Archive for May, 2011

Crafting Your Own Crochet Hooks

Dowels are a versatile crafting and project supply. As such, they can be used in innumerable ways. Frequently, they are a simplistic, but essential part of a craft or project. However, they can also be used as a stand-alone supply, then used secondarily in the creation of other crafts and projects. For instance, a dowel can first be used to craft crochet hooks, which can then be used to make any number of items, such as afghans, baby blankets, or shawls.

To craft your own crochet hooks, first start by securing a few items you will need to complete the project. This includes a dowel with a diameter close equal or approximate to the desired size, 40 grit and 100 grit sandpaper, and a wood carving knife. If you’d like, you may choose to also have a metal crochet needle on hand as a point of reference. However, given the overall simplicity of this project, it’s not necessarily a requirement.

With these materials on hand, begin the project by first cutting the dowel into two five to six inch segments. This is the standard lengths for the average individual. However, the segment lengths can be adjusted to shorter or longer lengths to accommodate the height and the overall comfort of the individual handling the hooks.

Once the dowel segments are cut, use the wood carving knife to make the rough form of an oval at the tip of the dowel. This is the area that will become the notched end, supplying the crocheting hook. Use the 40 grit sandpaper to help form the oval shape. Then, use the 100 grit sandpaper to apply a more fine finish.

Using a pencil, lightly mark the area of the dowel that lies approximately 1/4 of an inch from the oval tip. Then, use the wood carving knife to apply an upward cut of about 45 degrees into the wood dowel. Be careful not to inadvertently cut all the way through the dowel. Again using the sandpaper, wedge the 40 grit into the cut to achieve a rough sand and allow for more space within the hook. Once the size of the hook is satisfactory, follow by using the 100 grit sandpaper to apply a fine, smooth finish.

It is the carving and sanding of the notch that determines the size of the hook. Because of this, the crafter is allowed full control in making the crochet hooks. In fact, an array of crochet hooks of various sizes can be created by or for the crafter.

This is just one way in which a hardwood dowel can be used in and of its own right in the creation of other crafts and projects.

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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Using Dowel In Recycling Projects

Dowels are a very versatile woodworking supply. They can be used for many purposes. Sometimes they are quite central to a project, and at other times, their purposes in a project are rather simplistic. How impressive to use a dowel in its simplest form for a project which is as important as it, too, is simple! Use dowel with recycled clothing to create storage and carrying bags for other recyclable items and projects.

Start with an old, unwanted T-shirt. Although working with shirts that do not have holes is most time-effective, those with them may still be used. Certainly, they will require patching in order to properly contain the items placed in the bag. However, think of using cloth that requires patching, instead of discarding it, as recycling in its truest sense.

Depending on the desired size of the storage or carrying bag, you may choose to cut the T-shirt at the seam of the collar and down either sleeve, or to cut straight across the shirt starting at the underside of each sleeve. This will become the top of the bag.

If you choose to cut the shirt at the seam of the collar, you will need to either remove the sleeves and stitch the cloth together at the site, or leave the sleeves in place, but fold them inward and stitch the cloth. Obviously, cutting the shirt at the seam of the collar provides slightly more space for the bag, while cutting the shirt just below the seam of the arms will provide slightly less space.

For efficiency’s sake, stitch the bottom of the shirt together while stitching the area of the sleeves.

Next, using a wood dowel sized to preference in both length and diameter, sufficiently able to withstand the weight of the items that will be stored or carried, and based on the overall size of the shirt used, wrap the top portion of the bag on either side around the dowel to determine how much cloth will be needed to encircle it. Lightly mark the material at this point, and then stitch it widthwise. Be certain to consider enough grip so that the dowels stay relatively stationary, making carrying items much easier, but also enough release to allow for easy replacement of the dowels should they require it. Then, insert the dowel sections through on either side.

Use the bag to store books, magazines, or knitting supplies. (Go one step farther in your efforts and craft your own knitting needles using a hardwood dowel!) If curbside pickup is unavailable in your area, use the bag to cart your recycling to the nearest recycling center. Make separate storage bags for recyclable items made of aluminum, steel, and paper. By allowing for the removal of the dowel as described above, the bags can be washed should they become soiled or wet and then used again and again. Or, use the bag to store plastic department store bags and for carrying them to return to the store during your next visit there.

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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Simple Flag Storage

Seasonal and holiday flags are often seen adorning homes and lawns across the nation. From Valentine’s Day to Easter; from Flag Day to the Fourth of July; from Halloween to Thanksgiving and Christmas; and from equinox to equinox, a festive spirit abounds during each holiday season. And that spirit is what is reflected on lawns and flagpoles. As the months and seasons change, so do the flags. This makes storage and accessibility important to preserving your favorite seasonal and holiday flags. So, how can your flags be stored during the off-season, but easily accessed when the time comes to use them again?

Dowels are perhaps one of the most valuable and useful supplies used in wood crafts and projects. Frequently, they are used as a part of the building process. However, they are so versatile that, in some cases, they can be used as stand-alone supplies. When it comes to our flag storage project here, they are just that.

Based on the length and width, the bulk of the material comprising the flag, and the number of flags you wish to store on each dowel, select a dowel that will accommodate the size of your flag and storage space. During the off-season, simply roll your flag over the dowel. Consider tautly securing the flag over the dowel by using small safety pins on either end. Conforming the flag to the shape of the dowel also maintains its shape, preventing wrinkles and creases that may need to be ironed or steamed out before displaying the following season.

There are several ways to go about storing the rolled flags. One simple method is to hammer nails into the storage place and then set the wood dowel upon it. Perhaps a method more to a seasoned woodworker’s liking would be to use two pieces of wood equal in all dimensions and carve notches upon which, or into which, the dowels can be placed. Once the notches are carved, the pieces of wood can be mounted congruently on a wall, in a closet, or in another storage compartment.

If mounting is not an option or is not a preferred option, consider purchasing PVC pipes with dimensions large enough to encompass the width of the dowel plus the width of the rolled flag or flags covering it. This will accommodate upright storage, perhaps making the most of limited space in a hallway closet or storage cabinet.

As a side note, this same concept can be applied to other storage needs that may have multiple themes. For example, gift wrap and ribbon for various events, including children’s birthdays, weddings, baby showers, and Christmas, can also be stored on and easily accessed using hardwood dowel. The circular nature of the dowel will also facilitate easy rolling out of the paper and ribbon for measuring and cutting purposes.

The versatility of dowel makes for creative outcomes!

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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