Outdoor Woodwork Projects

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.

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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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Patio Plant Stand

Patios and sundecks have become something of a new living area for many people in recent years. Patios and decks are great places to entertain, to enjoy family and friends and to just relax and unwind and enjoy the great outdoors.

The popularity of these new living quarters has spurred a whole new industry of out door furniture and accessories, including lounge chairs, formal dinning tables and chairs, stools, benches cooking and entertainment pieces, BBQs and so on.  To help add to this growing trend, we decided to make our own Patio Plant Stand. It's easy to make (you can often make them with leftover lumber) they can be painted, stained or covered with material, what ever suits your needs.

For out plant stand we kept is very simple, it's basically a 24" high, by 24" long and 12" wide with one tier in the middle to help offset one of the plants and give the stand some "life". We started off by ...

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Making A Solar Lantern

There are many ways to enhance the entrance to a house, or to simply add a pleasing detail to a gazebo, a backyard deck or patio. In this video we create a working prototype of a solar lantern that could be used in many indoor or outdoor situations. With the solar light, this lantern can be placed outside to provide years of automatic on and off use as the re-purposed solar light will recharge the internal battery during the day and give about 6 hours of illumination to the lantern when the sun goes down.

There were some challenges to building this unit, specifically finding something that was opaque enough to hide seeing the light inside the lantern, but still bright enough to pass light and to "glow" in the dark and show off the detail. We tried many, many products and finally found a small quantity of rice paper that we were not entirely happy with, so this could use more experimentation.

All in all we loved the design and how the 3 dimensional aspect of the lantern was enhance with the projecting pieces on top. It was an easy build and we found all or the material were pieces that were left over from previous projects and the solar light was purchased as a used item from a local thrift store so it was a very economical build too.
Copyright - Colin Knecht