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American Woodworker #154 June July 2011 .pdf



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Alnerican~
Woodwor~
#154, June/July 2011
EDITORIAL
Editor in ~
Ed,tor
Senior Ed,tor
Contributing Ed,tors

Randy Johnson
Tom Caspar
Tim Johnson
Spik@ (ariSM
Brad Hold@n
D<tvld Radtke
Kevin Southwick
Chad Stanton
OffKe AdminIStrator SMlly Jacobsen
ARTaDESIGN

Art DIrector )o@ Gohman
DIrector o( Photography Jason Zentn@r

Adv@rt1sing DIrector
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Classified AdvertiSing Ropreser. tIW
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Dennis O'Brien
TJ Montilli
Jodi lee
)o@ Ino
Hannah di Cicco
Nekeya D<tncy
Adriana Maldonado

Sultel80,Eagan,MN 55121

A",ericanWoodworker.com
30 336-0916, (ox (630) 858-1510

AmericanWoodwork...com
5021,(ox (917) 591-6444

Stephen J. Kent
~rkF. Arnett
Joel P. Toner

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illing Questions
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J U N EIJ U

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We asked. You answered.
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Workshop Tips

Clever Ideas From Our Readers

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Terrific Tips Win Terrific Tools!

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We'll give you $'00 for every original workshop tip we publish. One em IC Tip is featured
in each issue. The Terrafic Tip winner receives a $250 gift card.

E-mail your tip to workshoptlps. amerlcanwoodworker .com or send it to American Woodworker Workshop T ps
Suite 180, Eagan, MN 55121. Submissions can't be retur"ed and become our property upon acceptance and pay
and use them in all print and electronic media.

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JUNE / JULY a l l

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Rare Earth Hinges

Magnetic-Strip Seal

make really lick hinges for
small boxes. The lid on this ring box pivots on two
hinge made from lOmm magnets-nothing more.
Each hinge is composed of two magnets: one i
glued to the box' ide; the other is glued to the cleat
under the lid. The cleats are carefull positioned 0
the magnets touch each other. I glued a lOmm pearl
above each cleat magnet for decoration.
Mark Thiel

for du t coUectionexcept for the huge lots around the blade-elevation
handwheel in front and the bladeguard bracket in
back. The slots need covers that can be moved, but
for a long time I couldn't figure out how to make
them.
After orne brain tonning, I went to my local
hobby hop and picked lip a heet of flexible magnetic material.
ing ci ors, I cut the heet into
piece that cover the lots-two for the fron t and two
for the back. When I tilt the saw' blade, I just peel
off the magnets and move them.
Michael C. Blank

RARE EARTH MAGNETS

MY SAW IS PRETTY WELL SEALED

One More Drawer
torage pace in a shop, is
there? When I recycled orne old kitchen cabinets
to lise in my hop, I added one more drawer to each
one-in the toe-kick space.
Milch Palmer

THERE'S NEVER ENOUGH

J U N E /J U L Y 2011

.lmericaaWooclwod'ft._

11

Workshop Tips

continued

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Knob-Drilling Jig

Cheap Panel Clamps

HOWDOYOUSUPPORTan uneven piece on the drill PI' ?
Make something that' the oppo ite hape, of course.
After making 60 of these knob (AW#136, "Sho[r
Made Arts & Crafu Knob ," p. 45), I realized that the
direction didn't include any advice on drilling the
hole for mounting them.
My tablesaw was till angled at 15°-the same
angle as the bevels on the knobs. I grabbed a board
from the scrap bin that was about the same width as
the knob and about 12" long. I tood the piece on
edge and made the two bevel cuts you e here. I cut
a hort piece from the board and placed it between
two boards clamped to the drill pre table. I marked
the center of one knob, fine-tuned the po ition of
the boards and fence, and merrily drilled away.
teve Keller

RAN SHORT OF CLAMPS in the heat of making a et
of panel doors, 0 I quickly made more from stuff I
had in my hop. These clamp are based on an old
de ign, but the idea till works as well as ever-and I
came up with a new twi t for tightening them.
The clamp can be any length. For each one,
you'll need a piece of hardwood for the bar, two
mall blocks for stops and orne hort wedge cut at
the same angle. (Carpenter' hims-alwa good to
have around the hop-work well as wedge .)
Screw the blocks to the bars about 1/2" further
apart than the width of the panel. Cover the bars with
tape to keep glue from ticking to them. To tighten
the clamp, place the wedge in oppo ing directions
and squeeze their thick ends with channel-lock pliers.
Alan Wt:5ley

AmerlcaaWooclwod.er.com. JUNEIJULY 2011

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PhotoLaser Plus

CNC Workshop

By Randy Johnson

ROUTER DUPLICATION HAS BEEN AROUND A LONG TIME.

Early machine u ed stilu e to follow the hape of
a pattern or master, while on the other end of the
machine ,router did the carving. In a imilar but
computerized fashion, CNC router are al 0 capable
of duplicating exi ting carving and furniture parts. A
digital "touch" probe i fir t u ed in the CNC to ense
the surface of the object, while the probe' accompaning oftware create a digital image of the part.
The digital image i then coverted to a 3D model and
u ed to program CNC routing path for a replica. To

test the capabilities of thi technique, I hand carved
a traditional callop shell measuring about 4" x 4" to
u e a my original. My te t revealed that a CNC digital probe i quite capable of accurately recording the
hape of an object, with one exception; due to its ballhaped tip, the probe round off the inside corner of
fine details uch as the vein on this hell. A little bit
of hand carving easily add the mi sing detail . The
three carvings in the photo below are duplicate of
my orginal (photo above). Watch the digital probe in
action at AmericanWooodworker.com/ CNC.

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JlmericaaWoodworl<er.com

15

CNCWorkshop

continued

Step 1
Set the scanning parameters. The

I Set §O

software control panel is used to set the
size of the scanning area, the precision or
resolution of the scanning action, and the
speed of the scan.The Scan limits of X and Y
represent the width and length of the scan
area, while the Z Scan Limit represents the
range the probe travels vertically. The Step
Sizes are the X and Y distances the probe
moves between measurements. The Scan
Velocity controls the speed of the probe as
it moves across the part's surface. The Part
Coordinates show the location of the probe
during operation. I used the Shark CNC Pro
Plus to scan the shell for this article, but
most CNCs, including the CarveWright and
Shopbot, are capable of probe scanning, .

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1 . 237
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Start Scan

Step 2
Scan the part. I set parameters for this shell
carving as shown in Step 1. The X and Y
scanning limits are penciled on the backer
board. The Z limit was set at 1" to provide
sufficient vertical travel for the carving's 5/8"
thickness. The step sizes of .005" for this shell
equals 800 passes across the shell for a total
of 680,000 steps, or measurement points, and
took about 12 hours. ( I ran this overnight). The
Shark CNC probe has a .075" dia. wear-resistant
industrial ruby tip, so certain details such as the
fine veins on this shell were not fully captured;
but the remainder of the surface was captured
with surprising accuracy. A larger step setting
can be used on objects with less detail, such
as a chair seat. Doubling the step size reduces
scanning time by a factor of four.

16

Step 3

Step 4

StepS

Adjust the digital Image. The

Create the 3D model. The .stl file is

Smooth t he surface. If needed, the

scanning creates an .stl file, which is a
common file type used in 3D modeling.
The scanned area surrounding the shell is
not needed and is removed at this time.

converted to a 3D model with CNC
design software such as Aspire by
Vectric. I also used Aspire to increase
the thickness of the shell's ba.se to 114~

design software can also be used to
smooth the surface of the model. My
scan was fine enough so I only needed
to remove a couple scratches.

Jlmerlc:uaWoodwod'.I'.c:om

J U N E /J U L Y lO 11

Step 6

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Final
Profile

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Remove the background.
I removed the background to get
the waste material out of the way
in order to make it easier to add the
final hand carved details in Step 10. I
programmed the toolpath for the 3/4"
straight bit at a .1" depth-of-cut per
pass and a stepover (pass width) of .2~
The tool path was also programmed
to leave the she" profile .12S" oversize.
Removing the background for the
three shells took about 30 minutes. The
board started out .S7S (7IS") thick and
the routed background is .2S"thick.
The she" will have a final thickness
of .7S~

Step 7
Rout the final profile and tabs.
The final profile is made using a
1/4" straight bit that cuts a" the way
through the material. Tabs are left to
hold the she" in place. These tabs can
also seen in bottom photo on page 1S.
A piece of plywood underneath
protects the metal machine bed from
damage. I programmed the tool path
for the 1/4" straight bit for .12S"depth
passes. The profile and tab routing of
the three shells took about S minutes.

StepS
Rough rout the shape.
To accomplish the rough routing I
used a 1/4"ba"nose bit programmed
to a .1" depth of cut and .1" step over
(pass width). This roughing phase
removes the majority of the material.
The amount of material left by the
rough pass is adjustable, with .02" being
common for a carving such as this she".
Leaving this sma" amount allows the
final pass to be completed in one pass,
saving time and wear on the finishing
bit. The rough routing of the three
shells took about 60 minutes.

