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Colored, and laminated woods have been on the market in one form or another for quite a number of years. They are often used by wood turners for making high quality colorful pens, wine stoppers, pool ques and other smaller items. If you think of colored plywood, that is what would describe colored laminated woods. The difference is what is used to laminate them together and there are a few products, some of these lamination or glues allow much of the natural characteristics of the wood to remain unchanged. This means these laminated pices are water resistant, but not really water proof. If you submerge them in water, the wood laminates will absorb water, expand and essentially come apart. Other version use more water-proof methods that means the woods are more water proof, but there is always the element that we are dealing with wood and even the best coatings are still covering wood that can absorb water ... eventually. I was excited to get stated on this project, something I have wanted to do for a long time and when my order arrived from webbwood.com I was all ready to go.
Because these laminate woods are similar to plywoods they are not ideal for those of us who prefer to use flat wood, as in cabinet, box, chair, shelf, table and similar kinds of flat, square projects. These laminate woods look best when they can be integrated into curved, rounded or coved kinds of cuts. It is only in this way that the true colors and laminations can be seen an appreciate, not unlike what wood turners do when they make round things on their lathes. For some time I have wanted to see what kinds of projects can be made that we can use to as features or other elements in our flat wood projects. Things like door handles, door knobes, hinges, design elements in chairs and tables, curved edge in fronts and other similar ideas.
Having never worked with this kind of wood today, naturally I jumped into something I have never done before - make a knife handle ...
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I love innovative ideas, especially when they can enhance our lives, and what better place to do this than in the kitchen. I wish I could take credit for this neat idea, but I suspect it has been around for many, many years it countries where bamboo grows quite prolifically, and has been in use for a variety of building needs for centuries. Building this knife block has been on my list of things to do for about 2 years. So much so that I even went out and purchased (what I thought) would be more than the correct number of packages of bamboo skewers to build this unit. That shows you how wrong I can be sometimes - I had to go out 2 more times to purchase more. The block that I made has take about 20 packages of bamboo skewers. Next time I will be a bit more careful on the size.
To start off, I search through my somewhat extensive collection of cut-off pieces of wood and came up with a few likely suspects. One piece that I like was both figures and somewhat spalted, and it was even a live edge piece. I decided to plane it down enough to see the grain and then to determine if I would have enough wood left if I were to split it into 2 halves, which in fact worked out fine.
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For new woodworkers, and even some of the more seasoned ones, finishing their woodworking project can be agony. It certainly was for me for many, many years. It seemed no matter what can of varnish I purchased, the projects that I worked so hard to make them as perfect as I could, ended up looking like crap after the finishing was done. I always read the directions but never really had much success, in fact sometimes woodworking got very discouraging when I seemed to be able to predict that the end project would look like.
Then I met someone who began to give me some finishing tips and techniques. I started to realize that my impatience with the finishing step was part of my problem. I could make a furniture piece in a few days, then it would take a few more days just for the finishing. Waiting for anything to dry ... for me ... is pure agony, but as I started to see some real changes in my finished, I began to have much more patience.
He taught me a number of steps that I still use today, steps that help me not only in the build, but also in finishing. Here are the steps that I learned
#1 - Think about what you want your project to look like when it is done and what will it be used for. Knowing what I want my project to look like was a big step for me. Often I would pick a species of wood at random and build something with it, then think about what I was going finish it with.
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I have always loved Arts & Crafts (A&C) style furniture. I love the dark colors and the bold, simple designs. I am particularly fond of the Gustav Stickley furniture and especially like the designis of one of his workers who, sadly, left us at an all-to-young age of only 51, of heart disease, and that was Harvey Ellis. He only worked for Stickley for 7 months but during that time he was clearly in his element of design and produced some timeless furniture creations are are still being duplicated today.
The piece I am making is a more modern re-creation of what and Arts & Crafts piece in what the 21st century would create with the addition of the storage / magazine rack under the table, making it far more useful while still retaining the design elements of A&C. I have had the good fortune to see a very few original pieces of the Stickley furniture and have been able to do some reading about their methods and have a bit more knowledge in how the factory made their furniture and what methods they used.
My version of this table is 21 inches high, by 14 inces wide and 20 inches long. The legs are 5.5" x 1.5" laminated boards for both strengh and stability. The storage area is 1" off the floor and is comprised of dado lwer of 2" x 3/4" and a dado upper of 1.5" x 3/4" and pickets are 1" wide by 1/3" thick a,d 5" high. Apron pieces are 3" x 3/4"
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Hole saws have a confusing name so I don't blame anyone for being unclear about them, I was too a one time. Holes saws are really nothing but another form of drill bit with saw teeth at the bottom for cutting nice, usually fairly clean, round holes.
The good thing about hole saws is you can often make nice holes in hard to get at places, or even places that are impossible with pretty much anything else. I thinking here about plumbing and electrical installs, but holes saws can be just as handy and effective on flat easy to get at places too. Have you ever hand to drill and nice round hole in a door for a door handle or lock? Hole saws make quick, easy work of things like this.
Like most things there is good quality versions and ... well, not so great quality versions, and like many things the price will often tell you which is which. Often the cheaper hole saws are more for one-time or very rare use and often don't have the depth for things like doors and floors, only the better quality saws have deeper cutting capabilities. The biggest bug bear with every hole saw is getting the plug out after the hole is cut.
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When I look around at the jigs I have been amassing it's a bit frightening. So much so that I recently discovered that I have made 2 jigs that do exactly the same thing. One of them I made about 15 - 20 years ago, and for the life of me, I do not know where it went for most of it's life and I needed the same functionality about a year ago, so made that same jig again and soon after found the original ...
Maybe if I had made a dual purpose jig back then ... a jig that did more than one job I might got a bit more use from it and maybe used it a few time over the years instead of squirrliling it away in my wood storage room where is eventually got forgotten about. Well, time to make another jig, this time a dual purpose, and maybe I can even get it to do more?? Wouldn't that be nice, a multi purpose jig ... I must work on trying to make more of my jig do more kinds of things.
This router jig for cutting dados is something I have been meaning to make for a long time. I often need to cut one or two quick dados and setting up my dado blade on my table saw, making test cuts etc. Is a lot of time for what should be a short process. The other thing that I need that is along the same vein is a jig that I can use to cut slots ... in even more jigs I want to make, so why not make a jig that does both?