Thursday, April 30, 2009

Clay Pot Hangers

Do this for Mothers Day! This is by far the easiest, quickest, and most appreciated Mothers Day gift you can make. You only need small pieces of wood (think cut-offs), a jig saw and a drill.
But the best thing about them is that they work. My wife got a couple of these as a gift a couple years ago and they're still in use. I've made more of them and given them away, always to great thanks. Do yourself and Mom a favor.

The plans and instructions are only $4.95 at, and you can save a buck using the coupon word playhouse (not case sensitive).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

19th C. Wooden Watches

Over at the English Russia blog, they've got an article on Russian Wooden Gadgets. Among the things they're talking about are pocket watches. Apparently they were quite popular, if you could afford them:
Such Russian clocks were produced by the Bronnikov family from Russia. For three generations they mastered their skills on crafting light-weight fully functional wooden pocket clocks. Such gadgets were true hit back then, among their customers there were Russian Tzars and other high society members. They were sending their samples to the international exhibitions of Paris and New York to make foreign people awe. The price of such wooden clocks exceeded of those of gold.
There are also photos of Russian all-wood computer mice, including in-process photos of them being manufactured by some sort of computer-controlled carving machine.

Invisible Scratch Repairs

Scratches happen. That's wood for you. But unless they're really bad, they can be fixed well enough to become invisible. Ted Raife, at Woodsmith Magazine, uses this technique which he shared with the Woodsmith Weekly E-Tip subscribers a while ago.
"My repair system started with an investment in an assortment of touch-up markers. You can get these from many woodworking and finishing supply companies. My set includes about a dozen different colors and this gives me a good shot at finding a close match to the project. But the trick is finding the best color match without relying on a lucky guess."
"To help make a more informed choice, I created a sample sheet on a piece of clear acetate. The sheet contains a small, labeled swatch from each marker. As you see in the photo, I simply hold the sheet up to the project to find a good match. After choosing a marker and performing a quick touchup, the project looks as good as new and I feel a whole lot better."

You can get useful tips and techniques delivered to your computer each week from Woodsmith Magazine. They're free, sign-up here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Checking for Square

The most reliable way to check an assembly for square is to compare diagonal measurements. The only drawback is that making these measurments accurately with only a tape measure is often easier said than done. But Ted Raife, an editor at Woodsmith Magazine, has a terrific idea. He made a very simple set of tape holders.
Each holder consists of a square block of plywood with two pieces of hardboard attached to adjacent sides, as shown in the drawings. The hardboard laps over the edges of the block on both sides so that the holder can hook over the corner of the assembly. The adjoining ends of the hardboard are mitered to form a slot that can hold the end of the tape or act as a "cursor" for your measurement (drawing and photo).
The holders make taking the two diagonal measurements quick and easy. One minor regret is that I no longer have any excuse for an out of square assembly.
You can get tips and ideas like this sent to your computer every week from the editors of Woodsmith Magazine. They're free, sign up here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

i-wood with Blazing 3B Technology

We don't usually talk tech in this blog, but sometimes something comes along that just demands we toss tradition out the window. Certainly, the new i-wood 3B is just such a product. (Spoiler alert: If you love your i-phone, stop reading now.) The i-wood has many benefits, for example:

With the i-wood’s built in web connectivity you can not only check when your movie starts but when every movie starts ever. Or check when all future movies will start until the end of time because we all need more useless information at the tips of our fingers.
Amazing, huh? Be sure to visit the website and see for yourself how this dramatic new product can "help you redefine your relationships with people by showing them how truly irritating they, and their portable devices, have become."

Friday, April 17, 2009

City in a Bag

New York City to be precise. Now this is a cool idea and an interesting twist on building blocks for kids. I think it would be fun to make a set of these for several cities. And then you could mix and match them (kids will anyway), and have fun naming the new cities, Bost-Angeles and York-Cago and Mi-Lanta (wait, that's taken), Lant-Ami.
Even Des Moines, Iowa has several building with a distinct enough profile that Iowans, at least, would recognize them.

If you decide to make some of where you live, send me a photo.

City in a Bag is available on line at The tallest building is 4", but the cars are really tiny, and would present a choking hazard. You could make you cars larger. And make a Godzilla figure too, just to spice things up.

[Thanks to]

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Micro-Adjusting Rip fence

Here's something that's long overdue: a safe accurate way to cut very small parts on your table saw. Fact is, it's just not made for that. But with the precision cutting Small Parts Jig in the newest issue of ShopNotes Magazine (No. 105--on newsstands now) it's a snap to cut small and thin parts.
The jig is a small-scale table that sits on your table saw's table. The main feature is a micro-adjusting rip fence. It also includes a cross-cut sled, a zero-clearance insert, and a unique hold-down for small parts.
If you ever works with small parts, you should check this out. ShopNotes No. 105 is on newsstands now, or you can go to and get a free preview issue.

Ash Kitchen Table

Over in the WoodNet Forums, member Bob_MN just posted photos of an Ash kitchen table that he just completed. He said this was his first venture in turning legs.

They turned out pretty good. Not perfect, but if they were, I'd have to quit. :-) My Leigh FMT came in handy on the joinery. Natural finish. 4 coats of General's Arm-R-Seal. The table is 48" Long X 30" Deep X 30" Tall. The legs are 3" square at the top.
He said, "Ash works great, just like oak."

More photos and discussion at WoodNet Forums.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Cypress Bench

It's getting to be that time of year when most of us will actually consider sitting outside on a porch or deck. WoodNet member Jeremy_s finished this beautiful cypress bench for his wife just in time.

After months of working on other projects and side jobs (and being a little lazy), I finally got this done for my wife. Design is from a gardening magazine my wife was reading. I made changes and improvements. It sets comfy.
Lots more photos and discussion including in-process photos in the WoodNet Woodworking Forum.

Bathroom Vanity Revisited

Two weeks ago, I blogged about Jim Barry's (Woodchuck Canuck) new home bathroom installation. I liked his use and modification of a old dresser as a bathroom vanity. That got me thinking that we have a similar project at
Our project uses an old table as a vanity (see photo) rather than a dresser. And since a table is too deep for a good vanity, a strip is ripped of one side. That strip then becomes the back splash. Neat.

Minimal woodworking skills required.

Larger photo and details on the PlansNOW website.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


If art is supposed to generate a reaction in the viewer, this is definitely art. Actually, I kind of like it. I don't want to live with it, but I like it. If you have a desire to live with one of these walnut wood Frog Tables by Dutch designer Hella Jongerius, you're in luck. Apparently there are eight signed and numbered editions of this bad boy.

Visit the designboom's daily coverage blog for more photos and info.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Gang Saw

I've been active in woodworking personally and professionally for at least 20 years. How did I miss this?
It is one beautiful saw, the Veritas® Variable Gang Saw. I sure hope it works as well as they say it does on the Lee Valley website:

Made with the same high-quality blades and specially engineered stainless-steel composite spine, it will cut dovetail joints not just 10% faster, not just twice as fast, but a full three times faster!
They have a lot of photos and explanation online of how the saw works, not just hype. But I'm still knocked out about how good it looks. (Click on the photo for a larger view.) Hmm. My birthday's coming up...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


You read it right. But you're not going to see plans for bunk-desks anytime soon at PlansNOW. And somehow, the project designers at Woodsmith didn't seem real hot about the idea either. Imagine.
Well, at least, the shoe people, has the kind of forward thinking management that will keep America competitive well into the future.

Click on the photo for a larger view, or better yet, check out the whole story here.