J U N EIJ U L Y 2011

&meric. .Wooclworker.CODl

17

CNCWorkshop

continued

Step 9
Rout the final pass.
The final carving is done with a
specialty .0625"(1/16") ball nose bit
(available at BeckwithDecor.com).1
programmed this bit to make .01" wide
(1/1OO") passes. The tiny tip of this bit
is capable of recreating a considerable
amount of detail, and leaves a surface
that only requires a light sanding with
220 grit sand paper to make it ready for
finishing. The final routing of the three
shells took about 70 minutes.

Step 0
Detail by hand as needed.
Complete the carving with some touchup hand carving of the veins and finish
sanding. There are CNC operations
where the goal is to create a part that
requires no additional hand work-this
application is not one of them. A CNC
is a tool capable of many things, but a
rea istic expectation of what it can do
is a so · portant. In the case of these
she s I accepted the fact that I would
need 0 do some hand detailing to
ach'e e· e results I wanted, similar to
scraping or sanding a board after
join i g and planing.

Project Time Card
eNe the lids: 55 minutes each
eNe the boxes: 50 minutes each
Set up and material prep: 15 minutes each
Detailing and sanding: 45 minutes each
Staining and finishing: 20 minutes each
Total time: 3 hours 30 minutes each
I spent 5 hours 15 minutes (total for all three)
doing something else while
theCNC ran.

0 I designed and
machined these shell boxes at
AmericanWoodworker.mm/CNC

See

18

AmertcAIlWoodworker.com

J U N E/J U L Y Z011

The Wei -Equipped Shop

Our Pick of the Latest Tools

Got Angles? Go Digital!
NEED A PRECISE BEVEL cun It's not so easy on a miter
saw, is it? You've probably been frustrated by the tiny,
hard-to-read scales on many saws. A new digital angle
gauge from Wixey makes setting bevel angles much
easier. It will tell you the exact angle of your blade to
within 1/10 of 1°. That's amazingly precise.
You can also use this handy device to measure the
angle of a tablesaw's blade, a jointer's fence, the table of
a drill press or even a tablesaw's miter gauge (see Digitize Your Miter Gauge, page 12).
The Wixey gauge is very simple to use. On a miter
saw, for example, you'd unplug the saw, place the gauge
on the saw's table and push its "zero" button. This sets
the gauge's scale to read 0°. Then you'd place the gauge
on the blade (the gauge has a magnetic base, so it will
stay put) and tilt the blade. You'd get your reading right
away. The gauge's readout screen can be tilted to make
it easier to view from any angle-a nice touch.
Wixey makes two versions of this gauge. The least
expensive model just measures angles; for another $10,
you can get a gauge that includes a level. For most shop
uses, the one without the level will be adequate. You'll
probably just use the gauge to set angles that are relative from one surface to another, such as the miter saw's

Welcome Back,
Sweetheart
VINTAGE STANLEY HAND TOOLS have long been
favored by users and collectors. Many of those
tools were exceptionally well made. Over the
years, Stanley stopped producing top-of-theline hand tools, leaving the field to others. We're
happy to report that Stanley is back. They
launched a line of five redesigned planes last
year; now, they've re-introduced the legendary No. 750 socket chisel.
Both chisels and planes have been
given the "Sweetheart" label: a logo that
incorporates an "SW" inside a heart. It's a symbol of quality familiar to collectors. This logo
was widely used during Stanley's golden years,
roughly 1920 to 1940. In 1920, Stanley Rule &
Level Company merged into the larger Stanley Works manufacturing company, hence the
"SW': Stanley Works started using the heart
logo in 1915 to honor their recently retired
president, William Hart.
The new 750's are very similar in design
to the originals. Their hornbeam handles nest
nicely in tapered sockets and are easy to remove.
That's an advantage that most modern chisels
don't have. With a socket chisel, you can make

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table to its blade, so a level isn't necessary.
Both gauges are powered by two AAA batteries and
are equipped with auto shut-off to extend battery life.

sou RC E Wixey Intelligent Woodworking, wixey.com,
Digital Angle Gauge, #WR300, $40; Digital Angle Gauge
with Level, #WR365, $50.

your own handles to better fit your hand or
to suit the job. For example, we liked the 750's
handles for paring, but found them uncomfortable for chopping. No problem-we'll make a
different set and interchange them as needed.
Handles aside, how about the steel? Let's cut
to the chase-it holds an edge quite well. In our
seat-of-the-pants te t, the new 750s performed
on par with other premium Western-style
chisels, such as those made by Hirsch and LieNielsen. (Lie- ' ielsens are also socket chisels.
However, they are much thicker in cross section than the new 750 . Thicker is better when
it comes to chopping and sharpening without
a jig.)
Lastly, how about the backs? We looked at 16
chisels--two complete sets--and found them
all to be flat and mooth, right to the tip. They
certainly needed me lapping and polishingvirtually every new chi eI does--but these were
as good, or better, than chisels of any brand,
at any price. tanle . took some well-deserved
lumps on quality control when they first issued
those planes; these chi I, however, seem to be
made to a uniformly high tandard. Bravo.

sou RCE

Stanley,sta,,'e ools.com, 800-262-2161,
Sweetheart Socket Chl5e s, Se of 4 and a leather
roll, $130; Set of 8 and a ea er roll, $230.

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J U H E I J U l Y lO"

2-Way Plywood Cart
of MDF, particle board and
plywood around your shop can put a big strain on your
back. When it comes to feeding one into your tablesaw-well, what awkward maneuver do you use? This
sturdy device, the Sheet Flipper, can save your back
many times over.
The Sheet Flipper is basically a large
welded-steel cart with two sets of casters.
To transport a sheet across the shop, you
turn the cart on its side, slide the sheet out
of your storage area and onto a lip on the
cart, then roll it away. To feed the sheet
into your tablesaw, you rotate the cart
onto its base (note the cart's round corners), wheel the cart up to the saw, lower
the lip out of the way and push.
Doesn't that make your back feel better, right now?
Clearly, the Sheet Flipper takes up a fair amount of
room (in the horizontal position, it's 46" W x 46" D x
34" H). But it makes a handy worktable, too. The Sheet
Flipper can rotate sheets up to 150 Ibs. In the horizontal
position, it'll carry 3001bs. Its 34" height is designed to
match the height of most tablesaws; you can make it
taller by shimming the casters, but you can't make it
shorter. The Sheet Flipper ships to the lower 48 states
CARRYING HEAVY SHEETS

Chip-Free
Melamine
HAVE
CUT

YOU EVER
MELAMINE

with a standard
combination
blade? The top
side will look
pretty good, but
chances are the bottom side won't. It will
probably be pretty ugly,
with small chips missing
along the entire edge. Most combo
blades aren't designed for cutting a tough, brittle material like melamine.
The easiest way to ensure clean cuts top and bottom is to use a specialized blade, such as this new one
from Delta. We've tried it out in our shop and can report
excellent results. This is truly a professional-quality
blade, with large carbide teeth (plenty of material for resharpening), a 1/8" kerf, and numerous anti-vibration
and noise-dampening slots.
SOU RCE Delta, deltaportercable.com, 800-223-7278,
10' 6CHooth H-ATB Carbide Tipped Saw Blade, $85.

only and takes about 15 minutes to assemble.
SOURCE Beckwith Decor Products, beckwithdecor.com,
316-652-7375, Sheet Flipper Material Handling Cart, $445.

To see the SheetFlipper in action, go to
AmericanWoodwoltr.er.mmlWebExtras

21st Century
Slatwall
can be an
endless task. Every new tool
needs a new home, right? If
you're constantly re-arranging
your walls, using a modular system makes the most
sense. Pegboard was the logical choice back in the Sputnik
era, but the most technically
advanced storage system for
today's shop is storeWALL, a
new kind of slatwall.
Made from molded thermoplastic, storeWALL is
stronger, more durable and easier to install than slatwall made from MDF. StoreWALL looks much sleeker
than pegboard and is available in five different colors, including pine and cedar woodgrain. StoreWALL
comes in 4' or 8' long panels. Each panel hangs from
metal brackets attached directly your studs, so it's easy
to install by yourself.
toreWall is available in standard or heavy duty
panels. One carton of six standard panels, 4' long and
covering 30 sq. ft., costs $190.
ORGANIZING A SHOP

SOU RC E StoreWAll., storewall.com, 866-889-2502.
J

U N EI J U L Y 2011

AmericlUlWooclworker.com

21

The We I-Equipped Shop

cont ued

Mobile Work Station
REMEMBER THE OLD ADAGE "a place for everything
and everything in its place"? Well, Festool's new CT
Workcenter puts everything right at your fingertips.
It's a well-designed storage unit that mounts on top of
a Festool dust extractor.
The Workcenter's features include a rotating shelf,
large hooks for ho es and cords, a tool rest and
adjustable hooks for hanging accessories and supplies.
You can adjust the height of the whole unit. Festool
Systainers (Festool's stackable tool ca es) nest in the
Workcenter's base.
All Festool dust extractor are tool-actuated-when
you turn on the tool, the vacuum tarts up automatically. Their new dust extractors now have variable suction and larger capacity (but not a larger footprint).
When sanding, Fe tool say you'll get the best results
by fine-tuning suction. Different grit and different
material, they say, require different amounts of suction for optimal performance.
SOU RCE Festool. festoolusa.com. 888-337-8600. CTWorkcenterWCR 1000. #498507. $375; CT-26 E HEPA Dust Extractor.
583492. $550; CT-36 E HEPA Dust Extractor. 583493. $600.

