Spring is in the air, and it’s time to spend some quality time outside—sitting down, of course! To serve this purpose, why not make a great outdoor bench that you can “plant” in the garden or on a patio? This classically-inspired bench is fun to make, and it’s constructed using a weather-resistant wood. We chose cypress, because it’s inexpensive, readily available, and known for its weather resistance. Other insect- and decay-resistant woods include redwood and cedar.
your workbench and table saw too often serve as the place you glue up frames,
boxes, and other small to medium projects, why not free them up with a
dedicated assembly surface? This mobile table, made from two ¾"-thick
sheets of MDF and maple trim, provides assembly surfaces in three sizes, with
the largest measuring 36 × 51" when both drop leaves are raised.
It’s tough to tell if woodworkers’ preference for the open-pored “natural” look is based on aesthetics or the desire to race to the finish line. Pore filler is messy and adds extra steps to your finishing schedule, but filling and sealing the surface provide a look that’s almost impossible to achieve with finish alone. Compared side by side with the “natural” look, it’s easy to see why showroom-quality tabletops, high-style furniture, even well-crafted boxes receive the extra care of filling.
North America boasts approximately 60 oak species—some with value as timber and others serving no commercial value for timber. Those species we typically fi nd in woodworking fall under the botanical surname Quercus, Latin for “a fine tree.” Under this classification, the oaks split into two groups—red and white.
To reduce tear-out when using my table saw, I decided to make several zero-clearance inserts from 1/2" Baltic birch plywood. For the inserts to sit flush with the saw top, I had to create four reliefs in the bottoms to accommodate the saw’s bosses that the insert leveling screws contact. Using a 11/4" Forstner bit in my drill press and holding an insert on the table with my left hand, I proceeded to bore holes for the reliefs close to the edge. The first few holes were perfect. I felt clever and wondered why I had waited so long to make the inserts. Then came a shock. On the next hole, the bit suddenly caught the edge of the plywood, spinning it to the right and yanking my left thumb into the bit. Talk about tear-out! The bit ripped part of my thumb nail off and created a 1/2"-long gash in the flesh.
Antique candlestick tables are coveted as collectibles, but back in their day they were as commonplace as a modern lamp. These small, three-legged tables provided a convenient spot to put a light in order to brighten a room. But instead of disappearing with the candle, the table’s design has proven to be timeless. I built two for my house, where they stand at opposite ends of our sofa. These days, they serve more as small “accent” end tables, although my wife keeps a candlestick on each, for old time’s sake.
Everybody loves family photos, and now it’s easier than ever to create—and change—a dynamic montage of family, friends, and pets. Powerful rare-earth magnets imbedded in the edges make the frames grip together tightly for a secure display. But the magnets also release easily without tools, enabling you to change pictures in a flash.
For centuries, furnituremakers have employed moldings and inlays not only to delight and direct the eye, but also to command a higher price for their work. The stringing and inlays that I used on the top of the candlestick table on page 54 were very popular during the Federal period, but the technique is timeless. The combination of sophistication and simplicity makes inlay just as effective and interesting today as it was 200 years ago.
Miters are among the most common joints in woodworking because they provide an attractive way to join two pieces at almost any angle. The only problem is that a basic miter is nothing more than a butt joint. It’s an inherently weak joint because you’re gluing end grain to end grain.