Archive for the ‘Woodworking’ Category


Project 23: Stalled

June 16, 2011

Scrap bin

I took this photo of the wood scraps bin at TechShop Tuesday night. It was supposed to accompany an inspiring post about using scraps for your woodworking projects.

Last night I took this photo:

Gimpy hand

That’s my hand. I’m taking a few days off from projects to let my poor torn ligament heal (good news: it’s not broken). I’ll return next week to finish project 23 and start project 24, whatever that will be. Hint: it’s probably not knitting.



Project 23: Wrapping my brain around it

June 14, 2011

This is one of those days when a small difficulty in the project is making me avoid it while I think. My frame doesn’t have a nice flat spot on the back for attaching any boards. I’m imagining a solution that includes glue and maybe driving a couple of small nails through my beautiful faux silver leaf, but until I get the materials together and put my hands on it I won’t know. I’ll work on that tonight.


Project 23: Hidden jewelry box

June 13, 2011

Photo by Kate at Design Sponge

This is one of those projects that I had on my to do list for a year before starting the blog. I’m going to turn last week’s silver leafed frame into a hidden jewelry box. This project will give us some much needed storage in our bathroom and will hopefully just look like art. Wish me luck!

Photo by Kate at Design Sponge


Project 15: Completed planter and lessons learned

April 15, 2011

Finished planter

Behold the completed wine crate planter! We staged some vegetable starts in it so we could see it with something inside, but eventually Laurie will fill the planter with soil and plant directly in it. I hope she’ll let me see it when it is full of lush, beautiful plants.

Lessons learned:
–  Like I mentioned before, the purpose of the inspiration project was to make garden planters from free materials. But without a free source of wine crates and the other hardware involved the project wasn’t at all free. If you really want to be resourceful there are lots of other things you can use as a planter.
– Being flexible with your design helps when confronted with a lack of ideal tools. Laurie ended up changing the design of her posts when it turned out she needed to use a hand saw instead of a circular saw for the cuts. The end result still looks great.
– This week I took a bit of a breather and helped a friend with her project. It was fun, though I kind of missed having one of my own going on (I’m busily working away on a project that will be featured in a couple of weeks, so don’t think I’m idle over here).

I hope you enjoyed Laurie’s project this week! Join me next week as I let you into my kitchen for an annual Easter tradition.


Project 15: The build

April 14, 2011

Because I missed yesterday’s post I’m going to have to make today’s doubly long. Here are some of my favorite pictures from building day at Laurie’s house:

Danish oil

The first step was to rub Danish oil into the wood. You can see in this photo how it brings out the natural beauty of the wood. It’s also a waterproof sealer so it’s good for outdoor applications.

Bottom supports

Laurie then added supports to the bottom of the crates. These gave her something to connect the feet to and helped hold up the cracked boards.


See the feet?

Drainage holes

Laurie then added drainage holes to the floor of her planter.


Then it was time to add more personality and functionality to the planter. Laurie wanted corner posts to both look beautiful and hold up any covering she may need to put on her plants. Here she is cutting those boards.


She attached finials to the tops of the corner posts and secured them into place.

Hard at work

Laurie did a lot of work on her planter (I helped a little bit!). Tomorrow I’ll show you the finished product and share some lessons learned.


Project 15: Finding materials

April 12, 2011

Wine crates

The wine crate planter project captured Laurie’s imagination after she saw it in a gardening book. Her first mission was to find wine crates. These aren’t the sorts of things that people tend to have laying around. After a hunt she managed to buy some from a woman who had some in her basement. They’re beautiful items that make a statement, but they didn’t exactly make for free and easy planters like the book suggested.

If you want to build planters from reclaimed materials you might want to start closer to home. Check out these chairs and hanging football planters, this basketball planter, or these rain boots for inspiration. If you happen to have some empty wine crates sitting around all the better!

Tomorrow I’ll show you the beginning of the wine crate planter building process.


Project 15: Wine Crate Planter

April 11, 2011

Planter from

This weekend I teamed up with my friend Laurie to build a custom planter from an old wine crate. Inspired by Alys Fowler in her book, Garden Anywhere, Laurie built a beautiful planter with her own personal touches. I’ll show you the process and the great finished project this week.

Photo by Thomas J. Story at


Project 12: Completed pen and Lessons Learned

March 25, 2011

Finished pen

Check out my awesome pen! Sorry about the weird focus. What this photo doesn’t adequately convey is the heft of this pen. It’s heavy! I had assumed that would be because of the wood, but you cut away so much wood on the lathe that it becomes more like a veneer on the outside of the brass tube. The pen itself is just weighty (unlike the words that have come from it so far).

Lessons learned:
– Don’t forget your camera. Sheesh.
– The instructor showed me where my wood turning technique was lacking and taught me a new way. I’m eager to get back to the wood shop and try it out.
– Some people really love pens. I kind of get it now.
– All I write down in an average week are grocery lists and directions. Maybe it’s time to change that?

Next week: a fun project at a friend’s house for Easter.


Project 12: Class photo

March 24, 2011

It looks like someone at TechShop took a few pictures during the pen turning class. Here is proof that I was there:

Pen class

(I’m the girl.)


Project 12: Making Pens

March 24, 2011

Rather than steal all of the photos that this guy posted I’m going to direct you to his excellent step-by-step pen making post. His process was a lot like mine except I used a different pen kit that only required one wood blank and I finished mine with different materials.

Check it out here: PenWerks

I’ll show you my completed pen tomorrow.