Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wilson Projects over Christmas Break 2013

I am borrowing my wife's blog for a project update.  If you know me well, you know I like many things, but lists and projects are two of my favorite.  So when I make a list of projects... there is no hope.  Heather know this all to well.  This is what happened over Christmas break this year (2013).  But before we get into the details, I want to make something clear.  This post is not to brag... I love doing projects and I love sharing and talking about them with my friends and family. I love the feeling of creating something from scratch. This seems like one of the best ways to share some of the work with you.  

So here was my list...
  • Create adoption story video
  • Birdhouse for wall display
  • Edison style pendant light fixture
  • Mason jar holder
  • Welding robot in antique wooden drawer
  • Support for sagging basement shelf's
  • Doughboy sticks for family gifts
  • Continued work on my welded AT-ST

I probably won't have time to walk through the detailed steps of each of these projects, but hopefully the pictures will help you get a sense of what went into them. If you would like to see more details or talk through a project, give me a call or shoot me an email. 

Our Adoption Story

The first and the most important project is a video depicting the story of our adoption.  It was wonderful to reflect on this year through the pictures and video we had taken.  As we try to show, it has been one of the most challenging but rewarding decisions we have ever made. 

Edison style pendant light fixture 

The next is my favorite woodworking project.  It was an idea we had after researching bed side lamps.  I really wanted to use Edison style bulbs somewhere and always thought a pendant light over the sink would look nice.  So, I put the two together and built a distressed pine box, stained it dark maple, and wired it to the existing light fixture. 

I ordered most of the parts from Sundialwire, but another good site would be  

Wire - ($1.45 per foot) | 10 ft = $14.50
Bulbs - ($9.00) | 5 = $45
Socket - ($4.75) | 5 = $23.75

Dimensions are 10 inches wide by 40 inches long by 4 inches high.  I spaces the 5 lights evenly across the face (about 6 and 2/3 inches)

The dye I used was Transfast water soluble dye - dark mission brown. 

 Gluing up the box.

Box after some distressing. Right before the dye was applied.  I broke the box while distressing it, so I am repairing it too. Oops. 

Dye applied, now applying a coat (or three) of polyurethane.  I had my helpers for this part. 

Final Product.  It has a beautiful warm glow. Very relaxing at night.  Heather and I love it. 

Welding robot in antique wooden drawer

I started welding figurative art in college when I took a joining process class and found that I really loved it.  I have collected junk metal here and there for years so that I could do projects like this.  For this piece, I was missing a head... so I specifically searched a junkyard to find it. Here are a couple pictures of the piece coming together. 

 I found the head I used in a junkyard.  Pulled all 4 of these babies out of 50's convertible.  It was a train wreck, but still had metal gauges. They were perfect!

I try to lay out the parts until it resembles the sculpture I am looking for.  It takes a lot of time to get pieces that work and look well together. Holding them in place while welding is also a hard skill to master.  The nice part is that you can always grind something off and start over.  Here is a work in progress shot. 

This is the finished product. 

Mason jar holder

Found this on pinterest (here), but used wire to hang the jar instead of a pipe clamp.  Follow the link for the tutorial. I used scrap from the bird house I made from an antique drawer.  After cutting, I coating with polyurethane and then drilled two holes for running the wire through.  I used enough wire to wrap the jar 2 times.  Simple project, but looks great.  

Birdhouse for wall display

I love birdhouses and I have been making them for a few years.  Evan's room include 3, one of which is a nightlight now for the girls.  Heather found some really cool antique drawers that we have been using in projects.  (The welding sculpture and birdhouse in this post both include them).  I found a design I liked and put this together from the wood of a deconstructed drawer. 

Starting box/drawer. 

Rough fitting the birdhouse. 

 Cutting the holes for the front. 

Final birdhouse after a coat of polyurethane.  

Support for sagging basement shelves

I wasn't thinking too clearly when I made the basement shelves last year.  In my head a 4 foot stretch was going to work out just great.  Which it probably would if I would have spent hundreds of dollars making custom 2 inch think hardwood shelves.  Instead I used cheap plywood and so  I was left with some sagging shelves.  I saw a great blog from a friend (here) on how to make PVC look like metal pipe.  It was the perfect solution.  

The blog mentioned above has all the details on how to make them, but here is a work in progress shot. 

Here they are complete and installed. An easy $20 solution. 

Doughboy Sticks

Dough boy sticks are a Wilson tradition.  We have been making them all my life and my Mom says that they have been around for a while before that.  If you search online, there are sticks out there but these are wider providing more capacity for the goodness inside.  

Dimensions and construction
  • 3 ft long
  • 3/8 inch oak dowell rod
  • 2 inch diameter oak end piece
  • 2.5 inch long end piece
Ordered wood from

Construction is simple. Cut 2 inch dowell rod into 2.5 inch chunks.  Drill a 3/8 hole about 2 inches deep in the center and glue in your 3 ft long 3/8 dowell rod.  I dipped the ends in paint for aethestics and soaked them all for a couple days in vegetable oil to treat the wood. They were the gifts to Heather's side of the family this year.

Taking Care of Your Dough Boy Sticks
  • Store in a dry place protected from the elements.
  • Clean after each use (before any dough becomes dried or burnt on.)
  • To clean, wipe down with a paper towel or damp cloth.  Avoid soaking with water.
  • Apply a small amount of food-grade mineral oil, walnut oil, or coconut oil to all wood surfaces before storing.

Choosing Your Dough:
  • Nearly any biscuit or roll dough will bake well on a Dough Boy Stick.
  • Refrigerated biscuit dough (the kind that comes in a canister) is most commonly used.  It is pre-formed, stores easily, and travels well to barbecues, picnics, and camping trips.  Premium, regular sized dough works best.
  • Grand-sized biscuits make a thicker, softer dessert but take a little longer to roast.
  • Crescent roll dough works, but it is harder to form it on the stick.

Making your Dough Boys:

  1. Grease Sticks: Usually we apply some vegetable oil to a papertowel and rub it over the surface of the stick before putting them away.  This will keep the sticks in good condition and ready for the next use.  If they are dry, apply oil or butter sparingly before use but be careful not to over grease as your dough will fall off while cooking.
  2. Shape the Dough: Take one biscuit's worth of dough, and use your hands to stretch it into a bigger circle.
  3. Form the Dough on the Stick: Center the dough on the top of the stick and begin to pull the edges down the sides.
  4. Roll the Sides: Use the side of your finger like a rolling pin to stretch the dough down the stick without making holes.
  5. Finish and Roast: Once the dough covers 2/3 to 3/4 of the stick, you're ready to roast. Heat the dough as you would a marshmallow, turning slowly.
  6. Remove from the Stick: After three to five minutes of roasting, the dough should be golden brown. Let cool slightly, and twist carefully to remove it from the stick. 

Continued work on my AT-ST

For those of you who don't know what an AT-ST is, I will include a photo.  You probably still won't recognize it, so I will give you a hint. It is a vehicle from Star Wars.  I have always loved them and welding one is pretty cool in my opinion... still working on it so stay tuned.  


Rachel said...

Awesome Doug! You guys are so cool. Colby is jealous. ;) I bet you two could do some sweet projects together!

Syme Family said...

I've been wanting JD to make some dough boy sticks! Thank you for the information!
Awesome stuff!

Dan and LaVon said...

Thanks for the post. Love your projects and that you have such a great hobby that is so diverse in materials. AWESOME!

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