Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tall Bookcase Plans

When you're home celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, look around your house. If there's one thing we can all usually agree on, it's that we can use more storage - as long as we don't have to sacrifice a lot of floor space to get it. That's what makes this tower bookcase so useful. It takes up less than two square feet of floor space - yet gives you six deep shelves for books and collectibles.
You can download the bookcase plans for free - they're the sample plans offered to people considering joining So while you're downloading the plans, be sure to check out PlansNOW's new membership offers. That makes everything kosher (which is also nice on Thanksgiving). Have a terrific holiday!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Three for Three Forums member QSAWN says he's "finally finished" building three cribs for his three new sons.

Well, it took me about a month to complete 90% before the boys were born and 8 months to complete the last 10% after they were born.
Well deserved congratulations on both counts and more comments in the Woodworking Forum. BTW: Plans for the crib are available in print or as a download at

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Crosscutting Bowed Boards

When it comes to crosscutting a board to length, I really appreciate my sliding compound miter saw. But cutting a bowed board always made me a bit nervous, at least until recently.
That's because a bowed board often rocks back and forth on the saw table, so it's hard to make a controlled cut. Worse yet, the workpiece can pinch against the sides of the blade as you make a cut, causing a dangerous kickback. Fortunately, there's a simple trick that will help reduce the chance of this happening.
Start by placing the board on the saw table so the bow faces up (Detail a). Then make a couple of shallow passes (about a 1/4" deep), overlapping them to form one wide kerf. Now make a full-depth cut all the way through the board (Detail b).
As the saw blade cuts completely through, the board will "settle" a bit so it sits flat on the saw table. But it won't pinch the sides of the blade. The wide kerf provides the extra clearance that's needed to prevent the blade from binding. The end result is a safe, controlled cut.
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For a Very Special Girl

Here's the end view of a hope chest that Joe Grout recently built and posted in the woodworking forum at

Solid red oak, finish is water white lacquer nothing else. I did not snap a pic but the bottom is aromatic cedar.
More photos and talk about how it was built.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

At last: Wood and PCs Work Together

As I have mentioned here before, there have been several attempts to house high tech objects in natural materials (wood). Most of them, IMHO, aren't successful as wooden objects or high tech cases. Until now.
Check out these beautiful PC's wooden cases from Japanese designer Ryou Ikurin. It's a traditional art form, covering wood enclosures with Japanese lacquer, called Urushi.
There's more at Boing Boing Gadgets.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Media Center in Woodsmith

Woodsmith has published several TV cabinet projects over the years. They’re handsome, sturdy, and… largely obsolete. The new flat screen TV’s don’t fit in the old cabinets. So this time, the designers created a Media Center that won’t go out of style or become obsolete.

The Center begins with a base cabinet that can accommodate a 42″ television and all the boxes and cables that go with it. This can be a stand alone unit. Or as space, time, and needs allow, you can add the side cabinets and the bridge over the TV. The cases are plywood with hardwood edging. The doors are frame and panel.

Woodsmith is calling No. 180 the Special Storage Issue. It also includes Hanging Wall Shelves and a Snack Tray Cabinet. And there are technique articles on making cove molding on the table saw and tenons on the router table.

Subscribers will see this issue in the mail boxes very soon. You’ll also find it on the newsstand, and you can visit to check out the issue and ask for a free preview issue.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Good News at is the only place online you can download over 350 Woodsmith, ShopNotes, and Workbench project plans and technique articles. It's where you'll find all the most popular project plans published since the magazines began. It's a hopping place accounting for over 50,000 downloads a year.

Well, the best just got better. Now you can join PlansNOW, and you can download the best plans on the web for as little as $1.50 each. Here's how it works: There are three levels of membership, Platinum, Gold, and Classic. Classic membership is free and you get monthly e-coupons for a 20% discount on all your purchases. Gold membership is $19.95. It includes 5 plans and a $9.95 woodworking book. Platinum membership is the best deal of all: $29.95 gets you 20 plans plus 2 woodworking books.

If you need plans, and maybe to brush up your techniques, check this out.

Disclaimer: This bit of shameless promotion can be forgiven as PlansNOW is my day job.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Improved Sanding Block

For the longest time, I used a scrap piece of wood for a sanding block. It was simple and didn’t cost much. But it never worked as well as I would've liked — the sandpaper tended to shift around and tear. Then, the guys at Woodsmith came up with a "new" sanding block that works really well. Not only does it fit my hand perfectly; it also holds the paper in place using plastic tubing.
To make the sanding block, first I found a "palm-sized" scrap block and drilled a couple of rounded channels across the top of the block. (To do this, you'll need a 1/2"-dia. Forstner bit.) Finally, round the nose of the block on a belt sander, and if you want to get really fancy, you can rout a finger grip on each side. Note: Click on the drawing for a larger view.
The sandpaper is held in place by two pieces of 1/2"-dia. plastic tubing that are cut to length and pressed into the channels. To use the sanding block, simply secure the back end of the sandpaper with one of the plastic tubes. Then wrap the paper around the block and secure the other end the same way.
You can get more woodworking tips like this from the editors of Woodsmith magazine in the weekly e-tip. They're free. Sign-up here.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Winter Project?

Fall is in the air, and winter can't be far behind. At some point this winter, you'll need something that will give you hope that the warm weather will return. I think WoodNet Woodworking Forums member Purds may have built just the thing: A beautiful porch swing.

I was much faster on this project than the last one (a dresser that took two years). This took less than two weeks, and most of that time was waiting for the finish to dry/cure.I used plans my wife found and wanted emulated, though the plans called for painted pine/plywood, and I used plywood and red oak. I know it will fade, but I like the look of the colors right now.
More photos and discussion at

Watch Your Head

If you love wood and you want to see the wildest wooden house ever, then click through to the websites below for lots of photos, plus floor plans and space analysis. It's called the Final Wooden House from Japanese firm Sou Fujimoto Architects.
What's also interesting is that it's not just a model, but has actually been built.
Final Wooden House at the Cool Hunting blog and Log House at the today and tomorrow blog.