View Full Version : Source of Woodworking Projects to Make

Al Launier
02-11-2018, 2:34 PM
I'm basically a hobbyist woodworker that has a reasonable shop with a decent amount of equipment and enough experience to use them. In the past I've focused on, and have made a good number of items as gifts: jewelry boxes, knife blocks, cutting boards, trivets, Christmas ornaments, toys, etc, all on the small side, i.e. usually less than 2' in any direction.

I prefer to work with poplar, hard maple, black walnut, mahogany, white/red oak, and ash. I知 not interested in making product for income - this is strictly a retirement pastime thing. I've also made a bunch of jigs that are used primarily on the table saw, router, bandsaw, and drill press. They just sit there ready to be used.

As crazy as this sounds, my dilemma is that I've run out of ideas and am looking for a source of new ideas & projects, something that is challenging in terms of design, joinery and craftsmanship. My daughter is about to give birth to a son, and I ran up a list of things to make: crib, toy chest, rocking horse, etc, but it came back that hard edges & corners of wood aren稚 as forgiving as the well round corners and softer surfaces of plastic children furniture & toys.

I致e read many woodworking magazines, but have come up with only a few projects this way. I realize I知 making this sound like an impossible request, and am embarrassed to ask as it makes me sound like an unimaginative person, but any suggestions for projects or online woodworking sources that focus on this type of woodworking? I知 going crazy not spending time in the shop and I知 not ready to sell off my equipment yet & give up woodworking.

Jim Koepke
02-11-2018, 2:47 PM
Have you made every piece of furniture and cabinetry needed in your home?

How about a few Adirondack chairs or benches for the back yard? A few low tables to hold food or drinks then have a party. You will likely have a few guests that just love the chairs.

Have you strolled through the Neanderthal Haven pages? There are always a few build projects there. You do not have to be all hand tool to make something similar like a kitchen island or a step back cabinet.

A new child coming would love a wooden rocking horse in a couple of years. They would also like a play table and some chairs. They might like a toy box or even some wooden toys. How about a wooden airplane to hang in their room.

A lot of ideas can be had by watching programs like The Woodwright's shop or Woodworking for Mere Mortals. Woodwright's shop is mostly hand tool and WWMM is mostly machine. Both of these have given me ideas for my own projects.


Jim Koepke
02-11-2018, 2:51 PM
Another thought...

Those plastic rocking horses, toy chests and play tables will likely last long enough for one or two children's growth years.

Make them well in wood and their grandchildren will likely be able to play with them.


Al Launier
02-11-2018, 2:57 PM
Good suggestion & thought Jim.

No need for any furniture inside, but the Adirondack chairs sound good. A rocking horse later on is what I was thinking of. I have one in mind, but that's 2-3 years out.

I would like to leave my "brand" on something wood for posterity and plastic doesn't cut it.

Thank you.

Lee Schierer
02-11-2018, 4:41 PM
Since you are about to become a Grandpa, there are lots of options for wood projects. Right of the start, you can make a changing table that can convert to a child's dresser later on. This first one has a removable top panel for the changing table that lifts off when you want it to be just a dresser.
Make wooden toys. Kids love them and they can be challenging to make. Take a look at the "Great All American Wooden Toy Book" for some ideas.
Wooden edges can be well rounded and even padded for the clumsy learning to walk years.


Stan Calow
02-11-2018, 5:47 PM
clocks. Look at Klock-it site for ideas.

Bruce Wrenn
02-11-2018, 8:01 PM
Make a high chair that becomes a youth chair. I've made them for my first born grand kids, of each child, with a second for the two grand daughters. The plans came from Woodsmith, issue 57, if memory serves me correct. The tray is removable, allowing Junior to use it at the table as he grows. Assembly is with conformat screws, allowing it to be stored "flat" between grand kids.

W Craig Wilson
02-12-2018, 7:28 AM
I stumbled onto Alan Carr's website a few years back and got fired up for a while over his work. I went down to Fredricksburg for his seminar one year, but have not tackled a first project yet. Search for texashorsemaker

W Craig Wilson
02-12-2018, 7:30 AM
clocks. Look at Klock-it site for ideas.
... and have a look at Clayton Boyer's wild clock designs.

Rick Moyer
02-12-2018, 8:27 AM
I think if I were expecting a grandchild I might consider trying a piece of whimsical furniture:
https://www.google.com/search?q=curvy+whimsical+furniture+for+kids&client=firefox-b-1-ab&tbm=isch&source=iu&ictx=1&fir=Sblcmy8VuEODdM%253A%252CBuXx8PKqQcZFeM%252C_&usg=__9_zN-CMwuABbxfLctriyaBKgteU%3D&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwibr9bpvKDZAhXrTN8KHVLsBwgQ9QEIfDAD#imgr c=_

Robert Engel
02-12-2018, 9:01 AM
All the items you mentioned have been made of wood for generations and still are.

You can't raise a child in a rubber room.....

Barry McFadden
02-12-2018, 9:31 AM
Somtimes when I'm looking for things to make that might be a little different I search something like "unique wooden items" or "unusual wooden gifts" and see what comes up...

Tom Bender
02-13-2018, 6:54 PM
Recently completed a wall cabinet to display my wife's collection of figurines. Purple heart, Ebony and leaded glass. That took a while and I learned some things.

