Posts Tagged 'homemade gifts'

Making a Childrens Table: Putting It Together

Here is the finished product.

Children's Table

Children

In a previous post, we already talked about cutting out all of the pieces. Here we will finish up.

Gluing it up is relatively simple. Make sure you are using the short support pieces where the legs make up the length by the way they are turned. I put these together first, checking the dry fit with the biscuits, and then gluing it up. I use a kid’s paintbrush in to apply the glue. It helps me get even coverage and reduces squeeze out. I then use a clamp to hold the joint in place.

Take the long pieces and get them ready to glue up. Check the dry fit, and if everything is good, glue and go. If you are using pocket screws, it helps to put the support piece on a spacer, clamp it, and then screw it, putting in a little glue if you want. You should end up with a clamped assembly that looks like this. Make sure you sand all the glue off before you stain. Being more careful with the glue saves you a lot of sanding.

The Alignment of the Supports

The Alignment of the Supports

You are almost done. Attach the figure 8 pieces, predrilling the holes with a 1/8″ drill bit. Only go 5/8″ deep when you pre-drill. You can use a collar or just some tape around the bit to let you know when to stop. Drill the holes and attach the figure 8 pieces using the 5/8″ screws. If you have questions look at this post to see them attached.

All that is now left is to attach the table top. Put the table top upside down on the floor. Center the frame on the table top. You should be looking at something like this (without stain).

Upside Down Children's Table

Upside Down Children

When the frame is centered, make a mark though the hole of each figure 8 using a marker or pencil. Then remove the frame and carefully drill a hole for the screw 1/8″ in diameter and 5/8″ deep. Do a test hole on a piece of wood with similar thickness to make sure you aren’t going to go through your tabletop. After you have drilled all four holes, put in the 5/8″ screws and you are done except for the finishing.

If you haven’t yet, go over the whole thing with some fine sand paper, and then stain it. I used Miniwax Red Mahogany and liked the result, thinking that when a kid uses a marker on the table, it will fade into the dark color better than a light color. After the stain had dried, I used boiled linseed oil for the finish. I would recommend a penetrating finish for kid’s things, as kids tend to be hard on things.

Good luck and please ask any questions.

Making a Children’s Table: The parts

This is one of two posts on making this table.  The post on finishing up is here.

Children's Table

Children

The Cut List

Here are the pieces that I used to make this table.

  1. The table top: 23″x23″x7/8″. This extra little bit of thickness makes if feel more sturdy.  If you can’t get a hold of 7/8″ thick wood, use 3/4″ thick for the table top and legs.
  2. The Legs: 4 pieces, 1 7/8″x17 1/2″x7/8″
  3. Support Piece. Because the legs are not square we need two lengths for a square frame.
    • Two longer pieces: 3″x17″x3/4″
    • Two Shorter Pieces: 3″x15″x3/4″

You will also need four figure 8 tabletop connectors, 8 3/4 ” long screws, and 8 biscuits, and some glue.
The only piece here that could really give you problems for the sizing is the table top. Due to lack of 23″ boards around, I just took some boards and glued them together on the edges using basic wood glue and clamps, and let it set overnight. Make sure you leave the ends long when you do the clamping. Trim it all at one time. You can use a tablesaw, a circular saw, a sliding miter saw, or even a handsaw. Make sure you get the cut straight by using a fence or clamping on a piece of wood as a guide.

After the table top dried I used a chisel to scrape off the glue from the glue up and used a hand planer to level it. In one spot where the grain got interesting, I had to go to scapers and a sander. I finished sanding down the top using 220 grit so there would be a smooth surface for writing.

Cutting the legs was fairly simple. I used biscuits to attach the legs. In the following picture, note that the support pieces are set 1/8″ back from the outer edge of the legs. You can use pocket hole screws for this also, with a jig (I use the Kreg jig). Think about predrilling, as these screws have a higher chance of splitting if they are screwed into the end of a board

The Alignment of the Supports

The Alignment of the Supports

The offset is great for two reasons. The look is good, and it keeps a potentially uneven edge on the inside. I aligned the biscuit joints with the back side of the legs on the 7/8″ side and used a 1/8″spacer on the front side. This picture is from a slightly different table, but the concept is the same.

Note the White Spacer

Note the White Spacer

You are done except for cutting the grooves for the figure 8 pieces in two of the support pieces. This post has me doing it for some chairs I just made, and the concept should be the same (look at the bottom).  Keep these slots for the figure 8 pieces close to the ends of the boards.

Give everything a sand down and then, on to assembly!

Seat of a child’s Chair

Here is what we are trying to make.

