Garden Bench


I didn’t take any pictures as I built this English Garden Bench but there is a good “how to” right here.  It isn’t one of my unique designs but it is a very nice and comfortable bench.  I built this one for a friend that wanted a place to sit outside her place of business.

The bench is made from Southern Yellow Pine.  I selected this wood because it has a very nice wood grain and this bench is mounted under a covered area so it won’t be directly in the weather.  Also I added the “feet” which are made of pressure treated SYP because they are in contact with the concrete of the covered area.  To be sure it wasn’t stolen, I made steel brackets to secure it with anchors to the concrete.  If a thief wants the bench he will really have to work at taking it.

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The finish is two coats of a premium outdoor semi transparent stain and then two coats of spar urethane over that.  Hopefully it will last for years and years.



Round Jewelry Box

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Why would anyone want to design and build a round jewelry box?  Mostly because when I looked online to see what one would look like I was disappointed to see nothing on the subject.  So I started drawing and thinking, sometimes all at the same time!

It started with rough lumber, turning on a lathe, and then assembly and finishing.  There is a post here:  that shows the first stages and the turning process.

After the drawers were all turned on the lathe, I had to put a bottom in each of them and then cut thin stock to make the dividers in each of the drawers.  I used some leftover 1/4″ plywood for the bottoms and more of the same wood (poplar) for the dividers.  Cut groove for the bottom on the router table, and cut out the bottoms with a hand router.  Then glue the bottoms in place.

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The dividers were just a lot of cutting, planing to thin as possible, fitting and gluing the pieces together and then the assemblies into the drawers.

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It was finally time to make the hinge system so the drawers can open and close.  The top and bottom pieces for the project were cut out with the router again, then the bottom rounded over and the top sculpted on the router table.  The hinge uses sections of hard plastic pipe for a bushing and a steel rod for the hinge pin.  I used some silicone grease to lubricate it all as it was assembled.

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The next thing I did was to apply  semi-gloss polyurethane over an oil based stain on the outside of the unit.  I used matte poly on the inside of the drawers to get them ready to be flocked.  The flocking process is detailed here:

Once the drawers were finished a flaw was discovered in the top of the unit.  The wood cracked where I used screws and glue to attach it to the upright.  I did the best I could to repair the crack but it was very noticeable so I had to find a fix for that or else make a whole new top piece.

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My solution was to make a sheet of veneer of the same wood and install it over the top.  Making veneer is another new experience for me, cutting some thin slices on the table saw and then edge gluing them to make a wider sheet of wood, then mounting that onto a backer board and running it through the planer.  I managed to get it to 3/32″ thin before the planer started making confetti out of it, so that’s what I used.

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Rough cut to oversize of the top and then glued into place after sanding the finish off the original top piece.  I was surprised at how easy this process was.  Again, lots of glue and clamps to be sure it is secure.  Then the same bit used to shape the top edge was used to sculpt the edge to the exact size.  Some final sanding and then two coats of stain on the new piece of wood.  Followed by 4 coats of semi-gloss polyurethane.  The repair is hardly noticeable, which is the way it should be.

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So now there is a round jewelry box for future generations to build upon.  I already could make some improvements if I were to build another one, but I’m content with the final outcome of this project.

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Turn, Turn, Turn


Turning the drawers for the round jewelry box was a new challenge for this old guy.  Inside, outside and front surface turning to get all the surfaces finished.  It started by taking some rough lumber and using the table saw to size them and the planer to get a smooth surface on all of them.  Then those got cut into some small blocks with the right angle on each end.

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From there it was a matter of gluing all those blocks together to form rings.  Lots of glue and clamps were needed.

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Then those rings were stacked one on top of the other in an alternating pattern and glued, again lots of clamps.

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When the glue was all dried, which I made sure was overnight, the rings with all the corners were mounted to a backing board that is attached to the mounting of the lathe.  The hard part was to get it centered, but with a lot of measuring and patience it was accomplished.

