Making things out of wood

July 25, 2017

Recently I’ve been exploring wood working in my spare time. Not the kind where I find the nicest cut of Old Oak or make the perfect lap joint, more the kind where I try to make 2x4’s look good, which has been a remarkably enjoyable challenge.

The tools

First of all, I have very few tools. I’m a renter and space is limited, plus I have that constant voice in the back of my head telling me I’m going to regret buying things because I’ll have to move them eventually. Thankfully, there is an extensive tool library community in Seattle. I’ve been renting from the Phinney Ridge tool lending library and couldn’t recommend it more.

My toolkit consists of whatever miter or circular saw we can get our hands on, a power drill, hand sander, long metal clamps, and a random assortment of jigs, bits, and hardware. Pretty simple, but I’m approaching the tools on a as-needed basis in order to best learn about the reasons why I’d use such a tool.

The most recent addition has been a Kreg pocket hole jig and clamp, which has been pretty revolutionary. Pocket holes have provided impressive strength for joins that would otherwise be pretty flimsy. Without special routers to making nice hardware-free joins, the Kreg jig has made life super easy.

Picnic table

This took two weekends. Cutting and assembly in the first weekend, sanding and staining during the second. The hardest part here was cutting the lap joints (where the X’s intersect) which we did by hand with a hand saw and chisel. Using a table saw to get these cut perfectly would be an excellent choice. It’s not perfect (obvious by the misaligned top pieces in the photos below) but does exactly what we need it to.

Coffee table

This took one weekend. Basically a combination of 2x6’s on the top, 4x4’s for the legs, 2x4’s for the horizontal supports, and 1x10’s for the bottom shelf. Used an “old mahogany” stain, which is basically cheating our way out of purchasing nice wood. We also spray painted some 90 degree fasteners and added them to the corners for a little flair.

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