When making small boxes, I usually design a box first, then select the wood I’ll use to build it. But this box is different. When a friend gave me some beautiful, vertical-grain Douglas-fir, I worked on a design that would allow the wood to be the most striking feature.
My good half recently decided that she wanted a storage ottoman for our living room. I wasn’t aware of this particular furniture configuration until she pointed out the hundreds of versions available online. Turns out storage ottomans are all the rage these days, and for good reason. They provide a place to prop tired feet, sure, but they also offer convenient occasional seating, as well as a place to tuck couch blankets, pillows, or books out of sight but close at hand. Some can even convert into small coffee tables. Sizing typically ranges from a diminutive 15" height to a lofty 22" or so. And designs include everything from cheap collapsible units and fully upholstered pieces to wood versions that tend toward industrial and contemporary “crate-wood” styling.
I like straight seams as much as the next woodworker, but I’d rather play with organic shapes. However, getting curvy seams to fit together demands special consideration. Sometimes a joint can be squeezed into submission, but as curves become tighter, or change direction, the matching parts must be cut to fit perfectly.
Sometimes it’s fun to get away from the rigors and complexity of multi-piece projects, and make something kind of off-the-cuff from a single bit of wood. I find that making a wooden spoon or two fills this need for instant gratification in the shop. Plus, the finished pieces make excellent gifts for the cooks in my life.
I had a good time building this bench and planter set. It’s a project you can easily complete in a day, and you’ll be rewarded with years of enjoyment with no worries about fading finish, wood decay, or insect attack. This type of plastic lumber, made primarily from recycled plastic, is the type that manufacturers of outdoor furniture prefer. It’s available in a wide range of colors, and in a variety of dimensions.