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Wedding Projects,Woodworking

How to Make Lawn Dice for Yardzee

5 Aug , 2016   Video

A fairly easy project that takes a little bit of time to make, but fun to play with friends. Ideal summer BBQ game or an activity for an outdoor wedding.

Yardzee_lawn_dice_holes_drilled It’s basically 5 cubes of wood with a shallow hole bored on each side to resemble large dice.

I used a cedar 4″ x 4″ x 8’ post cut into cubes. The sides are sanded, holes are bored into the wood with a spade or forstner bit, black paint is applied into the holes and then finishing touches are added with many coast of polyurethane.

Takes a few hours, but lots of fun. Enjoy!
Yardzee_lawn_dice_spade_bit Yardzee_lawn_dice_holes_drilled Yardzee_lawn_dice_painting_numbers Yardzee_lawn_dice_finished

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Wedding Projects,Woodworking

Late Night, Quick Fix for a Croquet Set

24 Jul , 2016   Video

The plan was to repair and update an 8-piece Croquet Set. The set was too be rented for wedding the next day. It was to be one of the many lawn activities for the outdoor reception.
When the project first started a few weeks earlier, I thought there was only one handle to be repaired. The bottom part where the wooden thread was snapped off. Materials were sourced and the plan was to fix a few days before the event.
After closer inspection of the entire contents of the Croquet Set, in the box, noticed that three other handles totally missing. Hmm, didn’t factor in extra time and materials for the fabrication of the thread system. Kind of kicked myself for not being more observant.
Had to shift to Plan B. Plan B was to pick up a wooden broom handle from the hardware store, cut it to size, remove the sticker, sand, paint the colour group and seal with urethane. Simple enough, but I only had 3-hours to complete the project.

croquet-set-fix-finished croquet-set-fix-new-paint-on-mallets-revised What is Croquet? According to website, “The game of croquet (pronounced “crow-KAY”) is a tradition of backyard recreation in America, as well as a sport that can be enjoyed by young and old alike.

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DIY Veggie Planter Box Project

21 Jul , 2016   Video

A video about simple box planters for your patio. All the materials were made from scrap lumber and plywood.
A standard 8 feet long by 2 feet wide planter can be constructed over a weekend.

Adding-siding-to-planter If you decide to go the extra mile and add a skirt to the boxes (siding) it might take a little longer, but the results are more professional looking.

For this project, a 2’ x 8’ planter was made for the back wall of our home and an “L” shape planter was made to edge the corner of the adjoining patio. The “L” shape consisted of two 2′ x 4′ planters laid out in an “L” shape. The planters are open at the bottom but covered with landscape fabric and lined with recycled cardboard. A soil mix of consisted of potting soil and mushroom manure was mixed together in each planter.

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Power generation,Wind Turbine Projects,Woodworking

2nd Attempt at Making Plywood Gears

3 May , 2016   Video

Have not been to the cabin for a few weeks. There have been too many household projects that need to get done first. But, in between the daily chores, I’ve been messing around with gears made from plywood. Also wanted to incorporate more woodworking into the projects.
The plan for this project was to mount a large gear onto a wind turbine and then have a smaller gear attached to a DC motor. Hopefully, the wind turbine has enough torque to generate some decent power.

wood-gears-template wood-gears2 Wood-gears-closeup

Might or might not work, but it’s fun to try anyway.

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Make a Rustic Sitting Bench from a Log

25 Nov , 2015   Video

A friend of mine is a professional photographer and wanted a small bench for a toddler. It was for a series of family Christmas photographs for a Christmas card. I was provided a picture off the internet for reference and set to work finding the idea piece. The plan was to obtain a piece of wood from the cabin and combine it with a thick wide board from the lumber store. After numerous trips to the lumber store, I couldn’t find the right piece of wood. The boards were actually in too good of shape and would take a lot of work to distress to a more rustic look. Then I went home and looked around the workshop for a suitable piece of lumber, but just couldn’t find it. So, I grabbed a coffee and sat on my deck staring at the pile of wood drying in a neat row. My eyes picked out a piece that was sticking out from the pile and realized it was a little bit longer (19″) and wider (8″) than the rest of the logs. If it was cut lengthwise, it would make a fantastic bench. Note: The first bench (pictured above) was made from Cedar. YouTube video was the second bench made from Douglas Fir.

Bench- rough wood

Picture taken from the 2nd bench made for Douglas Fir. Note the rough cut marks from the chainsaw.

First, the piece had to be split to form a crude seat. Since my axe head broke off, I took an old splitting maul and positioned it a few inches off the centre. All it took was one whack from a 6-pound sledge hammer and the wood split. Did the same on the other side. A quick go over with a hand brush and all the surfaces sawdust off. Next, the piece was secured in the vice and the large burs were removed with a 3/4″ wood chisel. Lucky for me, the wood had been drying for about 2 years and the chisel easy knock off the imperfections.

