Attention Wood Workers: Make a ‘River’ Table

by DIY Maven

Attention Wood Workers: Make a ‘River’ Table

Check out this Travelland River Table from UrbanPeel. The description says that the river ‘continually’ flows across the table’s top, which leads me to believe there’s a pump hidden underneath to make the water continually flow. Cool, huh? What’s not cool is the price: $4,320. But I’m thinking you could make something that mimics it for a fraction of the cost. How about cutting your choice of wood (or plywood?) to reflect the wavy ‘banks’ of the...

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Power Tools 101: Power Sanders.

by Chris Gardner

No matter how great the payoff, sanding is no fun…kinda like exercising, tweezing your eyebrows, or studying for final exams.

Electric sanders don’t make the process any more fun, but they will speed it up. And with prices under $100, they because a very useful tool for the homeowner and ambitious DIYster.

Power Tools 101: Power Sanders.
Sanding. Techinically, sanding doesn’t make wood smoother, it makes it uniformly rough: abrasives in sandpaper make tiny cuts in the wood...

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15 Tips For Caring For Hardwood Floors

by Chris Gardner

Proper care of hardwood floors can be difficult under the everyday trample of a family and pets. Preserving the natural beauty of hardwood keeps your home looking crisp and is a crucial part of maintaining your investment and your home's value.

15 Tips For Caring For Hardwood Floors

1. Get to know your specific type of flooring and finish, and rely on the manufacturers instructions whenever available.

2. Research the proper care for your particular finish. For example, never use paste...

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Power Tools 101: Circular Saws.

by Chris Gardner

The circular saw is perfect when portability is crucial. At home, provided it you use it safely, it makes an ideal first power saw, as it can do both rip cuts and cross cuts, and will continue to find uses in woodworking and DIY applications.

 

Power Tools 101: Circular Saws.

 


Size and Blades.
The standard blade size for a corded circular saw is 7 1/4”, though there’s at least one 9 5/8” model. Cordless saws are generally smaller, and come in 5 3/8” and 6 1/2”. The choice is up to you- but make sure your hardware store carries blades in your size.
    There are several kinds of blades for cutting wood- ripping, plywood, combination blades, as well as blades for masonry and metal.

Motors and Power. There are two basic models of circular saws: helical drive- with the motor parallel to the blade, and worm drive- with the motor perpendicular and behind the blade. Helical drive models are by far the most popular, but the slower speeds of a worm drive means more torque. This feature is useful on contractor-grade tools, but doesn’t justify to price for the average homeowner or occasional user.
    Look for a circular saw that draws 13 to 15 amps and has at least 1 horsepower. Cordless models should require at least 18 volts. Check for a heavy duty cord that at least 8 feet, and use heavy duty extension cord that’s no longer than necessary.

worm drive
  
helical drive

Beveling. If a particular saw can’t bevel to at least 45°, don’t buy it. There’s one for the same price that can. Check the bevel gauge and the ease of setting and accuracy at 0°. Look for bevel adjustment via a lever rather than a bolt or screw, with an easy-to-read scale.

Cutting Depth. For maximum safety, a circular saw blade should only extend 1/8” below the material. Check the depth adjustment for accuracy, ease of location, and ease of operation. Again, an easy open lever is preferred, and a depth scale (usually altered to include the extra 1/8-1/4”. Look at the blade guard: does it move easily in light of the depth of cut?

Feel and weight.
If you don’t feel you can safely operate the saw with one hand, look for another one. Look for a reasonable weight, and soft but no-slip handle. Is the power switch in convenient location? Can you operate the saw without hitting any adjustment levers.

Cutting Straight.
Look for a saw with a good sight to viewing the cutline from above – both the pencil line and the saw’s kerf.
 Unless you have a freakish ability to cut perfectly straight with a circular saw (if you do, don’t tell your friends or co-workers, cause you’ll be doing it all day long), it’s important to use a straightedge or fence to guarantee the best quality of cut. For short cuts into dimensional lumber, a speedsquare is choice The factory edge of a piece of 3/4” plywood or MDF clamp on does well. There are clamp on straightedges available, and as well as fence and carriage systems. These are a great investment if there’s no table saw in your future.


Circular saws are a terrific investment for portable projects- like building a tree house or deck- and will still find uses in your home- breaking down large sheet goods (plywood, MDF, hardboard), cutting through drywall and studs,  or laying a subfloor. As always, safety is key, so always were safety glasses, ear protection, and gloves (dust mask recommended). Except for the most rudimentary of tasks, a blade upgrade is highly recommended, but even then, $125 USD will really get you cutting.

 

[Images from northerntool.com;  amazon.com; waterfordhire.com]

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Make a Paper Towel Dispenser for Your Workspace or Craftroom.

by Chris Gardner

I've eliminated wasteful use of paper towels in nearly every aspect of my life- except in a few instances when working on projects...if anyone has a better way to clean up oil-based stains or epoxy spills, please let me know.

So, one the rare occassions that they're necessary, they might as well look sharp and be available, so I built this paper towel dispenser. I used wood from my scrap bin, so it didn't cost me anything, but it could definately be built for under $12.

Make a Paper Towel Dispenser for Your Workspace or Craftroom.

Materials
    1/2” plywood (2’x4’ is more than enough)
    3/16” hardboard 6”x14”
    1” dowel, at least 27” in length
    Wood glue
    Several bar clamps
    8 3/4” screws
    1” Spade bit
    Jigsaw or bandsaw
    Electric drill
    Sandpaper or electric sander
    Table saw or circular saw (optional)
    Dado blade or router and 1/2” strait bit (optional)
   
1. Cut, or have cut, your plywood to the following sizes. Save excess to make dividers, if desired. I used a scrap piece of white oak, which is a total mystery to me, because oak doesn’t particularly suit my tastes, and I have no idea how it ended up in my sheetgoods storage.

