Tag: woodworking

Project: Wooden American Flag

Project: Wooden American Flag

4th of July will be here soon and we decided to make a wooden American flag to help celebrate the holidays.  The process is easy and didn’t require much. We used 1x2x6 poplar from Sutherlands.

The flag is 3 feet wide, so for 13 bars we need 7 pieces of 6′ poplar.  We picked up a few extra pieces to secure the flag together.  This Irwin clamp held everything nice and snug for the next step.

Ideally, we would have put glue between each poplar board to add strength but this is not a project that will be supporting weight.  We just plan to set it outside.  What we did do is glue 2 boards against the back side and then use 1 1/4″ brad nails to secure them into place.

Shop Class Dad gets to use the nail gun.

Just to be sure everything would stay together we put an extra piece of scrap wood in the middle.  It probably was not necessary but this way we get to play with more glue and use the nail gun again.

Now, we flip it over and it’s time to paint!  We found red and white latex paint, but went with blue spray paint due to that being the only blue paint available in-store.

The stars were the difficult part.  It would be great to use a stencil, but they are expensive and in the spirit of improvising we used a plastic star that our 2 year old has in his toy box.  Using that as an outline and filling it in was a little time consuming, but in the end it was worth it.

The wooden American flag, representing the original 13 colonies is all finished.  Now we can go buy a bunch of fireworks and we’re all set for the 4th of July!

Using adhesives pt. 2

Using adhesives pt. 2

In the first part of this series we learned about multipurpose adhesives.  Today we learn about wood and plastic glues, along with some basic tips. If you would like to view the entire presentation, take a look at our YouTube channel.

Wood Glues

Wood glues are specifically made for wood repair projects. Here are your main choices:

Yellow glue (aliphatic resin or carpenters’ glue): Aliphatic resin glue is a yellow liquid, usually sold in plastic squeeze bottles and often labeled as carpenters’ glue. Yellow glue is very similar to white glue but forms a slightly stronger bond. It is also slightly more water resistant than white glue. Clamping is required for about 30 minutes until the glue sets; curing time is 12 to 18 hours. Yellow glue dries clear but does not accept wood stains.

yellow glue

Plastic resin glue (urea formaldehyde): Plastic resin glue is recommended for laminating layers of wood and for gluing structural joints. It is water resistant but not waterproof and isn’t recommended for use on outdoor furniture. This glue is resistant to paint and lacquer thinners. Clamping is required for up to 8 hours; curing time is 18 to 24 hours.

Resorcinol glue: This glue is waterproof and forms strong and durable bonds. It is recommended for use on outdoor furniture, kitchen counters, structural bonding, boats, and sporting gear. It can also be used on concrete, cork, fabrics, leather, and some plastics. Resorcinol glue has excellent resistance to temperature extremes, chemicals, and fungus. Clamping is required; curing time is 8 to 24 hours, depending on humidity and temperature.

Adhesives for Glass and Ceramics

Most multipurpose adhesives will bond glass and ceramics, but specialized versions often bond them more securely.

China and glass cement: Many cements are sold for mending china and glass. These cements usually come in tubes. Acrylic latex-base cements have good resistance to water and heat. Clamping is usually required.

Silicone rubber adhesives: Only silicone adhesives made specifically for glass and china are recommended. They form very strong bonds, with excellent resistance to water and temperature extremes. Clamping is usually required.


Metal Adhesives and Fillers

Need to make a repair in metal? Here are some popular adhesives that can make a strong bond with metal:

Steel epoxy: A two-part compound sold in tubes, steel epoxy is quite similar to regular epoxy. It forms a very strong, durable, heat-and water-resistant bond and is recommended for patching gutters and gas tanks, sealing pipes, and filling rust holes. Drying time is about 12 hours; curing time is one to two days.

Steel Putty: This metal putty consists of two putty-consistency parts that are kneaded together before use. It forms a strong, water-resistant bond and is recommended for patching and sealing pipes that aren’t under pressure. It can also be used for ceramic and masonry. Curing time is about 30 minutes; when dry, it can be sanded or painted.

Plastic metal cement: Plastic metal is one-part adhesive and filler. It is moisture resistant but cannot withstand temperature extremes. This type of adhesive is recommended for use on metal, glass, concrete, and wood, where strength is not required. Curing time is about four hours; when dry, plastic metal cement can be sanded or painted.

