This Week in the Shop we build small cabinet. Cabinet making epitomizes fine woodworking, as it rewards accuracy, consistency, and attention to detail. Cabinets can be found in the workshop, in the kitchen, as furniture, as built-ins. Great cabinets add value to the home and definitely have the wow factor.
While cabinet making may seem like a inscrutable dark art, basic cabinets are a breeze to put together if you have a few select tools. This cabinet build relies on the table saw and the router and showcases the versatility of shellac as a finish.
This particular cabinet will hold my son’s growing fossil & gem collection. Shallow shelves with scoops hold common tool boxes. This would also be a great workshop project and the skills are transferable to other pieces.
This is a scaled down, fun-filled air hockey table is a perfect summer project.
Two employees of Brunswick Billiards Co invented Air Hockey in the 1960s. The game field consists of a low-friction (usually by means of an air blower creating an air cushion under the puck) playing field with two goals. Each player has a striker, and smashes a puck at the opposing player’s goal. First player to a set number of goals wins. Air hockey tables are staples of entertainment in billiard halls, arcades, boardwalks, rec rooms and other places of ill-repute. Which is why I just had to make one.
I utilize a 5-gal shop vac as a blower, marker board, 1/4 plywood, one 10’ 1”x6” and some pin nails. A 3D printed part certainly helped with the fitting, but isn’t essential by any means. I also utilize 45 degree miters for a very clean look, but butt joints and screws might make a stronger, stiffer system.
A quick jig can make the difference in a woodshop. This height gauge helps measure and set cutting tool heights and thicknesses for rabbets, dadoes, chamfers, etc. Since it incorporates a digital caliper, the dial is easy to read, precise and accurate.
This tool came in handy building the light box project – I hit the rabbet depth and thickness dead-on each time.
In the next few weeks, I will be developing new projects for NoVA Labs and this blog which utilize more intermediate woodworking skills. Build this jig now and it will be used over and over again.
Measure the long side, then secure with glue and nails.
Clamping the Assembly
Parts of the bread box project laid out.
This quick project makes a great starter box for grown woodworkers, but it especially shines as an approachable young person skill builder. This slick box teaches three major skills: measurement, accuracy in manufacture of parts and joinery. A teacher or parent can use this simple project to differentiate between beginning, intermediate and expert woodworkers by adding complexity in the appropriate areas.
The following instructions describe how to build this project with pre-k to 2nd or 3rd graders. The adult preps the wood, while the student assembles the pieces, learning to use a hammer, nail set, hand drill and hand plane. Older students can measure and cut their own wood using appropriate tools.
I found these boxes inside a log from a tree felled in my parent’s backyard, in the house my brothers and I grew up in. I’m now in my thirties and my youngest brother is closer to thirty than twenty-five. We’ve grown up, moved out, moved back, gotten married, had kids, and brought our kids back. This holiday season, we’ll be together for a few days and hours. Then, like many families, we’ll scatter to the wind. A few years ago, I stuffed my suitcase with a log instead of presents. This year, I made matching boxes for every person in my immediate family – mom, dad and four sons. Continue reading This Week in the Shop: New Tools, New Projects
This is the third Tool Primer article on finishing your woodworking project. You can find Part One: Sanding here and Part Two: Penetrating Oils here.
In this article I will discuss the film finishes available for woodworking projects at most local big-box hardware stores. The first step is creating a clean, dust-free uniform surface by sanding all a parts to a high grit. I detailed my process in Part One. The finishing process is the difference between a good woodworking project and a heirloom piece of furniture. When I want to really knock a project out of the park, I focus much of my energy on choosing and creating a proper finish.