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Like all forms of crafts, there are variables in how they are done. Take woodworking for example, on one end there are the ultimate creations of beauty, more than just furniture, they are works of art. On the other side of the spectrum are the utilitarian creations. Far from works of art, these objects are often made to serve a simple service.
In the video associated video we are creating simple toys for youngster aged 2 to around 6. The wooden toys are basic shapes that kids will recognize, but lack the detail that would make them works of art. They are quickly made with the main thought to be safe for children to use, but that they are also built small so that small hands can hold and carry them with ease. There is no to coat finish applied which helps to reduce the possibility of allergic reactions and being natural wood they are more anti-bacteria than any coated surface would be, much the same as cutting boards.
There is little in the way of parts that are needed for these with the exception of wheels and wooden axles (the axles are ultimately glued in place). The only other part is the kind of wood you want to use, be they glued together cut-offs from your workshop, or if you do me and go out and hand pick a really nice construction grade 2x4.
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I am always intrigued by what kinds of things can be made from wood ... such as a wooden case for a smart phone. Some of you may recall I made a case for another smart phone a few years ago. It was really a prototype to see if it could be done and what it would look like. The case was a bit on the thick side, but other than that, it worked well and looked great, but most of all, you get to learn things when you actually go about making things, I learned lots when making that first case.
With the knowledge that my next case needed to be thinner, I decided that the best way to do this would be to make my own very thin plywood back, by gluing together veneers. Before I started this whole process I decided that the workshop and workbench was not the safest place for my phone. In all the handling that would be needed to be done, I thought it would be just like me to drop it on the floor or drop a tool on it and break the glass ... so I made wooden blank of the phone, exactly the same size and thickness. This way I wouldn't have to worry that some calamity would happen to in the process.
To be honest, I tried a few different kinds of veneers that I had on hand, but that one that worked best for this application was some Phenolic Backed veneer that came from Oakwood Veneer Company. I sandwiched the Oakwood veneer between some plain, tight grain veneer I had on hand. The process is shown in the video. Once the back was made, the next process ...
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Making woodworking objects that move on their own is a bit foreign to many of us woodworkers. This makes these kinds of projects a bit more challenging ... in a fun sort of way. Trying to figure out how something works, and when you are building it, wondering if it really will work like it's supposed to.
There is a bit of a fascination with these little whimsical little ornaments, and if you happen to have an old antique one, you cold be looking at a very expensive artifact, or at least that what the good folks on the Antiques Roadshow have shown. The older, the more weathered and with almost no paint left these garden and shed ornaments are highly coveted.
Making whirligigs is fun and a bit demanding but there are a few things to keep in mind as you go along. The first thing to remember, even before you start, is with whirligigs, BIGGER is better. Remember, these things are often going to be at some distance ... in the garden, on the garage, shed or greenhouse, maybe on a far corner of the yard. All this means if you make it too small, it will be harder to see or won't even get noticed so when you think you have the correct size .... double it, make it really big so it can easily be seen and enjoyed.
Another important consideration is the wood ...
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Making speaker boxes isn't anything new, many woodworkers have been doing this for years but in most cases they have been making BIG speaker boxes for LARGE stereo systems. In out case we are going to make small speaker boxes for ... oh, a computer, MP3 Player, an iPod or iPad, a Tablet or even an iPhone if you have the correct adapter. The ones that we made sound at least as good as the the ones that we used as donator speaker boxes, and they look good enough that you can put them out in public and now have to apologize for plastic speakers.
So! the first thing we had to do was to find a suitable set or donator speaker boxes. We wanted something small and of course they needed to "powered speaker", that is, they either needed batteries or a small transformer wall plug to power the speakers.
Of course your BIG speakers for you larger stereo systems do not need to be powered, there is more than enough juice in a full blow stereo system to power the big speakers. We found our donator speakers at a yard sale for, I think about $3.00 There are TONS of these little speakers around some with and some without the transformer plugs, but even if you get one without, you can still get a transformer plug to drive the speakers rather than using batteries all the time. The advantage with the ones that take either batteries OR use the transformer is that you can use these, with batteries, at the beach, at the cabin, hiking, canoeing or whatever.