Archive for August, 2012

Make your Own Cutting Board

-Maple is the wood of choice for cutting boards. When purchasing the wood for your cutting board, choose the hardest, highest grade maple you can find. Bamboo is also a great choice.

-Choose shape and outline for your cutting board. You can go traditional, or search around for interesting shapes and ideas. If you want to keep it simple, it’s best to go for a square or rectangular shape with a handle.

-Use tape measure and combination square to measure out the outline for your cutting board. Pencil-in the pattern that you like. Use a template or circle guide for arcs and curves.

-Use a jigsaw to cut out the piece, unless you have a band saw. Firmly clamp your wood to the table because the jigsaw will make it bounce around a lot as you’re cutting. Make “relief” cuts. This means that you can cut out small sections at a time to make cutting easier. If you try to cut out the exact piece that you need, you may end up forcing the blade around corners and altering the final shape of the cutting board. Cut right outside of the line that you drew with your pencil so that you have room for sanding without altering the shape that you’ve drawn out.

-When you have the shape cut out, finish it out by using a bench-top sanding machine, hand sander, belt sander, or sand it by hand. Don’t worry about making a really fine finish at this point. Use about a 150 grit sandpaper just to get the major debris off.

-Drill a hole in the handle with a handheld drill or drill press. Then roll up a small piece of sandpaper and run it back and forth through the hole a few times, just to smooth it out a bit.

-Round out the edges with a router, files, rasps, or sandpaper. The handle is harder than the rest of the board, so do this part by hand unless you have a routing table. A regular router will have very little surface area to press against on the handle, so it tends to either jump a bit or burn the wood a little more. Don’t worry if you get some burn marks, they easily sand off.

-It’s time to do the final sanding. Sand starting with a 150 grit sandpaper, then 200, working your way up to a fine grit of 220 or higher.

-A food safe, linseed oil finish is best for cutting boards. You don’t want to contaminate your food with varnishes. Linseed oil that is all natural, not boiled is generally considered food safe. All you have to do is wipe it on and rub it in with a lint free cloth. Let dry and your cutting board should be ready for use.

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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The Process of Fuming Wood

Coloring wood by the process called “fuming” has been around for over 100 years. It is believed that a farmer noticed the oak belongings in his shed turning a darker and darker color after he stored ammonia in the space. Wood will naturally darken in color over time because it is exposed to oxygen. If you don’t have years and years to wait for oxidation to occur, you can get a much faster effect by using ammonia. Ammonia oxidizes the tannic acid in the wood and turns it darker. Add heat to the mix and you’ll pull more reds out of the wood.

This process creates color that penetrates the wood up to an eighth of an inch deep. This is a permanent way to color wood evenly without streaks or time consuming staining and lacquering. Wooden items must be fumed in a tent so that the fumes do not escape. Builders used to build their entire house or building out of unfinished wood. They would then seal the outside and place a bowl of ammonia over a candle in the room overnight. This would stain everything in the room with an even, beautiful color.

Household ammonia is not strong enough to fume a piece of work. It is only a five percent concentration. You will need an industrial-strength ammonia that is at least twenty five percent concentration of ammonia. You can order this ammonia from woodworking web sites and magazines, or you might find it at a hardware store. It is the same ammonia that is used in creating blueprints, so you can sometimes find it at art supply stores or printing supply stores.

The fumes from ammonia are very dangerous, so most of your work will go into safety preparations. You’ll need a respirator mask, air tight eye protection (such as swim goggles), and gloves. You will need to build a chamber to seal your woodworking project inside of as well.

You can use a plastic bin that seals tight for smaller items. You will still need to duct tape all of the edges to make sure that no fumes escape, but this is an easy way to fume something small. One important thing to remember is that ammonia corrodes aluminum, so you do not want to expose any electrical wires or anything metal, for that matter, to the fumes.

Most people build a fuming tent to fume their furniture. You can use wood dowel rods or PVC pipe to create a frame. Cover it in heavy duty plastic sheeting and seal all of the seams with duct tape, even to the floor. If your chamber is below eighty-two degrees, it will create a brown to brownish-green color. If it is higher than eighty-two degrees, the process will go faster and create a brown to reddish-brown color. Use a heat lamp to heat the tent, but make sure that it’s not on the inside or it will corrode.

Test strips of wood to determine how long it will take to achieve the color that you desire. Fuming can take anywhere between twelve and seventy-two hours. Simply trap a small glass bowl of ammonia in the chamber with your woodworking project. A cup will be plenty for something like a step stool and a gallon would be enough for an entire room full of furniture. Remember not to fume anything over a wood floor and make sure that you are wearing all of your protective gear before you ever open the container or check on the progress of your fuming.

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 with Kids

According to Child Care Lounge, there are many developmental skills and benefits that children can gain by woodworking under the proper adult supervision:

Woodworking Benefits & Skill-building

Eye-hand coordination
Dexterity/fine motor
Problem-solving
Role-playing
Creative thinking
Imagination
Independence/self esteem
Stress reliever (pounding)
Matching/classification
Sorting
Comparing/measuring
Textures and properties
Conceptualization
Cooperation
Respect for tools and materials
Increased awareness and understanding of the world around them
Language development

Read their entire article on how to implement woodworking with children in a classroom or home school setting by clicking here.

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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