Top Social

Image Slider

Stepping out to find JOY

Monday, October 9, 2017
I want to talk a little bit about finding that something that gets you excited or happy.  What do you find fulfilling?  What builds your confidence?

What a wonderful feeling it is to be interested in something, to try it and know that it's something you really enjoy.  It doesn't have to mean that you're good at it from the start or that you know everything about it.

Woodturning has really sparked an interest in me this past year - I find videos of people woodturning mesmerizing!

Earlier this year you might remember I bought an old lathe.  I had never touched a lathe before I got it but knew I had to start somewhere!  After I finished restoring it, I told my husband I was too nervous to put a piece of wood in and turn it on.  There's something about a fast-spinning block of wood - coupled with sharp tools - that scares me! After a small project I got a little more confident.  My next few attempts really had my heart going when my block of wood flung out of the lathe.  My confidence was broken and I didn't touch the lathe again for months.

I didn't want to give up on it so I signed myself up for a Woodturning 101 class at my local Woodcraft store.  I was so excited and nervous/anxious all at the same time!  Driving to the class felt like I was going on a blind date.  I didn't know what to expect or if I'd be bad at it.

 It helped that the instructor (Alan Leland) was nice and explained things really well.  He explained each step in detail and made us jump right into it.  I couldn't believe there were 5 novice students in the room working on a lathe with turning tools.  Some got the hang of it and others really struggled.  It was wonderful to see one of the students who was super nervous keep at it even after making mistakes.  Another student had her tool catch every-other minute and would freak out but keep working.  Others seemed to get it naturally and feel comfortable.

The instructor said his assistant was one of his past students who really struggled.  She took his beginning class several times and he told her she should be his assistant so she can keep practicing.

The point is, you don't have to be great from the start to be great in the end!  Having a natural talent helps but it's more about perseverance and practice.  If you really want to do something - try it out!  Get out of your comfort zone and investigate new things!

 Our first project was to turn a block of Poplar into a bead and cove stick.  We turned a row of beads, cut them back down to shape more beads for practice.  After that we cut every-other bead down for shaping coves.  It was a great learning exercise - invaluable actually!

Once we had more confidence and abilities we turned a mallet out of hard Maple.  Having the skills of a beginner and being able to make something like this was amazing to me!

It's been over a week now and I just finished practicing with my own tools.

 I started off with a chunk of yard waste.

 After roughing it out I formed grooves with a skew chisel.

 Shaping the beads with a small spindle gouge is more technical than I expected but super fun!  At this point I'm thinking "Wow, I'm doing it - Eek!"

After cutting the coves I was super giddy and excited thinking, "Seriously, I just turned a branch into this!"

I know I love woodturning - the question is - what will I do about it?  I'm going to keep practicing, learning and gaining confidence!  Talents aren't free - but it sure is a blessing that we can discover and work towards something that brings us joy.

What are you going to try?

Wood Shop Tour

Saturday, September 23, 2017
If you saw my previous post you'd know I got a jumpstart to getting my shop in order.  I'm feeling really good about how clean it is (like open the door to the garage just to peek in kind of good).  I thought now would be a great time to take you for a tour and talk about tools and stuff.  You know - the good stuff.

We have a 2 car garage and this is my side - my retreat!  I'm going to try and stay on my side and not move projects passed my new lumber cart there on the boundary - ha!  If you want to see the post for the lumber cart - click here.

Scrap Wood Rolling Organizer Cart

Friday, September 22, 2017
My shop was drowning in wood.  There were so many wood pieces (and other clutter) I couldn't move around well and it was becoming overwhelming to work.  I've looked off & on for ideas on a storage solution for the last year but nothing sparked my interest. Until I came across Tamar's design from 3x3 Custom.

It was perfect.  It spoke to me.  I had to have it.

Trash to Treasure - Decorative Lamps

I can't say it enough.  There's nothing more rewarding than turning something from "trash to treasure".  I love giving items a new lease on life.

I really don't like how easily we dispose of things these days (partly because so many things are made cheap - but also because we're too busy or care-free to try and fix something).

With hardly any effort anybody can transform something like these lamps from old and ugly to 'new' and beautiful!

DIY Nail & String Art Tutorial

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Nail & string art is simple! The hardest part might be deciding what design you want to make.

 These would make easy/inexpensive gifts or a fun project to do with the kids!

A leather rope on this 'A' make for an easy way to hang!

I added a leather strap embellishment on this horse to make it more interesting.

DIY $20 Farmhouse Dining Bench

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Benches are one of my favorite things!  They're easy/inexpensive to build, sit a lot of people - and most importantly, they stay put (my kids drag chairs around the kitchen/dining room and it drives me crazy)!

I completed these benches and table refinishing project back in December and sold them without thinking to take pictures of only the benches for my tutorial - oops!

Here's another angle.

It measures 60"-long, 13"-deep and 18-1/2" tall.

You'll need 7 boards total for about $20!

