Archive for September, 2010

How to Build a Wooden Chest

Every home needs a chest. Chests have a timeless beauty that makes them suitable for heirloom gifts. Chests have many functions, from storing clothing, blankets and linens, toys, keepsakes, or simply for decoration. Children also love chests for hiding treasure and playing games. If you’re thinking of making a chest, no matter what its purpose, then you’ve come to the right place. There are a few basic steps that you should follow and a few safety issues that you should be aware of before you begin. There are many designs and embellishments for wooden chests, but today we will discuss the basics for you.

1) Safety first, as always. Chests look great and provide storage for numerous items, but you don’t want your chest to become a hazard to children. So, to begin this article, we’re going to discuss how to make your chest safe for people of all ages. Invest a little in slow closing hinges. Solid wood items are very heavy. If the top can slam down, it can smash someone’s fingers or injure a child in multiple ways. Your chest should also have air spaces to prevent suffocation. Toy boxes generally have a two inch clearance underneath the front of the lid so that a child trapped inside can breathe and call for help. Taking these two extra steps can help you to avoid future tragedies.

2) You will need two large sheets of cabinet grade plywood, 3/4 inches thick. Cut two pieces, 14.5 x 48 inches wide using a circular saw. These pieces will be the front and back of your wooden chest. Cut two more pieces, 14.5 x 24 inches. These will be the sides of your chest. Now is a good time to cut an air slot on the front if you wish. Use the piece that will be the front of the chest. Leave each end of the top edge at 14.5 inches tall for four inches in from each side. Trace a line about two inches down from your marks and cut out a 40 inch section that is 2 inches wide. You can slope the opening so that it looks nice and clean. This cut out section won’t show much when the chest is closed.

3) Cut another piece, 24 x 48 inches for the bottom of the chest. Use a nail gun or wood screws to affix all five pieces together. You can use blocks for legs to keep the chest up off of the floor. Go ahead and put them on while you have the chest upside down. If you want, instead of screwing or using a nail gun to connect the pieces together, you can use a wood dowel to create a strong dowel joint. Use a hardwood dowel if you’re using a hardwood for your chest.

4) Cut the top piece one inch bigger than the bottom piece, 25 x 48 inches. It should overhang your air vent by about an inch, hiding it from first glance. Attach your slow-close hinges, sand, stain, varnish and you’re done.

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Build a Simple Wood Chair

Chairs should be made of a hard wood that can support a lot of weight and withstand many years of use. Oak, pine and cherry are popular options. You will need a one inch thick piece for building the seat. Cut the seat to your desired dimension. Most kitchen chairs have a seat that measures 18×24 inches.

For the legs, you can use pre-cut spindles, or build your own. Use a 2×2 inch board and cut your front two legs exactly the same length, about 18 inches long is standard. Cut the back two legs 4 feet long. These two legs will also double as supports for the back of the chair. You can turn the legs on a lathe to round them out and create decorative variations in the wood before you start to assemble. Alternatively, you can purchase a thick hardwood dowel and use it for the legs of the chair if you wish.

Take the seat and attach the front two legs. You can chisel out a slot for each leg on the underside of the seat if you wish. Create a dowel joint to securely hold the legs in place while avoiding the need for screws and nails on the seat surface.

Now you will need to chisel out a slot for the seat on the back legs. Use a hammer and chisel or a router if you have one. Make a slot that goes about one-half inch deep into the legs and that starts at the exact length of the front two legs. Measure and visually test the height of your channel on a flat surface using a level before you cut. Test the seat to make sure it fits securely into the slot. When you assemble the seat and back legs, you may want to create another dowel joint and use wood glue to securely hold the seat in place. A nail gun is also great for nailing the seat to the back legs from behind.

The next step is to brace the legs. Run a 1×4 inch board around the outside or inside of the legs on the underside of the chair seat. Measure, cut, and attach each board connecting all legs together. It’s also a good idea to place a diagonal brace piece from each support board to another, creating an octagon appearance. Metal braces are also sturdy, inexpensive options. Glue everything into place after attaching each piece with screws or a nail gun. Allow the wood glue to set before going any further.

Now you’re ready to attach a brace across the top of the chair, connecting the two back legs. Work with this piece of wood for a while and test your hand at some planning skills. Plane out about one-half inch of the wood to create a comfortable place for your back to rest. You may want to do the same to several boards for a ladder back chair. If you want to use spindles for the back, simply order a quality wood dowel that matches the rest of your wood. Drill holes in the top board and chair seat, use wood glue, and assemble the chair back.

After everything is dry, your chair should be ready for years of quality use.

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Tips for Building a Bookcase

Furniture making can be something that you work on for your entire life. Many people choose to start with something simple, like a bookcase for their home. However, it may not be as simple as it looks. Creating something that is “perfectly square” can be a challenge for some beginner woodworkers. Creating things that are sturdy enough to withstand years of use and that also look good enough for you to put into your home may take some instruction. Use these tips for learning how to make sure your bookcase is sturdy, square, and attractive.

1) First, measure the space and decide on dimensions for your bookcase. Determine how many shelves you would like to have in your bookcase and go shopping for your wood. Hardwoods will generally be more durable, but many soft woods are perfectly suited as well. Choose the one that you like best and buy pieces that give you enough to fit your dimensions and plan. Lay all of the pieces flat together to make sure that they are not warped before you purchase them.

2) Cut the plywood using a miter saw or a table saw to the dimensions that you have set. You will need to cut the side panels and the top and bottom pieces, making sure that they all measure exactly right. Then, cut your shelves and make sure that everything will fit together perfectly.

3) Mark your side panels for router joint grooves. Lay the two side panels side by side, line up the top and bottom perfectly, and then nail them together using a small scrap piece of wood. Use finishing nails or screws to affix the scrap wood to the bottom and top of the side panels. Place a T-square on the side so that it crosses the center line of the two panels butted against each other. Draw two lines, 3/4” apart to mark a path for your router. Most shelves are around 16” apart, but you can make your shelves however far apart that you want.

4) Assemble the pieces together making sure that the router grooves are facing inward. Nail the top and bottom pieces to the side panels. You’re essentially creating a box, so lay it down flat and check for exact 90 degree angles before you attach. You can use slender nails, a nail gun, or drill pilot holes to insert screws. Don’t skip drilling pilot holes for screws or you’ll risk splitting the wood.

5) Now that you have a perfectly square box, put a small amount of wood glue into each of your router slots. Slide your shelves into place and then nail them from the outside of the bookcase to secure them.

6) Cut a 2” wide board to fit inside of the rear top of your bookcase. This will be the cleat that holds the back panel in place if you choose to add one and it also secures your bookcase to studs in the wall. Glue and nail the cleat into the top rear portion of the case, flush with the top and side panels. Nail it from the sides and the top to make sure that it offers the proper support for the finished product.

7) Cover up the raw edges of the bookcase by attaching small 1-2 inch wide boards to the facing. A fluted moulding or a split wood dowel rod works great for giving the front edge of each shelf a clean finish. Use a hardwood dowel for durability. Fill in nail holes, sand and you’re ready for finishing.

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.

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »