Re-doing a paver path

So I wanted to redo the paver path behind my house.  After I tore the old one out, I only had a few good pavers left and couldn't find matching ones.  Being that my budget was tight on the redo before a family picnic, I decided to rip some 2x4 s into 2x2 and create a frame for the existing pavers to elevate them above the ground and fill the rest in with a washed stone.  I also put the new planter in on the left, but that's a job for another post. 
So first the final product in case you don't want to look any further.  Now how I did it.
I started by laying out the blocks I had and figuring out the gap I needed between each to make my distance.

Once I had this, I started making a frame for the blocks.
I put a little strip of wood under each one to make sure the paver wouldn't work its way through and the wood become elevated around them.  
It was about 20 feet so I made 2 of them that fit together.  I then stained them up to match the deck stain on the house.  It took a few coats, I realize they won't last forever, but it should get me a decade or so, at which point it will probably need to be freshened up again anyways, so a quick fix that I think turned out good.  One last pic after install before the gravel.

Tree House Build

So the kids wanted a tree house, this is what they got.
I know, not exactly a tree house, but its sitting around 200+ year old oaks, and I really didn't feel confident in injuring them at all.  So perhaps elevated playhouse is a better name.  In any effect, here is my build.

I started by clearing the area with my tractor and digging 4 foot post holes, one was only 3 foot when I hit bed rock.  
I put in 8 inch tubes and filled them with cement.  I put a 3/4 lag in the top of each to tie to.

Next I put a post plate on each for a 6x6.
Everything went together good here and the measuring and cross corner checking when I dug the holes really paid off, the entire thing was very square.  Next, I set 2x12 beams (2 on each) on the top of the posts.  I notched the posts to make it super solid and used 3/4 inch lags to hold them together.
From there I was able to build the joists that would be the floor of the playhouse.  I used 14 foot 2x8 with a 3 foot cantilever on all sides.
The top of the deck is now 6 foot off the ground for scale.  Next I decked the front 4 feet for porch and put sheeting down in the back half for the house.  I used all green treated lumber to this point I should mention.  Even the sheeting, which is extremely heavy (3/4 inch 4x8 green treated).
So then I framed up my walls all the way around with openings for the door only.  I didn't have windows to begin so didn't bother framing them in at this point.  I will cut and frame them in as I get them so I have more options for finding used windows.

So next I framed up a loft on the back 60 inches of the house using 2x6 boards.  I doubled up the 2x6 on the front to make a beam that could support the loft.  I used joist hangers to put them all in.  After that I swung joists.

So at this point we have the skeleton and I started sheeting it.  I just used A11 grade siding plywood in 4x8 sheets with galvanized #8 nails.  The walls were all 6 foot 3 so I can walk in without hitting my head so the sheets hang down a bit.

Once that was all in place, I started sheeting the roof with half inch OSB.

This picture has the drip edge on already.  So the final step was putting the metal roof on.  We also put a railing up by pocket screwing 2x4 on the posts that hold the roof up and putting spindles in.  We had created a 2 level playset the year before and moved that to the other side of the tree and build a bridge with some short 2x8.  The entire thing is 14 x 12 with a 10 x 12 playhouse 4x12 deck, and 5x12 loft.  I still need to make a door, frame in windows, fur the edges, and stain the whole thing.  But I will follow that up later.

Beauty and The Beast Rose Prop

My wife was throwing a princess party for our niece's birthday and asked me to make a few things.  The first was a beauty and the beast rose holder and then some stands.  I started with the rose holders.

First I got some plastic wine glasses at Walmart and then cut off the stems with the band saw carefully.  

Next I cut out some circles with my whole saw a bit larger than the top of the plastic cup.

After that I sanded the edges down as that sort of hole saw is dangerous and leaves a bad edge.


After that I wanted to round over the edge, but the router with this small piece of wood is asking for stitches, so I screwed it to another piece of wood and routed it that way, it worked well.

Then I was able to sand it all up.

Finally, after some painting, using hot glue to attach a jewel to the top and my wife made some rose chocolates for inside, we had our beauty and the beast rose treat on display.

DIY Rabbit Cages, mostly from scrap.

