Make a Standing Patio Drink Cooler

I never understand why some things I build are so much more fun to make than other things, and this standing drink cooler was one of those "surpriose" fun builds. It is meant to be somewhat rustic, after all, it is an outdoor furniture piece, and a great compliment to the Barbecue or backyard grill that is a great place for entertainment and enjoyment.
The concept is simple, find a square plastic container suitable to hold ice, then build a free standing, waist level stand to hold it, give it a lid and in no time you have a standing cooler.


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For this build I used pocket holes and suitable screws. I prefer pocket hole technology for out door projects as they hold well and if they become loose over time, the screws can be easily tightened.

How to Make a Barbecue Stand

barbecue standPortable barbecues are handy because they can be easily transported to a variety of events, like birthday parties, family gathering, picnics, camping trips and much more. The disadvantage is that they need some sort of a stand to sit on to make them comfortable to use, but often there is a picnic table or something similar handy to use. Unless ... you want a dedicated stand for them, then you either need to purchase the accessory or make your own, which is what I did.

Initially I was a bit concerned about having a portable barbecue sitting on a wooden surface, but after using my own, on a wooden surface for 2 years not seeing any sign of even paint discoloring, I am pretty confident that wood works fine for my barbecue, others may not, so before you build your own, that will be something you will want to check. Regardless whether or not you use the table for a barbecue or not, it is still a great, solid little table that would be fine as a serving table to hold any number of food and drink items, or what-have-yous.

I started off with the legs, I wanted them to be at least 1" thick, just because a table looks more substantial with stronger legs. All the cross members are 3/4" material.

Make a Garden Art Wheelbarrow with Red Cedar

red cedar wheelbarrowWorking with Red Cedar is always an exercise in frustration for me. I am allergic to the wood so I have to be extra careful about wood dust and just trying to fasten Red Cedar together or to something else is a whole new world of "what works best".

The object of this build is to make something that will serve mostly as a place in which plants will sit on most of the time. I guess you could really call it a plant stand, BUT, from time to time it will also be used for light duty hauling and of course moving around the plants that are displayed on it.
This means it will be sitting out-of-doors for it's entire life, which should be at least 10 years and could easily be up to 20. That's due to the fact Red Cedar contains resins and oils that helps preserve the wood. Sunlight is the hardest thing on Cedar. It helps to leach out the oils which then makes the wood susceptible to rotting.

The same oils that help to preserve Red Cedar (and other out door woods) is the same oil that makes Cedar impossible to keep paints or stains on, or that that will hold a glue for very long. For someone like me who tries to use glue as much as possible, when it comes to Red Cedar, I have to rethink joinery.

Building a Child's Picnic Table

child's picnic tableKids always seem to get such great use out of their toys and furniture. For that reason alone it's rewarding to build things for them, and that's exactly what Graham did ... while I stood around and watched and held a few boards. Actually, it was kind of nice to be an observer for a change and let someone else do the building. Lucky for me Graham has build a few of these in the past so not only did he know exactly what he was doing, he had a few tricks along the way to share with us too, which could make our builds quicker and better.

Graham started off with a number of red cedar, 2" x 4" and 2" x 6" boards of varying lengths. Because the plan for this picnic table called for use of pre-cut boards, all Graham had to do was to cut the boards to their correct lengths and he rounded over all the boards to help eliminate any chances of getting slivers from the wood.

The build was fairly straight forward when you understand that in this case Graham wanted to hide all the joinery underneath the table for a couple of reasons, first it makes it nice to look at, but secondly it helps to keep the weather from the screws and bolts, which in term helps to reduce the incidence of rusting, which will still happen, just not as quickly.

Building a Colonial Style Lantern

colonial lanternLanterns of all shapes and sizes have made a resurgence in recent years. In the past, especially before electricity became common, they were used to illuminate homes and other buildings. Now they are more decorative than functional, but they can easily be made functional by adding battery or solar powered LED lights.

This version is loosely based on a colonial style of lantern that emulated a tiny house with windows. An interesting design with many sharp angles that makes it an interesting project and with the added feature of brass hinges, a brass clasp and even brass fittings for the hanger, it makes an attractive piece.

I could have used 3/4" material to make the frame for this lantern, but I wanted something that was a bit "beefier" so I custom planed some rough wood down to 7/8". Not much bigger but big enough that it is noticeable, and I used the same thickness for the top and bottom.

I tried to plan this project so I could do some glue-ups but still keep working on on other parts, so began by gluing up the boards that would later make the base, which ended up being 8-1/2" square. Next I began to work on the main body of the lantern and agonized over what method to use.

Patio Server

One of the best features of being a woodworker is that fact that you can re-make things, alter designs or just make things from pictures or ideas. What an amazing thing to be do, I guess that's where part of the art form of woodworking comes from. I often wish I had some of those creative abilities. For the most part, I need to at least look at a picture of something before I can create it, which is precisely what happened with this build.

I liked the design and the functionality of having and using a patio server ... what a handy little item for anyone who does some entertaining among family and friends. A perfect way to hold and transport food and drink around a patio, sundeck or back yard get-together.

I started off by making a rough model, just to get a sense of comparative sizes of the parts that might be needed. Once I had that, the next real measurement I needed was ... what would be comfortable height for the handle to be at and with this knowledge the build began ...

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