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Hey!  Me again.
A few months back, it was "that time of year" again.  A few months before "that time of year", it was the time of year that I brainstorm Christmas gift ideas.  I hadn't seen my sister in a while, and I wanted something special for her - something special and unique.  I also wanted to keep it simple and easy to make.  My sister likes the unique little nature things found in the rainforest, thus I incorporated that into the design of "Project Napkin Holder".

For this project not much is needed.  It is very basic and can be made with few tools.  I enjoy woodworking, but I am not in any way an expert at it.  I know there are others like me.  This would be a rather ridiculously simple project for a experienced wood worker, but for some on my skill level, it is perfect.

Even though this is a simple napkin holder that is really easy to make.  I made it unique by using unique wood, like figured marble wood, and used unique jungle stuff.  Most people wouldn't have the same things I had on hand when I was doing this project so this will hopefully get your brain turning and help you to come up with your own unique napkin holder.  Before I started this project, I searched instructables for napkin holder designs, but didn't come up with much - thus my contribution to the instructables site.   

A basic knowledge of woodworking and the use of power tools is needed for this project.  As always, be careful when using power tools.       
 

* I attached a pattern for the sides, but the design can be modified if so desired. *

Step 1: Tools, Wood, and Safety.....

Not much is needed for this project - which was good for me. :)

Obviously, wood is a critical part of this build. I used figured marble wood for the sides. If you know anything about figured marble wood, you will know it is an expensive wood - really expensive. Since it is a wood found in our area of the rain forest, my dad had a few pieces laying around waiting for me to use. Figured marble wood is an extremely dense wood to work with. It also has a very strong and disagreeable odor when being worked with, but the end result of this wood is beautiful. For the base of the napkin holder, I used a piece of hoovabolly - no idea what the real name is. Most people wouldn't have the wood that I have to use at hand - neither would I be likely to have what you have at hand - so be creative and come up with something truly beautiful. So...

Wood:
* A piece for the sides, 1 1/2 ft. by 8in. by 1/2 in.
* A piece for the base, 6in. by 3in. by 1in.

Tools:
* Jig saw
* Skill saw (optional for a regular hand saw)
* Regulars - hammer, nails, tape measure, wood glue, pencil..... and perhaps a band-aid?

And a little more stuff:
* A small piece of dowel rod
* Sand paper
* Varnish or shilac

And the stuff that made it unique:
* Donkey eyes - really that is what they are known as here. They are a seed from some type of tree that grows in the jungle here.
* A few little piece of curly vine that my sister loves

Keeping safe is a important part of wood working - no one wants to lose a finger in the process. Basically, be careful, be smart, and be responsible.

Safety:
* Eye protection
* Air mask for cutting wood - especially figured marble wood!
* Gloves

Time to move on....
 

Step 2: Cutting the Wood

Pretty basic... If you are using the template, I provided, for the sides, trace that out on the larger piece of wood. Make sure you leave space for two identical sides. Just jig saw that shape out.  Also, make sure the direction of the grains of the wood are the same.  
For the base, measure and saw out a piece of wood around six inches long by three inches wide. Depending on how many napkins you want this holder to hold, you may have to vary the width.

That is it - for cutting, at least.
 

Step 3: Sanding

The pieces most likely will need to be sanded smooth. I also rounded the corners of the base piece of wood.

Simple..
 

Step 4: Assembly!

Time to put this thing together!
The sides are marked at two appropriate points and drilled straight through into the base piece. Make sure the drill bit being used is a little smaller than the dowel rods being used. They need a snug fit.

Once both sides are drilled into the base, four pieces of dowel rods are cut to an appropriate length - about an inch and a quarter. Wood-glue is then added to the points where the wood joins and the pieces are held together by the dowel rods. I put it into a bench clamp to hold it firmly together. Allow it to dry for an appropriate amount of time.

Once done you should have something like what is shown in the picture.
 

Step 5: Uniquify....

Since this thing still looks a little bland, it needs some decorations! I chose "donkey eyes" and small vines. My sister likes flowers so I arranged the "donkey eyes" into a flower pattern. I split the brown "donkey eyes" in a bench vise. The red ones don't like to split as nicely so I sanded one side flat.  I wood glued everything on. 

Be creative and make something unique!
 

Step 6: Varnish Time!

After a little more sanding, a coat of varnish or shilac can be added. It is optional, but I like the shine varnish gives to wood.

It is starting to look beautiful...
 

Step 7: Finished!

Finished! I was satisfied with my work. It looked beautiful! The wood has amazing natural beauty! And best of all, my sister LOVED it!

I hope yours turned out as well! I would love to see your unique design.

Until I appear again,
th3_jungle_inv3ntor
 

<p>That wood is just beautiful! What is it used for - besides for napkin holders? ;)</p>
<p>It is beautiful wood! It is generally used for things like pen blanks, gun stocks, and other fine woodwork. It costs over $100 U.S. for a ten pound piece if you look at some sites online. We have used it on rather trivial things, like trimming and spindles, since we got it cheaply here. The trees are found in northeastern South America - our area. </p>
<p>All right, thanx mate!</p>

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