Making Ovesized Concrete Hex Nut Succulent Planters

 

Full video of this amazingly fun and versatile project is below which can be found on my Youtube Channel.

 

The initial steps for this project can be done based on your access to tools.

There is the true maker method of making your own hex nut to mold which requires a few tools that you might not have, or the more simple (and frankly, cheaper and more accessible) way of just purchasing an oversized hex nut to mold and create castings from. I'll show you how to do both as I did in the above video, and will list out the materials I used as well below:

MATERIALS
Oversized Hex Nut (More information on that below)
Scrap Piece 2 x 6 for making your own hex nut
Smooth-On Liquid Rubber for Mold Making + Mixing Bowel
Quikrete 5000 (60lb bag) + WATER
Aquaphor (for greasing molding tray)
Tupperware Container (any size that fits your needs)

SUB---HEX-DRAWING_small.gif

Incase you've never drawn a hex nut, the above gif will show you how to make your own using only a compass and straight edge. A fun trick to know!

After you have designed your hex nut from the previous step, do the following:

Clamp your piece to a secured surface and drill a large hole using a forstner bit (Picture 1). I used the biggest Forstner bit I had, which was 2.125", but if you have something smaller, no big deal.

Next, carefully cut away all sides to your piece using your miter saw (Picture 2). Safety is priority here. Secure your piece to make your cuts as best you can and take it slow.

Last up, you can sand down your edges however you like. I used my stationary belt sander to get it more of a smoothed profile (Picture 3), leaving me with a final Hex Nut to cast (Picture 4). Now, I did not actually cast this one, but I am guessing it would be good to coat it in a non stick surface - maybe a Minwax Polycrylic or even just melted candle wax - so that it doesn't stick to the molding material due to the porous nature of wood.

I purchased this Hex Nut from a company called Grainger Industrial Supply. The dimensions are as such:

Height: 1 15/16"
Width: 3.375" (outside boarder)
Center Hole: 2.125"

and it cost me $18 total. Beyond using it for this project, I have used it mostly as a heavy paper weight to hold things down where a clamp doesn't work - it doesn't replace a clamp, but it does work well to a certain extent as it weighs about 3 pounds

For molding, I'm using a product called Smooth-On (Picture 1). It is a two part mixture that you mix at a 1:1 ratio and sets and hardens over about 6-8 hours.

Before molding, I rubbed my surfaces (Picture 2) with Aquaphor, hoping that it would make it easier to remove the molding after it hardened (spoiler - it did, but not as much as I thought).

I wasn't sure how much molding I'd need, so I started off by using half of the mixture in each container (Picture 3) and combining / mixing in a large bowl for 2 minutes (Picture 4).

I placed the hex nut down in the container, then poured my mixture (Picture 5). 
NOTE - I placed the metal hex nut facing UP in the container before pouring the molding; that way, once the mixture covered the nut and I removed it later on, there would be an opening at the bottom of the mold that I could then use to cast the concrete molding upside down, allowing it to have a bottom. More on that later.

I also vibrated the mold once I cast it to remove air bubbles (Picture 6).

Using pressure, finesse, and an X-Acto blade, careful remove the hex nut from the molding (Pictures 1-4).

Picture 5 shows how wonderful the molding came out!

Now, here is where it is important to cast your blank a certain way. Since we casted it facing up, we ended up with a molding that has a bottom to it. In Picture 6, I am using my X-Acto blade to remove about 1/8" of the center piece of the mold. That way, when you pour concrete in, there will be a ~1/8" space where concrete can fill the entirety of the mold in a single layer, creating a bottom to your planter. Without this, it will just be like your original metal blank.

I have never done this before, so this was trial and error. I'm using Quikrete 5000 for this project as it is about $5 for a 60lb back and was recommended from other videos I watched on the process.

In Pictures 1 - 3 I scoop out, add water, and mix the concrete till it has the consistency of pancake batter. Now, this might be trial and error for you. My advice, error on the side of less water. You really don't need as much as you think, and making it too soupy will result in weakened final moldings that break rather easily.

In Pictures 5 - 6, I pour in, push down, and vibrate out as many air bubbles as I can. As you can see in Picture 5, by cutting away that 1/8" layer in the previous step, the concrete will span the entirety of the hex mold shape and create a base layer to serve as the bottom of the molding.

Two things I want to discuss here.

First, in Picture 1, you can see a broken hex nut. This is for two reasons. One, I pulled my molding out way too early (about 12 hours). I recommend waiting (based on experience), at least 24 hours for the concrete to set and cure.

Second, as discussed in the previous step, my mix had too much water, and resulted in a weaker overall final product. I don't believe these would have ever held up regardless of how long I let them cure. To rectify this, I used a piece of chicken wire (you can really use any flexible metal like a paper clip) to create my own mini-rebar (Picture 2).

I then mixed up another batch of concrete, this time using much less water, and cast another mold, pouring about 1/3 of the mixture into the molding, adding the chicken wire (Picture 3), then pouring the rest and doing the whole "vibrate out the air bubbles" method again.

Like I said before, I let this one sit for much longer before trying to remove. About 36 hours to be exact.

Removing these from the molding was a little tricky. My advice, take it slow and hold it up to your ear when doing so. As you squeeze, pull, and flex the mold, you will hear the mold separate itself from the concrete, and slowly it will slip out. Takes about 2 minutes-ish once you get decent at it. Hex nut fresh from the molding is in Picture 1.

The bottoms / bottom corners were a bit rough, so I used some sand paper to hand sand down these edges (Picture 2) to give everything as clean of surfaces as I can. Concrete actually sands away pretty well. You can also use a stationary belt sander to do this if you fancy speeding it up - but I found it can be a little aggressive if you're not careful!

These work awesome as succulent holders, candle moldings (I did my first wax melting / custom candle making session), cool little book-ends, and probably 100 other neat things I haven't considered yet!

TOOLS For Making Your Own Hex Nut (If you have the tools...)
Compass
RYOBI Power Drill
RYOBI 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
RYOBI Miter Saw Stand
BESSEY Economy 2.5” x 12” Clutch Clamps
RYOBI Stationary Bench Sander
Forstner Bit (2.125”)

TOOLS for Molding / Finishing (Needed regardless)
Any tool that can vibrate (I used my RYOBI Multi-Tool)
X-Acto Blade (for trimming mold)
Cup / Mixing Apparatus for Concrete
Hand Sanding Sponges  

MY FILM / AUDIO EQUIPMENT
Canon Rebel EOS T2i
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens
Studio Lighting Equipment
H4N Zoom (VO Recording)

As always, thank you for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my Youtube Channel for future projects.

I put out videos every few weeks.

Cheers! 
Zach

 

Industrial Hardware Shelves

 

THANKS FOR CHECKING OUT THE FULL ARTICLE!
I'D AlSO RECOMMEND YOU CHECK OUT MY YOUTUBE CHANNEL BY CLICKING HERE.

This was the second DIY Project I ever took on - nearly two years ago - it was low on the woodworking skill but high on the design / pre-planning skills. I wanted to share it here as I probably get the most compliments on these shelves in my apartment of anything I have built...which maybe means I built other things that were a lot less cool!

I saw a picture online (can't find that anymore) of shelves that I liked from Restoration Hardware - they were $300+. That's a big "hell no" for me. Time to build my own.

Quick tape layout for measurement. Shelves will be slightly smaller, but you get the idea.

Started off by taking a trip to Home Depot. I was working off of only one reference image I had found and with zero direction and very little building experience...I bought what I believed was exactly what I needed. I also spent a good 45 minutes in the galvanized pipe aisle testing out combinations, double checking which parts I bought...

Side Note - I can't believe I got everything in one trip from Home Depot.

Wood / Stain Materials
1 x 1" x 6" x 4' Whitewood (Cut into 2 x 15", 1 x 18")
Ash Woodstain
Toggle Bolt Screws (to mount to drywall)

Pipe Pieces (All 3/4" Galvanized)
6 x 0" (just to serve as connectors)
4 x 1"
4 x 3"
2 x 4"
2 x 7"
2 x 12"

Pipe Connectors
4 x Pipe Flanges
2 x Tips / Nipples
6 x Elbows
4 x T Pieces
5 x Pipe Connectors

Pipes Imgur PSD Diagram.jpg

Here is a grid of how everything comes together - I color coded pieces in the picture and below to help you map our and references things - all pipe pieces 3" and above are White.

Pipe Pieces (All 3/4" Galvanized)
6 x 0" (lime green)
4 x 1" (red)
4 x 3" (white)
2 x 4" (white)
2 x 7" (white)
2 x 12" (white)

Pipe Connectors
4 x Pipe Flanges (Green / Yellow)
2 x Tips / Nipples (Blue)
6 x Elbows (Teal)
4 x T Pieces (Magenta / Pink)
5 x Pipe Connectors (Orange0

You need to drill six total holes at 1" wide in order to connect everything. The best part about these pipes is you can always tighten them one extra turn incase the holes you drilled are slightly off - they tighten very well and are very sturdy.

Picture 1 is the pipe assembly of the middle section - I assembled my pieces beforehand as it was helpful in measuring out exactly where the holes needed drilling.

Picture 2 is me measuring out the two outside sections with the pipe pieces

Picture 3 shows the final drilled holes of each section.

Stain your wood whatever color(s) you want! I chose a darker ash color, but you could choose to paint, or add watery paint for hints of color and then stain - so many options! I did two coats with no pre-stain conditioner and it was all good!

I began assembling my various other pieces.

Picture 1 shows the two outside pieces (left side), and the middle piece (right side)

You can see how using the 0" pieces on the ends (Picture 2) allow you to then pass your pipes through the holes to connect things without using any glue or screws.

More Assembly. I took all of my assembled sections and inserted the wood via the holes I drilled.

Picture 1 shows the middle piece being inserted.

Picture 2 shows me combining the top outside piece to the middle one.

Picture 3 shows them fully assembled, including the pipe flange pieces I'd use to connect the piece to walls.

TOOLS
RYOBI Circular Saw: http://amzn.to/2q1l5wn
RYOBI Power Drill: http://amzn.to/2q1l5wn
RYOBI Drill Bit Set: http://amzn.to/2oKKWXi
RYOBI Cordless Orbital Sander: http://amzn.to/2oICOaP
Tape Measure

If you want to know any materials, tools, or have any general questions answered, you can check out the second step or contact me via my website, thecuttingbored.com and I would be happy to do answer them.

As always, thank you for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my Youtube Channel for future projects.

I put out videos every few weeks.

Cheers! 
Zach

 

DIY Router Sled

 

THANKS FOR CHECKING OUT THE FULL ARTICLE! 

Full video build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools and measurements! You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here!

I have a 13" Ridgid thickness planer that is a tank. However, I can only plane up to that width, and it is unsafe to do anything end grain (in my personal opinion), so I have, for a long time, wanted to build my own jig. I chose to use MDF wood knowing that it was already very smooth, very easy to cut and rip into the right dimensions, and is quite cheap.

Also, I stand by this design - it worked incredibly well for me on my first go around and I cannot wait to use it again.

MATERIALS
2 x 2' x 4' Pieces of MDF Wood (1/2" thick)
1 5/8" Wood Screws

TOOLS
RYOBI Table Saw: http://amzn.to/2h6ZQc4
RYOBI Power Drill: http://amzn.to/2q1l5wn
RYOBI 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw: http://amzn.to/2q1klHw
RYOBI Miter Saw Stand: http://amzn.to/2p1072e
RYOBI Plunge Router: http://amzn.to/2p15eiC
1” Dado Bit: http://amzn.to/2eR6tOO
RYOBI Drill Bit Set: http://amzn.to/2oKKWXi
BESSEY 2.5” x 12” Clamps: http://amzn.to/2oIJGVy

AUDIO / VISUAL EQUIPMENT
Canon Rebel EOS T2i: http://amzn.to/2pwwlDI
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens: http://amzn.to/2pwmuhi
Rode Microphone: http://amzn.to/2oIExg3
Studio Lighting Equipment: http://amzn.to/2rtrkg0
Adobe Premiere (Editorial): http://amzn.to/2oIXKhE

This is the full design of my build, which again, is a result of me wanting the ability to surface plane up to two feet wide. You end up with quite a bit of excess material. I purchased my MDF material at Orchard Supply Hardware in SoCal, where they sell it in 2' x 4' sections for $8 each.

