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Building a DIY live-edge bed (woodworking How-To) PART 2

Welcome back to part 2 of the bed series. If you’ve missed part 1, make sure to check it out here.

This article is sponsored by Osmo and contains product placement.

Making the live-edge headboard out of 2 slabs

Creating the feet with a template

I was a little bit anxious when it came to the headboard. Sliding dovetails, angled legs and the sheer size seemed like a good challenge.
The angled legs lean back at a 5° angle. I created a template out of plywood by drawing the shape on the plywood and cutting it out at the bandsaw.

If you want to build this bed yourself, check out the plans I offer. They include all measurements, as well as instructions on how to resize it for your mattress size.

I traced it onto the three blanks for the legs. After sawing just a bit shy of my line, I secured the template with double sided tape to it. On the router table I used my biggest flush trim bit to complete the legs.

Sliding dovetails with the router

I marked the apex on the legs, which will help to route the sliding dovetails on the two parts of the legs. At the router table I used the head of my combo square to draw lines at both ends of the dovetail router bit. With that setup I was able to start or end the cut at the right point.

The two slabs on the headboard have a gap between them that creates the river effect. To secure them for routing the sliding dovetails I left them longer and screwed them together with a strip of plywood at each end.

I marked the location for the sliding dovetails and set my router up with a big straight bit. I used a digital depth gauge to set the depth stop of my router to the height of the dovetail part of the joint. I aligned the track of my track saw and with a special router attachment I could ride the router along the track. I did several passes to achieve my desired depth. By going with the straight bit first I made it much easier to create the dovetail shape since the dovetail bit only has to take away that small triangle at the side and you cannot do it in several passes with the dovetail bit because of its shape. You would end up with an odd shaped dado. After the first cut with the dovetail bit, I used the width adjustment of the track attachment to dial in the fit for the sliding dovetail. I simply did the math by measuring everything with a digital caliper and it worked flawlessly. I only did a testfit for the first couple of centimeters because getting the pieces apart would be a huge pain. Before I was able to cut the slabs to length at the miter saw, I removed the 2 temporary plywood strips.

To make the live-edges more pleasant to the touch, I used a draw knife, a nylon brush chucked into my drill and some good old sandpaper.

Fixing a crack in the slab for the headboard with a bow-tie inlay

One of the slabs had a small crack in it. To fix it without being noticeable on the final piece I decided to go with a bow tie inlay from the back. On a piece with straight grain, I laid out the bowtie and cut it at the bandsaw. I traced the shape of it with a marking knife and made the lines more visible with a pencil. With the router and a straight bit, I removed the majority of the waste. I made sure to not touch the lines. Cleaning it up with a chisel and mallet is super fast. I like how this process combines the use of power tools and hand tools to a much quicker operation. After spreading some glue, I drove in the bow tie with a mallet. By having the bowtie thicker than the reveal is deep I can make sure the bowtie goes all the way to the bottom and I don’t have to worry about it getting in deeper than the surface. I took care of the protruding bit with the flush-cut saw and the block plane.

Finishing the bed with some Osmo

To get a nice surface I started my finishing process with a 120 and 220 grid sanding. Then I wiped all surfaces with a wet rack and did another sanding with 220 grid. I also gave all edges a small chamfer.

I decided to go with Osmo TopOil Natural and applied it with their handpad. This thing really makes finishing bigger projects like this a breeze. Of course I did not cover the areas that will be glue lines later on.
Before the second and final coat I very lightly sanded the parts with 400 grid sandpaper. The surface almost feels like glass with that process.

Assembling the headboard and gluing the slats in place

Now comes the most violent part of the build. Getting the sliding dovetails together. I protected the legs with a block of wood and hammered them in. First with a mallet and then with a good sized hammer.

To prevent the slabs from sliding down the legs I secured them with a dowel from the back. It is important to only use one dowel per slab and leg, because otherwise it would restrict the seasonal wood movement of slabs and they can crack.

The frame piece for the back also has the three slots for the sliding dovetails, which I created with the same process as I did on the slabs. This part gets quite some weight on it and I think securing it with a dowel like the slabs would not be enough. Therefore I glued 3 blocks with a few dominos in it to the legs underneath the frame part. The dominos only help with alignment. Then I used this metal hook that is meant to install flooring to get the frame part back onto the blocks.

The final step was to glue the slats that hold the slatted frame to the frame of the bed.

The live-edge bed is done

Time to assemble the bed for the first time and I was so excited. Assembling the bed just takes 3 minutes without any tools and is one of the most satisfying things ever. After installing the slatted frames and mattresses it was time for test roll by the new owner!

I really love how this project turned out and it was my first big project in which I didn’t make a mistake that would change the final design or construction of the piece.

Plans for this build

If you want to build this bed yourself you can find a complete set of plans for it here. In there you have all the measurements and shapes for the parts as well as instructions on how to size the parts if you go for another mattress size.

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Building a DIY live-edge bed (woodworking How-To) PART 1

Lumber selection and rough cutting

For this build I was able to get a complete log of 52mm European Oak. Log number 43 to be precise. I was really excited about that since all the boards would be a perfect color match with each other in the final piece.

First I spread out all boards in my driveway and drew all the parts of the bed onto the slabs. I noticed a metal piece in two slabs and after extracting it, I saw it was a .50 caliber projectile. Most likely from WW2. Pretty cool that the tree might save someone from getting hit by a bullet.

Then I removed the live-edges, except from one side of each slab that will be on the headboard and cut all parts roughly to size.

Milling and cutting the lumber to size

After getting all that lumber into my basement shop, it was time for a milling session. Since milling lumber of this size is pretty exhausting I lubricated the beds of my jointer. Which makes it a little bit easier.
I jointed one face of each board and then planed them to their final thickness.

If you want to build this bed yourself you can find a complete set of plans for it here. In there you have all the measurements and shapes for the parts as well as instructions on how to size the parts if you go for another mattress size.

Edge jointing was next and went pretty smoothly. Since my shop is too small to rip boards like this on the table saw to their final width, I used a 2 step process. With the bandsaw, I cut the board a few millimeters wider than the final width and take care of the rest with the planer. That works nicely and doesn’t require moving the table saw around.
At the miter saw, I cut the pieces to their final length.

Making the super-sized dovetails for the bed-frame

Now, this was my favorite part of the build: making the supersized dovetails for the frame pieces. I started by laying out the tails with a pencil, a dovetail marker and my marking gauge. The dovetail saw guide made it easy to saw the tails even though the body mechanics were a bit odd with the workpiece clamped at an angle because of its length. I finished the rest without the guide because the back of the saw interfered with the guide. That shot looks sooo wrong with me sawing towards my fingers…
I continued the process for the other boards as well.

After arranging the parts like they should go together I was able to trace the shape of the tails onto the pin boards. I transferred the marks over to the face of the boards and marked my waste. I also marked the depth with the marking gauge and again labeled the waste with a few scribbles.

