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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wolf CD Case

For one of my sons for Christmas, I made him a CD case. He likes wolves. He had told me he would like a a wolf portrait I had done in the past for Christmas. Well the problem was that I didn't want to just make him something I'd done in the past. I wanted all these Christmas present I make this year to be special. Also, I had a feeling that a portrait was just the only wolf themed project he could think of for me to build for him.
I know he doesn't really have a place to put his CDs. I went to look at ideas for a medium sized CD case in Wal-Mart. Can you believe they make CD cases out of cardboard? From there, I thought about putting a wolf on it. I debated on this though because I only had about three different wolf patterns, all of which I'd done numerous times in the past. Then I bought the holiday issue of Scrollsaw Woodworking & Crafts. In that issue was a pattern for the gray wolf you see on the lid of the CD case I built.
When I saw the pattern of the gray wolf, I knew I wanted to put it on the case. However, the pattern was smaller than I wanted. I'm not very educated when it come to computer stuff. So, it took me almost an entire day to figure out how to enlarge the pattern to a suitable size. I'd enlarged patterns like this before. I don't do it often enough though. Every time I start to do this, I have to relearn the process all over again.
The CD case turned out pretty nice I think though. The box and outer trim for the lid are cherry. The inside pieces of the lid are walnut. The framework on the inside of the box to support the CDs is made out of cottonwood. The wolf detail consists of two pieces of luan. One has the pattern cut out of it with another piece painted flat back placed behind the cutting.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

U.S. Army Trunk

I have seven sons and one daughter. Some of my kids, from the time they are small, decide almost on a daily basis something different they want to do when they grow up. One of my sons is different though. Almost as long as I can remember, he has ate, slept, and breathed U.S. Army. He is now in his last year of high school and I can honestly say that this time next year, bar some unforeseen life changing event, he will be in the army. So, this is what I wanted to build him for the last Christmas we'll have with him before that time.
Now, first of all, on this project, I have to thank Steve Goode for the army emblem pattern. His site can be found here . The pattern itself can be downloaded here . If you want some great patterns for gift ideas, please go on over and check out his site, Scrollsaw Workshop. He puts a huge amount of work into providing some of the best free patterns you'll find on the internet.
The trunk itself was not built from a pattern. I bought a thirty inch piano hinge and sort of built it from there, making it up as I went.
The box itself is made of pecan. It is "wrapped" in oak strips. The army emblem is made of mahogany. Then the entire thing is finished using Johnson's paste wax.
If you look at the fourth photo, it is looking at the back side of the box with the lid open. You may notice how the oak strips on the back of the box are cut so that the catch the strips on the lid and support it when the lid is open.
The brass handles on each end look nice on it. There is a potential problem though. I am afraid they will only be to look good. I did substitute the small screws for a little larger screws. I still don't think though they are going to support the weight of the trunk loaded. It turned out quite a bit heavier than I realized. I did however realize it when I finished and went to move it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mahogany Unicorn Chest With Cedar Lining