From what I can tell, Home Depot, Lowes, and other big box retailers sell sheets of 4' x 8', so it might be slightly more expensive but you can use the large amount of excess to build additional jigs or just build a larger sled if you'd like!

Picture 1 shows the cuts needed for the sled base
Picture 2 shows the cuts needed for the sled.

My design leveraged the original size of my MDF. So, if you want to design the same one, then you don't need to make any cuts. High five yourself because you just saved yourself 3 minutes.

I cut two strips from the second piece of MDF all the way through at 2.5" wide. I chose this as it would translate to me being able to plane surfaces up to that thickness. I can always cut larger strips to make the sled higher if needed for very cheap.

Next, I measured the width of the base of my router plate - this will change based on what router you have. Mine was a little over 5.5". I went ahead and added 1/4" - 1/8" to that width, and then ripped down another strip of MDF from the same piece that would later become the floor of my sled and the outside guides.

Lastly, I ripped two more strips, 3 inches wide to serve as the walls of my sled. Given that the sled itself will be about 25" wide, you'll need to rip two strips as cutting one single strip and then cutting in half will not yield you enough material (48" / 2 = 24" < 25"). #Math

To begin the assembly, I clamped a single base wall to the edge of my large base piece, making sure everything was as flush and straight as can be (Pic 1), pre drilled holes for the screws (Pic 2), then screwed in and attached the sled base wall (Pic 3).

Picture 4 shows the final result. I then repeated for my other wall and was finished with the base

NOTE - You must pre drill with MDF as it'll split very easily otherwise.

The goal of the sled is to hang over the railings of your base by the same width as your material. My sled is 24" wide, so I measured out, using scrap pieces of MDF, the exact width of the bottom of my sled. This came out to be 25' (24" sled width + 2 x 1/2" material).

I then made the cuts (Pic 2) on my Miter Saw. I then measured our the sled sides to be the exact same with as the sled bottom (Pic 3) and cut to length (Pic 4). Then, using left over pieces from cutting my sled bottom (from Pic 2), I cut two pieces at 2" wide to serve as the guides for the sled against the walls (Pic 5). I also decided to add 45° angles to the sled walls (Pic 6), which has no function, I just thought it looked better aesthetically.

Picture 7 shows all of the final cuts (sled bottom, sled sides x 2, sled guides x 2)

Clamp our Sled Wall pieces to the outside of your sled bottom piece (Pic 1). Double check that your router will fit comfortably but still tightly in between.

Pre-drill holes (Pic 2) and screw in (Pic 3) your wood screws like you did with the sled base to assemble the sled. Repeat this process for the second wall on the other side.

Finally, clamp on your guides underneath the ends of the sled base (Pic 4), pre-drill holes again (Pic 5), and screw in screws (Pic 6) to attach the guide. Repeat this process for second guide on the other side.

Double check your sled fits and slides tightly but freely on your sled base. If you are careful with measurements and make clean cuts, this shouldn't be an issue at all!

Using your Plunge Router and a Dado Bit (Pic 1), plunge your router into your sled to begin routing a groove (Pic 2). Once you have made multiple passes and cut all of the way through, you should end up with a groove (Pic 3) that you can now pass your dado bit through and surface any piece of wood, etc. that you place under the sled.

NOTE - You have the freedom to route this hole as wide as you'd like, but be careful not to do it too wide as you'll hit your sled base walls. Also, because your router will have a bit of wiggle room, you'll want to make passes with your router base plate up against both walls so the hole is clean, consistent, and slightly larger than your actual dado bit width.

Below is the full video of me using it for the first time on a set of Walnut Butcher Block Bedside Tables I was making.

I am so thrilled with how well it works, and it will work for ANY type of wood material you put underneath, all you need to do is make sure the piece is secured and shimmed properly so that you begin with as flat and stable of a surface as you can (I held it with weights, but you can look into your own solutions that work for you!).

The best part is, between the tools you need for the sled, and the materials, it will still be about half (or less) the price of a standard thickness planer, which many people can't afford and will be limited by anyways.

If you want to know any materials, tools, or have any general questions answered, you can check out the second step or contact me via my website, thecuttingbored.com and I would be happy to do answer them.

As always, thank you for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my Youtube Channel for future projects.

I put out videos every few weeks.

Cheers! 
Zach

 

Modern Bedside Tables

 

Thanks for checking out the full article!
I'd alos recommend you check out MY Youtube Channel by clicking here.

My full video of the build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools, materials, and measurements! 

MATERIALS
1 x 9" x 10' of 5/4 Walnut (Specific to my 2 x 14" x 14" Tables)
TiteBond II Wood Glue
TBD OIL
MDF Wood (For Sled)
Wood Screws (For Sled)

As I explain in the video, I had my local hardwood dealer plane both surfaces of the lumber I purchased as well as joint one edge. This cost me $15 total - and it saved me from needing to have any of that larger equipment, which, at the time of building this, I did not have (and still don't have).

So, with my material prepped and ready, I could begin by cutting my pieces. I first measured and cut my material to 15" increments on the Miter Saw, which is easy when you set up a stop on the stand. I ended with 7 15" pieces and one that was about 12 inches that I used as back up but did not need. 

Butcher blocks are made up of many strips, so the next step was to set up a width I wanted to cut my strips to (I did 1.8") on the table saw, and repeat the same cut until you have enough pieces to make your project work.

Since my pieces were 5/4 stock that had been planed, they were just a hair over 1" thick. This meant I needed 14 pieces per night stand to get a 14" x 14" size. Again - this was bespoke to me but you get the principal. The last photo shows how I divided my 28 strips into two equal sets of 14 pieces.

Next, I marked random locations for cuts to be made. Butcher blocks look like they do because they are composed of many small strips glued up, but not in a uniform fashion. So, I just freehanded this (first photo) and then made a "V" on the pieces to be able to line them back up if needed. Then, I just made repeat cuts on my Miter Saw along all of the various lines I marked (Pic 3).

Last, I could then go back and flip random pieces over, rotate, etc. to help mix up the grain variety. This step is totally optional but I recommend it for cool aesthetics!

I put masking tape over a piece of scrap wood so that I could glue up my tables on top of it and not worry about the glue sticking to the wood. I'd never done this before but it works great and I'll do it moving forward!

I laid out the strips, rotated them 90°, applied a sufficient amount of glue to all pieces (just make sure all your surfaces are covered), spread it out evenly using a paint roller for the first time, and then clamped up with even pressure to let dry over night. I repeated this for the second table as well (obviously!)

NOTE - I did do my best to keep everything flat, but my plan to flatten these properly was to use a router sled, so I didn't bother with any caul's or other methods to keep totally flat. If you have any questions about that - just shoot me a note and I can explain.

I built my own router sled that allows me to surface plane pieces up to 23.5 inches wide using a dado bit and my plunge router. It cost me about $20 to make in materials and works so well I'm going to have a hard time communicating just how well it does work!

The router sled worked so well for me that I was able to do one pass at 120 grit on my orbital sander, followed by one pass of hand sanding at 220 grit to smooth it out and then take down the sharp edges slightly.

Last up, using masking tape and a straight edge with my circular saw, I squared but both sides of each of my tables. The masking tape is to avoid tear out.

I marked in 1.5 inches on all sides, and using my rafter square, made sure everything was squared up.

I then marked circles for all of my holes, and then pre drilled all of my pilot holes using a 3/32" bit and a piece of tape to help gauge my depth drilling (don't want to drill through on these!). Then, using the hardware provided, I attached each leg one by one.

I love using Danish Oil on pieces as it cures well, protects the wood, and gives you the ability to "touch" the grain as it soaks into the wood, not on it. I did two total coats (only one is shown here), and my god did these things look awesome once I did that!

This is one of those projects where the end result is so good, you can look back and track your progress that lead to you being able to create something so refined looking. From the clean cuts to the excellent glue up to just how flat and smooth these things are, I am very proud of my work and a bit jealous that I now have to give these away to my friend.

If you want to know any materials, tools, or have any general questions answered, you can check out the second step or contact me via my website, thecuttingbored.com and I would be happy to do answer them.

As always, thank you for reading! I would be so grateful if you could subscribe to my Youtube Channel for future projects.

TOOLS
RYOBI 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
RYOBI Miter Saw Stand
RYOBI Table Saw
RYOBI Plunge Router
1” Dado Bit
RYOBI Cordless Orbital Sander
RYOBI Power Drill
RYOBI Drill Bit Set
BESSEY H Style Pipe Clamps
ROCKLER SureFoot 36” Clamps
12” Rafter Square

See ya around!

Zach

 

Simple Floating Book Shelves

 

Thanks for checking out the full article! 

Full video build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools and measurements! You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here!

We have a gallery wall in our apartment, and my fiance wanted a set of floating shelves to put her books on. Simple and cheap project, many ways to do it, and a great final result for the average DIYer

MATERIALS
1 x 1" x 8" x 8' Whitewood
TiteBond II Wood Glue
Minwax Golden Oak
1” Brad Nails
Frog Tape
Angle Bracket Hardware (your choice!)

I built these shelves two ways, with different tools, to make it easier for the average DIYer. 

Method 1
Miter Saw + Table Saw

For the project, I'm just using a 1x8 piece (8 feet long), so I measured out 11.5 inch pieces and cut them to length on my miter saw, resulting in a set of four pieces (Pic 3). I then set my table saw blade to 45° and ran each piece through the saw to give each edge a clean mitered corner. 

The reason I didn't do this all on my miter saw is that it does not cut 100% straight, which is then amplified as I do miter/beveled cut. 

Method 2
Circular Saw + Straight edge

If you only have a circular saw, you can carefully mark / measure out your lines, set your saw blade to 45°, and cut then rotate and repeat the cut to give you the exact same piece. Take your time, be careful with your measurements, and it will be great!

I used the "masking tape" method to glue these up. However, given that it was about 107° out that day, the tape wouldn't stick to my material, and although it kind of worked, it didn't really. So, after lining up the pieces on the tape and applying glue, I folded them up, and then used brad nails to hold them in place. If I could go back, I'd just clamp all four sides and the joints would be clean, strong, and not require any nails. 

As such, I did use brad nails as it expedited my process as I had limited clamps at the time of the build. 

Once it dries, you're left with a sweet looking box, like this

IMAGE 14.jpg

Next up, I sanded down the edges of the boards using an orbital sander at 80 grit followed by hand sanding at 120 - no splinters!

Last up, I stained my shelves using Minwax's Summer Oak stain - no pre-conditioner or anything. This stain in particular soaks in well, and I'm always satisfied with the result. 

I'll be using the below hardware to hang my shelves. The hardware on the left is for mounting to drywall (anchor and screw), and the right is for attaching to the wall and the shelf. 

Then, I did the following to hang my shelves:

  • Place my shelf where I thought it would look good
  • Mark and measure out the spaces where your holes will go, using a level to make sure things...are level
  • Pre drill holes based on your screw size
  • Lightly hammer in your anchors
  • Drill in and attach your angle brackets
  • Mark the location of where your shelves will attach to the brackets
  • Pre drill holes for the screws
  • Hang up and hand screw in the screws

And then they were hung! And I put them to use!

Thanks for reading! I hope you're inspired to go build your own. Remember, you don't need much to make it happen!

