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Thread: Making Bi-plane shelves for and with my grandchildren

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

    Making Bi-plane shelves for and with my grandchildren

    (part 1 of 2)

    As soon as I saw the October 2007 issue of Wood magazine at the store, I knew what three of my grandchildren would be receiving as a Christmas gift. The magazine contains plans for a large double shelf modeled upon a biplane. The biplane shelf itself is both good looking and quite functional but, what makes it even better, is that the recipient gets to help put it together.

    Following are extracts from my weekly journal describing the building and assembly of these gifts.

    2007, Dec 16:

    This week I started on the biplane shelves that I am making for Christmas. Each set of shelves looks like a biplane with a motor, propeller, and wheels. They are quite long –almost 4 feet and substantial. The thing that I find really appealing about them is that each is made as a kit which the child receiving the gift then participates in assembling. Most of the parts are made out of MDF which I am not really very happy working with. The only good thing about MDF is that a ¾” thick piece is really ¾ inch thick. I got the plans from a magazine where some of the parts had full size patterns but the patterns for the large wings had to be transferred. In the photo to the left below, I first transferred the pattern to the plywood with squares drawn on it, them to the MDF:

    Attachment 17431

    The straight line parts of the wing were cut using a guided circular saw:

    Attachment 17432

    The curved portions were cut using a jig saw.

    Wheels were cut out of MDF using a hole-saw device on the drill press:

    Attachment 17433

    Putting together the nose of the plane called for some non-ninety degree clamping:

    Attachment 17434

    2007, Dec 23:

    Work continued on the airplane shelf kits. A mixture of 7 parts yellow glue and 3 parts water was used to size all the MDF parts:

    Attachment 17435

    Here all the parts for two shelves are drying after having been painted:

    Attachment 17436

    And here they are being wrapped for presentation in a home-made cardboard box:

    Attachment 17437

    Margaret and I took these to our daughter Kristel's nerar Ottaw on a whirlwind one-night-stay trip late in the week. Unfortunately, we will not be there on Christmas day to see them opened.

    On the other hand, we will be able to see our grandson Ethan open his here in Toronto:

    Attachment 17438
    Last edited by Frank Pellow; 12-20-2008 at 11:13 PM.
    Cheers, Frank

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Those are going to be so cool Frank. Might have to go lookup that magazine for the plans.

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Southern Louisiana
    what a great gift frank. they look like they enjoyed receiving and building their plane shelves.

    i have said it before and i'll say it again, you are a wonderful grandfather. those children are very fortunate.

    thanks for sharing

  4. #4

    I have asked before , but will you be my grandad too?

    What a great idea and , as expected, executed with great style.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    DSM, IA
    The best part is that they helped you put them together. Well Done Frank

    My first memory of christmas was when my brother and I got some wood, nails, and a hammer from my grandpa.
    A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. -Henry David Thoreau
    My Website

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Constantine, MI
    Very cool Frank! I'll wager those will be cherished and kept in the family for a very long time.
    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    San Antonio, Texas
    Vary nice, Frank. What a great idea!

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