Plastic Adhesives

Plastics present a special problem with some adhesives because solvents in the adhesives can dissolve plastic. Here are some popular plastic adhesives.

Model cement: Usually sold in tubes as “model maker” glues, model cement forms a strong bond on acrylics and polystyrenes and can be used on most plastics, except plastic foam. Clamping is usually required until the cement has set (about 10 minutes); curing time is about 24 hours. Model cement dries clear.

Vinyl adhesive: Vinyl adhesives, sold in tubes, form a strong, waterproof bond on vinyl and on many plastics, but don’t use them on plastic foam. Clamping is usually not required. Vinyl adhesive dries flexible and clear; curing time is 10 to 20 minutes.

Acrylic solvent: Solvents are not adhesives as such; they act by melting the acrylic bonding surfaces, fusing them together at the joint. They are recommended for use on acrylics and polycarbonates. Clamping is required; the bonding surfaces are clamped or taped together, and the solvent is injected into the joint with a syringe. Setting time is about five minutes.

Glue Failure

Here are some causes of glue failure:

Hopefully you now have a basic understanding of how to identify and use adhesives.  As previously mentioned, you can view the YouTube video containing the full powerpoint presentation HERE.  We would greatly appreciate you subscribing to our channel. If there are any particular topics you would like to see covered please Send us an email.

Using adhesives pt. 1

Using adhesives pt. 1

Join us as we learn about using adhesives for your projects!  These slides are part of a powerpoint presentation created by shop teacher Tom Bockman.  If you would like to view the entire presentation, take a look at our YouTube channel.  A copy of the entire Woodworking curriculum is available and will be listed for sale soon.  Email us if you are interested.

Adhesives chemically attach two or more surfaces together. The right adhesive can make any fix quicker and longer lasting.

Multipurpose Adhesives

If you keep a small assortment of multipurpose adhesives in stock you will be able to make a wide variety of repairs. Follow along as we learn the most common types of multipurpose adhesives!

White glue (polyvinyl acetate, or PVA): PVA glue is a white liquid, usually sold in plastic bottles. It is recommended for use on porous materials — wood, paper, cloth, porous pottery, and nonstructural wood-to-wood bonds. It is not water resistant. Clamping is required for 30 minutes to 1 hour to set the glue; curing time is 18 to 24 hours. School glue, a type of white glue, dries more slowly. Inexpensive and nonflammable, PVA glue dries clear.

PVA (white glue) has a low resistance to moisture but a long shelf life.

Epoxy: Epoxies are sold in tubes or in cans. They consist of two parts — resin and hardener — that must be thoroughly mixed just before use. They are very strong, very durable, and very water resistant. Epoxies are recommended for use on metal, ceramics, some plastics, and rubber; they aren’t recommended for flexible surfaces. Clamping is required for about 2 hours for most epoxies. Drying time is about 12 hours; curing time is one to two days. Epoxy dries clear or amber and is more expensive than other adhesives.

epoxy is very strong and waterproof


Cyanoacrylate: Also called super or instant glue, cyanoacrylate is similar to epoxy but is a one-part glue. These glues form a very strong bond and are recommended for use on materials such as metal, ceramics, glass, some plastics, and rubber; they aren’t recommended for flexible surfaces. Apply sparingly. Clamping is not required; curing time is one to two days. Cyanoacrylates dry clear.

Contact cement: A rubber-base liquid sold in bottles and cans, contact cement is recommended for bonding laminates, veneers, and other large areas and for repairs. It can also be used on paper, leather, cloth, rubber, metal, glass, and some plastics because it remains flexible when it dries. It is not recommended for repairs where strength is necessary. Contact cement should be applied to both surfaces and allowed to set; the surfaces are then pressed together for an instant bond. No repositioning is possible once contact has been made. Clamping isn’t required; curing is complete on drying. Contact cement is usually very flammable.

contact cement can be used on laminate

Polyurethane glue: This high-strength glue is an amber paste and is sold in tubes. It forms a very strong bond similar to that of epoxy. Polyurethane glue is recommended for use on wood, metal, ceramics, glass, most plastics, and fiberglass. It dries flexible and can also be used on leather, cloth, rubber, and vinyl. Clamping is required for about 2 hours; curing time is about 24 hours. Polyurethane glue dries translucent and can be painted or stained. Its shelf life is short, and it is expensive.

