One-day woodworking projects
A collection of articles that get you in the shop. In one day, you have a great sense of having made something cool.
I tend to get in over my head in the shop, a lot. I choose overly ambitious projects that hurt my brain to pull off and take me forever to finish. In between those epic projects I like to balance things out with tidying up my shop and smaller, what I call palate-cleansing, projects—not too complicated, low-stress work to ease you from one project into the next. There’s a great satisfaction in spending a day in the shop and, at the end, having created a finished project or deliberately honed a skill with a specific exercise.
Here is a smattering of articles that will get you into the shop. At the end of the day, you’ll have a great sense of having made something cool or expanded your skills. Obviously, what we can all accomplish in a day varies, but this is a realistic collection. Have fun! Make cool stuff!
This type of stool came in handy for Shakers who wanted to reach items in their tall standing cabinets, and it will come in handy in your house, too. It features a single step, with a dovetailed leg in front and a combined handle/leg in the back, with a brace underneath. A hole at the top of the handle makes it easy to hang for storage. Construction is simple, the stool is light and easy to grab and go, it can be painted or made in any wood species, and it’s built to last for generations.
Cutting boards are a great destination for short or narrow offcuts of attractive wood. They’re an easy project, but depending on choice of wood can take on an elegance that belies their straightforward design, construction, and finishing. And if you use a template, like woodworker Tim Albers does, you can churn out stacks of gifts. Albers gives instruction on creating a safe surface for food preparation that will stand up to sharp blades and lots of moisture, while at the same time is beautiful and suited to its purpose.
These display boxes are simple to make, and can be arranged in geometric patterns on a wall to create beautiful, modern, functional storage. The challenge is in hanging them so that they are perfectly aligned and the space between them is uniform. Each box hangs on a French cleat, and once you get the box on the wall you no longer have access to it to make adjustments. Chaffin solves this with a mounting box that mates to the wall cleat and allows him to hang the cleat with a single screw, set the mounting box on it, locate and level the box precisely, and then drive in the screws that hold the cleat in place. Once you have this mounting box, hanging the actual display boxes is a piece of cake.
A salt box can be used on the counter while baking, or brought to the table during meals, where a little pinch of salt will always be close at hand. The fun part of these boxes, saved from the cord wood stack, is cutting and fitting the mitered dovetails at the bottom of the box.
Steve Latta designed a set of bookshelves that will cover a lot of wall but requires only a little time and material to build. Using housed lap joints cut with a router and tablesaw, this unique design can be taken apart and reassembled in minutes. The more weight you put on the shelving, the more secure it is, and it’s a great project for using up scraps.
Designed to use for gathering berries, these small pine boxes are also great to have around the house to hold mail or small treasures. The box is built with small-scale finger joints cut on the tablesaw using an auxiliary fence. The handle is bent over a form and can be made from green wood or kiln-dried wood that has been soaked. You can make these boxes in bunches and keep them on hand to use as gifts.