Category Archives: Wood Working

How to Install Brass Threaded Inserts

I’m currently working on building a crib for my firstborn son. There are two elements of this design that make it unique among the furniture that I’ve created in the past:

  1. The mattress should have two distinct heights: an upper height for when he is an infant, and a lower height for when he is a toddler
  2. I need to be able to disassemble the piece; both to move it into the nursery, and for storage once my son has outgrown it

I opted to solve both of these problems by building the crib out of five flat pieces that are affixed to one another using 3/8” brass screws and threaded inserts. I chose brass here for its aesthetics, thinking that the brightness of the brass would play nicely against the warmth of the wood.

The product that I chose for this purpose was E-Z Lok 3/8”-16 threaded brass inserts:

The kit comes with some the threaded inserts, and appropriately sized drill bit, and a slot head driver that is supposed to allow you to drive the threaded inserts home using a drill. Separately, I purchased some slot head brass screws that thread into these inserts from McMaster Carr.

When choosing these fasteners, I made the mistake of assuming that both the screws and threaded inserts needed to be made out of brass brass.

In practice, the threaded inserts are never visible when the crib is assembled, so I could easily have used a threaded insert that was made out of steel, which would have handily avoided all of the problems that I encountered when trying to drive the relatively soft brass inserts into the hard oak of the crib body.

On the right, a virgin threaded insert. To the left, a threaded insert that was destroyed when I tried to drive it into the end grain of a piece of oak using the tool included in the kit

After a few of the brass inserts tore themselves to pieces during my early testing (which I thankfully conducted on scrap, and not on my finished piece), I turned to Reddit to ask the community of r/woodworking for help installing these fasteners.

The solution came from user u/okacookie who suggested that I thread a nut most of the way onto a 3/8”-16 hex head bolt, and then thread the bolt into the threaded insert, jamming the threaded insert up against the nut. This way, a hex driver or ratchet can be used to drive the threaded insert into the oak workpiece without having to rely on the flimsy slot head that has a tendency to rip to if you so much as look at it the wrong way. Once the threaded insert has been driven home, the bolt can be backed out, leaving the insert behind.

In practice, I found that starting the threaded insert with the slot driver that was included in the E-Z Lok kit before switching out to the jam nut and ratchet combination worked best for me.

In closing, if you find yourself using these brass threaded inserts, first ask yourself if they absolutely have to be made from brass. If not, use a stronger metal. If so, ditch the silly slot head driver and use a bolt with a jam nut to get the job done.

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Classy Walnut Monitor Risers

In this video, I show you how to make some great looking walnut monitor risers that feature continuous grain up one leg, across the top, and down the other leg, as well as hard maple splines that strengthen the miter joints between leg and top.

Monitor risers are a really simple project that anybody can make to add a little class and a personal touch to an otherwise drab workspace. If you make some of your own, please share them in the comments below, or on social media.

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DIY Christmas Tree Ornaments

In this video, I show you how to use up all of those hard wood scraps that are cluttering up your shop, repurposing them into some cute Christmas tree ornaments shaped like five pointed stars.

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How to Make Harry Potter’s Nimbus 2000

In this video, I tackle my very first prop replica project, recreating Harry Potter’s Nimbus 2000 (before it got whomped by a willow) from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. As a source, I used pictures of the replica that a company called CineReplica used to distribute.

My broom is made from red oak (it’s about a third of the cost of mahogany), and is scaled to 5′ (152cm), based on some stills from the first Harry Potter film. My build omits the foot pegs that are shown in the films, since they aren’t mentioned in the books, and I think that the broom looks better without them.

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Filed under Art, Wood Working

How to Make a Chisel Cabinet

I made this chisel cabinet out of some old barn board that I had kicking around the shop. It hangs on my wall, and gives me a space to store my mortising chisels, marking knife, and engineer’s square. Each of the tools is affixed within the box with a neodymium magnet that keeps it from falling out or knocking against the other tools. The cabinet has two doors that are held closed with a hard drive magnet, and I engraved the doors using my desktop CNC machine.

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How to Make a Live Edge Bench with Hairpin Legs

Here’s a simple project that anybody can do – an oak live edge bench with black hairpin legs. The materials are reasonably priced, and it only requires the most basic tools to complete, so grab a saw, get to sanding, and put some polyeurethane on it!

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Derek’s End Tables

My buddy Derek needed some new end tables for his man cave. We sourced some African hardwood called Black Limba and built two beautiful tables to fit the spot that he had in mind. The wood is absolutely gorgeous, and really pops with a couple of coats of polyurethane on it.

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How to Make Plywood Tool Stands

These basic tool stands are really easy to build, and make it easy to move heavy, formerly stationary tools around my workshop. I’ve got a small space, so the fact that they add to my organization options is also really helpful. They’re made out of 2x4s, 1/2″ plywood, 3/4″ plywood, and some cheap casters. The entire project cost around $100 for both. These are a great project for somebody just starting to build out their workshop.

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Easy to Build Collapsible Work Benches

There’s a local startup here in Kitchener called Sienci Labs that makes a microwave-sized desktop CNC router called the Mill One. I saw it at a maker faire, and got in touch with them, asking if they were willing to sponsor my channel. Instead of a sponsorship deal, they proposed that I make them some work benches for their new office space in return for a CNC router kit that I can assemble.

In this video, I make a pair of standing height 3′ x 4′ work benches from 2x4s and 3/4″ plywood. The benches collapse and can be flat packed, or transported in a small pickup truck or large sedan. All of pieces go together with 3/8″ carriage bolts, so the benches can be taken apart or assembled with a single tool.

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How to Make Lawn Ornament Houses

My buddy Andrew has some Christmas-themed lawn ornaments that shine lasers onto his house, and a neighbourhood kid keeps knocking them over. He asked me to help him build some wooden shelters to protect the lasers from vandalism, and we decided to make them look sort of like gingerbread houses.

The houses are simple pine boxes with fat finger joints on the corners, and slat roofing. We painted them flat brown and accented the edges with white paint.

I had intended to get this video out before Christmas, but Christmas happened, so it’s out now. But hey, at least it’s still December.

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