Silicone rubber adhesive or sealant: Silicone rubber glues and sealants are sold in tubes and are similar to silicone rubber caulk. They form very strong, very durable waterproof bonds, with excellent resistance to high and low temperatures. They’re recommended for use on gutters and on building materials, including metal, glass, fiberglass, rubber, and wood. They can also be used on fabrics, some plastics, and ceramics. Clamping is usually not required; curing time is about 24 hours, but the adhesive skins over in less than 1 hour. Silicone rubber adhesives dry flexible and are available in clear, black, and metal colors.

liquid nails can be used for heavy duty construction jobs

Household cement: The various adhesives sold in tubes as household cement are fast-setting, low-strength glues. They are recommended for use on wood, ceramics, glass, paper, and some plastics. Some household cements dry flexible and can be used on fabric, leather, and vinyl. Clamping is usually not required; setting time is 10 to 20 minutes, curing time is up to 24 hours.

Hot-melt adhesive: Hot-melt glues are sold in stick form and are used with glue guns. A glue gun heats the adhesive above 200F. For the best bond, the surfaces to be joined should also be preheated. Because hot-melt adhesives are only moderately strong and bonds will come apart if exposed to high temperatures, this type of glue is recommended for temporary bonds of wood, metal, paper, and some plastics and composition materials. Clamping isn’t required; setting time is 10 to 45 seconds, and curing time is 24 hours.

Don't use a hot-glue gun if the bond will be exposed to high temperatures

We don’t want this article to be too long, so this will be a multi-part series on using adhesives.  Stay tuned and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and other social media networks!

Project: DIY charging station

Project: DIY charging station

If your house seems to have as many USB-powered devices as electrical outlets then you know it can get messy at times. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a central location for all of these devices that was free of clutter? Join us today as we build a charging station!

The first thing we need to do is get a USB charger. We picked out this one from RAVpower.

We went to the local home improvement store and decided to use poplar wood but there are of course other options.  You could use oak if you wanted or maybe even some repurposed pallet wood!  The dimensions will depend on the size of your charger.  For our project we went with 1 piece of 1/4″ x 6″ x 2′ and 2 pieces of 1/2″ x 2″ x 2′ poplar.

After cutting the 1/4″ x 6″ to fit our USB charger (we did 9.5″ for 6 ports) we needed to make the tops.

We cut 7 blocks for the top, aligned them and then glued them.  Shop Class Dad used the nail gun to drive the initial brad nails.  This way everyone gets to have fun.  

They are laid out like sideways dominoes!

After setting up the tops it is time to glue them into place and then… NAIL GUN TIME!!!

After everything is glued and nailed, this is what the charging station looks like so far:

Now it’s time to add some color!  We decided on Rustoleum Charcoal Chalked Ultra Matte Paint.

After painting and waiting to dry we are DONE.  For a project that took a 10 year old and 13 year old less than 2 hours to build, we are EXTREMELY happy with the results!  And Mrs. Shopclass will finally have a little less clutter to deal with!

Here is the final product.  A fully functioning, DIY, USB charging station. We have been extremely impressed so far.  The devices we’ve tested all charge rapidly, even when multiple units are plugged in.

This 6 port charging station has room for 2 more devices!

The boys are asking if anyone would pay for these.  We feel that if the process was streamlined and they put even more effort into the next ones then yes, some people would probably pay for these.

So if you are interested, you can buy one of these from us, which will definitely be cheaper than some of the $60 units out there that do the same thing but are made of plastic. Feel free to email joshua@shopclasskids.com if you are interested.


If you want to build one yourself, here is a list of everything we used:

  • (1) piece of 1/4″ x 6″ x 2′ poplar
  • (2) pieces of 1/2″ x 2″ x 2′ poplar
  • wood glue
  • brad nailer
  • 5/8″ brad nails
  • charcoal chalked paint
  • paintbrush
  • 6 port USB charger
  • 6 pack USB cables

Types of wood joints

Types of wood joints

There are numerous ways to join pieces of wood.  Some are stronger than others, some are easier to do, and some require expensive machines.  The type and quality of joint you choose greatly affects the stability and durability of a project.  Today we take a look at some of the more common types of wood joints.  The images in today’s post are from a powerpoint presentation created by Tom Bockman, shop class teacher of 37 years.  We hope to make the entire presentation available on our website soon.

