This is how to build a Square Foot Garden Frame from 2x6s and 4×4 lumber. Mel Bartholomew, years ago, wrote the book Square Foot Garden and this frame is based on his 4 foot square design. Any wider and you can’t reach to the center. You can find info. all over the web on designs. This is how I did mine.
I made the sides from 2″x6″ common lumber 43 1/2″ long. End posts are 4″x4″s 9″ long. When I do it again I will use 2″x8″ lumber for the sides to get more depth. Then the 4x4s will be 3″ taller than the sides.
The posts are cut to a 30 degree angle for decoration. I used a table saw. You could use a mitre saw or even a circular saw with a cutting guide. Pre-cut the 4 posts and clamp them together for a stable surface, if you do it with a circular saw.
Using a Kreg Pocket Hole Jig I attached the sides. You could use dowels. Pocket hole screws were easiest. Since I didn’t used treated lumber, I don’t expect this frame to last forever. Using caulk, primer and paint will help it to last longer. I use thin strips of wood stapled together for the grid. You could just use string tacked to the sides.
The best thing I added was a trellis to the north side of the frame. I grow beans and peas on this. It is made from 1/2″ electrical conduit you can get at any home improvement store. You will need two 10 foot sticks of 1/2″ metal conduit, four conduit clips and 2 corners. You will also need trellis netting. The conduit was cut 60″ tall for the sides and 45 1/2″ for the top. It is best to cut and mount the sides loosely first and then measure the top length. There can be variations.
I have been using this frame for 4 years now. What I would do different. Make the sides with at least 2x8s instead of 2x6s. Deeper the better. Look around on the web on how to make the soil. I used some from a local fertilizer place and it was terrible. Locate the frame where it gets sun all day.
A couple years ago I was searching the web to find plans for a simple, strong woodworking workbench. I didn’t need a fancy one made out of maple. Just one that was sturdy with a good woodworking vise. I found one on the Fine Woodworking website with free plans! Here is the web page workbench.
It is different in that it is held together with threaded rod that run the entire length of the table. This makes it real stable. It is made of 2x4s and 4x4s. Even when they call them Kiln Dried at the local big box home center, the wood still shrinks. When this happens, just tighten the nuts on the threaded rods. It can also be disassembled if necessary. Find the straightest wood you can.
I only changed one thing when building it, using pocket holes instead of clips to hold the top on. I also put “peg board’ on the ends to hold tools. The top and shelf are made of MDF finished with polyurethane. Cut it outside as it the dust is bad and it also is a pain to bore holes in. It took me a couple hours to bore the holes in the top. I think it is made of layers of compressed paper. A simple spade bit worked best.
Having a good woodworking vise is a pleasure. It holds things so secure. This is a 7″ vise made by Jet. The workbench was made the same height as my table saw to act as an out-feed table. 2 years go by and it shrank in height 3/4″. I had to add leg levelers to it.
This has been a great workbench! It is a good idea when you make a workbench to take a picture of it. It will never be that clean again.
This is a custom Marking Knife I made for woodworking. Instead of a pencil to mark a cut, a knife is used. It gives a more precise mark and cuts the wood fibers to prevent tearing. Bill Stroman made the blades for me. The handle is made of maple and walnut. The cap is held on by a rare earth magnet. It took a lot of sanding and shaping after the profile was cut out on the bandsaw. The finish is 5 coats of spray lacquer.
You can make a knife with a sharpened hacksaw blade. This is much more elegant.
I needed to make wallpaper paste. Just a little to reattach half a sheet of wallpaper that had come loose below a chair-rail. It looked bad, so with a search on the internet, I found a couple recipes and settled on a flour mixture. I cut the recipe in half and still had some left over.
