Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Drilling & Countersinking Screw Holes

Chapter Three of my Whizbang Garden Cart plan book is titled Preparing The Wood Parts. The chapter begins as follows:

"I recommend that you cut all the wood components of your cart to size, drill a hole for every screw, and mark out where key parts will be attached before you begin to assemble the cart. If you do this, as I tell you in this chapter, the whole process of building your cart is going to be easier and so much more enjoyable."

Then I tell you how to cut the plywood pieces you will need (as shown here). I also provide diagrams showing you precisely where all assembly screws will go. There are 11 screws in the end panel, 31 screws in each side panel, 64 screws in the undercarriage framework, and 22 screws up through the bottom of the cart.

Every screw requires a 1/8” pilot hole. I also recommend that you use a countersink bit to countersink every hole. You don’t want any screw heads sticking up above the surface of the wood.

All this drilling of holes and countersinking is perfect for a young child to do. For example, here is my 12-year-old son, James drilling pilot holes for the screws:

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That picture of my young son drilling holes so carefully and intently really blesses my heart. You’ll notice that he is using a Dremel-like tool to drill the holes. That tool happens to be his. He bought it with his own money last Christmas. He shopped around and found one he liked. It’s actually a Black & Decker version of the famous Dremel tool, and it was at the local lumberyard.

I helped him look it over and make sure he understood what he was buying and the cost. Then I showed him how to maybe get a little better deal on it. We took the box to the counter and I simply said to the man: “We’re interested in buying this tool. Do you think you could do a little better on the price?”

It never hurts to ask. Of course, that sort of thing isn’t done at WalMart or Home Depot. But at a small town lumberyard, they will usually be receptive to such a request. That has been my experience when purchasing tools over the years and it was our experience that day.

The tool came with all sorts of handy little insert bits. There were sander tips and wood grinding tips, and metal cut-off blades. It's a perfect first power tool for the industrious child (and it's pretty handy for the industrious adult too). The device also happens to hold a 1/8” drill bit. So it's ideally suited for drilling all the pilot holes this project requires.

Then James used my drill with the appropriate bit (which will not fit in a Dremel tool)to countersink every hole, as shown here:

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Please note that James is wearing safety glasses in the above photo. He should be wearing the glasses in the first photo too. Sometimes we forget the glasses. That’s not good. You should not follow our example in this regard.

The point of this blog entry is that building your own garden cart requires drilling and countersinking a lot of holes. But more than that, I want to convey to you that making your own Whizbang Cart can be a great family project. A son, daughter, grandson, or granddaughter can help you build the cart. There are plenty of things he or she can do. Drilling holes is one example. I'll be showing you more in the days ahead.

When a child can learn to use tools and truly contribute to building the cart, it is a very good thing. I do hope a lot of people will take this opportunity to make not only a great Whizbang Garden Cart, but a great childhood memory.


You can learn more about the Whizbang Garden Cart and find out how to buy the plan book HERE

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