So if you are a Wolf Den Leader, you know that it's a challenge to find inexpensive wood crafts (Wolf Achievement 5e) that are easy to do and don't fall apart too fast. When I first became a den leader, I bought pre-made birdhouse kits from the craft store. They didn't work out so well because the nails were teeny tiny and I found it hard to hold them steady to hammer them. The kids had an even harder time. We ended up gluing the wood pieces together instead of nailing them (all hail hot glue!).
After we moved into our newly built home, we had plenty of scrap shelving lying around. Scraps are great! If you can get scrap wood from people, you can do a lot for not a lot of money. This project uses scrap shelving boards about an inch thick, one inch diameter dowels and 3/8 inch diameter dowels, wood glue, and spray primer and spray paint. You can cut the wood pieces yourself beforehand so all the boys have to do is assembly/painting, or if you want to take up more time or use two den meetings, you can have the boys do some of the sawing. Remember, Cub Scouts aren't allowed to use power tools.
Okay! Let me show you what I did.
I had some scrap shelving (particle board) and some 3/8 dowel left over from a previous project. I bought the 1 inch size dowel, I think it was $2.00 or something for one of those. I ended up buying two to make sure I had enough for all my Scouts.
|Scrap shelving (1 inch thick), thick dowel (1 inch) and thin dowel (3/8 inch)|
Every Scout will need one piece of the thicker dowel, about six to nine inches long. I have a mitre box/saw that I use to cut small pieces of wood.
|Thick dowel cut 6-9 inches long.|
This is my mitre box. I bought a box with a saw set, made a little bench for it and I bring it out when I have a wood project. Even the Scouts can use it because it's a hand saw. For this project, I felt that it might take too long for the Scouts to saw through the particle board scrap I had (it took me a while to get through it) so I did the sawing to cut the base pieces myself and left the dowel sawing for the Scouts. I think they really liked the sawing part.
I wanted the base (shelving) pieces to be big enough to support the rest of the structure so I made them four inches on a side.
Now for these base pieces, I drilled holes for the dowels to go in before I cut them apart. I happen to have a drill press which is handy for making repeated holes without worrying too much if the bit is going in straight or not. I used a 1 inch spade bit (looks like a miniature shovel). Be sure NOT to drill all the way through the base! I did that while making a mock-up and the dowel would sit on the table if I lifted up the base. So leave just enough material in the bottom of your hole for the dowel to sit in.
Of course, all the rough edges need to be sanded smooth. This is an excellent job for the Scouts to do. They will be tempted to cut the task short, but don't let them! A good sanding job is essential for a good paint job. Any divots, scratches, dings, splinters will show up even more once the project is painted.
|Sanding the base.|
|Sanding the large dowel.|
|Here I drilled holes before sawing the dowels apart to try to "mass produce" them.|
I cut the smaller 3/8 dowels into pieces. Each project needs two of them. I made them about six inches long.
Yup. Gotta send the ends of those too.
This picture might help you see what we're going for. I've drilled a hole in the large dowel going one way and then stuck in a little dowel. The shims under the small dowel ends actually helped me to hold the large dowel steady on the drill press platform while I drilled the second perpendicular hole for the second dowel.
|You might just be able to see my 3/8 inch spade drill bit hanging in the air above the large dowel. Gasp! Almost like someone waiting to get stabbed. Aaaaah!|
And here I put the large dowel post into the base after applying some wood glue in the hole in the base. I noticed the wood glue seeping out of the tiny hole in the bottom, so I would recommend putting some wax paper underneath to protect your work surface. After giving it some time to dry, it's time for the fun part!
Paint! I didn't photograph the painting process because spray paint can go everywhere and I would hate to ruin a camera lens that way. No matter what kind of paint you use, you should apply a primer meant for wood first. Wood is porous, and if you just paint the bare wood, you may find your paint just seeping in. The color isn't vibrant, it just looks like a "stain". So have the Scouts prime the project first. I like spray primer. It goes on fast, dries in about 20 minutes depending on how warm/dry the air is and as long as you don't get in too close, very few drips to worry about. The spray primer I get is about $5.00 a can and one can should cover at least five or six of these as long as you don't get crazy with it. I have a collection of spray paint, glossy finish, that I keep around for Pinewood Derby cars. I made a "paint bay" in my garage. I covered one wall in plastic sheeting. I put the work table in front of the sheeting and covered the table with sheeting. And then I had cardboard boxes on the table. I had the Scouts put their projects on an extra piece of wood and place the project in the cardboard box as it was lying on it's side. Then I had them spray a little, turn the project a bit, spray some more, turn it, etc. The boxes kept some of the overspray from getting on the next person's project and vice versa.
|This is mine.|
So, you might be wondering, "what do you do with this thing"? You hang stuff on it! Keys, jewelry, temporary patches with those fun loops on them, beads, bandanas, or anything that just doesn't want to be tangled up in a drawer! The Scouts can give it to their moms as a jewelry holder, or to their dads as a place to put their keyrings and watches at night, or they can keep it for themselves.
Hope this is helpful. Have fun!