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Forum topic by Matt Pec posted 11-02-2010 02:53 PM 1358 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Matt Pec

21 posts in 2242 days


11-02-2010 02:53 PM

Topic tags/keywords: firewood rack white oak joinery joints shelf cedar spalted maple question

I’m looking to build 2 basic firewood racks for my family for Christmas gifts. I have some really nice natural edge White Oak, some awesome 8/4 Red Cedar Slabs, and Spalted Maple boards too from logs I’ve milled. I have 2 problems. I’ve never used these woods in a warm area (within a few feet of the fireplace). Anyone have ideas of what not to use to prevent possible cracking/checking through the polycrylic? Is thicker better? I also have plenty of Cherry and Walnut but don’t think they’re good choices.

The second issue I have is I stink at joinery and only have basic tools (planer, circular saw, brad nailer, etc). I don’t have a router, biscuit joiner, etc. Normally I make functional stuff and just put em together with nails or screws but since these are to be decorative and functional I don’t want screws showing. Any ideas other than just glue and clamp? I want these to be rugged and beautiful. Thanks!

-- hswoodcutting, "Catchy sayings are fun but I'm in it for the wood."


10 replies so far

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richgreer

4541 posts in 2536 days


#1 posted 11-02-2010 03:07 PM

I read between the lines that you don’t want to spend much money. If that is true you might consider using dowel joinery. A dowelling jig is not very expensive. You didn’t say, but I assume you have a drill. If not, they are not very expensive either (especially if you get a corded drill).

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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Howie

2656 posts in 2384 days


#2 posted 11-02-2010 03:22 PM

Kreg joints

-- Life is good.

View spaids's profile

spaids

699 posts in 3155 days


#3 posted 11-02-2010 03:39 PM

dude you are like a commercial for Kreg. “since these are to be decorative and functional I don’t want screws showing” You are screaming pocket holes. You can get a Kreg pocket hole jig and be off and running for as low as $40. Good luck

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

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Matt Pec

21 posts in 2242 days


#4 posted 11-02-2010 04:00 PM

Thanks Rich and spaids…I do have drills and I just ordered a doweling jig (a cheapo but it should do the job).

Are pocket holes really that sturdy that they’d support a rack with 150lbs of wood on it? I know Kreg screams about how awesome the pocket hole system is but is it really a strong joint?

-- hswoodcutting, "Catchy sayings are fun but I'm in it for the wood."

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spaids

699 posts in 3155 days


#5 posted 11-02-2010 04:18 PM

I can’t say for sure but I would guess that pocket hole joints are as strong as dowels.

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

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Robb

660 posts in 3395 days


#6 posted 11-02-2010 04:27 PM

In tests, the pocket hole joinery compares well with mortise and tenon. I think for your application, it would all come down to how you choose to assemble the work, but I’m heartily impressed with how rock solid all the Kreg joints I’ve made are. I made some little stepstools for my son, and recently jumped up and down on one to show the strength of the joints (165 lbs or so). Didn’t budge at all.

-- Robb

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richgreer

4541 posts in 2536 days


#7 posted 11-02-2010 04:49 PM

Pocket hole joints can be very strong and they are very easy to do. I didn’t recommend them because they are not truly hidden from view.

If you have a way of constructing your project such that the pocket holes are hidden from view, I would recommend pocket holes. Note that you can buy plugs that will fill in the pocket holes and sort of hide them.

I’ve done a few projects where I used a combination of dowels and pocket holes.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View rivergirl's profile

rivergirl

3201 posts in 2300 days


#8 posted 11-02-2010 05:16 PM

That wood would make beautiful rustic/contemporary log holders or whatever. Logs for legs – mortise and tenon joints. For the mortise use a 1” paddle bit. You can hand cut the tenons to fit- no need to but the tenon cutter since you aren’t going to do this all the time. Just use a utility knife with sharp blade. I make stuff that sits by the fireplace all the time. I even apply my finishes in front of the fireplace. I have never had a problem with cracking. Most of my stuff is 1.5 to 3” thick. Why would you want to cut and mill off all of that beautiful live edge when you can use it to make a beautiful natural looking project? And think of the fancy tools YOU DON’T NEED. I’m just sayin…............... One of those kreg jigs is like 80 bucks…. No, of course I don’t have one. :) google rustic firewood rack and see if you can get some ideas on the hows and whats. :)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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rivergirl

3201 posts in 2300 days


#9 posted 11-02-2010 05:29 PM

Also, I always use 2-3 coats of tung oil before the final finish. I think it helps condition the wood and it makes the final finish easier for me. (I also have limited tools). For finish I generally use minwax poly or spar for exterior use, or when wood will be exposed to water, or when the customer wants high shine.

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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rivergirl

3201 posts in 2300 days


#10 posted 11-02-2010 06:52 PM

Here’s a link to a picture of a slab firewood rack. You could use log uprights instead of metal.
“http://www.logcabindirectory.com/firewood_rack/

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

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