Several weeks ago, I built a cedar chest for my daughter's Christmas present. My wife liked it so much, that I decided to build her one. I had several problems though. The biggest one was that I didn't have enough good cedar to make another. Since my wife likes pecan, I decided to build a chest in the same styling out of pecan. Well, I found out real quick that the saw blade on my table saw was in no way sharp enough to cut the pecan cleanly enough to build it in the same style. With my limited funds, I had rather spend my money right now on Christmas than new saw blades. So, to make a long story short, in the end I decided to build it out of mahogany. My wife loves the smell of cedar though. So I was able to scrap enough of the knotty cedar to line the mahogany chest in aromatic cedar.
Next order of business was the scrolled design for the chest. You can see a photo of the chest's original design in the older posts here on my blog, or by going to the Wildwood Deisigns website here. I used unicorn designs on the front and sides and a pegasus design on the lid. I wanted to provide a link to where these designs can be purchased, but could not find them on Wildwood Designs website. I bought both patterns from there over a year ago. They may be hard to find since that website has been redesigned, or they may be discontinued.
Anyway, I wanted to use those unicorn type designs on my wife's chest. However, the original design measurements of the chest did not allow room for them. So, I had to redo a lot of the measurements for the chest to allow room for these two designs. It was not hard to do at all. It was just a matter of figuring up the difference in height of the original designs and the unicorn designs, and then adding the difference to the length of the corresponding pieces of the chest. This method may make you scratch your head a few times, but if you're careful to make sure and add enough space, it all will fall together in the end.
While I am very happy with the way these two chests have turned out, I do have one complaint. On both of these chests, I used the brass friction support to hold the lid up. I have got to try hard to find a better designed lid support for things such as these chests. While these look beautiful and do serve their purpose, they are a pain in the rump to install. It is near impossible, to me anyway, to get them mounted the first time so they will work right. The instructions on the back of the package is useless. If you go by the instructions, like I did the first time, the chest will not close properly, if it closes at all. I actually used some scrap wood for a mock up just out of curiosity. For the instructions to be correct, the approximately eight inch slide pieces would have to be about sixteen inches long and would bend against the lid if you forced it all the way down. I don't think I have ever encountered a simple piece of hardware that has frustrated me so much.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Unicorn Cabinet

This project has turned into one of those that kept evolving right up until it was done. This is a present I am giving my lovely wife for Christmas. It started out going to be a rocking unicorn in the same style as the carousel horses I had done in the past. From the onset though, I kept making changes, mainly because I wanted my wife to have something different than what I've made for other people in the past.
So the first thing that had to go was the pole that ran up past the top of the animal's body. Instead it became just a unicorn up on a stand.
Then I started thinking about where she might put this. She's been wanting one of these for some time and I know she wanted it in our bedroom. I also knew our bedroom already has too much stuff and not enough room. So I figured, why not eliminate the rocker theme all together and mount it on a cabinet that she can use to store some stuff in. I started thinking about that. I just couldn't build her a simple square cabinet. I thought about round cabinets, corner triangular cabinets. The design you see in the photos is what I eventually decided on. It is an elongated, eight sided design. Of course it had to be her favorite color of purple.
So after I built all of this I started thinking of a decorating theme. After going through many different ideas, I wound up with the idea to make it look like the unicorn was sort of running through a field of flowers. From there, my creation went into overdrive. I wound up adding four vines, forty eight leaves, and over a hundred flowers to the design.
The last detail to make was the horn. I learned how to make the spiral for the horn a while back when I built a rocking unicorn for the daughter of a friend of mine. That unicorn had a seven inch horn, which looked good, but I had to decide what length I wanted to make this one. After going home and looking at some of my wife's favorite unicorns, it struck me that all her favorites are the one's with exceptionally long horns. So I made the horn for this one twelve inches long.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Scrolled Cedar Chest

This particular project has been a long time in the making. I made it for a Christmas present for my seventeen year old daughter. I seen the plans for this chest over a year ago. I knew as soon as I laid eyes on the photo on the Wildwood Designs website that I wanted to build one of these for my daughter out of aromatic cedar. So I ordered the plans although I didn't even have a strip of firewood made out of cedar. Then I started looking for the cedar and grabbing up everything that I seen. Most of the wood that eventually got used for the chest came out of a man's barn. He said the wood had been in there for over fifty years.
So, because of the delicate nature of the scroll work, it is cut out of luan plywood. Besides that scroll work, everything else on this chest is made entirely of aromatic cedar. The scrollwork was then covered with polyurethane. Then the entire outside of the chest got a total of five coats of Johnson's paste wax and was hand buffed in between each coat. Of course the inside of the chest was left without finish so that the wonderful smell of aromatic cedar can be enjoyed.
To give you an idea of the magnitude of this project, there is a total of over ten hours of work, just in the scroll work alone. Also, several people that I spoke with assured me that this project would be a complete failure being made out of aromatic cedar. I was told that while constructing it, the delicate nature of this type of wood was going to split too bad. The general consensus was that the only way to get this job done was going to be to build the chest out of hardwood and line it with cedar. However, I knew for a fact that as many cedar chest I have seen that were built years and years ago, that I could get it done if I tried hard enough.
It turns out that there was some truth to what I was told about how easily aromatic cedar is made into useless firewood if you're not careful. During construction it is easy to split the wood using screws or any large nails. Another thing I learned was to carefully plan out how you cut your lumber. This wood has a lot of knots in it. Although those knots make for beautiful colors wherever they are placed, you have to be aware that it splits and breaks easiest the closer you get to those knots, you have to carefully be plan the placement of those knots in relation to where you place nails and joints.
So here is the scrolled cedar chest. It is finally done after over a year of making plans to build it. Personally, I am quite pleased at the results. If you'd like to build one of these yourself, the plans for it can be purchased here
Now I've got to start looking for more cedar. I know several other people I may build one of these for in the future. I can't wait for my daughter to see it Christmas morning. I hope she loves it as much as everyone else who has seen it has.

