Tool Tote Project

From the pages of Shopnotes issue number 91, I built the tool tote. It is made from 1/4″ birch plywood and required only 1 2′ x 4′ sheet to do the project. I think the most tedious part is laying out all the holes and slots for the tabs to fit in. The whole tote is assembled without glue, and fits together like a nifty puzzle. I’m going to half the dimensions for all the parts and make one kid-sized for my son.


Stool Sample

So it has been a request of my wife for a while to make a stool for my son. This is what I came up with. After trolling the internet looking for appropriate “samples” for a stool, I happened upon a nifty design similar to the one I made pictured. It has a movable smaller step, which converts the whole thing into a chair with a back. The movable step is made from walnut, with poplar plugs, and the body of the stool made from oak plywood, with walnut plugs. It has been glued, and screwed together, so it is very sturdy. It is finished with a non-toxic Danish Oil finish from Tried and True

Plant Stand

So for Christmas, my mother in law wanted a plant stand. I had previously done a plant stand for my brother, which was cherry with tapered legs.
I decided to do something a bit different this time, so I got some salvaged pallet wood I had been saving, and got to work. It’s shaping up to be a pretty cool plant stand, with remnants of the pallet wood, like nail holes. I think the wood is african mahogany. I shaped the legs on the band saw, then used my spindle sander to smooth them down. The stand top is glued up pieces of the wood, and the crossbeams are fixed using glue and pocket hole screws. The finish I used is Maloof’s oil and poly mix, with a topcoat of Johnson’s Paste Wax.


Wood You Like a USB Flash Drive?

So I’ve been experimenting lately with USB keys. Seems I have a penchant for making USB keys encased in fine hardwoods. They are so much more organic-looking than the silly plastic cases they normally come in. I’ve got a few samples in my gallery to look at so far. They are a bit bigger than the teeny plastic ones they manufacture now, but considering it’s enclosed in a wood shell which is much more resistant to cracks, etc. I think it’s worth it. I can make them out of just about any wood you can think of. Two of mine are from wood salvaged off of pallets. I used walnut. I am working on one now that uses a Sandisk Cruzer 1Gb flash drive with a pop out USB connector. A bit more tricky than the others, but it should work out OK. I am considering offering them for sale if anyone thinks they might be interested. Haven’t done any promotion of them as yet, but I thought I could do custom orders as well. Sort of “send me your flash drive and I’ll mod it for you” type of thing. Mostly any memory key will work, and each one is handmade. I use a basic oil finish to complete the key, so they have a decent amount of protection from wear and tear. I drill a lanyard hole in the end if you want to be a real geek and hang it from your neck… If you’re serious about one, you can use the contact form here to get a hold of me.


Tongue Drum Project

I just completed the latest project from the Bushwood shop. It’s a Tongue Drum, or Slit Drum. I made it from plans found in Wood Magazine. It’s a plan designed by a woodworker/musician named Steve Roberts, who makes some pretty cool instruments. My son enjoys it a lot, and I made an identical one for my friend Woody. They are made from Anigre1, Sapele2, and Makore3, which are imported hardwoods. The mallets are just hardwood dowels topped with a simple medium-hard rubber ball (like a super bouncy ball).

Update 12-20-06: I just recently embarked on building two more drums. Theses are made from African Padauk 4 and Black Walnut5, and one is a commission for a friend of mine. I built them exactly the same as above, but added a couple more coats of Formby’s Gloss Tung Oil for extra protection and shine. They have a better pitch and tone than the others, but both sound equally nice.


  1. Botanical Name: Aningeria | Family: Sapotaceae | Specific Gravity: .54 | General Description: Anegre is a light tone wood that normally come mostly defect free. It has a creamy white color with tight growth rings. It also has good density. | Origin: Africa []
  2. Botanical Name: Entandrophragma cylindricum | Specific Gravity: .62 | Description: The heartwood is pink when freshly cut, but it matures to a red-brown or purple-brown color, with an interlocked and wavy grain pattern | Origin: Africa []
  3. Botanical Name: Mimusops heckelii | Specific Gravity: .59 | Description: The heartwood color varies from pink or light reddish-brown to a rich red brown, sometimes with a grayish tinge. The grain is usually straight, but may be interlocked. Wood with interlocked grain displays an attractive mottled figure, with occasional dark streaks. | Origin: Africa []
  4. Botanical Name: Pterocarpus soyauxii | Description: When freshly cut the wood is bright orange red, becomes reddish brown. Moderately hard and heavy. Medium texture, but with large pores. Saws and planes easily to a very smooth surface. []
  5. Botanical Name: Juglans nigra | Description: Usually steamed to match sapwood and heartwood. Fine but open grain. Moderately coarse texture. Excellent to work including turning and carving. []