Anytime is a great time for catching up with some woodworking, but spending an entire month or two on one project might not be possible. Rather than ruin your family's summer, take on a few one-day projects you can show off to your friends and family. One piece of advice: do your best to customize each of these projects slightly and you'll have a unique project you can be proud of.
From a single dressed board to a laminated panel, this is a simple project. You can opt for live edge, figured or regular material, and can add details like pyrography, relief carving, inlay or texture to spice the project up.
To make a candle holder use your imagination to cut a piece of wood to a nice shape, then bore a hole in it to accept a tea light. A wall sconce can be as simple as cutting a piece of wood to 5″ wide x 8″ long, attaching a medium-sized hook to it, and hanging a small square lantern that can house a tea light.
Essentially an upside down “U” that fits over your sofa’s armrest, with a cup-sized hole drilled into the top surface. It will hold your cup of coffee or tea, and can provide a surface for snacks.
Chop sticks don’t require much material, though using a fairly dense, strong wood is a good idea so they don’t flex during use. A block plane is the main tool for this job. Adding a little bit of inlay or texture to chop sticks will go a long way to creating a one-of-a-kind eating utensil.
They can be a bit tricky to wrap your mind around, but if you’re familiar with how to create a band saw box you can make a simple one in a day. They also lend themselves to being creative.
First step: purchase a light fixture. Second step: come up with a simple, yet elegant, way to hang it from a wall. When it comes down to it you only need a few basic pieces of wood to make it work. The rest are just part of the design.
Whether it’s four mitred, rabbeted or butt / pegged joints, a small box can be a simple, useful project. Size it for tea bags, loose change or another useful purpose around your home and it will get used. A lid with a rabbet around its edge will sit nicely on top of the box. A groove can hold a bottom in place. You can even try your hand at making a box from a single piece of wood.
Dress a board, cut it to size, attach a few hooks and hang it. You can fancy it up by using upcycled hardware, exotic materials or a unique finish.
Frames can get complex, but they don’t need to be. Four mitred pieces with a rabbet on the inner, underside to accept glass or mirror and you have yourself a frame. I use plastic retaining clips to hold in the glass or mirror, as they’re cheap and effective.
Showing up with beer or wine in a wooden case you made yourself is a great way to show off your woodworking skills. A base, two ends, a few strips of wood to hold the bottles in place and a handle between the two ends is all that’s needed. A bottle opener on the outside is a nice touch.
Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.
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