Tag Archives: wood

Making a pie-bird rack

Caroline has a nice collection of pie birds. For our anniversary I made her a pie bird holder to show them off.

This board was cut from a walnut branch with a chainsaw and had been drying in my garage for several years.

I used a hand plane to do get it flat, and then the ShopSmith belt sander to get it smooth.

I drilled holes and inserted short dowels for the pie birds to sit on.

For the words, I found a font I liked and used Inkscape to layout the words as a mirror image. I printed them on our laser printer, then used a hot iron to transfer the mirrored image to the wood.

With the mirrored letters on the wood I used a wood burner to (very slowly…) burn over the letters to make it nice and solid black.

file (1)

 

For finishing I used about 10 coats of shellac. It dried quickly and made it nice and shiny.

To hang it I secured some blocks to the back with glue and screws, and attached D-rings to those blocks. I used washers and long screws to secure it to the wall, so that it can’t fall off without unscrewing the screws.

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Home Made Wood Christmas Tree Star

Finished stars with camera flash
Finished stars with camera flash

Last year I made a wooden Christmas Tree star for our family. We liked it so much that this Christmas I made more to give as gifts. Above are the three stars I made this year, below is a picture of our star on our tree.

Materials Needed For the Star

  • Two 1-inch thick boards made from different types of wood.
    • The stronger the grain, the better.
    • I used one red oak, and one maple.
    • One 8x11x1 inch board will yield 3 stars worth
  • White glue, and lots of it. Most wood glue usually dries yellow, so don’t use that.
  • A saw. I used a table-top scroll saw
  • An electric sander or sandpaper
  • A drill with a 5/8 inch bit

Here’s the pattern I made as a PDF for printing, or as an SVG file if you want to edit it (using Inkscape or Illustrator).

Finished star on our tree
Our finished tree star from last year.

Glue both boards together and clamp or weight them until the glue is completely dry. Glue the pattern on top of the boards.

Oak and Maple Boards Glued Together
Oak and Maple Boards Glued Together
Star segment cutout pattern
Star segment cutout pattern

Cut along each line and set aside each whole triangle segment. Remember, the segments are 2 inches thick since the boards are glues together. Cut slowly.

Gluing star segments together
Gluing star segments together

Flip half of the segments over and glue them face-to-face so that each half of the star point has the opposite grain as pictured below. Clamp each pair of segments together so that you end up with 5 points, each point made of 4 pieces of wood.

I had a difficult time cutting exactly straight so there are some gaps between segments. Even with the gaps the star ends up looking nice in the end so don’t worry about them too much.

Star segments cut out and staged
Star segments cut out and staged

When they’re dry, you should have a bunch of star points that look like this. The blue line below indicates where the next cut needs to happen.

Glued star point
Glued star point with 2nd cut line

Brace up the point using a leftover triangle from the first set of cuts and watch those fingers.

Using a partial star point to get the right cut angle on a star point
Using a partial star point to get the right cut angle on a star point

Here’s my 15 star points ready to be glued. I laid them on wax paper so that it’d be easy to peel them off when the glue dried.

Assembling the tree stars on wax paper
Assembling the tree stars on wax paper

I used leftover pieces from the first cuts again to support the ends of the star points while they were drying.

The stars need to dry really well at this point. Sanding and drilling come next. If the glue in the middle of the star isn’t dry, either of these activities could break the star apart.

Dried star ready for sanding
Dried star ready for sanding

I probably would’ve used my palm sander, but I lent it out so the belt sander was going to have to do the trick. I clamped it upside-down to the table and locked the trigger on. It actually worked really really well. I will do this again next time.

Sand off any remaining paper from the pattern, and round the corners and edges to taste.

Sanding surface
Sanding surface

Carefully drill holes most of the way through the star. I started with a 1/4 bit and worked my way up to a 5/8th inch.

Sanded stars with hole drilled in the bottom
Sanded stars with hole drilled in the bottom

Stain and protect the stars however you want. I used a light yellow stain and shellac.

The stands I made are just a simple square of wood routered, with a dowel stuck in the middle. I figured that some people might already have a Christmas Tree star they liked, and this way they could display it on a mantle or something instead.

Stars without camera flash
Stars without camera flash

If you make some stars let me know!

 

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Fridley Fishing Success With a Homemade Lure

After losing half a dozen lures over the course of a couple days, I was inspired to turn my drill press into a lathe so I could make my own fishing lures. After a few missteps I finally had two turned wooden lures with hooks attached.  To attach the hooks I drilled holes through the lures and used wire.

My first two turned lures
My first two turned lures

These two lures were mostly proof of concept for the lathe to see if I could get it working, but once they were turned I decided to attach hooks and try my luck with them anyways. I painted them with my son’s model rocket paint, then coated them with leftover polyurethane from when we remodeled the basement.

This morning I took my 5 year old out to go fishing at East Moore Lake to see how they worked. I only had an hour, so I wasn’t expecting too much. Both lures performed admirably. They both made a reasonable splashes when tugged, and both stayed oriented upright so the hooks were facing the right direction. We started on the docks but after 45 minutes of nothing (a few panfish nibbles on Ryan’s waxworms) we moved down to the southern end to make one last try before leaving. After just a couple of casts, this 11 inch northern pike attacked it!

 

Gotcha!
Gotcha!

I’m hopeful that when I go bass fishing they’ll attack it with just as much vigor. If they do, maybe my lure buying days will be over.

 

 

 

 

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