Favorite Woodworking Projects

Favorite Woodworking Projects

Last week, Rob wondered what your favorite woodworking projects have been. Now it’s time for show-and-tell! – Editor

“As a teenager, I built a 14-ft. Sunfish sailboat from an Alcort kit with a small amount of help from my father. The (mostly) precut wood still offered the chance to learn new skills. Last I heard, it is still seaworthy. More than a half century later, I am into mechanical puzzles. A favorite of my recent designs is a ‘Cellular Pay Phone.’ Since those cell phone plans are so expensive, I created a pay phone that only needs a dime to make a call. If, for some reason, the call does not go through (hint: it is made of wood), you might want your dime back. Like all good pay phones, the coin does not come out at the same place it was put in. Navigating the dime through the maze, avoiding the dead ends, lets you retrieve it at the coin return slot. Other than the work of making the limited run of 144 phones, contouring the edges of a few hundred tiny (1.5 x 4×5 mm) buttons is a real challenge!” – Mike Snyder

“I have two favorites. One was a simple table I made for my 90+ year-old mother-in-law. She was in nursing care in her retirement home and wheelchair bound. The furnishings were rather spartan, there wasn’t much room for things from her apartment. So, I built her a small oak table to fit beside her wheelchair from recycled pallet wood. She was delighted and mentioned it frequently. I can’t send a picture because we’re out of town, but we continue to use that table at home. The second is a cherry hutch I made for our kitchen, shown here. Years ago, a work colleague called me as she was selling her house, telling me that her husband, who had died years before, had a bunch of cherry wood in the garage and would I be interested? Needless to say, I was at her house in microseconds and ended up with enough cherry for several projects, this being the largest. The wood was purchased from Sears, (one board still had the shipping label), and he got it before there were zip codes. Another case of being in the right place at the right time” – Don Gwinn

“My favorite project came from a request from my daughter for ‘a narrow table to go between two recliners.’ This original design is built using leftovers from earlier family projects. The pecan slab top is a cutoff from a hutch I made with her son (and pictured in the “Teaching Woodworking” Feedback just a few weeks ago). The bottom is ash from a headboard made for his sister. The two curved pieces are milled from a native oak that fell just outside my shop. The wide walnut end is from stock used as accents in several projects. The walnut trim inlay on the top is decorative but also secures a split running partway through the pecan slab.” – Henry Burks

“I love building clocks and furniture, however this one is my favorite.” – Dennis Sheehan

“My favorite woodworking project was the cradle I built for my first grandson, 26 years ago. Now, I’m impatiently waiting for him to put it to use again, LOL!” – Tom Atha

“As a lifetime woodworker, I’ve built a lot of things, but my favorite project is a cradle. Forty-five years ago, I promised myself I’d build a unique cradle for every nephew and niece on the occasion of their first child. To date, I’ve built 17 with the hope that they will be passed down through the generations. The one pictured here was built 40 years ago, and the baby is my great-great niece.” – Ken Bayer

“Building these three desks for my grandchildren.” – Pat Sullivan

“My favorite project is an acoustic guitar I built for my son eight years ago. Rosewood sides and bottom, Alaskan spruce for the top, laminated mahogany, maple and rosewood neck, and mother-of-pearl inlays on the fret board. All built from scratch including bending the wood for the side body, finished with 18 coats of lacquer. This was a class offered by our local woodworkers club, the Northeastern Woodworkers Association in Albany, New York.” – Rick Bird

“Projects that rank high on my list are those made from scavenged/discarded materials. Here are couple of recent examples.” – Chris Jenkins

“SHAK, our local maker space, needed six easels for some painting classes. These are walnut, maple and cherry. They will accommodate a 16″-wide canvas.” – Randy Martin

“I have two favorites if I may be so presumptuous. The top one is an acoustic OM steel string guitar made of walnut from a tree I helped cut down, mill and age. I got paid for that one. A close second was a coffee table for my mom made of leftover red oak.” – Frank Clements

“A few months back, my Scottish background (wanting to do things at little or no cost) got the best of me. To my wife’s consternation, I started salvaging pallets for free wood. Places were more than happy for me to take them off their hands. Without the benefit of a pallet buster, I got creative at how to take them apart and retain as much usable wood as possible. Having gotten a sizable collection, I had to decide what to make with my newfound treasures. Being patriotic, I decided to make American flags. Also, being a purist, I wanted them sized correctly. I soon found a good chart online that gave the proportions for all measurements. I went about ripping and chopping material. Painting prior to assembly seemed the best, so the red, white and blue parts were rattle-canned. I even made a wedge-clamped assembly table to ensure the parts went together as tightly as possible. Not perfect but made for the rustic look I wanted. I experimented with aging and weathering ideas till I liked what I saw. I made several and gave them as gifts to various family members. They were thrilled with them and are proudly displayed. The first one is in my front yard, except during winter months. They are not fine woodworking by any means, but they were an adventure from scrounging material to completion. It was fun, which is a main reason for woodworking.” – David Routt

“This hutch is my favorite and first major wood project I did in the late 80’s. It was all made from pine from Grossman’s bargain outlet. That was the only wood I could afford back then. I’m sitting right next to it now, and it’s still in beautiful shape.” – Bill Fields

“After my wife and I bought our first house, I knew I wanted to get into woodworking. My first project was a stand-up water hose holder. It has been brought to my attention countless times in our 46 years of marriage as to how ridiculous this hose holder was, but now no one makes fun of any of my projects anymore. As a matter of fact, I’ve got folks in our present community standing in line for me to build them wall units, cutting boards, stove top covers, etc. When I retired from sales a few years back, I started using my talents at something I’ve enjoyed most of my life: molding one of Gods’ most beautiful gifts to us — the tree — into beautiful pieces! Sorry, no picture of the holder from 46 years ago! Besides you might laugh…” – Dennis Young

“Most of my (non-practical) projects have memories, but this is probably my favorite. It’s a rattle I designed for a friend’s newborn. He’s a professional percussionist, so I made this with black beans in one end, popcorn on the other, and of course the ring rattles as well. It had her name carved into the end.” – Scott Lucas

“This project started more than seven years ago when I was learning the saw mill trade from a mentor of mine. I said I wanted to make a dining table someday, and he said let’s go pick out a log. We slabbed it and started kiln-drying it that day. It sat in storage until this year when I finally got around to building it. It is live edge, 1-5/8″ thick, average  42″ wide and 10′-4″ long, made of mesquite.” – Lee Summers

“I’m a retired union ironworker. I fabricated structural steel (structural fitter and layout) for 46 years. I was an art major in high school, but I went to college and majored in construction technology – basically drafting and carpentry. I ended up landing a job in a steel fabrication shop. I’m not a finished carpenter, just a rough one. I’ve built structures like pole buildings, stick buildings for myself and helped friends. I’ve also moonlighted as a draftsman and have done my share of concrete work and roofing. But now that I’ve been retired, I just enjoy scroll sawing, making my own patterns. I’ve made a couple of whirligigs and have more on the drawing board. I also have taken in a couple of 20-or-so-year-old flying whirligigs to repair and repaint for friends. In the 1970’s to mid 80’s, I used to make powder horns and engrave them. I was in the black powder shooting sport at the time. Sometimes I would add German silver (pewter) inlay if the customer requested it. I never took photos of my work like my wife told me to. It just didn’t seem important at the time, LOL. I do regret that! These are just a few I’ve done in the last 4 years. I really like designing and making folk art in my spare time. I’m not the accomplished woodworker like you and your followers are. I’m just a hobbyist.” – Michael Marchione

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