Archive for March, 2012

Building Your Own Clock Casing

Grandfather clocks are highly sought after heirlooms. Building your own clock casing is a great woodworking project if you are skilled in joinery, mouldings, and finishing procedures. Grandfather clocks are also known as longcase clocks, tall case clocks, floor clocks and pendulum clocks. These clocks are often prominent features in the home and can be passed down for many generations.

Part of the allure of grandfather clocks is their ornamental style, so you’ll want to research different scrolling methods and mouldings before you decide on your clock pattern. You will need to buy a kit that gives you the pendulum, clock face, and number of weights that you desire. These choices will determine the sound that your clock will make, which chimes will ring and how often, as well as how many days the clock can go between windings.

Once you have the inner workings of the clock and the style picked out, you will need to buy the type of wood that you want to use. In general, something like this is meant to last a very long time, so you will most likely want to choose a hardwood, like maple, oak, walnut or mahogany. If price is an issue, then you will most likely want to go with a standard oak or wanut. Softer woods will dent and scratch too easily to withstand years of use.

Take time with the scrolling and mouldings of your clock. You may decide to put a personal artistic touch on your clock by doing some of the carvings by hand using a chisel or woodburner. Practice on scrap pieces before working on the piece of wood that you have chosen for these special sections. There are a lot of different options when it comes to mouldings. Shop around for different router tips and test them out on scrap pieces. Sometimes the weight of your hand can affect how it turns out, so you will definitely want to put in some practice before you work on your final piece.

Test out different stains on your wood before you decide to stain the final piece. Use a water based polyurethane for a long-lasting finish. Oil based polyurethanes can yellow over time. Putting care into your clock and taking the time to put decorative and personal touches on the piece will make it worth all of the money and effort that you put into it. Creating a family heirloom like this is very special, so make sure that you sign and date your work when you are 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.

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Simple, Sturdy Box Shelf

These box shelves are so sturdy that they can be used as window seats, entryway seats, or to store heavy items. We love that they are functional enough to use in any room, but easy enough for even beginners to build.

To begin, you’ll need a sheet of 1/2″ thick plywood. Veneered or birch is best if you want to paint your shelf, because the wood grain doesn’t show through. The actual plans for the project are on familyhandyman.com. They suggest that you buy a quart of woodworker’s glue, 3/4″ and 1” brads for your nail gun, fast-drying wood filler, a quart of B-I-N or KILZ primer, and a quart of latex enamel paint.

They say that you can use a hammer if you don’t have a nail gun, but it will be harder, more awkward, and take longer. They also warn that if you choose a gloss paint, it will show imperfections. If you have a router, you can cut the outer panels a little long and then use a flush-trim router bit to clean up the ends without the hassle of precise cutting.

Check out the actual plans for this project at the link below. We love how they clearly and plainly give instructions for making this shelf perfectly square, smooth and super sturdy. Everything is illustrated with clear pictures and has tips along the way for avoiding long drying times, bowed ends, and rough overhangs. Perfect edges will make your project look professional, even if you’re a beginner.

Sanding is an important step in finishing your project. Plywood edges should be sanded. Family Handyman says to use 80-grit sandpaper and then 120-grit sandpaper. Then rub the quick-drying wood filler into all of the edges, nail holes and dents. When that is dry, you can sand everything down one more time with 120-grit sandpaper.

Use primer over the whole project to reveal any places that still need to be sanded or filled. Fill, sand and prime those spots again. Apply your paint, sanding gently with 220-grit paper in between the layers of paint. Do two coats.

Mark the studs and draw an outline of your box dimensions where you want it to hang. You can apply a small dab of toothpaste to the wall on the studs where you want your screws to go. Press the shelf into your outline and the toothpaste will mark where you want to drill the pilot holes on your shelf. Use two 3” deck screws to secure the shelf near the top and then two more at the bottom. Secure it to at least two studs. If more studs are available, use those too. This way your box will be sturdy enough to hold heavy objects, even people.

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.

Sources:

http://www.familyhandyman.com/DIY-Projects/Home-Organization/Bookshelves/simple-box-shelves/Step-By-Step

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How to Choose your Wood

Choosing the right wood for your project is important. Quality, strength, resistance to splitting, color, cost and grade are all important. To narrow down the options, use this guide to help you get closer to the wood that is perfect for your project.

First, decide what you’re going to build. If you’re building a piece of furniture that will need to take a load or withstand bumping and scratching, you will need to use a hard wood. Oak is a popular choice for dressers, tables, cabinets and other household furniture, because it stains nice, has a lot of strength, is readily available, and doesn’t cost a fortune. Maple is another really popular choice for these types of items.

Soft woods are better for carving projects. Pine is popular because it’s inexpensive, easy to come by, easy to carve and sand, and is sturdy enough for shelves and things of that nature. Pine can dent if it’s bumped with something hard and it’s too soft to be a good writing surface. However, some people choose it for its rustic look and think that the dents and dings give it character and style. Poplar is another soft wood that is popular for projects like these.

Have you ever noticed that a lot of outdoor furniture is made from teak? This is because teak wood has natural oils that protect it from the elements. You may not be able to stain or varnish it, but it has a lovely natural color that many people prefer anyway.

Actual “hardwood” comes from trees that lose their leaves in the fall. “Softwood” comes from coniferous trees, or ones with needles. In general, hardwoods have a very defined wood grain and softwoods may not have a discernible grain at all. Some softwoods, like cedar, have properties that make them a very good choice for certain projects. Although soft, cedar is aromatic and absorbs moisture. This makes it very desirable for closet shelves and wooden hangers. Cedar deodorizes the air, prevents mildew and mold from forming, and repels insects.

Make sure that you ask about grade when purchasing your wood. Woods that are commonly stocked in home improvement stores are generally not the best for building furniture and other items that you want to last. Lower grade woods have more knots, split more easily, and are generally not suitable for a big project. When making joints, make sure that you choose a high grade of dowels and pegs, and specifically ask for a hardwood dowel or hardwood peg to compliment your project.

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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