Finished Oak Child's Chair

Finished Oak Child

This is a three part post on making a solid wood child’s chair.  The parts are:

  1. Making a Solid Wood Chair For Children: Cut list
  2. Seat of a Child’s Chair. (This post)
  3. Putting it all together: A Child’s Chair

Here we are going to talk about making a seat for a child’s chair. To keep things simple, I am showing a drawing of the seat I made.

Seat of Child's Chair, Google Sketch

Seat of Child

Compare this to what I drew on the piece of wood that I made the seat out of.

Picture of the outline of the seat, on wood

Picture of the outline of the seat, on wood

To draw the curve that makes the front of the seat, I used a 22 inch piece of string. The circle went 1 1/2 inches beyond the front line of the chair, resulting in an overall length of 13″. I held the string down with my thumb the 22″-13″=9″ inches beyond the back of the chair piece on a scrap of wood. I drew the arc across the front and drew in the front corners a little softer, as shown in figure 2.Please give me comments if any of this is not clear.

Making the Cuts

In order to make things as easy as possible, I cut the notches out of the back for the rear legs first. This was because I had a square edge on both sides to work with. I just used a table saw with the piece on end and the say raised to the right height. If you are not sure about the height, go with a smaller cut and finish it with a handsaw.

Next, you make the angled cuts on the side of the chair. I used a miter saw, adjusting the angle until I as aligned properly. Remember, it is easy to take off a bit more wood. Replacing removed wood is tough. You can use a circular saw also, or even a jigsaw. Just clamp it down and follow the line, leaving yourself a little to sand

Last of all I used a jigsaw to cut around the front. I smoothed and evened this edge with a sander after I was done.

The Indention and Finishing

If you look on the internet, you can find some neat jigs that use a router to carve out the indention for the bum. I went with a simpler route. After placing the chair on a bench and having my 4 year old sit on it, I traced around his bum. I went out to the shop and went to work with the sander with very coarse sandpaper. I used scrapers to also clean it out. When it looked to be about the right shape, I moved to finer sandpaper and got it relatively smooth. Be sure and save the final sanding for after you smooth the edges of the seat.

Routers with a round over bit are the choice to give the edge of the chair a nice feel. Just go around the whole perimeter of the top with a 3/8″ round over bit, with the exception of the slots where the rear legs of the chair go. Lower the router bit so you are taking off a lot less material (about 3/16″) and go around the bottom. Use some fine grit sandpaper and give it one final go over and it is ready.

Making a Solid Wood Chair For Children: Cut list

Here is what we are trying to make.

Finished Oak Child's Chair

Finished Oak Child

This is a three part post on making a solid wood child’s chair. The parts are:

  1. Making a Solid Wood Chair For Children: Cut list (This Post)
  2. Seat of a Child’s Chair.
  3. Putting it all together: A Child’s Chair

As Christmas is coming around this year, I am trying to step away from the Walmartification of America. My natural tendency is to go for large quantities of Walmart stuff. I am going to try to go for quality this year. I don’t want to give people one more piece of junk to fill up their house.

In my family, we draw names to pick gifts for siblings. I am making a wooden chair and table for their son.  I have a lot of oak around that is about 1″ thick, unplaned, so it will be the material.

The Pieces

As you can see, the design of the chair is relatively simple.
There are 4 upright pieces.

  1. 2 Front legs. These are just 10″x1 1/2″x7/8″ pieces of oak with the corners slightly rounded.
  2. 2 Back Legs. These are also 1 1/2″x7/8″, but they have a bend in them. More on them in a minute.

There are 4 pieces that support the seat, all 2″ wide and 3/4″ thick. These, with the upright pieces, form an 11″x11″ box.

  1. The front and back pieces are 9 1/4″ in length. This plus the two 7/8″ upright pieces form the 11″ front and back.
  2. The side pieces are 8″ in length. These similarly form the 11″ side when combined with the 1 1/2″ of the upright pieces.

The last two pieces are the cross piece on the back of the chair and the seat. The back piece was made from a board 5″ wide, 9 1/4″ long, and 3/4″ thick. The seat was made from a piece 12″ wide, 13″ long, and 7/8″ thick. Below, all of the pieces are shown except the seat. The back piece has not had the curve cut onto the top.

All the Pieces Except for the Seat

All the Pieces Except for the Seat

Making Everything But the Seat

Everything except the seat was relatively simple. The front legs and the pieces that support the seat are just straight plain pieces. Just make sure the ends are square. To estimate the angle that the seats were at I just measured some chairs that I have. The angle was 12.5 degrees. I came up with this layout.

