Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Short, Easy Project in Seven Steps

The other day I had about one hour to spend in the shop. Now, I've got dozens of projects that I need to work on (with building a door for the shop at the top of the list), but none of them are the kind that one hour would get very far into. So I decided to reload the CD player with some fresh jazz while I figured out what to do.

As I was listening to Roy and Diz, and puttering around the shop, I kept going back to the CD case to find out the name of a tune, composer etc. After about the third time the thought occurred to me: "Hmm, it would be nice to have a little stand thingy to hold the CD up at a convenient angle for reading." And there it was, a short easy project that I could complete from start to finish in what was left of my hour.

Here's how to make something useful (sort of) in a very short amount of time - in just seven steps.

Step One - rustle up a chunk of suitable scrap:

I just grabbed a short length of 1x3, but something fancier would be fun.

Step Two - clean up all the surfaces of said scrap with a smoothing plane:

Step Three - select a moulding plane and stick a decorative edge:

In this case, after digging through my moulding samples I selected a small astragal and cove profile made by "I. Cox" (which coincidentally is the very same plane featured in the previous link). Now that I think about it, it might actually be a quirk, bead and cove profile. Wait, maybe it's a fillet, bead, fillet and cove. Oh bother!

Step Four - plow a groove wide enough and deep enough to hold the CD at the desired angle:

I just guessed and plowed a 5/8" wide groove, which needed to be 1/2" deep for things to work out right.

Step Five - cut to length:

Step Six - Optional - decide to fix a flaw in the moulding profile (created by sloppy, rushed technique) by planing a bevel with a shoulder plane:

A side-by-side comparison between the new profile of bevel, quirk, bead and cove or is it fillet, bead - (oh never mind) and the original sample on the right.

Step Seven - oil it up and admire the final product:

Not a very necessary creation of course, but since when has that been a consideration? Do you really need a reason to have fun in the shop? No.

And the complete tool set (minus the sticking board):

Really, this project could be made with only four tools: smoothing plane, plow plane, moulding plane and saw. Or even just three if you skipped the moulding and just went with a bevel. The Phillips head screwdriver is for adjusting my sticking board screw-stops, while the slot head screwdriver is for adjusting the #45 multiplane - neither would be needed if you used used a different plow and work holding system. There really is no layout required, as you can size everything with the CD case itself - so the folding rule, the square and the marking knife could easily be left on the shelf. And of course, if you were more careful than I was with your moulding plane, there would be no need for the shoulder plane.


  1. Fun! Thanks for an example of a nice frivolous project that hones your skills at the same time.

  2. That's awesome, Dan! I'm not in need of a CD holder at this moment...but a DVD holder to show "Now Playing" on the RvTv may be in order. ;)

    Off topic...the frame saw you use for resawing. Can you post the details on it? I've been wanting to make one and am researching different techniques and methods. I did a little resawing of my own on the Handplane Birdhouse project and decided that your saw might be quite beneficial. (of course, it probably would help me if I hadn't used a crosscut configured saw. lol)

    Thanks! Dan

  3. Eric - You're welcome. These small projects make a nice break from epic projects, which tend to take over...

    Dan - Yes, "Now Playing" was exactly what I was thinking as I was making it! :)

    Sure, I'll post the frame saw details soon. What I'd like to do is document the making of a new, longer one. Hmm. I'll try to bump that up the list. Email me if you need details quicker than "post speed".

  4. Thanks for a great project idea! I know a few students and could make them a simple Christmas gift with a few minor adjustments. You would only need to change the measurements to make it larger to hold a book or notebook. You could also add wood apliques if you want to be more creative.

  5. Andrea - It would be easy to make a batch at a time - just use longer stock and cut out as many as you need after plowing and sticking the moulding.

    I'm not sure about this design holding a book - although if you used thicker stock, you might be able to get the groove deep enough to hold it - wider too.

  6. Hey! Elegant design. I thought you'd be making a small book-rack type of thing: some sort of swing-down leg, a lip or cleat to keep the CD case from sliding off, etc.

    Your actual design is way better. :)


  7. Gye - Thanks! I'm not sure I can claim this as my design though - I'm pretty sure it's been around a while. But I do like how simple it is...

  8. Hi this is my first time to visit you site and I must say it is so amazing... from this single article alone I have learned so many things. You are so effective in giving directions in a very simple manner that even a kid could follow. I am so glad I found a new blog spot for my new hobby, creating things on my own.


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