Archive for July, 2012

Tips for Refinishing Cabinets

Do your cabinets look worn out? If you’re thinking about refinishing your cabinets, you can really make them look however you want. Refinishing is much less costly than replacement. Even though it can be a lot of work, it can really pay off. Painting cabinets is really popular right now. With all of the different finished to choose from, you can create something that is unique and attractive without a lot of hard work or spending a lot of money.

Paint is a good option if you want to cover up inconsistencies or defects in the wood. Paint can be used to create a uniform finish on imperfect cabinets. You can use an oil-based paint for a smoother finish, but the drying time is a lot longer and the clean up can be more difficult. Latex paints are great for cabinets, produce a nice finish, clean up easily, and can be easier to work with. Really it’s up to you to decide which one you prefer.

Some professionals prefer oil-based paints, but others rarely use it anymore. If you choose latex paint, check to see that it is made with acrylic. Some latex paints are made with vinyl and acrylic. These do not adhere as well and are not as durable as 100% acrylic latex paints.

Spraying on the finish paint produces the best results. It can be time consuming to cover everything in the kitchen to protect it from the spray, but take your time and be diligent about covering everything before you begin. You can skip this step if you take the doors and drawer fronts outside to spray them. Then, use a really good brush to paint the body of the cabinets. Renting professional paint spray equipment may be a good idea to ensure that you get a perfect spray.

Preparing your cabinets for painting is very important. It can be almost impossible to predict how an old finish will adhere with your paint. Stripping the cabinets is a long process, but a necessary one. If the cabinets have a hard clear coat, you may need to use paint remover to get it off. Follow all safety precautions on the container when you use these harsh chemicals.

After the finish is removed, you will need to use a fine grit sandpaper to remove the residues and leftover finish from the cabinets. Then, all dust must be removed from the cabinets. Many people use mineral spirits on a staining cloth to remove residues with a lot of success. However, we also recommend using a tack cloth to remove particles that you can’t see. Being diligent about this process will pay off.

Before you paint your cabinets, you may want to update the design. You can create beautiful framework for your cabinets before you paint them. Some people simply trim out the edges of the cabinet body with a thin, 1-2 inch wide board. This gives the finished product a more high-end feel. You can also miter a wood dowel to create frames for decoration on the fronts of your cabinet doors and drawers. Just be sure that you use a hardwood dowel so that it isn’t easily damaged.

Painting cabinets may seem like a daunting task, but most people can accomplish professional looking results with no previous experience. Take your time and you can inexpensively give your kitchen a major makeover.

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 for all of your wood product needs.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Child Safety with Wooden Toys

Toys are fun woodworking projects to get into. Building something with your hands and then watching a child enjoy it feeling the pride of knowing that it was made just for them, is really an unbeatable feeling. You can build anything from classic pull toys, handmade blocks, trucks, cars, trains and games. Woodworking itself is rewarding, but when you make toys or games for children, there isn’t anything like it in the world. Use these safety guidelines to make sure that you are not turning your fun and games into a dangerous experience for a child.

1. In general, toys and toy parts should not be able to fit down a toilet paper tube. Consider this especially if the toy is going to go to a small child or baby. Keep in mind that decorations or broken parts can become choking hazards later.

2. Avoid creating toys that could impale a child if they fell on it. Sharp ends, long thin pieces, and other slender objects could be dangerous if a child fell on them and punctured part of their body.

3. Be careful about what types of finishes and glues you use on toys. Some paints, glues and stains can contain harmful chemicals, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). Toxic gas fumes can cause illnesses and allergies that are not healthy for children or adults. Look for all natural, non-toxic or natural paints and glues for finishing toys.

4. Children’s toys should be free of sharp edges and points. Watch out for exposed nails, screw heads or threads, and staples. Smooth out corners with sandpaper. Not only will your toys have a more professional look, they will feel better to touch and play with as well.

5. Remember that strings and decorations could pose strangulation or choking hazards. Never give a toy with a string to a small child. Consider using a thick, wood dowel for a handle instead of a string for pull toys.

6. Toys that are large enough to ride or climb on should be able to hold the weight of an adult.

7. Think about the size of the holes in toys that you make. Children can get their fingers trapped in holes of the right size. Think “bigger than a dime or smaller than a pea” when creating toys with holes.

8. Anything that weighs more than ten pounds could be a hazard if it lands on a child. If it weighs more than ten pounds and is also taller than two feet, it may need to be anchored to the wall to avoid tipping, crushing and entrapment.

9. Make sure that if you make something that a child could fit into that it has a wide, unobstructed vent so that children cannot suffocate if trapped inside.

Overall, you should remember to use high quality hardwoods that do not break easily. You can purchase wooden toy parts and decorations that are specifically designed with safe finishes for toys. For spindles and axels, you can order a hardwood dowel instead of a regular wood dowel. Don’t use generic pieces of wood that may not be safe. Check with manufacturers to make sure that the pieces you use will be safe for your recipients. Using quality wood products and following safety guidelines will help you to create the heirloom quality treasures that you are hoping for.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Homemade Non-Toxic Toys

Parents are rightly concerned with the safety of their children’s toys. Toys are recalled everyday due to lead, arsenic, PVC, and other heavy metal content. There has been an increasing concern in the safety of toys made in other countries because safety standards can be low, or hard to monitor on toys coming from outside of the U.S.

Recent legislation has put new standards and testing requirements on toy makers that should help the situation. Toy makers must adhere to the testing standards and cannot sell toys that contain toxic chemicals or heavy metals. All toys must go through testing before they can be sold. However, a lot of the companies that already produce environmentally friendly, safe, non-toxic toys will be negatively affected by the legislation because they can’t afford the testing to prove that they’re safe products are actually safe.

It’s a double edged sword. As parents, we want our children’s toys tested and guaranteed safe. However, we don’t want to shut down these small businesses that are actually doing a lot of good in the community. Handmade toys and clothes generate a lot of income for families throughout the U.S. However, as the legislation stands, they will not be allowed to sell anything unless they go through a third-party testing facility, which charges hundreds or even thousands of dollars per toy for testing.

Many people are writing to Congress asking that the rules be modified to keep handmade toys and children’s products on the market. Hopefully an agreement can be met that satisfies parent’s needs for safety in their children’s products and makes safety standards attainable for small businesses.

In the meantime, you may consider making some of your own handmade toys. It is fun and rewarding to craft your own toys, and it’s something that you can involve your children in. You can teach them about the value of working hard to make something of exceptional value. Talk about how toys that are handmade are special, because every one is unique. Handmade toys can be heirloomed and cherished for generations.

Wood products for building toys can be found online through wood manufacturing companies. You can make your own blocks, cars, games and more. Some companies offer finishing services and use a toxin-free, heavy metal-free finish, putting your worries ate ease.

Shopping for wood parts to build toys can be exciting and inspiring. You may be surprised what you find and decide to give it a try. Wood manufacturers that sell toy parts will often offer custom services. They can carve specialty pieces, add hardware, and even boy toys for you to give as gifts.

You and your child can use your imagination and build things together. You may want to start with an assortment of wood toy parts, like balls, dowels, buttons, and blocks. You can use a dowel to create axels on trucks, wagons and more. Buttons and knobs can help you decorate. Custom game pieces can help you to create family fun that will be treasured for generations. Keep your family safe and experience the joy of creating your own wooden toys together.

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 for all of your wood product needs.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »