Introduction: A Thread Holder/lollipop Tree!

So for my third project (I am still very much a beginner!). I decided to go with a thread holder (which just happened to make an excellent lollipop tree too!).  

I made this at the TechShop in Menlo Park (  I took both the WoodShop SBU, and the Jointer/Planer & Table Router SBU to make this project.

Step 1: Materials

I did not have to purchase much for this project; luckily, I was able to dig around the famous TechShop bin wall and wood scraps to find  most of my materials.  

1) 2 pieces of wood scraps - one for the base, and the other for the trunk (or body, I'll call it a trunk since I see it as a tree)
2) screws
3) dowels (the only materials actually purchased!)

1) drill
2) drill bit set with numbered and fractional drill bits
3) digital calipers
4) tape measure
5) thread (just for measuring purposes)
6) T square
7) table router
8) small hand saw
9) vertical band saw
10) belt and disc sander
11) clamps

Step 2: How Much Should My Thread Holder Hold?

I started by figuring out how many spools I wanted on the thread holder, and decided on 20.  I put a spool of thread on the dowel, and marked where to cut the dowel.  I also took into account that part of the dowel would be in the body of the thread holder.  I used a small hand saw to cut the dowels.  This was pretty tricky!  I had to be very careful because the saw split the dowel a few times (see picture).

Yes, I know my hands are covered in paint, I was silkscreening just before this.  Shame on me for using a pen instead of a pencil; I couldn't find one!

Step 3: Measure Materials

After deciding that I wanted 20 spools on the thread holder, I had to do a little math.  To figure out how far apart to position the dowels on the trunk, I put a spool of thread on a dowel (twice) and lined the up.  I measured the distance between the dowels, and found that 2.5" would be the perfect distance.  I decided that I wanted to be able to access thread on 3 sides of the trunk, thinking the 4th side would probably be against a wall.  That means I would have 2 sides with 7 spools, and one side with 6.  I was accounting for the side with 7, and multiplied 7 times 2.5", and that came to 17.5 inches.  I rounded up to 20", just in case!  I measured the piece I found for the trunk, and cut it down to 20".  The piece I found for the base happened to be in the shape of a triangle, so I used a T square to draw a smaller triangle on it.

Step 4: Using a Vertical Bandsaw to Cut Materials

I decided to use a vertical band saw to cut my materials.  I retrospect, this was a terrible idea because I was really only cutting straight lines.  I should have used the compound miter saw; live and learn!

Step 5: Sanding

I used the belt sander to clean up the uneven lines from the vertical bandsaw.

Step 6: Table Router

I decided to use the table router to make the base look a fancy!  I decided to go with an Ogee bit because I like the S curve.

Step 7: Marking the Trunk for Dowel Placement

I marked dots, 2.5" apart on the trunk, so I would know where to drill for the dowels.  I made the left and right sides the same, and offset the markings in the center so the holes would not intersect.  I used calipers to measure the dowels, to figure out the best drill bit for the dowel size.

Step 8: Make a Jig

I made a jig so it would be easier to drill all the holes at the same angle.  Again, this was not the best way to go, but I'm still learning.  It would have been easier to use a drill press, and just change the angle of the base.

Step 9: Using the Jig

I used the jig I made to drill all the holes for the dowels.  I was sure to clamp all my pieces down during this step.

Step 10: Attaching the Base to the Trunk

To attach the base to the trunk, I clamped the trunk in a vise and drew 2 dots for my screws.  I used 2" screws because I needed to make sure they would go through the base and trunk.  I drew 2 dots, and then measured the distance between them.  I figured out where I wanted the trunk on the base, and used the ruler to mark the matching dots.  I drilled some smaller holes first, so it would be easier to drill the screws in.  I clamped the base onto the vise, and used a Dewalt to drill the screws in.  I also used a countersink so the screws would not stick out.

Step 11: Adhesive Foam

I taped an adhesive foam to the bottom of the base (to avoid scratching countertops), and used a razor to cut off the excess.

Step 12: Finished Product!

I decided not to glue the dowels in because I wanted this to double as a super cool lollipop tree too!