I used 1/2 cup flour and 1/6th cup sugar- stir together and in a small saucepan whisk in 1/2 cup water to wet the mix then add another 1/2 cup water while mixing. The key is no lumps. Over medium heat whisk the mixture. Do Not Stop! Even for a moment. I did and had to throw away the batch, It started to setup and burn on the bottom causing lumps. You don’t want lumps under your wallpaper. So keep on whisking and all of a sudden it will start to thicken and look like wall paper paste. Keep on stirring and remove from heat. Let cool.
Wish I would have taken pictures while doing it. I could not remove the paper all the way, as it was trapped by the baseboard. Pulling the chair-rail back, was the hardest part of the job. Using a 2″ paint brush I applied a thin layer of paste to the wall. Smoothing the paper onto the paste with the side of my hand while positioning it. I did get a wrinkle so pulled the sheet part way off to release it.
After a couple days the paper is still attached to the wall. Wallpaper is not as popular as it used to be, but it was far easier to fix one little sheet than take it all down and repaint. The picture above is of the finished job. No more wrinkles!
(Update) I got a message from Laura from Washington. She said using cornstarch works good for attaching fabric to walls and is easily taken down later, without damaging the wall or door. Here is the site she got her info. from How About Orange. Thanks Laura!
The woodworking club I belong to Woodworkers of Whittier (WOW), makes wooden toy cars for charity each year at Christmas time. They have to be easy and cheap to build, because we make 1500 of them. Each member decides how many they want to make and the club provides the wheels. Guys come up with different designs. Patterns are traded and modified. There are certain ones I like to make. VW Bugs, Sports Cars, Trucks- with variations on each. (click here for a plan of one)
The wood used is 1 1/2″ thick or thicker. Too thin and the axel pegs hit each other. They can be shortened, but 1 1/2″ works great and happens to be the thickness of a 2×4. Common 2×4″ lumber works as long as it is dry. The club gets donations of cut off wood from different places. Nice scrap hardwood can be got free from places that make furniture, mantels, cabinets. We get 2×4 scraps from job sites. The VW above is made of mahogany scraps with a thin piece of oak sandwiched between to give the stripe. Sometimes I use oak, mahogany, maple, walnut , depends on what we get for free. Hardwood is harder to finish though. Cutting out the blanks is easy. Sanding, drilling the holes, adding details, rounding over the edges, final sanding is what takes the time. We are not allowed to put any clear coat finish on the toys because of government bureaucratic BS.
Playing around with the shapes of a car you can get something different. Cut the top off the sports coupe- you get a convertible. A basic truck shape can lead to various models.
Add thin pieces of wood to make the bed. A donated piece of stair handrail makes a tanker truck.
The night arrives when the members bring the finished toys to “wheels and axels” night. The members get busy glueing and tapping the axels through the wheels and into the cars. Makes a big change to see the wheels on.
The wheels that the club buys are 1 1/2″ with 1/4″ hole. Like these on Amazon 50 Wood 1-1/2 Inch Toy Wheel W/1/4 Hole You also need to buy axel pegs too.
Drill a 7/32″ hole in car for the axel. Piles of cars arrive at the meeting and work commences with a lot of hammering and things getting done. Each year WOW gives cars and blocks to 22 charities. Some give out a toy with a Christmas meal and others let the kids play with the toys at the school.
It does not have to be done on a large scale. One person can do some toys and give them away. Even better, an adult teaching a child to a make a toy and the child giving the toy to someone less fortunate. Now you have something special.
This is a ghost in window Halloween prop I made of cheese cloth. It can also used as a “flying crank ghost”. This is much simpler to make and set up. The secret is cheese cloth, a wig stand for the head (from a wig shop) and clothes hanger wire for the frame. A “black light” causes it to glow. The ghost actually glows white. Not blue as in the picture. See video at the end. Click on the pictures to enlarge.