The goal behind making good wood joints is for the project to hold itself together with as little help from other means such as mechanical fasteners or adhesives as possible.  It is best to choose the simplest joint that will do the job the right way. Equally important is the appearance of the joint.

Clean tight joints can add a decorative effect to a project but not all joints can be seen.  Moistening the edges first will keep the wood from taking the water out of the adhesive.  Too little glue is known as a starved glue joint, too much is wasting glue. It is important that glue is applied over the entire edge so there are no dry spots.  A good glue joint will be stronger than the wood.

finger joints

A finger joint is a common woodworking joint. You use it to join two pieces of wood at right angles to each other. It is much like a dovetail joint except that the pins are square and not angled. The joint relies on glue to hold it together. It is a simplified version of the dovetail, and thus not as strong.

dovetail dovetail 2

Dovetail joints are very strong. The pins and tails are more trapezoidal instead of having 90 degree angles like finger joints.  After adding glue the joint is permanent and requires no screws or nails.

Dado (pronounced “Day-dough”) joints are commonly used for shelves and joins the edge or end of one board to the center of another. They’re also used in joining plywood together. A dado joint fits one part of itself into a slot on a second part of itself.   While the dado relies somewhat on adhesives, it has more gluing surface which will hold more glue along with a self supporting ledge which makes it quite strong. Dados are cut across the grain.

Rabbet joints are sometimes used to insert a back into a cabinet.  The rabbet joint requires fasteners (i.e screws or nails) and will keep the cabinet square.  It is much like a dado, except it is cut along the edge or end of the work piece. 

butt joints

Butt joints are made by taking 2 pieces of wood and butting them together.  The joint is weak and can be broken apart with your bare hands (ok, if you attach a metal bracket and some screws then maybe not).  The butt joint is commonly used in wall framing on construction sites. If you are a casual DIYer, this is possibly the only joint you have used.

The tongue & groove joint is strong.  This type of joint is cut along the edge and ends of the work piece, notched out into a groove.  When the boards are connected they cannot be separated unless one is lifted up at an angle.  This joint is very common with wood flooring.

The miter joint is used in picture frames and boxes, among other things.  To form a miter joint, the ends are cut at a 45° angle which creates a better surface area for adhesive to be applied as opposed to the similar butt joint.  Aesthetically, this joint looks much better than the butt joint due to the fact that the end grain is concealed.


A half lap joint is another common woodworking joint.  It consists of two parts fitting into each other in dadoes or rabbets cut half way into each half to form a flush fit.  They are strong, due to having more glue surface area and self supporting ledges.  When they fit together it should be flush. In a half lap joint, you remove material from each piece so that the resulting joint is the thickness of the thickest piece.  Half lap joints are good for making workshop storage items.

The mortise and tenon joint is a popular furniture construction technique, commonly used in table legs. A mortise is a cavity cut into a piece of wood to receive a tenon. A tenon is a projection on the end of a piece of wood to insert into a mortise.  The joint is self supporting with more surface area that holds more glue making the joint very strong. 

Dowel joints can be used to reinforce butt  joints.  Accuracy is extremely important, and partially for that reason biscuit joints are usually preferred to dowel joints.  Dowel joints are easy and faster to make than mortise & tenon joints.

A biscuit joint is another way to reinforce butt or miter joints.  The biscuit is made of dried and compressed wood, typically beech. They can be even faster to make than dowel joints.  Biscuit joints are commonly used in constructing cabinets and in making table tops and you will need to purchase a biscuit joiner.

While we have listed a basic overview of some very common wood joints today, there are others.  In the future we will be going more in-depth into the various types of wood joints.

Free online woodworking class!

Free online woodworking class!

We at Shop Class Kids are big fans of Instructables.com  There are so many cool DIY projects there and they also offer free classes!

Author mikeasaurus has a 9 lesson course on basic woodworking.  Here is a list of the lessons:

  • Lesson 1: Tools + Supplies

  • Lesson 2: Making Perfectly Straight Cuts

  • Lesson 3: All About Glue

  • Lesson 4: Drilling Perfect Holes

  • Lesson 5: Sanding

  • Lesson 6: Wood Shaping

  • Lesson 7: Hand Router

  • Lesson 8: Bevels and Mitres

  • Lesson 9: Color + Finishes

There is some really good information in there, and it’s all free!  CLICK HERE to see the course.