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Make a Garden Art Wheelbarrow with Red Cedar

red cedar wheelbarrowWorking with Red Cedar is always an exercise in frustration for me. I am allergic to the wood so I have to be extra careful about wood dust and just trying to fasten Red Cedar together or to something else is a whole new world of "what works best".

The object of this build is to make something that will serve mostly as a place in which plants will sit on most of the time. I guess you could really call it a plant stand, BUT, from time to time it will also be used for light duty hauling and of course moving around the plants that are displayed on it.
This means it will be sitting out-of-doors for it's entire life, which should be at least 10 years and could easily be up to 20. That's due to the fact Red Cedar contains resins and oils that helps preserve the wood. Sunlight is the hardest thing on Cedar. It helps to leach out the oils which then makes the wood susceptible to rotting.

The same oils that help to preserve Red Cedar (and other out door woods) is the same oil that makes Cedar impossible to keep paints or stains on, or that that will hold a glue for very long. For someone like me who tries to use glue as much as possible, when it comes to Red Cedar, I have to rethink joinery.

Make a Drink Tote

drink toteI am always astounded how much work and how many pieces it takes to build "small" items when compared to building larger items like furniture. I have to admit,

I often find building smaller items is more fun although you do need to be even more on guard with power tools when you are working with small parts.

This little drink tote idea poped into my head when I was out doing a quick trip to the grocery store and I noticed a display of soft drinks with the carboard carrying handles ... you know, you seen them hundred times. Little carboard holder with a handle that carries 6 bottled drinks around. I thought, I could make something like that from wood and it would be great gift idea, or for anyone who makes little wooden items for craft fairs, flea markets and garden markets, this would be a great little item.

The thing I like about it is that most of the drink manufacturers now have somewhat standardized on the sizes of their bottles because they all want them to fit in vending drink dispensing machines and even drink dispensing coolers are grocery and convenient stores.

Building an Arrowhead Picture Frame

Now everyone has the pleasure of having "family heirloms" that can be passed down in families ... sometimes you have to start somewhere with something that can be passed down, which is precisely what this Arrowhead Picture Frame project was to accomplish. Many of the arrowheads in this collection were broken, probably during their making. I'm sure with the rudimentary tools that were used in the making of flint arrowheads, a good portion were damaged or broken during their making.

The few, more-less complete arrowheads that survived have been granted a special picture frame that can be handed down family to family over the course of time and will become a coveted collection over time.

 

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Dust Control Options in the Workshop

There is lots of good information on dust control all over the internet so this article is more about what I do in my workshop than it is about getting into the specific details and health hazards of wood dust which is already covered in detail on many other websites.

The most central part of my own dust control is my dust collector, which operates on a 110 volt system and consists of one filtration bag and one plastic reservoir collection bag. The dust collector is only turned on when I am using a woodworking machine and I have to manually plug it into each machine as I use that machine. It is the most manual system for dust control, but it works, and in my small shop it is not that big a bother to me. I have retrofitted the dust collector with a One Micron filtration bag and compared to the bag that was on the dust collector when I purchased it, the new bag does prevent the finer particles of dust from escaping the the collection system, I can see the difference.

The same dust collector is also used on my bandsaw, router table and reciprocating sander by using a 4 inch to 2 inch step down adapter to accommodate the 2 inch collection port on those tools.
The only tool that is still waiting for a more effective dust control system is my sliding mitre ... and I now have a solution, all I need is a bit of time to implement it. 

How to Joint Wood with your Planer

planer jigNew woodworkers are often confused by the difference between jointers and planers. I know this because I get asked what should I get first, a jointer or a planer, and my answer has not changed on that topic, in my opinion the jointer is probably the best choice for most people, and if you have planer, you will still need a jointer. I often wonder if one of the reasons for that is because we frequently call "thickness planers" the shortened term of "planer" and "jointer" terms is shortened from "surface jointer".
I have seen people trying to "plane" wood on a jointer and what happens most of the time is you end up with wood that is wedge shaped. Similarly, jointing on the planer, is possible in some instances but you need to know how to do it in order to get usable wood.

The best and safest woods to joint using a planer are thicker boards, that will need to be long enough to satisfy the safety aspects of your planer. Most planers need wood to be at least 14" - 16" long, otherwise you risk the wood getting turned around inside the planer and either damaging the machinery and or the user. Something well worth avoiding.

Working with Plastics to Build an Engraver Stand

There are many things that plastics can help us out with in the workshop from creating certain jigs to making new throat plates for your table saws. The nice thing about working with plastics is that you can pretty much use all you existing woodworking tools to cut drill and shape it into the form you need. There are a few things to know about working with plastics, like what bits and blades to use, but other than that, it's not difficult at all.

For our part, we are building a stand for our laser engraver that will have a place above the engraver for a laptop computer to sit. This will save us a lot of space by stacking the units rather than having them side by side.

 

 Working with plastics is fun and something different to do and for some projects, it's can be used to make special jigs or augment new or existing projects.