$1,000 Cabinet Saw
to a cabinet saw? If you're thinking
about it, but are on a tight budget, take a look at this
new offering from General International. The SO-200R
is a 240 volt, 2 hp, 10" left-tilt saw that has just about
every feature you'd want in a cabinet saw-except a
huge motor. But 2 hp may be all the power you really
need.
Before getting to the specs, let's open the hood to
confirm that this is a true cabinet saw-not a hybrid.
What's the difference? Both types have cabinet-style
bases, but the cast iron a embly that allows the blade
to tilt and go up and down isn't the arne.
In a hybrid saw, this a embly i lighter in weight and
is mounted to the tabletop by two independent trunnions. This arrangement makes it difficult to precisely
align the saw's blade with the top' miter lot, should
this be necessary (and it often is). In a cabinet aw, this
assembly is much beefier (resulting in Ie vibration)
and is mounted to the saw's cabinet as one integrated
unit. Alignment is very easy-you just 100 en the top
and give it a nudge.
The General InternationalSO-200R weigh 321 Ibs.,
has a cast iron table, two cast iron wing and enough
capacity to rip a piece up to 30" wide. It come with
a classic T-style rip fence and a riving knife with an
attached ee-through blade guard and anti-kickback
pawls. You also get a separate riving knife. without a
guard or pawls, for making non-through cut. The top

TIME TO UPGRADE

22

JlmericaaWoodworker,com

J U N E I J U l Y lO 11

switch is large enough to double a a pancake flippervery nice. One-wrench blade change are a snap with
the convenient arbor lock.
Accessorie available include a ca t iron extension
wing with router in erts, a router fence, a zero-clearance in ert and a dado in ert.
SOU RC E General International. genera.ca 888-949-1161.
ModeI5D-200R 10"Table Saw. $1.000.

OVER

2,000

Router S O
t
I S/
OVER

~6,000
OO'tdllVOrklng
emS!

A Great America

o

An Artisan's Life Story

Jake Cress

Working wood with
a sense of humor.
by Spike Car sen

have gotten a chuckle or two
out of a piece of furniture they or orne body el e
ha built-maybe an armoire that' too big to fit
through the workshop door or a bookcase with
two left ide. But mo t of the furniture J ake Cre
make will bring a smile to your face-and it' not
for lack of kill or planning. He wants you to laugh.
Whether it' a Chippendale chair with a wayward
ball ( ee photo, page 25) or a grandfather clock taking a wild wing with its pendulum at a mou e running up its ide ( ee photo, page 25), Jake' work
will brighten your day.
MOST WOODWORKERS

The long and winding road
Mter graduating from high chool and erving
a five-year tint in the V N ubmarine ervice, Jake
got involved in profe ional theater. There were long
pause between the end of one pIa and the tart of
another 0 he and hi brother decided to open a cabinet hop. "In 1974 there weren't an woodworking
chool ,and even if there were I couldn't have afforded it,"Jake explain. "If I'd had omebody to teach me
I could have aved a fortune in wasted wood."
Now 66, Jake i completely elf-taught. Part of hi
woodworking education came from visiting exhibits
and gallerie to tudy the craft. "One cold morning
I walked into a gallery and noticed omeone had left
their glove and ke on a gorgeous table. As I turned
around to tell omeone about it, I did a double take
and realized they were part of the table," Jake recall.
That piece, Tabk with Gloves and Keys by Wendell Castle, in pi red Jake to tart building furniture with peronality. Crippkd Tabk, hi first humorous piece, sports
three turned legs-and a crutch.
Though orne of Jake' more complex piece ell
for more than 20,000, he recall leaner day . Early in
hi furnituremaking career Jake admits he was willing
to "do anything legal having to do with wood." Such
legal endeavors brought him tasks as varied as refini hing 0 cherry ide table for a hotel and re toring
an 1 th century comer cupboard that \\ in uch bad
24

JlmericanWoodworker.com

J U N E I J U L Y 1011

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shape only one door, one stile and the center drawer
front were usable. Eventually Jake' furniture began
eIling and though he admits "It' still a tough way to
make a living," he' remained dedicated to hi craft.
Jake' work may be non-traditional, but hi piece have been acquired by mu eum as e tabJi hed
as the mith onian and di played at the ociety for
Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh. His furniture has
appeared in The Washington Post and Art and Antiques
magazine.

Half traditional, half animated
Jake de cribe hi work and him elf by explaining,
"The piece are made one at a time, very carefully,
by one du ty old guy who works by him elf in an
ancient log cabin."
About half of the piece he builds are traditional;
the other half are animated.Jake names all of his pieces, which adds another layer of humor. A slanted table
is called The Democrat when it lean to the left and The
Republican when it' turned to lean to the right. His

Hickory Dickory Clock

Great Expectations chair has a Fudgesicle carved into
the arm and an eager face with its tongue hanging
out carved into the back. Jake' SelfPortrait chair prepare to carve its leg with a chi el and mallet (see
photo, page 26). PeeL Here reveal a checkerboard
beneath the veneer ( ee photo, page 26). How to
Build Furniture illustrate a c1as ic woodworking
nightmare ( ee photo, page 26).
Some of Jake' animated designs have been
exceptionally popular. He's crafted over two dozen Oops! chair, PeeL Here table and Hickory Dickory
clocks. Though each piece i lightly different, once

Aladdin's Mouse
J U N E I J U L Y 1011

AmericanWoodworker.com

25

A Great American Woodwor er

Jake has refined the basic de i , he make pattern
for future piece. ot content to re t on hi laurel ,
he continue to pu h the em-elope. The Decorator, a
recent piece, feature a two-dimen ional painting by
arti t Mark Young, with the arm of a chair reaching
out to pluck a flower from a \ e re ting on a table
below it ( ee photo, pa e 27). Building one of hi
more complex piece can take up to two month .
"But a lifetime of experience," Jake add. "Do not
try thi without adult upeni ion."
While be t known for hi animated piece, Jake
can craft a Chippendale lowboy or a Federal ecretary along with the be t of them, and hi miniature
ver ion of period furniture piece are delightful
( ee "Small Masterpiece ," page 27). Jake i a oneman how, doing all the caning, inlay and fini hing
work. He employ both hand tool and power tool ,
letting the latter do the grunt work, 0 he can focu
on the parts that truly need the human touch. "I'm
not going to plane down a 20" wide board by hand if
I have a 20" wide planer," he explain . "But if I have
a 21" board ... well, I gue I have no option."
Jake can turn a phrase a aptly as he can turn an
armload of mahogany into a corner cabinet. In one
e ay on hi web ite he de cribe working late into
the night along ide a friend who was in dire need of
a walnut box to hold the ashe of a uddenly depart-

Self Protrait

How to Build Furniture

26

.imericanWoodworker.com

continued

Pee/Here

JUNE JULY 2011

ed relative. "I watched the walnut become richer
and deeper with a little sadne that it would disappear forever," he writes. "[But with] a lot of pride
that uch a human need could till be met by friend
rather than companie ."
When a ked about hi unique approach to woodworking,Jake explains," 0 matter what you do for a
living you have to learn the basics. You have to tudy
the cia sic . You have to learn how to run a pencil
before you learn how to run a computer. If you
don't know the rule, then you can't break them."
No one breaks the rule better than Jake ere . ~

Spike C risen is author of A

plintered History
oj Wood: Bell Sander Rnces, Blind Woodworkers and
Baseball Bats. Hi newe t book, Ridiculously Simple
Furniture Projects, will be available this pring.
The Decorator
(Painting by Mark Young)

r iec
Jake has mastered making miniature furniture pieces for a
variety of reasons. "They're beautiful and cute; he explains.
"They're also useful and elegane But his miniatures aren't
merely for show. As he normally eschews working from a
blueprint or plan while building fu ll-size pieces, he uses the
miniatures to work out the details. For example, Jake often
adjusts the proportions on old, traditional pieces to make
them look even better. Building a miniature version allows
him to try out those new proportions. Though a few of his
miniatures are one-quarter scale, the bulk of them are one-

half scale. "Half-scale is easy; he says. "You just cut all the
dimensions in half." Jake also explains that half-scale pieces are
a perfect fit for half-scale people-such as his grand kids.
But being diminutive doesn't make one of Jake's miniatures a smaller project. You won't find him using hot melt
glue to cobble the parts together; his miniatures are faithful, right down to the joints. "I cut the mortises and tenons
by hand using the same tools I use for the full-sized piece;
he explains. "They're challenging. In fact they can be more
complex than the full size piece:'

J U N EI J U L Y 2 0 "

~.riC"WClCldwol'ku.COIIl

27

ing

00

by Mary Lacer

Wine Bottle Stopper
Add sparkle outside and protect what's inside.
WHETHER YOUR WINE BOTTLE i half-empty or halffull, here' an elegant way to pre erve the contents until you an wer that age-old question. You
can make one of the e cIa y little topper in just
a few minute, 0 turning multiple i a natural,

e pecially ince they make uch great gifts. The
material ou need to get tarted (the metal part
of the topper and a pecial chuck for the lathe)
co t Ie than 20 and the de i n po sibilitie are
limited only by our imagination.

Mount the blank on a bottle cone chuck. Then mount the chuck
on the drive spindle. This blank was cut from a buckthorn branch.

Round the blank to a cylinder using the roughing gouge. A
large gouge produces a smoother cut than a small one.