Monday, November 1, 2010

More Tools

These are more Christmas presents for my younger boys. I made them the tool boxes. I had originally planned on toy tools as well. However, in the end I decided on real tools. They already have experience with small projects using hand tools from me teaching them and from the Home Depot Kid's Workshop we go to every month. I always have scrap wood lying around they can nail together. So I decided getting them their own hand tools was the way to go.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kiddie Tools

I'm building as much of my kid's Christmas this year as I can. The younger ones are always wanting to help as much as they can in the shop and get quite dissappointed at times because they aren't old enough as of yet to even try their hand at power tools. So, I thought they would like their own version of some of them. So, for Christmas, they will each get their own drill, skillsaw, and jig saw.
This is one step in my idea for equipping them with their own play tools. I also hope to complete a little tool box with hand tools for them by Christmas.
If anyone would like to build some of these for their own kids, the plans for them can be purchased here

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


For anyone unfamiliar with a trebuchet, it is a medieval offence weapon that was designed to hurl objects at castle walls with great enough force to break them down. The original design back hundreds of years ago was very complex for the time. It takes quite a bit of fine tuning to get the weight ratio and sling release timing just right for maximum distance and force.
This one, of course, is on a much smaller scale. My trebuchet was actually built for my kids. This is what "santa claus" is bringing them this year. I love this for several reasons. I've wanted to build one for a long time and this is something I can use as an excuse to have fun with my kids. I think they will really get a kick out of it.
The trebuchet here stand almost three feet tall at the tallest point of the frame. The swing arm is close to four feet long. The counterweight on it consists of a bucket that holds four one liter coke bottles filled with wet sand. It is designed to launch tennis balls about two hundred feet. With some fine tuning though, I am possitive me and my boys can get more distance out of it though, especially since we will be more concerned with distance than knockdown force.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Peace Overload

I designed this clock for a little girl that loves peace signs. It's for the daughter of a friend of mine. The back is made of mahogany. The large peace sign for the face is made of oak. Although I usually don't use anything but wood on my projects, the small peace signs that mark the hours are of course metal. I call it Peace Overload.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rocking Horse Chair

I'm always looking for new ideas for rocking toys. I seen the plans for this one at Meisel Hardware Specialties website and just had to order it. This is the Rocking Horse Chair. It is designed for infant children from age twelve to twenty-four months old that can at least hold themselves up without assistance. I believe it is much safer for the smaller children than my other rocker toys.
I made this one for a good friend of mine. His daughter is soon turning one year of age. There is no finish on this one because he wants to paint it himself. It is made of cottonwood. I have to say that although it may not look like it to some people, this is by far the easiest project I have done in a long time. As a matter of fact, I built it from start to finish in less than a day. Now of course, considering my health, I did have a good day today compared to most. However, if I can do it in a day, then most people could. If any of you are looking for an easy Christmas gift to make yourself for a small child, this is perfect. I highly suggest ordering the plans. They cost less than twenty bucks. They are good plans with all parts drawn full scale. I done most of the cutting on this one on a scroll saw. One could absolutely be constructed though using only basic hand tools.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Lucky Charms the Unicorn