When sawing to the lines I made sure to saw away the complete line to ensure a good but not too tight fit. The fit I was aiming for was a bit looser than for a usual dovetail, because it should go together and apart without the need of a mallet. I also established a 90 degree cut right next to the initial cuts on the waste side. Then I drilled a hole that touches the saw kerf. This gave me a better place to start with the fret saw. I saw close the line but leaving a bit to clean up with a chisel later on. To guide the chisel I clamped a right angled piece of wood across the board and then chiseled to my line.
They all came together beautifully and I was already pumped about this project.

Slats to hold the slatted frame

To hold the slatted frame I used the slats in the picture. To make gluing them to the frame much easier I inserted a bunch of dominos. Don’t worry you do not need a domino to do this. Standard round dowels, biscuits or a spline can do just fine.

This is how the ends of the rests for the slatted frame meet at the corners. It is a standard halp-lap joint, I created at the table saw.

Fancy joinery for the slats

The pieces on which the slatted frame rests on have some cool joinery as well. There is one piece attached to each frame piece and two are running across. The one running in the center of the two mattresses gets two feet in order to not bend under weight. I decided to go with a kind of a bridle joint. I laid out the joint on the feet and set my table saw blade height to my material thickness. I used the jig I made to cut dovetails at the table saw. If you are interested in how to make dovetails at the tablesaw check out the video linked at the top right. I cleaned it up with a chisel and transferred the lines to the other board.

To get a nice fit straight off the saw I used a device called the Kerfmaker. The distance between the orange and grey piece is pre-set to the width of my table saw blade. By pinching my workpiece between the two grey stops and locking it, the Kerfmaker is ready to go. After setting the blade to my desired width and aligning my board for the first cut, I set the parallel fence in a way that the Kerfmaker fits right between the fence and the workpiece. Notice I used the orange stop.

After establishing the first cuts for both sides of the joints, I could flip the Kerfmaker around and use the gray stop to position my workpiece for the second series of cuts. Then it was just a matter of nibbling away the waste. A flat-top grind blade leaves me with no clean-up work. Perfect fit, just like that without any fiddling around.

But the interesting thing comes now. The cross pieces got half-lap dovetail joints that hold the frame together since the dovetails at the corners of the frame only provide mechanical restriction in one direction.
This time I did no layout and just cut the tails with the guide and the pull saw. Again I transferred the tails and marked my depth on the pin board. But is it really a pin board in this case? However, after establishing the the two outer saw kerfs I turned on the router and routed the waste away. I was too afraid to go all the way to the saw kerf and hence chiseled the remaining bit.
The fit was solid once again, I felt like I was on a roll!

The cross pieces intersect each other with another half-lap.

The front feet for the bed

The front feet may seem pretty daunting with all the angles but they are easy to make. I began with rectangular blocks of wood and turned to the table saw. After setting up my miter fence to 72° degrees, I made the first cut. Then I marked the length of the legs, lined it up at the table saw and made the second cut.

Plans for this bed

You want to build this bed yourself? Check out the plans I offer. They also include instructions on how to resize the parts for another matress size.

In order to have a little bit of help for the glue-up later on I wanted to have 2 dominos at each foot. I marked where the feet should go and made 2 tick marks for the dominos. Routing the dominos was easy and no surprise as they fitted perfectly on the first try.
To give the feet a more elegant look, I cut away a notch at the bandsaw and cleaned it up with a card scraper.

In order to give the feet more strength I inserted 2 dowels at an angle. To start the forstner bit at an angle I clamped the angled off-cut to my workpiece. I really made sure not to drill all the way through the feet. I inserted some wood glue, drove in the dowels and trimmed them off with a flush-cut saw. A quick sanding and the feet had a much more rigid connection to the bed.

Part 2: The headboard and the finishing process

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How to build a Flip Top Tool Stand

I was running out of space in my small basement shop and still wanted fit in more tools. So a flip top tool stand should do the trick.

Tools I used

Here you can find a complete list of my tools.

Materials and supplies

  • 18mm (3/4″) birch plywood
  • 12 mm (1/2″) plywood
  • 3/4″ steel water pipe, length 1m (40″)
  • Kreg Pocket holes screws kit
  • 450mm (18″) drawer slides (4 sets)
  • 250mm (10″) drawer slides (1 set)
  • 125mm (5″) casters (4x)
  • Spring-loaded indexing pins (4x)
  • Scrap pieces of solid beech
  • 5 drawer pulls
  • 2 Outlets
  • 2 distributor boxes

See the digital plan

Breaking down the plywood

In our driveway, I started by breaking down 18mm birch plywood. My daughter was supervising the whole process and made sure I stick to the plan.
After a few cuts the plywood was handy enough to continue in the shop. I ripped a clean edge on each piece with Fritz and Franz and made a second rip cut to the final width with the rip fence. Then I could crosscut the pieces to length.

Pocket hole joinery for the cabinet

With my T-Square I marked the positions where the pocket holes would go. You can skip this step and just place them by eye, which works totally fine.

Speaking of pocket holes. Kreg, the sponsor of this build, hooked me up with their K4 master system. Let me tell you it was a totally different game then the cheap pocket hole jig from the hardware store, I’ve used prior to that.

I secured the jig to two scrap pieces that form an L and could clamp it in my vise. For the adjustment of the depth stop of the drill bit, the jig offers this scale. Since I used 18mm material, I set the stop to the next larger setting of 19mm. The same applied for the drill guide in the jig itself. Then I inserted the dust collection attachment. Unfortunately, my dust port didn’t fit, but nothing a piece of duct tape couldn’t fix.
I aligned the marks of my boards with the marks on the jig and clamped it tight. Turned on the dust collection and here we go. I was really impressed by how well the dust collection worked on this jig. This doesn’t only save me the hassle of cleaning my shop, but also leads to cleaner pocket holes.

After I’ve applied some glue to the edges, I clamped the parts for the main cabinet together with the right angle clamp and added a bar clamp. With the 25mm coarse-threaded screws I screwed it in place.

I did the same for the other side and made sure the parts stay flush by holding it in position with a face clamp.
As usual when I try to make something square, it wasn’t dead on and I forced it square.

Get the plans for this build

Get the plans with detail drawings and all measurements to build your own flip-top tool cart.

The Flip Top

After the glue has dried I marked the location of the holes, where the bar for the flip-top will be. With a 27mm forstner bit, I drilled a hole half-way through. And because I found the slow-motion mode on my camera, you get this slow-mo shot of the chips flying away. In the center of the hole, I drilled all the way through with my smallest drill bit. Then I could finish the hole from the other side and end up with a tear-out free and perfect hole.

In order to make the flip-top flip, it rotates on a 3/4″ steel water pipe. I slipped it through the holes and gave it a little strength test with a couple of pull ups. Strong enough for me. To have the exact distance between the two sides, I used one of the boards that will be the top later on, as a spacer.
On one end I marked the pipe flush with the side panel and on the other side I added my material thickness of 18mm.

That day I was not in the mood of setting my shop on fire and went outside to cut the steel pipe. I used an angle grinder with a cutting disc for steel and really enjoyed seeing the sparks dance in the pipe.

Back in the shop I eased the edges with a file. The flip-top is made of two plywood panels sandwiched together with the pipe in the middle. To compensate for the steel pipe I used some solid beech I had laying around from another project. I milled it to the exact thickness of the pipes outer diameter. I ripped the beech to 60mm strips and crosscut them to length.

