Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Adirondack Chair

I decided to make my husband an Adirondack Chair for Christmas.  I had a purchased plan, plus 3 or 4 others from magazines and the internet.  From my online research, many people said the "typical" Adirondack chair, or Muskoka chair, as it's known as around here, was hard to get out of.  They do sit quite low to the ground with a steep back slant to the seat.  Since I wanted my husband to be able to get back out of the chair (for obvious reasons), I decided on the "improved design" Norm Abram Adirondack Chair in Popular Woodworking Magazine, and also at their website.

The article, with parts list and step-by step directions used to be available free online, but it is now available as a download:  Popular Woodworking: Norm Abrams Adirondack Chair

 I used rough pine for the chair, which meant I needed to pick out pieces without loose knots, and with areas that looked clear as possible for the parts I had to make, and then joint and plane them to size. The thickness of all the parts is 3/4", the legs, front crosspiece and seat slats are rectangular, with no need to make fancy cuts on.  The tops of the back slats, the arms, arm brackets, side members and rear crosspieces need to be cut to shape.  I used my jigsaw but a bandsaw would be easier (I don't have one yet).

Jigsaw cutting the side member:

All the pieces laid out:

Closer photo of just the back slats:

The chair is put together with screws as well as some carriage bolts.  For the screws I plug them afterward, so each place a screw goes needs a hole for the screw as well as a larger hole for the plug.
**This "how-to" will be a blog post in the near future**

These next two photos show the arm with it's three large holes and the front crosspiece, lower rear crosspiece and leg with two large holes (on each side), waiting for the plugs to go in:


Now you can see the upper rear crosspiece is bolted on and the holes are all plugged in the arms, legs and front crosspiece:

Side view:

While the chair was at this stage I painted it with 3 coats of exterior house paint.  After making similar child size chairs ( here ) I realized it would be much easier to paint the slats before they were attached to the chair. It's hard to get the paint in between the slats, so the chair base was painted and just the backs and sides of the back slats and seat slats.  I couldn't paint the fronts yet because the screws still had to be attached and plugged.

All the base painted and back slats (with just their backs and sides painted) attached:

Two views of the chair all painted:

Since my husband is a Montreal Canadiens fan, I decided to put the team logo on the chair.  I found it online and printed it on my printer to the size I needed.  Then I cut it out and traced around the parts to transfer it to the chair. I used acrylic craft paints for the white and blue, and some painters tape to keep the lines straight.

Here it is:


This is a very comfortable chair and he was happy to get it as his present!

Update:  Here's the post on finally finishing my chair!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tea-light candle holder

I decided to make my friend a tea-light holder out of worn barn wood for Christmas.  She has a beautiful country farm house and this will fit in with her decor.

I found a piece of wood in my shop about 3 3/4" wide and an inch thick.  I cut a piece about 16" long.
Then I cut two pieces about 1" wide from the same board for "feet."

I gathered up my tea-lights and traced their circular base centered on the wood so that I could fit 5 candles along the width.

The circles were cut out with my little trim router, to a depth of about 1/2 that of the metal base of the candle. (You could use a drill press with a forstner bit, but I didn't have the right size for that, so "I did it my way!")

I used my table saw to cut out notches for the feet. I ran it by a few times until it was the correct width.
(You could use a dado blade, but I was too lazy to set it up, so "I did it my way!")

I glued in the feet and gave the whole thing a touch-up sanding only since I want this to remain rustic looking.

I hope she likes it!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Plywood storage boxes

Everyone can use some more storage containers!  I made these for my husband, so he could store things in the garage and just grab the box he needed when working on something.

The boxes are made of  1/2" plywood, and not the good smooth stuff.  There are knots and grooves, etc. but I didn't think that mattered for this purpose. These measure 12" x 16"  when finished, but of course they could be made in any size. The end pieces are 12" x 6" deep and the side pieces are 16" x 6" deep.  The bottom is 1/4" plywood and is about 11 1/2" x 15 1/2" and fits into a groove in the sides and ends.

I joined them with glued box joints.  Each "finger" is 1/2" wide and 1/2" deep.  I used a dado blade on the tablesaw and a homemade box-joint jig.  I won't go into how to make one now, there are plans on the internet, although maybe in the future I'll do my own tutorial on that. The wood piece is clamped to the jig and then the whole jig slides over the saw blade to cut one space at a time.  The wood piece is then unclamped, moved over, and run across the blade again.  I always use a scrap piece behind the good piece, otherwise there is usually tearout, especially on something like plywood. What is important is that each piece fits into the other, not too tightly that you have to hammer it together, but not too loosely so that it would fall apart without the glue.  I always practice on scrap wood until I can get a good fit.

For the ends of the boxes I decided to cut out handle holes.  They are centered on the end piece and down about 1" from the top and make about a 4" wide total hole. This is done on the drill press with a hole cutter.  The one I used was 1 1/4" diameter, here it is ready to cut a hole in one end of the handle.  The end piece is clamped to the drill press table with a piece of scrap wood underneath.


Here it is started:

After the one hole is cut, just move over and cut the other one. Here's the two holes cut out.  After that you run your jigsaw between them on the top and bottom connecting lines.

There is a 1/4" groove run across the bottom of all the pieces, up 1/2" from the bottom, that will hold in the bottom 1/4" plywood. That I did on the router table using a 1/4" straight bit.  I made three boxes at the same time, so there are 6 sides and 6 ends and 3 bottoms.   I sanded and then put a couple coats of shellac on the insides of all the 15 pieces (I didn't shellac the part below the groove, since that will be on the outside of the box and therefore painted the same colour as the box.

