Posts Tagged ‘hardwood dowel’

Building Bookshelves for Beginners

Building shelves and other furniture for you house can be a great way to get into woodworking. Many people choose to start with something simple, like a bookcase for their home. However, it may not be as simple as it looks. Creating something that is “perfectly square” can be a challenge for some beginner woodworkers. Creating things that are sturdy enough to withstand years of use and that also look good enough for you to put into your home may take some instruction. Use these tips for learning how to make sure your bookcase is sturdy, square, and attractive.

1) First, measure the space and decide on dimensions for your bookshelves. Determine how many shelves you would like to have in your bookcase and go shopping for your wood. Hardwoods will generally be more durable, but many soft woods are perfectly suited as well. Choose the one that you like best and buy pieces that give you enough to fit your dimensions and plan. Lay all of the pieces flat together to make sure that they are not warped before you purchase them.

2) Cut some quality, stain grade plywood using a miter saw or a table saw to the dimensions that you have set. You will need to cut the side panels and the top and bottom pieces, making sure that they all measure exactly right. Then, cut your shelves and make sure that everything will fit together perfectly.

3) Mark the side panel piecess for router joint grooves. Lay the two side panels side by side, line up the top and bottom perfectly, and then nail them together using a small scrap piece of wood. Use finishing nails or screws to affix the scrap wood to the bottom and top of the side panels. Place a T-square on the side so that it crosses the center line of the two panels butted against each other. Draw two lines, 3/4” apart to mark a path for your router. Most shelves are around 16” apart, but you can make your shelves however far apart that you want.

4) Put the pieces together making sure that the router grooves are facing inward. Nail the top and bottom pieces to the side panels. You’re essentially creating a box, so lay it down flat and check for exact 90 degree angles before you attach. You can use slender nails, a nail gun, or drill pilot holes to insert screws. Don’t skip drilling pilot holes for screws or you’ll risk splitting the wood.

5) When you have a perfectly square box, you should put a small amount of wood glue into each of your router slots. Slide your shelves into place and then nail them from the outside of the bookcase to secure them.

6) Cut a 2”x1″ board to fit inside of the rear top of your bookcase. This will be the cleat that holds the back panel in place if you choose to add one and it also secures your bookcase to studs in the wall. Glue and nail the cleat into the top rear portion of the case, flush with the top and side panels. Nail it from the sides and the top to make sure that it offers the proper support for the finished product.

7) Cover up the raw edges of the bookcase by attaching small 1-2 inch wide boards to the facing, or give it a good sanding. A fluted moulding or a split wood dowel rod works great for giving the front edge of each shelf a clean finish. Use a hardwood dowel for durability. Fill in nail holes, sand and you’re ready for finishing.

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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Ideas for Beginner Woodworking Projects

Hanging Organizer-You can build, essentially, a wood sign and affix interesting handles, knobs or hooks for hanging keys. You can make one with a magnetic strip for hanging knives in the kitchen. Heavy duty hooks can be used to create a great place to hang bags, purses, coats and backpacks. Simple products like this are great for practicing using a router to make edges and for practicing different staining and finishing techniques.

Birdhouse-A birdhouse is a great place to start practicing creating joints. You can use a router to make slats for creating joints, practice mortise and tenon joints, or practice making peg joints with wooden dowels. You can even leave the back side off of the birdhouse, attach a few suction cups, and display the birdhouse on the outside of your kitchen window. You’ll love watching the nest from inside of the house.

Step Stool-A step stool is a great way to practice making sturdier items that need to bear some weight. Make several sizes to work your way up to building chairs and benches.

Folding Table-Small folding tables are great to have around the house. You can use them to eat on while watching television, or use them as a place to set your drink while you’re working. Some people use these little portable tables all over the house.

Bench-Make a bench for your foyer or yard. Experiment with creating benches that have backs and also ones that do not. Benches are not very hard, but they do require learning about creating braces and cutting at an angle.

Wine Glass Slider-You can use dowel rods or thin pieces of wood mounted underneath your cabinets to make a slide to store wine glasses. This is an easy project, but it will give you the opportunity to learn how to match the stain and finish of your kitchen cabinets. Once you discover the right combination of stain and lacquer, you may wish to build other kitchen items, like a bread box, letter organizer, or pull down recipe book holder.

Wine Bottle Holder-This can be a small structure that sits on top of your counter, or one that hangs from the kitchen cabinets. Larger ones can sit on the floor. Simple projects like this make great gifts and can be painted to give the room personality.

Dog House-Creating a shelter for your pets is fun and gives you a chance to work on projects that will need to be finished for outdoor use.

Tool Box-Make a tool box for yourself to store or transport your woodworking tools. Use a sturdy hardwood dowel as a handle or for hanging things inside the box. You’ll not only find this project fun, but you’ll have a useful keepsake when you’re 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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Woodworking Game Pieces from Wooden Dowels

The size of your game pieces, relative to your game boards, can be determined by your personal taste. However, for chess pieces, the equipment standards outlined by the US Chess Federation call for “a King that measures 3 3/8” to 4 1/2” with a base diameter or 40-50% of the height”. In general, the square formed by the bases of four pawns standing together should just about equal the size of a square on the board. Your King’s base should occupy approximately 75% of the square.

For standard measurements between grooves and a good pattern outline, visit http://chessready.com/woodworking-chess-piece-patterns-regulation-and-standard-dimensions.html. Adjust measurements by percentage based on the size of your board. This will ensure that your pieces have proper spacing and the beauty and detail of each piece can be fully appreciated.

Now for the fun part. Select wooden dowels in contrasting colors of wood to create your pieces. Hardwood dowels are great for heirloom style pieces. Tight wood grain that is clearly defined will help each piece to resist splitting and withstand the amount of work that you are going to put into each piece. Mahogany, maple, and ebony are popular choices.

Start with your selected wood dowel and cut pieces within .25” of desired height. Mark dimensions for spacing of grooves with a pencil. Turn each piece on a lathe. Measure the depth of each groove as you go with a caliper.

You can use blocks of wood if you prefer, and making a chess set is a great way to use scrap wood, but if you want to ensure exact dimensions and cut down on the amount of labor, start with wooden dowels. Most people making standard chess pieces start with 1.25” diameter dowels and turn them down to 1” bases.

After turning on the lathe, use small turning chisels, files, a disc sander and knives to hand carve and finish the King, Queen and Knights. The Castle battlements can be finished with hand files. The cross atop the King can be sculpted with a disc sander. The crown of the Queen can be grooved with a carving gauge.

If you like, you can weight the bottom of each piece with poured lead. Finish out the bases with the desired color of simple felt and you’re done. Weighted bottoms make pieces less likely to tip over during play and give your set a good, solid feel.

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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