Unscrew the blank slightly away from the base of the cone
chuck to prepare for the next step. The blank is tightly threaded
on the chuck's post, so unscrewing doesn't loosen it.

Cut the bottom of the blank at a slight angle using the parting
tool. This creates a concave surface so the stopper's metal bottle
cone will seat flush.

Start with interesting wood

:z:

....

Thi project presents a golden opportunity to u e
a branch from a tree or hrub as a turning blankjust make ure the wood i dry and the pith is table.
Incorporating bark and apwood can add a nice contrast to the edge. Buckthorn, often called "Minne ota
ro ewood," i one of my favorite ource for branchtype blanks. Of cour e, offcuts from other projects
are al 0 excellent ources for blanks.

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Components and sizes
The blank mounts on a metal bottle cone that has a
threaded post and rubber eal (different tyle and
size are available; ee ources, page 31). Balance the
ize of the blank to the base of the cone. The bottle
cone shown here measures 7/ 8" dia. x 2-1/4" long
and the blank measure 2" dia. x 2-1 4" thick.
Cut the blank to length and quar one end, 0 it
will re t flat on a drill pre s. Then drill a 23/ 64" dia.
x 3/ 4" deep mounting hole in the oppo ite end. Thi
hole doe n't have to be centered on the blank. crew
the blank onto the bottle cone chuck' threaded po t
( Photo 1 and Source). Then mount the cone chuck

on the lathe.
Round the blank to about 1-1 / 4" dia. ( Photo 2 ).
Then un crew it about 1/ 4",ju tfar enough to create
room for the parting tool ( Photo 3 ). Undercut the
bottom of the blank to make it slightly concave, so
it will eat flush again t the base of the metal bottle
cone ( Photo 4 ). Then screw the blank back again t
the bottle cone chuck. Start the lathe to make ure
the blank is still centered-you'll probably need to
true it slightly.
Blanks made from branche ometimes contain
imperfections (ee "Hidden Treasure," page 31).
Stabilize any such areas with CA glue (Super Glue)
before continuing, 0 they don't cau e problems
when you hape the blank.

Fit your hand
Turn the blank into an intere ting shape that makes
the stopper easy to in ert and remove. For horter
blanks, a imple knob shape works well. Longer
blanks allow adding decorative bead and cove .
\\batever shape you choo e, top frequently while
turning the topper to test how it feels in your hand.

JUNEIJUlY 2011

JlmericanWoodworker.com

29

Shape the top of the blank using the detail/spindle gouge. A
rounded top is comfortable to grip. Stepped details add interest.

Define the stopper's body with coves and beads (seasoned
turners call these "innies and outies").

hap the end of the blank (the top of the topper) fir t, while the blank i till full round (Photo
5). Thi i the be t procedure for turning a blank
that's upported on ly at the head tock. The idea i to
maintain the mo t upport while working the farthest
distance from the head tock. Turning the blank's
body fir t r duce its diameter (and the upport it
provide), 0 vibration and chatter i likely to occur
when you try to turn the end.
ext, turn down the base of the blank to match
the top of the metal bottle cone (Photo 6). This i
a imple operation, becau e the base of the bottle
cone chuck and the metal bottle cone are the arne
diameter. Fini h turning the topper by "connecting
the dots" between the base and the top (Photo 7).

Assemble the stopper
Sand the turned topper, tarting with 1 0 grit and
working up to 400 grit to create a glas - mooth fini h. Apply a tough, durable and alcohol re i tant
fini h (Photo 8). I make mown wipe-on fini h
b thinning B hlen Rockhard Table Top Varni h
by 50% with mineral pirits (ee ource). For a
30

AnutricuWooclworker.com

J

UNEI J Ul Y 101 1

Round the bottom of the blank to meet the bottle cone chuck.
This automatically matches the bottom of the blank with the top
of the stopper's metal bottle cone.

Use a soft cloth to apply three light coats of alcohol-resistant
fin ish. Allow each coat to dry before recoating. Multiple light
coats of fi nish always look better than one heavy coat.

atin heen, try Wipe-On el Pol Fini h or Myland
Melamine Lacquer (ee ource).
Apply three light coats of fini h, allowing each
coat to dry before recoating ( ix to eight hour ). Add
luster to the finished topper by applying a hard wax
uch as Trewax. After the wax i completely dry. buff
with a oft cloth. For oih wood such as coco bolo. a
buffed wax fini h i all "ou need.
Remove the turned topper from the cone chuck
and allow the fini h to dn . Then drill out the mounting hole to 3/ 8" dia. (Thi make it easier to mount
the topper onto the metal b ttle cone.) Dab epox
in the mounting hole and then thread on the turned
stopper (Photo 9 ). Let the epoxy full cure before
popping the completed topper! .A

M ry L C has been turning
wood in c he was knee-high to
a bucktho I he has taught in
a numher ' I 'rning programs
and ha turn d more than 100
different \
native to her
home n r Rher Falls. \\1.

Hidden Treasure

Two-piece
cone

9

Epoxy the turned stopper to the bottle cone after drilling out
the mounting hole to fit the threaded post. If the post and cone
are separate pieces, epoxy them together first.

SOURCES

Packard Woodworks, Inc, packardwoodworks.com, S0<H>83-8876,
Bottle Cone Chuck, #114915 (for 3/4" x 16 lathe spindle threads)
or #114916 (for 1" x Slathe spindle threads), $10.95 each, including proper size drill bit; Metal Bottle Cone, #1 5493S, $3.S5 each,
other styles available; Wipe-on Gel Poly Finish, #126803, $10.95
per pint; Mylands Melamine Lacquer, #125512, $17.95 per pint.
Rockier Woodworking and Hardware, rockler.com, S00-279-4441 ,
Behlen Rockhard Table Top Varnish, #S0750, $24.99 per quart.

Discovering a bark inclusion (where a branch has grown
around another branch, bark and all) presents a unique
opportunity-it's a hidden treasure to be discovered rather
than a defect to be removed. The first step is to stabilize
the inclusion with CA glue so it won't chip out as you tum
through it. Let the glue cure for at least an hour before
turning-longer is even better. Now comes the challenge:
displaying the hidden branch. This requires a discerning
eye and a bit of luck. because you have to determine the
branch's orientation inside the blank and adjust the shape
that you're turning (as much as possible) to expose It. You
also need a delicate touch-remove a bit too much and
the treasure will simply vanish. In this case the hidden
branch was oriented almost perfectly with the rounded
shape I wanted to tum.

Make your
woodwor eng
ism e pay!

WWW.PENMAKINGSUPPLIES.COM
Send us your mo t memorable
"What wa I thinking?" blunder .

Pen Kits, Pen Blanks, Finishing Products, Lathes, & More!

You'll receive 100 for each one we print.
E-mail to: oops@AmericanWoodworker.com
or end to AW Oop !, American Woodworker,
1285 Corporate Center Dri\'e, uite 1 0,
Eagan, MN 55121.

ORDER TOLL FREE 1-800-653-1930

My Shop

Where Our Readers Live

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Passion-Built Shop
MY WIFE AND I were walking through

a Home Depot tore about 20 years
ago, when I noticed a mall Makita
tablesaw and mentioned that it
would be fun to have a tool like
that just to fool around with. That
very saw appeared under the tree at
Christmas, and it ignited my passion
for woodworking. I bought more
tool , then books and video and
even more tool .
Eventually, tools were piled up
in the garage. Every time I wanted
to make something, I had to back
the cars out and pull the tool into
the pace. As this truggle continued, I dreamed of having a hop

big enough to have a dedicated
pace for all my woodworking tools.
So when the property next door
came up for sale a few years back,
we bought it and tore down the
old house. Then I designed a hop
from scratch, using my kill as a
real-e tate developer. From the outide, it has the look of a nice home
with a landscaped yard.
The tructure is e entiallya fourcar garage with an additional wing
to house the mechanical room
and office. I'd had it with tripping
over ho e and cords in m old garage pace so one goal in laying out
the new hop was to locate power,

com pre. ed air and dust control
near each tool. I al po itioned
the tool to maxjmize the work flow
from one operation to the next,
with work tation adjacent to the
tools 0 iated with each task. The
shop remhe around two centrally
located column that are actually
24" x 24 ' chase for power, air and
du t coli cuon.
A large maple workbench set up
forc1ampinfl and assemblyoccupie
one waIl. It h full-extension drawers to hom all the clamp. (There
are ne\er en u h!). Another imilarly ized bench h imilar drawers
for hand tool . Yet another bench is

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J U NEI J U l

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reserved for tool harp ning.
Dedicated room flank the
main hop area: an office, a room
to house noi machine uch as
the com pre or and dust collector,
a tool room lined with helve , a
fini hing room with a pra booth
and ventilation fan, and last but not
least, a sanding area with a downII

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draft table.
Three large overhead doors provide virtually unlimited acce and
a ide door open to a nice porch,
the perfect pot to re t after a hard
day' work.
I build furniture for use in our
house and mall items
gifts. I
II

II
II

woodworker, but my kills are continually improving as I acquire new
tools and learn new technique . As
a re ult, my projects usually end up
better than originally planned . ..6

Kristo Zorkin
Medina, WA

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J U N E /J U L Y 2011

AmericanWoocIworker.com

33

TURN

CARVE

TURN TO PACKARD WCIOO'W
F"OR QUAUTY ToOLS AND

Fig. A Exploded View

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learn more about outdoor finishes at
AmericanWoodworker.mmlWebExtras
36

JlmericanWoodworker.com

J U N E I J U L Y 201 I

YOU 'LL BE THE TALK OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD when
you how off 'our bartending kills behmd \our
tyli h patio bar. It' got plenty of room .or bottle,
glasse and bartending upplie. Lar e c te and
fold-up wings make it easy to tash in a comer when
you're not entertaining.
Thi bar is made of cedar and wo\'en bamboo
plywood. The 3/ 16" thick plywood con its of five
plie of woven bamboo trip (ee Source, page 41).
Cedar i easy to work with as long as the boards are
uitably dry and flat
Check the moi ture content of the cedar-if the
boards were tored outside at the lumbel)'ard and
expo ed to the weather, they can be exce ively wet,
even for outdoor furniture (Photo 1). You'll need
exterior yellow glue, ten 'lx6 boards, three 'lx8
boards, one '2x4, and two heets of bamboo plywood to build the cabinet and top panels, and two
8' 5/ 4 deck boards to make the mitered frame that
compri e the bar' top.