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Finally it’s time to turn on the lathe and start making wood shavings.  Doing the inside first, then the flat surface, then finally the outside of each ring.

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The final sizing of each ring is based on the first ring made.  Carefully measuring the inside and outside diameters so all the drawers are the same size.

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Sanding each one to a nice smooth surface is easy while mounted on the lathe.  Just start with medium grit, go to fine, and finally extra fine sand paper.  I actually use sanding belts from my belt sander because they are made to last a long time.

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Remove the screws holding it to the backing plate and move on to the next one.  I made 6 drawers even though I am only using 5 of them.  Better to have a spare if an accident happens along the processes that follows.


That’s the turning process for this project.

Get the Flock Out


Ever wonder about that soft velvety finish inside a jewelry box?  Well, when you are making a jewelry box you have to do more than wonder.  This is how it’s done.  Or at least how I did it.

First I applied a coat of matte finish polyurethane to the inside of the drawers to seal the wood so the adhesive/base coat of the flocking process doesn’t sink into the wood.  Let this dry thoroughly.

Next you have to mask off the area that you don’t want to get any of the flocking base coat onto.  I like the blue or green painters tape that is easy on the finish you are protecting.

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Then you paint on a good thick coat of the matching color base paint/adhesive.  I see that some “kits” give you acrylic craft paint, which might work, but I prefer the Donjer brand of flocking materials.  The base coat is solvent based and dries SLOWLY but it does an excellent job and I know it holds up.  A jewelry box I made for my wife has been used for many years and it still looks like new inside.

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You want to put on a fairly thick coat but don’t leave any “puddles” or heavy spots.  A good thick, even coat is what you want.  Then the flocking fibers are applied.  That is done best with an applicator.  They sell air assisted ones, some people find just sprinkling on the fibers works for them, I use the Donjer Mini-flocker.  A hand operated simple device that really applies the fibers evenly.  You put a few teaspoons of fibers into the thing and then “spray” it on over the base coat.

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Now comes the hard part.  Just walk away.  And stay away for 10 to 15 hours.  Don’t touch it, keep drafts off it, don’t let anyone or anything disturb it.  I leave it overnight so it has around 24 hours to set up.  After that time it is set.  Not completely dry, but set.  It takes a number of days for it to be completely ready to use.

After it is set for those initial hours, you turn it upside down over a lined box and tap the excess off the coated area.  You don’t have to catch the excess fibers, but there is no reason not to reuse the excess because they are still good fibers.  If you look at the photos you will see I just lined a cardboard box with plastic sheeting and taped it in place.  Oh, yes, don’t get the idea of using compressed air to remove the excess!  Just some gentle tapping removes all you want to take off at this point.

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The finished product is soft and velvety, and looks luxurious.  Great for a jewelry box or any other storage box that doesn’t get really heavy use.

Safety First


In an effort to upgrade my wood shop I purchased a used Grizzly table saw.  It’s an older model but still in good condition.  One problem I found almost immediately was the old style push button on/off switch.  Though fully functional, it was hard to find the STOP button when I wanted to turn it off.

I thought of replacing the switch with a “paddle” switch, but that would cost me money and I’m cheap, or should I say “frugal”.  I decided that I could make an addition to the original switch out of some scrap wood and it wouldn’t cost me anything.


This is the switch on the saw (inside the wooden frame) and you can see the STOP button is small, making it hard to find.  Especially as the switch is located below the table of the saw.


The design is fairly simple, just a “paddle” flap with an extra (small) wood block on the inside to push on the stop button when the paddle is pushed.  It’s on a hinge at the top so it swings freely.  You can lift it to push the start button, but I drilled a hole a little bigger than the start button so you don’t have to lift it to start the saw.


You’ll have to excuse the STOP sign art I added, I hope to paint the thing red and re-do the lettering when I get a chance.  Meanwhile, the saw is a lot safer to use now that I have a large area to “tap” or push to shut it off.