpensive.

I found an unmarked steel bit in my collection that had no trouble completing the project.

If you are going to do some heavy routing like this, you will definitely save time and money by buying a higher quality bit. My guess is that Ryobi bits aren't designed to withstand the amount of heat I was generating my making those slots.

But for light routing, I have never had troubles with Ryobi bits.They work great for roundovers, edge routing, and the like.

Mere Minutes
Gearing up for Christmas / Vent covers follow-up

Friday, November 2, 2012

Furnace vent covers

Ty's vent covers
I recently had to replace my 30-year-old furnace and decided to update the floor vent covers too. (There's really no connection between the two though, since the furnace itself is hidden away.)

And it just so happened that a few weeks ago Ty Lam sent over some pictures of a set of register vents he made. I think they really look nice and they make for some nice household details.

There are a lot of different ways you can approach this project. Ty used a plunge router and a special jig to make the slots.

I chose to rig up a system so I could complete everything on my router table. However you decide to make these, you must work out some sort of assembly-line approach. It's a lot of repetitive routing!