Check the moisture content of your lumber. Anything below 12%
is fine. Although this patio bar will reside outdoors, it also contains
moving parts and precise joinery, like any fine furniture piece.

Build the cabinet
Rip lx6 boards in half to create blanks for the ca~
inet frame and web frame tile and rail (AI-A4,
BI-B4 and CI-C2, Fig. A, page 35, and Cutting Li t,
page 41). Cut each blank to length and joint one
edge. Rip the blanks 1/ 16" oversize in width and
then joint or plane them to final width. Mill centered groove in all the tile and rails for the 3/ 16"
thick bamboo panel (A5 and B5). Groove the web
frame tile even though the won't receive panel .
Cut tenon to fit the groove on both end of all the
rail and on both ends of the front center tile.
Cut bamboo plywood panel to fit the three cabinet frame. Carefully ease all the edge with a sanding
block befor in tailing them; this tep i very important, because the bamboo edge plinter easily. It also
help to !ide the tile and rail onto the panel from
the end, rather than pre ing the panels into the
groove. Dry fit each frame before gluing (Photo 2).
Rabbet all four edge of the cabinet' front frame
and the top and bottom edge of the two ide frame .
Cut dadoe in the ide frame for the middle helf
(C3) and center web frame.
Glue up the web frame ,middle helf and bottom
helf (C4). Cut notche in the middle helfand center web frame to fit around the cabinet' front frame
tile . Cut dadoes in the middle helf and the center
web frame for the drawer divider (C5). Cut the lass
racks (H I-H 2) using the tablesaw or bandsaw, \\ith
the blade tilted 15°. Then rew the glas racks to the
top web frame.
Dry fit all the parts to make ure vel)1.hin fits
proper! . Then glue and damp the cabinet ide to
the front. In tall the web frame and heh \,ithom
glue to keep the assembly quare. "nen the lue h
dried, glue and damp the web frame ,middle helf.
drawer divider and bottom helf (Photo 3

M.1ce lind ......... the Ira..... for the cabinet's front and
sides. These are standard stile-and-rail construction, but the
panels are made from woven bamboo plywood.

.

Glue the CIIbInet together in stages. Add the glass racks, web
frames. middle shelf, drawer divider and bottom shelf after gluing
the sides to the front.
JUNI / JULY J011

AmericaDWoocIwodEer._

37

Build and attach the base

4
Attach the ..... to the mbInet using construction adhesive and
exterior screws. Casters and adjustable feet hidden in the base add

mobility and aid stability.

e flat Ix boards or lu d-up blanks to make the
base. ing the table w, miter the ends of the front
and back (FI) and ends (F2) at 45°. Leave the blade
at 45° and cut a 3 "deep kerf into each miter. t
the fence and use the miter gauge to make the e
cuts. Ri p pline (F7) to fit in the kerf, then glue
and clamp the base together.
Cut rabbets on the base top (F5) and nailing
trip (F6) and glue them in place.
Glue caster blocks (F3) in ide the base to po ition the casters a they'll protrude about 3/ 4" below
the bottom edge. In tall the casters. Then in tall
adjustable feet (F4) in the other two comers.
Flip the cabinet up ide down to in tall the base
(Photo 4 ). Apply can tnlction adhe ive to the nailing trip and po ition the bean the cabinet, flush
with the front and ide. Fasten the base u ing 1-1/4"
exterior crew.

Build the drawers and doors

Glue the .......... door boxes to the doors. The boxes fit

rabbets in the door edges.

ut hand grip in the drawer fronts (D2). e whatever joinery method you're comfortable with to
emble the drawe . Half-blind dovetail provide
ample gluing urface and mechanical trength, but
half-lap joints reinforced \\ith crews or nail ,\-ill al a
work.
e bamboo ph"\\" d offcuts for the drawer
bottom (D4). (Note: Dimen ion in the cutting Ii t
are for half-blind doyetail .)
Follow the methods l~ed for the cabinet frame
to cut, assemble and lue to ether the doors (EIE4). Cut rabbets around the back of each door.
ext, cut the door box ide (E5) and top and bottom (E6) to fit the rabbeted doors. Dado the door
box ide to accept the helf (E7) and cut notche
for the retainers (E .,
mble the parts without
glue and te t the fit before luing the door boxe
together. Fini h the job b) luing the door boxe to
the door (Photo 5).
Lamp the doo to the cabinet to mount the
hinge (Photo 6). lit th hin e to length 0 / 2"
horter than the doo ) and file down the sharp
edge. tainle teel hintTe are be t for an outdoor
project ( ee Source l. Sloc· clamped to the doors'
in ide edge automancalh center the h inge from
clo e they' ll be flush
ide to ide, a when th d
,vith the ide of the cabineL

Make set-up triangles

lnstlii the doors. Clamp each one to the cabinet. flush at the top,
with blocks protruding beyond the inside edges. Press the open
hinges against the blocks as you install the screws.
II

. . . .ric. .Wooclworlt.r.COIIl

J U HI /J U L Y 20 I 1

The bar' top can ist:, a f, ur identical frame that
have a different an I t each comer (Fig. C, page
39). Thi pre ents orne ch llen e ,but I had a long
talk with Euclid, a theli' n'l need to worry- the
head-scratching i air d d ne. All you have to do
i measure and cut- ccurateh.
Make two right trian~ to t up the saw to make
the miter cuts, one \\ith
nd 50° angle, and the
other with 42S and 'i tTle (Photo 7 and Fig.
ill help you et the miter
S ). The e large trian~1

angle more preci el than u in the m
on a
tandard miter gauge-if your aw i eq III P 0 \\ith
a preci ion miter gauge, the e trian Ie ma\ not be
nece ary. ""'hen ou cut the miter, it' a ,rood idea

Fig. B Set-up Triangles

MIlke two triangles to set up your miter gauge for cutting the top
frames. Cut each one oversize. Then measure to make sure the cut
is parallel to the hypotenuse. Adjust the miter gauge, if necessary.

to u e led created b attaching two miter gauge to
a tout fence. Thi led increase accura b eliminating pia between the miter gauge and the aw'
miter slots. It al 0 provide excellent control and
stability.
tart with two 12" x 12" blanks of 3/ 4" pi 'wood;
make ure one comer i perfectly quare. For the
40°/ 50° triangl ,mark 9" from the square comer on
one leg and 7-7/ 16" from tl1e comer on the other
leg. onnect the marks to form the triangle' hypotenu e. Measure 10-7/ 16" and 9-11 / 32" from the
quare com r to create the 42.5°/47.5° triangl .
Cut the two blanks into triangle. With each
blank, use a liding b vel to et the miter gauge to
match the angle of the hypotenu e. Then cut the
blank 1" beyond the hypotenus. dju t our miter
led, if necessary, and recut until the cut edge of the
triangle i exactl parallel to the hypotenuse. Clearl
mark the angle on both triangle, 0 it' easy to tell
them apart.

Use the set-up triMgIes to set the fence to cut the miten!d top
frames. These triangles provide better accuracy than a standard miter
gauge. You need two because each frame has four different angles.

Make the top frames
tartb makingate tframe (GI-G4). t 'ourmit r
gauge to 50° using the 40°/50°/90° et-up triangle
(Photo 8). Then cut the two 50° miter u ing te t
lock milled to the arne width as your actual tock
(Photo 9). e the am triangle to re et your miter
gauge to 40°. Then cut both 40° comers. U e the
42.5°/ 47.5°/ 90° triangle to miter the two remainin
comers.
As emble the te t frame. If all the joints fit perfectl, ou're et. With miters, of cou e, there' a
chance that one of the joints will be lightl~ off. Don't
wony-woodworking i nothing if not humblin .
e the ituation. You can: 1) adju t ~our tup triangle and try again to achie\e pt> .. en cur .
or 2) move on, cut the real frame pan~ • nO plan to
true the fit of the final joint on each frame \ ith \ u r
block plane (Photo 10). If you 0 \\i th the
nd

Cut the miters. Use the saw kerf in the fence to accurately

poSition each piece before cutting.
JUNE / JULY JOll

~WO"_"'IU._

Jt

option, true the ame joint on each frame, so all the
frame will be exactl ' the arne.
ut centered groove for the panel upports
(G6) on th inner edge of all the frame parts. Cut
groove in all the miters for pline (G5 and Photo
11 ). Rip a length of pline to fit the groove and cut
it into individual piece.
In tall the pline as you glue and clamp each
frame (Photo 12). Temporary clamping blocks
attached with hot-melt glue about 2" from the corFig. C Top Frame Details

I

True the fit of .......... Cutting these multiple-angle miters
to fit precisely is a tall order, so you11 probably have to adjust one

~

CI'lBIN'tI:

joint Adjust the same joint on each frame so they remain Identical.

