Archive for June, 2011

Creating Faux Bamboo Coasters Using Dowel

The wonder of creating woodworks is that it can be as detailed or as simple as the crafter chooses. This means that lots of wood items and woodworking equipment may be used or, conversely, very simple wood items and woodworking equipment may be. Coasters can be made for their traditional use, such as placing glasses on them to prevent rings on beautiful and often costly furniture. Or consider non-traditional uses for coasters. Using fitting, appropriate dimensions, faux bamboo coasters can be used as kitchen pot holders, placed under plants in plant holders, or under pets’ food and water dishes. Follow these simple steps to create faux bamboo coasters that project decorative chic, but with very little effort or expense.

Determine the function of the coaster, and in doing so, determine the necessary dimensions. This information assists in determining the size and durability of the supplies needed. If uncertainty remains, consult the expertise of a local craft store or home improvement warehouse employee. If any are known, consider consulting a more experienced woodworker for guidance.

Purchase the necessary supplies. For this simple project, basic supplies include dowel, sandpaper, and wood glue or hot glue.

Based on the pre-determined dimensions of the wood dowel, use a pencil or other marking tool to determine where cuts will need to be made. Then, using a circular or hand saw, make the appropriate cuts.

Use sandpaper to smooth the edges where the cuts were made. Anywhere between 150 to 200 grit sandpaper should be acceptable for this project, but grit can certainly be tweaked to achieve the final result the crafter wishes to accomplish.

Use wood or hot glue to glue the dowel sections together. Allow the glue of the newly joined pieces sufficient time to dry.

Consider adding fitted non-slip rubber to the underside of the coaster to prevent easy slipping and big messes.

If so desired once the glue has dried, and the coaster is therefore assembled, apply a light stain to the hardwood dowel sections to achieve a more natural, wooden tone, as reflected when bamboo is drying, or apply a light coat of earthy (nearly pastel) green, as reflected when bamboo is fresh and thriving. As with the glue, allow sufficient time for the stain or paint to dry.

Once the stain or paint has dried, place the coaster in the designated area for which it was created.

Some simple variations to consider for this craft include making cuts of various lengths and sanding them to achieve abstract designs or shapes. Consider applying twine to the coaster in a lengthwise fashion to enhance a more rugged, earthy ambiance. Also consider different locations or uses for the coaster. Made largely enough, what begins as a coaster could become a kitchen placemat or a piece of art. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!

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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Creative Uses For Dowels In Housekeeping

Dowels can be used in so many creative ways. They are frequently the center of many crafts. But they can also be used in functional ways. Here are a few ways you can use dowel and some inexpensive supplies to make housekeeping a little easier and more efficient.

Using inexpensive dish towels or dish cloths from a department store or bulk warehouse, cut the towels or cloths lengthwise in about one inch strips. Using a hot glue gun, glue several strips together, one on top of the other, on one end of each cut strip. Do this for several strip components. Then, using a dowel sized to your preference and comfort, hot glue the back cloth of each strip around the circumference of the dowel. For added support, you might use a rubber band of considerable thickness to wrap around the glued portion.

This can be repeated for as many dowels as you desire to have, and the possibilities are limitless.

Use these nifty tools for dusting the tops of tall objects or ceiling fans. They can also be used to reach the highest shelves in closets.

They can also be used to reach the corners of the upper walls to remove cobwebs.

Use them to remove any dust that collects on air vents.

They can be used to remove dust or pet hair that accumulates underneath furniture on hardwood floors, or everyday objects, such as coins or pens, that have fallen under the furniture.

Dust blind slats or valances.

Use a wood dowel duster to dust light fixtures, chandeliers, or any other objects that are cumbersome or not easily removed.

These handmade dowel cleaners may also be used wet.

For instance, clean the corners of floors that are hard-to-reach with standard mops. When wet, these cleaners are much like smaller scale mops and, because of their size, allow for more guided control during cleaning.

This same principle applies to cleaning baseboards and window sill.

Use a hardwood dowel cleaner as a more sanitary way to clean the insides of garbage cans throughout your home. Although the lengths of the dowels may vary based on personal preference, they can be cut long enough to prevent gloved hands alone from reaching into the cans.

Consider using this creative idea outdoors, too, while washing the hubcaps, grilles, and fenders of vehicles, or while cleaning mold from vinyl siding.

Of course, dowels can be used in other creative ways, such as making drying racks for the laundry room or a paper towel dispenser for the kitchen. Drape and use a standard, thick dowel (without the cloth strips) to lightly beat area rugs found throughout the home and remove dirt and dust particles deeply ingrained into them.

For those used in wet cleaning, allow each handmade dowel cleaner to soak in a bleach/water ratio, then air dry.

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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Making Customized Knitting Needles Using Dowel

One of the most rewarding things to do is to create in order to create. Knitting is a craft that results in many thoughtful and useful items–baby socks, shawls, or blankets, just to name a few. These items can be made especially for those we love or, equally as endearing, for those whom we may or may not know, but for whom we care enough about to make a difference. Perhaps the baby socks are made for babies born prematurely who remain in a local NICU; or shawls are made for elderly ladies in a local nursing home; or blankets are made for the local homeless population. But what if your creativity also shined before the knitting begins? What if you are able to use your love of woodworking to make simple knitting needles? Using a wooden dowel and a few other supplies, you can!

First, secure the appropriately sized dowel with which you would like to knit. Although you can certainly use manufactured knitting needles as a reference to gauge size, the wonder of making your own knitting needles is that they can be made according to your personal preferences of comfort and functionality. This is true of both dowel diameter and length.

Once the preferred length is determined, use a pencil to mark the dowel at the appropriate length plus about 1/2 an inch. Use a saw to cut the dowel at the mark. Then, using at least 200 grade sandpaper, sand the cut end until smooth. The additional 1/2 inch allotted before the wood dowel was cut allows for the desired length in spite of the potential for loss due to the necessary sanding.

To make the needle, chisel the opposite end of the dowel into a point, much like that of a pencil. Once the point is clearly identifiable from chiseling, use the sandpaper to smooth it well. You may choose to use a higher grade to be certain that the needle is smooth enough to avoid snagging the yarn while knitting.

Once the above steps have been completed, so have your knitting needles. However, consider customizing them by applying wooden dowel caps to the rounded, non-pointed end of the dowel. Simply purchase caps that will fit the diameter of the hardwood dowel you‘re using, apply a drop or two of wood glue or use a hot glue gun, and insert the dowel into the hole of the cap. Allow a few moments for the glue to dry. Also, if you so desire, consider staining the knitting needles. Or leave them as is for a more natural, earthy quality.

This craft is just one of many that proves that dowels are perhaps one of the easiest, most versatile woodworking supplies with which to work and produce some of the most creative crafts.

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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