Archive for February, 2010

Home Projects with Wood Dowels

Woodworking is a really fun hobby to get into. Your creations can be used for years or even generations to come. Many people find serenity in working with natural materials, like wood. Whether you’re an expert or just starting out, there is a woodworking project that will fit your skill level.

Wood dowels, or dowel rods, are an inexpensive tool for making some improvements around the home and can make for some really quick and easy projects. There are so many things that you can make using dowels. Most dowel projects do not require a lot of skill or experience and even children will enjoy helping you with some of these home projects and crafts.

If you’re looking for an easy place to start, especially if you’re working with a child, you might want to try your hand at kite-making. With kites, you can keep it simple with a basic cross, or work your way up to intricate kites with multiple geometric compartments.

Another thing you can make is a quick and easy shoe rack. Dowels can be used to make a place for the shoe to rest. You will most likely only need a couple of dowels for the bottom of the rack. More can be used to add additional shelves to expand the rack. The floating shoe rack is really popular right now. You simply install two dowels about three or four inches apart, one on top and one directly beneath it. The toe of your shoe will slide right between the dowels and the shoes will stay, suspended from the dowels. These shoe racks are sleek to put in a closet and you can barely see them when they’re not in use.

Dowels can be used to make all sorts of pegs around the home. Many people like to try their hand at woodworking by building something simple, like a shelf. You can use dowel rods to add intricacy to your shelf. You can use them as towel or blanket hangers, as a hanging bar for coats, or to build in pegs for hanging scarves and hats.

Dowels are popular in kitchen projects, too. You can install dowel rods on the inside of your cabinets or cabinet doors. These can be used to hold lids, dish towels, boxes of foil or plastic wrap, or anything else that is slender or flat. Dowels can be used to create interesting wine racks or wine glass holders underneath your top cabinets.

There are many more projects that you can do with dowels or dowel rods. With your imagination and a little patience, you can create all sorts of things while enjoying the hobby of woodworking with dowels.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc. which manufactures wood products in Ohio. Good Wood, Inc. makes dowels and dowel rods, wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import dowels from off-shore suppliers when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for your wood product needs.

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Woodworking Doweling Basics

Dowel joinery is a very popular way of creating beautiful, strong joints in furniture, crafts and toys. Doweling is a simple way to create durable joints without using mechanical hardware. Many people love to use this type of joinery because the finished product is very attractive and the process is fairly simple. Even beginner woodworkers can easily lean how to use dowel rods to create strength and beauty in their projects.

The first step is to determine what size dowel to use. The dowel should not exceed half the width of the board, or it will compromise the integrity of the board. Avoid splintering by choosing a dowel that is at least half the board width. Don’t go too much smaller than that or the joint will not be strong enough.

Drilling your holes is the next step. Depth is important here. Use a doweling jig to ensure that your holes are centered on the board and straight. You want your dowel to be half-way in the board and half-way out of the board. Drill your hole half the length of your dowel and then add 1/16” in depth to accommodate glue. Keep in mind that your glue is actually where your joint will get a lot of its strength, so you need to make spaces for your glue to bond. Drill holes about every four inches for your project.

One way to make space for your glue is to carve channels or grooves into your dowels. Some people simply twist the appropriate sized nut down their dowel to create grooves on the surface. This gives the glue somewhere to set. You may want to also carve or cut one long channel down the length of the dowel to allow excess glue and air to escape as you insert your dowel.

You can also use a taper method. This is a really popular method for a number of reasons. You can simply sand or shave off the ends of your dowels to give them a tapered appearance. This makes it easier to line up the dowels with your holes and gives the glue a lot of space to take hold. Also, a tapered dowel doesn’t fit flush with the hole as it is being inserted, so the glue doesn’t get pushed off of the dowel, giving you a stronger hold.

Once you have your holes drilled and your dowels in place, it is time to move on to the mating holes of the receptor board. Don’t drill your holes until you have used a doweling center to mark your joining location. It is almost impossible to line up dowels and receptor sites exactly, without using a doweling center. This is simply a metal cap with spurs that you can place over the end of your dowels, and then press them against the receiving board. The spurs will lightly mark the receptor board so that you can see exactly where to drill. This small, inexpensive step will save you from a lot of frustration and ruined wood.

Doweling is a woodworking art that can help you bring your joinery to the next level. Use hardwood dowel rods for furniture projects. Use practice pieces of wood to get hang of the process before you try it out on your project. With the proper tools and some quality dowels, you’ll have it mastered in no time.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc. which manufactures wood products in Ohio. Good Wood, Inc. makes dowels and dowel rods, wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import dowels from off-shore suppliers when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for your wood product needs.

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Non-Toxic Toys

Parents are rightly concerned with the safety of their children’s toys. Toys are recalled everyday due to lead, arsenic, PVC, and other heavy metal content. There has been an increasing concern in the safety of toys made in other countries because safety standards can be low, or hard to monitor on toys coming from outside of the U.S.

Recent legislation has put new standards and testing requirements on toy makers that should help the situation. Toy makers must adhere to the testing standards and cannot sell toys that contain toxic chemicals or heavy metals. All toys must go through testing before they can be sold. However, a lot of the companies that already produce environmentally friendly, safe, non-toxic toys will be negatively affected by the legislation because they can’t afford the testing to prove that they’re safe products are actually safe.

It’s a double edged sword. As parents, we want our children’s toys tested and guaranteed safe. However, we don’t want to shut down these small businesses that are actually doing a lot of good in the community. Handmade toys and clothes generate a lot of income for families throughout the U.S. However, as the legislation stands, they will not be allowed to sell anything unless they go through a third-party testing facility, which charges hundreds or even thousands of dollars per toy for testing.

Many people are writing to Congress asking that the rules be modified to keep handmade toys and children’s products on the market. Hopefully an agreement can be met that satisfies parent’s needs for safety in their children’s products and makes safety standards attainable for small businesses.

In the meantime, you may consider making some of your own handmade toys. It is fun and rewarding to craft your own toys, and it’s something that you can involve your children in. You can teach them about the value of working hard to make something of exceptional value. Talk about how toys that are handmade are special, because every one is unique. Handmade toys can be heirloomed and cherished for generations.

Wood products for building toys can be found online through wood manufacturing companies. You can make your own blocks, cars, games and more. Some companies offer finishing services and use a toxin-free, heavy metal-free finish, putting your worries ate ease.

Shopping for wood parts to build toys can be exciting and inspiring. You may be surprised what you find and decide to give it a try. Wood manufacturers that sell toy parts will often offer custom services. They can carve specialty pieces, add hardware, and even boy toys for you to give as gifts.

You and your child can use your imagination and build things together. You may want to start with an assortment of wood toy parts, like balls, dowels, buttons, and blocks. You can use a dowel to create axles on trucks, wagons and more. Buttons and knobs can help you decorate. Custom game pieces can help you to create family fun that will be treasured for generations. Keep your family safe and experience the joy of creating your own wooden toys together.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc. which manufactures wood products in Ohio. Good Wood, Inc. makes dowels and dowel rods, wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import dowels from off-shore suppliers when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for your wood product needs.

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