Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fun with plywood

We've got babies. A lot of them.

A few years ago, my buddy Charles gave me a banana tree. By sheer luck, I managed not to kill it, and it grew over ten feet tall. Then the babies started sprouting up.

Within a week or two, I had babies sprouting up everywhere, so transplanting them seemed the next step. You can almost sit and watch these things grow - they grow amazingly fast!

The only thing I had handy were some drywall mud buckets, so I cut each one down, drilled some drain holes in each one, and kept my fingers crossed. It's not the most gorgeous pot, but hey - it's cheap and I like using something that would normally go in the recycling pile.

A few weeks ago, I was shopping at McKillican Lumber and my salesman give me a something to play with - a nice sheet of Maple veneered plywood. At the time, I had no idea what I would do with it, but then something popped into my head - planter boxes!

Tage Frid's book on Joinery has a really helpful chart on cutting compound miters; I use his numbers so often that I keep a copy of it on the bulletin board in my office. It was an easy decision to choose a six sided box to hold each of these mud buckets. Hexagon shapes are gorgeous!

I decided to make them different heights, to add a little visual interest. That meant the bottom of each planter box would be in a different place.

The pieces were cut,

and then I made a template for the bottom.

Getting ready for a test fit.

The hardest part is clamping it together by myself.

But after the fourth one...

I tapped into my inner octopus and had no problem.

Yup, everything fits. Time to add glue.

I try to be really careful with glue - it causes so many problems later in the building cycle. So each time I glued a planter together, I took some time to shave off the excess with a chisel.

The first one - sanded and ready for color.

You know I love MilkPaint, so I pulled out the color chart and tapped into some southwest colors.

Pumpkin was my first choice, and probably my favorite. When I was a teenager, I painted my bedroom this color. (I can't believe my mom let me do that! It was pretty ugly!)

More color decisions!

I love this green!

And finally - the set.

MilkPaint raises the grain on wood, and doesn't give it any protection from moisture, so I needed to sand each planter, and then seal them with something a little more durable. Watco Danish Oil is my usual finish of choice (do you get sick of hearing me talk about it?) - but it wouldn't be a suitable finish this time.

So I mixed up some Natco - that's a home made recipe that is NOT Watco.

But it is durable - a mix of spar varnish, turpentine, and boiled linseed oil. It's great for anything that might come into contact with moisture, and is very easy to apply.

They're finally ready!

Stella was so excited!

We put a plastic liner around each bucket to keep them from leaking, and dropped them into a wooden planter box. A little mulch on top hides the plastic liner

Can we play now, mama?

I think I'll add some wheels to the bottom of each planter - they're pretty heavy, and I like to turn these plants every now and then. They like to lean toward the sunlight, so rotating them is the best way to ensure they grow straight.

It is Memorial Day, so I'd like to thank my military readers and their families for their service and dedication. You rock!

Here's my dad in his Navy days... he was so handsome! RIP, Jimmy!


Julie @ followyourheartwoodworking said...

I have to get that book. LOVE the planters and the colours are great. Can you share the mix quantities?

Wood It Is! said...

Julie - almost all of these colors were straight from the pouch, didn't do any blending except on the one that is sort of teal colored. I think the colors were Marigold (the yellow one), Bayberry (green) and Pumpkin (orange). The teal was blended, I don't remember what I used, but it was easy to achieve.

I probably used a few tablespoons of water, and added the MilkPaint powder until I got the consistency of cream. It's really easy!

Julie @ followyourheartwoodworking said...

Thanks Jamie. I am doing a southwest/Santa Fe type room and want to add some nice colours like that. I don't think the (Canadian) milk paint I get comes in such funky colours!

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