Archive for November, 2010

Dowel Rods for Kitchen Use

Without a doubt, when one thinks of dowel rods, woodworking and crafts immediately come to mind. This is because dowel rods are commonly and routinely used in woodworking. However, the uses of dowel rods are much more versatile than some may realize. In fact, they can be quite handy in the kitchen in traditional and non-traditional ways. Let’s examine some possibilities for uses of dowel rods in the kitchen.

Some of the traditional, woodworking-related ways dowel rods can be ideal for kitchen uses include the ability to make certain items from scratch. For instance, kitchen utensils are simple projects that can be completed easily and with a minimal investment of both time and expense. Consider trying a hand at creating wooden spoons, ladles, or honey drippers. Dowels can be used as handles for each of these projects. Once completed, mount dowels to a strip of wood, paint or stain, and hang your new, ready-to-use utensils near your stovetop for convenience and easy access.

Easily make a dish drying rack and add a natural, wooden element to your kitchen in the process. Another simple project to consider is a paper towel dispenser. With some creativity and imagination, these can be made either as standing, vertical units, which can be placed on kitchen counters, or as elongated, horizontal units, which can be mounted under cabinets. Because of their relative simplicity, each of these would also be an excellent, but simple project for the beginning woodworker.

For a more experienced woodworker, dowels can be used in the repair or upgrade of kitchen seating, as, quite commonly, the rungs of chairs are formed from dowel. Consider adding dowels with grooves or hooks to kitchen cabinets to hang coffee mugs or teacups and free up some storage space. Or, use dowels to create a plate rack inside your kitchen cabinets for the same reason. A piece of wood with simple dowel or more ornate shaker pegs would make a great hanging rack for aprons, oven mitts, and potholders.

There are some less traditional, but equally resourceful uses for dowel in the kitchen as well.

When it comes to baking, dowels can be used to support tiered cakes. Because they vary in size, they may also be purchased and used as an accurate guide for measuring thickness when rolling out dough. For those who enjoy making pasta from scratch, another creative use is for pasta drying. Create a rack for your homemade pastas.

Use a wood dowel to circularly wrap cloth napkins and avoid wrinkling and ironing altogether! If kitchen drawer space is limited, consider making a hanging or countertop linen rack. This is a functional tool, but can also compliment or accent your kitchen décor. If kitchen drawer space is available, consider using dowels to create compartments for typical supplies, such as pens or pencils, sticky notes, tape, scissors, magnets, or coupons.

Depending on the bulk (weight) of the material, a sturdy hardwood dowel may be used in kitchen window treatments. Less hardy dowels may be considered for lighter valances.

There is so much more that can be done with dowels than many may ever imagine. Use some of these ideas to make simple and cost-effective improvements to your kitchen, and let an ordinary wood dowel do the extraordinary for you.

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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Recycling Your Woodworking

Recycling is so important for helping to conserve many of Earth’s limited natural resources. Fortunately, a growing number of people are on board with that goal! Trees are one of those limited natural resources. Because trees are necessary for the wood used to create woodworks, woodworking is directly affected by, as well as directly affects, this goal. In an effort to help reduce the number of trees that are cut each year, woodworkers can continue to pursue their craft while still taking an active role in conservation by implementing recycling into their woodworking. Undoubtedly, woodworking projects will result in wood scraps. However, there are numerous ways the woodworker can recycle wood by using those scraps.

Donate your wood scraps to an elderly woodworker who resides in your neighborhood or in a local assisted living center. Perhaps he or she still enjoys the art of woodworking, but no longer has the dexterity often required for larger, more time-consuming woodworking projects. Small projects are possible from recycled wood scraps and help to keep the woodworker active and encourage creativity.

On the same note, consider donating your wood scraps to a local high school, scouting troop, or 4-H club which may teach basic woodworking and offer small woodworking projects for children. Perhaps an art teacher can encourage young students’ creativity with art projects made from recycled wood.

