Archive for July, 2010

Woodworking: Painting Cabinets

Cabinets can look used and abused over time. Many people are interested in refinishing their cabinets instead of paying for a costly replacement job. Refinishing can also be expensive, so sometimes homeowners choose to paint their cabinets instead. This is the cheapest option when you need to update your cabinets.

Paint is a good option if you want to cover up inconsistencies or defects in the wood. Paint can be used to create a uniform finish on imperfect cabinets. You can use an oil-based paint for a smoother finish, but the drying time is a lot longer and the clean up can be more difficult. Latex paints are great for cabinets, produce a nice finish, clean up easily, and can be easier to work with. Really it’s up to you to decide which one you prefer.

Some professionals prefer oil-based paints, but others rarely use it anymore. If you choose latex paint, check to see that it is made with acrylic. Some latex paints are made with vinyl and acrylic. These do not adhere as well and are not as durable as 100% acrylic latex paints.

Spraying on the finish paint produces the best results. It can be time consuming to cover everything in the kitchen to protect it from the spray, but take your time and be diligent about covering everything before you begin. You can skip this step if you take the doors and drawer fronts outside to spray them. Then, use a really good brush to paint the body of the cabinets. Renting professional paint spray equipment may be a good idea to ensure that you get a perfect spray.

Preparing your cabinets for painting is very important. It can be almost impossible to predict how an old finish will adhere with your paint. Stripping the cabinets is a long process, but a necessary one. If the cabinets have a hard clear coat, you may need to use paint remover to get it off. Follow all safety precautions on the container when you use these harsh chemicals.

After the finish is removed, you will need to use a fine grit sandpaper to remove the residues and leftover finish from the cabinets. Then, all dust must be removed from the cabinets. Many people use mineral spirits on a staining cloth to remove residues with a lot of success. However, we also recommend using a tack cloth to remove particles that you can’t see. Being diligent about this process will pay off.

Before you paint your cabinets, you may want to update the design. You can create beautiful framework for your cabinets before you paint them. Some people simply trim out the edges of the cabinet body with a thin, 1-2 inch wide board. This gives the finished product a more high-end feel. You can also miter a wood dowel to create frames for decoration on the fronts of your cabinet doors and drawers. Just be sure that you use a hardwood dowel so that it isn’t easily damaged.

Painting cabinets may seem like a daunting task, but most people can accomplish professional looking results with no previous experience. Take your time and you can inexpensively give your kitchen a major makeover.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.

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Safety in Wooden Toy Crafts

Building handmade toys is a very rewarding and interesting hobby to get into. The possibilities are really endless. You can build classic pull toys, make handmade blocks, or even create unique dolls. Making toys is a fun way to get into woodworking or to expand a woodworking hobby. There are just a few things to know before you get started. Here we will discuss common safety concerns with wooden toys so that you can safely enjoy your new craft.

-Choking Hazards: In general, toys and toy parts should not be able to fit down a toilet paper tube. Consider this especially if the toy is going to go to a small child or baby. Keep in mind that decorations or broken parts can become choking hazards later.

-Impalement Hazards: Avoid creating toys that could impale a child if they fell on it. Sharp ends, long thin pieces, and other slender objects could be dangerous if a child fell on them and punctured part of their body.

-Toxic Finishes: Be careful about what types of finishes and glues you use on toys. Some paints, glues and stains can contain harmful chemicals, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Toxic gas fumes can cause illnesses and allergies that are not healthy for children or adults. Look for all natural, non-toxic or natural paints and glues for finishing toys.

-Sharp Edges: Children’s toys should be free of sharp edges and points. Watch out for exposed nails, screw heads or threads, and staples. Smooth out corners with sandpaper. Not only will your toys have a more professional look, they will feel better to touch and play with as well.

-Strings and Other Decorations: Remember that strings and decorations could pose strangulation or choking hazards. Never give a toy with a string to a small child. Consider using a thick, wood dowel for a handle instead of a string for pull toys.

-Consider Breakage: Toys that are large enough to ride or climb on should be able to hold the weight of an adult.

-Holes: Think about the size of the holes in toys that you make. Children can get their fingers trapped in holes of the right size. Think “bigger than a dime or smaller than a pea” when creating toys with holes.

-Tipping Hazards: Anything that weighs more than ten pounds could be a hazard if it lands on a child. If it weighs more than ten pounds and is also taller than two feet, it may need to be anchored to the wall to avoid tipping, crushing and entrapment.

-Suffocation Hazards: Make sure that if you make something that a child could fit into that it has a wide, unobstructed vent so that children cannot suffocate if trapped inside.

Overall, you should remember to use high quality hardwoods that do not break easily. You can purchase wooden toy parts and decorations that are specifically designed with safe finishes for toys. For spindles and axels, you can order a hardwood dowel instead of a regular wood dowel. Don’t use generic pieces of wood that may not be safe. Check with manufacturers to make sure that the pieces you use will be safe for your recipients. Using quality wood products and following safety guidelines will help you to create the heirloom quality treasures that you are hoping for.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.

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The Wood Scrolling Art of Intarsia

Intarsia is an intricate form of woodworking where multiple types of wood are inlayed together to produce a finished product. Intarsia artwork is generally flat with the appearance of a three dimensional image. However, intarsia inlay is often used as decoration on other woodworking projects, such as chairs, pots, and headboards.

Intarsia differs from marquetry. Marquetry looks similar, but it is actually the art of creating decorative patterns by gluing individual pieces of wood to a base product. Intarsia is more like a jigsaw puzzle, where the pieces lock together and create a mosaic. Depth and texture are given to intarsia mosaics by hand sanding and staining individual pieces of wood that will be fit together to create a finished product. Some pieces that the artist decides should stand out may be thicker or thinner than the other pieces around it so that a three dimensional effect is more apparent.

Artists interested in intarsia use different types and shades of wood. They inlay contrasting colors to make the image “pop” from the surface. Skilled artists will angle the wood grain of each piece so that the illusion is even more polished. Stains are often used because working with multiple types of wood can cause problems.

For instance, different woods expand and contract at different points of humidity and temperatures. To avoid an intricate piece of art cracking or popping apart, an artist may use one type of wood throughout and stain individual pieces to create the effect that they are looking for. Another time that you may want to use stain over different types of wood is if only certain types of wood are good for use in your finished product. For example, you wouldn’t want to use a soft wood like pine on a project that would be used outside.

A scroll saw is a useful tool for creating pieces that are to be used in intarsia projects. It can be a fun way to use scraps of wood that you have left over from other projects. You can create light switch covers, a hat rack, a picture frame, or a jewelry box just to practice the art. You can use a wood dowel to create hundreds of circles that can be used as abstract pieces or flower centers. Something like a hardwood dowel can be used to create garnishments for your flower bed or garden.

Practice fitting pieces together until you get your technique down. You can hand sand and cut your wood to create unique and personalized pieces. You can also use templates and patterns for simpler projects to get started. Intarsia is an art that can become a lifetime hobby. There are simple designs that you can complete in a few hours or intricate patterns that could take you years to master. Give it a try and see how far you want to take it.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.

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