Two long strips hold the pipe in the center and pieces along the edges make sure it becomes a sturdy top.
With wood glue and a couple of screws I attched the beech strips to the plywood. In order to ensure a tight and wiggle free fit I lightly clamped the pipe between the center strips before screwing the remaining pieces to the plywood.
Next I placed my sander on the top of it and marked the screw hole locations. I added a strip of wood at each location to give the screws a little more to bite on, when the sander will get installed. For the drill press I could use one of the strips in the center.

After spreading the glue I dropped the second plywood panel on top of it. I made sure it is flush and added a clamp or two more then necessary.

When I test-fitted the top I realized I made the hole for the pipe to high and therefore the top was not flush with the sides. To accommodate for it I milled two beech strips to size and glued them in place with a couple of pieces of tape to apply clamping pressure.

Building the side compartments

The cabinet has two side compartments. The right one has a front, a back and a bottom and is accessible from the side and top. The left one has 4 drawers to the front and one to the side. The top acts as another worksurface.

I marked the pocket hole locations on all the panels and drilled them with the same settings as before. To make assembly easier I used my bar clamps as a stop and screwed the compartment together.

I stroke a line where the bottom of the side compartment should be. This is crucial since the casters get screwed to the compartment and make the center portion of the cabinet hovering just 2 centimeters over the ground. You’ll see what I mean later on.

I screwed the compartment on the bottom and the sides to the cabinet.

For the left compartment I followed the same procedure. Because the cabinet was getting too high for my low ceilings I had to attach it upright. By positioning two face clamps to my line, I could stand the compartment on top of them and hold them with just another single clamp at the top. Again screws at the bottom and sides.

The top is a bit tricky, because of the drawers that open in two different directions. The the two side panels only overlap at a small square in front. To enforce this glue joint I used a 6mm wood dowel. With the combo square set to half of the material thickness I laid out the location for the dowel. I drilled a hole in both pieces with tape as a depth stop. Then I could apply glue and attach the top to the compartment.

The left compartment is inset 18mm (3/4″) to the front of the cabinet in order to accommodate for the drawer fronts and make them flush with the cabinet. On top, where the drawer opens to the side I needed a trim to make the top flush to the drawers as well. I glued it on the front and secured it with a few screws from the back.

Building sturdy pocket hole drawers

On to the step that gave me the most headache on this project. Breaking down a full sheet of 12mm ply in my shop for the drawers. It was raining outside and I couldn’t do it in the driveway. What you don’t see: I had to roll the bandsaw out of the shop, dissamble the fence of my jointer, roll it elsewhere in my shop and clean up all the junk that has piled up on my router table/outfeed table.
And still the dust hose blocking my way. Ducked tape for the rescue. Yes I was happy this step was done!
From there on the drawers where piece of cake.
Formatting sheet goods on a slider feels so productive and I enjoyed the following cuts were much.
Alright, all the parts for the drawers where cut and it was time for some more pocket holes.
I changed the settings to 12mm on the jig and drilled holes in the fronts and backs of the drawers.
The drawers will get a glued on front anyways and therefore the holes will be hidden.

For the assembly of the drawer boxes, the young lady from quality management (a.k.a. my daughter) was paying me a visit again. This time she assisted me by handpicking the screws.

I installed the drawer bottoms right away. By making sure the sides of the drawers are flush with the bottom, the drawers end up perfectly square. I drilled some holes, countersunk them and drove in the hand selected screws.

Sanding and finish

Plywood usually is pretty smooth. So I only gave it a very light 220 grid sanding.

With a chamfer bit in my trim router I tackled the edges and really like the look of the plywood facets.
As a finish I used Osmo and in order to save some time I applied it with a paint roller. It worked great and the cabinet was finished pretty fast. The edges got an extra thick coat, since the endgrain in the plywood soaks up much more finish.

Drawer installation

For drawer installation I started with the top drawer that opens to the side. To have a reference surface I clamped a scrap piece to the bottom of the side of the cabinet. Onto that I could place my drawer slide and because it is an inset drawer front, I placed the slide to the inside edge of the cabinet front.
After screwing the silde in place, I cut a spacer that fit between the top and the drawer slide as a reference for the other side.

The face clamp provided great help to hold the spacer in place and installing the second slide went smooth.
To attach the drawer box, I clamped the Kreg drawer slide jigs to the cabinet and placed the drawer box on them. With the slides flush to the front of the box, I could screw them down.

I always have a deck of cards lying around in the shop for spacing parts equally. I fit as many cards as possible in the whole gap and then divide them up in to the number of gaps. In this case two: Left and right. The same applies for top and bottom.
I put some double sided tape on the drawer box fronts to hold the front temporarily and applied some glue.

Using the cards as spacers, I press the front onto the box.
Then I was able to open the drawer and secure the front with a clamp. A couple of screws from the back make sure this front is going nowhere.

For the drawers that open to the other side, I registered the lower pair of slide on the bottom of the cabinet. Since these drawers have overlaying fronts on the left and inset drawers on the right, I made the slides flush with the cabinet on the left and inset on the right.
After installing the bottom drawer box I used a scrap piece to position the next set of drawer slides. With the bottom drawer and the slides fully extended I applied the card trick to attach the second drawer box.
I worked my way the top with this method.
Now was a good time to add some temporary drawer pulls out of tape.
Attaching the drawer fronts was very similar to the other drawer I had already installed. Double sided tape, glue, a clamp and a few screws from the back did the trick.

The cards made sure the gaps were even once again. and they did their job pretty well.

Attaching the casters and getting it off the workbench

After marking center on the fronts, I attached some drawer pulls, I had on hand.

Then I attached the casters to the bottom of the side compartments and double-checked they could swivel around freely.

Getting the cabinet of my workbench was way harder than I’ve expected. Somehow I made it work but I was definitely not favourable for my back.

End caps for the flip top with holes for the cable management

By sliding the water pipe through the top I finally gave the tool cart its coolest feature.

Remember that I made the pipe one material thickness longer than the cabinet is wide? This is for two end caps that give additional support for the pipe. I took 2 rectangular pieces of plywood and drilled a hole in the size of the pipe half way through. Then I switched to a smaller forstner bit and continued the hole. This is necessary for the power cord that will run in the pipe and a small chamfer will save the cord from wearing down.

Indexing pins to secure the flip top

The flip-top needed a way of locking it in its two positions. Therefore I got these spring loaded indexing pins. I marked their location and used a backer board when drilling the 12mm hole to avoid tear-out.

I traced the shape of the nut with my marking knife and chiseled the recess for it. The flip-top would otherwise interfere with the pertruding nut.

With a washer on the outside I fastened the indexing pin and it worked great. I used 4 indexing pin, one on each corner. But in hindsight I think the 2 in the front are enough and make the flipping operation even faster.

I wanted to be able to have both machines on the tool stand plugged in all the time and don’t worry about the stupid cords. Therefore I decided to run a main cord through the center of the pipe and hook it up to both sides of the flip-top.

