Strange Projects We Have Made

One of the things I love about my wife Amy is that she shares my appreciation for beauty in what some might see as macabre. But it can lead to strange souvenirs that present opportunities for unusual projects. And here’s a good example for you. A couple of months ago, Amy took our daughters on a vacation trip to New York. While there, they visited the store Obscura Antiques and Oddities in Manhattan. If you’ve ever watched the show “Oddities” on the Science Channel, that name should immediately ring a bell. The proprietors buy and sell just about anything and everything that’s, well, odd. It’s an amusing and often hilarious program that’s become a family favorite.

She came home with this bat specimen from Obscura encased in a block of resin. And her request of me was this: “Please build a frame for it so I can hang it on the wall.”

Now there’s a project you don’t get every day! So, I got on it straight away. The frame has bridle joints on the corners and is made of cherry. It actually doesn’t hang on the wall; she sets it on a deep windowsill in her office so sunlight shines through it. Makes a pretty good shadow.

It seems an eerie and fitting project for October — and one to offer up to the following theme: “Strange Projects We Have Made.”

I’m sure I’m not the only woodworker who builds something weird from time to time. Do you have a project or two from your past that you’d chalk up to “strange” in some sense of that word? It doesn’t have to be Halloween appropriate, just funky somehow. Why not tell other readers about it here by leaving a comment below?

Let’s see what sort of oddities we’ve conjured up from wood. As far as I’m concerned, “off the beaten track” is a refreshing path to follow now and then, don’t you think?  If it’s possible to improve on a plastic-dipped bat, I tried to do it justice here! Amy thinks so, anyway.

I hope you’ll fill us in on your “oddity” project! And spill the details of its “backstory,” too.

Catch you in the shop,

Chris Marshall, Field Editor



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About Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall has been writing for Woodworker's Journal as a contributing editor and field editor since 2001. Prior to that, he spent five years developing home improvement and woodworking books. He's written five of them and has served as a contributing writer on many more. A wood and tool junkie since childhood, Chris thoroughly enjoys building projects and reviewing woodworking tools for the Journal. When he's not assembling new machinery, sawing parts, taking photos or crunching text for an upcoming story, he enjoys spending time with his family and a houseful of pets at their home in rural Ohio.

4 thoughts on “Strange Projects We Have Made

  1. This concerns you plans for the federal desk..

    I have looked everywhere in the plans for the dimensions and angles for the desk sides (item 16) and they are nowhere to be found. Is there something I am missing, or were they delibertly omitted. As it stands now my only option is to turn the desk base into a cocktail table or plant stand.
    Can anyone out there help me. It seems Woodworkers is mute on the missing info.

  2. Not my project, but my friend’s. My part was some mentoring. My buddy was building a snake cage for his son, who raises them as a hobby. My friend was a new woodworker at the time, and, I must say, he did a terrific job. The project is oak, about 6′ tall, 6′ wide and 2 1/2′ deep. It has a trough that is coated with epoxy for waterproofing and glass walls. When my wife and I were over to their house for dinner, I wanted to show her the project, but, unfortunately, she’s squeamish about snakes.

  3. I like the frame and the story! I haven’t ran into too many strange projects. I wanted to make a coffee table out of some left over wood panels from our wood floor we just made. I cut them to fit the size I wanted and put a border around it. I painted it all black, which was the original thought. It came out very nice for our sun room. That was the strangest material I worked with. Pretty boring compare to a bat!

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