Chair Leg Template

Chair Leg Template

To make the rounded part at the top, I just drew a circle 1 1/2 inches in diameter. If I were to do this again, I would make the top part 11 inches long. As you can see, it is only 9″ long in the picture. The bottom part is 10 7/8″. 10″ matches the length of the front legs, and another 7/8″ gives room for the seat to fit on top. I made a pattern out of 1/4″ plywood. This let me get both legs exactly the same. After drawing the pattern on an oak board, I cut them out and smoothed them. I cut three legs because I was thinking of making more chairs, hopefully you will only need two.

Cutting out Legs.

Cutting out Legs.

To cut the back piece, traced out a circle on the top of the chair. You can see this piece with a circle outline on the top in the picture of all the pieces above, it being the widest piece.  The circle was 11″ in diameter. The cheap way to do this is get some string and tie it onto a pencil near the graphite end. Measure out your 11″ of string perpendicular top of the board, and then hold it down as you swing the pencil around. Cut it a little outside the line that you drew and then smooth it out with a file or a sander.

Now you need to complete the pieces that support the seat.  Put pocket holes in each end of all the pieces.  I use a Kreg jig and love it.  Here is the updated one they sell.

Pocket Holes

Pocket Holes

When you attach the seat, you have to allow for some give in it for seasonal expansion due to changes in moisture levels. I used figure 8 tabletop fasteners. You have to get a groove 1/8″ deep where they go. You can use a drill bit or chisel for this, but I used a router. I wanted to make sure that the figure 8 pieces had plenty of room to pivot. I attached it on the front and back rail on each side. Here is a picture with the grooves on the 9 1/4″ pieces.

Figure 8 Fastener with Back Support

Figure 8 Fastener with Back Support

Congrats. You have now made all the pieces beside the seat. Off to the seat

Putting it all together: A Child’s Chair

Here is what we are trying to make.

Finished Oak Child's Chair

Finished Oak Child

This is a three part post on making a solid wood child’s chair. The parts are:

  1. Making a Solid Wood Chair For Children: Cut list
  2. Seat of a Child’s Chair.
  3. Putting it all together: A Child’s Chair. (This Post)

Now that we have all of the pieces ready, it is time for assembly. First, create each side of the chair using the pocket hole screws that we previously drilled for. The cross pieces should be 8″ in length. Align them with the inside edge of the chair, with the to 10 inches up on both sides. I used a clamp to hold everything in place while I was putting in the screws. Put in the pocket hole screws. If don’t have self tapping screws that you are confident of, pre-drill the holes, making sure not to drill through the legs.

After you attach the front leg to the back leg on each side, attach the sides together using the front and back supports. While you are attaching these, you need to attach the back support using the glue and biscuits.  You can see from the picture I was a little generous with the glue.  On an updated project, I used a child’s cheapo paintbrush for the glue, and it worked great.  Again, be sure to make sure everything is lined up and put in the screws. If you desire extra strength for this joint, be sure to put a dab of glue in. I did the pocket hole joints without glue and they seemed strong enough, but who knows what some creative child will do to it.

Mostly Assembled

Mostly Assembled

Next, I drilled the holes for my figure 8 fasteners. I used a pencil to mark where the hole should be, as I held the figure 8 fastener on top, and then drilled them. Place the seat upside down on another chair, with the back facing out. Put the already assembled piece on top of it. I then centered it by eye. I figured it would be shifting seasonally, so having them at a precise location was less important.  I marked the places where I would need to drill based on the figure 8 fasteners, and then removed the frame. To make sure that I didn’t drill through the seat, I put tape on the drill bit 5/8″ up, and was very careful. Make sure you use screws that are short enough, and attach the seat.

You are now done except for staining and finishing. As you can see, I stained before I attached the seat. If you are going to use glue stain after you glue it. I used Red Mahogany Miniwax stain.

I used boiled linseed oil for the finish. I decide to use an oil because it would soak into the wood. This means that kids aren’t going to chip it off through wear, and that it will be easy to recoat.

As far as lessons learned, I would have positioned the back rest crosspiece a little higher (2″ or so)if I could do it again, and might have made the vertical pieces on the back extend higher (2″ or so).

Good luck, and please ask any questions.

Making a Wooden Sword: Putting it all together

I decided to make some wooden swords for my boys for Christmas, and am writing how I did it just in case someone else wants some ideas.  Here is how they turned out.

Swords Completed

Swords Completed

This post is part of the three post how-to guide, and includes:

  1. Putting it all together, including lessons learned. (This Post)
  2. Making a Wooden Sword Blade
  3. Making a Wooden Sword Guard

Shaping the Handle

Take the wooden blade, which should dry overnight, and work on shaping the handle. Again, for shaping , you can use either a sander, a file, or even some chisels. After clamping the blade to the table with the handle sticking out, I just used a sander to go around the edges and try to turn the handle from a 1 1/2″ by 1″ rectangle to a 1″ cylinder. This size fit my 3-4 year old sons’ hands well. I let the handle taper up right at the end to give a good transition from the guard to the handle. I then used some finer grit paper to smooth it out.

