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Workshop whimsy.

You can make each of these three gift projects in a few hours

Time for woodworking is a precious commodity over the holidays, so we designed some gift and decoration projects that can each be built in a few hours. They include a blocky-bodied Santa riding a reindeer, animal-shaped cribbage boards, and more practical organizers for garden tools or car-care supplies. They require only average woodworking skills (although a few power tools will help).


Angel or Santa starts with a 4-by-4

The candle-toting angel and the pointytopped Santa astride his reindeer are both cut from lengths of 4-by-4. For Santa, the wedge-shaped leftovers become parts for his arms, legs, and beard. Make additional details for both figures from short pieces of pine 1-by-6 and 1-by-8, 3/4-inchdiameter half-round molding, glued-on decorative wooden plugs (designed to cover countersunk screws), and round wooden drawer pulls.

The most difficult part of building these totems is cutting out the head shapes; a band saw is the ideal tool. If you don't have access to one, you can cut Santa's head with a handsaw, or start the angel's by cutting off the corners and rounding the end of the block with a rasp or shaper. (For an easier project, look at the Santa head in the small inset photograph above right. Essentially a cube of 4-by-4 stock, it has a 7-inch-long 2-by-2 arm glued to one side, and a beard made from slices of halfround molding.)

Cutting Santa to size

To make the 20-inch-tall Santa, you'll also need an additional 6-inch-long block of 4-by-4. The diagram below shows how you start by cutting a wedge off each side of the top (cut wedges down later to make the 2-1/2-inch-wide arms). Make similar cuts on the short block (B), and cut one of those wedges in half lengthwise to make the legs.

The next cuts on block A angle from the center of the ridge on top. These wedges will become Santa's beard and the reindeer's head. Cut the reindeer's neck from the remainder of block B, the antlers and hands from a piece of 1-by-6.

Use glue and finishing nails to secure Santa's arms, beard, and legs, and the reindeer's neck, head, and antlers. Cut pieces of the half-round for Santa's boots and for trim on the hat. Glue on three 1inch drawer pulls (for both noses and for the pompon on the hat) and four wooden screw caps (for eyes), Change paint color to distinguish reindeer parts from Santa.


They're totes for a gardener or car person

Silhouettes of a giant snail or a tiny pickup form tbe ends of these handy caddies. Use a saber or band saw to cut out the shapes and the connecting bottoms and sides. The only other tools you'll require are an electric drill, a hammer, and finishing tools.

To assemble the caddies, you'll also need wood glue, 1-1/4-inch (3d) finishing nails, a nail set, wood putty, sandpaper, and paint (both primer and enamel). The specific materials for each wood-working project are listed at right.

Following the diagrams, make full-size paper patterns (use a 2-inch grid), position them on the wood, trace, and cut out shapes (remember to cut multiples of some shapes). Glue and nail the bottom to the silhouette ends, then add the crosspieces. Set the nails and fill wood putty. Sand and paint.

Supplies for each organizer

Snail. For this garden tote, you need a 2by 4-foot piece of 1/2-inch plywood. Note that the center piece has a handle at its top and a 1/2- by 4-inch vertical slot for a cross-lap joint near one end. Cut a complementary slot in the spacer.

Truck. Cut from an 8-foot-long clear pine 1-by-12, the truck also requires two 14inch lengths of 1/2-inch dowel for axles. Cut eight 5-inch-diameter circles for wheels and drill ,/2-inch holes through the centers. Glue pairs of wheel shapes together, with the holes aligned. Sand wheels to even them. We added wooden letters and a pull rope to the front, a me handle to the cab roof.


Cut out shapes with a saber or band saw

They don't crawl, slither, or swim, but these lizard, snake, and whale shapes still serve a purpose: they're unlikely, oversize cribbage boards. Built for good looks as well as games, the hardwood boards offer a little visual break from sometimes slow play. When not being used, they can decorate a wall.

Start by cutting out the shapes with a saber or band saw. To position the 3/8inch-deep, 1/4-inch-diameter holes, make a paper template for two rows (1 inch apart), each with 5 holes (1/2 inch apart on center). Mark the template 6 times along each edge of lizard or whale (on snake, trace single rows along sides), then 2 more times for score-keeping areas. Drill holes. Pegs are 1-1/2-inch lengths of 1/4-inch dowel. Sand and slightly round the boards' edges, then paint or stain and seal the wood. (We used a semitransparent white stain for the lizard, blue shoe polish to color tbe upper part of tbe whale.)
COPYRIGHT 1988 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Christmas decorations
Date:Dec 1, 1988
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