You have been patient. You have been kind. You have offered suggestions and view.
You are now being rewarded? (Sorry, it felt like it belonged.)
So, I’ve completed the listing of the projects I’m planning for this year. In many of the instances, I’ll be doing them without the benefit of a prototype (something I don’t normally recommend), but every so often there will be a prototype made prior to the instructions or videos I post up. You might see me referencing the prototype while the raw materials for another one are sitting there… or you may just see me cut the materials right then and there and hope it fits.
I kid. Part of the process I use is to have an idea. Not always a plan, but at least an idea of how large things need to be. One of the drawbacks of not having the plan, though, is that I sometimes get the measurements wrong. Heck, even when I have a plan with the dimensions already written down, I sometimes have a dyslexic moment, or blonde moment, or just make a mistake. They happen: humans be not perfect. The challenge is to not lose your cool or get bent out of shape because of it.
One benefit of plans is most of the hard thought process has been done for you. All you have to do is adapt them to the wood before you. For example, I built a basic bookshelf waaaay back in my first college run. Didn’t have any tools, didn’t have any shop I could borrow, but there was a Home Depot on my way between work and home. I needed the shelf to pull double duty as a bookshelf and as a dresser. So, I spent some time planning and drawing up what I wanted.
I purchased a simple cordless screwdriver for the project. (Had I been thinking, I would have gotten something with a little more power. But that’s part of the learning curve.) I was working on an extremely tight budget, so I wanted to make my purchases count. If I remember right, I was planning on using 4 boards 6 feet long each. I had each board planned out to the exact lengths of each piece, so I could use as few boards as possible. I even had it written down. Home Depot let people get up to 6 cuts free, and then you’d have to pay for the rest. Keeping this all in mind, I carried my lumber back to the saw, and told the employee what I had in mind.
He promptly started cutting the materials, and didn’t follow the plan. I ended up having to get another board for one 3 foot segment. My point about this is that having a plan is a great thing, but then you need to follow it.
That being said, here is the plan for the next 12 months of projects. Materials will be acquired periodically, and they may show up in the backgrounds of some videos of photos. Don’t panic; I’ll let people know what is needed at the beginning of each build. (Here’s where having a prototype comes in handy.)
>> In January, we’ll create a Minecraft Pig- inspired piggy bank. Built from plywood, paint, and simple construction methods, you will be able to put coins aside for a later day. (And yes, you’ll be able to get them out again, too.)
>> In February, I’ll be recreating a GameMaster screen for Role Playing Games. (Sort of mentioned by TableTop Games, the Wil Wheaton- hosted web series.) I spotted while on Imgur. The original idea is pretty slick to start with (and the creator’s wood burning skills are better than mine), so I’ll throw up the link to that when the build begins. But I have a few ideas in mind for improvements, as well as adjusting this for other role playing games. This is also a plywood build, so it should be simpler and faster to build.
>> In March, the project is a Laptop station. More than just a lap desk to put a laptop on, there will be two plans available: one with the bells and whistles, and one that’s much more simple. (I plan on building the simple one, but I’ll demonstrate on it how to create the more complicated one.) This will not exactly be a simple build, but should be something that can be built with a basic set of tools. We’ll also be dealing with solid wood; if you don’t know how to purchase wood, there are some resources I’ll link to closer to that project.
>> In April, the laundry room shelves will be built. We’re going back to plywood, because it is the most sturdy and structural material I can get my hands on that does not require gluing together small parts into one large panel. I’ll throw a little flair into it, but you don’t have to copy it for your own build.
>> May and June brings us our second large project, but the biggest project we’ve got planned for the year: a mobile kitchen cart with a butcher block counter top. This will be a complex build, but not terribly complicated. There will be several tools involved, and some of them are not what an average beginner might have in mind, but I’ll try to keep the budget to acquire them low. The materials budget on this one will be higher, and I’ll release more details the closer we get. So, if you’re following along and building along at home, plan accordingly.
>> We’ll go simple again in July, with a pot rack made from 1x2s. This can be either hung from the wall, or set on top of a bookshelf, cabinet, or countertop. Tools will again be minimal, and I’ll have a few options for dressing it up if you’d like.
>> August presents us an opportunity to do two project videos, on one project build. I’ll be making a box for storing and displaying tea bags. While this sounds simple enough (and box making is a great skill to learn), I’ll also be dressing up the lids. And because the plan calls for a certain embellishment, I want enough time to practice. You don’t have to embellish this project the way I will, but if you do there is another learning curve on it. And when people mention learning curves, plan on spending more on practice materials than you do on the project materials.
>> September brings us to a project that I’ve long wanted to build: a chess board. Also suitable for checkers, this is going to be a simple and straight-forward build. Care will need to be taken, but we’ll cover that when we get there.
>> What good is a Chess board without any pieces? In October, I’ll present not one but two different sets of pieces you could use. (My way of making up for the lack of a separate project for June.) The first will be geometric in shape (so you don’t need to expand your tool set right away). The second will be made on the lathe. For those who haven’t started turning, these projects can be completed in a matter of hours. That is one of the things that most beginners find appealing about the lathe: instant measurement of success.
>>November, we’ll be sticking with the lathe and creating a couple sets of turned candlesticks. This will bring us to a new set of tools and skills, but I promise to keep them simple. If you already have turning abilities, feel free to go more advanced than what I’ll be demonstrating.
>> Finally, we’ll be going back to a larger item in December: a combination Nativity set and tree base. This design I’ll be copying from one that I’ve spotted in the family, and will be usable for both artificial and live trees. (Personally, I’d suggest artificial. While my personal preference is live, you won’t have to worry about water or excess weight. Or cleaning pine needles up.) We’ll be using primarily construction lumber from a home center, and dressing it up with smaller exotic pieces. In the event you don’t have exotic pieces available, I’ll have a list of places you can acquire some, as well as some tips on making more readily-available pieces look exotic.
Since most of these projects are not time sensitive, the video releases should be in the second half of the month. The photos and plans will probably be in the first half of the month. Like I said before, I plan on doing two posts a month about each of these projects, spaced about two weeks apart. For some people, this might be enough time to complete the entire project several times over; others may need this pacing. For December, though, I’ll be switching up the schedule so you can complete it in time for your own holiday festivities.
So, I look forward to a fun and productive year with you! If you have examples of your own work that you’d like to share, feel free to leave a comment, or drop me a line. The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If enough people submit photos of their completed projects, I’ll compile a post of just viewer projects, as a bonus. So relax, have fun, and get ready! The fun begins in just five minutes…