One of the favorite parts of being part of the Popular Woodworking team is combing the archives (of Popular Woodworking, American Woodworker, Woodworking and Woodwork) to find projects, plans, tips and tricks that are just as inspiring and useful today as when they were first published. Plus, the beginning of a new year is a great time to start planning what you’d like to build. Even if you don’t make something exactly according to the plan (it seems to never happen that way for me), seeing how others tackle joinery, finishing, hardware and all of those other details that take a project from good to great is a worthy endeavor. With that in mind, here are six projects from the archives that are on my mind as I plan my own woodworking in the new year.
First up is Glen Huey’s Draw-leaf Game Table. We have a couple nooks in our house, as well as an inviting covered back porch, that could benefit from a smaller table for two share a drink and play some games. The mechanism for expanding the table, too, is quite interesting and something I’d like to try, and makes it comfortable for a bigger group, too.
With many of the basic home projects out of the way (a few new outlets, paint, light fixtures), my girlfriend and I are starting to talk more about furniture (YAY!) in our new to us house. I keep returning to these two Arts & Crafts projects – the Prairie Spindle Chair and the Limbert Bookcase. The Prairie Spindle Chair is a design I’ve long admired. It seems lighter than a lot of the other Arts & Crafts chairs I’ve seen, but still has the rectilinear lines and dark oak finish that I love about the style. And, I’ve always wanted a bookcase with doors, and the Limbert Bookcase seems to be the perfect size to house and protect my stash of much-loved woodworking books.
Of course, I love a good workshop project. My pair of cheapo plastic sawhorses succumbed to the elements (a combo of supporting 12 sheets of drywall and below-freezing temps, I believed), so a couple pairs of Tom Caspar’s knockdown trestle sawhorses are on my list. This design pairs inexpensive materials and knockdown joinery for a quick-to-build, yet sturdy and practical shop helper.
I also love small drawers, especially to store smaller hand tools in the shop, but also pens, pencils, paper and office supplies in my home office. I love the design of this ten drawer chest. It’s a relatively simple design with just enough flourish (a few curves and beaded drawer fronts) to make it fun and unique.
I’m also fascinated by the idea of mobile, collapsible and still useful shop appliances. The German work box (pictured above) encompasses all of those ideals without too much fuss. It’s also very customizable. I’m planning to build something similar to keep many of my rough carpentry and home improvement supplies in – I have a hunch I’ll be wheeling it around and throughout my home for the next two or three decades.