    6x22” (x2)
    4 1/2 x 6” (x4)
    1/2 x 14” (x2)


2. Optional steps:
A. If you have the capability and the desire, run a 1/2” rabbet, 1/4” deep, on the short sides of the face pieces, those 3 1/2” x 14”. If you’d like to make divider shelves, cut a 1/2” dado at equal intervals for the joint (mine were 5 and 4” from the ends). 
B. If you want to recess the hardboard shelf, cut a 3/16” groove (two passes with the table saw (well, a pass and a half-kerf pass) 3 1/2” down on the back of all the face pieces. You’ll then make the hardboard 6” x 13 1/2” to compensate.

3. To make the dowel brackets, drill a 1” hole with it’s center 1 1/4” from the top.  Mark cut lines on the outside edge to the top edge of the bracket.  Use a jigsaw or bandsaw (or even a handsaw) to cut along the lines.


4. Assembly. Glue the four dowel brackets to the inside of the long pieces (see photo). Attach with (2) 3/4” screws. Attach the shelf 3 1/2” from the top, and glue on the face pieces. Insert any dividers, glue, clamp, and allow to dry.

5. Cut the 1” dowel to (2) 13” lengths.

6. Sand the edges to a fine grit, and stain as you please. Be sure to stain the dowels as well.

7. Add the paper towel rolls (which you’ll use sparingly) and fill the top caddy.

8. To hang from the wall, use some heavy duty picture hangers or a cleat system for portability.

 

**Note: My amiga built a similar project, from which I was inspired. She said she built it a few years ago with plans from a magazine, but no longer has the information. If anyone has a reference, please let me know so I can cite it. Cheers.
 

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Power Tools 101: The Cordless Drill/Driver

by Chris Gardner

No matter which sort of DIY projects are your forte, eventually you’ll need to drill a hole in them and screw them to something else. Enter the Cordless Drill/Driver, the telltale trophy of the true Do-It-Yourselfer, and most people’s entrance into the world of power tools.

Power Tools 101: The Cordless Drill/Driver

    When looking to purchase your first drill, or when updating or augmenting an old standby, the number one rule is to buy what you need, or what you think you might need...

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Power Tools 101: The Right Tool for the Job.

by Chris Gardner

Types of Power Tools. Some say there are two basic groups of power tools: professional and homeowner. It’s more helpful to think of power tools in four categories: light use, DIY, contractor, and high-end. Of course, there’s plenty of overlap, and no particular manufacturer makes tools in only one category.

 

Power Tools 101: The Right Tool for the Job.

 

    • Light use tools are those designed for light-duty, occasional use around the home: assembling furniture, hanging blinds or artwork, minor...

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Finished with finishing!

by Bruno Bornsztein

Ever wonder what happened to those Fix-It videos? I do. It has been ages since we got up the energy to put one together! But that doesn't mean we haven't been fixing things.

For the last two weeks we've been refinishing our woodwork, and let me tell you, it would've made a great Fix-Its video. Alas, the work was gruelling and left little energy for videography. I'll try to post some before/after and process pics laster on. But for now, here's the...

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How to: Distressing Wood With Vaseline

by DIY Maven

How to: Distressing Wood With Vaseline

If you’re looking to get that distressed, painted a few times Shabby Chic look, here’s a fun and easy way to accomplish it.

Supplies

Two colors of latex paint. One will be your peek-a-boo, underneath color and the other will be your primary color.

Vaseline, but a light-colored candle will work too.

Steel wool.

Water-based polyurethane, if the piece will get wear.

Steps

First sand your piece, if necessary, and then put on a few coats of...

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The Woody Side of Modern

by DIY Maven

The Woody Side of Modern

Brent Comber, artist and ‘fourth generation Vancouverite’ creates ‘art that blend[s] the natural shapes and materials of the Pacific Northwest with a modern urban aesthetic.’ Those materials--recycled and reclaimed cedar, Douglas fir and maple--are generally not associated with modern interiors; however, Brent’s use of them confirms the glorious versatility of wood–even the rustic variety.

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More Puzzling Floors

by DIY Maven

More Puzzling Floors

A few weeks ago we had puzzle carpet, now we have puzzle wood flooring. Puzzle Floor™ pieces are made of 5/8" solid northern hardwood which ‘is precision-manufactured...to allow for perfect alignment and fit.” The 13" x 13" squares are available in 13 different colors, and according to the company’s website, installation sounds DIY-able. I just have one question about this sudden influx of puzzle flooring. Why just floor applications? Why not...

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How to: DIY Tortilla Press

by Chris Gardner

“Mexican food without corn tortillas is like Chinese food without rice…The centrality of corn tortillas in Mexico may come as a surprise…, since many of us north of the border don’t choose corn tortillas with our Mexican food. The reason: We may have never eaten a good fresh one- a just-made one. Corn tortillas…are at their peak for only a few hours after they’re made.” (From Bayless, Rick. Mexico: One Plate at a Time [New York: Scriber Press...

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How To: Make a DIY Box Joint Jig

by Chris Gardner

Today we're learning how to make a box joint jig. Read on to learn how! 

Box joint, aka finger joints

Box joints, also called finger joints or comb joints, are really quite strong and have an attractive, handmade appeal which looks good on, well, everything.

And you're welcome to cut and chisel each one by hand...but, with this easy jig, you don't have to, and unless you're a purist, there's no reason not to crank them out by the dozens. This is designed for a...

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