IMG_9433 Bench
The next step was to sand the sitting part. The log was placed on top of a bench mate on a foam mat.  (I don’t like to sand inside the shop, the sawdust settles everywhere and the mat keeps the surfaced from being damaged from the hand sander.) Started with a 60 grit sandpaper in the orbital sander and then a 100 grit. Try to get in all the nooks and crannies. One the surface is fairly smooth, use a fine grain of sander paper like at 200 or 400 grit. I use one of those soft sponge like holders for the sandpaper. Works better for inconstant surfaces.

Before I put a finish, I like to put on the bench legs. Find a thick branch about 2 inches in diameter. It should be more than enough strength to hold a small child and the occasional adult (it happens).



The legs will be connected to the bench by a thread system. The nut will be inside the bench and the bolt will be secured to the legs. Go to the hardware store and ask for (4) 5/16″ x 2″ Hanger Bolts. and (4) 5/16″ T-Nuts. A hanger bolt is a bolt with a fine, machine thread on one end and a course, lag style of thread on the other. The lag part will screw into the legs. The fine thread will be simply screwed into a T-Nut. A T-Nut looks like a nut with teeth. It’s pounded into a piece of wood and then a standard bolt can be secured in.

Drill a 5/16 inch hole, at the end and middle of each leg. (I use the rings to determine the middle) To make things easier, it’s best to pinch the fine threads of the hanger bolt  between two pieces of scrap wood in your vice. Then just screw the lag part into the legs by hand. Ensure the fine thread is exposed.

The next step is to drill four 5/16 inch holes in the bench. Try to keep the drill bit as level as you can. It’s not the end of the world if the drill is on an angle, but you will run into problems screwing in the legs. Drill the holes about 1-1/2 inches id depth. The next step is to drill slightly bigger holes for the barrel (body part) of the T-Nut. Position the T-Nut over the hole and pound in with a hammer. Once the all the T-Nuts are in-place, try screwing in the legs for a test. Try not to tight the legs too much. It will grab the T-Nuts and shred the footings.

IMG_9434 Paint, stain or varnish
The next step is to add a finish to the bench. A spar varnish is a good route. Adds a glossy look and it very comfortable to sit on. The only downside, very stinky, expensive and will take a while to dry. I had some Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane left over from the Giant Jenga project. Whatever you choose to use, apply thin coats and sand with 800 grit, in-between each coat. I was in a bit of rush and only had time for 3 coats. The clear coat really brought out grain in the wood and made it look fantastic. IMG_9438

Once finished, the bench will work fantastic for little people. Depending on the type of wood, the bench can be easily picked up and moved to different locations. It also makes a great foot stool for the tired legs.


The first bench was made from Western Red Cedar. It was reclaimed from the firewood stack.


The second bench made from Douglas Fir


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Wedding Projects,Woodworking

Large, 3 Panel Chalkboard Photo Booth Project -Subscriber Request-

7 Oct , 2015   Video

This project evolved from a request from a subscriber. A person comment they liked the Chalkboard Sidewalk Sign YouTube video, but also asked about how to make a chalkboard photo booth.

Cedarworkshop-Chalkboard-backdrop A photo booth will be a hoot at a wedding, birthday or special event. The party goers can stand in front and have their pictures taken with props or just smile for the camera. If the actual backdrop was made from chalkboard material, the host can write thoughtful quotes and praise.
Hint: If you want to spread the word on social media, at the bottom of the photo booth, write down the Twitter hashtag for the wedding. For example, #ryanjennwedding2015 or #smithbirthday2015. Go to this link to create a Hashtag for your event.

I mentioned the project to my spouse and she suggested we make it for a family friends wedding in a few weeks. Great!

The photo booth had to be big enough to “frame” two people standing. The wings can be adjusted to the venue (or hide something).

The chalkboard photo booth consists of 3 panels, a wooden frame and door hinges. The frame was made from Western Red Cedar. Keep in mind to use a lightweight wood like a softwood (Pine, Cedar, Fir, Larch, etc) for the framing material. It has to be easy to set up or transport from the venue.

On the front, the frame corners were cut at 45 degrees for a classic look. On the backside, a standard 1″ x 4″ were used for structure. The chalkboard panels were sandwiched between the front and back frames. Make sure to use a good wood glue on the chalkboard panel and frame. Immediately after the glue was applied use a brad nailer with short, 1″ brads. If you don’t have access to brad nailer, wood screws can be used instead. Just screw from the back to the front. This way, the ugly screw heads will not be seen.

Cedarworshop-Panel-standing-by-car cedarworkshop-late-night-staining The panels are the same dimensions as the front door on a home. The panels are 36.5″ wide by 80″ tall. Tall enough for most people to fit under and the panels don’t hit the ceiling. Each panel was connected together with door hinges with removable pins. If the panel needs to taken down, the pins in the hinge can be popped out with a nail (or car keys). As an afterthought, I should have put a hinge on one side of the photo booth and the other on the back. Then the unit could fold up like a “Z”.

Two thin coats of Varathane interior polyurethane was applied to the frame to keep the wood fresh and protect the wood from any chalk dust.

Depending the condition of the door hinges and your budget, I suggest a spray on metallic finish by Rust-oleum. It will add a vintage look to the project.

Click the link to check out for Wedding or Special Occasions Project YouTube Playlist.


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