TOOLS
RYOBI 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
RYOBI Miter Saw Stand
RYOBI Table Saw
RYOBI Circular Saw
RYOBI Power Drill
RYOBI Cordless Orbital Sander (80 Grit)
12” Rafter Square
RYOBI Drill Bit Set
Level (24’)
Hammer
Hand Sanding Sponges (120 Grit)

FILM / EDIT EQUIPMENT: 
Canon Rebel EOS T2i:  
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens
Rode Microphone
Voice Recording
Adobe Premiere (Editorial)

LIGHTING
Studio Lighting Equipment

 I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my new Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every two weeks.

Cheers!

Zach

 

 

Double Barn Doors

 

Thanks for checking out the full article! Please Subscribe to our Youtube Channel by clicking here.

My full video of the build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools, materials, and measurements! 

My friend knew I liked to build, film, blog, and share. He wanted two barn doors, so I was off to create my first project. He gave me all of the important measurements (door height, hardware he ordered, style references for doors, and color preferences). 

MATERIALS
10 x 2" x 8" x 8' Douglas Fir (Kiln Dried)
2 x 2" x 4" x 8' Douglas Fir (Kiln Dried)
75 x 1/2" Wooden Dowels
TiteBond II Wood Glue
Frog Tape
Minwax Classic Grey
Minwax Ebony
Minwax Pre-Stain Conditioner
Barndoor Hardware

Douglas Fir lumber is rather rough, so I started off by planing all of my pieces down. Between the amount of lumber I planed and the fact that my planer is on the ground, I was actually in quite a bit of pain by the end of it. I did about 3-4 passes on each side of the lumber to bring it to a nicer, flat surface. Then, I cut all of my pieces to length. 

CUTS:
20 x 2" x 8" x 40"
10 x 2" x 8" x 40"

It might be difficult to tell from picture three, but the design of each of my doors was as such:

1 x 2" x 8" x 40"
1 x 2" x 8" x 40"
8 x 2" x 8" x 40"
1 x 2" x 8" x 40"
1 x 2" x 8" x 40"

to make a door roughly 82" high (based on the door heigh I needed for this specific project), and it came out looking pretty sweet!

By the way, this project took me a lot longer than expected, with the obvious reason being that I literally needed to do everything twice as I was making two doors. If you're just making one door, things will move a lot faster!

After laying out all of my cuts and arranging them how I liked them, I labeled each piece so that I could put them back in order when I glued them up. 

After I labeled my pieces, I used my large T Square to mark up locations for dowels. This was actually quite easy, just make sure that your pieces are squared up before you make any markings and don't get careless and knock your pieces out of whack while you're measuring!

Then, I used my Rockler Dowel Jig to drill three dowels in each piece. These were necessary for this project given the overall weight of each door and the need for strength between each joint. This jig is quite easy to use as well - you simply line up the center line of the plexiglass with your pencilled marking, clamp it to your piece, and use the associated drill bit to drill your holes to the depth of your choosing (this will be based on the length of the fluted dowels you purchase). 

After each piece was drilled, I used frog or masking tape to tape off the ends of each of my pieces. This was more of an experiment than anything (and actually quite time consuming), but I wanted to see how much this would help me on the clean up side of things. Spoiler - it helped a lot, but probably took equal time to tape up that I would have spent cleaning up glue squeeze out. 

The next part was relatively straight forward. I lined up all of my pieces, applied a large amount of glue to both the surfaces as well as the dowel holes, hammered in my glued up fluted dowels, and then lined everything up and clamped things together to dry overnight. 

Few tips here:

  • Don't try to glue up too much at once; part of me regrets doing the whole thing at once just because of the stress it added to the project
  • I used 10' long pipes for my pipe clamps, which I figured might sag in the middle due to stress, so I used scrap pieces of wood to support it
  • Make sure you have something to clamp on top to counter the clamp stress from the bottom (I didn't have enough clamps, so I used about 150 pounds in weight which worked great. 
  • Dowels kept everything lined up well, so definitely recommend using them both for strength and for accuracy
  • Give it 12 hours to dry; this style of door is heavy and the joint need times to cure and settle

As you can see from the picture, the tape was very helpful in catching 95% of the glue squeeze out. I don't regret attempting this method at all!

I then used a flap disk and my angle grinder to simultaneously remove glue but also add a slight "saw-milled" look to the wood. It doesn't show so much in photos, but it gives the barn doors a more weathered/rustic look. I then went over those rough marks with a hand sanding block at 120 just so it would feel smooth overall to the touch. 

Using an air compressor to clean off all of your surfaces is very effective before staining. 

My buddy wanted charcoal grey doors, which Minwax does not make. So, to make this happen, I combined 3 parts Classic Grey and 1 part Ebony to make a darker mix. I used a pre-stain conditioner for these doors as well. The second picture shows the difference between non-conditioned wood (left) and conditioned wood (right). Quite the difference actually!

The conditioner process is very simple. Just apply a solid coat to all surfaces, let dry for at least 15 minutes but no longer than 2 hours, and then apply your stain. I did one coat of conditioner as recommended and then one coat of my mixed stain to all surfaces of my doors. 

Attaching barn door hardware is actually quite simple. Note, all orders will undoubtedly come with very detailed directions, measurements, and steps to install. For this article, I'll just tell you what I did specific to my hardware. 

The first picture shows the main track wheel piece. The second picture shows the components for attaching (a hex bolt, washer, and nut). My screws were not long enough to go through my doors, so the directions recommended doing a counter sink method for this. 

To do this, I did the following:

  • Based on the directions, mark the center points of your two holes (I believe mine were 1.25" and 4" from the top and 2.875" in from the sides)
  • Pre drill a 1/8" pilot hole on the side that the track pieces will go on
  • Flip the door over and drill a 1" counter sunk hole using a spade bit
  • Drill a 3/8" final hole to accompany the hex bolt
  • Drop the washer in the counter sunk hole, twist in the hex bolt using your fingers and a ratchet wrench, and tighten everything using a regular wrench on the other side. Make sure as you tighten things that your hangars stay perpendicular to the top of your door using a rafter square

Next, time to hang your tracks. My tracks came with pre-drilled holes which I recommend, but if your studs do not line up with those holes, then you'll need to drill new ones which is a bit of a hassle. Nonetheless, the last thing you want is your doors to come crashing down, so do this properly!

I located the studs in my walls, found the proper height to drill my pilot holes based on the height of my door, and drilled into my walls. I used 2 x 6' tracks for this project, and each track had four total holes to connect to the walls using a large lag bolt, a washer, and an adjustable spacer which proved very handy. The other method for hanging tracks easily and so you can avoid having to find studs each time is to use an additional piece of wood that goes in between the track and wall. This piece will be drill into all of your studs for support, and then you can simply just drill in your track based on the pre-drilled holes without needing to locate studs for each one and/or drill new holes to fit your space. I didn't have this luxury but I managed.

I recommend getting a drill bit for this, as hand cranking everything in was exhausting. Use a level to make sure everything stays parallel, and repeat the process if necessary for second track. 

Also, you'll want to install the end stops at this point before attaching your lag bolts to the walls as those will sit in between the track and your lag bolt end. 

After i had both of my tracks up, parallel, and with the stops attached on each end, I could attach my doors. You'll notice there are special locks on these doors. For the sake of this article and my sanity, I will not go into detail about the nor will I recommend using them. Barn doors aren't meant to be locked in my opinion!

Once my doors were on the tracks, I could install the door protector that prevented them from popping off their tracks if hit too hard. Simple process and very effective. There is also a floor guide that needs to be installed to help properly "plum" your doors, but this required additional epoxy that I did not have at the time so I do not have documentation of it. The reason I needed epoxy was because I could not drill into the floor. 

After that, I was finished. The build of these doors was quite fun and straight forward. Hanging complicated barn door hardware, by yourself, for the first time, and with minimal tools is quite complicated, especially when you have to do it twice but make it perfectly accurate. I look forward to doing this again in the future with a partner to help and hopefully with just one door and no complicated add ons. 

Final doors in their new home. Ignore the locks that are not quite finished (long story short, the directions suck and I drilled holes at the wrong depth, meaning that I need to find cool pieces of steal to cover the holes, which will actually look awesome when added on!

TOOLS
Wen 12.5” Thickness Planer
RYOBI 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
RYOBI Miter Saw Stand
RYOBI Cordless Orbital Sander
RYOBI Power Drill
RYOBI Drill Bit Set
ROCKLER Dowelling Jig
Rubber Mallet
MAKITA Paddle Switch 4.5” Angle Grinder
Flap Discs
BESSEY Economy 2.5” x 24” Clutch Clamps
BESSEY H Style Pipe Clamps
12” Rafter Square
Level (24’)

 

DIY Wooden Beer Mug (No Lathe)

 

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My friend had two old shelves (wood species unknown at this point) that he didn't want. I thought it would be fun to convert one of them into a wooden beer mug. So I did!

MATERIALS
Hardwood of your choice (about 2-3 board feet, 4/4 stock)
TiteBond II Wood Glue
Mineral Oil

The wood I had acquired was previously finished with some type of oil, so the first steps were to remove that finish so that the wood would be returned to useable lumber and glue-able! I only removed what I needed to keep as much thickness as possible. The result was wood about .70" thick. 

Next I could rip my pieces into strips at 3.5", then cut those 3.5" strips into squares. I think I ended up cutting 9 total squares. I also cut four pieces at 4.5" long that would later become the handles. I then glued things up. 

You can see how I glued up all the squares to form the "mug" blank, and the longer pieces to form handle blanks. NOTE - I glued up two sets of handle blanks (two pieces each), incase I messed up later on. These are not four piece glued together, they are two pieces glued together, just clamped up together. I was careful to make sure the grain of my wood all ran the same direction as well for the "future mug" blank. 

The next step was to find the center using two diagonal lines, followed by using a compass to mark out two circles. Since I don't have a lathe, I can't turn this piece on the inside and outside. 

Instead, I'll be hollowing it out with a forstner bit, and rounding off the outside using various methods detailed later. My forstner bit is 2.125", so that is the size of my center circle. Then I just measured about .50" outside of that to create a parameter for the outside of the cup. 

Then I spent a good amount of time boring a hole using my power drill. Without a drill press this was a lot of work and probably took me three total Ryobi Batteries to complete. I ended up drilling about 5.5" deep. You can see in the last two photos the depth at which I dug. That is an 8.4 oz. can of soda (for reference), so the cup probably holds 10 oz total. 

This next step can be done many ways. The whole point is just to remove excess material so that it is easier to round out the outside of the mug later on with a belt sander. I chose to use an angle grinder with my ARBORTECH TURBOPlane Blade, but it can also be done as such:

  • Miter'd band saw cuts
  • Miter'd table saw cuts
  • Miter Saw cuts
  • Hand carving tools
  • All belt sanding (takes the longest)

Then, I could move to my stationary belt sander and begin rounding out the edges. I was using 120 grit sand paper at this point which wasn't course enough, so this took longer than expected. 40 or 60 grit would speed things up for you. I was pretty excited at this point with how the grain was starting to look! I also flattened one side to where the handle would eventually be glued to just to have flat clean glueable surfaces. 

Next up was shaping the handle, the design and drawing of which was completely freehanded and not based on anything but the idea that it should look and function like a handle. I then moved to sanding all faces of it, including rounding the interior and exterior edges as well as flattening the ends that would later be attached to the mug. 

I then wetted everything down and gave it one final sanding at 220 and 320 grit. I did this to both smooth it out as well raise the grain on the wood so that when it did get wet eventually, it would remain smooth. 

hen I glued my handle to my mug using Titebond II Again. Only glue here - no screws (obviously!), no joinery. Just apply a solid amount of glue, spread it out, and push and hold it firmly to the mug surface for a few seconds for it to set. Then clamp it up. 

The glue joint, if clamped and tightened properly, would be strong as hell.

he last step was two fold. 

First, I applied mineral oil to finish the cup and bring out the color and grain (looked awesome!). Second step was to take wood glue (food safe and water proof) and rub a few layers of it on the inside of the mug to help protect the interior. 

