It's easy to get romantic about woodworking—little ribbons of poplar curling from the plane, sunlight glinting off the chisel's steel, the silence, the scent—but the spirit of the endeavor is function, not art. With all due respect to the tinkerer-philosophers of the world, these eight alternative woodworking techniques from prove that it's possible to execute a successful project using down-and-dirty methods that emphasize frugality over formality.
Fashioning old fence boards into a router table and saw stand enables this woodworker to upgrade his shop with salvaged material. Using the new equipment, the remains of the fence-board bounty become a kitchen hutch, picture frames, signs and (if you can believe it) a gate for a fence.
Using a grindstone chucked into a drill or a Dremel, this tip shows how to create simple turned-wood carvings without using a professional lathe.
Using cabinetry, chairs and stools as examples, this project explains how to make simple joints, mortise-and-tenons, dovetails and hinges without using metal fasteners or adhesives.
This craftsman fashions a stool from a wheelbarrow wheel "like the Indian using every scrap of the bison." As an added bonus, the wheel/seat swivels when you perch on it.
It's little more than designing a wood plank as if it's a coloring book and then carefully staining within the lines, but the results are impressive. Besides, in this economy, who can splurge on extravagant custom marquetry?
The most underrated staple of fine woodworking must be the humble 2 x 4. Here, Instructables titan Tim Anderson shows how to whittle stock lumber into functioning oars for a canoe. As he puts it: "Oars are expensive. Scrap lumber is free." Hence, the "two-by-foar."