Deadhead Sinker Cypress

January 20, 2011

Deadhead Sinker Cypress is cypress wood that has lain at the bottom of rivers and lakes for 150 years or so before being retrieved and cut into lumber.  It is old growth wood, rare today.  The wood is rot resistant and the long bath in the tannin rich waters where most of it has been […]

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Bluebird House

January 19, 2011

There are two kinds of blue bird houses that are widely built.  The Peterson’s blue bird house is the one with the funny slant and is a little harder than the conventional one, but the birds like it better.  This one works just fine, however, for my bluebirds.  Note the long oval opening, different from […]

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Wood Duck House

January 17, 2011

Wood ducks are larger than most birds people make bird houses for, with the exception of raptors.  This box is about three feet tall.  Inside the front is a strip of 1/4 inch hardware mesh.  When the wood duck eggs hatch, the babies crawl up the mesh and then drop into the water, where they […]

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Noah’s Ark Puzzle

January 14, 2011

This is a Noah’s Ark Puzzle from a book published by Fox Chapel Publishing.

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Purple Martin House

January 12, 2011

This is what the purple martin house looks like when finished.  Purple Martins live in colonies and their houses are essentially apartment houses for birds.  They even have balconies with rails so the fledglings don’t fall off.  This was built using plans that are free from the Northern Prairie Research Center in North Dakota.  They […]

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Proto Purple Martin House

January 8, 2011

Ever get started on something only to find it was a lot more complicated than you expected?  A purple martin house is like that.  The first day I just about got the plans drawn and the plywood sliced when it got dark.  I will post a picture of the house I dubbed “Moby Dick” next […]

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Poplar Cross with Walnut Grape Leaf Backing

December 6, 2010

In honor of the season, another cross.

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Woodworking is for the birds, and the squirrels, and

December 2, 2010

Woodworking is an excellent way to provide habitat for a wide variety of creatures.  Everyone has heard of bluebird houses, and those are important.  However, there are a wide variety of animals that could benefit from a house or nesting platform.  Winter is the perfect time to build and install these houses.  That way, the […]

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Caring for Wood

November 3, 2010

Everyone knows that wood warps when it gets wet.  What people sometimes forget is warping is related to both how wet a piece of wood gets and to how big the wood is.   That massive ship of a desk may not warp unless submerged, but a small wooden ornament will warp after merely getting damp.  […]

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October 29, 2010

One of my favorite woods to work in is cherry.  It is hard enough to be durable but soft enough to work.  Cherry is still readibly available in the United States.  It is somewhat expensive but not as much as Walnut, and I like it better. Cherry grows 60 to 80 feet tall and can […]

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October 27, 2010

Mahogany is a beautiful, dark brown wood that is used for fine furniture, paneling, and other uses where the wood is seen.  Somewhat expensive, mahogany is often used as a veneer on furniture when solid mahogany is not affordable.  My maternal grandparents had a mahogany veneer bedroom suite, while my paternal grandparents had a mahogany […]

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October 23, 2010

Pine is a funny wood.  There are many types of pine, but three are predominately used in construction or woodworking.  Longleaf pine is the most prized.  Old growth longleaf pine floors are prize possessions.  When old houses are torn down, longleaf pine is often salvaged from them.  The nails are then pulled, the ragged ends […]

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October 21, 2010

Walnut is a beautiful dark wood that I use often.  In medieval times, it was used frequently for everything from the backing for intarsia to furniture.  Now it is more expensive and not used for things that do not show.

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Butterfly House

October 14, 2010

I didn’t know butterflies needed houses, but apparently some will use one as shelter in a store, or the caterpillars will form pupae in one to overwinter.

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Bat Box

October 13, 2010

Bats are beneficial animals that are too often driven from their homes out of fear of disease and superstition.  Building a bat box (or bat house) is fairly easy.  Since bats eat huge amounts of insects each night, primarily mosquitoes, such a box can really improve your outdoor experience, too. Related articles Bats are Beneficial […]

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Painted Rabbit

October 12, 2010

This was one of the last things I made that I painted before deciding that paint was a dangerous weapon in my hands.  The rabbit is sort of cute, though.

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Southwestern Style Bench

October 11, 2010

My mother likes Southwestern style things so I made her this bench one year for her birthday.  She uses it to sit on when gardening.

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Wooden Hairpins

October 10, 2010

There are three types of hairpins I make.  They are used to keep hair wound in a bun from falling down.

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Case sticks

October 7, 2010

When building a box, it is important to make sure it is square.  The only real way to do that is to take a measurement from the inside corner of one side of the box to the opposite corner, then compare that measurement to the opposite diagonal.  They should be identical if the box is […]

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Bevel gauge

October 6, 2010

A bevel gauge is used to transfer angles from one workpiece to another.  Handmade items are rarely exactly 45 degrees, for example, but may be 44 or 46.  If you are replacing of a pair of pieces and need to replicate that angle exactly, you use this gauge.  Mine is made of lacewood and bird’s […]

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Joint Gauge

October 4, 2010

Back when cuts were made with hand saws and chisels, it was hard to get a perfectly straight cut.  This small gauge is held against the joint.  If any daylight is visible between the brass rod and the wood, the joint is not straight.

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Dual Marking Gauge

October 4, 2010

If you are marking two different sizes of lines and want to avoid resetting your gauge between lines, the dual marking gauge is the tool for you.  This is common in box making.

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Mortise and Tenon Marking Gauge

October 3, 2010

This is used to scribe the marks for a mortise and tenon.  This is the slot A fits in tab B joint.  You draw the two parellel lines and cut inside the line for the mortise, outside the line for the tenon.  Because they were both cut from the same lines, they should fit.  Sometimes […]

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Handmade Maple Marking tool

October 2, 2010

I am a lousy carpenter.  I am not much of a joiner, either.  However, I came across a book on making your own tools to do joinery and made the tools.  I am working on learning to use hand tools to make boxes and things that I can inlay.  This is a marking tool, used […]

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