Monday, July 24, 2017

Round Wood Planter


Once upon a time I used to have a tree in my front yard.  It was cracked and rotting and eventually removed.


The spot where the tree was seems to be an popular spot for weed to grow out of.  So I figured I'd make some sort of planter to put in that spot to cover up the weeds.


I had a lot of leftover 2x4 pieces that I will utilize for this project.


I designed a simple, round planter in SketchUp which consists of 24 pieces of 2x4.


Each side will be cut at a 7.5 degree angle which should (hopefully) make a complete circle.


I gathered 24 of the 2x4s...


...and cut them all to be the same length using a stop block on my miter saw table.


They're all the same size now, but the wood is rough.


So I ran them through my surface planer to smooth them out.


Next I needed to set my table saw blade to be 7.5 degrees.  The easy way to do this was to cut a small piece of wood on the miter saw at 7.5 degrees.


Then, using a T-square and the piece I cut, I tilted the table saw blade to match.


Then I began cutting each piece.


After a while I had all my pieces cut.


Next I began gluing up the pieces in sets of 2.  A clamp tightly placed in the middle was enough to hold each of the 2 piece sets together


After those dried I glued the the 2-pieces into 4-pieces, with clamps at the joints.


But something wasn't adding up right.  The circle had become too big.  That and the glue-ups for the 4 pieces were not very strong.


This is what happens when you begin rushing through a project.  And one could't blame for rushing a bit - my garage is stifling in this Arizona heat.  I went indoors for a few hours to cool off and hydrate.


When I was ready to work again I started off by cutting a few new pieces in case I needed extra.


I then began breaking apart what I had glued up already.  The 4 pieces glued together came apart easily.


The 2-pieces that were glued and clamped did not easily come apart.  I therefore cut them at the seam with the bandsaw.


Next I needed to clean up the edges that I had glued/cut. To do this I decided to make a cabinet scraper using an old saw blade. I cut this out using my angle grinder and I sharpened the edge on my belt sander


The scraper worked well, but it took a while to clean up a single side.


So then I oped to simply recut each piece, taking off a sliver from each side.


I did this with every piece and also with the new pieces.


Now it was time to joint these pieces properly.  I began with cutting a small channel on each of the angled sides of each block.


This will allow 1/4" plywood to fit in snugly.


I then cut a lot of the leftover plywood I had into small strips or splines that would fit inside and flush between 2 of the pieces of wood.


I then glued the plywood splines into the channels of each wood piece and clamped it together.


With the splines in place I was able to add some brad nails by each joint.  This allowed me to remove the clamps and work on the next pieces.


Slowly I added more...


Each spline would get trimmed at the top and bottom.


Slowly I added more...


...and more until it was complete.


There are some gaps to fill on the inside and outside.  I started on the inside, filling it with glue.


Then I let it dry for a few hours.


For the outside gaps I used glue again, but this time I mixed it with saw dust.


Once I finished filling the sides, I began filling the top.


And again it was left to dry.
While I waited for it to dry it was time to prepare for placing it on my lawn.


For some reason I have 2 of these flat-end shovels.


So I took one of them and used my angle grinder to give it a point - which will make it easier to dig up some rocks and dirt.


By the time I was done making the new shovel, the filler had dried, so I began sanding the top...


...and then the sides.


When the sides were done I noticed that the glue/saw dust filler worked well in solidifying the whole things.  But small gaps were still visible, so I applied some wood filler by hand to these areas.  This filler is suitable for exterior purposes, so I have no worries that they'll chip off. 


Once the filler dried and was sanded I decided to give the top a slightly decorative edge. 


 For this I'll use my palm router with a chamfer bit.


The router had a few blow outs, but nothing that can't be sanded down and filled.


With all that done, I then decided to stain it a walnut color with some Danish oil.


I made sure to completely cover the outsides...


...but I didn't go crazy on the insides since it's all going to be covered with soil.


Then I let the Danish oil dry.  Once dry I added some polyurethane for protection.


Several days later I used my shovels to dig a shallow hole in the yard for the planter.


This was no easy task given the extreme temperature mid-July in Arizona.


A few days later I added some fresh soil.


I temporarily stuck some of the silk flowers I had about.


Once my landscaper pays a visit to my house I'll discuss putting some actual plants inside the planter.  Plants or a small bush that can easily survive the Arizona heat.


All in all it's not too bad looking.  Definitely better than the hole in the ground that was once there.  And even better - it cost me nothing to make!

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