Archive for October, 2010

Woodworking Gifts for the Holidays

If you are looking for ideas for holidays gifts for the special people in your life and are a seasoned woodworker or are interested in becoming one, consider giving homemade gifts during the holiday season. Although making a personalized gift may take time and effort, it also conveys love to the receiver, and since the gift is of the woodworker’s choosing, it can be made as simply or intricately as the novice or seasoned woodworker desires.

Popular wooden gifts to consider for children include racecars, trains, whittled soldiers, and dollhouses. Depending upon the woodworker’s experience and available time, pieces of furniture for a dollhouse would certainly make any child all smiles. For any avid little readers in your life, perhaps a bookshelf for all those treasured books would be appreciated. A small table and chairs would be great for a reading nook or a tea party. And once the day is done, a homemade toy box would be a great way to encourage children to be tidy and to take care of and be responsible for their belongings.

For adults, wooden gifts to consider include any kind of furniture. A hope chest for a young or newly engaged daughter would be a treasure for years to come. A rocking chair for new parents would not only be special, but would likely see many days and nights of use, too. A wall-mounted coat rack for a young family may make transitioning and keeping up with a busy schedule a little easier, and may even open up some much needed closet space in the process. A mantel clock with a larger, more visible face for an aging parent might be quite helpful to them. All of these are great ideas not only because they are special, but also because they are functional.

Wooden projects for the outdoors may be another consideration. A swing set or playhouse would be enjoyed by children and grandchildren. For the nature lover, a beautiful birdhouse would be a great way to stay connected to the beauty of their surroundings during the cold winter months. Using a wood dowel, consider customizing a flag pole as a way to honor a veteran or customizing it for use with seasonal decorative flags. Help someone to accessorize the outside of their home with a well-made address plaque.

There are a variety of quality supplies that can make any woodworking project achievable. A hardwood dowel, wood knob, wood ball, or wood toy parts used in conjunction with other woodworking or craft supplies and tools can help you make a truly memorable gift for your someone special during the holidays.

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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Chamfering a Dowel

In woodworking, a chamfer is basically a bevel. The term can also be used to describe removing a sharp edge, or trimming down rounded surfaces to make flat surfaces. For instance, you might “chamfer” four sides of a wooden dowel to turn it into a square peg. The term chamfer is also used to describe removing a sharp corner, or 90 degree angle. For instance, in many countries, where the sidewalks meet at a 90 degree point, the corner is often chamfered off as to allow cars to turn more easily, avoiding tire damage and unnecessary braking. Here we will discuss chamfering as it pertains to woodworking projects, specifically, projects that make use of wooden dowels.

Chamfering is very useful in dowel joinery. A wooden dowel with a chamfered edge is easier to insert into tight holes. This ease can actually allow you to create a tighter fit and a stronger finish, because the chamfered edge makes a convenient glue space at the end of the dowel. Less of the wood glue is squeezed out when the dowel peg is inserted and the glue makes contact with more surface area of the wooden dowel. Professional furniture builders almost always take the time to chamfer the ends of their dowel pegs before they attempt a dowel joint.

You can also chamfer a dowel to create trim molding. This kind of molding is generally used to define a space, cover up a gap, protect a corner from damage, or transition the eyes between surfaces. Quarter rounds and rope moldings are great examples of chamfered dowels that are being used as trim. Larger wooden dowels, usually a hardwood dowel, can be chamfered to create crown and other types of molding.

Often times, people use the term “chamfer” to refer to any joint that doesn’t meet at exactly 90 degrees. Take baseboards, chair rails, and crown molding, for example. They meet at 45 degrees in and around every corner. The ends of the boards must be chamfered to match and create an almost invisible joint. Proper chamfering will create the illusion of one continuous board, even when multiple boards are used.

Besides trimming and making joints stronger, chamfering the ends of your wood dowel and tenon ends is used to avoid the dreaded “squeeze out” of glue that can ruin the surface you are trying to finish. There’s nothing worse than joining two pieces together and having the glue escape. When that happens, it makes a spot where stains and varnishes cannot penetrate, so the finished product looks discolored. Chamfering creates extra space for glue to flow so that it doesn’t escape on to a surface where you don’t want 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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Woodworking Safety Tips

Woodworking can be a very enjoyable hobby, but it does involve some risks. Besides the obvious cut injuries that you might expect, there are also hazards for your eyes, body, ears, and lungs. Here we will discuss how to best protect your precious organs from the dust hazards that go along with woodworking.

1) Always do a quick check with yourself to make sure that you’ve thought of everything that has to do with safety. It’s important to have routine safety checks, whether you’re planning on working for hours on a project, or just making a quick adjustment to a piece. Following your own rules every time could save you from injury and disability.

2) Protecting your eyes is very important. Eye injuries while working with wood are very common. Flying debris, dust, and sanded finishes can be very hazardous to your eyes. Wood can also kick back when cut and fly into your face. Face lacerations, abrasions and blunt trauma to the head are common. Wearing protective goggles can prevent your eyes from being damaged during one of these instances.

3) Protect your body by wearing appropriate clothing. Ideally, all of your skin should be covered. Wearing a thick fabric bodysuit is always a good idea. Get yourself one that fits fairly snugly. You don’t want anything hanging off that could get snagged or tangled in equipment. This goes for sleeves, too. Sleeves should not be longer than necessary. Choose zippers over ties. Close toed shoes, work gloves, and tied back hair are a must.

4) Hearing loss and tinnitus are common ailments of the woodworker. Ear protection is a must. Power tools and equipment make a lot of noise. Long-term exposure to constant loud noises can cause you to lose your hearing. Too many people lose their hearing before they realize that something is wrong. Ear plugs are okay, but noise cancelling ear muffs are highly recommended. These, headphone style, ear muffs are made specifically to protect your ears from loud shop noises. Make a habit of wearing them every time you enter your shop.

5) Protecting your lungs is also very important. Taking off old finishes and inhaling those chemical-laden dust particles is very hazardous to your lung health and can even cause cancer. Even inhaling the dust produced when sanding or cutting common woods, like cedar, oak, birch, and willow, can cause respiratory distress. Make sure that your shop has a good dust collection system and then double up the protection by wearing a respirator or dust mask. Dust masks are an easy, inexpensive way to protect your lungs.

Working with wood often turns into a lifetime of enjoyment. Whether you like building furniture, turning a wood dowel on a lathe, making wooden toy parts, or simply experimenting with different projects, you should always put safety first. This will ensure a lifetime of enjoyment without the devastation of injury or disease that resulted from carelessness.

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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