Monday, May 13, 2019

How to make a super simple wooden stool - DIY

Tools and materials I propose:

This type of small stool, is pretty common in Greece. It used to fulfill many needs in everyday life. And it still does so to this day. I made mine out of reclaimed pine wood. 

I cut my boards roughly to size on the table saw. I then cleaned them up a little bit on my jointer planer. You can use precut lumber from your local lumber yard. 

To make your cross cuts, you can use a handsaw, a jigsaw or a circular saw. After all, this project doesn’t require extreme accuracy. If you use the circular saw, a speed square can prove really handy.

Cutting thin stripes was a bit tricky. But I created a fence using an scrap piece and using the jigsaw it came out just fine. You can use a cheap block plane to clean the saw marks if you like. 

I wanted the top to have curved edges, so I used a spray can as a guide. To cut the thin pieces to size I used my miter box and a saw.

Pine has too many nuts. I secured them in place with some thin super glue. I then designed the side pieces.

I made all my cuts with the jigsaw. But if you have access to a small bandsaw you can do the same work much easier. I cleaned the saw marks with files, chisels and sandpaper.

It’s better to make your cuts leaving some excess material. Then you can fine tune them and achieve better joints. 

When you cut with the jigsaw or the bandsaw, sometimes you have to make a few repeated cuts to create some room, so the blade can take the turn.

Once all the parts were cut to size and shape, I assembled my stool. I glued and screwed everything in place. Before adding the screws, I predrilled pilot holes and counter sunken them.

I rounded over all the edges using a block plane, a spokeshave and a sharp chisel. But you can achieve the same effect just by sanding. This made the piece nicer to the touch and also made it look a bit more organic. 

I filled some imperfections with wood filler and then sanded everything with my random orbit sander. 

I masked the legs of the stool and painted them green with latex paint. This is not only a design element but also prevents moisture from penetrating into the end grain of the legs. I like latex paint, because it dries easily without smelling bad. Remember to brush from the tape to the wood. This way you’ll have a much sharper edge, once you remove the masking tape. I applied two coats of paint while lightly sanding between coats. I also painted the screws and then sanded over them flush. This way you kind of incorporate an ugly element into your design.

Finally I applied two coats of clear water based satin varnish. A heat gun speeds up the drying process.

At this point my stool was ready. It is really steardy and I love the way it looks.

I hope you like this project, because that was it. See you soon with a new project video!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, that at no cost to you, I get a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Epoxy resin, CNC machine and woodturning experiments

3D carver links:

Tools and materials I propose:

In this video I used my x-carve 3d carver and epoxy resin, to create blanks for woodturning. I made a pen, a cap and a bowl! I hope these projects will inspire you to experiment and create interesting and creative projects!

The wood I used for these projects, was basswood. I used my jointer to flatten one side. Then I used the thickness planer to flatten the other parallel to the first. I jointed one edge on the jointer and then used the table saw to make the other one parallel. At this point my piece was square. 

I created my vector designs and then imported them into Easel. The online software my CNC machine uses. My designs were 3.5mm ribbons. So I used a 3mm straight bit to carve everything.

After the 3D carving was over, I mixed some clear resin and coated the inside of my carvings. This procedure should prevent the colored resin from penetrating deep into the wood fibers. I let the resin cure for a day.

I then mixed more resin and added a drop of blue dye. I degassed the resin in the vacuum chamber and casted it into the mold. I then degassed it again. A piece of tape in the perimeter of the mold prevents the resin from overflowing and ruining the chamber.

I let the resin cure for a week. Meantime I repeated the process to make pen blanks and cap blanks.

I begun turning the bowl blank first. I secured it between centers on the lathe and created a mortise underneath to secured it on my chuck’s jaws. Bowl turning is pretty satisfying and you can easily get carried away. And that’s what I did. As a result I went too deep with the bowl gouge and had to remake the blank from the beginning!

Anyway, I proceeded on pen turning. I prepared my blanks for turning. I drilled a hole and glued the metal tubes in place. Then I used the trimming bit to trim the wood flush with the tubes. Then I secured the blanks on my pen mandrel and used a roughing gouge to turn them. I sanded them and polished them with abrasive paste. The pens turned out nice, although next time I would use more dye so the resin won’t be transparent. 

Next I made a cap for an IKEA night light. First I mounted the blank on my machinist’s chuck. Then I used the bowl gouge to hollow it out. I also used the parting tool and my recess tool to create a mortise for my chuck. I then reversed the blank and turned it with the bowl gouge. Again sanding and polishing! It turned out nicely!

Finally the bowl blank was ready. This time I kept things simple. I just mounted it on the lathe with a face plate. I did most of the turning with a bowl gouge. Occasionally I used a spindle gouge and a round scraper. This bowl was more like an abstract form based on a bowl shape. Despite the fact that I had added that first coat of clear resin, the colored resin still managed to penetrate deeply into the wood. As a result I had some resign showing off in some spots. Some might find this visual effect kind of interesting. 

Anyway, I really enjoyed this project and learned a ton of stuff making it. I hope you’ll find it inspiring! At this point I want to thank Inventables for sponsoring this experimental project.

See you soon with a new project video!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, that at no cost to you, I get a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.