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Jan 17, 2017

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Why You Definitely Need a Pocket Hole Jig System

Pocket Holes

Joining wood can be as much art as it is skill, and beautiful joinery really defines a piece of furniture. But for the times when you just need to quickly join a few pieces of wood securely, try the pocket-hole.  

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Jan 09, 2017

10 DIY Ideas to Stay Occupied While You're Snowed In

10 man-made snow day projects

This week they're predicting record-breaking winter storms in my area which means, aside from braving my drive to and from work, I'll be stuck inside. So, instead of heading to the grocery store for bread and milk I'm headed to the hardware store to get some supplies to keep myself busy under the snowpack.

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Jan 03, 2017

Weeknight Project: Make a Traditional Joiners Mallet Out of Firewood

 

"Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but that's because a wooden mallet just won't fit on a ring." Or so claims James Wright of WoodByWright in his video tutorial on how to create this joiner's mallet out of firewood. It's a wonderful afternoon project but I'll let you be the judge on how much the lady in your life may love it compared to a diamond...   

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Dec 28, 2016

Make This: Wooden Mountain Key Rack

Anyone who has grown up near in the mountains knows what it means to see the ridgeline. Being tucked in nearby some exciting geological features has a comfort and appeal, and, of course, great views. It's safe, secure, constant. The mountains invite adventure, and simplicity. To honor my own local Cascade range, I built this simple key rack that takes a bit of that wild adventure and brings it home.   

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Dec 15, 2016

Holiday How-to: Make DIY Wooden Gift Tags from Scrap...in Under 15 Minutes

Giving gifts? It's the best, right? Not cheap plastic things, and certainly not gift cards. But thoughtful custom - and most of the time handmade gifts - that I know someone will enjoy for years to come. Take a look at our list of 50 gifts for men here, and gifts for women here.

Of course, the gift has to be wrapped in something special as well. So, why would I want to use lame paper gift tags from the discount store after all that work? Here is a simple project to make some name tags that are as thoughtful as the gift.   

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Dec 13, 2016

DIY Gift Time: Make Beautiful Wooden Jewelry with Scrap and Simple Tools

Photo: Nelson Treehouse

If you're on the hunt for last-minute DIY gift ideas - it's definitely not too late to take a whack at these gorgeous wooden rings. They look great and the good news is you can make them without the need for a lathe, drill press or bandsaw!   

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Dec 02, 2016

A Dark Basement Becomes the New ManMade Workshop (+ Giveaway!)

This post was sponsored by KILZ, a brand that believes in makers and dream-shop builders everywhere. Thanks for supporting the brands that support ManMade.

A few years ago, if you'd asked me which tool I thought was the most important, I'd probably have punted, wavered a bit, and never decided on a single item. There are too many cool tools, and too many essential ones I use on every project. But if you'd asked me the same question last month, my answer would have been decidedly clear, and much more informed by a different kind of personal experience:  

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Nov 21, 2016

50 Gifts Under $50 For Men

Perhaps you've drawn a name for the office Secret Santa and it's time to pony up for a solid gift that won't break the bank. Maybe it's for your brother-in-law, a buddy who helped you move. Perhaps, even though you're thirty-two, your mom keeps on insisting you give her a complete wishlist from which she'll select her favorites. Whatever the reason, it's gift giving season. Here are 50 options to find something they (or you) will love.   

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Nov 14, 2016

Kitchen Upkeep: How to Breathe New Life into an Old Cutting Board

Mineral oil cutting board

About once a year, I give my go-to cutting boards a good once over to make sure they stay in top shape along the way. Our cutting boards take a lot of abuse in the kitchen. Most of the time care looks like simply wiping them down and storing them back safely into the cupboard. 

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Nov 11, 2016

4 DIY Wooden Beer Carriers You Should Make This Weekend

Beer Carrier
Credit: Vintage Zest

We spend a lot of time picking out our craft beers lately. Those fancy brews deserve better than a cheap cardboard carrier, so why not make something a bit more classy? Here are four great projects you can whip up easily.     

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Nov 03, 2016

How to: Drill Picture Perfect Countersinks

Countersinking hardware, such as screws or flathead bolts, is key to a sleek surface and a quality, finished look. But it doesn't always go smoothly, and the multiple bits can lead to tearout and misshapen holes.

Recently, I was making a jig from some hard maple that required precise countersunk holes for hardware alignment. I needed the hole to be placed exactly for registration, so I first drilled out the hole, and then the countersink. But every. single. hole. gave me fits. Once I finished one side of the jig, I was determined to come up with a better solution.    

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Nov 01, 2016

Roundup: 6 Masculine Ways to Use Plywood in Your Home

Plywood DIY Ideas

Plywood. We love it. It's affordable, it's easy to work, and brings all kinds of warmth and texture into any masculine-friendly decor.

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Oct 27, 2016

How to: Make an Easy DIY Wood Slice Serving Board

created at: 02/25/2014

Sometimes, the best DIY projects are also the simplest. This rustic cheese board takes less than an hour to whip up, and costs less than $10.00 in materials. Plus, it's easy to create even if you don't have access to a huge forest or wood pile, and doesn't require a chainsaw or any fancy power tools.  

Let's make one!   

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Oct 27, 2016

5 YouTube Channels Every Woodworker Needs to Watch Right Now

created at: 04/29/2015

The internet is full of great content. Inspiration for DIYers doesn't get much better than these five excellent woodworking makers.  

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Oct 25, 2016

DIY Idea: Make a Chalkboard Wall-Mounted Home Organizer

Every home has those horizontal surfaces where it's all too easy to let stuff gather. They're just lying there, all flat and empty, asking to be filled with things that could likely go in they're proper home if they only had one. 

In my house, it's the half-wall between the landing and the stairs. So I certainly know that when your countertops, desks, and other flat surfaces are continually filled with mail, errands, and other "to do" related goodies, it's time for an official solution. And since horizontal spaces just aren't working, you gotta go vertical.  

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Oct 25, 2016

Building a Bookshelf From a Single Sheet of Plywood

created at: 03/22/2015

Steve Ramsey's Woodworking For Mere Mortals is one of my favorite YouTube channels. Not only is he funny, he's honest. This is a great example of a simple idea and the challenges you face in the middle of a project.

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Oct 20, 2016

Idea to Steal: Use Firewood as Decor

created at: 01/13/2014

Simple idea, tons of texture...

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Oct 19, 2016

How to: Make Your Own Folding Camp Stool

I never pass up an opportunity to share a full-on, start-from-scratch DIY furniture project, especially one that means you get to spend more time hanging out outside.  

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Oct 18, 2016

Shop Skills: How to Clean Your Saw Blades

Dirty SawbladesMaintaining your shop tools starts with keeping those blades sharp and well lubricated. Here's a quick overview on how to tune up your cutting edges.  

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Oct 13, 2016

How to: Make Your Own Hardwood Kitchen Utensils

Photo: Dedricks (cc 2.0)

Whenever I do a magazine or book or blog interview, one of the most frequently asked questions, besides the standard "how did you get started?" is always along the lines of: what would you recommend to someone who's just beginning to develop their DIY skills?

My answer to both questions is more-or-less the same: find something you need in your life, and try to make it. Whether it's something that doesn't exist, or you can't afford, or needs some personalization, the beginnings of the handmade life always lie in finding the practical, everyday solutions you need in your life, and making them. The joy then comes from the inherent meaning of knowing your creating something with real value, and hopefully, the process itself becomes the goal.   

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