Thomas L Carpenter
02-13-2018, 7:43 PM
Al, you can always make stuff to donate to the charity or charities of your choice. The things I make these days aren't very large due to an arthritic back but small tables, clocks, bowls, cutting boards etc are always welcome at craft shows and the proceeds can be donated. Several of us in the area get together and have a craft booth for Special Olympics but there are many worthy causes. We usually sell things below cost because the object is not to make a profit but rather to keep us in the shop and provide needed cash to those that can benefit from it.

glenn bradley
02-13-2018, 9:53 PM
I end up with thin scrap from resawing.


And thick stock from off-cuts.


Draw a simple shape.


Trace it onto a scrap of thick stock, cut it out and cut out the center like so.


Make a sandwich with thin stock and you have a bank.


Here's another.


Al Launier
02-14-2018, 9:04 AM
Great suggestions all. Thank you. I'm off & running with new ideas.

Glenn, I've always enjoyed making bandsaw boxes and you've given me some good ideas for some more, plus the kiddy banks. Thanks!

Chris Damm
02-14-2018, 10:43 AM
I never have to look for projects......I have a wife for that!

Perry Hilbert Jr
02-16-2018, 3:24 PM
For some, it appears that "woodworker's block" is a real thing. We had "chef's block" My wife and I, as almost empty nesters, fell into a routine in the kitchen. It really does not seem worth the time we once took to prepare meals for 5, to prepare for two. So we started trying some new recipes and new ideas in the kitchen. On a few things, the recipe sounded much better than the final product tasted. I signed up for a flour company's recipe program and get two or three recipes with pictures per day. One or two a week are worth trying. Anyway, the internet has a lot of places to find inspiration for shop projects. Particularly, at places like etsy or pinterest. Another thing is to consider branching out into a mixed project, like a nautical styled chest of drawers with a brass tacked copper top. Folks along the coast really eat that stuff up. Or a piece with 18th century long rifle style German silver inlays or wire inlays. I have a few grandchildren and wish I had time to make the items that have been floating around my imagination. Perhaps like me, you have an idea for a project, but not the skill or tools. There are classes and places to learn skills, and sometimes even get access to the tools to try it out. I have a free class tomorrow to attend in the next county north. I joined my local wood turning club, and the net work of members who have side wood working interests that I can learn from is a gold mine. I really want to learn to spin a few metal items, to cast a few parts out of aluminum or brass, etc. I am also trying to work a deal to volunteer/work at a wheel shop for a few weeks so I can learn how to make serviceable wooden spoke wheels. (I have already made a pint size carriage for a child, but the wheels set me back $400.00, lost it in a house fire.) Then comes the black smithing to make the steel tires for the wheels. One path sort of leads to another. I also have a cannon barrel (fireable, bronze 1.25 inch bore) to make a carriage and wheels for, maybe even a caisson and wheels. A fellow I met a few years back, started with a wood lathe, moved to a metal lathe and built working model steam engine trains and before he died, built one that could haul him and all his grandkids around the yard.

Myk Rian
02-16-2018, 3:37 PM
This rocking horse has so far lasted through 2 grand kids, and 3 great grand kids.
For yourself, how about a tool chest?



Mel Fulks
02-16-2018, 3:45 PM
Myk,two nice projects there. The horse is clearly gentle ,and the chest is way ahead of the fine commercial ones. Love the drawer configuration and grain matching.

Myk Rian
02-16-2018, 4:01 PM
Thanks, Mel. The horse was from plans I purchased. The tool chest was from Shopnotes that I adjusted to my taste. I can email the chest plans if anyone wants them.

Ole Anderson
02-17-2018, 6:28 PM
You are not alone Al. Almost all of my bigger projects were from someone else's plans. It is getting that I only use my shop for things that need to be done. Or to help my grown son with simple projects. My latest was something to put between two bookshelves (done a bunch of those, all the same basic design) to support a new 50" flat screen TV for my man cave. Until a few days ago my 27" Mitsubishi sat on my wife's high school cedar hope chest. I suddenly realized I was trying to come up with something with drawers and doors, when all I really needed was a 45" shelf to span the two natural oak bookcases. I used oak plywood and dolled up the front with a 5" deep piece of black walnut with a dark black cherry stain with a gentle curve on the bottom. Supporting the plywood on the ends was plywood with pocket screws and on the back a piece of 1.5 x 1.5 oak for reinforcement. Screwed both ends to the bookcases and project done. Well. not quite. I didn't like the beat up finish on her hope chest, so my next project is refinishing it. Got the top done, ah the sweet smell of aromatic cedar...looking forward to finishing that one.

Alan Rutherford
02-21-2018, 1:46 PM
In your situation, I'd make a bassinet. It's needed briefly but urgently for a newborn. It's not worth buying one. It can be passed around to countless familes. And you can make it so there is a space where everyone including you can sign their name and date.

I have no idea where the one we used several decades ago came from. I believe it was partly wicker and/or thin basket-weave slats. I recall touching up a painted surface before passing it on. I don't know where it went but it could still be circulating out there.

dennis thompson
02-22-2018, 12:16 PM
You might want to make some toys to display in your grandson's room. Here is a pirate ship I made for my grandson. There are several places on the internet where plans for toys are available to purchase.