Outlets on both sides of the flip top

With the cord in the pipe I hooked it up to a small distributor box that connects to an additional outlet and the extension cord that gets plugged into the wall.
Each side of the flip top received an outlet that are connected with another cord that goes through the top.

Important to note with my setup is that the top cannot turn endlessly in the same direction because the cord in the pipe would spiral up and break eventually. I can only flip back and forth.

Finally it could place the machines. I pre-drilled the holes for the fasteners and tightened them. If you are wondering why I am using these rusty bolts, it’s because these are the very same bolts my granddad used to attach this drill press to his workbench years ago.

Holders for accessories

The belts for my belt sander tend to take way to much space, so a holder for these was way overdue. A piece of scrap cut a bit longer than the belts are wide makes a great storing solution. To prevent the belts from sliding off created a hook at the bandsaw.
Some magic to make the holder look a bit nicer, two pocket screws and I don’t have to worry about these guys anymore.

For the cast iron table of my sander, I needed a holder as well. Therefore I sandwiched a bunch of scraps together to receive the thorn of the table and drilled pocket holes to be able to attach it to the cabinet. No fancy joinery here with just glue and screws. Now the table has a nice place to go to.

The top could still rotate freely around the pipe and I realized this could break the cables inside. I drilled a pilot hole through the top and into the pipe. A beefy screw connects the top and the pipe.

Third worksurface for the Kreg K4 Master System.

I designed the cart in a way to have a third worksurface on which my pocket hole jig has a permanent spot. The drawer underneath is for all the accessoires: drill bits, bits, clamps and screws.

Of course I loaded up all the other drawers as well. Drill bits, more drill bits, special drill bits and more special drill bits.
More kreg accessories and accessories for my sander.

The flip top tool cart is done!

AAAAnd here it is. Looks a bit like a low rider and I like it! The integrated cable management is so convenient, since you only have to plug in that extension cord. The flipping feature works beautifully and the spring loaded indexing pins make it enjoyable. The third worksurface with its dedicated drawers is now always ready for some pocket holes and the other drawers provide plenty of storage.

Get the plans for this build

Get the plans with detail drawings and all measurements to build your own flip-top tool cart.

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How to build a wooden doll’s pram

Due to the Corona lockdown, I was not able to get the doll’s pram my daughter wanted for her birthday. At the last minute, I decided to build one myself and here I show you how I did it:

Tools I used

  • Track Saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Table Saw
  • Band saw
  • Pull Saw
  • Domino
  • Round over bit
  • Flush trim bit
  • Random orbital sander

Here you can find a complete list of my tools.

Materials and supplies

  • 18mm (3/4″) birch plywood
  • Scrap piece of Oak
  • 5x30mm Dominos
  • Primer
  • Waterbased Laquer (sky blue)
  • 100mm (4″) wooden toy wheels
  • 4 x M4x50mm (2″) screws, washer and locking nuts

See the digital plan and template

Get the full set of plans and the printable full-sized template

Breaking down the plywood

I started this project by breaking down 18mm birch plywood into manageable pieces. When cutting plywood in my driveway I like to use rigid foam insulation sheets to lift the plywood off the ground.

Back in the shop, I ripped a clean edge on each piece. After setting up my ripping fence, I used this edge against the fence and cut the pieces to width. With the crosscut fence I could then saw them to length. All the connecting pieces are cut to size and it was time to make the sides of the doll’s pram.

Template for perfect sides

The sides give the pram its look and hence I wanted them to be close to perfect with sharp and accurate lines. I printed out the design I worked out at the computer on multiple A4 sheets and could tape them up after figuring out how they come together. I placed the template on a piece of 12mm MDF and secured it with tape. Spray adhesive would have been way better but I forgot to stock up.
With the jigsaw, I cut out the template very slow and carefully. This took some time, but since the template determines the shape of the sides I didn’t rush it. Because I had to saw straight through the tape that secures the paper to the MDF I had to tape it again.
Pro tip: Do not saw into your workbench. After removing the paper template I filed out a few bumps I’ve created with the jigsaw.

Then I placed the MDF template on my plywood and traced the shape of it with a pencil. 2 times. At the table saw I cut them apart. Note the super cool angle I get for my Instagram with the tripod on the sliding table.
At the bandsaw, I roughly cut the sides while making sure I stay close and outside of the lines. For the tight inside curves, I made a bunch of relieve cuts first. This saved me the hassle of changing to a smaller band saw blade.

To secure the MDF template to my plywood blank I used double-sided tape. With my big flush-trim bit, I cleaned up the plywood sides and ended up with 2 perfect copies of each other after removing the template.

Connecting the two sides

Spacing the connecting pieces equally apart and parallel to the edges of the sides is not so easy on a rather complex shape. The pieces should be offset by 10mm from the edge. Since they are 18mm thick I get the inside by making a mark parallel to the edge at 28mm. From the intersection of two marks, I measured 5mm in each direction and got the corner of the connecting pieces. After repeating it for every connecting piece I could place them equally.

With the head of my combo square slid up to the corner I marked the location for the dominos.
I used the 5mm bit for 5x30mm Dominos and placed the Domino with the base plate right to the marks. Free-hand routing the dominos worked pretty well for me, but you could also clamp a guide in order to make the process more precise and easier. With the fence set for 20mm boards, I routed the slots into the connecting pieces. Why 20mm when I am using an 18mm board? Because by registering the base plate to the inside edge of the connecting pieces on the sides the center of the Domino measures 10mm from the edge. With the fence at 20mm, the center of the bit is also 10mm adjacent to the edges.

Of course, I couldn’t resist and had to assemble the pram… But getting these dominos out again isn’t effortless.

Don’t worry, you do not need a Domino for this project. Although I found it to be the best solution for me to use it in this project, you can go with standard dowels, pocket holes, or just regular screws. It really comes down to what you are comfortable with and which tools you have at your disposal.

The handlebar

For the handlebar, I used solid oak so that it has a bit of contrast. At the jointer, I jointed one face and one edge. Then I marked the two jointed faces so that I don’t get mixed up when resawing.
Speaking of resawing. I set my guidepost to the lowest position possible and adjust my fence 2 to 3mm proud of my final thickness. With a sharp blade, a slow feed rate, constant pressure against the fence, and my very fancy scrap piece push sticks, I get a decent result almost every time.
Next, I plane the boards to their final thickness of 18mm. At the table saw I cut the boards to their final dimensions.

This is how the 3 pieces should come together. Two side pieces and one crosspiece. I mark their orientation with the cabinet maker’s triangle. Creating the bridal joints may seem complex first but it gets much clearer once you see the finished joint.
First I mark a notch at each end of the crosspiece – at 7mm parallel to the bottom edge and the length with the marking gauge set to the thickness of the side. I took the 90° side of my dovetail guide and sawed to my lines. Then I set the two cutters of the dual marking gauge to the thickness of the crosspiece and locked the setting. On the side pieces I eyeballed center and stroke the lines for the mortise. From my crosspiece I took the distance how high the mortise had to be. I began the mortise by sawing to the lines again with my pull saw. With a chisel and mallet, I removed the majority of waste and completed it by cleaning out the corners. Test fit looked pretty good, time to attach the handlebar to the pram.