SUPPLIES NEEDED:
20 - 2-1/2" Wood Screws
10 - 2" Wood Screws (attaching top to legs)
3/8" Wood Plugs
1-1/4" & 2-1/2" Pockethole Screws (Kreg Jig)
Wood Glue
Sandpaper
Finish of Choice

TOOLS NEEDED:
Miter Saw
Table Saw
Drill + Bits + 3/8" Forstner Bit
Wood Clamps
Square
Kreg Jig
Biscuit Joiner with Biscuits (optional)
Orbital Sander

Below are color-coded pictures of the components:

The top 4 boards are furring strips that make up the top of the bench.
The bottom 3 boards are 2x4's that make up the legs & stretchers.

I suggest you run both long edges of all your boards through the table saw to clean and straighten them up before cutting components.  Take off enough of the furring strips to get a final measurement of 3-1/4".

CUTTING LIST:

- Furring Strips -
4 - 58" (Bench Tops)
2- 1x13" (Bench Top Ends)

- 2x4's -
1 - 43" (Top Stretcher)
1 - 49" (Bottom Stretcher)
2 - 12" with 30-degree mitered corners (Leg Tops) *fig 1*
4 - 16-1/2" with 10-degree ends "parallelogram" (Legs) *fig 2*
2 - 10-3/4" with 10-degree ends "trapezoid"  (Leg Stretchers) *fig 3*

(figure 1)

(figure 2)

(figure 3)

Constructing the legs:
Now you have all your boards for the legs cut!  Please note: this is components for TWO benches and stretchers aren't cut to size because I was cutting as I built :)

Sand all your boards with 150 or 180 grit paper.  Round the edges of your leg tops...

...and sand the short ends of your bottom stretcher so they're really round.

 Clamp a straight edge down for you to set the bottom of the legs against.  Arrange your leg pieces like above with a scrap 2x4 under the middle stretcher to act as a spacer. Write a large "I" on the inside of each leg (where the stretcher is touching)...

...and measure up from the bottom of each leg and mark at 5-inches on the INSIDE.

Now, when you line up your leg stretcher, have the bottom of the stretcher matching with your 5-inch line.

 To find the area to screw into for the stretcher, mark on the outside of all 4 legs.  To do this, lay a 2x4 down and mark over the top (this accounts for the spacer block that's currently under the stretcher).

 Next, lay down another 2x4 scrap on top of that and mark the top edge.

You can see here the marks you've made.  Eyeball locations for 2 screws between your marks that line up with your stretcher.  Repeat for all 4 legs.

 Get your 3/8" forstner bit ready (size of wood plugs)!

 Drill a hole deep enough for the plugs over all the marks you've made on your boards.

 Set up and clamp your boards in place for legs.

Pre-drill and screw in 2 screws through the top of each leg.

Pre-drill and screw in screws through your leg stretchers.  Make sure you have your 2x4 spacer in place!

Use your Kreg Jig to make 2 holes on both ends of your top stretcher.

Before proceeding take note that the 2x4 used as a spacer in the previous steps was against the OUTSIDE face of the legs.  You will now be attaching the cross-stretchers from the INSIDE face of the legs.  Glue and center your top stretcher over the INSIDE face of the top of your legs.  Drill 2-1/2" pocket hole screws in place.

 Center your bottom stretcher over the top of your leg stretchers.  Eyeball placements for 2 screws to attach both stretchers together.

 Use your forstner bit to create a hole for plug, pre-drill and drill screws in place on each end.

 This is what your legs should look like!  The pocket holes on the stretcher will get covered by the top.

 Brush glue in each plug hole...

 ...butter plugs...

 ...and tap in place.

Let dry.  Sand smooth with 180-grit paper.

Constructing the tops:
Line up your 4 bench top pieces so they're oriented with end grain alternating (prevents cupping).  Mark your boards (a,b,c or 1,2,3) so you can  match them up later.  You can use a Kreg Jig for joining boards but I didn't want to worry about pocket holes on the underside of my benches so I'm using a biscuit joiner.  I'm marking lines every 8" or so on the touching boards where I need to make biscuit slots.


 Glue board edges and biscuits...

 ...and clamp together.  Wipe away excess glue for easier sanding later.

 Set aside and let dry for a few hours.

 For the 1-inch end pieces I marked placements for biscuits just as before.  If you aren't using biscuits you will want to use screws and plugs going through the small strip or doing pocket holes from the large top into the strips.

  I flipped my strips around so the top piece could help me hold the strip while cutting the biscuit slots.

 I got a little help gluing!

Clamp and leave to dry for a few hours.  Sand smooth with 180 grit paper.

 Glue over the areas of your leg base and stretchers that will come into contact with the bench top.  Center top over legs and clamp in place.

Pre-drill and screw from underside to attach top with 2" screws.

For a bit of decoration I used nails to hammer through the tops into the legs!

 Do a final sanding if necessary and prep for the finish of your choice!

I got this table for a good deal that I built the benches for.  I needed to refinish the top and decided matching the benches to it would be nice!

 Stripping first is ideal!...

 ...makes sanding a breeze!


Auto Post Signature

Auto Post  Signature