I

-t-------.J
&,-'/lJ"

,.-l

I

Cut groovws In the miters for splines using a shop-made tenoning
jig. Fasten a set-up triangle to the jig to hold the workpiece at the

correct angle.

Glue Mel ct.mp the ....... Attach clamping blocks with hot-

mett glue to apply even pressure across each m er joint
40

~caaWoodwodle~._

JUIUIJULY lOll

ners are worth their weight in gold-by directing the
clamping pre ure acro the center of each joint,
they keep the piece from lipping out of po ition.
When the glue i dI)', remove the clamp, saw off
the clamping blocks and trim the protruding pline.
mooth the edge with a hand plane or anding
block. ote: Don't knock the clamping blocks off
with a hammer; you'll tear out big chunks of cedar.
Cut bamboo panel (G7) to fit the top frame .
ote: The two fold-out wing are paneled on both
ide . Making a routing template is one option, as
your frames should be nearly identical, but it' better to mark and rout each panel eparately. Lay each
frame on the bamboo phwood, make ure the woven
pattern i oriented correcth and trace around the
frame' inner edge (Photo 13).
e a harp pencil,
o there' no gap between the line and the frame;
then the outside ed e of the pencil line indicate
the exact ize of the panel.
Rout each panel usincr a piece of MDF with a
traight edge, a acrificial upport board and a flushtrim pattern bit (Photo 14 . Each panel require
four routing pas e to complete. Clamp the plywood
between the MDF and the < crificial board. Carefully po ition the mr lrai ht edge 0 it' perfectly
flu h with the outside ed 0 the line; the acrificial
board keep the bottom f the phwood from plintering. After routin . tr a nding block to gently
round the top edge of lh pln\' od.
Glue the panel lIpport: ~ 6) in the groove

in ide each frame. Swab glue on the tippo and
the frame' hallow in ide houlders. In tall the panels and hold them in po ition with caul and clamp
until the glue dries (Photo 15).
Create the top' center ection b\ cuttin biscuit
joints in the 50/ 40 edge of the two in ide frame
(the one with a ingle bamboo panel) and luing
them together.

Assemble the bar
Glue fill blocks (G ) in the top' glued-up center
ection. Po ition it on the cabinet and fasten it from
the in ide using 1-1/ 2" exterior crew.
La the double-sided wings in place on top of the
center ection in their tored position. Open each
hinge, center the barrel between the two frame and
tapeitinpo ition,thenin tall the crew (Photo 16).
In tall rare earth magnets at the top and bottom
of each door; they're trong, and there are no moving parts to corrode. Make door pull (E9) following
the arne method u ed to make the cabinet's glas
racks, only with a 70 angle on the ide and ends. To
do thi safe!, tart with a blank at least 12" long. Tilt
our table aw' blade to 20 0 and bevel both of the
blank' edge. Leave the blade at 20 0 and use your
miter gauge with an attached fence and top block
to cut the pull to length.
Attach u;m u;p (JI-J4) to the cabinet' ide
and front and to the doors. Miter the ends of th.e
u;p at 10 where the doors meet the cabinet 0
they don't prevent the door from opening.

Trace the inside edge of each frame onto the bamboo plywood.

Make sure to align the weave so It's oriented the same way on
each panel.

0

0

Protect your investment
Apply an exterior fini h (Photo 17). Oil fini he are
easy to apply-ju t brush on and wip off-but you
hould plan to recoat every year or o. Bm hed-on
par varni h can last everal years, but it' con iderably more difficult to apply and recoat.
A canvas cover will protect your bar and extend
the life of any fini h. Thi piece may live outdoors,
but it' handmade furniture-your handmade furniture-and worth treating as uch. Companies that
make awning can whip up a cover for you, but if
you're handy with a ewing machine, you can easily
make one yourself. ~

Cut out HCh ..mboo ..... with a router, using a piece of MDF
with a straight edge and a flush-trim pattern bit. Camp a sacrificial
board underneath to minimize tearout on the bottom of the panel.

rad 0 den
i a Minneapolis-baed woodworker with a deep int re tin
making, restoring and u in
traditional tool . He a\ ,
"There's nothing like creating
fine work \\;th tool that \ u
have brought back to lifi ."
Glue HCh ..... to supports mounted in grooves cut in the
frame. The supports position the panel so it's flush with the top

of the frame.
J U 111 1J U L Y 10"

AmaricaaWClCldwodtu._

41

C tting List

Dimen ns

Qty. Th x W x l

Part

Part Name

Al
A2
A3
A4
A5

Stile
Top rail
Bottom rail
Center stile
Panel

2

Bl
B2
B3
B4
B5

Front stile
Back stile
Top rail
Bottom rail
Panel

2
2
2
2
2

Cl
C2

Web frame stile
Web frame rail
Middle shelf
Bottom shelf
Drawer divider

4
6

Drawer side

4
2
2
2

Front
2

Sides

Web frames
andshelYes

Mount the foId..out wings. Place the wings on the top in their
stored position. Tape the hinges in place and then install the

o

screws.

C4
C5
01
02
03
D4
El

E2
E3
E4
E5
E6
E7
E8
E9

Fl
F2
F3
F4
F5
F6
F7

Apply. finish to protect the bar from water and damaging ultraviolet light

SOURCES

BambooBarry, bamboobarry.com, 305-75B-9444, 5 Ply Woven
Sheet - Bamboo - Natural - 4' x 8~ #WS-WSBBNT-5P0408-D1, $68.

Top frame
Gl
G2
G3
G4

Stainless Hinges, stainless-hinges.com, 877-266-3532, 72" x 1-1/2" Stainless
Steel Continuous Piano Hinge-Countersunk Holes, #10065, $19; 72" x 1-1/4"
Stainless Steel Continuous Piano Hinge-Countersunk Holes, #10064, $18.

G5
G6

G7
Notes:
a) Closed dimensions are 41-3/4" x43-1/4" x26".
b) Cut hand grip in front.
e) Trim the doors' width to 13-15/16" before rabbeting the edges.
d) Trim the doors'height to 31-7/8" before attaching the door boxes.
e) Total with adjustable feet should equal 7-114:
f ) length of long mitered edge.
g) Cut to fit.
h) Routtofit.
j)Trim to fit.

42

&mericaaW~hl'.com

JUNE IJ ULY 20

1

G8

Drawer front
Drawer back

Drawer bottom
Door stile
Top rail
Bottom rail
Door panel
Door box side
Door box toplbottom
Door shelf
Retainer

Pull

3/4" Hx "l x 0" 0 ( )

4
2
2
2
4
4
2
4
2

Base front!back
2
2
Base end
2
Caster block
Foot
2
Base top
1
3
ailmgstnp
SpIme
4
____4
4
4
4
4
16
16
6
Fal block
2

3/4" x28" x32"H
3/4"x2-1/4"x32"
3/4"x2-1/4"x24-1/4"
3/4"x3-1/4"x24-1/4"
3/4" x2-1/4"x27-1/4"
3/16" x11-5/16" x27-3/16"
3/4" x9-5/8" x32"H
3/4"xl-7/8"x32"
3/4" x2-1/4"x32"
3/4"x2-1/4"x6-1/4"
3/4"x3-1/4"x6-1/4"
3/16" x6-3/16"x27-3/16"
3/4" x9-1/2" x2T
3/4"x2-1/4"x27"
3/4" x2-1/4"x5-3/4"
5/8"x9-1/2"x27"
3/4" x9-1/2" x27"
5/8"x4-9/16"x9-1/4"
3-7/8" x9-1/4" x12-7/8"
3/4"x3-7/8"x8-3/4"
3/4"x3-7/8" x12-7/8" (b)
3/4"x3-7/8"x12-7/8"
3/16" x11-13/16" x8-3/16"
5" x13-15/16" x31-7/8"
3/4"x2-1/4"x32" (c, d)
3/4"x2-1/4"x10-1/4"
3/4"x3-1/4"x10-1/4"
3/16"x10-3116" x27-3/16"
5/8"x4-1/2"x31-1/4"
5/8"x4-1/2" x13-15/16"
5/8"x4-1/2"x13-5/16"
1/2" x1-1/2" x13-15/16"
3/4"x3/4"x3-1/2"
6-5/8" x15" x28"
3/4"x6-5/8"x28"
3/4" x6-5/8" x15"
2-1/8" x3-1/2"x7"
1-1/2" x1-1/2" x6-1/2" (e)
3/4"x5" x28"
3/4"x2-1/4"x28"
1/8"x5/8" x6-5/8"
l' x21-1/8" x20-15/16"
1"x2-1/2"x15-5/8" (f)
1"x2-1/2"x21 " (f)
l"x2-1/2"x 21-1/4" (f)
1" x2-1/2"x21-1/8" (f)
1/4" x3/4" x4"
5/8" x1-1/2" x14" (g)
3/16"x17"x17" (h)
13/16" x5-1/4" x13"