NOTE - This by no means is the only way to do this, it just made the most sense to me based on what materials I had at my apartment. I'll let you know how the glue sealant holds up...

Then I was finished! Below are final pictures of the mug! I think it is pretty awesome! Grain looks great and the directions of which it runs looks fantastic, the shape is basic but fun looking, and it functions great!

 

Box Joint Coffee Table

 

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My full video of the build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools, materials, and measurements! 

This faux box joint style is really cool in my opinion. It can be achieved with a bit of good design, focus, and precision, and has very unique results when totally finished. I had built something similar once before and learned a lot in the process, so I was excited to take on another build similar to it but with my past experience in hand. 

MATERIALS
18 x 2" x 3" Framing Lumber*
2" Finish Nails (not totally necessary)
TiteBond II Wood Glue
Dark Walnut Danish Oil
Minwax Clear Finish Polyurethane
 

*Note - This amount of material fits my specific design / dimensions

Step 1 was just to design the whole project. Below are my designs that I worked from:

Top Profile.png

This is my design looking straight down from the top.
Blue cuts are the longest pieces I'd need for my project.
Pink cuts were initially measured out, but would be contingent upon the final width of the wood as the length of the pink piece + the width of the two yellow pieces would need to add up to the length of the blue piece

This is the side profile of the table. You can see that the green leg pieces will be shorter due to the blue pieces extending to the end of the table. The Yellow pieces (not shown here), would be the length of the green pieces + the thickness of the blue piece (if that makes sense)

This is a view from the bottom of the table. The yellow and green pieces did not have a definitive length during design (but were roughly 15 and 12.5 inches, respectively). I will give my final cuts later. 

Bottom Profile with Shelf.png

This is the same view from the bottom, but now includes the bottom shelf that I added in. The brown pieces were the length of my pink pieces + one inch as I was going to be using Dados to hold them in place. more on that later. 

I planed all of my wood down - first to remove the rounded edges, then on each side to give clean surfaces for glue ups.

Removing the rounded edges can be done on a table saw as well, I just hate my table saw and would rather not work unsafely.

The second picture shows the difference between the square side you want and the awful rounded side it started with. 

Now I was selective at the store as to the quality of materials I bought, but once I had everything planed down, I took extra time to sort my wood based on the cleanest surfaces. I chose the best looking ones to surface as my table top parts since that would be the most visible. 

I had planed my wood down to a width of nearly 2.2" - a width I knew was uniform across the board. So in order to make box joints fit properly, I needed leg pieces that were 2.2" different in length as well as top pieces that were 2.2" difference on each side, for a total of 4.4". 

Thus, you can see my table top cuts on the left. I ended up basing my smaller cuts off of a final length of 40" (so 40-2.2-2.2 = 35.6"), as I planned on having my longer pieces a bit long so I could cut them down rather than need extra length I couldn't get. 

My bottom row pieces were 1" longer than the middle width of my table so they could sit comfortably in a half inch dado on each side. 

For my legs, since I went for a table height of 15", my shorter pieces needed to be 2.2' shorter than that, or 12.8" roughly. The final picture shows how I made my cuts. Now in my purchase list, I tell you to buy 18 pieces, but in reality, you can get what you need from 17, but having one back up piece is just a smart idea. 

One little tip here is to cut your 12.8" pieces slightly long so that you don't end up with pieces not quite long enough to form the box joint and reach the bottom of your table. You can always plane them down later, which I chose to do, and did, and it worked great. 

Once I had all of my cuts made, I could begin my glue ups. I did this upside down, so the final table top would be facing downwards. I alternated my pieces (photo) on top of two bar clamps and made sure the cleaner looking surface was facing downwards. 

NOTE - in this first round of glue ups, you will only glue together 13/15 of your pieces for the top. You will save your two final outside blue pieces for a second round of glue ups for later as well as the corresponding green legs.

Above is a glue up trick technique I was taught. Using a Kreg Clamp (Pic 1), I could put glue on one piece, spread it out evenly, squeeze together and line up to make sure the box joint edge went out as far as teh thickness of my leg piece (pic 3), then clamp together across the two pieces to keep them flat and flush (pic 4), and then use a 2" finish nail to hold it in place (pic 5). I then could repeat this process for each piece I glued up. The result was a pretty damn flat glue up without a lot of clean up.  

Image 13.jpg

Clean up as much glue squeeze out as you can once you clamp up everything with a wet rag - makes the finish process so much smoother (no pun intended). 

NOTE AGAIN - you'll only have 13 pieces glue up at this point (see image above). 

I then could repeat the process for my legs, alternating pieces (pic 1 and 2 - the alternating process should be relatively straight forward and fit tightly together), then my other side's legs (pic 3), and then finally my bottom table (pic 4). Again, clean away any glue squeeze out for easy finishing later on. 

Your bottom table (pic 4) will have 13 pieces glued together as well. 

Before final assembly, I finished everything. First, I belt sanded all my surfaces using 40 grit paper which flattened everything nicely.

Next, in order to take down the protrusions (remember I cut my longer pieces .5" long), I used my Turboplane and a flap disk to take them down. This can also be done with a block plane, a belt sander with rough grit, a hand held electric planer, or a flush trim saw. 

I then went over all my surfaces with 80 and 120 grit sand paper on my orbital sander. Looked great!

I then took the opportunity here to square up my leg bottoms using my T Square and a circular saw. My saw didn't cut all the way through, so I made one pass, flipped it over, and cut the other side. If your cut isn't perfect, a belt sander will flatten it out quickly. 

As I said before, I wanted to insert my bottom shelf using dado slots. To do this, I used a half inch dado bit (pic 1) and my plunge router. 

Then, I measured 9 inches down from the top on each side, then used my T Square to trace my lines (pic 2 and 3). I used the width of the wood to then trace a second line (not pictured) so I had my entire dado area marked out. 

Then, using a straight edge, my rafter square, and my router, I made multiple passes to cut out my slot. Pic 5 shows it in action, and Pic 6 shows the final dado slot, which was about .625" deep). I repeated this process on each side, being very VERY precise in all of my measurements before cutting. I had never done this before and was proud of the result. 

Doing a final fit! You can see that the dado is not 100% perfect. That is okay, as you'll be gluing on one outside layer on each side of the table next, which will cover up those imperfections. 

In this next glue up, as mentioned before, you'll add in your outside blue pieces (40.5" long) for the table top on each side, as well as your four green legs (15" long) on each corner. Lastly, you'll add in your final two pink pieces (35.6" long).

I didn't use finish nails here, just clamping pressure. I did, however, use little scrap pieces in certain areas so the clamps did not damage the wood from pressure (see pic 2, bottom middle clamp). 

You'll also note that, as I pointed out in my cuts previously, I made my 12.8" pieces a bit long, resulting in four outside leg pieces that were slightly longer than my middle legs and made for a great little leg design unintentionally. 

also used four small angle brackets with screws to secure the bottom shelf from the underside. This would help keep the top of the shelf flush with the top edge of the dado I had cut.

I applied two coats of Dark Walnut Danish oil 8 hours apart to stain the table. Once it had cured, I applied 4-5 coats of a clear satin polyurethane finish to all of my surfaces, making sure to let it dry thoroughly and sand in between each coat with wet 220 grit sand paper. I find using wet sandpaper with poly finishes helps contain the sanding mess. 

 

Power-Carved Bench

 

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MATERIALS
1 x 2" x 4" x 8' 
3 x 2" x 4" x 10'
1 x 2" x 12" x 10'
1 x 2" x 12" x 12"
TiteBond II Wood Glue
Natural Danish Oil

*Note - All wood is Kiln Dried Douglas Fir

I worked on a really fun table build a few months back in partnership with ArborTech using their ARBORTECH TURBOPlane Blade and it was a blast. They sent me a photo reference of another fun project to tackle with it, so I said why not? The coolest thing about this project is that it is held together purely with glue - no hardware is needed and the results, if done right, are stunning!

I made the following cuts from my rough lumber:

From 2 x 4's
12 x 9"
12 x 10"
4 x 13"
4 x 17"

From 2 x 12's
1 x 31"
1 x 32"
1 x 34"
1 x 50"
2 x 54"

Here is a diagram of how my cuts are broken out incase you need clarification. 

Since I would be laminating all of these pieces together, I needed clean, flat surface. 

I planed down all of my pieces as the edges were slightly rough or cupped and in order to make this type of project work, you'll want your surfaces to be as flat as possible to the glue joints are as flush as can be. 

Tip - If you cut all of your pieces and don't necessarily plane and glue them up in the same day, make sure you store them flat and stacked to avoid cupping or bowing. Also, it is easier for me to make my cuts then plane the wood down versus planing very large pieces and maneuvering them constantly.

This next step is a little tricky but I'll try my best to explain. In order to make the back of the lounge chair on one side, you'll need to cut a series of "L" shaped pieces from your 2 x 12" pieces so that when you laminate them together and eventually carve them out, everything will flow nicely and the edge grain will transition properly to the end grain. 

To do this, I made the above cuts by measuring them out using a T square on my wood carefully and then, using just my circular saw and "plunging" it into the wood, I cut make the cuts. The cuts will extend into the corner of the "L" but that is okay as you'll carve much of this material away anyways. The above diagram shows all of the "L" cuts you'll make. 

NOTE - Do NOT cut the small part of the "L" off - your pieces should look like picture number 4 above. The width of the small part of the "L" should be 5 inches wide. 

Next were glue ups. If you watched the video, this might be a bit more clear, but I'll write it out here for full detail:

Legs
You'll end up making four total legs, each using 3 x 9", 3 x 10", 1 x 13", and 1 x17" pieces (pics 1-3) laminated together

Seat Bench
You'll make one bench seat using 1 x 50" and 2 x 54" pieces laminated together (pic 4). I recommend deep jaw clamps for this so you can make sure your middle is glued together - I used scrap hardwood instead as I don't have deep jaw clamps. 

Lounge Back Rest
You'll use the six "L" shaped pieces laminated together (pic 5). Pieces will be laminated together in order based on their length so it forms a stepping shape.

Once all four legs, your bench seat, and your lounge back rest are formed, you can laminated all of those pieces together as well to form this really cool looking "Glulam" bench. Note - I am limited on clamps, so this was 9 total glue ups over the course of a week to make sure all of my pieces were properly secured and cured over the right length of time.   

Now it was time to shape my piece down to it's final form!

To shape this piece, I am using my ARBORTECH TURBOPlane Blade which is a beast at shaping, contouring, and carving away wood. 

I marked out the rough shape I was aiming for using a sharpie (Pic 1), and then, over the course of four hours, I carved away a large chunk of material from my piece to give it a very sleek look. The TurboPlane is great at carving away wood, and as tricky or intimidating as it might sound, it is very easy to control how much or how little you take away. I carved away material on the legs, back rest, and bench top and bottom to create a flowing curved shape.  

Now, while the TurboPlane carves great, it isn't always easy to carve flat. Often, you're left with gouges, which is where Flap Discs come in handy. I used a 40 grit flap disk, which also removes a lot of material, but is much better at only removing "high points", thus helping you to flatten everything out and begin finessing the curves of your piece. I probably did this for 2 hours after carving. 

Then, it literally started snowing where I was, so I called it quits for the day. I was also pretty wiped. 

Back at home where it was sunny, I went back and removed another 5 pounds or so of material using the TurboPlane as the profile wasn't sleek enough for what I was going for. After following that up with more flap disk smoothing at 40 grit, I moved onto orbital sanding at 80 and 120 grit, followed by hand sanding at 120 and 220 grit. I also did a wet sanding at 220 as this piece was going to see a lot of weather and I wanted the grain to remain smooth if it got moist. 

By the way - how cool does picture 3 look with the edge grain transitioning to end grain?

After final sanding, I used a bit of Minwax Wood Filler to take care of a few gaps I couldn't avoid during the lamination stage and then sanded it down. It looks perfect and you'd never notice there were gaps otherwise. This felt unavoidable as Douglas Fir will undoubtedly cup a little bit in between all of these cuts, planes, and glue ups. 