Use small wood scraps to make toys with or for children. Cars, trains, puzzles, or blocks are great ideas! Use a scrap segment of a wood dowel with some plastic and string to make a kite for fun on a blustery day. Consider making these simple woodworking projects with the children or grandchildren in your life. Or, consider making and donating them to the children of a family in need during the holidays or to a neighborhood daycare or educational program.

Take supporting the goal of recycling one step further by not only reusing your scrap wood, but by using it with other eco-friendly goals in mind. For instance, you can build a compost bin for your garden or have the scraps grinded for use as mulch for a flower bed or as an insulator for trees during cold weather months. Use scraps to make stakes for a garden or for supporting a newly planted tree. Build a birdhouse, a squirrel feeder, or a bird perch by using the scraps of a sturdy hardwood dowel.

Recycle wood scraps by making small items for your home. A scrap wood dowel can be used to create a hanging key holder, picture frames, desktop organizers (for pens, pencils, scissors, thumbtacks, etc.), and small wooden storage bins. Perhaps consider making these items to give to others as a housewarming, birthday, or Christmas gift. Not only would this help efforts to recycle, but by doing so, you also conserve yet another limited resource: Your money!

Finally, consider playing a role in supporting your local economy by donating scrap wood to a new business that could use it. Perhaps a business could use it to make signs for advertising or to make organizational bins for storing parts or supplies. Perhaps a freighting company could use wood scraps to make pallets for loading or separating freight or a construction or home improvement company could make sawhorses for use at job sites.

Whatever residual you may have from your woodworking projects, there is still more that can be done. Be creative, and recycle leftover wood. You may be surprised by the number of ways you can make a positive, lasting impact on the environment while still pursuing your passion for woodworking.

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 Your Home Furnishings

Although most people furnish their homes with store-bought furnishings for the sake of time or convenience, woodworking is a great way make furnishings for your home. Not only is it typically less costly than buying furnishings, but there are also the added elements of customizing the items to specific preferences, having a handmade heirloom to pass on, and the overall joy and creativity so many cherish that comes from woodworking. There are many possibilities for incorporating woodworking into home furnishings.

For the beginning woodworker, a small bookshelf for a home office or study is a great way to gain experience. Because a small bookshelf allows the woodworker to use and work with standard planes of wood, this project keeps it simple for the woodworker in the making. For experienced woodworkers, a bookshelf can be a more intricate project by building a larger scale bookshelf or by adding creative touches. These may include the addition of crown molding, hinged doors, or designs carved into the wood. Once the bookshelf is complete and new woodworking skills attained, a roll top desk would be an excellent compliment.

A nice wall-hanging coat rack for an entryway is another simple home furnishing project a less experienced woodworker can start with. A sturdy piece of wood, a good wood dowel, and some staining supplies are all that’s needed to complete this project. Again, however, a more experienced woodworker may consider intricacies, such as wood carvings, to make the project more fulfilling, challenging, or to get the design he or she had envisioned.

A lovely jewelry box or a sturdy quilt stand for a bedroom is another simple furnishing to consider.

Chairs for a dining table are another handmade furniture possibility. Simple chairs can be made using small planes of wood for the seating and hardwood dowel for the backing. A rocking chair for a nursery or reading nook is another consideration.

You can also use woodworking skills to upgrade already existing furnishings, such as kitchen cabinetry. Wooden dowels and caps can be added to kitchen cabinet backs to hang items such as coffee mugs or measuring cups, making use of all available cabinet space by implementing hanging space and freeing up cabinet bottoms. Or consider using dowels for making shoe racks to free up space in the bottom of bedroom closets.

Woodworking furnishings for the home can also include outdoor space. Small projects may include a birdhouse, mailbox, or planter, and larger projects may include a picnic table, porch swing, or Adirondack chairs.

Whatever your skill level, there are many woodworking projects you can complete for your home, both inside and out, with the furnishings and styles of your choosing.

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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