This was originally inspired by the pdf you can view here Phantasmechanics. Go to the very end of the pdf for the relevant part ( page 17 and 18). Print it out. This is just the marionette part, but I do hook it up to a “flying crank” too. On this one I use an oscillating fan to give it motion. It is very eerie, her looking out the window– Waiting. A 2 foot black light on the couch makes it glow. It is supported by a camera tripod with a tube attached. A bolt in it just sticks into the styrofoam head. Fishing line attached to the hands and tacked to the wall hold the arms up. I find it is better to support the head the way I have done, instead of a stand going straight up. It lets the fabric move in the wind of the fan without hitting a pole.
You don’t have to use a tripod. The marionette is light. A stick tacked to a 2×2 nailed to a plywood base would work. Use coat hanger wire for the frame. Bend the wire ends into loops with long nose pliers. You MUST soak the cheese cloth in laundry detergent with brighteners (bluing) to make it glow under black light. I think all detergents have bluing to make whites brighter.
Things I did different than the Phantasmechanics pdf. I drape one layer of cheese cloth over the head and face. It gives a darker look to the face area when glowing. I only glued the cloth to the hands. I used a double layer of cloth for the hair. It looks more like a shawl. They talk abut putting a hook through the head to suspend it. You don’t have to do that since you are supporting it from below. I didn’t paint anything. I put blue LED lights in the eyes, but I didn’t like them, so don’t use them. They were too bright and drew all attention to them. I think a ghost should be ethereal.
I measured my arms for the wire length. I am a guy, so they may be too long, but it works. The hands are made from thin cardboard, like that from a cereal box. I think mine was from the packaging of a shirt. Just trace your hands. I glued the cheese cloth on it with watered thinned white glue.
I used Trilene low vis green fishing line to suspend the arms. Tacking it to the wall. You can use black thread too.
I have had many compliments on this ghost and a few wouldn’t come to the door. Too scared! It is an excellent project and will wow them year after year.
See the video for the ghost hooked up to the flying crank mechanism.
Here is a Grim Reaper Halloween Prop I made to put on my balcony. It has scared many a person as it stands 6 feet tall. At a distance it looks like someone is standing, looking down, ready to do evil. People don’t like things looking down at them. Probably a primal fear. I hear “I thought someone was standing there” often.
It is made from a costume I got from a shop. Similar to this one California Costume Mens Horror Robe (weapon not included)
You can do this with any full costume if you make a “skeleton”, also known as a figure armature, underneath. This one is made using 3/4″ PVC pipe and some 90 degree fittings, 1 Gallon milk jug for head, bubble wrap or paper to fill out shoulders, 2″x6″ wood base. Click on pictures to enlarge.
Here is the cutting list for a 6 foot guy using schedule 40 3/4″ PVC Pipe 164″ total. So 2- 10′ sticks.
- 2 legs 33.5″
- 1 spine 20″ 1 neck 2″
- 2 upper arms 13″ 2 lower arms 10.5″
- 2 shoulders 8″ 2 hips 5.5″
PVC Fittings needed: 1 Tee (at hips), 1 Cross (at neck), 6- 90 degree elbows
I dry fitted everything together and in the end, I only glued the hips when I had the proper angle to lean against the balcony rail. I want to be able to take it apart for storage. Glue the parts you don’t want to move, but be careful. If you glue all the parts, you may not be able to get the costume on. The base is just a 2×6 with 1″ holes drilled it. you may have to rock the drill when boring to oversize the hole a bit. My PVC was just over an inch wide. You will have to put a weight on the base. It will not stand on its own. I have it leaning against the rail for support. Depending on how you have your prop setup, you will have to make a suitable base. A larger piece of plywood with the 2×6 nailed to it, for example.
For the head I used a gallon water/ milk jug sprayed black except where I masked it for eyes. The back it opened up so I can put a light in it to make the eyes glow. A couple of those LED tea lights would work. I wrapped tape around the PVC pipe neck to make it fit the head (jug spout) tightly.
I used bubble wrap- wrapped around the PVC shoulders so the costume fit better. You are going to have to customize it for the costume you use. Email me pics on what you come up with.