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Mar 21, 2017

How To: Make Super Simple Tree Branch Magnets

Last summer, in the midst of the August showers, a neighboring building lost a beautiful maple tree in a major thunderstorm. It was quickly disassembled by the electric company, presumably so it wouldn't fall onto the power lines. And there it sat. For weeks.

Then, a month or so later, I heard a loud grind out of my open windows (horray for open window weather!), and spied a big truck with a wood chipper in their yard.

"Surely," I thought, "they're just gonna grind up the small stuff and use the trunk for something." But, they just kept throwing in big, beautiful chunks of pure hardwood, turning it into mulch. I immediately rushed out and asked if I could have what hadn't been chopped.

The guy was very hesitant (apparently no one had ever proposed such a crazy thing), but allowed me to escape with an armful straight limbs and branches (sadly, no trunk segments) as long as I promised not to tell anyone. So, don't repeat that.

My branches have been seasoning and drying all fall and winter, and are now ready to be turned into all kinds of fun "bring the outdoors in" projects. First up, these playful tree branch magnets which cost a mere $1.00 and some glue to make, and can be whipped up in less than 30 minutes.  

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04593

Mar 16, 2017

I've Been Drilling Pilot Holes Wrong My Entire Life. Here's How I Learned to Correct My Technique.

So, ever since I learned to use an electric drill, I've followed this rule: when joining two pieces of wood, you drill an appropriately sized pilot hole completely through the top, and down into the second. This guides the screw, and the two pieces are held together when the screw's threads grab the wood and lock everything into place. The pilot hole's size is determined by the inner diameter of the screw's body, minus the threads. Right?

Wrong.    

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04592

Mar 15, 2017

How to: Make a Minimalist Wood and Leather Key Holder

When Erin discovered Anne Steensgaard's CatchMe keyholder online, she became instantly obsessed. Functional, beautiful, and full of organic textures and charm. Unfortunately, the piece is only sold in Boila stores, which are all located in Denmark or Sweden. 

But, she knew she couldn't rest until she had some

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02748

Mar 14, 2017

Free Download: Dozens of Old Wood Type Alphabets

created at: 10/21/2013

Type foundry Hoefler & Co. recently tweeted a link to this

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Mar 06, 2017

Inspiring Read: Boat Building with Merchant and Makers

Building a BoatI've wanted to build a boat ever since I sunk my small dingy on the Trinity Lake as a kid. Once I have the space, I will fashion a sea-worthy vessel and take it out to brave the ocean, or at least a sizeable pond.  

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04574

Feb 21, 2017

A Simple Woodworking Storage Project You Can Build This Weekend

I have a million e-mails. It's not actually a million, but it makes my soul feel that way. I know this feeling. It happens when I've been staring too long at a screen, clicking reply until I lose track of time and space and what name I'm supposed to sign in the sendoff. (It's Chris. My name is Chris.) The only way to fix it? Get away from the computer, turn on some music, and build something.

So let's go out to the shop and build a box that will never, ever have e-mails in it. Here's a simple woodworking project that can get you back to working with your hands, but isn't too fussy or complicated. And the cool part — it uses just a few basic tools and single board. When it's done, you'll have a stylish, versatile, stacking storage solution that will come in handy in any room in your house. 

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Feb 08, 2017

12 Ways to Add Texture to Your Woodworking Projects

created at: 10/06/2015

Gives a whole new meaning to the concept of "finish coat," right?

Woodworker Rob Brown invites us to look at our hand tool collection in whole new light... not simply using the tool only for tasks it was intended for, but as opportunities to see these common items beyond their typical use.

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04567

Feb 07, 2017

How to: Make a Leather Strop to Help Sharpen Everything in Your Shop

My highschool workshop teacher had a saying that's always stuck with me: Keep you edges sharp and your powder dry. While I don't pay much attention to the dryness of my powder these days, I take a lot of interest in my tools. Sharp edges are safer, more precise, less frustrating, and just a lot more fun to work with. Here is one of my secrets to keeping them cutting at their best.  

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04569

Feb 06, 2017

How to Drill Perfectly Vertical Bench Dog Holes in Your Workbench

 A woodworking bench is more than just a table to lay your tools and project parts on. Used well, your bench is an all-in-one, three-dimensional clamping solution that will allow you to hold your work on any of its edges or faces. The traditional way to increase the work-holding capability is to place "dog holes" in your bench top, and allowing them to work in tandem with a face or end vise to secure parts of any size. 

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04164

Jan 31, 2017

Make This: Wooden Magazine Rack from a Single Board

There are those pieces of furniture that make a statement. Those around which you build entire rooms, those that define a space. Those pieces are essential.

But, sometimes, you just need a quick and easy way to store your stuff that looks plenty sharp. If your taste leans towards the warm, the rustic, and the stylish, check out this super simple x-shaped magazine and book rack.   

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04565

Jan 27, 2017

Your New Favorite Hobby: Everything You Need to Start Carving Heirloom Wooden Spoons and Utensils

We love a full-on major woodworking project. It's ambitious, challenging, and, once you've figured everything out, you're left with a piece of furniture that will get used everyday.

But, building furniture is also time consuming, takes up lots of space, and if you're using all hardwood construction, can be expensive to source the right materials. So, while it's lovely to learn joinery and finishing techniques, sometimes, you need a woodworking project that can be completed in a single day. Better yet, in a single sitting.  

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Jan 24, 2017

DIY Gift Time: How to Make a Simple Necklace from Scrap Wood and Basic Tools

Handmade Olive Wood Necklace for Valentines

It's that time of year! And by "that time," we mean: time to start thinking about getting a head start on a quality Valentine's Day gift. Skip the flowers and chocolate nonsense and get your hands to work on this elegant, modern necklace that is sure to stun your special someone.    

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04561

Jan 23, 2017

How to Cut a Mortise with a Table Saw

A mortise and tenon is an extremely sturdy and strong way to join wooden furniture. A recess is created in one member (mortise) that allows a protruding tongue from the other (tenon) to fit tightly inside. There's no better way to assemble table bases, chairs, benches, and even frames. 

Except, mortises can take a serious amount of work to cut. Unless you have a dedicated mortising machine, you're in for lots of time with a chisel and mallet, especially on large mortises like the one shown above.   

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04548

Jan 19, 2017

Carve an Anatomically Correct Wooden Heart This Valentine's Day

Photo: Dustin Penner

Valentine's Day isn't exactly around the corner, but it's close enough that if you want to make a handmade gift (and if you can, you should) then now is the time to get cracking. And I don't know about you, but to me nothing seems to say "true love" quite like a hand-carved, anatomically-correct human heart. Well except maybe for this.    

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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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04528

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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04512

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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