Glass rack

Hl
H2

Raend
Rack

er

2
3

1" x2"x9-1/4"
1" x3"x9-1/4"

1
2
2
2

3/8" x1-1/2"x29" Ul
3/8"xl-l/2"xll " Ul
3/8" x1-1/2" x6" (il
3/8" x1-1/2" 15" Ul

Trim

Jl
J2
J3

J4

Fig. A Exploded View

Hardware List
Box 4· deck screws
Box 2" deck screws
8 5/ 16· x 3-112· lag screws
and washers
16 1/4· x 3" carriage bolts.
with nuts and washers
4
1/4" x 4" carriage bolts.
with nuts and washers
1

~~~5;~~~2H~£CK
SCf'£w

o/I~" )( 3-Y2"
LAG scf'£w
:I:
V

p

<

CD

ox

:I:

o
ox

'"<Z
ox

~

Fig. B Stretcher Details

ox
w

Z

>Z
w

N

Z

o

'"~
>

I

"<
ox

I,:J

o>o
:I:

"-

44

.AmericanWooclworker.com

J U N EI J U l

Y 1 011

EVERY SUMMER, my uncle Bob tends the ' 1\ at our
family gatherings and i the last one to the picnic
table. He alwa gets stuck with a middl eat. We 'd
cheer him on as he groaned and tru led to et into
it-a lot of fun, but not a pretty ight.
Last fall , at our Labor Day feast, I re oh' d to build
a new picnic table with eats that even p .on could
lip right into. I call it the eri cro , after the hape
of its base. Thi one' for you, Bob.

The wood
I tarted de igning the table for tandard 2x6 lumber, but one day a buddy ugge ted that I use a new
uthem elmaterial: thermally modified wood. It'
low pine that' been heated to a very high temperature, making it rot-re i tant ( ee "Thermally Modified
Wood," page 49). The proce al 0 give the wood a
beautiful chocolate color, in ide and out, which nicely
complements our home' cedar shake and the artificial tone below it (ee urce, p. 4 ). The boards
are amazingl flat and table. I had to try it!
M friend builds decks for a living. He had a
bunch of thermally modified wood left over from a
job-enough to build thi table. I gladly offered to
buy it and had a great time working with it, although
I did have to alter my plan a bit. The wood I used
i thinner and narrower than standard material. (It'
1-1 / 4" thick and 5" wide; tandard boards are usually
1-3/ 8" thick and 5-1/4" wide.)
You'll need about 24 piece of8'long 2x6 to build
this table. The cutting Ii twill work fine if you're using
tandard lumber, but your top will be nine boards
wide, rather than ten. Let' get going!

Cut the four crisscross stretchers of the base to the same
length. Miter their ends at 22-1 / 2°. All miter saws have a detent
for this commonly used angle.

Build the cross stretchers
Begin b making the cri cro

stretchers (A) . Saw
Glue and screw the stretchers together. Note the dadoes in the

Cutting List
Part
A
B
C
0

G
H
K

M
N

P
Q

Overall Dimensions: 6'7"Sq. x31 " H;Top is 49"dia.

Name
Cross stretcher
End spacer
Middle spacer
leg
long brace
Short brace
Top board
Top board
Top board
Topdeat
Outer seat board
Middle seat board
Seat deat
Seat leg
leg stretcher

middle of each stretcher. These cutouts are needed to create a
square hole large enough for an umbrella pole.

Qty. ThxWxl
4
4
4
4
2
2
6 (a)
2
2
2
8
4
8
8
4

1-1/4" x5" x76-3/4"
1-1/4' x 2" x13-1/2"
1-1/4" x5" x4-1/2"
1-1/4" x5" x33-7/8"
1-1/4" x 2" x47-1/4"
1-1/4" x2" x27"
1-1/4" x5" x49-112"
1-1/4" x5" x45"
1-1/4" x5" x36'
1-1/4' x5' x45-1/4"
1-1/4'x5"x40
1-1/4- x3-1i2 x40'
1-1/4"x2 x12
1-1/4' x5 x 16-314
1-1 /4" x5 x2

Notes:
I) If you are using 5-1/4" wide material. 0

Cut half-lap notches in the center of each stretcher assembly.
5

a e needed.

I s best to use a crosscut sled, as shown here, to prevent this
large piece from wiggling.
J U N E IJ U L Y 1011

AmericanWoodworker.com

45

Add two legs to each stretcher assembly. Use spacing pieces to
make sure the legs are set at the correct angle and position. Use
a long level to make sure the tops of the legs are even.

them to length, cuttin an Ie on their ends (Photo
1). Cut dadoe in the middle of each piece using a
router or a tablesaw (Fig. B).
Make the piece that go between the tretchers:
the end pacers (B) and middle pacers (C). U ing
an exterior yellow glue, glue and screw the e piece to
two of the tretchers. and all the mating urfaces fir t,
o the glue will adhere better. (Note that the middle
pacers are aligned with the ide of the dadoe you
ju t cut.) Glue and crew a econd tretcher on top
of the pacers (Photo 2). You hould now have two
identical tretcher assemblie .
The e assemblie will ne t together with large
half-lap joints. Draw the e joints in the center of each
assembl . When you la out the joints, be ure that
one notch will be on the top of the as emblyand the
other notch on the bottom. Th angled end are your
guide as to which ide i top and which i bottom. Cut
the notche on the table aw (Photo 3). You can u e
a tandard blade or a dado blade. (If you use a dado
blade, don't take off too much in one bite.)
Make the legs (D, Fig. C). otch the top of each
leg as hown. Round over the bottom ends of the legs
with a router. To help assemble the legs, make a pair
of pacing piece that are the ame width and length
as the portion of the leg that extend below the cro
tretchers. You can use offcuts from the leg or piece
of plywood to make the e piece . Clamp the spacers
to the bottom of the leg and in ert the leg through
the tretcher assembl (Photo 4).
Fine-tune the po ition of the legs b lining up
their end with a long level or traightedge. Once the
legs are aligned, clamp them in place. Run two lag
ere, through the tretchers and the legs (Fig. A).

Finish the base
fit the stretcher assemblies together. Use handscrews or
blocks to hold one assembly upright while you drop the second
assembly in place.

Join the two tretcher as emblie together (Photo 5).
For maximum trength, use glue and cre~ . If you
intend to take the table apart for moving or torage
(or ju t to get it out of the hop!), kip the glue and
cre, .
Make the long brace (E) and hort brace (F).
Cut dadoe in the center of the long brace (Fig. A).
The e dadoe are oversized 0 you don't have to be
extremel fu y when po itioning the brace. Glue
and crew all four brace to the legs (Photo 6).

Add the top

Add braces to the legs for attaching the top. The long braces
have dadoes cut in them to accommodate the umbrella pole.

46

AmericanWoodworker.com

J U N [ IJ U l

Y 2011

Cut the top boards (G, H andJ) to length. As emble
them in a ymmetrical pattern (Fig. D), u ing 8d nails
or 1/ " pacers between the piece.
Note: If you're u ing tandard-width lumber to
build thi table, make the top from nine piece, not
ten piece as hown.
Clamp the top piece together (Photo 7). Make
the top cleats (K) and lue and crew them to the top
boards. Remove the clamp and place the base on the
top. Fasten the base to the top (Photo 8). Get orne
help and tum the table O\er onto the floor.
You can use a jig aw to cut the top into a circle,

but a plunge router equipped \\;th a Ion 1 2"
dia. straight bit \\;11 create a moother til e (see
urce ). To guide the router, make a pln\ ood uammel (Fig. E). lark the center of the top • no n.lil the
100
quare piece to the table. Remme the ubbase
from your router and fasten the router to the trammel. Place the uammel on the quare piece nailed to
the table.
et the router to make a plunge cut all the ",a
through the top. To prevent the edge of the boards
from plinlering as you rout around th circle, make
a eries of plunge cuts on both ide.. of each board
(Photo 9 ). Then re et the router to cut one-third of
the way through the top and rout a full cir Ie. Rc et
the router to make deeper cuts and keep routing
until you've cut all the wa ' through. C a l "dia.
rollndover billO ease the top' edge.
Fig. 0 Top Layout

Assemble the top. Place 8d nails between the boards to create
equal gaps. Clamp the boards to keep them from shifting, then
fasten cleats across the boards.

Fasten the base to the top. It's easiest to do this on a bench, with
the base upside down. Before you begin, though, make sure you
can get the table out through your shop's door- it's big!

'0-2'1

RI. MH<~Cy/UE

SC,f'Ew , ( LONG

Y'1" PLYwOO])

%" ])1A. O,f'LA,f'GE,f'
%" !W. M4cY!UE SC,f'UJ -r0 r-d ,f'OJ7Z,f' S4SE

Add the seats
Make th eat board (L and M) and eat clea~ (. ' ).
Glue and crew the cleats to the board~ (Fi . F). ~lake
slire the cleats are parallel to each othel-a plywood
pacer would help here.
Make a 1/ 4" plywood template for hapin the
eats. Nail the template to a eat a embh Photo 10 .
e a plunge router equipped \\;th o .d . ~JJ I

Rout the top into a circle, using a plunge
router mounted on a plywood trammel.
First, plunge holes on both sides of each
board to prevent splintering (see inset). Then rout the full circle.
J U N E I J U L Y l 0 11

JlmericallWoodworkar.com

47

Fig. F Seat Pattern

1<:

<10 - --

- --""
>1

T

r--~fr_1nr~III:s_-:---:~f+-:-:-~ 13- 3 /,,-

~~-----=---~l

Make the seats. Fasten three seat boards together with cleats, like
the top.Then nail a plywood template to the top of each seat and
rout around the template, using a guide bushing in your router.

bu hing and a 1/ 2" traight bit to rout around the template. Round over the eats' edge .
Fasten the eats to the base (Photo 11 ). Make the
eat leg (P) and fasten them to the cleats. Make the
leg tretchers (Q) and fasten them between the legs
(Photo 12).
