Making Gifts For Christmas

Making Gifts For Christmas
Chris   February 22, 2012  
0   5  
Making Gifts For Christmas

I would like to share with you some of the things I made as gifts for this past Christmas. I would have liked to have posted this before Christmas, but you never know who in my family is watching the website.

I knew I wanted to make something special for some of my family members this year, but I was not exactly sure what. I wasn't until I came across a candle holder project from Woodworking for Mere Mortals, that the ideas started to flow. I now knew I wanted to make a candle holder, I just needed to come up with a design. With a basic idea in head, I jumped over to Sketchup to build my design in 3D to see how it looked. My design was pretty simple, and is basically a mitered box, with scroll saw cut windows that would glow in the candle light.

With the design finalized, I head to the workshop (aka backyard) to start building. From the beginning I had planned on using some scrap wood that I had rescued from a pallet, but not having the proper woodworking tools made this harder than I originally thought. I knew I could smooth out the rough pallet wood by hand, but I didn't figure that the wood be so uneven in thickness; this is where a power planner would have come in handy. Luckily I had some extra cedar that was just the right size, and I was also the same wood I used for the previous year's Christmas gift. The cedar came with smooth surfaces from the store, so it had the added bonus of saving me some time.

Since I was using mitered corners, I also decided to match the grain of the wood around the box. Matching the grain looks better, but it also uses up more wood. I didn't have much wood to work with, but I ended up having enough. The pieces I was working with were small enough to be in the danger zone on a miter saw, but using a sacrificial fence, a stop block, and a material clamp, kept me from any danger. Safety first. For the bottom of the box I planned on inserting some glass. After cutting the scrap glass to size, I used the miter saw to cut the dado into the wood. Again I used a stop block and a clamp to make sure my hands were clear of any danger. The miter saw blade thickness cut the perfect size dado in one pass.

Now it is time to cut out the designs. I had searched on Google for the images I needed. I used a maple leaf and an apple as a fall theme for one box, a cross and a dove as a Christian theme for another box, and a Chicken and Rooster for another box. Cutting out the designs on the scroll saw was the fun part, but unfortunately I did not have the correct blade for the job and left the edges a bit rough. I came up with a way to sand them smooth, and I was ready for assembly.

To glue the pieces together, I decided to use the old “tape the corner trick”. This is where you lay the pieces flat on a table, and tape them together end to end; then you can flip them over, add the glue, bend the pieces to form a square, add the glass bottom, then tape the final corner. It worked like a charm. After assembly and everything was dry, I covered the box with two coats of tung-oil, a bit of buffing and did a final glass cleaning.

Note: I made the boxes big enough to hold and use real candles in a small glass box, but I chose to include a set of battery operated real-looking candles. I gave a pair of boxes to my Grandparents, a pair to my Mom, and my dad got tools for Christmas. Everyone loved their Christmas gifts.


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