Last up was finishing, and I did one thick coat of Natural Danish Oil on this piece, which helped preserve the look of the wood while also bringing out the grain. I didn't apply any sort of poly or sealant to it as it will be indoors. I will likely revisit a sealant in a few months once I see how the piece holds up as it will be in the mountains and possibly over-exposed to elements and weather shifts. 

Here is a final carousel for you to check out the transition from various stages until the final form of the bench in picture 5. 

As well as a final photos just to check out! I'll post better photos once it is in its final home. 

So stoked with how this thing came out! It is AWESOME. 

TOOLS
RYOBI Circular Saw
RYOBI 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
RYOBI Miter Saw Stand
Wen 12.5” Thickness Planer
MAKITA Paddle Switch 4.5” Angle Grinder
ARBORTECH TURBOPlane Blade
Flap Discs
BESSEY Economy 2.5” x 12” Clutch Clamps
BESSEY Economy 2.5” x 24” Clutch Clamps
BESSEY H Style Pipe Clamps
Tape Measure
Hand Sanding Sponges (120 and 220 Grit)
3M Face Shield

FILM / EDIT EQUIPMENT: 
Canon Rebel EOS T2i
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens
Studio Lighting Equipment
Rode Microphone
Voice Recording
Adobe Premiere (Editorial)

As always, thank you for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my new Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every two weeks.

Cheers!

Zach

 

 

 

 

The Engagement Ring Box

 

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Please Subscribe to our Youtube Channel by clicking here.

My full video of the build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools, materials, and measurements! 

MATERIALS
Scrap Maple and IPE Hardwoods
TiteBond II Wood Glue
Natural Danish Oil
5mm Barrel Hinges

Before I knew what materials I had, I did a bunch of rough sketches on what I thought would be a great looking box based on something I knew I could build (in secret) with the tools I had. 

I have quite a bit of scrap pieces of hardwood lying around and I knew all along that I wanted to make a special engagement ring box for when the time came to pop the question. I liked the contrast of the Maple wood I had against the IPE strips, so I got to it!

I went ahead and cut my IPE strip into two using my coping saw (each strip was about 15 inches long, which was way more material than I knew I'd need, but better to have extra).

I laminated together my two strips of Maple and IPE as such and let it dry overnight. I knew I'd eventually plane down this piece so I left the IPE wood strong to catch the snipe.

After drying overnight, I could plane it down to an appropriate thickness - which was around 2/3 of an inch. I didn't have exact end measurements in mind, but I was looking to make my final box a little over 2" in each direction, so this just seemed correct. 

I thought it would be cool to have my two dark strips come to a corner, so what I did was measure the width of my piece, then translated that width to one side of my laminated strip (second picture), then cut that strip off on my Miter Saw (fourth picture), so that one side was much thinner than the other. The thought was that when I later laminated my strips together in an end-grain fashion, they corner would be square. You'll see what I mean later. 

Next up, I set up a stop on my Miter saw and cut my piece into four smaller sections at 2.25" each. 

I also cut down my second piece of IPE into 2.75" lengths (four totally pieces) and used a bit of hand sanding to flatten out the edges in preparation for my next glue up. 

Next, I took three of my laminated cut pieces and rotated them 90 degrees, as well as insert three of my IPE strips to form the above box. You can see how it's starting to come together. 

Once I had my shape, I glued everything up at once, taking the clamping process as slow as I could to avoid any slipping, and then tightened from all angles very slowly and let dry overnight. This was about 98.7% perfect. The only way I could improve this is to do layers one at a time. 

But this was a secret project I was doing in off hours, and ain't noboby got time for that!

Once everything was dried, I used my stationary belt / disc sander to flatten all of the sides, being VERY careful to sand down everything at 90°, which was actually much more difficult than I anticipated. 

I wanted my top to have a chamfer'd edge, but I don't have a router table to pull this off. I saw a video online of someone using their plunge router upside down and just gave a few safety precautions on how to do this. I took is super slow with a 1/4" bit and the result came out great. 

Looking fresh! I wasn't sure which side I'd ultimately want to chamfer, but I am happy with the one I chose as it has a good symmetry to it. 

After routing, I sanded all of my edges down smooth with 120 and 220 grit papers, including slow passes on the chamfer'd edges. 

Next, I used a miter saw box, clamps, and a crappy hand saw to split my box along the IPE, which took forever. Halfway through, I switched to a SawZaw which went much faster but left a rough cut through. So, I took both halves and sanded them down hard against 120 grit paper, which left me with two clean cuts. 

I debated how I wanted to create my hole. Instead of purchasing a forstner bit set which I originally thought would be the easiest route, I chose to use my Plunge Router and a 1/8" Flush Trim bit to make my hole carving for the box. 

To do this, I created a simple jig that would sit tightly around all four sides of the box, held together with pocket hole screws. I was careful to keep all things flat in the process so my routing surface would be level. 

Next, I marked up where I wanted the corners of my hole to be. I chose 10mm equidistant from all sides. My whole would be near square, with 1/8" rounded corners due to the diameter of the router bit. 

Here is the router bit for reference. 

To finish the jig, I took my router and moved it to all four corners that I had measured of my box. I then marked lines at the edge of my router plate on all four sides. 

NOTE - one side of the router plate is flat, so take that into account in your measuring. When you go to actually route your hole, do not change the orientation of your router or you will mess it all up.

Once i had markings on all four sides, I could draw all four sides of my square with my rafter square, then used my nail gun to add scrap straight pieces of wood to create my router jig boarder. I had never done this before, so I took it slow and was proud at how well it turned out. 

Above is the final jig. Simple but super effective!

Then it was time to cut! In total, I did 7 total passes, plunging my bit about 1/8" - 1/4" each time and it worked fantastically. 

The second photo shows me checking my depth - all good!

I sanded down the insides, including the base and edges lightly, with 220 grit paper and I was nearly done with the build!

Hinges were somehow the most complicated part of this build. I wanted the snappy feature of a regular ring box but that was honestly hard to come by. I considered using the hardware from a cheap box, but that actually was going to be more tricky than just a simple swap. So, I chose barrel hinges after much research.

The first picture shows the barrel hinges I chose - 5mm in diameter and hard to find. No in-store retailer seemed to sell them, so I resorted to ordering through Amazon and they took about a week to show up.

I first marked areas on the outside of my box where I'd want the hinges to be. I clamped together my two halves (pic 3), marked a perpendicular line on each, then used my digital caliper to mark a center hole 3.5mm inward that I could drill. I took my sweet time with this as I didn't want to mess it up or drill too deep either way. I think I used a 3/16" bit for this - again - do it slow. The last picture is me dry fitting the pilot hole, which worked great (I also did a test run of this on a scrap piece of wood before).

In order for these hinges to work, you need to chamfer the back top edge of your bottom piece (first and second picture) at 45°. That way, after applying super glue into all of your holes (pictures 3 and 4), you can attached your top and let it dry in the close position for 20-30s (being careful not to glue anything shut!), and then actually allow your barrel hinges to open properly (final picture).

If you don't add the chamfer, the box wont' open as the hinges cannot flex.

I debated for a while on what I'd for the interior. I decided to use faux black leather mixed with packing foam that could be packed in properly to the inside hole and hold everything with friction. .

I measured the width of my interior (pic 1), cut my material to width (pic 3), rolled it up and super glued it into a cylinder (pic 4), then repeated the process of measuring, cutting, and rolling up the faux leather around my foam piece and securing with super glue (pics 4-6).

Picture 6 shows the two completed sushi-roll looking pieces.

I finished my box with Tung Oil, with the final oil box in the second picture. Then, I could insert my two sushi roll pads and use a pointed edge (scissors in my case) to push down and flatten out to make it look nice.

All done! So happy seeing weeks of small work come together in a few final pictures. 

She said yes!

Loved every minute of working on this project!

TOOLS
RYOBI 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
RYOBI Miter Saw Stand
Wen 12.5” Thickness Planer
BESSEY Economy 2.5” x 12” Clutch Clamps
RYOBI Stationary Bench Sander
RYOBI Saw Zaw
RYOBI Plunge Router
RYOBI Router Set (1/4" Champfer Bit)
12” Rafter Square
Digital Caliper
Hand Sanding Sponges (120 and 220 Grit)

FILM / EDIT EQUIPMENT: 
Canon Rebel EOS T2i
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens
Rode Microphone
Voice Recording
Adobe Premiere (Editorial)

As always, thank you for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my new Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every two weeks.

Cheers!

Zach

 

Two2x4Challenge: Squatty Potty

 

Thanks for checking out the full article! 

Full video build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools and measurements!
You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here!

The guys over at the Modern Maker Podcast put out a challenge to the online woodworking community to build something cool / unique / funny (all the above) using only two 2x4s. I thought it would be a unique opportunity to do an end grain project but also make something silly. Thus, I made a squatty potty! I chose to use redwood 2x4s for my project as they are a bit nicer overall in quality and I knew that I could achieve a cool end result with this species. 

MATERIALS
2 x 2"x4"x8' Redwood Lumber
Loctite Adhesive
TiteBond II Wood Glue
Steel Wool (0000)
White Vinegar
Water
Wax Paper
Scrap Melamine

My inspiration for this project was an End Grain Side Table project that Johnny over at Crafted Workshop created. Now, I obviously wasn't going to be using hardwoods and such, but I wanted a similar vibe of a 3D cutting board that had pieces of all different lengths cascading downward, almost like an upside down city skyline. 

As stated earlier, the entire project must use 2x4s as the main component of the project. So I got to work! I think I spent $15 on the pieces (about $6 more than I'd have spent on really crappy Douglas Fir lumber). 

I began by ripping the rounded edges off one side of each of my pieces of lumber - about 1/8" width to be exact. I then followed that up by ripping my pieces into four total strips that were 1.375" wide. I hate my table saw. 

I then used my planer to remove about 1/16" of width from each side of my pieces total to make all four of my pieces completely square and flat. Worked great!

Now that I had all of my strips set, I could rip them to length. I needed 60 total pieces, including four legs, so I started by just ripping off a small piece to square up the edges.

I did a quick sketch in Illustrator of my design, showing roughly what it would look like from the top (left) and the front (right). I ended up making my legs a little bit longer and making the third row have five pieces instead of four. But this was mostly to confirm how many pieces I'd need based on the general dimensions of my toilet and the material I had available. 

I set a stop and cut four pieces to 9", which would be the height of my legs. I researched and found that there were two sizes of squatty potties - one 7", and one for advanced poopers at 9". I'm definitely advanced. 

After I cut my legs, I was left with about 348" of total length. Now, I needed 56 more pieces, meaning that they could all average 6.2" and I would have enough material for the project. Knowing this, I chose to cut 16 pieces at 3, 4, 5, and 6", which left me material to cut a few pieces at 7" (because why not) and then one spare 9" piece incase I destroyed a leg. 

Before gluing anything up, I spent some time laying out the final shape of my piece, rearranging pieces so no two heights were next to each other and confirming my design was good to go. That way, when I went to glue things up, I could grab one piece after another without figuring out / delaying the glue up. This worked out great!

I had found a method where something build something actually very similar to this (although theres was an art piece) where they used Loctite Construction Adhesive as it was weatherproof and supposedly would set well without clamps. Since this was both a silly / fun project and I was looking to do my glue up all at once, I chose to experiment with this method. 

To do the glue up, I used a scrap piece of melamine as a flat surface, then created a right angle corner using my straight edge clamp and a scrap piece of wood and a clamp. That way, I could start in one corner, work my way from left to right, and have a flat surface and corner to push things into and squeeze out gaps manually. I also used wax paper to make the clean up easier. And, one by one, I'd spread a bit of the adhesive to both sides of my pieces, stick it on the board, squeeze together and check for squareness, and move on to the next piece.  