Drill or rout a hole in the tabletop for the umbrella
pole (Photo 13). If you use a router, make a template
with a 2-1 / 8" dia. hole and nail it to the top. Use the
same guide bushing and bit as you used for the eat. ..6
SOURCES
Freud, freudtools.com, 800-334-4107, 112" straight bit with 1-1/2' long
flutes, #12-122, about $25.
Woodcraft Supply, woodcraft.com, 800-225-11 53, 5/S' OD Guide
Sushing (for Porter-Cable style mount), #144692, $7.19;
Bushing Lock Nut, #144696, $3.59.
Owens Corning Cultured Stone, culturedstone.com, S00-255-1727.

Chad Stanton
is a self-employed carpenter and fumituremaker.
He hosts the web how Wood Choppin' Time!
woodchoppintime.com. a mix of serious woodworking and light comedy.
Fasten the seats to the base. This operation is much easier if
the table is upside down, but you'll definitely need help turning
it over!

Add the legs and a stretcher. Now the seats will support plenty
of weight- and even a few rambunctious kids jumping on
them.
41

JlmericaaWoodworker.com

J U N (/ J U L Y J 0 11

Rout a hole in the center of the table for an umbrella pole.
Make a template with a hole in it to guide your router. Add the
umbrella and pour the lemonade!

A remarkable drying process gives wood
a new character.
SOME DAY, YOU' LL BE able to build an
outdoor project with a new kind of
wood, grown right here in America,
which re ists decay, stays ab olutel
flat and is totally free of chemicals.
Sound too good to be true? Well ,
that day isn 't way off in the futurethis wood i here, right now.
It's called thermally modified
wood, or TMW for hort. I'll go
into the details later, but basically
TMW is wood that' been dried at a
really high temperature. Thi turns
it brown all the way through-like a
chocolate cookie. But it's a cookie
that mold and fungus can't digest.
TMW won 't rot.
Any pecie of wood can be
turned into TMW-hardwood or
oftwood.

Origins of TMW

cr
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N

Z

o

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>-

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~

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o

Credit goes to Finland for figuring
out how to make TMW. Actually,
TMW' rot re i tance was an accidental di covery. Back in the early
'90 , Finnish cientists were experimenting with a drying proce that
would make wood more dimen ionally table-that i , free from cupping, bowing and twisting. Good
luck with that, you might think. But
they hit the jackpot. Not only did
they achieve their goal, but they
found that the proce s made the
wood rot-re istant, too.
Of cour e, baking the wood in
a super-hot kiln change it in other
ways, too, not all of which are de irable. More on that below.
For a few years, TMW was an
exclusively Scandinavian product.

Today, a few American companies
haye licensed the proce and are
busy converting dome tic woods
intoTMW.

How TMW is made
Making TMW is a complicated,
four-step proce . To start off, the
untreated lumber is dimen ioned at
the sawmill. Then it' brought to the
kiln and the first step begins: slowly
heating the wood to 212 degrees.
In the second tep, the wood is preconditioned by drying it to nearly
0% MC (moi ture content) .

This wood resists
decay, but it's totally
free of chemicals
Now it's ready for the cmcial third
step, where the temperature of the
wood is raised to 374-482 degree for
everal hours. At thi high temperature the natural ugars in the wood
are converted into substance that
all the agents of rot-in ects, mold
and fungus-cannot eat. In the final
step, the wood i cooled and orne
moisture is restored, bringing it up
to around 6% to 7% MC.

Properties of TMW
I first heard about TMW from a
friend who' in the deck-building
bu ine . He bU\ thermally modified outhern yellow pine from
PureWood. a company based in
. 'orth
rolina (for more informa-

tion, visit purewoodproducts.com) .
Their 2x6 lumber co ts about 2.50
per lineal foot. I u ed some of that
wood to build a large picnic table
( ee "Crisscro s Picnic Table", page
43). Here's what I've learned.
• Color and smell. The TMW
proce darkens the wood all the
way through to a cocoa-brown color.
If left unfinished outdoors and
expo ed to unlight, it will turn gray.
TMW ha a pleasant smell when you
cut it-like toasted marshmallow.
• Stability. TMW planks are
exceptionally straight and flat. I
re awed some wood into thinner
piece and they didn't warp one bit.
That' a rare experience with any
wood-and a welcome one.
• Strength. The drying proces
seems to make the wood more brittle. It plits and plinters more easily
than wood of the same pecie that's
been kiln-dried. TMW i not recommended for use as joists and posts.
• Dust. Sawing and routing TMW
creates very fine dust, like working
MDF. It' a good idea to wear a mask.
• Planing and jointing. No problem. Fre hly machined urface take
glue well, too. Old surfaces hould
be sanded or milled before gluing.
• Dimensions. The TMW I used
was slightly thinner and narrower
than standard dimensional lumber.
Check before you buy.

The bottom line
Like any wood, TMW has its pros
and con. But it's amazing stuff,
and I hope it catche on. ..6

J U Nfl J U l Y lOll

Americ&JlWoodworker.com

49

Planter Bench
by Tom Caspar

SMELL THE FLOWERS. Touch the
leave. It' easy to er~joy plants when
they're placed at a cOlwenient
hei ht-and ea ier tilI when 'au
can it right next to them. itting
on a planter bench bring nature
clo e to hand.
While you can make this project

with red cedar board just a the
come from the lumberyard, our
planter bench wilI la t longer and
look better if you milI the wood first
(ee "Working with Red Cedar,"
below). The joints wilI definitely be
tronger becau e mating surface
wilI be flat.

To build thi project, ou'lI need
about 17 Ix6 deck board 12' long
and about fOllr 2x4 'long. You '11
al a need ome o. deck crews
(one box of 1-1/4" crew and one
box of 1-5/ " crew) pIli a bottle
of water re i tant glue uitable for
outdoor projects.

H you've ever built with red cedar, you
probably know that most boards are

x

u

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cupped, bowed and twisted. That's not

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necessarily a problem for projects that are

a:

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nailed or screwed together, such as fences

a:

and decks. But when it comes to making
outdoor furniture w ith glued joints,
warped boards won't do. You're better off
treating those boards- smooth as they
may be- as if they were rough lumber.

..;.::
a:

Before you start milling the wood,

'"z

check its moisture content. It should be

z

no more than 12%- 14%. At that point,
the wood has reached equilibrium w ith
average outdoor humidity and has
stopped cupping, bowing and twisting.
(Although it wi ll continue to move if it

50

AmertcanWoodwork r.com

z

o

Rip warped boards on the bandsaw. This

Flatten each board on the jointer, then

much safer than cutting them on the
tablesaw-there's no danger of kickback.
To prevent a cupped board from rocki ng,
pu the concave side dow n.

run it t hrough the planer. Building a piece
of outdoor furniture is much easier when
you're working with flat stock.

IS

J UNl /J Ul Y U

'"
~
>

...x<
a:

"...oo
...

:I:

The planters and bench are
separate parts-arrange them
as you wish.

By cutting the lumberyard
board to rough ize fir t (Photos 1
and 2), you hould be able to mill
the deck board to 7/ 8" thick and
the 2x4s to 1-1/4" thick. The exact
thicknes isn't really important,
though.
Build the planter first. Start by

making the comer (A and B). Cut
the individual piece to exact ize,
then glue them together. Mill the
long panels (C) and short panels
(D). Leave the hort panels 1/ 4"
extra-long. Glue and crew the long
panels to the comer (Photo 3).
Drill the pilot hole with a combi-

nation bit, counterboring the holes
deep enough 0 the screws will penetrate at least 1/ 2" into the panel.
Measure the total length of one
of the side as emblie , then trim
the short panel to a length that
makes the planter exactly quare.
Complete the box tructure by add-

dries further.)
The first step in milling the wood is to
cut your pieces to rough length. Group
them in twos or threes-for example, to
make two 12" pieces, cut a piece 25" long.
Rip the pieces to rough width (Photo 1).
look at the growth rings at the end of a
board and make the cut nearest the center
of the tree. This creates pieces that have
the best chance of staying flat.
Flatten the pieces on a jointer

(Photo 2) and run them through the
planer. Joint one edge and rip them to
exact width. Finally, crosscut to length.
Reinforce glued face joints with screws
ell. These are the leg
is project. Once
square. these
+e easily.

(Photo 3). Screws won't hold well in end
grain, though. Make these joints with
biscuits (Photo 4).

J U N E I J U L Y 2011

ereWeShare.com

Pre-drill holes for screws. Once red cedar
is dry, it's very easy to split-particularly
near the end of a board-if you don't
pre-drill first.

AmericanWoodworker.com

51


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