The boxes are then glued up and tightly clamped for a couple hours.  I used 8 clamps.  As woodworkers say, one can never have too many clamps!

  I painted the outside of each of the boxes a different colour.

These boxes are very sturdy and I'm sure will come in handy.  I should have made myself some!

Sharing at:
Knick of Time

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rudolph lives here!

I live in Northern Ontario, probably closer than most of you to the North Pole and I have a really nice little log barn that sits about 70' back from the road.  For years I have wanted to put a decoration on the dutch door (door that is divided in two horizontally) that faces the road.  I wanted it to appear as if Rudolph was inside the barn looking out. Fortunately we have had a very mild November, and a chance for me to to work on the decoration ideas I had in my head.

Here's the before photo:

First I had to measure the top opening, just above the horizontal wood piece, so it looks like he is leaning out over the bottom door section. I didn't have a piece of plywood tall enough to fit the opening, so I just cut it wide enough and then I will piece it  together to make the top, where it will say Merry Christmas.  After looking at the size, and drawing it out on paper, I realized "Merry Christmas" was too wide to fit across the opening without looking jammed tight in there.  It would be hard to read, so I revised the plan and decided to just have "Merry" at the top and "Christmas" at the bottom.

So, I drew out a reindeer after getting inspiration from looking at some clip art on the internet.  I wanted it to be a cartoon type reindeer, not lifelike. I painted the background with two coats of black exterior paint and used some wood stain for Rudolph's body and face colour, because that's all I had that was brown.  The wood stain had to be covered with a clear coat, so I used some outdoor spar varnish I already had.
 The start of Rudolph:

What I wanted to do was have Rudolph's antlers stick out from the plywood.  I freehand drew and cut out two, mirror images, out of plywood and coated them with the varnish.

Two antlers:

For the wood parts of the sign I cut two pieces of plywood and painted them with two coats of red exterior paint.  I sketched the word Merry for the top part and Christmas for the bottom part. The words were then painted with two coats of green exterior paint.

The start of "Merry" on the top piece:

Apparently I hadn't planned well for the lighting of Rudolph's nose.  The large plywood would be screwed flat to the barn door and I needed a way to have a red Christmas light for his nose.  I decided to make a new "snout" for him, which was raised up off the base of the plywood.  I cut a large circle out of plywood and attached it raised up on two scraps of wood just enough  to allow the bulb's base to sit underneath unseen. I cut a hole for the bulb and then painted red around the area the nose would be.  The light string then travels under the snout and out the side, so no ugly plastic shows there.

Also, how to attach those antlers?  I cut the bottoms of them on an angle and then made matching angled plywood pieces to attach to the base.  This way the antlers sit angled out from his head. (Afterwards  I painted the antler braces black so that they wouldn't show up).

View of the new muzzle and the antlers attached:


I decided to have his hoofs hold the bottom part of the sign.  I made the two legs out of plywood, stained to match the body, with two black hoofs at the bottom, which could be screwed to the "Christmas" part of the sign, and then attached to the body at the shoulder area.

 Here's the legs and bottom sign:


Here it is all attached to the barn door with the string of lights around the whole thing:

As you can see, it snowed overnight so I got it up just in time... here comes winter!

Here's what he looks like lit up at night (it doesn't show here but his nose does shine red in real life!):

I'm quite sure no one has the same log barn as I do, but I hope I gave some of you some ideas for your own creations.

sharing at The Hankful House

Monday, November 23, 2009

Child's Chair - make your own

Today I'm going to show you how to make a nice wooden child's chair.  I found the pattern for this on the internet at Creekside Woodshop:   Lauren's Chair

Thanks to Ron, who made this chair initially for his granddaughter, the full pattern with measurements and instructions are there. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of free woodworking patterns around the web that friendly woodworkers have been so generous to share with us.

I did make a few small changes, by lengthening the legs and lengthening and putting a bit different shape on the back slats, but it's basically the same. Mine is 17" in width and 14" from front to back.  The seat height is 7 1/2" and the back height is 24".  I think it would fit a child from about age 2 - 6 years old. I made the chair out of pine and used screws.

* tip* Before screwing, I always drill a hole through the upper piece of wood and use clamps to hold both pieces together.  This way the lower piece pulls into the upper one tightly and the wood doesn't split.

Here is the before photo of rough pine:

All the pieces were cut to width and length and well sanded:

You start by adding the side seat brace to the legs.

One for the left side and one for the right:

After that you stand up the sides and attach the front and back seat brace and the first seat slat at the front:

Add an arm on each side, they sit on top of the leg pieces flush with the inside of the legs:

Attach the upper back brace to the back of the arms.  Screw the middle and two outer back slats to the lower back brace before attaching to the chair.  (Sorry, I forgot to take a photo of that step)

Then sit that back section you just made between the arms and attach the lower back brace to the back legs:

Evenly space the remaining back slats as well as the seat slats and the small arm brace:

Here's another view:

Paint or stain as desired.  I used red exterior house paint and a brush, but maybe spray paint would be easier, since there's lots of crevices to get into.

What child wouldn't want one of these?

It really is hard to tell the size of the chairs by these photos, but remember the seat is only 7 1/2" off the floor.  They really are adorable. I've also made one in white and one in yellow (that one has the original shorter legs).  Of course you could decorate the chair with painted on flowers or something the child likes such as a cartoon character or animal or even the child's name to personalize it.

 Please let me know if you make a chair ...