Shaping the Handle, Figure 2

Shaping the Handle, Figure 2

Attaching the Handle

<First of all, make sure that your handle and blade fit together before you apply any glue. It should be snug, but not too tight. Apply a thin line of glue 1/2 inch above the handle on the flat of the blade on both sides. Slide that handle down and clamp into place while the glue dries. If it is a snug fit, it should stay there by itself. Wipe off any excess glue. If you were careful, you shouldn’t have much. You are now done except for any finishing sanding.

After the glue dries, take some fine grit sandpaper and go over the hilt. If the guard and the handle were not perfectly flush, you can sand out the evidence. Also, make sure that you sand all the pencil marks and sharp corners off of the blade guard. Hopefully you will wave something that looks about like this (or better).

Complete, but not Finished, Figure 3

Complete, but not Finished, Figure 3

Applying a Finish

I used boiled linseed oil for the finish. You can use what you want, but I would recommend a penetrating finish, like linseed oil or tung oil. Mineral oil will also work but not as well. If you use a surface finish like lacquer or polyurethane, when your kids hit the swords together, they will chip in off. The penetrating finishes become part of and actually strengthen the wood.

What I would have done differently

I wish I would have used a wood that had a little more contrast, like walnut or maybe even mahogany, for the strips on the handle and the guard. I think the sharper contrast could have added a lot. On the other hand, I guess I will feel better when my kids break them in a few years.

Best of luck, and please leave any advice, questions, or insight you might have.

Making a Wood Sword: The Guard or Hilt

This page is part of a series that is one making a nice looking wooden sword.

  1. Putting it All Together
  2. Making a Wooden Sword Blade
  3. Making a Wooden Sword Guard. (This post)

The hilt turned out to be a little easier and harder than I thought.  I wanted to get a shape that both looked good and was easy to make.

Drawing the design out

I started with a piece of 4/4 oak (true 1″ thick). I decided on this basic design.
I first drew the design out on a blank, as shown in figure 2. To draw the design, I made two marks on the piece of wood 4 1/2″ apart. Then, to for the curved portion, I took the lid of a five gallon bucket, and made it cross the edge of the wood at these two marks, tracing it. Last of all, I made a line across the wood 1 1/4″ from the front edge. This line would serve as the cutting mark for the side of the guard closest to the hand.

For the slanted cuts on the side, I chose to just go with 15 degrees, and I did these on my miter saw.

Sketch on the Wood, Figure 2

Sketch on the Wood, Figure 2

The Actual Cutting

To cut the curved portion of the guard, I used a jigsaw, making sure to stay just on the conservative side of the line. I used a file and the sander to clean up the edge. I then ran the whole piece threw the table saw, and cut off the 1 1/4″ strip, ending up with the piece shown in figure 3.

Strip is Cut, Now the Slot, Figure 3

Strip is Cut, Now the Slot, Figure 3

Before you use the miter saw, I would recommend you cut the slot for the blade to fit through. This will give you a lot bigger piece to clamp, etc., while you are trying to cut the slot.

Cutting the Slot

You will need to sketch the slot for the blade on the guard piece, 1 1/2″x1/2″. You can do this by drawing a line 1 1/2″ from each end and 1/4″ from each side on the flat side. This rectangle will give you your guide. There are three basic ways I can see to cut the slot.

  1. First, if you have a mortising set, you are golden. Just use your set and go for it.
  2. If you have a router and router table, you can route a slot out. I recommend using several passes, and checking the width on a waste piece of wood. This is the method I used. Use a chisel to clean and square up the corners. A file can also be useful here.
  3. Last of all, you can use a 1/2 inch drill bit to care away most of the wood. If you are using this method, I have a few recommendations. Make sure your drill bit is totally vertical. You should drill pilot holes (1/8″) to guide your bit through so it doesn’t wander. You will then need to use a chisel to get the job done and make it square.

If none of these opportunities are open to you, you could make the guard out of pieces. Two 1/4 inch plates for the sides, and two 1/2 inch pieces for the spacers. This method would in some ways be easier, but doesn’t produce as nice of a result, as you will have glue lines.

You can use a piece of 1 1/2″x1/2″ left over from the blade to check the size of the hole. You want it to be big enough to fit the blade, but no wiggling.
Hint: . If your slot is a little too narrow (your blade is a bit to thick), you can sand the blade piece down a bit to make it fit. This tends to be a lot easier than removing material from the inside of the slot.

Then, take the piece out to the miter saw and set it at 15 degrees, and finish cutting off the pieces. Leave the largest piece of wood until last, so you will have a handle while you are cutting it.
After you finish these parts, it is time put it all together.