I positioned the sides of the handle parallel to the end of the pram with my combo square and since the plywood was already sanded I used tape to mark the position. For the domino location I used the same process as with the connecting pieces previously. And again freehand routing into both pieces.
There is something to Domino joinery that is soo satisfying.

Roundovers, surface prep and finish

After inserting my 7mm round over bit and setting up my router fence I rounded over all edges of the handlebar as well as the other parts. For the sides I had to remove the fence again. To make it appeal even nicer to children’s hands I sanded everything with 120 and 220 grid.

Alright on to the finish. Before applying anything I taped off the glue areas for later with painters tape. Then I primed all plywood surfaces. I started with the insides and added Dominos into the slots instead of using painter’s pyramids. This way one side could dry and I could already move on to the next side and the edges. I made sure the edges get an extra thick coat since they are thirsty.

I also applied primer to the wooden parts of the wheels I bought at the hardware store.

A waterbased lacquer was my choice as a finish since it is rated for toys and non-toxic once it has dried. My daughter wanted the pram to be blue, so I took a sky blue. A scrap piece with a few Dominos in it was a perfect drying rack.
After applying the second coat of lacquer I peeled off the tape and let the lacquer dry.

The next day it was time to glue it up. Usually, I am a bit nervous when it comes to the glue-up. But this one was so straight forward, that I felt comfortable moving around the camera. The Dominos make it easy and there was not much I could screw up. After adding some clamps I realized I taped off too much and touched it up with a small brush.
I used the drying time of the glue to assemble the wheels again and finish the handlebar. Again I used tape to keep the glue surfaces free of finish. After letting the finish sit for a solid 5 minutes I glued the handle to the pram and glued up the bridle joints as well. I came back a couple of hours later, sanded the joints flush, rounded over the remaining edges, and gave it another coat of finish.

No racking with this little hack

In order to prevent the doll’s pram from racking, I sat it on the flat table of my table saw and marked the same relative height to the table with a piece of scrap. On this line I could drill the holes for the screws attaching the wheels. With an M4, a washer, and a lock nut I screw the wheels to the base.

Happy Birthday

I was very happy to finish this project on the last day before my daughter’s birthday and to have a present for her in time.

She absolutely likes it and she can take her dolls for a ride now.

Get the full set of plans and the printable full-sized template

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How to make a floating key shelf – with interlocking dovetail keychains

Since I am the kind of guy who throws his keys everywhere and has to search for them, what feels like an eternity, every time I leave the house. In order to counteract my annoying habit, I wanted to create a key shelf that is so much fun to put your keys there, that I will actually use it. Yet I had to be beautiful.

While looking for inspiration around the web I found a ton of keyholders with magnets. The magnets hold your keys in place and you can easily take them away. I wanted to have a unique way of holding the keys to the shelf and at the moment I thought about the shelf itself and asked my self if I want to use live-edge stock with bowtie inlays, it struck me. The shape of a bowtie respectively a dovetail will probably work fine.

Tools I used

  • 14mm (9/16″) auger bit
  • Drill
  • Belt/Disc sander
  • Drill press
  • 6mm (1/4″) drill bit
  • Block plane
  • Countersink bit
  • 25mm (1″) Japanese Chisel
  • Router
  • 12mm (1/2″) straight bit
  • Dovetail router bit
  • Panel Saw
  • Bandsaw
  • Jointer/Planer Combo

Here you can find a complete list of my tools.


  • 52mm (8/4″) live-edge oak board
  • 30mm (1 1/8″) walnut
  • 2 Floating shelf brackets incl. hardware for installation
  • Epoxy
  • 6mm (1/4″) brass pipe
  • shellac (but feels free to use any other finish you like)

Get your own key shelf now

Since quite a few people were asking for it, I do sell the finished key shelf on my site now.

Milling and cutting up the live-edge shelf board

For the shelf board itself, I used 52mm (8/4″) live-edge oak and for the keychains Walnut.  After ripping the oak board to width, I turned to the jointer and milled it up. I left the live-edge on one site.

At the panel saw I cut the board to its final length. In order to get the live-edge smooth and free of splinters, I started with a nylon brush attached to my drill. This works pretty well to get rid of rough splinters and thin layers of bark. Afterward, I give the edge a quick sanding with my random orbital sander with 120 and 220 grid.

Routing the dovetail key hooks

Time to make the key hooks. With my biggest straight bit, I routed a rabbet on the front edge of the bottom of the shelf. Therefore I used an MDF offcut as a guide. The rabbet places the key hooks a little further back and creates a nice shadow line.  

Then I marked the locations for the 7 hooks. The MDF spacer I line up to my mark is the exact distance from the edge of the base plate of my router to the center of the bit + 3mm. With the spacer in place, I can now clamp down the guide. Another guide acts as a stop.

With my 12mm straight bit, I established the first cut to clear out most of the waste, where the dovetail groove will go. In order to widen the cut I inserted a 6mm spacer and get a cut that is 18mm wide after the second cut and because of the 3mm offset of the spacer, my cut is perfectly center to my line.

Then I switched my router bit to a 15° dovetail bit. I repeated the same process as I did with the straight bit and got the dovetail grooves that act as the key hooks.

Crafting the Walnut keychains with brass inlays for the eyelet

For the matching keychains, I decided to take Walnut as contrast and make it even fancier with some brass inlays. After removing the live-edge and jointing the first face side, I joined the first edge and planed it to 30mm thickness.

Next, I ripped it to 25mm strips and crosscut them to 35mm length. Consequently, I had a bunch of cuboids.

Lifting the sander onto my router table is not my favorite game. However, I set the miter gauge of my sander to 75° and sand the cuboids to a triangular shape like a dovetail, which fits the slots on the board.

At the drill press, I created a 6mm hole in the tip of the triangle. In order to inlay the 6mm brass pipe into this hole, I set the fence of my bandsaw a little wider than the keychains and cut the pipe to pieces. 

After that, I mixed up some epoxy. With a toothpick, I applied the epoxy to the inside of the holes in the keychains and inserted the brass pipes. I cleaned out the epoxy that gathered in the inside of the pipes and let it dry.

Since the tubes were a little oversized on purpose I sanded them flush and at that point, I was really in love with this project. Then I resawed every Walnut triangle into 2 pieces 12.5mm thick each. 

A bit more sanding and rounding over the edges gave the keychains their final shape.  As a finish, I rubbed on several coats of blonde shellac.

Creating the mounts on the board for the floating shelf brackets

To give the board it’s floating look I used floating shelf brackets that are hidden in the board itself. I marked where they should go and transferred it over to the edge that faces the wall. For the holes for the thorns of the bracket, I pulled out a 13mm Auger bit. Since free-hand drilling the holes never ends up square, I made a guide block at the drill press and failed! The rpm was way too high and the bit got pulled into the wood, the handle slipped out of my hand and the drill press stopped completely. After changing the belt for the lowest speed I could drill the hole just fine. 

I aligned the guide block to my mark and started the cut with the drill. As the bit became to short to continue I removed it and drilled the last bit without it. 