After letting the adhesive cure overnight, I could finish the project the next day. As you can see from the first picture, there were gaps in my glue up from using this method. I expected it once I felt the consistency of the adhesive, but was still a little annoyed. But hey, this is what experiments are for. Overall, the piece was strong and robust, but I knew I had to fix my poor experimental craftsmanship. I mean the stuff doesn't even dry clear!!

I chose to use saw dust from the redwood I had kept when I ripped my pieces on the table saw. Before doing that, I cleaned up all the adhesive that had squeezed out so my surfaces were clean. 

Using wood glue and shavings, I applied a liberal amount of glue to all of my cracks and then cover all of them in shavings. This worked like title grout, and works pretty well! It is always better in my opinion to use shavings and glue if possible (and shavings of the same wood species) as it fills the gaps better and actually will take a bit of stain if that is your final plan). 

I also recommend you don't pre mix your solution and then fill in the gaps. It is easier to apply glue then cover in shavings - just faster and more efficient with your time. You can see the third picture right after applying - WHAT GAPS??

Next was clean up. I used my stationary sander to clean up the larger surfaces, followed by belt sanding and orbital sanding at 80 grit which flattened everything quite well, then finished off with hand sanding at 120, including the edges, so that there were no sharp features to where bare feet might go. Was starting to look pretty cool!

thought it would be cool to use an oxidized solution to finish this project given that I was using redwood. I had done this method once before on the same species and I knew how cool of an effect it had on the red parts of the wood, essentially turning it black. Knowing that this was all end grain, I knew it would turn out even cooler!

To make the solution, mix three pieces of 0000 Steel Wool with one gallon of water and one gallon of white vinegar in a big 5 gallon tub with a lid. Let the solution sit for one week - it will dissolve the steel wool over that time period, leaving a very disgusting and smelling solution that will rapidly age wood if applied to the surface.  I recommend using gloves for this process, or in my case, a spray bottle, so you don't get the smelly solution on your hands. 

I recommend using gloves for this process, or in my case, a spray bottle, so you don't get the smelly solution on your hands. The spray bottle was great for this project as well because there were so many odd surfaces to cover on the bottom that it was basically the only way to get to all of them quickly. 

You can see in the third picture the difference before and after. The solution works right away, and will dry and age the wood rapidly over the course of the next day (depending on your drying temps!). 

Few final photos for you! REALLY cool how this stuff reacts. As much as this was a partially failed experiment the final product was totally salvageable and I'm quite excited about it. 

A fun challenge overall!

TOOLS
RYOBI 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
RYOBI Miter Saw Stand
RYOBI Cordless Orbital Sander
RYOBI Belt Sander
RYOBI Stationary Bench Sander
RYOBI Battery Pack
HITACHI Table Saw
Wen 12.5” Thickness Planer
5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Wet Dry Vacuum
Bora 50” Straight Edge Clamp Guide
Tape Measure
12” Rafter Square
BESSEY Economy 2.5” x 12” Clutch Clamps
Digital Caliper
Hand Sanding Sponges (120 Grit)
Extension Cord

FILM / EDIT EQUIPMENT:
Canon Rebel EOS T2i
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens
Rode Microphone
Voice Recording
Adobe Premiere (Editorial)

Thanks for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every other week.

Cheers!

Zach

 

 

 

 

End Grain Coffee Pour Over Station

 

Thanks for checking out the full article! 

Full video build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools and measurements!
You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here!

This was such a great little project. Scrap hardwood is not easy to come by and is quite pricy when bought, so I wanted to make the most of it. I had the concept for an end grain cutting board project influenced by Homemade-Modern's coffee pour over station design a few months back. Not having the proper tools to do it or the materials, I shelved it until I knew I was ready / skilled enough to pull it off. The time is now!

MATERIALS
African Mahogany Hardwood (About 3 BF of 4/4 Stock at 8.5" long)
TiteBond II Wood Glue
Mineral Oil
Galvanized Pipe (see details below!)
Wood Screws

I started by ripping all of my wood into strips at 1.375" on my Miter Saw with the grain. A table saw works better for this if you're looking to do many cuts, but a Miter Saw with a stop was efficient for the number of cuts I made. 

Next, I grouped my strips into sets of six and laminated them together. My one regret here is not mixing up the pieces into more of a pattern based on the various looks of the end grain. Next time! 

Make sure you use lots of glue and a credit card make it very easy to spread and cover all of the surfaces. 

I then clamped all my sets of 6 to dry overnight. I lined up the ends as much as I could and used a mallet and a scrap piece to keep everything very flat (or as much as I could!)

The next day, I ran my pieces through the planer. The manual recommends to not plane anything shorter than 12 inches, but the key should be to not plane anything shorter than the distance between the two rollers of your planer. Otherwise, it will get caught and I honestly couldn't tell you what kinds of things might happen then. If I had to guess, a black hole will open up and the earth will collapse on itself. So tread lightly. My pieces ere 8.5 inches, so I was set to plane and it all came out great. I then square up the sizes of each piece in preparation for ripping strips again. 

I ripped 25 total strips at 1.5" from my 5 pieces, meaning I could get two boards (one with 12 strips, one with 13).

I laid out my pieces on my clamps, flipped a few pieces to mix up the end grain pattern, and then rotated them 90° in preparation for my end grain glue up. 

Same recommendation as before. Use ample glue, spread it well to cover all of your surfaces, square up your edges with scrap pieces or a mallet, and clamp slowly to avoid slipping. Also, you should clamp from the top to avoid bowing, and you can go back after 10 minutes and wipe off excess glue with a wet rag. 

As hard as I tried, this didn't quite glue up flat. I think my surface was uneven to start. You live and you learn. 

Now there is a ton of controversy in the woodworking community about planing end grain. This being my first project and just unsure of all of the consequences, I chose to use my stationary belt sander to flatten everything. It took quite a bit of time, but worked well and left me with a smooth flat finish on both faces and all of the sides. 

I opted to not use a router to take down my edges. Instead, I could just rotate my piece slowly on the belt sander and they rounded out very nicely. Had I wanted another edge style, I might have chosen the other route. After belt sanding, I switched to orbital sanding at 120, followed by hand sanding at 220, 320, and 400, including a wet sanding at 220. Oil won't raise the grain, but knowing this is a cutting board that will likely get wet quite a bit, I wanted to make sure I did a wet sanding to avoid having the wood rough up down the road. I was so stoked at this point at how this project was coming together. 

I'm using a food safe mineral oil specific for cutting boards for this project. This is definitely the most satisfying part of the build. Seeing the grain pop was a lovely experience. I applied two coats an hour apart and wiped off any excess oil once it had dried. 

My pour over station uses five galvanized pipe pieces including (all 1/2"):

  • Floor Flange
  • 8" Nipple
  • Elbow Fitting
  • 1/2" Nipple
  • Tee Fitting

That all are screwed together and held in place with friction. I'd recommend cleaning your pieces with a degreaser or dish soap (at a minimum) before final assembly. 

Last up, I measured out, marked my drill holes, drilled pilot holes, and screwed in and tightened my pipe flanges to one end of my cutting board. And then I was done! I'd call this first project a success. 

Now all I need to do is buy a funnel for the pour over station!

Really digging this thing!

TOOLS
RYOBI 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
12” Rafter Square
RYOBI Cordless Orbital Sander
RYOBI Cordless Orbital Sander
RYOBI Combo Power Tool Kit
RYOBI Drill Bit Set

ROCKLER Bench Cookies (Set of 4)
Wen 12.5” Thickness Planer
BESSEY Economy 2.5” x 24” Clutch Clamps
BESSEY H Style Pipe Clamps
Hand Sanding Sponges (220, 320, and 400 grit)
Rubber Mallet
5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Wet Dry Vacuum
Air CompressorShop Vacuum
Screw Driver
Spray Bottle (for wet sanding)

Thanks for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every other week.

Cheers!

Zach

 

The Vintage Wooden Crates

 

Thanks for checking out the full article! Please Subscribe to our Youtube Channel by clicking here.

My full video of the build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools, materials, and measurements! 

As stated in the video - the awesome thing about this project is how easy it is to make a few of these crates from just one sheet of plywood - I purchased a single $40 piece and was able to build three large ones specific to the free space I have.

MATERIALS
1 x 4' x 8' Plywood (3/4" thick)
Minwax Colonial Maple
Minwax Wipe On Satin Polyurethane
TiteBond II Wood Glue
1” Brad Nails
1” Pocket Hole Screws
Black Inkjet Printer Ink

Here is a simple diagram of how I went about slicing up my wood. The red highlights are excess wood you'll have left over for another project. I ended up not using all of the longer strips as well.

My measurements can be found below when I show all of my cut up pieces, but realistically, you can make these to any size or shape you want - just make sure you plan out roughly what you'll be able to cut from the wood you purchase so you don't run out halfway through and need to go to the store again!

I started out by using my newly purchased Kreg Rip Cut and Ryobi Circular Saw to make large rips of my plywood - the Rip Cut is a great substitute tool for those who don't have a table saw or do not have someone to help assist you in feeding/ripping large pieces of wood. 

Once I had my larger strips ripped, I took to my Miter Saw to cut the pieces into their final size. In the pictures above, I'm ripping my Front/Back pieces as well as my Side pieces. For the side pieces, since they were 21" long (much longer than any Miter Saw can cut), I cut one side of the piece, then flipped it over and lined it back up with my blade to finish the cuts. 

Using the Miter Saw was much more efficient for the smaller cuts as the Rip Cut, although awesome, gets tricky when trying to make smaller cuts (the large straight ruler is not adjustable in length, so if you try to clamp small pieces of wood down, etc., the track will run into your clamps and you won't be able to make cuts without adjusting them). Hard to explain - but just trust me on this one. 

My measurements can be seen above as well - again - I cut them this way to fit my specific space. 

Next, I took to creating my logos. Now, I don't have a laser cutter or a CNC machine and I wasn't looking to purchase any stencils, etc., so I researched and found a DIY method that is awesome and can be easily replicated by anyone with a printer.

I chose Coca Cola and Anhueser Busch as my two "classic logos" and then created my own Cutting Bored logo w/location and dates using my own brand guidelines. Again - choose any logos you want for your projects!

This was an interesting process to go through as I had never done it before. The way you do it is to design your logos and then print them out at whatever size you want as a mirrored image onto wax paper. Wax paper is thin and tricky and can easily get bunched up in your printer feed, so I recommend taping it down to another sheet of regular printer paper so it feeds through easier. Also, feel free to print out very large logos on separate pieces of paper and then combine to form larger ones incase you think a standard 8.5 x 11" piece of paper will be too small - I did this with 2/3 of my boxes. 

Once your logo prints, press it against the wood you want to to apply it to (be accurate and meticulous about this as the ink immediately begins to bleed over) and use any credit card type object to flatten and push the ink onto the wood fully. NOTE - only inkjet printers will work for this method as the ink will be wet and won't stick well to the wax paper. If done correctly, the ink will bleed nicely into the wood permanently. If you want to go a different route, you can absolutely purchase stencils and spray paint and apply accordingly.

I also recommend using thicker logos for the ink method specifically - as you can see - the Cutting Bored and Coca Cola logos are much more legible than the Anhueser Busch logo. Still look great though!

I then drilled and assembled using my pocket hole jig and pocket hole screws - this is always my go to method for assembling projects that will have hidden joints. If you don't have a pocket hole jig, you can use wood screws, nails, or other types of joinery to piece together. 

All assembled! 

Sanded down using 60 grit sand paper to round all the edges and wear them down - your goal is to make them look old!

Decided to cut our holes for handles on the boxes. You can get super precise with this if you choose, but I mostly freehanded things using a hole saw and my jig saw - they work well for the theme of old/vintage for this project. 

I added a few slats to the Coca Cola box using glue and finish nails, then cut off the excess pieces using my jig saw. They help give a bit of different character to the box. 

