Time is short! How about making some Christmas ornaments to give as gifts in a short amount of time. Using a few power tools, these can be made in about 20 minutes average per piece.
About 6 years ago, I cut out a little wooden cardinal for my wife. She immediately asked me to make one for my daughter and a couple friends. I ended up making 8.
Since then, we’ve made ornaments each year to give out to friends and family. We now make about 30 each year! We’ve made birdhouses, snowmen out of paint stirring sticks, Last year was a toy train. This year, we’re making about 30 toy airplanes. With that, I’ve found a few time saving measures that help keep things moving along.
Step 1: Design the Ornament
As always, after deciding on what to make, I go to the web and search for what a wooden toy airplane looks like. I try to keep in mind that these need to be simple and take as little cutting as possible. With those basics in mind, I came up with the prototype design. I keep a number of different wood samples in the smaller sizes to identify what sizes of wood I need for a project.
I was able to get everything I need at Lowes and Hobby Lobby. Lowes had all of the wood and dowels that were needed to cut. Hobby Lobby had wooden wheels, small propeller cap, the popsicle sticks. The wood should be poplar finished stock. You could use oak and stain it, but that a lot tougher wood to cut and staining will add a ton of time.
The key to my assembly line approach is repetition. After deciding how many of these that you want to make, do one thing at a time to all pieces. This starts with measuring your cuts through painting and final assembly. Also break up your work into basic job types. Work to complete each job type before moving on to the next.
I broke mine down to the following: