Everything in this set depends on two things: cutting the beads and cutting the grooves. And those two things both rely on using the right router bits. Watch the video below for the short and sweet summary. Read the text below for more details. The Right Router Bits There are two bits used for this project—a ball-end bit and a bead profile bit. In this case, both bits have a main diameter of 3/8”. Through some testing and some math, I determined that 3/8” groove...
When I started this set, I intended it to be a “castle kit”. I considered crenelated tops to the panels to make them look like a “real” castle, I considered building a draw-bridge panel (which my son would still no-doubt love), thought about staining the wood grey to mimic stone, and considered cutting arched windows in some of the panels to look like classic castle windows. In then end, though, I decided to wait on all of that until I saw how he played with it. Tha...
The basic assembly process is simple: Slide a panel’s edge bead into a groove in a post—that’s it. Incidentally, this basic interaction is so intuitive that my 4 yr old took one look at a post and panel and immediately put them together. Within seconds, he had grabbed two more posts and panels and added them to the wall. Tall Walls and TowersHowever, to build a wall that is taller than a single post, there’s a very simple additional trick: Instead of using a tall ...
Well I built a jig to hold the shelves in place so I could glue up the sides and back without having the shelves shift or twist. It took me all of 2 minutes to make the jig on my band saw, which includes the set up time. Since the wood I am using and the blade on my band saw are both 1/16th it works out great. I used yellow wood glue to put the shelf together, because of the simple jig I am using I now have the extra time to position everything just right and not worry about holding it t...
OK, so Mary Anne posted some blog entries on making whistles. I decided to make one using only hand tools. Here's a link back to Mary Anne's post. So, we start with some rough lumber. In this case a piece of wacky cherry. The board has lots of pitch inclusions, crazy grain and cupped something awful. But it will be fine for a whistle. By the way, no rulers were harmed (or used) in the making of this project. All measuring done by the Mark-I eyeball. 1) Cross cut a blank. Eye...
I wanted to make the marble tower good and solid, so I’m making it primarily out of ash. This was convenient because I had some on hand. :-) Here’s where we stand today on the project: The first step was to build the base and attach the side rails to it that go up to where the cross bracing and the handle reside. This wasn’t too bad to do…but it was the first time that I ran into the concept of cutting compound angles…which I learned requires patienc...
This is one of those well intentioned projects that started and got put on hold for many varied reasons/excuses. I’ve decided I just have to finish it before my daughter is too old to be interested. Otherwise, I’ll be sitting the playroom losing my marbles all by myself. I saw these plans years ago in a Lee Valley flyer and went out and bought them along with the kit that supplies the ball bearings (marbles), xylophone keys and bell. Here’s the picture from the catalog...
Another quick little project kids will have fun with. A friend of my son’s had a $20 store-bought version that intrigued me. After examining it, I thought, “Hell, I can make that! It’s just a weighted stick!” After a few minutes of practice, any kid will master the floating wand and amaze their friends!
Hi all, Thank you so much for all your comments on my ornament post. I am convinced: this is a great community. When I was a kid, a great toy was nothing more than a stick. And we had to walk ten miles to school in snowstorms. Uphill. Both ways. A cardboard box was a luxury. But I do remember getting a wood labyrinth one Christmas. It really grabbed my attention and enthralled me for hours. And frustrated me to no end. So this year I decided to make a labyrinth for my son Wyatt, w...
Just finished preliminary assembly on 4 trebuchets to hand out for the Holidays to various kids in my life. These are patterned on the Hila Trebuchet, I’m having some trouble getting a consistent release, and I need to come up with some heavier ballasts, but it’s good to get ‘em off the workbench and to the next stage.
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