Lastly, I applied a single coat of Minwax's Colonial Maple stain - after looking at all of Minwax's collection, Colonial Maple tended to have the closest resemblance to what old crates look like. I also added in a bit of American Walnut to darken it. I think they came out great. If I could go back, I think it might be fun to stain them all slightly different as to give them variety, but to each their own! I also applied a single coat of Minwax's Wipe On Satin Polyeurethane finish to give them protection and a bit of sheen. 

All finished and in their new home! These are fantastic for extra storage (I will use them to store smaller tools, film production equipment, and other electrical and building related equipment I own. If you want building information on the bench featured above, you can check out my blog on it here.

Now get out there and make something unique of your own!

TOOLS
RYOBI 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
RYOBI Miter Saw Stand
RYOBI Cordless Orbital Sander (60 Grit)
RYOBI Combo Power Tool Kit (Drill, Impact Driver, Circular Saw, Multi-Tool)
KREG K5 Pocket Hole Jig
KREG Rip Cut
12” Rafter Square
Hammer
Hole Saw (2”)
Hand Sanding Sponges (120 Grit)

 

FILM / EDIT EQUIPMENT:
Canon Rebel EOS T2i
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens
Rode Microphone
Voice Recording
Adobe Premiere (Editorial)

As always, thank you for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my new Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every two weeks.

Cheers!

Zach

 

Power-Carved "Lissome Table"

 

Thanks for checking out the full article! 

Full video build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools and measurements!
You can subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking here!

Wow! What an insane project. I really never know what I'm getting into with some of these ridiculous builds until I'm deep into it and realized how ambitious of a project it truly was. 

MATERIALS
8 x 1" x 3" Ash Hardwood (20 BF milled down)
Natural Danish Oil
TiteBond II Wood Glue

I drew inspiration for this piece from named Caleb Woodard, an incredibly talented woodworker who creates stunning pieces that have amazing shape and contour of all types and sizes. Thanks for the inspiration! Check out his page when you have a sec!

Lissome is a term that describes a shape as thin, supple, and graceful - so that was what I was going to go for with this one of a kind piece. 

My first step was to measure out the size of my space and determine a Length x Width x Height for my project. After that, I could determine what I wanted my rough shape to look like, and from that, I could determine the amount of material to purchase. 

My methodology for this was as such:

  1. Determine Length x Width x Height of table
  2. Divide the depth (width) of my table into "slices" of a certain width (I chose 3") so that I could have five slices at 3" wide to make the final width of 15" for my table
  3. Determine what I want the outside shapes to look like (roughly)
  4. Determine the shape of the inner three slices so that I could transition from one outside shape to another - this was a lot of trial and error until I got to a shape I was happy with
  5. Create a side profile of your shape to make sure the transition is adequate
  6. Knowing now the five layer/slices I'd wan to build, determine the number of laminated pieces I'd need for each slice shape, and then transition those numbers to an overall lumber order
  • The first photo shows my five slices. 
  • The second photo shows those slices color coded based on the length of each piece (example: red = 5 inches)
  • The third photo is all of my pieces mapped out on dimensional lumber. I determined I'd need to order 8 x 10' x 4/4 stock wood cut at 3" wide each. Thus, each slat would be 10' long, roughly 1" thick, and 3" wide. 
Image 5.jpg

Above is the final number of pieces I cut for this project - it was a bit time consuming but probably the fastest part of the whole project! Just set up a stop on your miter saw. 

Next, I could begin laminating my individual slices. I took this slow and consistently referenced my design plans (print them out for reference). Since I chose not to use finish nails to hold my pieces in place as I did not want to hit anything when I was eventually carving this piece down, I took the clamping very slowly, just slowly tightening each section so that nothing slipped and it all stayed flat. Doing this on top of a flat piece of plywood was very helpful and avoided any big mess in my driveway. 

A tip I picked up from Lumberjocks for spreading glue is to use an old credit card - works quickly and very efficiently for getting a thin, solid layer of glue. I let each glue up cure for 12 hours each. 

I repeated this process for each of my five layers. Again - this will take some time, so prep accordingly, as you want to give each section proper time to cure. 

Even though I was careful to keep things flat, the pieces still needed flattening on each end before laminating. I used my stationing belt sander for this - and it was very quick and efficient. You can see the difference in the first and third photo. They were all prepped for final lamination now. 

Again - no finish nails to hold this in place, so with each layer I stacked, I took it slow, spread the glue evenly, and clamped up incrementally to avoid slipping. The photos show the progression of each layer, resulting in the final raw shape in the last photo. Not bad right?

I also laminated my table top at this point (my 5 x 23" pieces) - very simple and straight forward - just make sure to use clamps on the top and bottom to avoid any "bowing" and spread the glue evenly. After 10 minutes, you can go back and wipe away excess squeeze out. Let it dry for 12 hours before doing any work on it. I wasn't sure what my final length would be for the top, so I aimed high knowing I could cut away whatever I needed. 

Time to shape! ArborTech sent me their Turboplane Blade for free to use in this project. It comes with everything you need to attach it to your 4" or 4.5" angle grinder. 

This thing is POWERFUL. I love it and was so excited to use it to shape my final table. Below is a sequence of photos of me carving up my piece.

I tried every method in the book to sand this down, starting with belt sanding (80 grit), orbital sanding (60 grit) for curves, more fine shaping with the Turboplane, use of a small dremel sander, and then hand sanding with 60, 120, 220, 320,and 400 grit papers. 

However, no matter what I did - I just couldn't get this thing to flatten out - it was smooth, but it was wavy and frankly, looked like crap. If you reference the second photo where I am orbital sanding, you can see the grooves I am referring to - those just couldn't be flattened with my current methods. At this point, I was very close to giving up (or settle for lame), but chose instead to go through a bunch of channels to figure out how to flatten wood carvings, etc..

Enter - some good advice from Caleb Woodard himself and the 40 grit flap disc. This was a game changer. I removed the blade guard on my angle grinder and went to town on my project. Within an hour or two of consistent sanding - being careful not to push too hard but hard enough where needed or staying in one spot too long to avoid burning, this thing suddenly smoothed out like crazy. Wood shaping at its finest!

I then could switch to finer sanding (again!!), including orbital and hand sanding at 120 and 220 grit. This really helped bring out the smoothness in the contour of the piece. I finished with a dry and wet sanding at 320 grit, and this thing was ready for finishing. Flat as can be and smooth as ever!

Below are the steps for cleaning up the table top.

I flattened/sanded down the surface on my stationary sander, which got rid of nearly all of the glue. I then cut to my final length using my circular saw (I also cleaned up the edge straight on my stationary sander as I didn't have a straight edge to follow).

I then used a 1/2" round over bit with my plunge router on the under side of the table to give it a sleeker profile (my first time ever using a router - they're wonderful). Lastly, I went up through the grits from 120 to 320 to smooth down the top in prep for finish. 

To finish things off, I wiped on a coat of Natural Danish Oil using a microfiber rag to both the top of the table and the table itself. I love this stuff - makes the grain pop beautifully and allows you to feel the wood once it cures. I recommend it for any project where you just want to make it pop!

And finally...I was done! the picture below doesn't do it justice (maybe?), but I'm thrilled with the coolness of it. I think my favorite part is the cool transitions between the edge grain and the end grain. And overall, it just looks awesome. 

Everyone has asked me if I am planning to ditch the wood table top and substitute in a glass top. I think now, after seeing it all put together, I will do this - but I just won't be able to finalize it immediately - so for now. Enjoy!

Few final tips for you here:

  • The TurboPlane works well to carve lots of material away as well as do fine planing - after I carved everything down I went back and did light passes to further shape and contour the project to cut down on sanding
  • A flap disc is a must to take down the carving grooves - you will not be able to flatten out the curves to make it smooth flowing otherwise (as far as I can tell)
  • An orbital sander works best to begin giving you the rounded smooth shape you want, followed by hand sanding with a sanding sponge.
  • The TurboPlane makes a MESS! So be prepared for shavings to be everywhere and you to be covered in sawdust. 
  • Buy a face protector and gloves for this, and wear a long sleeve shirt when carving/sanding - you'll need to be shielded properly from all the material flying everywhere
  • Do not make your blank shape too small - if you do, you'll really struggle to get your angle grinder into the tight gaps and thus potentially ruin your project before it even has a chance

TOOLS
ARBORTECH TURBOPlane Blade
MAKITA Paddle Switch 4.5” Angle Grinder
RYOBI 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
RYOBI Miter Saw Stand
RYOBI Cordless Orbital Sander
RYOBI Belt Sander
RYOBI Stationary Bench Sander
RYOBI Router Set
RYOBI Drill Bit Set
ROCKLER Bench Cookies (Set of 4)
BESSEY Economy 2.5” x 12” Clutch Clamps
BESSEY Economy 2.5” x 24” Clutch Clamps
BESSEY H Style Pipe Clamps
Hand Sanding Sponges (120, 220, 320, and 400 grit)
Flap Discs (4.5", 40 Grit)
12” Rafter Square
5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Wet Dry Vacuum
Air Compressor
Spray Bottle for wet sanding

FILM / EDIT EQUIPMENT: 
Canon Rebel EOS T2i:  
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens
Rode Microphone
Voice Recording
Adobe Premiere (Editorial)

Thanks for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every other week.

Cheers!

Zach

 

The Floating Stump Stool

 

Thanks for checking out the full article! 

Full video build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools and measurements!
You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here!

NOTE for any stump project you take on:..
Embrace the flexibility of the project. Don't settle for simple stains or oils - figure out what will work the best for the vibe of your home through research and make your stump look the best you can. Stumps aren't cheap and sometimes tough to find, so make sure you do your homework on this project before diving in!

In the second episode of my stump series, I am going to upcycle a second stumped that I reclaimed from the Mammoth firewood pile  back in May of 2016. This stump had also been drying out for the better part of a year - amazing how much weight in moisture it lost!

MATERIALS
1 x Stump (I think it's oak but I have no clue)
1 x Scrap Plywood (9" x 9" at least for me)
Minwax Clear Finish Polyurethane
Bleach (to clean the wood)

First up was debarking, which was even easier this time around. The bark basically fell off it was so dry. 

This stump had a few larger branch ends sticking out. My hacksaw was garbage, so I used a mix of my dull saw and a hammer/chisel to get most of this off - not efficient by any means. 

Next up was sanding in the following order:

Belt Sander (60 grit) - LOTS OF IT
Orbital Sander (90 grit)
Hand Sanding (120 grit)
Hand Sanding (220 grit)

My stump was already flat on the surface, but if you needed to square it up, you could do so with a router sled jig - here is a good article on using a router sled to flatten. 

Next up was finishing. Like my previous stump project, I wanted to avoid oils or stains as well as match the previous look, so I again chose to just use a semi gloss poly finish to bring out the grain and make the stump shine using just it's natural look.

I sprayed down my stump with compressed air before finishing to clear it of all saw dust. 

I applied four total liberal coats of poly onto my stump in total, letting each one dry properly then sanding down with 120 an 220 grit sandpaper in between each coat to keep it smooth and clean. After my final coat, I upped my sanding further using 320 and 420 grit paper. 

I wanted my stump to appear as though it floated. My next steps were as follows:

  1. Measure diameter of stump (12 inches)
  2. Translate that measurement less three inches (9 inches) to a piece of scrap plywood
  3. Cut out my 9 inch square with circular saw
  4. Cut off corners to form rough octagon - goal here is just to round off. Ideally this would be a circle to fit the shape of the stump, but it isn't necessary as you'll never see this piece. 
  5. Give a thumbs up for cutting wood

Next, you can take 3-4 wood screws and pre drill them into your piece. I didn't bother with pilot holes here but you're more than welcome to do it if you think you might get stuck and not be able to drill through. Then, flip your stump upside down, position the octagon in the middle of the stump, and drill in your three screws to the bottom of it.

This is where you can cheat the system and not fully drill in your screws. This will allow you to create a flat bottom for your stump, regardless of whether or not it is perfectly level. 