Lucky Charms is made of cottonwood and painted with latex paint. This was a custom job I done for a friend. I really enjoyed building it, but will be happy to get back to something that doesn't require painting. I don't mind staining so much, but I hate painting.
Apparently, my wife likes this very much. She is also a unicorn lover and is already talking about what colors she wants on hers. So I guess that as soon as I can, I'll be building another on of these.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

L'il Skipper

The L'il Skipper was a very fun project for me. This is the first time I've ever built something I had to bend wood around. It is made of solid wood construction. The plans called for eighth inch plywood. I hate plywood though. Unless I'm building a cheap jig or laying decking for a roof or something, you will never see me use plywood on a structural project.
L'il Skipper is made of cottonwood. The colors on it are achieve with Minwax waterbased stains that can be tinted pretty much any color of the rainbow and all shades in between. I'm sure other places have it, but I get mine at Home Depot. If you've read much of my blog, you'll know already though that I don't use paint if I can help it. Stains color the wood fibers. Paint, no matter how good, will eventually peal, crack, or otherwise start coming off. Since I build my projects to last for a long time, I want a color that will last too.
L'il Skipper is just over four feet long, to give you an idea of the size of it. The steering wheel turns so the child can play like he is piloting his own boat. The plans to build one of these can be found at here for a very reasonable price.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Shadow Box

This is a shadow box that was built according to a customer's specifications. It is made of cottonwood and finished with shellac. The second photo shows the back of it. It can be removed by taking out the screws to allow putting things in the box. The glass is actually plexiglass. I thought about using real glass but decided against it because I have to ship this to another state. Another feature I done on this box is the finger joints at the corners. I think it added a nice touch to it. They wound up not being quite as tight as I'd like. The angles on the top proved to be a challenge to me. Overall I think it turned out pretty nice though.
I'm always open to doing custom projects. So, if any of you have something you need built of wood that you can't find elsewhere, contact me. Maybe I can build just what you need.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Worthington Hall Clock

This is the Worthington Hall Clock. It hangs on the wall and is twelve inches wide and thirty two inches tall. I have made this clock before. I wanted to do this one out of different material than clocks I've done before. A new challenge I guess. This one has a main body made out of oak. The trim is made of mahogany.
If you'd like to make one of these, just do an internet search for Wildwood Designs. The have many many clock patterns. All their clock patterns are very nice and come with full size patterns of any irregular shaped pieces. While they look beautiful, anyone who has a scroll saw and a little patience can build them. Any of them I make are for sale though. If you'd like to buy this one, just contact me.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Rocking Tractor

My latest work is this Rocking Tractor. Now the plans for this tractor, which I bought at are actually for a riding tractor. I use a rocker assembly from a different pattern to make a rocker out of it. With so many tractor fanatics around my area, I wanted a rocking tractor to add to my line of rocking toys, but could not for the life of me find one I was happy with. So I found a tractor pattern I was happy with and just added the rocker.
The green color on this one is made using Green Tea tinted water based stain. The yellow and black is painted. The rocker assembly I used Bulls Eye Shellac on.
As some people know, I never make two rockers the same. This one as well has a few hard to notice changes. The tractor body is a little wider. The hitch at the rear was eliminated because, being on a rocker, I only seen it as something for a child to get hung on. I eliminated the stowaway area under the seat in exchange for more support blocks. The exhaust pipes on top is offset instead of center.
The biggest change to this though, over the last tractor I built, is the rocker assembly. I have actually done this on the last few rockers I done. I don't know if anyone noticed. Most rocker designs have anywhere from two inch to six inch spaces between slats on the rocker assembly. Well, I was sitting in the shop one day with a cup of coffee looking at all my rockers, and something just didn't set well with me. About that time, I though about how clumsy my kids can be at times and those spaces on the rocker assemblies just jump out at me as major safey hazards. So, from now on, no more spaces between rocker slats. While I want to make my rocking toys as nice as possible, one of my most important priorities is also to be absolutely sure that I've done all I can to make them as safe as I can for little ones.