All posts tagged woodworking plans

Three-into-One Monkey Puzzle

My son, Mike, mentioned something about making a couple of puzzles that could then be intertwined for a larger puzzle. Good idea! For Christmas I would give a set like that to his soon-to-be three-year-old daughter Elisabeth. I set about designing a trio of puzzles with monkeys as a theme.

The first monkey would be up a tree…

First of three monkey puzzles

First of three monkey puzzles

The second swinging…

Have a banana!

Have a banana!

and the third sitting on the ground…

Thank you

Thank you

Trio of monkeys

Trio of monkeys

I was going to use a brand of colored dyes that I bought a few years ago for these puzzles. But in researching I discovered that the company that made them is no longer in business. I hate when that happens!

So, I ended up just using watercolor tube paints that I watered down for a translucent look. The thing about using a water-based anything on the baltic birch is that it will raise the grain. Not to worry, just put it on as dry as posible and plan on giving it a light sanding before finishing. I have found that using a scrap of a brown paper shopping bag works wonders… it “sands” down the grain without taking off too much paint.

I used a black Sharpie marker to put in the details. When thoroughly dry, I sprayed with a clear gloss.

I had fun making them… I hope the kids have fun putting them together, individually or all three together.


Laminated Spaghetti Utensils

I have a website that sells woodworking plans. For over eight years I was an Associate Editor for a woodworking magazine called Weekend Woodworking. My job included designing, building, photographing, and writing articles for woodworking projects that could be made in a weekend. I loved that job! Then the day came when the boss said he was going to stop publishing the magazine. What to do now?! My friend (the editor) and I decided that since we loved what we were doing we would continue doing it. But we had to take the expensive parts out…printing and mailing. So we created a website where people could download a pdf of a woodworking plan, print it out and then take it with them to the shop.

Wooden laminated utensil set

Use these beautiful hardwood utensils to measure out spaghetti and to serve when cooked.

A while ago my business partner left the area and I decided to keep going, but it would need a major overhaul. Along with the website update I wanted to have new projects to upload. I found a couple of almost finished ones in the garage. Gotta love that! This last week I have been working to get those finished and published. I have also created a few new, quick projects, mostly children’s toys that I thought I would put in my portfolio here too. I’ll blog about those projects soon.

I really enjoyed making this project… laminating layers of wood to create a more colorful design in the wood. For this set I used thin strips of purple heart wood, oak and walnut in maple. It’s great to use specialty hardwoods in small amounts to add something special to a piece.

I’m going to go through all my lumber and see what I have. I am really getting enthused about working with wood again … Yea!




Keep on Smilin’

I started making children’s puzzles again. I’ve always enjoyed making them and have off and on for over twenty years.  Now I have grandkids that will be the right ages for the puzzles soon.

I’m also thinking about putting them up on Etsy. Still researching that one.

Smilin' Truck Puzzle

Smilin’ Truck Puzzle

This summer I found some puzzles I had made when working for a woodworking magazine. We never put the finishing sealer on them before taking photographs because of the glare it caused. Well I decided to finally finish them. One of my friends saw them and asked for a puzzle more suited to a three-year-boy. Since he is very into the Disney movie “Cars”, I drew my version of a happy truck.

When painting the puzzles for the magazine I always simplified it so whoever made the puzzles themselves could paint them easily. This time as I was painting I just started to add some highlights and shading to the pieces. I guess I was channeling my decorative painting days! Anyway, I really liked the way it turned out. Even though the plans on show just the color-book painting anyone can do.

I ended up making four of these truck puzzles for the holidays. It is a little more advanced for the little ones… but that’s a good thing.