Then I traced the shape of the base plate and marked my waste. With a straight bit set a hair proud of the thickness of the base plate, I locked the depth stop of the router into place. 

When I wanted to start the router nothing happened. Because I am an idiot and forgot to plug in the router…
Once plugged in I removed the material in several passes. Since it will be hidden I went a bit over the lines to make sure it fits.

A little screw into a hole of the thorn makes sure the board is secured to the brackets. I used my combination square to transfer the hole location to the underside of the board before I drilled and countersunk the hole. 

Surface prep and finishing the live-edge shelf

All edges except for the two facing the wall received a little round over with the block plane or a chisel before I sanded everything with 120 and 220 grid.

Again I used shellac for the finish. I applied it with a simple piece of cloth and gave it a 500 grid sanding in between coats.

Installing the floating shelf to the wall

Finally, it was time to hang it to the wall. Before marking my corners I made sure it is level. Then I measured to the center of the thickness of the board on each corner and connected the two points. I laid out where the center of the first bracket will be and transferred the distance between the two. After extending these marks, I could place the brackets on the wall and mark where the screws will go. 

I drilled the holes, inserted some wall plugs and screwed the floating brackets into place. Sliding the board onto the brackets, when everything fitted perfectly was extremely rewarding. With the two little screws underneath I secured the board from slipping off the brackets. The very last step was to attach the keychains to my keys and finally hanging them to the board.

Never looking for my keys again and being reminded of the craft

And here it is. I really like the result and it makes me unbelievably happy to put my keys back onto the shelf. I find pleasure in the fact that I have a dovetail keychain with me when I leave the house, which reminds me of the beautiful craft of woodworking.

Get your own key shelf now

Since quite a few people were asking for it, I do sell the finished key shelf on my site now.

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How to make a toilet paper holder out of wood with brass dowels and Kumiko

Well, in times of Corona toilet paper is the new currency and I needed a holder to keep my investments in style…


You only need these tools with the building kit:

  • Hammer
  • Handsaw
  • Chisel (preferred: 20mm or wider)
  • Sander
  • Drill
  • Tape measure or combo square
  • Clamps

Additional tools I used (but you don’t need with the kit):

  • Bandsaw
  • Sliding Table Saw
  • Jointer/Planer combo


These things are already included in the building kit:

  • 35, 15, 12 and 9mm oak parts
  • 8 x 3.4mm Kumiko whitewood strips with and without notches
  • 10 x 6 mm Kumiko frame parts
  • 6mm brass dowels
  • 6mm drill bit
  • 2 pan head screws for hanging the holder to the wall
  • 2 wall plugs

Materials and supplies you will need to assemble the kit:

  • Wood glue
  • Epoxy
  • Shellac (or another finish, for example, an oil-based varnish)
  • 2 Toilet paper rolls (I know they are hard to get these days…)

1. Milling and resawing

For this project, I used live-edge oak and a whitewood board. After cutting off the live-edge and crosscutting it to a handy size I turned to the jointer and planed the first face side. I absolutely love that moment after jointing. Then I jointed the first edge and marked the jointed corner so I do not get mixed up when resawing. I resawed the material 3mm proud of my final thickness on the bandsaw and planed it down to it. Resawing worked pretty well.

Build your own Kumiko toilet paper holder with basic tools

You don’t need a big and fancy woodshop to make your own Kumiko toilet paper holder. I have a building kit in my online store, that offers all wooden parts already pre-cut as well as all the brass dowels, the Kumiko strips, and the Kumiko guide blocks. It even contains the right sized drill bit for the brass dowels. All you need is a bit of glue and sandpaper and some basic tools like a drill, a chisel, and a handsaw.

Time to cut the pieces to their final size. For rip cuts, I like using Fritz and Franz. They make it super safe and easy. Then I crosscut the pieces to length.

2. Assembling the holder’s cabinet

For the paper roll holder, a used a square stick and by cutting at 45°, I turned it to an octagon and the toilet paper fits nicely over it.
I marked center on it and drilled into it from both sides since my drill bit is to short. Somehow I made the two connect and a 6mm brass dowel fits through. More about the brass later on.

Now I marked the other hole locations for the moveable parts. The roll holder and the thing that presses on top of the paper. Is there a name for that thing?!
For the blind holes, I used the old tape around the bit trick to not drill through the boards.

For the joinery, I used brass dowels that I made from this brass round stick. It was my first time cutting brass and I am not gonna lie although everybody says you can cut it on your woodworking tools, it just feels wrong. But it worked great.
With a drill and a bit of sandpaper, I rounded over one end of each brass dowel, so it would go in easily.

3. Sanding and pre-finishing

Then I sanded the wooden parts up to 220 grid.

After sanding I taped off all the surfaces that will be glue joints later on and finished all inside faces that would be hard to reach once glued up. As a finish I used shellac but you can also use any oil finish. It comes in flakes and I dissolved them in spirits. After letting them sit overnight the finish was ready for application. In hindsight, I would use lighter shellac flakes since the result was a little too yellowish for my taste.

The application is fairly simple with a piece of cloth. It dries almost instantly and I could apply several coats in almost no time.

4. Adding the brass dowels

For assembly, I clamped the pieces together and with the tape as a depth stop drilled the holes for the dowels. After I added wood glue to the joint faces, I mixed up some epoxy and spread it with a toothpick in the dowel hole. When driving in the brass dowels I made sure they still stick out a tiny hair so they will become flush later.

While letting the glue dry I drilled the holes into the thing with no name that presses on the paper. I gave it a wash coat of shellac and glued up the miter. A bit of tape is better than any clamp for this.

I also epoxied the brass dowel for the roll holder into the small handle.
Then the nameless thing got two short brass dowels that act as a hinge.

Then the nameless thing got two short brass dowels that act as the hinge.

Before I glued in the outside I put that thing into place and it worked very well.

5. Sanding and finishing

Then I sanded the brass dowels flush with the surface. I went up to 500 grid in order to have a minimal scratch pattern on the brass.

Afterwards, I finished the outside surfaces with a couple of coats.

6. Making and inserting the Kumiko panel (Asanoha)

Now it was time for the Kumiko panel. For the frame, I used whitewood strips that are a little thicker than the Kumiko. With my Kumiko guide block, I trimmed off the ends at 45° degrees. This was so enjoyable. With a little trial and error, they fitted perfectly.

Making the Kumiko panel itself was the most fun part for me. Again I used the guide blocks to cut the infill pieces to shape. If you want to learn more about how to make Kumiko check out the videos I link at the top as well as the articles on my website.
Gluing the Kumiko pieces in place went smooth and afterwards I marked the panel in order to fit into the frame. I lined up a ruler to my marks and cut it with a pull saw.
Inserting the panel was very rewarding.

7. Hanging the holder to the wall

With a pencil, I marked the locations for the screws on the tiles in our bathroom. In order to drill through the tiles, I used a diamond drill bit and a drill template to start the hole. But since the suction cups of the template had problems to hold on the structured tiles, I continued without it. With a sponge and water, I cooled the bit and tiles. I felt lucky to not hit a water pipe.
I inserted some wall plugs and screwed the toilet paper holder in place.

