Your Favorite Projects

Your Favorite Projects

Rob sent out a call for eZine readers to send in their favorite projects…and boy, did you respond! Here are some of our favorites:

Here is a Murphy bed and bookcases built for a friend whose father could no longer go up and down stairs in his new home.

– Ken Keating,
Katy Texas

Here is a Murphy bed and bookcases built for a friend whose father could no longer go up and down stairs in his new home. - Ken Keating, Katy Texas

I know this is a silly little project but it has been very popular. The picnic table condiment holder is built from wood reclaimed from my old picnic table. A friend asked: “What about those of us who like mayo on their burgers?”  I said: “That sounds like a crappy idea, mayo in the sun is a bad thing.” Then I built him the little outhouse with an ice pack in the bottom and sent it to him.

– Mike McGrath

This was the first attempt at a hollowed out structure on my lathe. Sure was a lot of work. But there is just something about finished Walnut.

– Al Phelps

This is a pedestal I made for the fellow who lives behind us. He had bought one for his elk mount, the only problem was that it was too tall to put the mount on. One Sunday, he and his wife came to my shop for a visit, and he asked if I thought I could make him one that would let him put it in his trophy room. Now when ever I look out my back door I can see it in his room downstairs and it still gives me a good feeling knowing I could do it. I have made several things over the years and I guess I’m proud of them all but this was the one that gave me confidence.

– Danny Steggall,
Solon, Iowa

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When I was in the 7th grade in 1957, we had to have a project for our Mississippi history class. I found a calendar with a map of the state on it with all the counties outlined. I traced this out on a piece of 1/4″ plywood and, over the next several weeks, I would saw out the counties one by one.  When I got off the school bus one day at the service station to work on my project, my daddy was so proud that he had found me a round blade to make turning the corners easier. I used that blade and broke it and use it some more until it was only about two inches long. Of course I painted each piece and lettered the name of each county on each one to make a jigsaw puzzle.  I received the highest grade in the entire seventh grade, about 200 students. While hanging on the wall, two counties came off the backing board. I am sure my mother put them up somewhere but I did not find them while cleaning out her house so the map is missing two pieces. You can see where some of the pieces do not fit together too well.

– Charles
New Albany, MS

I can’t remember all the furniture and furnishings I have built over the years, but on old black walnut tree that fell on my father-in-law’s farm and was rough milled and stored in his barn for many years has probably been the source of the favorite things. That log is still churning out small items like silver chests, tray tables, jewelry boxes and the like for the 4 girls that grew up on that farm. It’s hard to beat creating items that already have a special meaning to people and will be treasured long after we’re gone. This example is a tea caddy my wife uses daily.

– Dave Sweet

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One of my favorite projects!

– Harry Thompson

Here is a bowl of fruit I did on my lathe just for fun. I think that the grapes, made from purple heart, have gotten the most attention.  I like the way that my wife arranged them. The apples are red cedar, the pears are poplar and the peach…I’m not sure.

– Jack Abbott

Sorry, Rob, I couldn’t help myself. 🙂

-John Hutchinson

PS – Looks like I need to change the tires.

(Editor’s Note: John designed and built this dragon toy for the March/April 2000 issue of Woodworker’s Journal)

An altar built for our small church in Maryland. I built it out of white and red oak to give it some contrast. I made it very heavy on purpose.

– Dr. Steve Gardner

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I am a hobby woodworker, 69 years young, not any sort of professional. After a good many years of making firewood projects, I took on a project for a friend. No pressure here. I agreed to make a tall chest of drawers for him. He allowed me to make it any style I wanted. He said he just wanted something unique and custom made. I was flattered that he had that much confidence in my work, when even I wasn’t so sure I could pull this one off. His only preference; make it from Red Oak, 6′ tall by 33″ wide. It took me 10 months of spare time work but I did complete this Tall Chest, finished with Pecan stain in Polyurethane gloss (his choice). This was my most challenging project to date and my friend was overjoyed with the results, making this one of my most satisfying projects ever.

– Reg Hainstock

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About five years ago for Christmas presents I made 4 music boxes, one for my Aunt and three for cousins. Each was differently styled, different wood types and each had a movement with a song that was picked specially for each person.

– Bill Koski
Chicago, IL

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I built this little stool many years ago out of birch re-purposed from an older cabinet. All my grandkids lugged it around the house to get to something they couldn’t reach otherwise, and my wife still uses it to get into those high kitchen cabinets. I’ve built a couple more since, but this first one is still my favorite. It has been a handy little item to have around since the get-go. Hmm, I’ve got a nice piece of butternut in the garage…

– Roger Prigge
Oakdale, MN

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My first major furniture piece that I made was the Craftsman-style Library Table. As I was just beginning to acquire the tools to do my own milling, I enrolled in our Community College Evening Woodworking Class to get access to hardwood lumber, jointers and planers. A great way to get started. The table is made of Knotty Alder and finished with Watco Danish Oil and Poly on the top of the table.

– John H Bonnett
Twin Falls, ID

This is a Hoosier Cabinet. The plans and hardware came from Van Dykes Restorers.

– Harry Sorenson
Pierre, SD

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My most meaningful project, that has returned smiles over many years, is a cradle that I built for the birth of our first child. It was 1986 in the middle of a five year deployment to West Germany when we found that we were going to be blessed with a little one. The local base craft shop provided the larger power tools and clamps needed for the major assembly. I finished the construction in my 8′ x 10′ basement shop that also housed the landlord’s massive workbench and a storage cabinet leaving me about a 4′ x 5′ workspace. Cozy! This cradle has been used extensively for both of my daughters and all three of my granddaughters. Both moms insisted on having the baby sleep in the cradle beside their bed for about the first two months and then it was used for naps for about a year each. It always brings a smile from all the memories.

– Greg Harmon

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