Category: projects

A vintage pantry comes home

How to restore an old pantry cabinet


Have you ever bought a house with its contents? I did. And my house included five sheds packed with everything from tools to televisions.

One shed item caught my eye – a pantry cabinet that looked to be from the 1800s. (more…)

New life for old boots

How to make ice boots

ice boots

You will see some strange sights on construction sites. For instance, I’ve seen carpenters cutting their work boots on table saws.

In the old days, there was only one style of work boot. They were made with tough leather that took forever to break in. By the time these boots were stretched and comfortable the plastic soles would be worn out. (more…)

A wooden star illusion

How to make a wooden Christmas star

This shape-shifting star is made from a dozen 6-inch pieces of wood. Photo: Bruce MacNab

Here is a fascinating holiday project, though it’s not only for the twelve days of Christmas. It looks good twelve months of the year. And it’s made from twelve pieces of wood.

I’ve been admiring these mysterious stars for a long time. A neighbour down the road has them hanging from a pine tree outside his home. When I drive by, I always slow down to study the stars.  (more…)

Feeling Groovy

How to carve a border groove inspired by violin purfling

The grooves carved around the edges of this ornamental shelf bracket and tole-painting board were inspired by violin purfling. Photo: Bruce MacNab

Who’s the greatest woodworker of all time? I’ll go with Antonio Stradivari, the violin maker. His instruments sell for millions of dollars. Antonio is a hard act to follow, but let’s give it a try.

Have a look at a violin. There is a little groove carved around the outside edge of the top. Sometimes this groove is filled with a strip of dark wood. This is called purfling and it’s not just for looks. (more…)

Taking it all off

How to strip wallpaper

wallpaper stripper

I spent the weekend in my room with a hot stripper. It cost too much. And by Sunday night I was exhausted. Read on for the sticky details.

My house is old, probably dating back to the 1860s. There was no full bathroom so I decided to convert an upstairs bedroom into a 3-piece bathroom. (more…)

A box that rocks

How to build a guitar knickknack box

A guitar accessories box made from walnut and Canadian maple. Photo: Bruce MacNab

I’ve logged over fifty-thousand hours in my trade. Countless boards have passed through my hands. But one piece of wood taught me more than all the others.

Years ago I made a guitar neck copied from a Fender Telecaster electric guitar. Some of the job bordered on space age engineering, like drilling the truss rod hole through the (more…)

Classic Cottage

How to give your cottage a classic touch

Classic Cottage

What makes your cottage feel like a cottage? When I visit a cottage I usually find mismatched plates, snowshoes, basket creels, fishing poles and some vintage commemorative plates hanging on the wall. Often in the background there is a shallow well pump clicking on and off.

The great thing about a cottage is you don’t have to break the bank to outfit it. (more…)

A fake wooden oil tank stands in for the real steel

How to make sure something will fit down your basement stairs

Oil Tank

Do you have an old oil tank? I used to have one. But my insurance agent sent me a letter that stated:

“Our files indicate that your oil tank is dated 2004 and no longer meets our underwriting guidelines. For that reason I must ask you to have your oil tank replaced. We would like to have the tank replaced within the next 2 months but we realize this cannot always be achieved.” (more…)

Need free wood? Leave it to Beaver

How to make things with beaver sticks

Beaver Trellis

What’s better than a never-ending supply of free material? How about free labour? I’ve got plenty of both thanks to my neighborhood beavers.

Beavers have great taste in trees. They cut down strong, straight trees. Then they strip the twigs and chew off the bark. They also harvest roots that stick out from the riverbank. Roots can be wiggly, but they’re strong as heck—great for building things. (more…)