Rabbit hutch / cage
I grew up with rabbits and always enjoyed the having them as pets.  I try to expose my children to the things I cherish from my childhood so this year I put get the kids bunnies for Easter on my list.  One of the first steps with any pet, is how to house it, so I set off to create some rabbit hutches.  These are meant to be inside hutches (inside garage / shed) as I am building an animal barn later this year to house such things.  I also have a good deal of materials around my house that I want to recycle so I am hoping to keep my costs under $100 dollars for 4 hutches, considering each would cost almost $200 in the store, this is a considerable savings when making 4.  Now, I could have just got wire cages, but I like the idea of a little more space and a dark area they can retreat to if they like.  Plus, we are considering breeding them, so a little extra space is good.
So my garage weekend project began, I started by cutting some new 2x4's to size and screwing them together with 3" screws.  The sides are 48 inches long and 19" tall.  Here is the first one, I constructed all 8 sides to start.
Once the sides were done, I screwed them together with 24" pieces and screened the screened sides while they were still easy to move.  I also put in support pieces for the bottom, I just ripped some 2x4 in half for these.
At this point, I got all 4 framed together and the flooring in the open half.  I should note the flooring is some plastic type that I thought may be better on their feet, we shall see if it holds up to their chewing.
Next, I screwed on the plywood (tore off a house I deconstructed recently) for the box half.  I also screwed some green treated 2x4 on the side for legs.  I didn't use green treated lumber for any part that could get chewed on for obvious reasons.  I then put a lower hutch under it and repeated for the other two.  Finally I created doors for them and they were done, as seen at the top of this post.  Not pretty, but functional and cheap.

Building a Bookshelf

I was asked to create a shelf system that consisted of equal sized cubes that baskets 13 x 13 x 13 could fit in for a new baby my sister in law was having.  This didn't sound terribly exciting, so I decided to mix it up from the standard dado plywood with face frame deign and do a little joinery with thicker than usual hardwood for fun.  This is how it went.  First I drew up some plans which were good for estimating wood and a rough guidelines.
Once I had an idea what to do, I purchased the wood from a local mill.  This consisted of three 2 inch by 8 inch 8 foot long boards of solid red oak, three 6 inch 6 foot board about 1 inch thick rough, and 1 sheet of 3/4 A grade red oak plywood double sided, or about $200 bucks. The first thing I did was plane down the rough cut lumber.
Once that was done, I cut the pieces down to rough length of use and joined an edge on each.  My next step was to rip all the 2 inch stock on the table saw to 2 inch squares, at this point all about 48 inches long.  
Once this was completed, I planed down each 2x2 stick to make sure they were perfectly square and to remove any saw blade marks to aid in sanding later.  Then I cut the 2x2's to the various lengths.  (8x48") (16x14") (24x13 1/4").  I used a power miter box for this.
After that I began milling the ends of the 14" pieces to have just a 3/4" outcropping 3/8" long to fit into a dado on the other pieces.  I did this on the table saw which was time consuming and not very clean, a chisel cleaned them up.
Next, I put the dado grooves in the edges of the short pieces.  Each piece had a different place in the design so there were between 1 and 4 sides machined on each small piece so it was time consuming, but I am happy to report no pieces were wasted or screwed up (too bad anyways).
Here is a picture of the worst of the most complex one.
Here you can see how many I had to do.
Now I was on to the longer pieces, the main columns.  They needed the dado on one side each for the others to fit into, but they extend to feet below the structure so I needed the groove to stop, which I don't have the right machine to do.  So I got friendly with my chisel to get this right.


Once that was all out of the way, I glued up the up and down layers, no hardware here.
Once 4 pieces like the one above had dried, I started gluing layers together, one at a time.  I did use pocket screws to hold the layers together.
Here you can see it together on it's side.
Finally, I had to glue my thinner stock together into a 18" plank to be the top.  The picture below shows me planing it after it had dried, I love having a larger planer for jobs like this one.
Finally, I assembled it, and sanded it.
The only thing left was the finish, I stained it per the color requested and did 3 coats of rub on varnish.  Not a bad result IMO, I wouldn't mind having it in my house.  It isn't perfect, but they never are.  It weights a lot, and is sturdy, the kid can climb all over that one.