And then you're done. Simple. Beautiful. Flip that baby over and admire your new floating stump. 

TOOLS
RYOBI Cordless Orbital Sander
RYOBI Belt Sander
RYOBI Power Drill
RYOBI Drill Bit Set
Rubber Mallet
Chisel
Hand Sanding Sponges (120, 220, 320, and 420 grit)
5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Wet Dry Vacuum
Tape Measure
Paint Brush
Air Compressor (can't find my model anywhere!)
Shitty Old Hack Saw

FILM / EDIT EQUIPMENT: 
Canon Rebel EOS T2i:  
Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens
Rode Microphone
Voice Recording
Adobe Premiere (Editorial)

Thanks for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my new Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every two weeks.

Cheers!

Zach

 

The Butcher Block Desk

 

Thanks for checking out the full article! 

Full video build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools and measurements! You can subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking here!

I have been really excited to build this project. This was one of those projects that was simple and complex all at once, with the goal being that the final result comes off as very minimal and sleek looking.

I did my research and couldn't really find any cool projects involving skinny modern desks, but knew I wanted a cool butcher block look to my desk - so I got to work. 
 

MATERIALS

10 x 1" x 2" Red Oak Slats (buy from a local hardwood dealer!)
4 x 28” Three Rod Raw Steel Hairpin Legs
Natural Danish Oil
TiteBond II Wood Glue
1.5” Brad Nails 
Frog Tape

    I purchased 10 x 8 ft Red Oak slats at Home Depot in their premium hardwood section by the lumber. About $126 worth which was way too much money for wood (that I later found out...). I wanted my desk to be about 5 feet in length and just under a foot wide, so purchasing 10 was perfect for this project BUT left me very little wiggle room on the back end - so be aware of that. 

    I clamped my wood together and cut it all at once on the miter saw - taking it slow to avoid any tear out. I cut 10 slats into 61", leaving me another 10 at 35" which I could then mix into the larger slats to make the final desk width, as seen in the third pic above. 

    Next up, because I wanted a butcher block look to my desk, I went in an marked and taped up (again to avoid tear out) a bunch of additional areas that I wanted to cut further. This technique works great - highly recommend the tape!

    Once I had cut everything, I went back and rearranged pieces, flipped them over, swapped them for pieces of similar length, etc. just to mix up the variety of the grain. 

    I then removed the tape and began the glue up. I took this once slat at a time, making sure to apply a shitload of glue to maximum squeeze out and keep everything flat to the wood as well as the ground. I did this by gluing up a piece, pushing it against the other piece of wood, clamping it temporarily in place, then using finish nails to keep it there temporarily and avoid slipping in the final clamp up. 

    I used about 11 clamps overall for the final clamp up and it was just the right amount. After your glue has settled for roughly 30 minutes, i went in and wiped and scraped off all of the excess you can to make the clean up the next day easier. 

    I let it cure for roughly 20 hours (12 should do just fine!)

    I then squared everything up on the miter saw the next day, taking me to my final length. I forgot tape here, so if you choose to not use tape on your square ups, just take the cuts slow. My stock carbide blade on my miter saw handled it just fine. 

    Next was sanding (and in this order):

    60 grit (belt sander)
    90 grit (orbital sander)
    120 grit (hand sanding)
    220 grit (hand sanding)
    220 grit (wet hand sanding to raise grain)
    320 grit (hand sanding)
    400 grit (hand sanding)

    This thing was incredibly smooth by the end. I recommend using scrap wood to put on the outside of your piece if you use pipe clamps like I do as it allows you to get to all the edges with now issues. 

    BTW - a router jig sled or a thickness planer can solve a good portion of the tedious flattening process I went through. I just don't have either nor can I afford them or store them anywhere. 

       

    Big shout out to The Hairpin Leg Co for their support in making this project happen. Cheers boys. 

    Next, I attached the legs. I measured 1" in from each corner using my rafter square to mark a location to put my legs. I then marked and predrilled holes for my screws, and then secured the hardware using 4 x screws for each hairpin leg that were provided. They are very sturdy.

    Make sure you don't drill through your desktop - you can use tape to help indicate a depth to drill to on your drill bit if you have any reservations. About 3/4" should do just fine for you.

    Last up was finishing. I used a natural Danish Oil finish. I love Danish Oil as it soaks into the wood nicely leaving a very smooth finish that brings out the grain and protects the wood but still allows you to feel that grain when you touch your project. I applied two coats 30 min apart, letting the oil soak in each time and harden, then wiped off the excess. After 24 hours and one final wipe down, I was all done!

    Couple of final shots for you. Now this thing is not perfectly flat, which is a product of using only sanding to get it down. Not an excuse, but hard to monitor sometimes and even harder to perfect. If I ever have convenient access to a planer I might run it through a few times and reapply oil as it will be even flatter. But whatever, right?

    TOOLS

    RYOBI 10 in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw
    RYOBI Miter Saw Stand
    RYOBI Cordless Orbital Sander
    RYOBI Belt Sander
    RYOBI Cordless Brad Nailer
    RYOBI Drill Bit Set
    BESSEY Economy 2.5” x 12” Clutch Clamps
    BESSEY Economy 2.5” x 24” Clutch Clamps
    BESSEY H Style Pipe Clamps
    12” Rafter Square
    Hammer
    Rubber Mallet
    Hand Sanding Sponges  (120, 220, 320, and 400 grit) + Spray Bottle
    5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Wet Dry Vacuum 
    Tape Measure
    Air Compressor

    FILM / EDIT EQUIPMENT: 

    Canon Rebel EOS T2i:  
    Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens
    Rode Microphone
    Voice Recording
    Adobe Premiere (Editorial)

    Thanks for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my new Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every two weeks.

    Cheers!

    Zach

     

    How to build a Stump Side Table

     

    Thanks for checking out the full article! 

    Full video build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools and measurements! You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here!

    I was in Mammoth back in May of 2016 and happened to come across a tree that had been cut down into a bunch of stumps sitting on the side of the road. They seemed awesome, so I snagged a few for future projects. After letting them dry out for the better part of a year and losing most of their weight in water, I finally decided to make something of them. This was part one of the stump projects!

    MATERIALS
    1 x Stump (I think it's oak)
    3 x 10" Hairpin Legs
    9 x wood screws (size 8)
    Semi Gloss Polyurethane
    Bleach (to clean the wood)

    Here is the stump as it was before starting. It was in great shape and cut nearly flat already which was a huge bonus. If you don't have a stump that is already flat, you can flatten it using either a hand planer or, if you have access to one and feel comfortable using it, a chain saw.

    I think this is oak wood...but I really don't know. 

    I spent a good half hour using a chisel and mallet to debark the stump. My back hurt a lot after this. You can see in the up close that this tree was likely already dead due to the bark beetle infestation plague California, thus why it was likely cut down for scraps in the first place. Oh well, at least I got something out of it...

    Then it was on to sanding. I used my belt sander at 60 grit to take off most of the rough stuff. Drone shots of sanding are a must!

    This took a considerable amount of time given how rough this log was. For anyone looking to their own DIY project, it is completely up to you on how much you want to take down the roughness of your stump as each person might want something slightly different for their home. 

    After using the belt sander, I used my orbital sander at 90 grit to begin rounding the edges, followed by a pass with my sanding block at 120 and 200 grit to get a good smooth finish.

    I also lightly wiped bleach, washed it off, and let it dry again as there were parts of the wood that had a bit of stain due to small amounts of mold from sitting around for so long - not necessary for every project, but this is a method I read about for keeping the wood healthy long term.

    I also did a round of wet sanding in this to raise the grain and smooth further. 

    I had two stumps, so here is a difference between my smoothed down stump and a stump I had only debarked. Crazy right? The right stump would still have made for a cool looking project in this form! 

    I then moved to finishing. I have tried various methods for stump projects, but had stumbled upon a really cool (old) website that seems like it is no longer updated that had a cool gallery of naturally finished stump projects. I wanted to avoid oils or stains, so I chose instead to just use a semi gloss poly finish to bring out the grain and make the stump shine using just it's natural look. 

    I started with a coat of wipe on poly, but then quickly switched to brush on poly as it wasn't very thick nor was it doing the job of bringing out the beauty I wanted. 

    I applied four total liberal coats of poly onto my stump in total, letting each one dry properly then sanding down with 120 an 220 grit sandpaper in between each coat to keep it smooth and clean. After my final coat, I upped my sanding further using 320 and 420 grit paper. These things were VERY smooth!

    Lastly, I added a set of three hairpin legs (10" in my case) to the bottom. I chose 10" because I wanted my table to be a certain height. Each project will have individual needs. 

    To do this, I marked out where I'd want my legs to go - in this case, it was just around the center and was relatively easy to line up things. I then marked and predrilled holes for my screws, and then secured the hardware using 3 x wood screws for each hairpin legs. 

    I love the look of this type of hardware - it literally can take any DIY wood project and up its coolness factor immedietely. 

    IMG_0535.JPG

    Final picture of the stump. Up close, the wood grain looks awesome and the shiny smooth finish of the poly brings out the natural finish of the tree in an amazing way. 

    I love knowing I took something dying and left for scrap firewood and made something fun and unique out of it. 

    TOOLS
    RYOBI Cordless Orbital Sander
    RYOBI Belt Sander
    RYOBI Power Drill
    RYOBI Drill Bit Set
    Rubber Mallet
    Hand Sanding Sponges (120, 220, 320, and 420 grit)
    Chisel
    5-Gallon 4.5 Peak HP Wet Dry Vacuum
    Tape Measure
    Paint Brush
    Air Compressor

    FILM / EDIT EQUIPMENT: 
    Canon Rebel EOS T2i:  
    Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens
    Rode Microphone
    Voice Recording
    Adobe Premiere (Editorial)

    Thanks for reading! I would be so grateful if you could please subscribe to my new Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every two weeks.

    Cheers!

    Zach

     

    Building a Skateboard Stool

     

    Thanks for checking out the full article! 

    Full video build is below, followed by detailed instructions with tools and measurements! You can subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here!

    I happened to have a skate deck sitting around my apartment, and I knew that at my parents place, they had a full skate deck that no one had touched in 10 years. I did a bit of research and found a bunch of cool DIY skateboard projects that I knew I could tackle in half a day. My design didn't quite match up with other ones I saw - most required 3+ boards which I didn't have, but I did a bit of math and figured out what I could make. Hope you enjoy! 

    MATERIALS
    2 x Skateboards (both were 8.25"W x  30.25" L)
    1 x Skateboard Truck w/associated washers and nuts

    4 x Screws (Phillips head, #10, "24" thread count, 3" long)
    8 x Nuts (#10, "24 thread count)

    Here are my two decks - it does not matter what condition your boards are in or if they have grip tape or not - just get two boards and get excited about the project! They also can be different lengths and widths!

    I started by removing the trucks - you can save the hardware but you won't need it for this particular project. 

    I measured and cut my two boards to 19" long. This length is totally up to you and doesn't make or break the design - feel free to cut whatever length you want - just make sure you make them equal and keep in mind that you'll want to keep a good amount left over for the seat! I'd say for a stool, stick to 17"+.

    I marked out how I was going to cut out my pieces. Draw a line down the middle (it can go as far down as you want - I don't even remember my length!), and then connect that center point to your two corners. You can cut this out using any cutting tool - hand saw, jig saw, circular saw, table saw, or band saw. I used my circular saw as that was easiest.

    I cut my second piece the same by using the first triangle I had cut out to marked the lines. This kept them nearly identical. Next, I sanded down the cut edges with 60 grit sand paper using my orbital sander. 

    Feel free to sand these down as fine as you want. I followed up the orbital sanding with a hand sanding block at 120 grit (not pictured). 

    Next - remove the wheels from one of the trucks - you can keep them and use them for a future project. Keep the hardware close - you'll need it later!

    I marked a point 4" down and in the center of my legs (this