Just adding some toilet paper, inserting the Kumiko panel again and it is done! Almost don’t forget to include the back-up roll behind the Kumiko.

Build your own with the building kit

If you want to build the toilet paper holder yourself, I have an awesome building kit available. It contains all the wooden parts for the holder already pre-cut, the brass dowels and the strips as well as the guide blocks for the Kumiko panel. Without a big and fancy woodworking shop and just a very basic toolset you can build this project yourself.

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Dovetails on the table saw

A fast method with a hand-cut dovetail look

No doubt, hand-cutting dovetails is a super cool skill to have. But when you have to cut a lot of dovetails the same size, like multiple drawers, hand-cutting gets tedious, time consuming and repetitive. 
This method on the table saw gives you dovetails with that hand-cut look (narrow pins, wide tails), is totally flexible in terms of the angle as well as spacing of the dovetails and gets you there in almost no time.

Tools you need

Material list

  • 15mm (½”) birch plywood
  • 50 cm (19½” ) long t-track
  • 2 t-slot nuts
  • 2 male M6 star nubs
  • 2 threaded inserts (optional, you can also use wood screws to attach the jig to your miter gauge)

How the jig for dovetailing works

The jig for cutting dovetails on the table saw.

The jig is simple and is attached to the miter gauge of your saw blade. The angle for the tails is achieved by tilting the blade and the angle for the pins by adjusting the miter gauge. The stop block ensures perfect repeatability of the cuts on multiple boards. With MDF inserts you get tear-out free cuts every time.

Building the jig to cut dovetails on the table saw

I start by ripping 15mm (½”) birch plywood to a 20cm (8”) strip and two 5cm (2”) strips. The length of these pieces determines how much support of the workpiece you have on either side of the blade. In my case, I wanted to be able to make dovetails on boards at least 40cm (16”) in width. Therefore I needed 40cm (16”) on each side plus an additional 7cm (2¾”) in order to accommodate for the stop-block. That means my boards have to be 94cm (37”) long.

Ripping plywood.

Into the board for the back and the board for the base, I routed a 5cm (2”) by 8cm (3”) wide recess with a depth of 6mm (¼”) in the center of the board. This recess will accept a 6mm (¼”) MDF plate that gets screwed in from the back and acts as a zero clearance insert. Thereby you just have to change out the MDF piece, when you change from tails to pins. It also makes it possible to cut different dovetail angles with the same jig.

When you make the MDF inserts make a whole lot of them right away since you will need 4 every time you cut a batch of dovetails. The inserts don’t have to fit gap-free or whatsoever. 

The MDF zero-clearance inserts.

Time to route the slot for the t-track. The track only has to be on one side of the blade. The height of the track in the jig should be higher than the maximum cut height of your table saw. Then I cut the t-track to length, countersink, pre-drill and screw it in place.

In order for the back to stay flat, I screw one of the 5cm (2”) strips to the back. The other strip gets attached to the bottom of the jig. It is flush with the side that gets connected to the miter gauge and sticks out in the front. The workpiece will rest on this strip, when making the cuts.  Make sure it is perfectly perpendicular and don’t place a screw in the spot where the blade is gonna cut. I almost did…

Screwing the base in place.

Alright, the jig is almost finished. But it still needs a stop-block to make the cuts repeatable. I 7cm (2¾“) wide and 20cm (8”) high piece of 15mm (½”) birch ply takes care of that. With two holes for M6 star knobs, you can mount it to the t-track. The stop needs to be square to the base of the jig. 

The stop block runs in the t-track.

Now the jig is ready to be attached to the miter gauge. How really depends on your particular miter gauge. For my sliding table saw I had to drill two holes to accept the pins of the gauge and place two threaded inserts for the M6 star knobs.

The process of cutting dovetails on the table saw


Time to cut some dovetails.

First I mark my outside faces with a scribble and label them with pins and respectively tails.

Note: When you batch out dovetails on multiple boards with the same width, at which this method really excels, you only have to make the layout on one board. 

After that, I set a marking gauge to the thickness of the boards and strike a line across both faces of both boards. On the tail board I also mark on the edges.

With a dovetail marker and a pencil I layout the tails and mark the pins as waste.

The laid out tails.

The thickness of the pins at the narrowest point has to be at least the thickness of your saw blade. With a thin-kerf blade you can go super narrow.

(You can also use your sliding bevel set at the desired angle for this step)

Then I set the sliding bevel to the exact angle of the dovetails.

Transferring the angle to the bevel gauge.

Cutting the tails on the table saw

The sliding bevel now can be used to tilt the blade to the exact angle. The jig has to be attached to the miter gauge and set to 90°. In order to dial in the exact height of the blade, I use a scrap piece with the same mark as the real boards. 

After the height of the cut is set up I can position my board for the first cut. Before I make the cut I slide my stop-block in place and lock it. This makes sure the position of the cuts for the other boards will be exactly the same.

If you want to chisel less on the tails, you can buy a custom blade with the correct dovetails angle at the top of the teeth. This leaves almost no waste in between the tails.

With a standard blade, I want the teeth to almost touch the line at the highest point.

The kerf almost touches the line at its highest point.

I flip the board face-to-face to make the cut on the other side. By flipping it is not necessary to tilt the saw blade in the other direction.

Cutting the tails.

After I have repeated the process for all the cuts on the tail boards, I chop out the remaining waste between tails with a chisel and a mallet. With a Japanese pull saw and a chisel I remove the rest on the sides.

Before cutting the pins I insert new MDF plates in the jig.

Layout and cut the pins

Marking the pins.

For marking the pins I like to use a marking knife. With a small combination square, I can transfer the lines to the front, since the end-grain is not visible when aligning for the cut. I also mark my waste.

Transferring the scribe lines to the face of the board.

With the sliding bevel still set to the correct angle, I now align the miter gauge.

Again with a piece of scrap, I dial in the height of the blade. Now I want to hit my scribe line dead on.

Then I make all of my cuts on one side of the pins. When batching out, I lock the stop block and make every cut for the different boards and then move to the next setting.

Cutting the pins.

Do not flip the pin board face-to-face like the tail board. It doesn’t work and you end up with a cut in the wrong direction. You can guess how I found out.

With a second cut right next to each first cut I remove a little bit of waste. This is not possible later on with the miter gauge shifted in the other direction because you would end up cutting into your pin.

In order to cut on the other side of the pins I set up the miter gauge in the other direction and make the respective cuts.

As the last step, I nibble away the remaining waste with a series of cuts.

Now it’s time for a test-fit!

Well, I am pretty happy with the fit of this one.


I found this method for cutting dovetails on the table saw gives you speed and repeatability while still obtaining the narrow pins and wide tails. 

Further, you only have to lay out the tails and pins on one board and the other boards end up perfectly the same, thanks to the stop block.

The MDF inserts make the jig flexible in terms of the saw blade and angle you use.

Sure it is not as fast the router method but the result is way more beautiful.

What do you think? Have you tried this method? How did it turn out? Let me know in the comments below!

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Kumiko vanity stand with a foot pedal to turn on the tap – Natural edge stone sink

A few years ago I saw a tap controlled by a foot pedal and found the idea so cool. Now I had the chance to build one myself. We renovated our bathroom from the ground up and because of that, it was not much additional work to install such a pedal.

The foot pedal controls the water flow

The most difficult part about the pedal-controlled tap was getting the pedal. After countless hours online I finally found a suitable pedal on eBay in Italy. In Italy, this was kind of a standard for public toilets a while ago. 

Hot and cold water are mixed by a three-way valve to the desired temperature, which is installed in the wall and the pedal only turns on the water. Thereby the pedal has a single ingoing tube and one outgoing that goes back into the wall and connects to the tap. The tap is a tub spout. Everything connects with armored hoses.

The pedal turns the water on and the Kumiko is a nice visual touch.

Alright, enough about the water let’s get to the woodworking.

Design of the cabinet

The design of the vanity stand took some time. This was by far the most ambitious woodworking project I had tackled at that time. I drew the design out on paper numerous times until I was satisfied. 

My final design sketch. A few things changed along the way like the Kumiko pattern and I made only one drawer at the top.

I really wanted to integrate some Kumiko into it since I have learned that skill recently. The pattern I chose is Asanoha. Read more about Kumiko patterns in my article.

The build

The first building step was to remove the live-edges from the boards and mill them up. For the case sides, the top and bottom I chose rather quiet grain and glued the panels together.

Then came the most time-consuming part of the build. Handcut a ton of dovetails. 68 pins and 56 tails in total including the drawer. This really pushed my dovetail skills and I am pretty proud how they turned out. My new Veritas Dovetail saw definitely came in handy at this stage.

I inserted the two horizontal dividers with sliding dovetails cut with a router bit. They bot received a little rabbet in front in order to hold the Kumiko panel.

I’ve cut the front for the drawer first then the sides and the back. The bottom is a thin book-matched panel and I really love the pattern it creates when you open the drawer. The drawer has this u-shape for the savage pipe. I joint all the pieces for the drawer with dovetails once again. Btw I used the 1:6 ratio and I am a pins first guy. This makes marking so much easier and I find it gives me better results.

The door is a classical frame and panel construction and cut on the router table with a standard round bit.

Cutting the Kumiko pieces was my favorite part about the build. There is a certain relaxing and satisfying thing about this quiet task. It’s almost meditative. I’ve cut the grid on the table saw with a jig pretty similar to a box joint jig. For the infill pieces I’ve used guide blocks and trimmed the wood strips with a sharp chisel. Check out my article series about Kumiko if you want to get into Kumiko or explore new patterns.

The base was made quickly and there is a secret to them I don’t really feel comfortable sharing… I reinforced the miters with screws. Yes, regular screws. I know. It was late, I was tired and I thought nobody will ever see it. So please don’t tell anyone 😉

In order to separate the top and the base from the cabinet, I added narrow strips to the cabinet.

Somehow the piece didn’t look right. The top was too clunky, therefore I added a light chamfer to the underside of the top. I really liked it and made it heavier and heavier until it had the perfect size for me.

Then came a pretty terrifying moment, drilling a hole in the top. It just feels wrong to take a huge hole saw to your almost-finished piece and launch it right through the center of the top.

As a finish I applied 3 coats of Osmo. The oil wax blend gives it enough water-resistant.

I’ve seen the natural-edge stone sink on the internet and immediately knew it was perfect for this.

I can’t tell you how excited I was when I first stepped on the pedal and the water turned on!

I will have plans for this soon…

Oh yeah! That moment was so satisfying.
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Kumiko Jigs – Guide Blocks to make perfect wood latticework

In order to be able to make Kumiko, you will need a few jigs. The amount and types of jigs highly depend on the pattern you want to make and the needed angles on the infill pieces as well as the type of grid you will make. In this article, I am gonna demonstrate the jigs for the Asanoha-pattern in a square grid, since it is one of the most common patterns and is a good starting point for beginners. I did start with it, too.

Kumiko guide blocks with a variety of angles at the end.

The Asanoha consists of a long diagonal infill piece (b), two smaller infill pieces ( c) and a small piece (d), that locks everything in place.

In order to fit perfectly together with the following angles on the pieces have to be cut:

a: 90-degree notch

b: 45-degree bevel on each side 

c: 22.5-degree and 67.5-degree

d: 45-degree on each side

The grid can be cut in a few different ways. There are two common ways. With a Japanese pull saw and a narrow chisel or on the table saw with a jig that is similar to a box joint jig.

I like the table saw way. It is fast, accurate and repeatable. There is a downside. The thickness of your strips must match the thickness of your table saw blade. In the picture below you see my jig. The little pin sticking out of the fence is the same thickness as the grid.

Note: The triangular pattern (Mitsukude) is cut on a different jig, but with the same principle.

My preferred method of cutting the small bevels on the infill pieces is with a shop-made jig and a sharp Japanese chisel (I sharpened it 25 degree – Any angle would work but I found that 25 works best in terms of sharpness since durability is not really an issue when pairing only tiny pieces).

The jigs are essentially just a miter box with an adjustable stop, where the infill pieces stick out on one side and the excess gets cut by the chisel.

The jigs are made out of hardwood (I like oak for that). They are about 50mm (2”) by 45mm (1 ¾”) with an 8mm deep and 12 mm (½”) wide groove in the middle. The angles at the end match the angles needed for your pattern. 

The stop is held at its place with a wing screw going in a threaded insert.

For the Asanoha I like to make only two blocks with an angle on each side. Therefore it is important which angle is on the same block with another. You want to have one jig with 45-degree plus 67.5-degree and the second with 22.5-degree plus 67.5-degree on the other end. This makes cutting the smaller infill pieces ( c)  much easier since you are able to set both blocks with the 67.5-degree angle to different lengths. You can find more about how to cut the Asanoha pattern in my video below.

Kumiko jigs are an easy way to start your Kumiko journey.

If you decide to build your own jigs make sure the angles are dead on and the stop is adjustable to the lengths you will need, depending on the grid size.

Here’s is how I build the jigs

I start by milling an oak board to 45mm (1 ¾”) thickness and then ripping strips slightly over 50mm (2”) off it. The next step is to send them through the planer one more time in order to get perfect 45mm (1 ¾”) by 50mm (2”) strips. For cutting the groove I use a flat-top table saw blade and make several cuts until the groove is about 12mm (½”) wide.  A trick I like to use is rotating the strips 180 degrees between passes. Therefore you can make 2 cuts with each crosscut fence positions and it saves time setting up the fence. 

After the groove is cut, I mill some more strips to fit the groove. They should have a nice friction fit. The height is not so critical. I let them sit a bit proud of the groove because that makes it easier to adjust them when cutting the pattern. They receive a 5mm (3/16”) slot in the center, where the wing bolt goes through.

The main body of the jigs gets a hole in the center. The depth, therefore, depends on the threaded inserts you use as well as the length of your screws. After installing the insert, I wipe on a single coat of oil to protect them. 

Tataaaah finished are your Kumiko jigs and ready to build some awesome stuff.

Get your own jigs now

In my shop, I have finished jigs and Kumiko kits for sale. Give yourself a headstart and order one right away.